December 5, 2017
With the public declaration by Canada to implement the UNDRIP, the discussion on Bill C-262 was most revealing that there is no change in the course of Canada’s resistance to respecting the human rights of Indigenous peoples and our right to self-determination. Please bear with me on this train of thought as many may have believed that now we are on the road to ‘reconciliation’. But let’s not forget that the government has no obligation to ‘Private members’ bills” .
After MP Romeo Saganash finished his eloquent speech on why Bill C-262 was important in beginning the process of reconciliation and respect for Indigenous peoples’ human rights, the shift in the discussion to one of support to one of hesitancy from Canada was evident through the speech of the secretary of INAC and through the statements and questions by the Member of Parliament from Burnaby, B.C. regarding Free Prior and Informed Consent. FPIC remains the most controversial part of the UN.DRIP.
And so the same concerns that the Harper regime had in its opposition to the Declaration 10 years ago, remains. Canadian society’s most powerful could be heard and seen through their advocates: politicians and lobbyists; the third party interests who have for hundreds of years enjoyed the rape, pillaging and plundering of the Turtle Island – the home of Indigenous peoples since time immemorial, of which many have become extinct within the Americas.
Whether they are labelled pioneers, heroes of colonial history, Prime Ministers, through their Doctrines of Superiority their armies and authorities have unhesitatingly committed genocide in the name of the Crown for their economic interests
and while no one wants to deny Canada they have not instilled any trust as they continue to define and control of which Indigenous leaders or institutions are acceptable through whatever process they define as legitimate.
Canada’s hesitancy is insidiously hidden in their qualifiers on how Section 35 is now a full box by placing the UN Declaration within parameters they define. During Romeo Saganash’s speech on Bill C-262, he warned Canada the Declaration (UNDRIP) must remain within the interpretation of international human rights law. Something I suspect Canada is already trying to find wiggle room not to do as in tonight’s statements by government Ministers and certain members of Parliament.
As in Canada’s opposition to the support of the Declaration 10 years ago, the current government of Canada continues to agonize over the notion of what it views as a right of “VETO” by Indigenous peoples in regards to development. Having experienced firsthand the malicious deceptions and deflection from the government bureaucrats I have a cynical view of what happened in Parliament on December 5th, 2017. The bureaucratic culture embedded in Canadian politics is one which organizes and creates policies that delay justice for Indigenous peoples until the next election when another government can find more administrative red tape of exhaustive criteria for even just beginning discussions,
So while Canada claims to have consulted Indigenous peoples through the numerous ‘decolonization’ tables on issues such as resource and energy development, Indigenous peoples in the communities have never been informed of the scope and outcome of these discussions.
And while AFN claims it is not a government, it is the only National Aboriginal Organization Canada turns to in any discussion. Leaving out Indigenous traditional governments, whose existence predates European arrival and is an institution that has survived colonization.
We remain in essence, at a stalemate with the chosen of the colonizer dictating government propaganda to give a semblance of reasonableness, more progressive, more moderate; something Canada has always relies on – divide and conquer.
Those who negotiated and most likely, endured hardship to bring about this first United Nations human rights instrument for Indigenous peoples, the wonderful UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, deserve better than a wishy washy endorsement of the Declaration’s implementation. Perhaps some will react in horror to these words but there remains very little trust in a government who has yet to deserve our trust. From its lofty Crown station in which it casts its privileged gaze upon Indigenous peoples’ human rights, patting certain leaders on the back for continuing their collaboration of colonization, the conformity needed to disguise that the agenda has not changed; only its box. This is the Canada I know.
The hundreds of generations of Indigenous peoples who died for the colonizer’s empire building I’m sure had higher hopes that one day the Crown’s representatives would actually understand what “honor” means and entails. That one day their descendants could live in peace and carry on those precious teachings that teach us to be kinder to ourselves, to all our relations, to our Mother Earth through our languages and culture.
I am so proud of MP Romeo Saganash for his efforts, his passion and unyielding resilience working in what must be a difficult situation of being one of the few Indigenous members of Parliament. We as a peoples have been made better for his efforts; who else would have taken on this task of fighting the bureaucratic culture of Canada that has forsaken its allies in every way imaginable.
To Romeo Saganash, I lift him up in spirit as he is most deserving of all our heartfelt thanks, appreciation and love. I hope for the best in his efforts, that they will come to fruition; that my cynicism can be tossed aside and that Canada really means that it intends to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…I hope for hope’s sake.
To Canada, I say, when your actions reflect your words and respect with honor, Indigenous peoples human rights and rights to self-determination, then I will welcome you into my heart and life. In the meantime, I remind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that many Indigenous peoples have never given up their citizenship to their nations. I am not a Canadian citizen but am Kanien’kehá:ka – a nation, a peoples where women hold title to the lands and a nation, which was once an ally of Canada. That is where the “nation to nation” relationship begins.