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UN fact-finder arrives in Canada to survey concerns of Aboriginal Peoples


 

OTTAWA – A United Nations fact-finder is set to take stock of the plight of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

The UN has dispatched law professor James Anaya to speak to First Nations representatives and government officials as he drafts a report for the world body.

“The idea is to get a first-hand view of the situation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada by hearing directly from as many as I can,” he said in a telephone interview.

As the UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous rights, Anaya is responsible for promoting laws and policies that support indigenous peoples around the world. He will also look at their living conditions and issue reports and recommendations.

The rapporteur has no binding authority. Rather, he aims to shame governments into action by bringing unacceptable conditions to light.

The federal government will get a chance to respond to Anaya’s findings before a final report is circulated and presented next year to the UN Human Rights Council.

The report will include recommendations for the federal government, First Nations and possibly other groups.

The nine-day trip — which begins Monday and ends Oct. 15 — will see Anaya visit both small rural communities and big cities. He will also spend time in Ottawa meeting federal representatives from several government departments and agencies.

One issue bound to come up in his discussions is resource development on First Nations land.

Without talking specifically about Canada, Anaya said companies and governments are starting to realize that major energy projects need the co-operation of First Nations.

“On a global scale, yes, absolutely we’ve seen a clear trend in that direction among the major mining and oil companies in particular,” he said.

“You see a clear trend toward greater awareness of the need for there to be consultation with indigenous peoples and agreements with indigenous peoples if resource extraction or development is going to take place within their territories.”

That realization is seemingly being borne out in Canada with the recent trip to British Columbia by a cadre of senior government officials to listen to First Nations concerns over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and other energy projects.

In some cases, Anaya said, companies may have no choice but to significantly alter or even shelve projects that infringe on the rights of First Nations.

Anaya’s fact-finding trip has been a long time coming. He first requested permission to make an official visit to Canada in February 2012.

“I hesitate to draw any conclusions from these kinds of things. It often takes time for governments to get back to me on requests,” he said.

“There are different factors that come into play. So there’s no way of knowing what all those factors are and how they weigh against each other and against my request.”

He had to reschedule his trip, originally set for Oct. 12-20, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament.

The head of the Assembly of First Nations said he hopes Anaya’s visit will shed light on some of the hardships endured by Aboriginal Peoples.

“What this moment represents, in my view, is a moment to hold a mirror up to the country and reflect back the kinds of real challenges,” Shawn Atleo said.

“It’s a truth-telling moment, if you will.”


 
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UN fact-finder arrives in Canada to survey concerns of Aboriginal Peoples

  1. Solution: Make ALL Canadians equal in all respects of government, law and services. It includes relocating for jobs, no race based spending, same services and requirements for all. As enslaving my grand kid with tax for a a “special” races and what happened 200+ year ago doesn’t sound very moral. But hey, idiocracy can always justify anything it wants.

  2. Our enormous shame at having Third World conditions here in Canada……..as now the whole planet knows.

    • No indian is forced to stay on dysfunctional ‘first nations’, there is no irremovable dalit status, anyone who wants to can get an education and look for employment be they indian or not.

      It’s their own cultural attitudes, often singularly racist ones, that keep far too many indians from being able to generate the wealth necessary to sustain a modern standard of living.

      • I see you know very little about the problem…..which is probably why you have no solution.

        • Oh, I’m well aware of the problems, but the solutions are not acceptable to the indian leadership because they would undercut the source of their political power, namely the indians living under their highly variable tutelage.

          • Since your ‘solution’ is that everyone should think exactly like you….no one is interested.

          • That’s a reflection of your own attitude, Emily.

            You obviously believe everyone should think like you do, and imagine that everyone else seeks the same result.

            But there are more things than are dreamt of in your philosophy, including the the fact that other people do not think as you do.

            And it remains that no indian is forced to remain in the poverty and misery about which so many whine. The opportunities for a sustainable and self sufficient prosperity abound for everyone, but they do not stem from an attitude of expecting that the world owes you a living.

          • LOL no dear, I accept that they have a different culture than I do.

            You however insist they live your way.

            So on top of everything else, you’re confused.

          • If you’re now changing your tune from ‘think like’ to ‘live like’, then you’d be the confused one.

            Canadian society has a host of different ways of living available, some of which lead to prosperity, some to poverty, some to happiness or satisfaction, and some to unhappiness.

            Poverty does not guarantee unhappiness, of course, as there are people who live frugally and are yet happy in doing so.

            But to live in such a manner as to be unhappy enough to whine and complain, and yet do nothing to try to live in any of the wide range of different ways of living that most people find satisfying, is just pointless.

            Few people live the way I do, and I do not expect anyone to take the same choices as I have. Choosing ways of living that leave you unhappy while ignoring other possibilities that seem to work for most people is not productive and will not lead you to happiness.

          • I have no idea what you’re babbling about…..maybe you’ve confused me with someone else. You always strike me as a confused sort.

            I have never said ‘think like’ or ‘live like’. FNs have separate cultures….nothing like that of current mainstream Canada….and they are none of our business.

            Our obligation is to uphold the signed contracts between the Crown and the FN and settle the land claims. We have never done that.

            Until we do, all else is blatherskite.

          • I can quote you as writing: “your ‘solution’ is that everyone should think exactly like you” or “You however insist they live your way.” from posts just above these on this forum, and on this subthread.

            If you can’t even keep straight that which you yourself post, I hardly think you can be relied upon to keep much else straight.

            Meanwhile land claims relate to ‘first nations’, but are not going to materially change the situation of the actual indians who live on them, and who live under the tutelage of the all too often venal chiefs who run the ‘first nations’. If anything it might tend to further immerse those indians in an attitude of dependency.

            BTW, it is clear that the Crown has lavishly overpaid it obligations under the treaties, due to a combination of government generosity and Supreme Court bias.

          • No you can’t. Gawd….go have a nap.

          • Heh heh heh… I just cut and pasted those two quotes from your own posts of less than two hours ago.

            So not only can I, I just did.

          • Again….no. Like I said, take a nap. Maybe the confusion will clear.

          • In any case that would be a meta discussion, a red herring you’re creating to avoid coming to grips with the actual problems and actual issues that face actual indians.

            As is your apparent inability to distinguish between actual indians and the ‘first nations’ to which they belong.

            People need a reason to hope, and a path toward sustainable self sufficiency and prosperity. That does not lie in navel gazing about what constitutes ‘indianness’ and what constitutes being an ‘apple’, a frequent racist insult directed at indians who aren’t complaining about their situation.

          • Hah….discovered the truth didja? Good. You said that stuff, I did not. Projection is a dangerous thing.

            Oh and Indians come from India, not NA….more confusion on your part.

            Don’t you have something else you can do on a Sunday afternoon? Like read a book, watch TV, dig in a garden?

            Because it’s not MY job to keep you on track mentally….it’s yours.

            You got a family you can discuss this confusion with?

          • Still claiming you didn’t say two totally different things? I suppose I should not be astonished.

            The word “indian” is the official term taken straight from the eponymous Indian Act. The use of ‘first nation’ to describe individuals makes no sense, as no one can be a nation on their own.

            And for one who projects their modes of thinking on others, it is hypocritical to suggest that others do the same, but I suppose an obsession with imagining everyone to think the way you do is difficult to suppress without professional help.

            But in the meantime, as chief Clarence Louie has said, “If your life sucks, it is because you suck”. He has managed to invigorate the Osoyoos band by convincing its people of the necessity of self sufficiency, and the value of taking personal responsibility for ones life.

            Time to go curling, though.

          • I know what I think hon….so I know what I wrote. And about who.

            Talk to your family. Srsly.

          • Well, there’s no need to be dense about it, Emily.

          • Srsly. Talk.

          • There is a great division between the ‘chiefs’ you talk about and the actual ‘hereditary chiefs’ who should be the ones who run the nations. The first was inflicted on us when the government decided that the original form of governing we had wasn’t good enough – although the constitution of laws used for hundreds of years was good enough to be the base upon which Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin based the Constitution of the United States.
            The detrimental ‘chiefs’ you are referring to are, unfortunately, the voted in representatives who really represent only a small percentage of natives as a whole. Voting is against the traditional system, where decisions for the good of the people were decided on consensus. The elected chiefs aren’t any such thing…they are really ‘mayors’ of the community, who unfortunately are responsible for the management (or mismanagement) of the transfer payment funds. Those funds are no different than those any other community gets from their provincial government, although because reserves fall under federal jurisdiction, the payments come from that government.

          • In some cases these so-called ‘hereditary chiefs’ try to impose decisions, but they fail to take responsibility for those decisions.

            Somebody has to run the ‘first nation’, deal with the budget, allocate resources, and be responsible for the consequences of those allocations.

            I really can’t see ‘chiefs’, who are just there because their dad or grandad was there, being thereby necessarily capable of running the operation of even a small ‘first nation’. Some might be, but it would not be due to their ancestors.

          • As you obviously aren’t aware, the hereditary chiefs aren’t in their positions because of their fathers at all; most groups are matriarchies, meaning lines are derived from the mothers family. And many of these chiefs aren’t just sitting at home waiting to do this job – they have careers, they function off reserves as well, and many of them are very well educated. So I don’t see why you would doubt their ability to manage their societies.
            These men are chosen by their Clan Mothers, who also have the power to remove them. They are chosen based on their knowledge of the nation, their ability to work as part of a team for the good of that nation, and the respect and accomplishments they’ve earned in the eyes of the people.

      • It’s not a matter of being ‘forced’ to stay on reserves; it’s where not only the cultural affiliations have flourished, but generations of families are located, as well as being the religious centre of their lives. That’s the reason people who could move, choose not to. And believe it or not, many, many people who live on reserves work, and they are very well educated.

        • If people are not forced to stay any particular place, then there is no basis for complaining of being poorly treated.

          It’s not the people who are successful and happy that are at issue, but rather the ones who complain bitterly about their lack of prosperity, and yet who do nothing about seeking to improve their situation.

          • Ah, this is not only true of First Nations groups, but I’ve seen it in practice in many off reserve communities too. That’s something you can’t deny.

          • The attitude that “somebody owes me a living” almost always leads to poverty and unhappiness, no matter who proposes it or suffers from it.

            For ‘first nations’, however, that belief seems to be being deliberately instilled in the indian education system, even up to the university level. It’s to the level of a religious belief that all the problems of either ‘first nations’ or of indians stem from being owed by everyone else.

          • That is your opinion, it is hardly fact. I have never been raised to believe “somebody owes me a living”, and while I have known many who were what you would class ‘poverty’, they were quite happy, made their own way in the world and just wanted to be left alone. All I keep hearing or reading is that Natives need to be better educated, to get out into the world and assimilate. But you know what? THOSE are the ones who learn the status quo, and see what habits of the past seem to be recreated by successive acts, be it by governments, legislation or even public opinion. And THEY are the ones who speak up against it. It’s not a matter of ‘being owed’…it’s a matter of refusing to be dismissed as a sterotype, of being taken seriously when concerns are protested (like the protests against that Bill of last fall, which was NOT in the public’s best interests, but no one seemed to care but the Natives).
            So in this case it really is a matter of “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”.
            And as to our ‘religious belief’, the biggest one that we are taught is that the earth is our Mother, and we must live like good children in our Mother’s house. And decisions and actions taken by us will impact the next 12 generations, so they must be made very carefully. THAT is what is instilled in us. If you have better, I have yet to see proof of it.

    • Yep, we pay them too much to stay in the woods and sulk. And the dependency breeds entitlement belligerence. With politicians with no spine, they fuel the immoral corruption of “chiefs” and cultural stupidity.

      Hope this doesn’t’ get censored, but it is the unabashed truth. We pay an awful lot of money to keep it this way.

      Me, I welcome FN as equals. But taxing me, my kids and my grand kids for issues 200 years old is not ethical nor moral. Want real progress? Immigrate these nations into Canada as equal Canadians.

      I would suggest a 8 year program to move the entire families to cities for schools, health care, dental, taxes, policing, jobs, et al. Give it a generation then the problems of abuse and too much idle time for trouble will be fixed.

      • Another white man with all the solutions. Which all involve reneging on signed contracts.

        Sorry Dave, not interested….and neither are FNs

      • There is a great division between the ‘chiefs’ you talk about and the actual ‘hereditary chiefs’ who should be the ones who run the nations. The first was inflicted on us when the government decided that the original form of governing we had wasn’t good enough – although the constitution of laws used for hundreds of years was good enough to be the base upon which Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin based the Constitution of the United States.
        The detrimental ‘chiefs’ you are referring to are, unfortunately, the voted in representatives who really represent only a small percentage of natives as a whole. Voting is against the traditional system, where decisions for the good of the people were decided on consensus. The elected chiefs aren’t any such thing…they are really ‘mayors’ of the community, who unfortunately are responsible for the management (or mismanagement) of the transfer payment funds. Those funds are no different than those any other community gets from their provincial government, although because reserves fall under federal jurisdiction, the payments come from that government.
        And believe it or not, there are very well equipped schools on some reserves, as well as access to health care, dental care and policing. There are actually business centres, cultural centres and so on…so it makes me wonder why your suggestion of immersion and assimilation would ‘solve’ the problem you speak of? Past governments tried this with their residential school idea, and yeah, we’ve all seen how successful that was. And many natives with strong links to their home reserves work, pay taxes ( I always have) and are very well educated. I’ve never begrudged my tax money going to transfer payments to YOUR community, so why would you to native communities?

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