Getting to a new relationship

by Aaron Wherry

Chelsea Vowel considers #IdleNoMore and what needs to change.

In short, you cannot expect things to improve if we have no real control over our lives, our lands, and our resources. This is the sort of control that Canadians have for themselves, and take for granted as necessary, though its expression in our context will not look exactly the same.

What successive Canadian governments have repeatedly attempted is a top-down approach that puts the relationship last. Report after report shows that this approach has failed miserably. Canadians need to understand that the current relationship makes it impossible for indigenous peoples to truly govern their own affairs. What the wider public sees as an inability to self-govern is a nothing of the sort. We governed ourselves for centuries without interference, mitigating our differences via treaty relationships. We have not somehow lost that ability simply because we now share these lands with Canadians. Indigenous peoples have been prevented from exercising this power for too long.




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Getting to a new relationship

  1. Totally agree.

    It’s apparent that most Canadians think natives are just living in special suburbs….and have the same sort of life as everyone else.

    Perhaps First Nations should run some tours

    • The tours are closed.

  2. Every time I hear Pam Palmater talk, she insists that this movement INM is all about the Native people. Not the leaders, but the people.

    Now Chelsea Vowel seems to suggest the same.

    So if that is true, why don’t Ms.Vowel and Ms.Palmater put in a phone call to Chief Spence and ask her why the capable Natives living in Attawapiskat aren’t allowed to talk freely to the press? Why are the average, ordinary Natives living on reserves, held in check by incompetent chiefs?

    Could Ms.Vowel answer that question? It’s not a vague question in any way. It’s a straightforward question which could in reality be answered with a most straightforward explanation.

  3. Another deep thinker rattling off a list of tired clichés. It’s the FN chiefs that constantly stand in the way of progress while at the same time demanding “change”.

    They say they want to be self-governing, but they don’t want to be self sufficient. They want to control their own spending, but they don’t want to be accountable to the people. They say they want to be responsible for affairs on reserves, but they refuse to accept responsibility when something goes wrong.

    In short, they want their cake, your cake, and they want to eat it too… and then they’d like some pie.

  4. what tripe !!! – If I were a FN person I would find this insulting – there is nothing worse than falling into the trap of self victimhood and an attitude of persoanl defeatism and that is exactly what this article truly represents – humans have always organized themselves in top down structures – there is no other option except chaos maybe Mob Rule might work if the mob is on your side – like last week when the mob was all evil meanie harper and look at the hero in the tent!!!! NOW – see what happens when it gets out they have been taken for a ride and the MOB turns back on it’s hero – payback is a you know what !!!!

  5. “our lands, and our resources.”

    Except the land and resources were surrendered unconditionally and forever to the Crown by the numbered treaties. It’s not your land anymore Chelsea – unless you are suggesting we break the treaties, which, frankly, is precisely what you are doing. Here is the relevant text:

    “the said Indians DO HEREBY CEDE, RELEASE, SURRENDER AND YIELD UP to the Government of the Dominion of Canada, for Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors for ever, all their rights, titles and privileges whatsoever, to the lands included within the following limits…

    AND ALSO the said Indian rights, titles and privileges whatsoever to all other lands wherever situated in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, or in any other portion of the Dominion of Canada.

    TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the same to Her Majesty the Queen and Her successors for ever.”

    http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100028813/1100100028853

    The whole point of signing treaties was to surrender land to the Crown to facilitate settlement. Nothing in the treaties gives Indians rights to natural resources – on the contrary, the treaties specifically extinguish any and all Indian claims to the surrendered land, forever.

    When you get down to the nitty gritty, IDM doesn’t want to honour the treaties – they want to renege on the treaties. It’s a money grab.

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