Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan: As Negotiating Tables Legitimize Canada’s Colonialism

by November 9, 2012

The following editorial was originally featured in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin (FNSB), June-October 2012. You can view/download this latest edition of the FNSB by clicking the following link: FNSB June-October 2012

On September 4th the Harper government clearly signaled its intention to:

1) Focus all its efforts to assimilate First Nations into the existing federal and provincial orders of government of Canada;

2) Terminate the constitutionally protected and internationally recognized Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations.

Termination in this context means the ending of First Nations pre-existing sovereign status through federal coercion of First Nations into Land Claims and Self-Government Final Agreements that convert First Nations into municipalities, their reserves into fee simple lands and extinguishment of their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

To do this the Harper government announced three new policy measures:

  • A “results based” approach to negotiating Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements. This is an assessment process of 93 negotiation tables across Canada to determine who will and who won’t agree to terminate Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights under the terms of Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies. For those tables who won’t agree, negotiations will end as the federal government withdraws from the table and takes funding with them.
  • First Nation regional and national political organizations will have their core funding cut and capped. For regional First Nation political organizations the core funding will be capped at $500,000 annually. For some regional organizations this will result in a funding cut of $1 million or more annually. This will restrict the ability of Chiefs and Executives of Provincial Territorial  organization’s to organize and/or advocate for First Nations rights and interests.
  • First Nation Band and Tribal Council funding for advisory services will be eliminated over the next two years further crippling the ability of Chiefs and Councils and Tribal Council executives to analyze and assess the impacts of federal and provincial policies and legislation on Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

These three new policy measures are on top of the following unilateral federal legislation the Harper government is imposing over First Nations:

  • Bill C-27: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
  • Bill C-45: Jobs and Growth Act, 2012 [Omnibus Bill includes Indian Act amendments regarding voting on-reserve lands surrenders/designations]
  •  Bill S-2: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
  •  Bill S-6: First Nations Elections Act
  •  Bill S-8: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
  •  Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act [Private Conservative MP’s Bill, but supported by Harper government]

Then there are the Senate Public Bills:

  • Bill S-207: An Act to amend the Interpretation Act (non derogation of aboriginal and treaty rights)
  •  Bill S-212: First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill

The Harper government’s Bills listed above are designed to undermine the collective rights of First Nations by focusing on individual rights. This is the “modern legislative framework” the Conservatives promised in 2006. The 2006 Conservative Platform promised to:

Replace the Indian Act (and related legislation) with a modern legislative framework which provides for the devolution of full legal and democratic responsibility to aboriginal Canadians for their own affairs within the Constitution, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Of course “modern” in Conservative terms means assimilation of First Nations by termination of their collective rights and off-loading federal responsibilities onto the First Nations themselves and the provinces.

One Bill that hasn’t been introduced into Parliament yet, but is still expected, is the First Nations’ Private Ownership Act (FNPOA). This private property concept for Indian Reserves—which has been peddled by the likes of Tom Flanagan and tax proponent and former Kamloops Chief Manny Jules—is also a core plank of the Harper government’s 2006 electoral platform.

The 2006 Conservative Aboriginal Platform promised that if elected a Harper government would:

Support the development of individual property ownership on reserves, to encourage lending for private housing and businesses.

The long-term goals set out in the Harper government’s policy and legislative initiatives listed above are not new; they are at least as old as the Indian Act and were articulated in the federal 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, which set out a plan to terminate Indian rights as the time.

Previous Termination Plans: 1969 White Paper & Buffalo Jump of 1980’s

The objectives of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy were to:

  • Assimilate First Nations.
  • Remove legislative recognition.
  • Neutralize constitutional status.
  • Impose taxation.
  • Encourage provincial encroachment.
  • Eliminate Reserve lands & extinguish Aboriginal Title.
  • Economically underdevelop communities.
  • Dismantle Treaties.

As First Nations galvanized across Canada to fight the Trudeau Liberal government’s proposed 1969 termination policy the federal government was forced to consider a strategy on how to calm the Indian storm of protest.

In a memo dated April 1, 1970, David Munro, an Assistant Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs on Indian Consultation and Negotiations, advised his political masters Jean Chrétien and Pierre Trudeau, as follows:

. . . in our definition of objectives and goals, not only as they appear in formal documents, but also as stated or even implied in informal memoranda, draft planning papers, or causal conversation. We must stop talking about having the objective or goal of phasing out in five years. . . We can still believe with just as much strength and sincerity that the [White Paper] policies we propose are the right ones. . .

The final [White Paper] proposal, which is for the elimination of special status in legislation, must be relegated far into the future. . . my conclusion is that we need not change the [White Paper] policy content, but we should put varying degrees of emphasis on its several components and we should try to discuss it in terms of its components rather than as a whole. . . we should adopt somewhat different tactics in relation to [the White Paper] policy, but that we should not depart from its essential content. (Emphasis added)

In the early 1970’s, the Trudeau Liberal government did back down publicly on implementing the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, but as we can see from Mr. Munro’s advice the federal bureaucracy changed the timeline from five years to a long-term implementation of the 1969 White Paper objectives of assimilation/termination.

In the mid-1980’s the Mulroney Conservative government resurrected the elements of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, through a Cabinet memo.

In 1985, a secret federal Cabinet submission was leaked to the media by a DIAND employee. The Report was nicknamed the “Buffalo Jump of the 1980’s” by another federal official. The nickname referred to the effect of the recommendations in the secret Cabinet document, which if adopted, would lead Status Indians to a cultural death -- hence the metaphor.

The Buffalo Jump Report proposed a management approach for First Nations policy and
programs, which had the following intent:

  • Limiting & eventually terminating the federal trust obligations;
  • Reducing federal expenditures for First Nations, under funding programs, and prohibiting deficit financing;
  • Shifting responsibility and costs for First Nations services to provinces and "advanced bands" through co-management, tri-partite, and community self-government agreements;
  • "Downsizing" of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) through a devolution of program administration to "advanced bands" and transfer of programs to other federal departments;
  • Negotiating municipal community self-government agreements with First Nations which would result in the First Nation government giving up their Constitutional status as a sovereign government and becoming a municipality subject to provincial or territorial laws;
  • Extinguishing aboriginal title and rights in exchange for fee simple title under provincial or territorial law while giving the province or territory underlying title to First Nations lands.

The Mulroney government’s “Buffalo Jump” plan was temporarily derailed due the 1990 “Oka Crisis”. Mulroney responded to the “Oka Crisis” with his “Four Pillars” of Native Policy:

  • Accelerating the settlement of land claims;
  • Improving the economic and social conditions on Reserves;
  • Strengthening the relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and governments;
  • Examining the concerns of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples in contemporary Canadian life.

In 1991, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney also announced the establishment of a Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which began its work later that year; the establishment of an Indian Claims Commission to review Specific Claims; the establishment of a BC Task Force on Claims, which would form the basis for the BC Treaty Commission Process.

In 1992, Aboriginal organizations and the federal government agreed, as part of the 1992 Charlottetown Accord, on amendments to the Constitution Act, 1982 that would have included recognition of the inherent right of self-government for Aboriginal people. For the first time, Aboriginal organizations had been full participants in the talks; however, the Accord was rejected in a national referendum.

With the failure of Canadian constitutional reform in 1992, for the last twenty years, the federal government—whether Liberal or Conservative—has continued to develop policies and legislation based upon the White Paper/Buffalo Jump objectives and many First Nations have regrettably agreed to compromise their constitutional/international rights by negotiating under Canada’s termination policies.

Canada’s Termination Policies Legitimized by Negotiation Tables

It has been thirty years since Aboriginal and Treaty rights have been “recognized and affirmed” in section 35 of Canada’s constitution. Why hasn’t the constitutional protection for First Nations’ Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights been implemented on the ground?

One answer to this question is, following the failure of the First Ministers’ Conferences on Aboriginal Matters in the 1980’s, many First Nations agreed to compromise their section 35 Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights by entering into or negotiating Modern Treaties and/or Self-government Agreements under Canada’s unilateral negotiation terms.

These Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements not only contribute to emptying out section 35 of Canada’s constitution of any significant legal, political or economic meaning. Final settlement agreements are then used as precedents against other First Nations’ who are negotiating.

Moreover, Canada’s Land Claims and Self-Government policies are far below the international standards set out in the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada publicly endorsed the UNDRIP in November 2010, but obviously Canada’s interpretation of the UNDRIP is different than that of most First Nations, considering their unilateral legislation and policy approach.

Canada’s voted against UNDRIP on Sept. 13, 2007, stating that the UNDRIP was inconsistent with Canada’s domestic policies, especially the Articles dealing with Indigenous Peoples’ Self-Determination, Land Rights and Free, Prior Informed Consent.

Canada’s position on UNDRIP now is that they can interpret it as they please, although the principles in UNDRIP form part of international not domestic law.

The federal strategy is to maintain the Indian Act (with amendments) as the main federal law to control and manage First Nations. The only way out of the Indian Act for First Nations is to negotiate an agreement under Canada’s one-sided Land Claims and/or Self-Government policies. These Land Claims/Self-Government Agreements all require the termination of Indigenous rights for some land, cash and delegated jurisdiction under the existing federal and provincial orders of government.

Canada has deemed that it will not recognize the pre-existing sovereignty of First Nations or allow for a distinct First Nations order of government based upon section 35 of Canada’s constitution.

Through blackmail, bribery or force, Canada is using the poverty of First Nations to obtain concessions from First Nations who want out of the Indian Act by way of Land Claims/Self- Government Agreements. All of these Agreements conform to Canada’s interpretation of section 35 of Canada’s constitution, which is to legally, politically and economically convert First Nations into what are essentially ethnic municipalities.

The first groups in Canada who have agreed to compromise their section 35 Inherent and Aboriginal rights through Modern Treaties have created an organization called the Land Claims Agreement Coalition. The Coalition Members are:

  • Council of Yukon First Nations (representing 9 land claim organizations in the Yukon)
  • Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
  • Gwich’in Tribal Council
  • Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
  • Kwanlin Dun First Nation
  • Maa-nulth First Nations
  • Makivik Corporation
  • Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach
  • Nisga’a Nation
  • Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
  • Nunatsiavut Government
  • Sahtu Secretariat Inc.
  • Tlicho Government
  • Tsawwassen First Nation
  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation

The Land Claims Agreement Coalition Members came together because the federal government wasn’t properly implementing any of their Modern Treaties. So the Coalition essentially became a lobby group to collectively pressure the federal government to respect their Modern Treaties. According to Members of the Coalition Modern Treaty implementation problems persist today.

The fact that Canada has already broken the Modern Treaties shouldn’t inspire confidence for those First Nations who are already lined up at Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government negotiation tables.

According to the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs there are 93 Modern Treaty and/or Self-Government negotiation tables across Canada [http://www.aadncaandc.gc.ca/eng/1346782327802/1346782485058].

Those First Nations who are negotiating at these 93 tables are being used by the federal government (and the provinces/Territories) to legitimize its Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies, which are based upon extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and termination of Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

The First Nations who have been refusing to negotiate and are resisting the federal Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government negotiating policies are routinely ignored by the federal government and kept under control and managed through the Indian Act (with amendments).

Attempts by non-negotiating First Nations to reform the federal Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies aren’t taken seriously by the federal government because there are so many First Nations who have already compromised their Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights by agreeing to negotiate under the terms and funding conditions of these Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies.

For example, following the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision, which recognized that Aboriginal Title exists in Canada, the Assembly of First Nations tried to reform the Comprehensive Claims policy to be consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw decision.

However, the then Minister of Indian Affairs, Robert Nault on December 22, 2000, wrote a letter addressed to then Chief Arthur Manuel that essentially said why should the federal government change the Comprehensive Claims policy if First Nations are prepared to negotiate under it as it is?

A fair question: why do First Nations remain at negotiation tables that ultimately lead to the termination of their peoples Inherent and Aboriginal rights, especially since it appears that Modern Treaties are routinely broken after they are signed by the federal government?

Many of these negotiations are in British Columbia where despite the past twenty years of negotiations the B.C. Treaty process has produced two small Modern Treaties, Tsawwassan and Maa’Nulth. The Nisga’a Treaty was concluded in 2000, outside of the B.C. Treaty process.

All of these Modern Treaties have resulted in extinguishing Aboriginal Title, converting reserve lands into fee simple, removing tax exemptions, converting bands into municipalities, among other impacts on Inherent and Aboriginal rights.

The Harper Government’s Termination Plan

Aside from the unilateral legislation being imposed, or the funding cuts and caps to First Nation’s and their political organizations, the September 4, 2012, announcement of a “results based” approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations amounts to a “take it or leave it” declaration on the part of the Harper government to the negotiating First Nations.

Canada’s Comprehensive Claims Policy requires First Nations to borrow money from the federal government to negotiate their “land claims”. According to the federal government:

To date, the total of outstanding loans to Aboriginal groups from Canada to support their participation in negotiations is $711 million. This represents a significant financial liability for the Aboriginal community. In addition, the government of Canada provides $60 million in grants and contributions to Aboriginal groups every year for negotiations.

It is Canada’s policies that forced First Nations to borrow money to negotiate their “claims”, so the “financial liability” was a policy measure designed by the federal government to pressure First Nations into settling their “claims” faster. As the federal government puts it, the Comprehensive Claims negotiation process has instead “spawned a negotiation industry that has no incentive to reach agreement.”

This accumulated debt of $711 million along with the $60 million annual in grants and contributions have compromised those negotiating First Nations and their leaders to the point that they are unable or unwilling to seriously confront the Harper government’s termination plan.

Over 50% of the Comprehensive Claims are located in B.C. and the First Nations Summit represents the negotiating First Nations in B.C., although some negotiating First Nations have now joined the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), thus blurring the historic distinctions between to two political organizations. The latter organization previously vigorously opposed the B.C. Treaty process, but now the UBCIC remains largely silent about it.

These two main political organizations -- the First Nations Summit and the UBCIC -- have now joined together into the B.C. First Nations Leadership Council, further blending the rights and interests of their respective member communities together, not taking into account whether they are in or out of the B.C. Treaty process.

This may partially explain why the Chiefs who are not in the B.C. Treaty process also remain largely silent about the Harper government’s “results based’ approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations.

First Nations in British Columbia are failing to capitalize on that fact, that since the Delgamuukw Decision, the governments have to list unresolved land claims and litigation as a contingent liability. Such liabilities can affect Canada’s sovereign credit rating and provincial credit ratings. To counter this outstanding liability, Canada points to the British Columbia Treaty Process as the avenue how they are dealing with this liability, pointing to the fact that First Nations are borrowing substantive amounts to negotiate with the governments.

Another recent example of how disconnected B.C. First Nations and their organizations are on international versus domestic policy and law, is the First Nations’ outcry over the recent Canada-China Treaty.

The B.C. Chiefs and their organizations are publicly denouncing the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement as adversely impacting on Aboriginal Title and Rights, yet they say or do nothing about Harper’s accelerated termination plan. It seems the negotiating First Nations are more worried about the Canada-China Treaty blocking a future land claims deal under the B.C. Treaty process.

The Chiefs and their organizations at the B.C. Treaty process negotiation tables have had twenty years to negotiate the “recognition and affirmation” of Aboriginal Title and Rights, but this continues to be impossible under Canada’s policies aiming at the extinguishment of collective rights. As a result only two extinguishment Treaties have resulted from the process. Even Sophie Pierre, Chair of the B.C. Treaty Commission has said “If we can't do it, it's about time we faced the obvious - I guess we don't have it, so shut her down”.

By most accounts the twenty year old B.C. Treaty process has been a failure. It has served the governments’ purpose of countering their contingent liabilities regarding Indigenous land rights. Yet it seems the negotiating First Nations are so compromised by their federal loans and dependent on the negotiations funding stream that they are unable or unwilling to withdraw from the tables en masse and make real on the demand that the Harper government reform its Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies to be consistent with the Articles of the UNDRIP.

The same can also be said for the negotiating First Nations in the Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions.

The Chiefs who are not in the B.C., Quebec or Atlantic negotiating processes have not responded much, if at all, to Harper’s “results based” approach to Modern Treaties and Self-Government. The non-negotiating Chiefs seem to be more interested in managing programs and services issues than their Aboriginal Title and Rights. As one federal official put it, the Chiefs are involved in the elements of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy like economic and social development while ignoring the main White Paper objective—termination of First Nations legal status.


Given their silence over the Harper government’s “results based” “take it or leave it” negotiations approach, it seems many of the negotiating First Nations at the Comprehensive Claims and/or Self-Government tables are still contemplating concluding Agreements under Canada’s termination policies.

This can only lead to further division among First Nations across Canada as more First Nations compromise their constitutional and international rights by consenting to final settlement agreements under the terms and conditions of Canada’s termination policies, while undermining the political positions of the non-negotiating First Nations.

In the meantime, Harper’s government will continue pawning off Indigenous lands and resources in the midst of a financial crisis though free trade and foreign investment protection agreements, which will secure foreign corporate access to lands and resources and undermine Indigenous Rights.

Some First Nation leaders and members have criticised AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo for agreeing to a joint approach with the Harper government, including the Crown-First Nations Gathering (CFNG), but to be fair, the Chiefs across Canada did nothing to pressure Prime Minister Harper going into the CFNG. Instead, many Chiefs used the occasion as a photo op posing with the Prime Minister.

The negotiating First Nations who are in joint processes with Canada seem to be collectively heading to the cliff of the “Buffalo Jump” as they enter termination agreements with Canada emptying out section 35 in the process.

Much of the criticism of AFN National Chief Atleo has come from the Prairie Treaty Chiefs. Interestingly, if one looks at the federal chart of the 93 negotiation tables [http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1346782327802/1346782485058] not too many First Nations from historic Treaty areas are involved in the Self-Government tables, except for the Ontario region where the Union of Ontario Indians and Nisnawbe-Aski Nation are negotiating Self-Government agreements.

As a result of the September 4, 2012 announcements regarding changes to Modern Treaties and Self-Government negotiations, cuts and caps to funding First Nations political organizations and unilateral legislation initiatives, it is obvious that Prime Minister Harper has tricked the AFN National Chief and First Nations by showing that the CFNG “outcomes” were largely meaningless.

One commitment that Prime Minister Harper made at the CFNG—which he will probably keep—Is making a progress report in January 2013. The Prime Minister will probably announce the progress being made with all of the negotiating tables across Canada, along with his legislative initiatives.

It appears First Nations are at the proverbial “end of the trail” as the Chiefs seem to be either co-opted or afraid to challenge the Harper government. Most grassroots peoples aren’t even fully informed about the dangerous situation facing them and their future generations.

The only way to counter the Harper government is to:

  • have all negotiating First Nations suspend their talks; and
  • organize coordinated National Days of Action to register First Nations opposition to the Harper government’s termination plan;
  • Demand Canada suspend all First Nations legislation in Parliament, cease introducing new Bills and
  • Change Canada’s Land Claims and Self-Government Policies to “recognize and affirm” the Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights of First Nations, including respect and implementation of the Historic Treaties.

If there is no organized protest and resistance to the Harper government’s termination plan, First Nations should accept their place at the bottom of all social, cultural and economic indicators in Canada, just buy into Harper’s jobs and economic action plan—and be quiet about their rights.


The First Nations Strategic Bulletin is a publication of the First Nations Strategic Policy Counsel, an informal group of individuals who are practitioners in either First Nations policy or law. The publication is a volunteer non-profit effort and is part of a series. For Back Issues Go To: Canada Library & Archives - Electronic Collections.

Russell Diabo is the Publisher and Editor of First Nations Strategic Bulletin. He can be reached via E-mail: at rdiabo(at)rogers.com

  • Jon Pawson
    November 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Who do we write to, as members of the international community, to voice our opposition to these plans?


  • November 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    i have been doing TONs of research i started with just researching the environment..ect..led me into other areas. but i am absolutely convinced i can prove that the Conservative government is in the beginning stages of committing Genocide on the Plains Cree. i'm still in the process of writing up a letter...i sent a rough draft to the Canadian Justice Department but i need to know how to reach out internationally.


  • November 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Genocide through Assimilation

    The Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments have embarked on a plan of Genocide through Assimilation. To pretend to be at “Arms length” and not responsible they formed a group called the BC Treaty Commission.

    This Commission makes “Salary Loans” to any group purporting to represent a tribe of Indians. The group is turned into a "Society", then they no longer answer to the people. They “negotiate” over a number of years, with the salary capped at a percentage value of the Tribal land and number of Status Indians involved.

    The Federal Government redirects “Village Loans” through this group as well. The “Band funds” are ignored and only “Taxpayer money” is used. There appears to be no “Follow up” on the use of these “Loans of Taxpayer money”. The Fraud group generally uses the money for “Investments” (Held in their own names on behalf of the Indians of the Band) or as “Con money” to buy the Chiefs to sign any agreements (Signing Bonuses), or as per-Diem to attend meetings. The Gitxsan Treaty Society “Salary Loan” is over $20 million. The other “Government Loans” of taxpayer money is over $45 million that was supposed to be for the Villages.

    The Fraud Treaties made include the loss of “Indian Status” of the Tribal Members. Of course, since they are no longer “Indians”, the fraud groups have “No one” to share the “Investments” with, so it is their private gain.

    The reason why they are “Fraud Groups” is that they are not “Elected” by the people to be “Negotiators” or “High Chief Leaders”. They are “Self Appointed”. The formation of a “Society” makes them not have to answer to the people they supposedly represent. This “Society also makes the BC Treaty Commission appear to be not culpable in the total waste of “Taxpayer Money”. This is a Shame on Canada, using “Fake Human Rights” by having these fraud groups either repay the “Government Loans” or “Sign away the Land Base of the tribe and their Status as Indians”. The Nisga, Sliamon , and Towassan tribes have fallen. Some 44 other tribes are now being conned in.

    Also, the aboriginals would not be "Taxed like every other Canadian. All the "White Canadian Organizations" have "Core Funding from The Secretary of State's office. This takes care of any of their member needs. The loss of "Aboriginal Status" loses the "Aboriginal Funding" and access to their Land Base for the use of the resources.


  • Like I'd leave it lol
    November 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    To be honest, it's about time that some of these steps were taken. After the sheer amount of money pissed away, embezzled and wasted by the bands, you would think that the first nations would want transparency in spending. As far as cutting funding for the bands- we pay taxes to run our own government, if they want thier own government as well, then they can pay for it themselves. We are well past the point where anyone alive today was present for any of the original events so it's not surprising that people are tired of "paying the way for the first nations." Personally, I would say to continue honoring the treaty terms as long as they live AND work ON treaty land, otherwise they should live by the same rules the rest of us do as EQUALS, not as a subsidized minority.


    • Parnell
      February 23, 2014 at 12:49 am

      You are totally misinformed. The original events... What about those who were forced to residential school. They are still alive and are dealing with the horrors that happened for years, this is part of the so call original events. The children of these people are still living with the fallout from this. $25,000 that is what being raped, beaten, and forced to speak english among other acts that are not mentionable is worth. If you were forced into these schools and wanted to claim compensation you had to prove that you attended the said school, sometimes that meant explaining every last shitty detail of what happened to you and maybe you had to show them the scars on your body (could be in private places). Thanks to firstly the Federal/Provincial Gov and the Catholic Church which is renowned for its ability for its record keeping unfortunately has no record of anyone who attend these schools. You don't know Shit from Shinola son... NOT EVERY FIRST NATION PERSON IS SUBSIDIZED!

    • Alice
      February 23, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Dear Like I'd Leave it lol, before opening your big fat mouth, get educated first. Then say something that has substance, quality, that is correct and has something to add to mankind. YOU and your fellow tax payers (me, being one of them myself) are not SUBSIDIZING FIRST NATIONS!!!This money is from resources gleaned from First Nations lands and my guess would be crown lands (stolen from Aboriginal people). This money comes from resources and its taxes and goes to the First Nations people and it also goes to non first nations people to subsidize their programs and services as well. So, if you look at it this way, the correct way, Aboriginal people are subsidizing YOU and your kind. As far as any of your other "facts" you and I are not there ,we don't know what the specifics are, im guessing you are not there to see what is gong on either, then its all hear say. However, it could all be true too, im not there either to know what is really going on. however, sometimes a few bad apples are in every bunch right?!?!!And just so you know, i pay land taxes, my husband and I pay quite a bit in taxes, we dont have use of any monies that go to our reserves and our people are also subsidizing your people....so who is getting the SHITTY end of this deal......and I do live and work as you do and i live by the same "rules" but we will never be equals---my kids are harrassed on their school bus for being native, we shop and people think we are going to steal and watch and follow us, we don't drink ever, and people talk to us and assume we drink or are drunks, we get treated shabbily pretty much every where we go shopping, or at restaurants , where is the equality there......as for anyone not being alive today, well the attitudes of yesteryear are alive and well today, so it is still ongoing as you can see how we are treated, today. your attitude seems to be firmly rooted in the past as well!

    • Sherm
      March 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      PARNELL....When do we escape the sins of our fathers? What happened 60 years ago in residential schools was disgusting, yes. But I and anyone my age (who wasn't even born at the time) shouldn't be responsible for that. Time to be an equal part of the Canadian society. Enough subsidies, enough of tax benefits, and the constant demonizing of the white man.

    • John Ahni Schertow
      March 4, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Actually, the last residential school didn't close until the 1990s.... and there's so much more malignancy in Canada's history of which most Canadians aren't even marginally aware. For example, did you know that Canada also had legislated eugenics programs targeting Indigenous women?

      But I digress, what everybody's talking here is not just something that happened in the distant past (by successive governments), something that is defined as GENOCIDE under The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It is something that is happening today.

      The policies of contemporary Canada are very different from those 100 years ago, but their core purpose remains the same. It is precisely why the abhorrent residential school system was founded in the first place; and as it so happens, it is precisely what you just called for: for Indigenous Peoples to become "equal part of the Canadian society." Do you see it? You are not responsible for the sins of your fathers, but you are responsible for your own and you appear to be advocating for the final solution to the "Indian problem" that early Canada worked so hard to resolve using all manner of barbarism.

      The fact of the matter is, despite the crimes of Canada, the Indigenous Peoples of this land never fell into the abyss that we were constantly being pushed into. Oh, some of us fell, alot of us in fact, and a whole lot of Canadians comfortably bought into the white nationalist ideals in order to justify their own sense of entitlement to this land, entitlement that they "earned" and that they won't share with those of who are so conveniently characterized as a nation of beggars, thieves, and drunks. We're still here. And we're getting stronger collectively minute by minute.

      It's time for the Canadian government to abandon its assimilation agenda and work with Indigenous Peoples on the terms that we set, so that we can live and work side by side as separate and distinct peoples under one roof. If you don't like that then I'm sorry, but this isn't about you.

  • dennis sanderson
    November 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    My question is why wont our leaders step up and take action towards protecting out treaties? Are they being bought off the the federal government to keep silent? Or do they just not have the knowledge and wisdom leaders are suppose to have in this situation! I am a proud Cree Indian from Saskatchewan and believe in respect, honour and courage. So with that i have to say that the government should respect the treaties and not be so greedy over power of this great country. Afterall thats what the treaties are for to keep peace, respect , and understanding between Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal peoples. Not for present leaders to dishonour and discrace what our anscestors decided in the past of what is good for us and our future generations. That is all i have to say.


  • Marilyn Buffalo
    November 11, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Thank you for printing a wonderful summary of the current sad state of affairs in first nations country. Canada's Prime Minister and Cabinet need to listen up.


  • giselle tootoosis
    November 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

    It is so Crucial for the present First Nation's Gov't to pull their socks up and get with it....and as much as we were rejoicing for Barack Obama....and they say the Minorities helped get him in....Could we plead to him? ...and his so called Cosy Relationship with this Horrible Canadian Leader! Or would Barack? considering the economy? the Pipeline?...our Water....our Resources!!!


  • Nicole M
    November 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I'm not surprised they would do this.

    Harper's former mentor Tom Flanagan's Book "First Nations? Second Thoughts." has a premise that the native of Canada are not a "nation" and only have hunting, self government, and collective rights afforded to them because of left wing activists, and that these left wing activists are actually "hurting" the natives by hindering native assimilation in to society.

    Many of the far right, including Harper's mentor Tom Flanagan truly believe that any sovereignty or nationhood of the native peoples is just a fiction of left-wing political correctness, and that the Indian Act, and any rights and privileges should immediately be scrapped.


  • David Billy Sager
    November 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

    First Nations, Metis and Inuit need to organize and boycott PM Harper's Reform Party. The tiny percentage of the Canadian population that the Reform Party represents can NOT be trusted. Resist the divide and conquer tactics. Resist short term monetary gain. Conspirators will not have any honour. Aboriginal rights will be fought on an international level. Colonialism and cultural genocide are not exclusive to aboriginal Canadian.


  • Andrea
    November 11, 2012 at 11:19 am

    This is confirming what I already knew..i have never trusted this government or any of the previous as their stategies have always to swindle every bit of resources and territories off of all FNs people...Canada has been built off of this genocide and greed of the settlers and still in process!! We need to rise up to stop this by coming together and saying NO to all their so called negotiations! I always knew the treaty process is and always was a complete scam to swindle our people!! Let's come together and stop this NOW!!!


    • Peter Paumier
      August 31, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      The key is the 'coming together,' First Nations are all over the place in deciding what they want. First Nations must somehow come together, power is in the collective number, not in fractured parts. I am white, I have travelled and visited extensively, in Bc, Yukon and NWT.. Even to Tuktoyuktuk on the winter 'roads.' I carry a guilt, a guilt, in that the white man has robbed, pillaged, destroyed and abandoned so many colonies in the Southern Hemisphere, leaving the peoples uneducated and poverty unknown to them before colonoization.

  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    FYI: there was a rally yesterday (Nov. 10 ) in opposition to Bill C 45 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Here's a video from the event:


    You can find more info at https://www.facebook.com/events/299767020134614/

    There's also a petition being circulated against the Bill (an actual petition, not an internet one) - you can download it here: http://is.gd/oOdtBf


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    @David Billy Sager: boycott, I like the sound of that.

    We have to pull out all the stops here; because Canada is going to take this as far as they can. They'll take it even further than what Russell identifies here, if we let them.

    Most importantly, our communities have to get involved. This work cannot be left to Chiefs and Councils or to the AFN, because they will use it to their own advantage.

    A line has to be drawn wherever we see fit to draw it, and we can't let anyone pass that line.


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    giselle tootoosis it couldn't hurt sending a letter to Obama. In fact, I would even suggest putting together an open letter to all heads of state, to the UN and the UNCERD, and another to all those NGOs out there who claim to support indigenous rights and human rights.

    It would also be worth filing a complaint at the IACHR. It's true that the IACHR is increasingly working against Indigenous Rights, but they can still put more pressure on Canada than any other international body.


  • Brian
    November 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Adof Harper doesn't scare me, for 150 plus years government Leaders have tried the same thing,... Rez schools, Small Pox, and the list goes on and we're still here, As long as we have SEC.35-1 and the courts on our side we are protected. Its OK to look at where Treatys will lead us, but at the end of the day it will be the membership that will decide if the treaty will be enough for generation to come. If need be First Nations need to come together as one Narion and fight as a collective people.


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Lenore Gold what you're talking about, I'm sorry to day, is business as usual. Since the 1900s, Canada has gone out of its way to use indigenous lands as a storehouse for their toxic waste.

    As of 2008, the Treasury Board of Canada Inventory on contaminated sites, identified 4,464 toxic sites on indigenous lands. And those are only sites that the federal government admits to having some kind of responsibility towards, even though they are doing everything in their power to avoid cleaning them up, see https://intercontinentalcry.org/indian-and-northern-affairs-canada-is-no-steward-of-the-land/

    Of course, there are alot more sites than that, especially if we include intentional toxic sites such as tailings ponds, landfills, slurry injection sites, all 22 of Canada's nuclear reactors (which are, as it turns out, all on indigenous land) and those brand new "tailings impoundment areas" (formerly known as "lakes").

    Overall, there are more than 8,600 facilities on or near reserve lands which together release more than 300 different chemical substances into the environment, in one form or another.


  • brian
    November 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Yepper we have a lot of issues where we are as well over loggig fish farm waste loss of resorcess in our oceans that provide for coastal people,


  • Elixia
    November 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    "He appears as an angel of light" but Harper is the devil in disguise.
    It totally disgusts me that the old treaties were broken back in the day by an underhanded government. And it is just completely unethical and wrong that the modern treaties have now also been repeatedly broken. Thus, is such a corrupt government that deceives and lies in order to get exactly what it wants without regard to the social & economical development of an entire race in Canada. They want us to have no rights. Apparently to them, we are like dogs (and not loved pets either). Abused dogs and they are our owner. Kick us down, kick us to the side, trample us underfoot and make us beg for food & shelter, then wonder why we are they way we are. Their lack of honesty in Aboriginal negotiations and crooked agenda in implementing a dissolution of Indian rights only continues to irritate the prejudice that already exists in Canada towards our people. We need a government that respects human rights, understands the differences of opinions (not just theirs), an unbiased, unprejudiced, governing force who will uphold & honor their end of agreements to our people.


  • Roger S
    November 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    This isn't just about stripping funding from First Nations, or correcting spending boondoggles of the past. It's about stripping them of their sovereign treaty rights so the government doesn't have to honour their rights in the face of resources procurement. It's crucial that this is considered. We can't just curb stomp aboriginal rights under the pretense of efficiency.


  • Edos
    November 11, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    "Courage, as long as you haven't lost your head you're not dead." Gabriel Dumont, 1885

    Let us hope that not too many of our Chiefs have lost their heads.


  • Edos
    November 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    While they see, they still do not have vision. Like the mighty Saskatchewan, they may cause influence upon it but in the end all things return to the mother. Harper is nothing more than a bloated fly. All things come to pass. Resistance is good but let us not lose sight of the vision. We should be ALL striving to be more than ourselves rather than a lesser version of the other.


  • Stanley John Clearsky Cotter
    November 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I believe ALL Native Treaties Land Rights,etc. are severely outdated, & in some cases Illegal... The Country whether it's Canada or U.S.A., try to use "emminent domain" or similar. To me, those are NOT words of peace!!! Illegal Colonization,needs to stop now!!! Natives ALL ,please see my facebook page "unifytribes Movement",TOGETHER,UNITED,we will prevail!!! We will be heard!!! Natives alltogether have become"A Forgotton Race"... please, help change this and much more!!!!


  • Concrete
    November 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    It makes sense. A system based on "race" will never work and can never work.

    What are these treaties supposed to lead to in 100 years, or 200 years? The whole idea of treaties and land-claims treats "aboriginal people" as insular groups who will only have children among themselves.

    How do you define someone who is aboriginal? What test of the "bloodline" is sufficient?

    What about people with mixed ancestry? As time goes on, people immigrate and urbanize, the notion of who is "aboriginal" will become so watered down and muddled it will be meaningless.

    Canada's government needs to focus on poverty; education; getting medical help to people, but it needs to focus on individuals. "Race" is a social construct with no objective basis in biology.

    To base any law on race ---- the Indian Act or any other --- will never work in the long term.


    • John Ahni Schertow
      November 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

      @concrete: The system isn't based on race; this isn't apartheid. It's based on the fundamental distinctions between Indigenous Nations and Nation States - and in a so-called democratic society, that law is supposed to DEFEND and PROTECT the integrity of the former which has been surrounded by the latter. That being said, it has always been the Canadian government's mandate to blur and ultimately erase those distinctions in order to get rid of the 'aboriginal' identity in this country--and with it, a heap of 'inconvenient' memories (like the time the government of British Colombia and Alberta sexually sterilized Native women... that was about race) along with land claims and everything else that's getting in the way of "Canada's prosperity."

      What do you think residential schools were about? And why do you think the Indian Act was written as it was? Check this out: https://intercontinentalcry.org/genocide-assimilation-or-incorporation/

      Focusing on poverty, education and medical support are good things; but, well, to be perfectly honest, that's just not good enough if addressing poverty simply means providing 'jobs' (when first Nations need their own economy) when providing education, further erodes traditional knowledge and language (whose education are we talking about?) and when that medical support will only address the symptoms of a much deeper problem.

  • King of the Thunderbirds
    November 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    They treat us like we don't exist for most of our existence so it's time to time get reimbursed for all we lost as natives because we're losing everything that s originally ours so the greedy whites can get rich off of us yet they want to be like us by tanning, their skin w need to pull all our nation's together now. And fight for our rights as human as anybody else
    right a.r.m.


  • Deborah Millette-Sanchez
    November 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    The Genocide of the First Nation's People has never stopped, I've watched it continue for over 50 yrs. I see that "The Conquer and Divide" among the First Nation's never ceases to stop. Under a disguise of prosperity , the Status First Nation's allow the Europeans to continue to have their way with Aboriginal Peoples. I know I may scrutinized for this, but my experience as a Non Status Native, who wanted all my life to just get recognition as a First Nation Descendant, I see how some First Nation Communities take for GRANTED, their Status and don't care about anything but the here and now, not such a traditional thing to practice for that our ancestors would want. Maybe, if given the proper chance the Non Status Natives were given some legal power to support or voice their opinions in protest to the "Harper" laws from the entire continent North and Southern America's something could substantial happen to interfere or reverse some of these laws and acts.

    Conquer and Divide , conquer and divide is the math that will be the final destruction of the Aboriginal Peoples because , we or you, let it happen, all for the sake of money, Can you eat money? It breaks my heart to look back upon the recognized Aboriginal Peoples that don't stand up for what they have proclaimed since the arrival of the Europeans, and that is this land belongs to mother earth and in her breast is our grandparents, do we spit on our own, so that we turn our backs on what caused our grandparents death. Do we forget the starvation of our People? Do we forget the schools that caged our grandparents from being what the Creator wanted us to be or do we become more and more like those that killed our grandparents, this is assimilating the "White Paper's" and People.

    There has to be a way to Unite kill the Divide, and grow strong again. Stop letting Europeans humiliate our existence and re bury our grandparents and our grandchildren. Lose your history and you become the tail and not the head of your own selves. I can't say anymore about this, I'm disgusted and tiered of the constant genocide of my grandparents, maybe you don't care about your's but I care about my grandparents, I've met them, and I loved them, so what do I do now, forget who I am? Even the White man knows a house divided can not stand!!!
    Peace Debbie Millette-Sanchez


  • donna
    November 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    why is harper even in parliment no one wants him there whens the next election this guy needs to stand down before hes taken down hes done nothing but make canada worst and we need a real leader like a native leader the way it should be for native territories not some rasict white guy who thinks of there own pockets thats all this says to me is greed take what not theres like they have for years ....


  • Sounding Eagle
    November 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    This has been going on too long , its time for all first nations to come together and unite the way we are suppose to and face the government . Let these white people know that we will no longer talk to people with def ears , I understand it's easier said then done but it's time to start using their tools against them to make them hear us. After all it was the first nations that taught these people how to survive on our land. All Firstnations have to unite and make the government understand we all need to work together without greed and corruption.


  • Emerald Fox
    November 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Okay. I did not have to read the whole article to summarize what I have to say. Just like America, Canadian indians were here/there first. I'm sure the white man in Canada didn't honor treaties in the past. Maybe they didn't commit genocide as they did in America, when President Jackson ignored the Supreme court ruling and forced the Cherokees, along with other tribes out of Georgia and let them perish along the way. C'mon, this is the 21st Century. Can't the white man be civilized about this and let the Natives live in peace?


  • John La Beau
    November 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

    When all is said and done, the next thing that will happen as it did in the USA, the government when First Nations indiviuals die will require that the person's estate be probated through some government agency, and the heirs will be told that the land now has been returned to the Government and is no longer First Nations land. See the US Bureau of Indian Affairs law called the "Indian Land Reclamation Act". This is how the US Government tookaway all of my families lands on the Keweenaw Bay Indian Reservation in Baraga County, Michigan, then sold the rights so that all the trees were stripped, and we were told we no longer had any rights except what the US Bureau of Indian Affairs would grant us, which amounted to nothing! Please think about this carefully, because it happened to my family, and what is to stop Our government from doing the same thing here to First Nations People?


  • Fair Child
    November 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Why are First Nations so scared about this? We should be moving forward which creates an end to patriarchal legislation of our own land? Sure we should ensure that we remain an integral part of this country's history, but we also need to be moving forward and progressing. The government should work with F.N. to capacity build what was once destroyed and in turn, our communities need to be sustainable once the government has ended it's legislative authority.


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    @ Fair Child: it's not about being afraid, it's about keeping what's ours and moving forward on our own terms, in our own best interests. The Harper government is literally shoving all of this down our throats and he expects us to just sit back and enjoy the molestation. It's just like residential schools.


  • Lesley
    November 13, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I am appalled by the Harper Government...yet again, he continues to undermine Indigenous governance....Harper will not help F.N. people and now he wants to abuse his authority against an oppressed minority group by eliminating our way of life..and why did Harper not say anything about his plans at the First Nations Meeting a few months ago....Harper said his government would not change the Indian Act and now look at what he is doing....he's a liar......


  • Fair Child
    November 13, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    If we waited for F.N's time, we would be waiting for a while lol Seriously, it sounds like an ultimatum from the Government but, if not now, when? F.N.'s know what they want, the Government knows how much their willing to give...do you really think the Government can just say take it or leave it? No way, not today.I really don't know if F.N.'s are ready to be self-sufficient,and maybe scared was the wrong word but I do think the dependence F.N's have had on Canada, can create that type of feeling.....


  • Peter S
    November 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    We must realize that in the history of the genocide of our people that there is one constant and that is the government . Whether it be British ,French, Canadian,Spanish Or American, regardless of party or political stripe there has been and continues to be one goal; the total extinction of our people and the complete and unhindered plundering of our lands.
    While Harper may be advancing his Reform Party policies from a strong position he is not invincible nor is his government.
    I believe we can win by seeking allies world wide and embarrassing the government by exposing their greedy intentions to the rest of the world. The true Canada should be exposed.
    We as a country under Harper are gutting environmental controls and polluting the air, water and land for short term gain for the government and corporations and long term pain and pollution for coming generations.
    We as a country under Harper are about to be cloned into Americans with all the military spending towards warmongering and away from peace keeping.
    If we let Harper succeed in his vision to end our existence as a people and we lose our ancestor's understanding of our place in creation;everyone world wide will pay in the long run.
    We have a place in Creation. We have a duty to protect not only ourselves but also the rest of Creation.
    Chief Seattle said it best, " What you do to the Earth you do to yourself".
    Greed does not understand this. Harper does not understand this. Corporations do not understand this.
    Our salvation may lie in the act of getting the rest of the world to understand this.
    Harper's undoing may be his efforts to silence us.


  • Halfway
    November 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Time to shine the stones ....


  • D Martin
    November 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    In 1492 the white man came to a land that they had no right to claim because it was already our people's land how can you claim something that already belongs to another? We sure as hell didn't go to Europe and kill off half of your population and take over your lands so what the hell gave you the right to do it to our people! This entire continent should still belong to all aboriginal people, the only governance on this continent should be our people's not no white man. You came here uninvited killed off more then half of our people took and took and took and to this very day you people continue to take from us!!!! We should have burned your ships and slaughtered all those that came off them onto our land! But no instead we fed you cause you were starving and healed you cause you were dying! And what did we get in return? Let me think genocide are people slaughter because of our way of life an protecting our earth and people, rape, abuse, hatred, treated like animals, called savage when really you were the savage not us! You people make me sick! And let's not forget the Canadian government was formed from money they stole from us! I don't recall the exact amount but our people entrusted over a hundred thousand dollars of money we received from a service provided to a bankrupt Canadian government that used our money to form the first bank an government of your Canada, so when we say thank an Indian for Canada it's because Canada would not exist if they didn't steel more from us! And to this day with interest on that money taken from us the Canadian government would go bankrupt again an Canada would no longer be if they ever could pay it back which they won't!!! Our people have more rights to this entire continent then any other race. And if we came an took everything away from you people and left you with nothing but deep hurting scares and then kept pouring the salt on your wounds how the hell would you feel!!!!! Your Canadian government makes me sick and one day we will take back everything you white Demon's stoked from us. You's are guests on our land and if you want to stay then start doing what's right by our people, then an only then will you be welcome to stay, we helped you when you came to our continent and since then a lot of us have regrets an anger over what you have done to our lands an people so how about you finally do what's right! Instead of continuing on with your greedy, selfish ways. We are and will always be the rightful owners of this continent so long as we are here an willing to fight for all that you have taken and done to us! D. Martin Mohawk nation.


  • Lorna Bob
    November 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    This is yet another chapter of colonialism and racism the false apology shining right thru hold him to the apology for the residential school era and its effects to the society when it comes to intergenerational effects. Many of the settlements in the residential school settlement was fraudulent and false because many were not allowed are heard out for their whole story. We hold the trump card against industry and killing of the environment and he does not like this that we have support of not just our people but others who also have respect for natural surroundings and what our peoples beliefs are world wide. We have got to stand up to this government and hold up as the first peoples of the land and tell our leaders to not be so complacent


  • Rosemary
    November 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I knew something was wrong, when I was reading about cuts in aboriginal affairs, proposals to introduce private property ownership on reserves, and talks of getting rid of the Indian Act. Also this past summer in my Geography 208 course, we learned of the Tssawassen band and their modern treaty, and I asked my Teacher, "Did the members give up their rights as First Nations in Canada?", and I was struggling to figure out the difference between Inherent aboriginal rights and The Indian Act. I'm still confused. Is it the Indian Act that gives us our rights or the constitution? And if someone is not under the Indian Act anymore, does that mean they do not have any inherent rights as an First Nations of Canada anymore? Why are people wanting to update the Indian Act? and if the Act is updated, is there any way for Natives to keep their rights as promised in the Treaties? Please if anyone can answer my questions or direct me to where I can find some answers I would appreciate it. Next year I will be switching schools, and I hope to take classes in First Nations Studies, but my present shool does not offer any courses focused on Native issues.

    Also thank you for this article, it was very informative and I hope more people are made aware of what is happening, and people come together to stand up to the Government.


  • makes sense.
    November 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I live near a few reserves, and have many friends that live on them. As a white male, I understand this. Most of the money here doesn't go towards first nation culture, or towards fixing homes. It gets pissed away into 'jobs' that do not need to exist; such as assistants to people who do not need them, and adult education that pays people to do 1 small 40 page booklet of math, and 1 of english a month. Or into sending people away to do schooling, and paying for their room/board, spending allowances. I don't want the culture erased, but the cap of money makes sense.


  • Karoniahere
    November 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    A lot of comments here. A lot of hate from both sides. Even a lot of comments from Aboriginals who claim to retain our culture have it wrong. in now way did our people 'own' the land. No way did we ever think anyone could 'own' property. In our true culture, possessions were not owned by any individual. It was shared amongst our villages. If someone needed, others gave. When we took from the earth we were thankful and respectful. When Europeans came and offered to buy our land, we could not comprehend. How could you sell something you didn't own? who owns the air? who owns the water? Canada was built 'in the name of the Queen' then evolved into 'in the name of capitalism'. Image what it would have been if the Europeans took the time to understand how the Aboriginals of North America were able to survive in relative peace for so many years before arriving? How our people used Lacrosse to settle conflict instead of war? Live humble? Individual prosperity defeated by collective prosperity?
    If only they took the time to understand...


  • tornado woman
    November 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    There is alot of misunderstanding and anger on both sides of this matter. If we take the time to try understand what first nations history is as "Canadians" I think there would be more understanding. Alot of comments on this page show how ignorant Canadians are about treaties and first antions themselves. I am first nations and I refuse to work in the "box" I was born too. I choose education and learned good work ethic from both my parents. I PAY taxes like everyone else living off the reserve, I pay my children's schoole fees, I pay for medical and dental costs such as my eye medication that indian affairs doesn't have on their list of generic medicine that's approved, without it I will go blind. I paid for my childrens braces yup all $3000.00 per mouth all on my own. I pay for life insurance so my children have money to bury me when I die and a little left over for themselves. I make my payments, pay my dues like everyone else out there who doesn't live on reserve..that "box" you put us in, what's left of our lands in your eyes. I practise my culture with passion, worry about the future of my children, the impact of pollution to this country our mother earth. SO please don't tell me I get anything for "free", I work hard to provide for myself and my children . I left from my reserve because of lack of housing, jobs, poverty and the cycle of addictions on most reserves today. Don't doubt for a moment I miss my community I grew up in, I miss my childhood home but there is no where to live due to over crowding, I refuse to live like livestock. Today I visit my grassroots as often as I can, teach my culture and traditions to my children and will continue to do so with my grandchildren. I hope someday I will have great-great grandchildren to continue my line, question I ask myself is will there be clean water to drink? Will the food chain survive? Will we as a people have land left to live on? These are questions everyone should be asking themselves instead of bickering amongst each other. THINK and LEARN before you make assumptions of a people. EDUCATE yourself about who "mother earth" is and how we are connected. Life is not about money, this whole issue is about money and who is paying what. You should concern yourselves more about mother earth and the lives of YOUR future generations, will you let your child go hungry? Cry from thirst? Or are you wanting them to eat rocks and drink oil?? In the end the money you fight over won't buy water if there isn't any left to buy. Think about it, make it personal to your life and how it effects your children's children and maybe you will understand we first nations are fighting to keep mother earth safe for all generations. Harper wishes to sell her and he knows if we no longer exsist he will win, there will be no one left to protect her rights and he will allow her to be raped and pillaged by other countries and big money making companies. The question is will you?


  • Troy
    November 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Simply Impossible due to the given status quo of Indian Act, Canada legitimacy and lack of Jurisdiction to even do such a absurd attempt and a whole lot of issues never properly and legally dealt with....Harper Government isn't even Legit nor Sovereign, he admitted it on News Camera, and Canada is quite possibly a Crown corporation, registered as such in commonwealth Massachusetts (Commonwealth In monarchical Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, Canada and New Zealand, country-wide government corporations often use the style "Crown corporation.") http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government-owned_corporation and check here: http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?action=getcompany&CIK=0000230098&owner=include&count=40 ... Besides majority voters didn't vote his government in government, unlike China, they have more legit government with over 90% approval from Chinese citizens which is a huuuge contrast to Canada & USA... so how can a not legit, non sovereign, corporations launch a termination towards Tribal Nations that ARE Sovereign and signed many treaties with British Crown etc?? THEY CANNOT! Nor can Indian Act Band Chiefs negotiate our Treaty rights, they are a quasi-law and work and receive pay from Corporate Canada, which treaty negotiations will be a conflict of interest in this method... besides it was already clearly established in the 1980's house of lords and Queen Elizabeth that Parliament and Legislation cannot change or alter Treaty, legislation cannot impede or change Tribal Treaties! UN also ratified UNDRIP, United Nations Declaration Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which further protect our nations from state interference with our sovereign statuses and ownership of lands, waters and natural resources on our traditional territories... so they are LITERALLY light years behind and away from properly negotiating TREATIES, that would have to include traditional government, clans fathers and clan mothers of our tribe and ALL THE WABANAKI CONFEDERACY to sit at the table with British Crown not Canada or US alone... one would have to go back to the old laws of the land to change treaty... sorry chaps can't use modern day laws to change Treaty Rights.


  • howie cooper
    November 17, 2012 at 6:26 am

    wow this is really shitty, i pay tax to and was froce to leave my native land cause not jobs, no housing,and overflow of people living in our box........ and i am a frist nation person and my head was looking down cause i am sad for my people when i left my native land , now i see your post and have my head held high and i know there is a lot of youth out there that don't understand about what we are losing behind closed doors or just cause our ways of life have changed casue of todays tech,,,,, but its easy to type and talk about this issues, i see a lot of talk all the time on our native lands and issues but when are we going to stand for who we are .......... grass roots people ,turle island people and 7 teachings naiton that we are ...... where are our leaders now when they should be on the news asking our poeple from every province to come to get for a national stop to the haper gov't and finding a way to worktogther in improving our peoples............ if we are miss using funds find a way to control it on the box we live in,,,, not rip our the hearts and passed leaders judgment away... if you want to stop paying us welfare ........ help us to work in to providing us with jobs and creating ecomnoic work show us how and put laws in place so we are substianable and make money for our commuity....... i see u the gov't stopping us from a lot of shit ........ frist you give money away to the bands every year 15 millon to 42 millon for there yearly buget...... for years not with no accountably at all , i think i would want to keep track of were the money is going this is tax paying dollars and make sure is it going to the programs and getting input and feeback about it......... but no you keep giving money and whos is to blame ,,, i would think about it agian and agian...... so now because of this you are trying to take our rights and our hearts away ,,,, why don't you work with our peoples instead of agianst us in your own ways its
    the 7 gen of our peoples now work with us and stop putting redtape in fronts of us, its your laws, your courts, and your money, and your army...... soooo stop stop stop treating us like this it been too long too long now please were our our leaders we need you now to help bring this issue up to our 7 and 8 gen......... so mother earth we be around for years to come ..... god bless you all and hope and have faith ..... take care...


  • Kathleen
    November 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Just reading the comments it's clear there are people who are informed and desperate to be involved but don't know where to start. We have to fix this! We have to be organized and dedicated if we are to help. We have to use our knowledge of and proficiency in social media and online activism to make this right. When posting articles like this, there MUST be included actions everyday civilians can take.


  • Gretasaul
    November 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    When will this colonialism stop? Or will it ever? And what are the chief and councils in this country doing to stop this repeat of history? What did we learn from our past leaders like Joe Dion, and the late Jim Sinclair, and the late John Samson who all stood tall and stood up to the government and said no more. Has this generation just succumbed to this continuing genocide of our people? How come no one is saying or doing anything anymore to try to change things? After Oka we had RCAP, perhaps we need another "uprising" to make the government listen to us. It is not the most selective way to get the government to listen, but what other choice do we have? If we keep sitting on our laurels and continue to witness Harper slash our treaties, and make all kinds of ammendments to them, for sure we will be fully assimilated out. What happens then when all our rights get stripped away? When we will have no longer access to Education and Medicare? Or when we have to "buy" our homes on reserve, so if payments cannot be met, the government can start booting out people. That is what Harper is bent on doing, creating all this bullshit. But here we are complaining our heads off and doing nothing in the interim, but allowing this to happen before our very eyes. Can we just stand up and say no? How hard is it to do that? But as long as we sit and do nothing, Harper will have his way with us and continue to "rape" and rob us blind!! Come on ALL First Nations people wake up and let's do something!!! NOW!!!!


  • BAW
    November 19, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Have any of the First Nations used the courts to attempt to stop the Federal or Provincial governments' attempts? Or a direct appeal to the Crown as original signatory to the treaties?


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Kathleen You're absolutely right. It's good that we're all talking about this, but we also have to do something!!! If we don't, then the government will just keep merrily pushing its agenda forward without a care in the world... at our expense.

    Right now there's alot of people focusing specifically on Bill C-45. There's alot of different events being organized right now including forums and protest. You can find everything at http://www.facebook.com/events/112078182288731/113604882136061/

    And here's one petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-house-of-commons-in-parliament-assembled-do-not-pass-the-budget-implementation-bill-c-45-3?utm_campaign=friend_inviter_modal&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=32794678


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    BAW I haven't heard of any court actions myself; it's definitely something that should be explored. We have to be careful though, not to rely to heavily on the courts, because they're notoriously useless when it comes to anything-first nations.

    We also have to be careful not too rely too heavily on online action. Using social media and running petitions are an excellent way to drum up support and put pressure on the government, but it's just not enough by itself.

    First and foremost, we need to physically--and in my view peacefully--confront the Canadian government. If that means 150 blockades across the country, than sobeit. A line has to be drawn.

    We also need to a message to Canadians that if the government can do this to First Nations--if it can just throw our rights to the wind and radically alter our lives without and kind of meaningful engagement--than it can do it anybody.

    It's 1960s USA--only First Nations don't want or need "equal rights". What we need is to be able to live our own lives in accordance with our own customs and traditions without being physically, mentally, socially, politically and economically assaulted every single day by the Canadian government.

    terms for how we want to live our lives.


  • Ms. Hart Perley (Maliseet Nation Woman)
    November 21, 2012 at 9:41 am

    if you all remember, back when either Cretien or Trudeau left office, one of these men advised the first nations to start documenting,
    we seem to have forgotten this and are now in a reactive mode, which we are well known for
    each and every first nations community throughout Turtle Island (canada) have within their respective communities, resource people that have the ability to do this, why not utilized them now, it is not to late, we are all still living and breathing
    we are now watching the Canadian Government's unilateral destruction of our Treaty Rights, Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, Identity, Cultural and Spiritual Well-Being
    the Indian Act elected Leaders are held in bondage so they cannot protect us and they are constantly threatened with loss of funding,
    an elder once said that if we wish to get away from the clutches of an oppressive government we must now go back to our land and utilize the gifts of the land that are ours for survival, OUR NATURAL RESOURCES,
    Canada evolved into a country by STEALING our land and resources.....
    we are always thinking of ways to keep the peace with the immigrants (and they are all immigrants) while our people continuously live in poverty
    GENOCIDE is against International Law, why hasn't Canada been charged with this Crime?


  • John Ahni Schertow
    November 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    FYI: there is another event on C-45 coming up this Saturday (Nov 24) in Prince Albert, SK.

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/379547885462660/379805045436944/


  • david dickinson
    November 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Karoniahere says "we didn't own the land." While that may be true for some tribes, it does not apply to all. In fact, at first contact, most tribes were settled peoples engaged in agriculture. In Canada, this applies to the most southerly groups, who grew tobacco, corn, and beans. On the west coast of British Columbia, many tribes had permanent winter villages and a land tenure system. The whole thrust of the Delgummuukw case was that the hereditary house groups do, in fact, own their territories. Although not written down on a piece of paper, many First Nations in Canada had a land titles system.

    That's not to say tribes that lived a settled existence were superior to those who lived a more transient existence. It's more about ecology than political ideology. Those in the boreal forest had no choice but to live a hunting and gathering lifestyle in order to survive.


  • Kelly White
    November 28, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Canada signed the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples...all Harper regime drafted CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT OF HARPER GOVERNMENT....apartheid is outlawed in UN instruments..yet Harper rules on apartheid HATE against all Indigenous people right to life by this cruel and unusual extermination Harper drafts....off with izzzz head.....


  • November 28, 2012 at 10:36 am

    His job is to hit the final nail in the coffin of the "indian problem" that Duncan Campbell Scott boasted would be over in a 100 years because of his Indian Advancement Act of 1924. they are 90 years into it and right on track. Assimilate is another word for genocide Harper


  • Alvin R Denver
    November 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Termination Did not work in the United States. Come to Utah USA and we will show the reason why.


  • John Ahni Schertow
    December 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

    FYI: I posted a solid talk a few days ago by Sharon Venne. She goes over a bunch of stuff, from Canada's intransigence to the Bills that Russell outlines in his essay. Check it:



  • Kathy Cummings
    December 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    This is not what we across the border think is going on in Canada. We think
    Canadians are smart and fair. These goings on are not fair at all. Indigenous people need to chose their own path.


  • Angus McCrady
    December 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

    My grandfather was chief of Popular Lodge Park First nation, he was a great speaker, he spoke of the truth, he believed in his rights and his people. He stopped dams being built, put up blockades with courage and never backed down from a fight. He was a true Aboriginal and a man of his word. He told me once, when he was in his younger days at school, his teacher took him a side and told him "A smart *Indian* is a dangerous *Indian*". Therefore, since that day, he studied in Indian politics and his rights.

    Myself I don't know much about Aboriginal Politics or Native Affairs, etc. But i do know is, what Harper is doing is wrong and it shouldn't take much for others to figure out what is about to happen to us Aboriginals. If Harper wants to change our treaties, our rights, and maybe continue on with old plans they have had. Go ahead Harper. As a nation of Aboriginals we should build our own government, set our own laws, have own military, our own nuclear weapons, lets change Canada to our own liking, maybe take back whats ours, this land beneath our feet. IF OUR TREATIES ARE EXPIRED! YOUR LEASE IS UP!


  • glenn nolan
    December 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    when I was chief of my community I would say to my community members that it wasn't going to get any easier and government wouldn't be sending us more money. That is why we controlled our spending, saved where we could and when I left the position after 9 years as Chief, we had no debt, had businesses that brought in money, and put money into savings every year.
    Our people were once proud of our work ethic, were once very capable in looking after ourselves. Why can't we do that again? Why are we always going to government and looking for more welfare?
    there is a place to negotiate but there is also a place for communities to take control over their own destiny. There has to be balance. It is too bad that tribal councils and other PTOs are experiencing cutbacks. Many communities are resourceful enough now that they can look after much what the tribal councils did previously. Like everything in life things change and maybe this is time for change. What do you think?


  • Sands Pippen
    December 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Where I come from ( WALPOLE ISLAND F.N ) We already own our land Individually-families have owned their lands, and have passed them down to their children, or other immediate relatives since long before i came about. So hARPER can fcuk right with that intention. We as NORTH AMERICAN Anishinabes have had OUR RIGHTS INHERENT Since Time Immemorial !!! So hARPER can fcuk off right der too ! That pink bastard don't mean shit to me ? and I am sure that is mutual, which is all fine and dandy, but one thing is for certain ? My children are going to have the exact same rights, benefits AND MORE! Or I will die FIGHTING for them !! You can bet too, that hARPER will feel some type pain as well


  • Rob Kroeker
    December 30, 2012 at 3:17 am

    Excellent write up. Very thorough, and convincing. Rarely has an article influenced my political leanings so much. I don't know if I believe Mr. Harper has some "grand plan" to destroy FN people, but I'm also much more skeptical of the motives and strategy behind the Conservative governments approach. I think now, largely because of the Idlenomore movement, The government will back down.


  • lynda gunn
    December 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Excellent article with conveying convincing and most plausible theory of what is going on behind the scenes with Harper's gang. I hope that Idle No More creates such a force that it will shake apart the very foundation which you have described...a colonial structure so racist to the tip of its proverbial roots! As an Inuk, i come from Nunavut, one of the parties that has setled their claim and has taken the federal government to court for not delivering on agreement promises...


  • Lorraine
    January 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Please take the time to watch this insightful interview.

    The Government of Canada intends to assimilate every aboriginal in Canada.
    “ I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill. ”
    —Duncan Campbell Scott

    Please read
    The 1857 "Civilization of Indian Tribes Act",
    Also the The Indian Act 1876

    Without reading these documents you will not have grasp of what the government of Canada has done and is now doing.
    They will infiltrate divide every organization and group that attempts to stop them.Divide and rule is what they always use.
    Also discredit and or destroy every individual they deem to be a threat to the corporation known as Canada.


  • Running Water
    January 16, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    The Idle No More movement has the right idea, but the irony is that we are being more idle than ever in this movement (or non-movement). The so called hunger strike by Spence would be great if it were actually that - but this is really an insult to those in the world that survive on less than the fish soup she is eating... a hunger strike is great to gain attention to a worthy cause, but please - a little more like Gandhi. What we as a people really need is to stop taking free handouts. We are strong enough to walk on our own. When I see the young people these days, all I see are hands out and an undeserved sense of entitlement. We have our land, we have a proud history. It's time we earned some real dignity. We don't need to hide behind a treaty anymore.


  • Lone Trail
    March 30, 2013 at 2:53 am

    To even be sitting at the table with the federal government on these sort of issues only legitimizes Canada so-called authority. Our leaders need to take off the blinders of more money and protect what we already have.


  • May 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Don't ever let this happen... All you have in life are rights! The Natives are natives and everyone owes the natives a great deal of respect. British civilization were barbaric and downright sick.

    Real glad they paid for it in WWII. INDIAN POWER!!!


  • johnny steven gibot
    November 26, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    To extinguish First Nation Treaty Rights is to tell the current global citizens "We are not to be trusted, we made "Treaties (which were never our intention to honor - and broke as many as we can and stole all First Nations land and resources and have without to much complications polluted both water and air - which is a human being right - to affect all poverty stricken people all over this world. And we won't be going to jail for doing all these things to you all.". People of the past - because of their trickery - have done this likewise because they felt their egos needed it.
    This what the "elites" are confidently doing "TO ALL OF US" EH?!!!!.


  • ozaawizi bhinas
    February 21, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    so when does the mass exodus begin? total chaos will begin if this ever happens,if you don,t want to be a treaty partner then i guess your lease is up..


  • Donald Staus
    February 22, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Nice comment section you have. Nothing like only posting Native points of view.


    • John Ahni Schertow
      February 23, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Dear Donald: unlike many other online papers and blogs, we here at IC Magazine do not approve offensive comments, especially those that stoke the fires of racial resentment. Speak with some respect, drop the White nationalist attitude, and I would be happy to share what you have to say.

  • patrick
    March 18, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Harper is both a genius and evilly insane. I for one have not been involved with aboriginal politics because we all don't get along. We are a divided race of people and Harper has played us so well.

    If we were united, our options would be so powerful. I think now is the time for first nations tribes to establish their own territories, create treaty's with neighboring tribes, establish laws as a nation and than...we could negotiate with any other nation state on the planet that has our best interests. Cede from Canada. Perhaps the threat might improve Canada's aboriginal position.


  • Kean
    November 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I agree with the political action that needs to take place as noted; suspend all negotiations.
    Then organize; in order to be recognized as a First Nation we must first become a First Nation socially and economically, strengthening networks and business connections with each other to build an infrastructure independent of the current template; a Nation in parallel with the current administration, not subservient, utilizing what little we already have in place before it is gone altogether. We need to pick up the pieces of a scattered people and become one again instead of begging for crumbs and permissions at the feet of a government who takes more than they give, who by the way, put us here in the first place, this practice has no logic.


  • Seddon John
    December 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Make every human being in canada have equal rights! Abolish the indian act. They can be an native Indian privately.


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