Huu-ay-aht Votes in Favour of Final Agreement
Cultural Preservation Story 130

Huu-ay-aht Votes in Favour of Final Agreement

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John Ahni Schertow
July 31, 2007
 

On Saturday, the Huu-ay-aht voted over whether or not to support the ratification of the Maa-nulth Treaty, one of several treaties being shoved forward in the West Coast of Canada. At the end of the day, 90% voted YES, 10% NO.

That’s pretty surprising—and also cause for great concern, even if this so-called Treaty still has to be ratified by four more Nations along with the government before it becomes legal. There’s two possible reasons for this concern: One being that Huu-ay-aht have no idea what they just voted Yes on (which considering this letter, and the tactics used to have these Treaties ratified is quite possible); and two, that they do know what this treaty threatens to do, which means they would rather become a token Nation under Canada, rather then maintain themselves as their own People… because this treaty forces them to forfeit their sovereignty.

And to top it off, it’s going to result in the Huu-ay-aht having less of everything. Courtesy of David Dennis, here’s an
overview which illustrates (the consequences of) the Maa-nulth Agreement.

This–along with the tactics used by the proponents (Band Councils, the BC and Federal Government, the Media, and INAC) to move this treaty scheme forward–is more than enough reason for this treaty to be burned to the ground.

If you’re still not convinced, here’s some commentary by Taiaike Alfred, followed by a Press Release from the UBCIC…

Comment on Tsawwassen & Huu-Ay-Aht treaties
It’s clear to me now, after hearing the “leaders” and “elders” from Huu-Ay-Aht and Tsawwassen comment on the ratification votes in their communities, that this issue of treaty-making is far beyond politics or even rationality. These agreements make no political or financial sense from a First Nations perspective, yet they are being ratified nonetheless. Why? Because of the sad fact that white society has successfully waged psychological warfare on First Nations and most of the people in these communities have lost all meaningful sense of being Indigenous.

As is evident in the result of the two recent votes, they will simply do whatever it takes, including surrendering their lands and sacred heritage of nationhood, to shed themselves of their Indigenous past in the hopes of becoming acceptable to the white society.

The oft-mentioned Residential School Syndrome is widening now to become much broader in its effects than the widespread but personalized social pathology and psychic dysfunctions we have witnessed in our communities in the last few generations.

The cultural confusion, individualist greed, self-hatred and defeatism that were objectives and are the legacies of residential schools are also the real foundations of the so-called “treaty process”.

Canadians are once again preying on the original peoples of this land, this time not stealing, raping and brainwashing their children, but lying and manipulating in different way to the same ends as in previous times: stealing land and destroying culture.

If Canada were a country with a moral centre, its citizens would not be celebrating the achievements of the BC treaty process, they would be shouting out in anger against the immoral actions of their governments and the fact that they, as a society, are taking advantage of weakened peoples who are in the midst social and spiritual crises to enrich themselves, yet again.

Dr. Taiaiake Alfred
Director, Indigenous Governance Programs
University of Victoria

Huu-ay-aht offers Overwhelming Support for their Final Treaty Agreement
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2007

(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, July 29, 2007) “The Union of BC Indian Chiefs acknowledges the overwhelming support garnered by the Huu-ay-aht Final Treaty Agreement. We also recognize the Huu-ay-aht vote only represents 1/5 of the ratification vote for the Maa-nulth Treaty Agreement. Four other communities involved in the Maa-nulth Agreement must also ratify the agreement for it to pass” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Grand Chief Phillip continued “In spite of these circumstances, however, the UBCIC continues to maintain its position that the BC Treaty process is a fundamentally flawed process by virtue of the fact it is anchored to the 1986 Comprehensive Claims Policy which does not measure up to the legal standards set by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Delgamuuk’w, Haida and Taku River Tlingit decisions.”

“What is worrisome is government will attempt to enforce the minimalist nature of these agreements as a basic template of treaty making,” stated Grand Chief Phillip. “As First Nations we cannot allow that to happen. The future health and well-being of our communities depends on agreements which provide the development of substantive economies that will sustain our communities today and into the future.”

“Consequently, there may be a small handful of treaty settlement agreements that may be ratified, but the vast majority of First Nations in the Province will not subscribe to a so-called treaty process that does not recognize or accommodate the full measure of their Aboriginal Title and Rights interests over the broad expanse of their territories” concluded Grand Chief Phillip.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President
(250) 490-5314

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