Letter to Jim Prentice Regarding the Lubicon Cree

Letter to Jim Prentice Regarding the Lubicon Cree

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July 14, 2006

Please find below an excellent letter to Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice urging a resolution of Lubicon land rights.

Not only did this supporter write to the Minister directly, she sent copies of her letter and the National Lubicon Petition to a personal list of colleagues and friends, encouraging them to send similar letters and collect signatures on the National Lubicon Petition.

That’s a simple and effective way you can help build the network of people who are taking action to rectify this long-standing injustice.

Copies of the National Lubicon Petition and supporting documentation are available at: http://www.tao.ca/~fol/petition.htm

Friends of the Lubicon
P.O. Box 444, Stn. D,
Etobicoke, ON
Canada, M9A 4X4
Tel: 416-763-7500
Email: fol@tao.ca
Web: www.tao.ca/~fol

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July 14, 2006

Hon. Jim Prentice, MP
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Dear Sir:

Since 1899, a small band of First Nations citizens has been waiting for government to recognize its inherent right to exist and to allow its people to earn a reasonable income from the resources of its traditional lands. I am referring to the Lubicon Cree nation, a Northern Alberta community of 500 men, women and children. These courageous indigenous people have struggled for years to have their voices heard, knowing that their cause is a just one. Few Canadians, however, appear to be listening.

As a non-indigenous citizen of Canada, I am appalled by the inability of all levels of government, but especially the federal government, to resolve this situation in a manner that befits a modern country that sees itself as a world leader in the field of human rights. Here we are in 2006- the Lubicon people, living in poverty and ill-health, their traditional way of life largely abandoned- all because successive federal and Alberta governments have refused to honour the spirit and intent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as several United Nations International Human Rights Covenants ratified by Canada years ago. Instead, governments seem determined to engage in a game of delay and denial, hoping perhaps that the Lubicon people will give up and disappear into the wilderness.

As a respected lawyer with much experience in land claims negotiations, I know you appreciate the importance of clear mandates on the part of all who sit at the negotiating table. For the past 2 1/2 years, there have been no concrete steps taken towards a resolution of the outstanding issues of financial compensation and self-government because negotiators claimed they did not have such a mandate. I would urge you to instruct federal negotiators to include these critical areas in their discussions for they are at the heart of any nation’s survival and success.

If you are not able to do this, in my opinion, it will mean only one thing: your government believes that the Lubicon nation’s current standard of living and quality of life is acceptable. I do not want to believe that is the case, but a government is judged by what it does or does not do.

Too many generations of Lubicon have grown up not knowing the kind of lifestyle and opportunities that most Canadians take for granted. In order to change all this and move forward as a people, the Lubicon nation needs the recognition and the rights they are entitled to under both Canadian and international laws. Please send your negotiators back to the table with a renewed willingness to discuss all relevant issues in order to end the suffering of these patient people.

May your heart be filled with the same spirit of generosity and respect that guided First Nations peoples in their encounters with the strangers who came uninvited to these, their native lands, so many years ago.

Yours truly,

Susan Draper
Victoria, BC

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