First Canadian or Original Native Affairs: The damage done to Canada and her original natives by the Indian Industry should never have been allowed to get started, and, has to be stopped, reversed and repaired at the earliest possible date.
It is completely inaccurate to use the term “first nations” when referring to Canada’s first or original native people. At most, 150,000 to 175,000 people were living in what is now Canada at the beginning of the 17th century after about 11,500 years of being here. They lived in hundreds of clans and bands loosely grouped in several dozen tribes that were loosely linked in twelve different language families. The original natives considered themselves to be subjects of the Crown, and their local self governance was totally typical of pre and proto civilized communities throughout history all over the world.
From a witches’ brew of misguided Christian charity, arrogant elitist paternalism, and bureaucratic convenience, our forefathers created the bigoted Indian Status concept and built the segregated ghetto collectives called reservations.
Here’s what Mr. Frank Howard, NDP M.P. (Skeena) said in the House of Commons on March 6, 1969. “The Indian Act gave birth in 1867 to a system of paternalism which has been like a fungus growth that unfortunately is still with us today and still growing. As long as we have an Indian Act, a special law relating to people with a different cultural inheritance from everybody else, and as long as we have a separate department, we will have discrimination and denials of fundamental human rights.”
In the early days of the Trudeau regime, a profoundly sensible proposal to totally renovate the condition of Canada’s original natives was introduced. On June 25, 1969, Mr. Jean Chretien, then minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, delivered a White Paper on Indian policy in the Commons. The following is some of the rationale for renovation in that White Paper:
“Canadians, Indians and non Indians alike, stand at the crossroads. For Canadian society the issue is whether a growing element of its population will become full participants contributing in a positive way to the general well being or whether, conversely, the present social and economic gap will lead to their increasing frustration and isolation, a threat to the general well being of society. For many Indian people, one road does exist, the only road that has existed since Confederation and before, the road of different status, a road which has led to a blind alley of deprivation and frustration. This road, because it is a separate road, cannot lead to full participation to equality in practice as well as in theory…the government has outlined…a road that would lead gradually away from different status to full social, economic and political participation in Canadian life.”
and “…the separate legal status of Indians has kept the Indian people apart from and behind other Canadians. The Indian people have not been full citizens of the communities…in which they live and have not enjoyed the equality and benefits that such participation offers. The treatment resulting from their different status has been often worse, sometimes equal, and occasionally better than that accorded to their fellow citizens. What matters is that it has been different.”
Speaking in support of the White Paper on August 8, 1969, Prime Minister Trudeau said:
“We have set the Indians apart as a race. We’ve set them apart in the ways governments will deal with them. They’re not citizens…..as the rest of us are. They are wards of the federal government…They have been set apart in law…and they’ve been set apart socially too. …..We can go on treating the Indians as having a special status. We can go on adding bricks of discrimination around the ghetto in which they live…..or we can say the time is now to decide whether Indians will be a race apart in Canada or whether they will be Canadians of full status.” On another occasion Trudeau said: “It’s inconceivable, I think…for one section of a society to have a treaty with another section of the society. We must all be equal under the law and we must not sign treaties amongst ourselves….I don’t think that we should encourage Indians to feel these treaties should last forever within Canada…. They should become Canadians as all other Canadian.”
The White Paper specifically proposed six major renovations:
1. The legislative and constitutional bases which set Indians apart from other
Canadians must be removed.
In other words, the Indian Act would simply have been repealed and Canadians of
Indian ancestry would have become entitled to all the same rights, privileges,
obligations and programs as other Canadians.
2. There must be positive recognition by everyone of the unique contribution of
Indian culture to Canadian life.
3. Government services must come through the same channels and from the
same government agencies for all Canadians.
4. The title to Indian reserves (now held by the federal government) would be
transferred to the Indian people of each reserve.
The intention was to transfer title to individuals and/or families, not to any type or kind of collectivity.
5. Lawful obligations must be recognized.
The White Paper was referring to the few existing treaties and foresaw negotiated closure of historic commitments like providing twine, tools and ammunition. It was not referring to the scandalously immoral and illegal land claims pillaging that followed.
6. Those who are furthest behind must be helped the most.
Transitional bridging funds were to be provided to ease the change.
These righteous renovations had been thought through, and were proposed, more than 30 years ago. They are still exactly what should be done by a renovated Canadian government.
One would have thought there would have been great joy among First Canadians and there was except among those band chiefs and their chums who saw that the White Paper’s proposals would end their petty dictatorships. The disaffected band bosses, along with many in the liberal socialist intellectual establishment, Indian band lawyers/consultants/advisors all the usual suspects and parasites screamed bloody murder at the idea that their favourite victims were going to be freed from a century of controlled disadvantage, discrimination and dependency. Stop the gravy train? Never! And the minority triumphed. By the spring of 1970, the Trudeau quarterbacked Liberal Party government had caved in and the Indian Industry kicked its 30 year rampage of outrageous vandalism into high gear.
The 1995 Canadian Global Almanac stated that 1,002,675 Canadians reported their ancestry as Indian, Inuit or Metis – ie: exclusively or in combination with European ancestors. (That’s about 3.3% of Canadians. The real number is probably higher given that for about 150 years 80% of the immigrants from France, and all the Hudson’s Bay Company factors, were bachelors who were only too happy to marry and start families with aboriginal native women.) Of these million reportees, only 626,000 identified themselves as belonging to any particular clan, band or tribe, only 553,316 identified themselves as Status Indians as defined by the Indian Act, and only 305,247 lived on reservations or “native settlements”. Thus, 70% of those Canadians who identified themselves as having any aboriginal ancestry have rejected apartheid and have chosen not to be locked away out of sight and mind or contact on reservations. 45% have even resisted calling themselves “Status Indians” despite the incredible financial bribes, or, alternatively, the threats of physical violence to themselves and/or their families by the band bosses’ enforcers trying to recruit them into band membership.
Over $7Billion ($7,000,000,000) a year is paid directly to 630 or so band chiefs by a variety of government ministries. The chiefs skim off a royal amount for themselves, pay their enforcers, then distribute what’s left according to their own personal kissed me lately lists.
A careful and complete exposé of the wicked venality of the entire Indian Industry is contained in “Our Home Or Native Land” by Melvin Smith, Q.C. Fresh reports of abuses by new and different band bosses all over the country appear in the media with appalling regularity. The whole rotten thing can’t be demolished too quickly.
Part of Essay 4, completed March 2000, in “Personalism v. Socialism”.Tags: original natives, reservations