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Six Nations Crisis- “Canada’s Pandora’s Box?”


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If I understand, you are arguing that the Canadian government should simply ignore any treaty obligations it has with natives. I suppose so, and the government would suffer any consequences of that strategy.
I am trying to re-frame the terms of debate. Native activists try to make it sound like these treaties are absolutely binding documents and that the rest of the country must accept them no matter how unfair they are to the majority of people. I feel that things are not so black and white and that ultimately we need to find a political solution. I am also saying that a political solution is not possible in as a long as natives insist that these treaties are the minimum terms for any compromise. It is very similar to the israeli-palestinian problem. In that case, there can be no solution as long as the palestinians refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist.
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The only purpose of residential schools was to try to assimilate Natives into the "European" society, not to help them in any other way.
Natives were economically and socially disadvantaged compared to non-natives at the time. Assimilation was seen as a way to correct this inequality. Assimilation may sound bad in our post-Trudeau society where multiculturalism is an artical of faith, however, at the time assimilation was considered to a good thing that would help the natives.

You seem to agree that the purpose of residential schools was assimilation. However, assimilation was meant to benefit the Canadian settlers by making Natives 'productive' members of society. I don't believe that their intentions were to help the Natives. Natives have survived in Canada for thousands of years, and appeared to be doing fine, so why try to change thier lifestyle?

I learned about the holocaust in high school, yet it wasn't until University that I learned Canada had it's own "holocaust".
The Germans did not send to the Jews to the concentration camps to make them better Germans. They sent them there to kill them. There is no comparison to what happened in the residential schools and the holocaust. Pretending that there is a comparison simply invites people to dismiss your arguments.

I'm not trying to make a direct comparison between the holocaust and residential schools, which is why I used "holocaust" in quotations. The germans purposely killed millions of jews, Canadians sent Natives to residential schools to try to assimilate them and in the process 50,000 died/went missing (edit), many were raped and countless others witnessed these murders/rapes. One is worse than the other, but that does NOT make either of them right. All I'm trying to say is why do we learn about one in school and not the other, especially when it occured in Canada?

The residential schools were a well intentioned effort gone bad due to lack of funding, poor management and cultural insensitivity. That does not change how some native children were hurt by the experience, however, it is important to maintain a proper perspective when judging actions in the past.

Once again, I don't believe that residential schools were well intentioned at all.

Hey just some feed-back from a Jewish guy. I fully understood your use of the quotes with holocaust and understood you were not making a direct comparison and appreciate the point you are making!

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If I understand, you are arguing that the Canadian government should simply ignore any treaty obligations it has with natives. I suppose so, and the government would suffer any consequences of that strategy.
I am trying to re-frame the terms of debate. Native activists try to make it sound like these treaties are absolutely binding documents and that the rest of the country must accept them no matter how unfair they are to the majority of people. I feel that things are not so black and white and that ultimately we need to find a political solution. I am also saying that a political solution is not possible in as a long as natives insist that these treaties are the minimum terms for any compromise. It is very similar to the israeli-palestinian problem. In that case, there can be no solution as long as the palestinians refuse to recognize the right of Israel to exist.

I get your pt. River. I am no expert on this debate but from what I have read from Phil Fontaine (I hope I spelled that right) this man has been a classic moderate and very flexible and willing to discuss issues. I think of Israel and Palestine had leaders like him they would be a lot better off then they are now. That said there has been intransigence on both sides. I say that because yes some native leaders have been militant and inflexible but there are some odious federal and provinicial politicians and government officials who just can't think outside the box.

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I am no expert on this debate but from what I have read from Phil Fontaine (I hope I spelled that right) this man has been a classic moderate and very flexible and willing to discuss issues.
The trouble is Phil Fontaine cannot control what the 600 or so band chiefs do. For every Phil Fonatine then is a Bill Wilson that will refuse to accept any compromise that does not fit into his ethnocentric view of treaty rights.

Personally, I hope the Conservatives negotiate a Kelowna II accord which focuses on solving problems and not granting additional race-based rights.

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News Flash River - They didnt NEED, ask, or want help from the Europeans. They had a fully functioning society for centuries before the Europeans showed up. Do you remeber who invented Democracy? Ill give you a hint... not any of the Europeans ;) Another wake up call for you Riv - Natives had a rich culture before the arrival of the europeans - they had farming far advanced to that of the europeans, woodworking, leatherworking, art, stone working, bowyer/fletching, silver and coppersmithing - this is by no means a complete list!

*snip*

A History of The Native People of Canada - 1000 BC to 500 AD

Modern Skills and Development of Native Peoples

The second link may scare people like River ;)

Are you saying that the Europeans were wrong to explore and allow people to emigrate? You're forgetting that 95% of the aboriginal population died before the first white man shot was fired in much of the continent; from smallpox and other diseases. These diseases fanned out far ahead of the white man and left behind wrecked, demoralized societies.

The Europeans did not gain much of a toehold in Africa or Asia for the simple reason that, sharing a landmass with Europe, they had some resistance to most European diseases. The white man had little choice but to segregate and/or assimilate the few remaining natives, whose populations were no longer independently viable.

I posted an Atlantic magazine article (link to another thread here where I posted the full article) which excerpted a then upcoming book, 1491, which is one source agreeing with my views.

If everyone went back to where they "came from" the Great Rift Valley of Africa would be a very crowded place.

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That certainly makes a lot more sense than my interpretation. However, as you have pointed out before, two wrongs don't make a right. Besides, this is one case. This is not the government taking away every Native child.

This may not just be one case.

According to the Western Standard, issue date July 31, 2006 under the title: DEATH BY SENSITIVITY

Special Childcare Policies For Natives Killed Phoenix Sinclair

"Phoenix Sinclair had been missing from her Winnipeg home since April 2003. For nearly 2 years it seems no one knew where she was.

How a child supposedly under the watch of government social workers can disappear for so long - and into a small reserve of fewer that 1,700 residents - without anyone noticing, has raised troubling questions about the standard of care provided to native children at risk in Manitoba.

So far, anecdotal incidents of 6 kids who have died while under the watch of Manitoba's Child and Family Services in just the past two years have come to light - all of them native.

Like every jurisdiction in North America, Manitoba has a shortage of quality foster homes. For better or worse, CFS has long tried to place native children with native families. Usually they can't - not when 15 per cent of Manitobans are native, while the proportion of native children in foster care is 70 per cent.

Still, an increase in official cultural sensitivity toward natives in recent years has led the government to fashion special policies, specific to natives, aimed at providing what Christine Melnick, Manitoba's NDP minister of Family Srevices and Housing, has termed "culturally appropriate services."

------------------

Six native children in Manitoba....in just the past two years!

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All I hope for is that Canadians recognize that many of the problems in Native communities are directly related to these residential schools. Maybe then we can find a solution to the problems that exist in Native communities. I learned about the holocaust in high school, yet it wasn't until University that I learned Canada had it's own "holocaust".

It could be directly related to these residential school. HOWEVER, your ancestral leaders were as much guilty then as the colonials for having allowed themselves to be convinced...and to go along with the visions the colonials had for the natives.

So far we know the purpose of the colonials, though ill-conceived they may have been.

But what is not clear here is the purpose....or the reason(s) why your ancestral leaders stood by in cooperation and let it happen.

Holocaust indeed!

If by some rotten twist of fate it was the Germans who had come to colonized this land.....there wouldn't be any reasons to have any discussions at all.

All negotiations and bargaining would've ended right there in the gas chamber.

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I have been writing too many posts and I do not mean to dominate discussions but now I am pissed off and have to write this. I am a lawyer with specialized graduate and post graduate training in investigating and mediating sexual abuse in institutions. I actually went to Newfoundland and on CBC radio advised the pubic two years before Mt. Cashel that they had a sexual abuse scandal on their hands that must be exposed. I have spent 20 years as a family mediator, counselor and volunteer working with the sexually abused.

Please please believe me when I say this. What happened to the aboriginals, the sexual abuse, physical violence, rape, humiliation, forced conversions, is all true. This is not the figment of anyone's imagination.

Also please understand, it is very very rare for there to be situations where people fabricate stories of sexual abuse in institutions. Do not mix that up with family law custody battles where a parent may try use sexual abuse as a tool to gain custody of the child.

The situations are not the same.

The injustice done to aborginals in these residential schools has been documented by neutral third parties and fully admitted through the testimony of the perpetrators confessions.

What happened to Phil Fontaine and countless others is not made up. Please do not suggest that directly or indirectly.

Also please understand, there are ways today in the court system to detect fabrication. Also please understand that most false memory cases evolved from people engaging in hypnotism when they were not trained properly to use hypnotism. This is not the case with the residential school abuse which was and continues to be coroborated by third parties other then the victims.

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I agree that there were cases of abuse. A hell of a lot of them! One would have been too many but this was a horrific tragedy and nobody in their right mind would ever contest that. But having said that, where do we go from here, because that is where we are.

The past is over and we want to fix what we can today. There is a requirement to upgrade the living conditions of the First Nations peoples. It may not have sounded like that was my intention, but it is. I truely want and end to this stain on my society. I don't want to beat a dead horse with what was, because there isn't a damned thing I can do about what somebody else did sometime ago. I am interested in knowing what can be done now. I can write letters to MLS's and MP's, and I can write to newspapers and I can participate in some local activity to do what I can. The only real question is what can I do?

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Please please believe me when I say this. What happened to the aboriginals, the sexual abuse, physical violence, rape, humiliation, forced conversions, is all true. This is not the figment of anyone's imagination.
I agree that many of the stories of abuse are true and have been substantiated. However, for a number of years their have been lawyers literally going through native communities and signing up anyone who went to a residential school for a lawsuit. This activity leads many (including myself) to doubt the integrity of those who jumped on the band wagon once it was clear there was money to be made. There was a case in New Brunswick when some officials at an institution were found to have been abusing boys. The gov't set up a compensation program but had to shut it down once they realized that people were fabricating claims to get money. That is why it is perfectly reasonable for anyone to question the credibility of some of the alleged victims.

The fact that some activists grossly exaggerate what happened in these schools by comparing it to the holocaust or by making completely unsubstantiated allegations that kids were deliberately murdered on a regular basis also tarnishes the credibility of the true victims.

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For someone who's been repeatedly pointed out to be ignorant of the history of this land regarding the native issues, this ignorance comes with an objective outlook (free from any "guilt-induced" emotions clouding one's perspectives in a rash bid to atone), and quest for understanding....thus questions (which may be uncomfortable or deemed insulting by some, while bothersome and exasperating to the knowledgeable) are being raised by moi.

I don't think anyone in this forum denies or doubt that there had been abuses and atrocities done, not only to the children who were placed in the residential schools...but also to families who had experienced having offspring(s) ripped from them, and some never to be seen or heard again. This same thing happened to aboriginals in Australia (I think).

We're stuck into this quagmire because some are determined to use residential school atrocities to justify anything and everything.

With all the investigative and historical reports printed about, the answer to my question remains elusive.

I, as an outsider seeking information, simply wonders where the Indian leaders fit into this when children were being taken from families?

I imagine desperate families sought their leaders' assistance and voiced objections to these practices.

What happened?

Why are there hardly any explanations as to what the Indian leaders had to do or say?

It is this lack of thorough information, thus I base my conclusion on this meager explanation which actually makes sense to me:

"Special Treatment for Aboriginal Children TOP

The Residential School System

Since the time of earliest contact, Aboriginal people and European settlers have seen things from vastly divergent points of view, because their attitudes and philosophies differed. The interaction of the two groups has been characterized as one of "COOPERATION and conflict but, more importantly, by misconceptions and contradictions.”4 "

http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumel/chapter14.html#2

With the natives language, religion, and culture lost, the colonials and native leaders should both be held responsible, and therefore, equally share the blame.

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Please please believe me when I say this. What happened to the aboriginals, the sexual abuse, physical violence, rape, humiliation, forced conversions, is all true. This is not the figment of anyone's imagination.

Also please understand, it is very very rare for there to be situations where people fabricate stories of sexual abuse in institutions. Do not mix that up with family law custody battles where a parent may try use sexual abuse as a tool to gain custody of the child.

I believe and agree that sexual abuses, physical violence, forced conversions etc., did exist.

Although they did happen, it does not mean it happened to everyone.

However, possible fabrications of SOME stories cannot simply be dismissed as something that could not possibly happen. We've seen some alleged abusers from other cases (not native-related) that had been acquitted or exonerated.

We live in a very materialistic society...with drug addiction an ever increasing problem. Cash rewards make an enticing incentive. Not just for the natives. But for possibly just about anyone.

What is the difference between family law custody battles and cases of abuse in institutions? Obviously if one is determined to gain something (whether it be custody or money), one can possibly come up with just about anything.

And with the residential school cases, the MOTIVES for possible fabrication may not necessarily be because of cash rewards alone.

All I'm saying is that I don't think one should not even question and/or rashly dismiss the possibilities for fabrication simply because we know that abuses did exist and that they happened to the Natives.

Taking it from an ex-spouse or from the government....the only difference I see is one's more likely to get something from the government. :D

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If somebody enters into a contract they are bound by the articles in that contract. That is a simple fact. The government can vacate the terms of any agreement they have signed, it is their soveirgn right to do so. That is a fact too.

At issue here is a group of citizens that seek compensation for a defaulted contract.....is there any other way to look at it?

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If the contract is formed on unethical grounds, the government should be able to get out of it no problem. I think the majority of Canadians probably wouldn't mind seeing the end of the racial freeride that exists here. The backlash would be minor if we just threw out the treaties and started treating everyone with equal rights for once.

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Unethical grounds ? What a crock!

Firstly, Native peoples agreed to live in peace sharing the land with the new arrivals from Europe in exchange for the support they stil receive today as well as abiding by the relationship outlined by The Two Row Wampum. Non-interference in each others affairs.

Same basic situation with The Six Nations - they were granted the land in exchange for Loyalty to the crown. A few posters on here keep saying the lands were granted becasue of race - the people who granted the land contradict that statement! I have a feeling that if history had changed - and lets say the French managed to colonise the land fully then came the english - both European countries hammered out a deal to share the land - a bet that deal would still stand wouldnt it?

You speak of equality - do you also consider the Indian Act race based preferential treatment? The Act facilitated the erasure of another culture because some people find past agreements entered into inconvenient. The entire intent of the act was to assimilate people who did not want to be assimilated. Students were not enrolled in residential schools!, they were legislated into attendance - either forcibly or legal action against the parents.

Id like to see some supporting facts that the government can just remove themselves from a contract ( treaty ) signed? Countries who do not live up to agreements made with other nations find themselves with a shrinking number of trading partners.

What is unethical is not living up to your word, and that includes contracts.

If the contract is formed on unethical grounds, the government should be able to get out of it no problem. I think the majority of Canadians probably wouldn't mind seeing the end of the racial freeride that exists here. The backlash would be minor if we just threw out the treaties and started treating everyone with equal rights for once.
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Unethical grounds ? What a crock!
I would not use term unethical - illegitimate by today's standards is a better description. For example, periodically people talk about Canada taking over the Turks and Calicos. If this happened Canada would never negotiate a deal that included special rights in-perpetuity for the descendants of the existing residents of those islands. Nor would Canada accept a deal that allowed the residents of those islands to prevent other Canadians from moving to the islands or denied them the right to vote for the territorial gov't if they lived there. Canada would be willing to negotiate a self-government deal that allowed the residents to protect their unique culture and language.

There are many things the gov't has done in the past that are not acceptable by today's standards. For example, the forms of discipline used at residential schools are considered abuse today and natives feel they deserve compensation for that abuse even though those forms of discipline were acceptable at the time and many non-native children experienced the same kind of discipline at regular schools (i.e. the strap, punishment for using languages other than English, et. al.).

It is not reasonable to selectively apply today's standards to events in past. If we as a society are expected to pay compensation for past actions that are only wrong by today's standards then we as society are also entitled to demand that deals and treaties with provisions that are wrong by today's standards be torn up and replaced by deals and treaties that do meet today's standards.

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A newspaper giant wants to cut down one of the last remaining rain forest in Canada...which

happens to be on Indian lands...A PE A C E ful protest in its 4th YEAR.

heres the link

What is the status of the talks on this traditional land?

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Unlike your example of the Turks and Caicos - Canada did enter into an agreement, and they are legitimate - and are considered so by the majority of Canadians. ( the ones that beleive honouring a contract ) I guess this majority of people who beleive contracts should be honoured and respected otherwise your word becomes worthless. Funny you should mention not being allowed to vote.... did you read that section of the Indian Act? Still think the Act is preferential towards Natives? The agreement about Self Government was made at the same instant the europeans were made welcome to share the land. The Two Row Wampum.

Anyone who thinks the punishments dealt out in those institutions is a total numbskull. At no time were actions like that acceptable. Did your dad kick you in the chest with a riding boot for raising your voice River? It would explain much of what you spew on here. Oh and legitamacy - You feel taking those measures against speaking ones own language were legitamate? Any Francophones like to comment? - What if French speaking kids were rounded up and subjected to corporal punishment when they used their native tongue?

And the only thing that is being asked is that the agreements be honoured. Honouring your word has always been a standard of behaviour in any time frame.

J J Fortin - About what Id like to see happen - The perfect situation would be that control over development within the Haldimabnd Tract would be given to Six Nations. Property Taxes from same area should go to Six Nations, as well as taxes obtained through use of resources within the tract. Id like to see the whole tract of land become a new municipality. IN regards to land owners already within the tract, they shouldnt have their land taken from them but Six Nations should be further compensated for these lands. If the land owner does not wish to remain in the new municipality the government should buy them out and combine the deed back into the lands specified int The Haldimand Deed. Oh and some sort of repayment scheme should be set up to compensate for the monies lost while being held in trust by the Grand River Navigation Company.

So there you have it - One Mans idea of a good start to a possible solution.

Unethical grounds ? What a crock!
I would not use term unethical - illegitimate by today's standards is a better description. For example, periodically people talk about Canada taking over the Turks and Calicos. If this happened Canada would never negotiate a deal that included special rights in-perpetuity for the descendants of the existing residents of those islands. Nor would Canada accept a deal that allowed the residents of those islands to prevent other Canadians from moving to the islands or denied them the right to vote for the territorial gov't if they lived there. Canada would be willing to negotiate a self-government deal that allowed the residents to protect their unique culture and language.

There are many things the gov't has done in the past that are not acceptable by today's standards. For example, the forms of discipline used at residential schools are considered abuse today and natives feel they deserve compensation for that abuse even though those forms of discipline were acceptable at the time and many non-native children experienced the same kind of discipline at regular schools (i.e. the strap, punishment for using languages other than English, et. al.).

It is not reasonable to selectively apply today's standards to events in past. If we as a society are expected to pay compensation for past actions that are only wrong by today's standards then we as society are also entitled to demand that deals and treaties with provisions that are wrong by today's standards be torn up and replaced by deals and treaties that do meet today's standards.

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Unlike your example of the Turks and Caicos - Canada did enter into an agreement, and they are legitimate - and are considered so by the majority of Canadians. ( the ones that beleive honouring a contract ) I guess this majority of people who beleive contracts should be honoured and respected otherwise your word becomes worthless. Funny you should mention not being allowed to vote.... did you read that section of the Indian Act? Still think the Act is preferential towards Natives? The agreement about Self Government was made at the same instant the europeans were made welcome to share the land. The Two Row Wampum.

Anyone who thinks the punishments dealt out in those institutions is a total numbskull. At no time were actions like that acceptable. Did your dad kick you in the chest with a riding boot for raising your voice River? It would explain much of what you spew on here. Oh and legitamacy - You feel taking those measures against speaking ones own language were legitamate? Any Francophones like to comment? - What if French speaking kids were rounded up and subjected to corporal punishment when they used their native tongue?

And the only thing that is being asked is that the agreements be honoured. Honouring your word has always been a standard of behaviour in any time frame.

J J Fortin - About what Id like to see happen - The perfect situation would be that control over development within the Haldimabnd Tract would be given to Six Nations. Property Taxes from same area should go to Six Nations, as well as taxes obtained through use of resources within the tract. Id like to see the whole tract of land become a new municipality. IN regards to land owners already within the tract, they shouldnt have their land taken from them but Six Nations should be further compensated for these lands. If the land owner does not wish to remain in the new municipality the government should buy them out and combine the deed back into the lands specified int The Haldimand Deed. Oh and some sort of repayment scheme should be set up to compensate for the monies lost while being held in trust by the Grand River Navigation Company.

So there you have it - One Mans idea of a good start to a possible solution.

Unethical grounds ? What a crock!
I would not use term unethical - illegitimate by today's standards is a better description. For example, periodically people talk about Canada taking over the Turks and Calicos. If this happened Canada would never negotiate a deal that included special rights in-perpetuity for the descendants of the existing residents of those islands. Nor would Canada accept a deal that allowed the residents of those islands to prevent other Canadians from moving to the islands or denied them the right to vote for the territorial gov't if they lived there. Canada would be willing to negotiate a self-government deal that allowed the residents to protect their unique culture and language.

There are many things the gov't has done in the past that are not acceptable by today's standards. For example, the forms of discipline used at residential schools are considered abuse today and natives feel they deserve compensation for that abuse even though those forms of discipline were acceptable at the time and many non-native children experienced the same kind of discipline at regular schools (i.e. the strap, punishment for using languages other than English, et. al.).

It is not reasonable to selectively apply today's standards to events in past. If we as a society are expected to pay compensation for past actions that are only wrong by today's standards then we as society are also entitled to demand that deals and treaties with provisions that are wrong by today's standards be torn up and replaced by deals and treaties that do meet today's standards.

Holy crap that is a big chunk of land! I just went over to; http://www.sixnations.ca/LCMap.pdf

to check it out. Damn you guys have a large problem! Look for openers the best plan of attack with this is to take a step back and consider what you can get away with. I mean in all seriousness what you are talking about will cause a few heart attacks! First of all getting everything you want out of this deal will simply not happen, so you need to shoot for something that can happen.

This agreement was reached prior to the confederations of provinces formed Canada. Therefore the legal authority was British, who when the BNA was concluded should have incorporated into it something about this treaty and other treaties. So the question I will ask is what happened between 1784 and 2001?

I am sure that the Six Nations have some plan, and I will begin to look into this, but you have a large problem buddy.

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I am sure that the Six Nations have some plan, and I will begin to look into this, but you have a large problem buddy.

You should see the map for B.C. or Manitoba. *All* of the land is claimed.

I think that is what scares people. Will we be evicted from our homes?

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