Current Idle No More events. Below are two messages.
(1) Idle No More response to the upcoming AFN Conference with controversial National Chief Shawn Atleo
(2) New wave of hunger strikes to begin March 1st against Harper government
Message From Arthur Manuel in Response to AFN Press Release on Land Claims Agreement Coalition Conference:
“Indigenous Peoples who do not want to extinguish their Aboriginal Title and Rights must organize outside the existing organizations”
Just wanted to draw your attention to this “National Land Claims Agreements Coalition Conference” our National Chief will be addressing. You know Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. That is like signing Indian Treaties with Canada. It is bad enough that Canada does not recognize and implement the old treaties they signed with us, therefore the real question is why should we be signing new treaties with Canada. That is insanity if in the process you extinguish your Aboriginal Title and Rights.
This Coalition is between all the Indigenous organizations who recently signed agreements with Canada. These agreements are in fact the result of the present Comprehensive Land Claims Policy that present Senior Officials Committee (SOC) are discussing to revamp so more modern treaties can be signed.
The modern treaties are the government’s first line of defence for the existing extinguishment policy. In fact the first line of defence exists inside our own Indigenous organizations and not between our organizations and the federal government. Indeed, Indigenous Peoples who do not want to extinguish their Aboriginal Title and Rights must organize outside the existing organizations in order to develop an effective strategy to defeat the federal governments policy to extinguish our Aboriginal Title and Rights and assimilate us.
The contradictions inside this AFN press release are very clear. The AFN has a mountain of resolutions in which we stand behind government recognition of our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. Nevertheless, these resolutions are swept under the carpet when the AFN decides to praise the modern treaties as being good examples, despite the they extinguish our Aboriginal Title and Rights.
The AFN should be very careful about sending mixed signals to the federal government. On the one hand you meet with Harper and set up SOC yet the Coalition represents the group of Indigenous Peoples who agreed to extinguish our title and rights. In fact the AFN should be more concerned about the Indigenous Peoples who have deliberately refused to negotiate under the existing extinguishment policy, and want it changed, instead of implicitly saying the policy is okay because the modern treaties are good agreements.
The grassroots should keep a close eye on the National Land Claims Agreements Coalition because that body is Canada’s high water mark in making land agreements. We must exceed that so called high water mark and force Canada to establish a new policy based on recognition and affirmation of Aboriginal Title and Rights on the ground forever.
SECOND WAVE OF HUNGER STRIKES TO BEGIN IN OPPOSITION TO HARPER GOVERNMENT
Shelley A. Young & Joseph Jean Sock will begin a hunger strike to denounce the current aggressive implementations by the Harper Government. Press Conf Mar 1 at 10am.
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Mi’kmaq people say NO to Framework Agreements that abolish Treaties
Protesters Come together to denounce changes to Aboriginal Rights that are being stampeded by Omnibus budget bill
MILLBROOK NS– Members of the Mi’kmaq Nation, are opposed to the impending framework agreements under the premises of economic opportunity, the Made in Nova Scotia Process, and the Made in New Brunswick Process.
“The framework agreements promise economic opportunity for a select group of Mi’kmaq people at the price of all Mi’kmaq peoples inherent treaties ”, said Marina Young, “Our people are already living under a paternalistic government within the Indian Act itself where Chiefs tell the people how their community will be run. We have a voice and we say “NO!” to the Made in Nova Scotia Process and the Made in New Brunswick Process.
Drastic measures have been implemented with the declaration of a hunger strike by a citizens assembly in the Mi’kmaq community comprised of members from each of the neighboring provinces. The lead fasters, who will consume only water throughout the duration, will be Idle No More organizer Shelley Young, a member of Eskasoni First Nation and Jean Sock, a member of the New Brunswick reservation Elsipogtog.Jean and Shelley represent the communities who feel they have not yet been consulted about this process, and feel that their current leadership should not be dealing with a federal government who has openly disregarded First Nation’s treaties with the passing of Bill C-45, which they say is a direct assault on Aboriginal communities and land designated for sale by Mi’kmaq leadership along with the Harper government to major oil and mining companies.
The Fast will commence at midnight, Thursday, on the Millbrook reservation and will continue until a majority opts out of the process or is willing to halt the process until the Harper government is no longer in office.
“Our treaties are our identity, we are raised in our communities to understand the importance of our right to a sustainable living, and we understand that these were friendship treaties made to benefit all, but here we are. The Canadian government has benefited the most of all“, says Bryson Sylliboy of Indianbrook. “Bill C-45 and the Made In Nova Scotia process are very closely mirrored, one of ‘Jobs and Growth’ and the other ‘Economic Opportunity.”“We’ve been protesting against the Harper Government since December for their lack of consultation with our leaders for C-45 and other impending bills, yet our own leaders fail to consult with us on negotiations that regard our rights, impact our lands and extinguish our treaties. Information sessions done in select few communities where a handful of people show is not deemed proper consultation. Band members should have complete understanding of these comprehensive claim policies and be in full support of them if they are to continue. These processes will ultimately be detrimental to our lands, Mi’kmaq people will have different rights in different provinces, our original treaties will be extinguished (labelled “certainty” in the federal policy), and will effect our children and future generations to come.” says Shelley Young of Eskasoni.
The group is also asking for support from allies who are concerned about how these bills will affect them. The threat of modernizing treaties and negotiating with a government that clearly disrespects these contracts is crucial to the people of Canada. “It has been stated that the Native people are Canada’s last hope in protecting our lands and our waterways for all of us to enjoy”.
Idle No More “Nation First” will be holding a Press Conference on Friday, March 1 at 10:00am. All persons concerned with the damages these modernized treaties will have on Canada’s lakes and water ways, Canada’s Human Rights Groups and Aboriginal Treaty Right is urged to attend.
For More Information, please contact:
UPDATE: March 1st, today commenced Day 1 of the hunger strike. Please Keep Ms Shelley and Mr Sock in your thoughts as prayers, as well as Mi’kmaq leaders and the Harper government who we hope will address these strikers and their concerns.