COAST SALISH TERRITORIES - Wild Salmon protectors occupied the office of BC Attorney-General David Eby today.
The protesters want the provincial NDP to withdraw fish farm permits from Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and Namgis territory. The occupation was in solidarity at occupations at two fish farms.
The call is for more direct action and calls to BC Premier John Horgan to shut down the fish farm industry that has wreaked havoc on wild salmon stocks with disease.
VANCOUVER - About 3,000 opponents of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion marched through downtown Vancouver today. Speakers at a waterside rally following the march called for renewed efforts to stop the twinning of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands.
COAST SALISH TERRITORIES - Indigenous leaders and other opponents of fish farms rallied outside a BC NDP meeting in downtown Vancouver today. They called for a shutdown of the farms to protect wild salmon stocks from sea lice and interbreeding.
Speakers also calle for continued support of two fish farm occupations underway on the North end of Vancouver Island.
The midday protest was heald outside a meeting of the new BC NDP cabinet with Indigenous leaders. Indigneous relations minister Scott Fraser addressed the crowd but gave no definitive support for ending fish farmining in BC. Fraser cited the importance of the "jobs created by fish farming" on the West Coast as a major consideration for his new government.
HeadlinesParkdale Renters Strike in Toronto ends in victory | Omme-Salma Rahemtullah, GW
Traditional Mi’kmaq District Chiefs oppose Junex projects in Gaspesie, Quebec | Greg Macdougall, Media Co-op, with files from Collectif Anarchives Features Unsanctioned Overdose Prevention Site goes up in Toronto | Mick Sweetman, CJRU Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance take on coastal fish farms in BC | Gunargie O'Sullivan, Co-op Radio Community Radio Report Youth Radio Camp takes over CKUT's airwaves | Tamara Filyavich, CKUT Music this week was by Oz 12 and Cathy Cook.
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Last week, Canada switched arrogance and condescension for gestures of off-kilter desperation at the Assembly of First Nations’ general assembly. That is probably because on August 14 and 15, Canada will be under the microscope at UN headquarters in Geneva. Fifteen Indigenous Peoples’ organizations have already submitted extensive reports for the Session, detailing Canada’s “seek and destroy” approach to their internationally recognized human rights.
It is a typical Canadian tactic to invent meaningless distractions right before a review by a UN treaty body: their delegates to the Session can then reply to the Committee’s independent experts by talking about “initiatives” or “joint meetings” which do not substantially exist, instead of answering directly.
This time Canada sent four federal ministers to the AFN’s annual assembly, July 25-27, where they implied that Ottawa is going to rescind the Indian Act. Bennett (Minister of Indigenous Affairs), Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice), McKenna (Environment) and Goodale (Public Safety), all made vague references to bright promises yet to come.
The only concrete message from Ottawa to the AFN Chiefs – only half of whom showed up at the all-expense-paid meeting in Regina – was that it will no longer claw back unused capital funds to First Nation communities after twelve months of dispersal.
This miserable material figure can and should be unsuccessfully compared to the immaterial, yet golden, future intimated by Bennett’s and Wilson-Raybould’s reported remarks. “How will your nation and Indigenous government be organized? What is your territory?” Their remarks, on the other hand, will certainly be judged against the picture of Indigenous life under Canada which has been detailed in reports to the UN CERD.
“ Skeena watershed and coastal Indigenous communities depend on the salmon for food, their economies and cultures. This (LNG, Prince Rupert) project is a prime example of what’s wrong with Canada’s approach to engaging Indigenous communities in large-scale industrial developments: It continuously fails to honour the legal obligations to Indigenous Peoples in protecting their traditional resources; The Canadian government generally consults with Band Councils, which were created under the colonial Indian Act, and often fails to consult hereditary leadership or respect traditional governance systems; …”
. Skeena Indigenous Groups’ Submission to UN CERD. July 6, 2017
It is interesting to note that only weeks after this report to the CERD was posted for the Session, Petronas announced its withdrawal from this proposed project, “Pacific NorthWest LNG.”
The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has dealt Canada sharp rebukes over the last two decades: stop extinguishing Indigenous Peoples’ titles; stop ignoring murderers who target Indigenous women; stop trying to destroy the Lubicon Cree to get oil access.
The UN treaty bodies have an internationally recognized judicial power to issue recommendations to member states in keeping with upholding international human rights conventions. Each committee periodically receives reports from the state under review, and also from non-governmental organizations, civil society, academia, and now from Indigenous Peoples’ organizations.
It is typically the reports from Indigenous Peoples and NGOs which have, in the past, resulted in strong recommendations from UN Committees to Canada. Many of those have produced changes in the government’s behaviour, although such changes have been isolated and usually only in direct connection to the issues reported. In British Columbia this includes instances of forgiveness of government treaty negotiation loans to small Bands; dissolution of treaty societies formed to negotiate in the BC treaty process – against community members’ protests; and possibly the current standstill in BC Treaty Commission business altogether.
Extinguishment “negotiations” are an ongoing problem that is at the center of the CERD’s focus on Canada:
“There are no viable options other than legal court action to counter the BCTC “treaty” process about these overlaps into St’át’imc territory. As negotiations with the outside First Nations progress, the eventual outcome will be the extinguishment of significant portions of St’át’imc territory without the St’át’imc having been involved in any negotiations to this effect.”
. SHADOW REPORT BY THE INTERIOR ALLIANCE: CANADA’S ONGOING COLONIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. UN CERD COMMITTEE JULY 2017
In contradiction to the Interior Alliance’s extensive documentation of the extinguishment effect of Canadian “negotiations,” however, Minister Wilson-Raybould remarked to the press on her government’s plans: “They are explicit in rejecting certain long-standing federal positions—such as the focus on extinguishment, surrender or denial of rights.” Incidentally, that’s what Canada told the CERD in 2007.
Extinguishment, surrender and denial are precisely what Canada offers Indigenous Peoples. There is a veritable firestorm of examples of this, enveloping Indigenous Peoples. It is highly suspect that a Canadian Minister climbs a prominent national stage and says “we’re just about to change,” (again) only days before Canada has to answer a lot of very pointed questions in front of the world.
Consistent Canadian practices are to assimilate and co-opt economic development, to municipalize isolated communities under provincial legislation, to criminalize traditional economies, to rigidly maintain dependency by an overbearing and constantly metamorphosing bureaucracy which can never be finally functional. There is the “First Nations Land Codes” – where a community votes to recognize Canadian supremacy in its traditional territories, just for the privilege to enjoy managerial duties on-reserve. There are the “Strategic Land Use Planning Agreements” – where communities have shared maps of their territories showing cultural values and inadvertently given tacit approval to development in huge “low cultural value” lands. In the national Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, crucial voices have undoubtedly been denied. Indigenous Peoples’ rights under Article 1 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political, and Social, Economic and Cultural Rights are completely denied. Canada specializes in the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their homes and communities, requiring parents and families to submit and surrender to provincial courts which have no jurisdiction whatsoever in the case of children and families who are not Canadian until they produce a referendum from their nation joining Canada.
Minister Wilson-Raybould, apparently speaking for those Indigenous individuals who have exercised their right to choose a nationality, appealed to the Chiefs to imagine their future as Canadians whose Indigenous rights are recognized and respected.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Canada expresses the state’s right to own Indigenous nations it has no treaties with. It is certainly a matter of interest in any investigation of racial discrimination. Apparently the key to Canada’s jurisdiction over nations with which it has no constructive agreements is owing to the fact that the British monarch, appointed by the Christian god, had sent a sailor with orders to discover and possess others’ lands in His name, and he was successful in this because the Christian god was superior, so the Supreme Court of Canada seems to say, to any of the existing nations’ gods. We know it is the presence of other Christian nations which is at issue in the matter of the Canadian court’s opinion on sovereign possession, because the issue was finally settled in 1846, according to Canadian judges, when the USA agreed in the Oregon Treaty to withdraw from pursuing any interests north of the 49th parallel. From that date, Great Britain and now Canada enjoys sovereign possession of all lands from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean above that parallel, except Alaska, as per SCC, because all other Christian nations had, by that time, also promised Great Britain they would pursue no interests there.
Unfortunately for that internationally repugnant display of Canadian faith, which is the state’s current legal precedent, it is not clear that any Indigenous Peoples have formally joined and adhered to Canada. Wilson-Raybould was referring to that popular understanding among the Chiefs. The CERD has been made aware of that understanding, and again in the reports for this Session:
“In particular, we bring to the Committee’s attention the state’s use of its own imposed Indian Band administration, under the Indian Act, on the state-defined Indian Reserve, to manufacture the appearance of Líl’wat consent to Canada’s disposal of the remainder of Líl’wat customary titles to lands and wealth outside the Reserve.
“Líl’watmc ask that the Committee question Canada about the origins of any rights of jurisdiction it may have in relation to Líl’wat which could justify Canadian licensing and development without the consent and against the Interests of the Líl’watmc under the Convention, and resulting in the continuing displacement and dispossession of Líl’wat.”
Líl’wat report to UNCERD, July 2017, with the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities
The picture developed by fifteen Indigenous Peoples’ organizations shows Canada’s unabated attempts to assimilate Indigenous Peoples – their worldview, identity, economies, individuals, children, histories, and especially their lands and natural wealth – into Canada. Unilateral, non-consensual assimilation is categorically prohibited as a matter of human rights norms, and yet that end of the spectrum of Canada’s colonization is not the worst.
“If Ontario and Canada insist on excluding us from meaningful consultations on the Agreement in Principle, then we insist that Canada and Ontario exclude the areas where our First Nations’ asserted Aboriginal title and rights overlap with the “Algonquins of Ontario” claims, or at least suspend negotiations over such areas, until such time as we have engaged in meaningful consultations and reached an acceptable accommodation.
“Despite our objections in March 2016, the “Algonquins of Ontario”, Canada and Ontario have proceeded to hold a referendum vote on the AIP.”
“How does one start to describe the horrific conduct of Canada in their relentless efforts to extinguish the rights of Indigenous peoples within their ancestral homelands?”
“While the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that the Canadian and provincial governments have a duty to consult, negotiate, and accommodate Indigenous rights, the governments use these consultation and negotiation processes to coerce, terrorize, terminate, extinguish, and discriminate against Indigenous peoples and our rights.”
“Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, also known as Grassy Narrows First Nation, is located on the English-Wabigoon River system in North Western Ontario, and is infamous for mercury contamination from an upstream pulp and paper mill. … In 2016, a former mill worker came forward to confess the mill had illegally buried barrels of waste along the river, leading to the persisting contamination and inability of the river system to recover naturally.”
Chiefs of Ontario report to UNCERD, July 2017
“On November 29, 2016, the Canadian Federal Cabinet directed the National Energy Board to approve the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. This pipeline poses an unacceptable risk to the health, safety and livelihoods of First Nations throughout British Columbia, and will contribute to the negative environmental and health impacts experienced by Indigenous Peoples downstream of the tar sands, and of all peoples throughout the world as a result of accelerating global climate change. The Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam, Coldwater, Upper Nicola, Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc, Aithchelitz, Shxwhay Village, Yakweakwioose, Kwawkwaw-apilt, Tzeachten, Skowkale, Soowalie, and Squiala peoples have commenced legal proceedings seeking to challenge the federal approval for the Trans Mountain project… It is well established that diluted bitumen contains toxic chemicals that are a threat to drinking water, health, and the well-being of salmon and other beings.”
Submission to the UNCERD 93rd Session, 2017. Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.
Minister Bennett, for the federal department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, said to the AFN Chiefs last week: “We want to partner with you on building on the strengths and assets you have in your communities. You have the power to determine the future of your communities.”
The international community is quite aware that Canada still wishes to build on the strengths and benefits belonging to Indigenous communities, whether Canada co-opts the participation of those communities through “benefits sharing” or “land management” or other agreements achieved under duress. The international community is also aware that Indigenous Peoples have the power to determine the future of their communities, and that Minister Bennett and her government may well have nothing to do with that.
As the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ report articulated, “We are presently witnessing a great divide between the words of the Canadian government and its actions on the ground. We would like to highlight the term “rights ritualism” for the consideration of the Committee in respect to Canada’s present actions: a way of embracing the language of human rights precisely to deflect real human rights scrutiny and to avoid accountability for human rights abuses. Countries are often willing to accept human rights treaty commitments to earn international approval, but they resist the changes that the treaty obligations require.”
CHASE, B.C. - Secwepemc elders, youth, children and families are calling for an immediate shutdown of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline in light of the forest fires raging through their territory. They fear the pipeline poses a serious safety hazard.
They also say the unprecedented increase in fires is evidence of global warming created, in part, by Alberta tar sands oil transported by Kinder Morgan.
"We are in a critical state of emergency dealing with the impacts of climate change,” said Secwepemc teacher Dawn Morrison, adding “this includes catastrophic flooding and fires, as well as social issues such as poverty, increased violence against our women and high rates of death from substance abuse in our communities.”
Morrison, founder of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, says “the health of our families and communities relies heavily on our ability to harvest wild salmon and access clean drinking water, both of which are at risk if the Kinder Morgan pipeline was ruptured or impacted by the fires.”
The Secwepemc’ulecw Assembly is demanding a moratorium on any pipeline proposing to transport crude or diluted bitumen through their vast traditional territory where they are stewards of the forests, fields and waterways that flow from the Rockies on their way to the ocean.
The Assembly met last month to reaffirm its territorial title and authority saying, “We have never provided and will never provide our collective free, prior and informed consent - the minimal international standard - to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project.
“We explicitly and irrevocably refuse its passage through our territory. Investors take note, there is no Secwepemc consent for Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan will not pass through Secwepemc Territory.”
To view the Secwepemcul'ecw Assembly Declaration visit: secwepemculecw.org
For interviews contact: Jeffrey McNeil – 416.720.4358 Kanahus Manuel – 250.852.9002 or 323.804.5106
Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty
C/O 555 East 55th Avenue Vancouver, B.C, V5X 1N6
Mobile: 778.879.5106 Email: email@example.com
The founding colonial fathers of British Columbia gained control of the land by using smallpox in a pre-emptive biological strike against the powerful Nuxalk, Tsilhqot’in, Haida and other west coast nations, in 1862. This is the latest interpretation of forensically researched letters, journals, maps, records of company directors, and newspapers from the time.
In fact there is a great deal of interpretation in Tom Swanky’s third book, The Smallpox War in Nuxalk Territory. The writer, who holds degrees in law and political science from several Canadian universities, was critically dismissed in his first two publications concerning smallpox and The True Story of Canada’s War of Extermination on the Pacific, largely because of jumped-to conclusions. A turn of phrase in a newspaper article in Victoria really cannot be relied upon to pin an elaborate conspiracy spanning colonial rank, entrepreneurial dynasties and 800 miles of coast.
But he can be forgiven for a little enthusiastic excess, because he has already been convinced of the conspiracy and the evidence speaks for itself – even when the writer is shouting over top of it – confirming the oral histories of every nation which was decimated by disease instead of treatied-with by Britain. And Swanky was dismissed by career academics who have made a living teaching a certain brand of colonial history: one which does not feature genocide and fifteen ensuing decades of active, relentless oppression of Indigenous nations; and which does not feature a past or a future where Indigenous nations are self-determining landlords in their own homelands, free of Canada’s occupation. The smallpox epidemic was the key to British control of powerful, resourceful nations - and their rich lands.
There is a lot of evidence in this new book, evidence which makes that offical, status quo "story of BC" disintegrate. When the pieces of documentary evidence are read together, a sequence of events which deny coincidence can be easily exposed.
Here is the best and most central example: the Attorney General of the Colony of BC, George Cary, formed a company. The Bentinck Arm Company was a speculation venture, planning to get land just before a road from Bentinck Arm went through to the Cariboo goldfields; through Nuxalk and Tsilqot’in country. Cary’s plan was to sell “empty” lots along the mouth of the Bella Coola River, in Nuxalk country, promoting them as desirable properties once the most important new road in the colony, and probably the next major new deep sea port, was built. His Company's shareholders staked claims covering the entire area in 1860. In April of 1862, his Company offered them as being available in June of 1862.
When you put that little artifact next to a map of the mouth of the Bella Coola River, what really jumps out at you is the fact that there were no “empty” spaces along the mouth of the Bella Coola River at the time of his writing. That area was quite full: villages on either side; villages just behind them on the left and right; and a little note as to the population of the 970 acre mapped area – some thousands of people. The Nuxalk did not consider themselves colonial subjects, nor their lands colonial assets, and they were not participants in Cary’s exploit.
In order to sell someone fee simple property, you have to provide “vacant possession” – meaning there’s no one else there. The historical evidence shows that George Cary used a Colony boat to get down to San Francisco in January of 1862, along with a Committee to raise funds for a regular steamship line between San Francisco and Bella Coola, via Victoria. The Committee included several politicans who were also shareholders in the Bentinck Arm Company, and they picked up a couple of guys who had smallpox, and sailed back to Victoria with them. Another traveler, returning to San Francisco when the same ship left Victoria again, gave a report to a newspaper on his arrival: lots up on the Bella Coola River would soon be selling like hotcakes! That was in March of 1862.
In the same month, BC’s colonial officials advised the public there was no money to complete treaties with the nations in whose lands they were squatting. This was a matter of real concern for would-be settlers, because they knew very well that they were not safe without some legitimate land rights. Instead of resources for treaties, the Imperial government of Britain had sent 500 rifles for colonial militias. And Cary had brought two guys with smallpox.
Smallpox spread through Victoria. White people were quarantined, treated, and given vaccinations, while natives, camped in their trading spots on the beaches outside Victoria, were sent home when signs of the disease appeared among them. In fact, their camps were burned down and they were chased away – by gunship, in one case – and the spread of smallpox among their villages followed without delay.
The historical record doesn’t have photos of the smallpox carrier from San Francisco, touching and breathing on native people on the beaches of Victoria. What it does have is Francis Poole’s commission to work for the Bentinck Arm Company – and lead one of the smallpox carriers through Nuxalk, Tsilhqot'in, and then other well-inhabited nations where Cary's company wanted to do business.
The record also exposes the steamship Committee that brought two smallpox carriers back from San Francisco while they were on Colony business arranging for a steamship line to Bella Coola, a line that was being instigated, developed and overseen by the Attorney General (owner of the Bentinck Arm Company) and several former HBC traders who were now in the colonial government as well as being shareholders on the Board of the Bentinck Arm Company.
In May, Francis Poole was sent on to spend some time in the Nuxalk country, along with one of the San Franciscans with smallpox. He led that party in and out of Tsilhqot’in country for the Company. Somehow the smallpox carrier failed to cover his face when in close contact with the Nuxalk and Tsilhqot’in people – somehow failed to keep his distance. Poole, leader of the party and aware of the smallpox they brought with them, somehow failed to provide vaccination, or advise on the vital aspects of quarantine. Smallpox can be transmitted as easily as by skin contact, or on the breath.
By the time June of 1862 came along, Cary’s lots along the mouth of the Bella Coola River were vacant. It takes about two weeks for someone to contract and then die of smallpox, and there were only a few survivors of the epidemic that cleared the Bentinck Arm Company’s lots. Those people moved to live together with the survivors of other villages – they had to, there were so few of them.
There is a lot more to the story of all these people, companies and nations. Those stories are told in great detail in The Smallpox War in Nuxalk Territory. A narrative, a couple of biographies, a timeline and a set of maps make this history accessible and compelling to all kinds of readers.
Swanky set out to prove Indigenous historians correct, he says he did, and so the book reads a little like a murder trial. Well, that’s precisely what it is. It helps to remember that newcomers sitting happily on beautiful, rich lands in British Columbia see that bloody historical mass-murder very differently from the people who are sitting in cramped, poor Indian Reserves in marshes or flood plains or cliff-sides, looking over on what their great grandparents had. And when these two different groups look to the future, they also disagree about what they see there. A “guilty” verdict coming in some 155 years after the fact might actually bring those two visions of reality a little closer together, and prepare people for an upcoming correction on the status quo.
The Smallpox War in Nuxalk Territory
By Tom Swanky
Dragon Heart Press, 2016
Tom Swanky’s latest book was requested by the Nuxalk people themselves. Although the final text was not approved by them, nor was approval solicited, the book was received very well at the end of 2016 and was followed up by a series of ten workshops by the author in the Bella Coola valley.
In 2014, Tom Swanky was engaged by the BC government to advise on the Premier’s “exoneration” of the Tsilhqot’in Chiefs who were hanged in 1864 for murder and treason. Later this year, The True Story of Canada’s War of Extermination on the Pacific, which covers much of the events surrounding the Tsilhqot’in War of 1864, will be re-released in a second edition.
This text graphic uses exerpts from the following documents, attached in full below as text, and as additional images:
The Lil'wat case, Edmonds v. Canada, IACHR 12-929. Currently at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Carrier Sekani Declaration and Claim, April 15, 1982
Declaration of the Tahltan Tribe, 1910
Aboriginal Title and Rights Position paper, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 1979
Okanagan Nation Elders' Declaration, March 1993
Musqueam Declaration, June 10, 1976
Lheidli Tenneh Declaration 1992
James Gosnell, Nisga'a Chief, famous statement in reply to British Columbia's attampts to negotiate to the province's advantage.
Declaration of the First Nations of Vancouver Island within the E&N Land Grant Area
Declaration of Secwepemc Sovereignty 1983
The Coastal First Nations Declaration, 2010
Statement of the Nuxalk, House of Smayusta, September 1995
Xwe-Nal-Mexw (CoastSalish) Declaration
The North West Tribal Treaty, 1991
Save The Fraser DEeclaration, 2010
Declaration and Claim
April 15th, 1982
Whereas we of the Carrier and Sekani Tribes have been, since time immemorial, the original owners, occupants and users of the north central part of what is now called the province of British Columbia and more specifically that area of the said province outlined in red contained in the map attached hereto as schedule “A” [herein referred to as “the said lands”].
And whereas in addition to the original ownership, occupancy and use, we have exercised jurisdiction as a sovereign people over the said lands since time immemorial,
And whereas this original ownership, occupancy and use, and jurisdiction by our people over the said lands has never been surrendered by our people through conquest, treaty or any other legal means to the British Crown or to its colonial governments or to the Crown in right of the province of British Columbia or to the Crown in right of Canada or to any other government,
And whereas this original ownership, occupancy and use by our people, and jurisdiction over the said lands has never been superseded by law,
And whereas much of the said lands is, without our consent, now occupied and its resources used by peoples not indigenous to our lands,
And whereas such occupation and use by non indigenous people to the said lands is without compensation to our people,
We, the representatives of the Carrier and Sekani Tribes hereby declare and assert our continued original ownership, occupancy and use of, and jurisdiction over the said lands and all its resources,
And we further declare and assert the continued existence of those rights which flow from our original ownership, occupancy and use of, and the jurisdiction of the said lands and all its resources,
And further we hereby demand of the governments of Canada and British Columbia compensation for their past, present and proposed use and occupancy of our lands and all its resources.
Executive of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
1910 Declaration of the Tahltan Tribe
We, the undersigned members of the Tahltan tribe, speaking for ourselves, and our entire tribe, hereby make known to all whom it may concern, that we have heard of the Indian Rights movement among the Indian tribes of the Coast, and of the southern interior of B.C.. Also we have read the Declaration made by the chiefs of the southern interior tribes at Spences Bridge on the 16th July last, and we hereby declare our complete agreement with the demands of same, and with the position taken by the said chiefs, and their people on all the questions stated in the said Declaration, and we furthermore make known that it is our desire and intention to join with them in the fight for our mutual rights, and that we will assist in the furtherance of this object in every way we can, until such time as all these matters of moment to us are finally settled. We further declare as follows:—
Firstly—We claim the sovereign right to all the country of our tribe—this country of ours which we have held intact from the encroachments of other tribes, from time immemorial, at the cost of our own blood. We have done this because our lives depended on our country. We have never treated with them, nor given them any such title. (We have only very lately learned the B.C. government makes this claim, and that it has for long considered as its property all the territories of the Indian tribes in B.C.)
Secondly--We desire that a part of our country, consisting of one or more large areas (to be erected by us),be retained by us for our own use, said lands and all thereon to be acknowledged by the government as our absolute property. The rest of our tribal land we are willing to relinquish to the B.C. government for adequate compensation.
Thirdly—We wish it known that a small portion of our lands at the mouth of the Tahltan river, was set apart a few years ago by Mr. Vowell as an Indian reservation. These few acres are the only reservation made for our tribe. We may state we never applied for the reservation of this piece of land, and we had no knowledge why the government set it apart for us, nor do we know exactly yet.
Fourthly---We desire that all questions regarding our lands, hunting, fishing, etc., and every matter concerning our welfare, be settled by treaty between us and the Dominion and B.C. governments.
Fifthly—We are of the opinion it will be better for ourselves, also better for the governments and all concerned, if these treaties are made with us at a very early date, so all friction, and misunderstanding between us and the whites may be avoided, for we hear lately much talk of white settlement in the region, and the building of railways, etc., in the near future.
Signed at Telegraph Creek, B.C., this eighteenth day of October, nineteen hundred and ten, by
Nanok, Chief of the Tahltans
Nastulta, alias Little Jackson
George Assadza, Kenetl, alias Big Jackson
and eighty other members of the tribe
Aboriginal Title and Rights Position Paper, UBCIC, 1979
It is our undeniable responsibility as leaders to clearly say what we have been directed by our Indian Governments to state which is contained within these pages.
Traditionally, as aboriginal people, we had uncontested, supreme and absolute power over our territories, our resources and our lives. We had the right to govern, to make laws and enforce laws, to decide citizenship, to wage war or make peace and to manage our lands, resources and institutions. We had our own political, legal, social and economic systems.
The power to govern rests with the people and, like our aboriginal rights, it comes from within the people and cannot be taken away.
Our Aboriginal Rights Position Paper represents the foundation upon which we, the Indian people of British Columbia, will negotiate a better relationship within Canada. It is presented on behalf of our people in the spirit of optimism, dignity, co-operation and strength. The goals of our people from our past through the present, to those yet unborn provide the framework through which we will possess the tools necessary to further develop and strengthen our Indian identity within Canada. An effective implementation of our position will resolve the current political, economic, educational and social problems facing our people. It will mean that, for the first time, Indian people will be able to share in the wealth of Canada and at the same time other Canadians will have the opportunity to enjoy the full benefits of our rich heritage.
Since 1969, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs has been involved in extensive research and consultation with Indian people throughout the province in relation to the totality of Aboriginal Rights. We have found through this work that our people have no desire, under any circumstances to see our Aboriginal Rights extinguished. Our people have consistently said that our Aboriginal Rights cannot be bought, sold, traded or extinguished by any government. Our responsibilities and our right to be who we are can never be relinquished.
The foundation of our position is:
a) recognition that we are the original people of this land,
b) recognition that we have the right to choose and determine the type of authority we wish to exercise through our Indian Governments,
c) the expansion of our Reserve Lands,
d) the expansion of our Indian resources including finances based on needs as identified by our people,
e) the expansion of the jurisdiction and authority of our Indian Governments (Band Councils).
Aboriginal Rights must be recognized, expanded and entrenched within the British North America Act.
Indian people have a strong role to play in strengthening the unity of Canada. We have every reason and right to bear our responsibility in this regard. We are confident that the foundation we build today is a solid one and that the final result of true negotiations will mean a stronger Canada.
Declaration of Secwepemc Sovereignty 1983
Secwepemc Chiefs and Representatives, collectively the only spokespersons for Secwepemc, declare that on this day, January 17, 1983, that we reaffirm our sovereignty over our traditional territory.
We follow the path of our Elders and our Forefathers in standing firm for our sovereignty over our territory so that the future generations of our children will also have what has been handed down to us by our Creator. Today through this Declaration we ensure that Secwepemc sovereignty over our territory comes from the past, to the present and forever on into the future.
We have governed, managed, controlled, developed, protected and defended our territory since time immemorial. We have never abandoned our territory or sold it. We have never conceded our sovereignty by agreement or by conquest to any other nation.
We declare our sovereignty over all our lands, waters, air and all their resources in the Interior of what is now known as British Columbia, the land generally speaking that lays between latitude 50degrees, 30 minutes and 53degrees north, from the Fraser River area to the Rocky Mountains.
We will work arm in arm with Secwepemc and other peoples who are willing to support our mandate which is to affirm our sovereignty over our traditional territory.
We, Secwepemc, will work towards self-reliance on the basis of co-operation.
We declare our support in the struggle for self-determination and independence of Indigenous and Third World Nations.
Northwest Tribal Treaty
We, the Northwest First Nations have occupied and governed our respective territories since time immemorial. The Creator put us on our territories and gave us laws in which to define and govern our relationships with each other and with the animals, plants, lands, waters and air.
We have maintained our spiritual beliefs, our languages, our way of life and traditions. We have done this through intermarriage and the exchange of material and food resources, and shall continue to do so through infinity.
We, the signatories to the Treaty, are of one heart in the advancement and protection of our common interests identified in the following principals:
1) We shall continue to practice our own tribal political system and laws, and we intend these separate jurisdictions to continue.
2) We shall continue to express our sovereignty as Nations.
3) We shall assist each other to reaffirm our continuing Hereditary Title and give expression to our rights; and to defend these rights against any erosion through external forces.
4) We shall collectively join the other First Nations efforts to pursue the explicit recognition of aboriginal title in Canada's constitution.
5) We shall continue to enter into bilateral and multilateral relationships with each other to strengthen and assist in settling matters and common concerns regarding our respective cul tural identites, traditions, diversity, equality of our peoples, and our common boundaries according to our traditional laws.
6) We shall, in the spirit of sharing and co-existence, continue to enter in mutually beneficial relationships regarding access to traditional territories and natural resources. These include all resources that come from our territories.
We, as represented by the undersigned leaders of the respective First Nations, reaffirm these principles by this Treaty.
Signed by: Tsimshian Nation, Haisla Nation, Wet'suwet'en Nation, Gitxsan Nation, Gitanyow Nation, Carrier Sekani Nation, Lake Babine Band.
February 11, 1991
Three times elected to dominate Vancouver City Council — 2008, 2011, 2014 — the Vision Vancouver party machine has shown a strong tendency to vote en bloc. Mockocracy. The triumph of the machine.
In the early days of this regime, when tracking voting was far more difficult, I put serious time into a Vancouver Council Votes web site, and then wrote a piece about the bloc voting: Bloc Vancouver: Join a Party and Stop Listening, Mostly.
The effort of monitoring of an almost undeviating pattern became a very boring task. The point had been proved.
One week ago, the only significant breaking of the bloc that has ever occurred coincided with the only rejection of a rezoning proposal that has ever occurred. Council overturned Beedie's plans for 105 Keefer on 13 June 2017.
During the remarks of the eleven councillors prior to the voting, NPA's George Affleck taunted Vision Vancouver with its bloc voting, as he announced his own intent to vote a Nay — the decisive sixth vote.
Up later on the speakers list, Andrea Reimer responded to Affleck by calling attention to her own bloc-breaking vote "this morning." In the context, it would seem that she had stood against a different rezoning. Now that minutes are available, exactly what she was referring to can be examined.
The Cited Recent Instance
The agenda item that Andrea Reimer referred to was:
TEXT AMENDMENT: 1101 West Waterfront Road (1199 West Cordova Street)
The voting was:
CARRIED (Vote No. 01991)
(Councillors Affleck, Ball, and Reimer opposed) (Councillor De Genova absent for the vote)
Public hearing was held on this matter as agenda item 4 on 16 May 2017. Council minutes summarize the issue:
An application by CitySpaces Consulting Ltd., on behalf of the City of Vancouver (Parks and Recreation Board), was considered as follows: Summary: To amend the text of Comprehensive Development (CD - 1) District (363) By-law for 1101 West Waterfront Road (1199 West Cordova Street) to increase the maximum floor area in Sub-area 3 for Retail and Service use (restaurant) from 600 square metres (6,458 square feet) to 975 square metres (10,495 square feet)
The public hearing file of correspondence shows 1 letter of support and 11 letters of opposition, including 2 from area residents concerned about additional noise. Identified corporate correspondence includes: the President of Cactus Restaurants (a nearby competitor) with three others who identify as Manager, Assistant General Manager, and Sous Chef; landlord PCI Developments; CEO of nearby Tap and Barrel Restaurant.
There is significant overlap in speakers to the application, and similarity in proportions: 1 speaker in support, 9 speakers opposed, 1 other.
What Can Be Concluded?
First, all councillors except three ignored cogent and overwhelming oppostion to a 38% increase in maximum floor space for a project put forward by City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board.
Second, for-profit corporate interests lined up against what appears to be crass self-dealing on the part of the City of Vancouver.
Third, Andrea Reimer may have been positioning to render possible her not-so-bloc remark of the afternoon. Tellingly, this unusual divergence served Yea-voter (a fellow Visioneer) Raymond Louie well, giving him a precedent to mention in his long chat with reporter Mike Howell of the Vancouver Courier about his own breaking of the bloc on the 105 Keefer vote.
[Louie] then brought up Vision Coun. Andrea Reimer’s vote against changing the density for a waterfront restaurant. That occurred the same day as the vote on Beedie’s proposal.
Finally, when political fear forces a vote that brings an extraordinarily harsh spotlight onto "voting" practice, what can a caught-out whipped caucus do? Strategize to create penumbra. Reimer counters Affleck, Louie cites Reimer, and on it goes.
Only once has a broken bloc ever made any difference: 105 Keefer.
On Thursday June 15, the Lu'ma Native BCH Housing Society delivered Notice Pursuant to the Trespass Act to Ten Year Tent City (TYTC) at 950 Main Street, demanding evacuation of the site "by no later than 7:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16, 2017." That point in time has come and gone. TYTC remains on site.
The next day, TYTC received injunction notice from Lu'ma, set for BC Supreme Court hearing on 21 June 2017.
Backstory: TYTC came into being on 28 April 2017 and has existed for seven weeks. On 17 May 2017 the BC Supreme Court rejected a City of Vancouver application for injunction.
The question mainstream media seems unlikely to touch is: exactly who or what is Lu'ma Native BCH Housing Society, and why is this corporate entity fronting for the City of Vancouver in an attempt to displace TYTC?
If you do the web search thing, you find a web site for Lu'ma. So the org does exist … sort of. The site stays excruciatingly vague about the real people involved. The main page offers these frustrating evasions: "guided by a volunteer Board of Directors … the Society is headed by a CEO." Further poking about does not get far past this shield of impersonality — a strange contrast to my own experiences with Indigenous people.
An essential clue turns up under First Funds Society, which seems to be the funnel through which "charitable" money can be taken in by Lu'ma. A generic name like that seems designed to hide personality and purpose. Fortunately, those words do not serve to shelter the organization from discovery through a search in the Canada Revenue Agency's List of Charities.
First Funds Society has existed since 2003, and its latest annual reporting period ends 2015-12-31. The only real interest of this shell within a shell is to get at the names of directors, listed as these five persons: Ken Clement, Marge White, Faye Poirier, Claire Marshall, and Kent Patenaude. Why would this information not be provided directly on the Lu'ma web site?
After that, the job turns into web hacking on these five names in order listed. The nature of that task precludes complete certainty that this person is also that person, but probablities are high that the following data is correct.
The gathered information shows a convergence of tight affiliations to all levels of the state (federal, provincial, municipal) that fights tooth and nail to hold onto stolen native land. Beyond that? Multiple personal connections to agencies of repression (Vancouver Police Department, Ministry of Children and Family Development) and resource exploitation (TransCanada, Enbridge, BC Hydro).
Just the sort of crew to be conscripted into displacing Ten Year Tent City and its significant component of Indigenous residents. One group has money and power; the other has little more than a tent to be pushed off onto a sidewalk somewhere else.
Ken Clement is a former Vision Vancouver school trustee. Bingo. Vision Vancouver, the civic party that runs City Hall, fails to oust TYTC on direct challenge, so it calls in a familiar lackey.
Marjorie White shows statist connections that include Order of British Columbia and "first Aboriginal person appointed to the Vancouver Police Commission."
Faye Poirier is "a full time foster parent" who previously "worked for M.C.F.D. in what at the time was the first Aboriginal Child Protection Office in the Province." [The child snatching of MCFD is a notorious state continuation of the cultural destruction initiated by residential schools. Consider only the case of Loni Edmonds. Google for later news on this situation.]
Claire Marshall of the Vancouver Police Board "specializes in Aboriginal engagement and community development" and "has worked for BC Hydro, BC Transmission Corporation, TransCanada Pipelines and the First Nation Energy and Mining Council, with a clear focus on meaningful First Nation consultation." Say no more.
Kent Patenaude shows on Linked-In as "Senior Aboriginal Relations Lead at TransCanada." A June 2015 CBC news article names Patenaude as "Luma Native Housing Society president." A January 2012 Tyee article names Patenaude as an agent for the Enbridge pipeline.
Why do these five people make themselves so hard to connect with Lu'ma? Are they ashamed of what they do? Do they think they have privacy to protect? Why would they seek anonymity behind a corporate moniker?
BREAKING: Ten Year Tent City receives new trespass order from a new property leaseholder as the City circumvents recent Supreme Court decision
What: Press conference
When: 9 am, Friday, June 16th
Where: Ten Year Tent City, just north of 1005 Station Street
UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES — Ten Year Tent City has been served with a new trespass notice. Unlike the previous notice which was issued by the City of Vancouver, the owner of the empty lot at 950 Main St., the new notice bears the logo of Lu'ma Native BCH Housing Society and the signature of Marcel Swain, the CEO of Lu'ma. The notice states that the lot has been leased to Lu'ma Society for a term of 60 years starting on June 15th, 2017 and the occupants must vacate by no later than 7 am on Friday, June 16th, 2017.
The leasing of this property to Lu'ma follows a court ruling on May 17th which turned down the City's request for an injunction to remove the camp from the publicly owned lot. The ruling by Judge Sharma supported homeless people's access to safety and security over the City's use of its private property.
The City's sudden move to lease it out to a non-profit organization and the subsequent trespass notice dodges responsibility for the dire housing needs of camp residents as well as the 2,200 people counted as homeless people in Vancouver. It demonstrates the City's determination to circumvent the court ruling, recruiting a non-profit organization who can present as a property owner less beholden to the public good. The City of Vancouver is maneuvering to protect its property rights from homeless people who only seek a safe place to survive the dangers of homelessness.
This is a hateful and irresponsible act from a civic government; the new trespass order violates the human rights of the residents of the camp and the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of BC. We call on the City of Vancouver to take responsibility for the housing crisis they have created, and house all 2,200 homeless people in Vancouver.
We call on supporters to join us on the site tomorrow morning between 7 am- 10 am to be witnesses if the cops move into enforce the trespassing notice. Call Maria at 604 500 2731 for more information.
It's a shitshow. — Houtan Rafii, Vice President of Residential Development at Beedie Development Group (1:51 PM on 13 June 2007 in Council Chamber at City Hall, a few minutes before meeting began)
One thing at Vancouver City Hall can exert more force than big developer dollars. That thing is political fear. The next Vancouver municipal election lies only one summer plus one year into the future.
On the afternoon of 13 June 2017, political fear factored into the decisions of almost all of the eleven councillors who voted on the proposal to rezone the Beedie-owned parcel at 105 Keefer Street. Only Adriane Carr (Green) stands unbeholden to developer "donations."
Eight nays swamped three yeas to kill the 105 Keefer rezoning. Both of the civic developer parties — Vision Vancouver and NPA — showed splits in this singular instance of a voting unshackled from rigid partisan discipline. It seems plausible that these proportions tracked an 80/20 split in the opinion of Vancouver residents concerned about the issues swirling around 105 Keefer Street.
But that's not how the script played when each of the eleven on Council spoke ahead of the voting. Even as the political establishment was fracturing, it started off with a projection of balance and deliberation. The first five speakers represented the dominating Vision Vancouver wing of the developer-owned Council.
First-on-queue Kerry Jang set a tone by invoking his sense of a community that was split 50/50 on the issue. Professor Jang thus chose to disregard the significant hard data for a 71% level of opposition expressed by those who wrote to and spoke to Council [via Andy Yan: Letters: 431/121 and Speakers: 150/46].
Second-on-queue Raymond Louie, the only other Chinese councillor, offset Jang's announced "nay" with his own announced "yea." This felt like a tightly scripted embodiment of 50/50, designed to serve both the dramatics of difficult decision and to convey tacit reassurance to developer masters that this outlier lost cause will not herald a new order.
Only as Jang began to elaborate on four "reasons" did it become clear — well into his allotted speaking time — that he would declare a "nay." At the outset, an adroit mumble masked the direction that he was taking.
Jang also provided unintentional comic relief with an account of his epiphany "last week," inspired by being in Hong Kong, that 105 Keefer might be "too tall." Louie countered with a boring plod: "I will not vote against social housing."
Next up? Geoff Meggs. Almost always taciturn and terse, Meggs scrutinized a massive handheld manuscript, reading out every word. So massive was the screed that Gregor Robertson as chair had to intervene and ask him to "wrap up." Nay number two.
Fourth. Heather Deal. Nay. Her comment was notable only for extending complaint about "bad behavior" to include disrespect shown on social media, a theme that Melissa De Genova later picked up. This duo needs to consider how their two parties earn ongoing widespread disrespect, by accepting developer dollars and by routinely voting en bloc for all rezonings. [NPA does enjoy the luxury of fruitlessly voting against items like 1037 West King Edward to keep its Shaughnessy supporters happy.]
Fifth. Tim Stevenson. Nay. His recall of comparable previous public hearing contention could only dredge up the 2011 Edgewater Casino proposal. He replayed a version of his youth vs seniors broken record.
Sixth. Adriane Carr. Nay. Typically incisive, Carr was the only councillor to mention that the purported amenity for seniors offered no "long-term security" for continued existence of the space. She also deplored the 105 Keefer process as "no civil way to plan a socially cohesive city."
Later reportback from downstairs overflow identified Carr's speaking time as the point where red T-shirt "supporters" departed en masse for their bussing back to Richmond.
Seventh. George Affleck. Nay. Affleck relished his place in the speaker line-up. As the sixth and decisive "nay," he used the occasion to taunt his alter-ego party about its routine bloc voting.
The later speakers knew that whatever they had to say would be superfluous to the outcome of the vote. Therefore anticlimactic. Eighth. Melissa De Genova. Yea. / Ninth. Andrea Reimer. Nay. / Tenth. Elizabeth Ball. Yea. / Eleventh. Gregor Robertson. Nay.
One amusing contrast emerged from two takes on the condition of Chinatown. De Genova: It hasn't changed here in Vancouver." Robertson: "A lot has changed over the past 6½ years."
One odd retort got lobbed by Reimer back to Affleck. She offered her vote against an item "this morning" as evidence to counter Affleck's taunt. A look at Council agenda shows that the only possibility for such a vote appears to relate to this item: 1. TEXT AMENDMENT: 1101 West Waterfront Road (1199 West Cordova Street). A careful review of Council video might clarify this bit of weirdness. Probably not.
What Happens Next?
The rejection of the 105 Keefer rezoning proposal seems likely to result in a rapid Beedie reapplication under outright zoning for a 90-foot building. Such a process is not subject to public hearing, and offers minimal scope for public input on the development application.
The purported "amenities" amounted only to a dubious social housing component ($7.3 M of public money laundered through the developer) and seniors space of 1239 sq ft (gross not net), to be available at undetermined charge, and only assured for a ten year period. Jang recognized that the $7.3 M would not disappear with the rezoning rejection, but merely relocate.
Quite a few councillors — at least five of them — jumped on the Jang bandwagon to excoriate rambunctious youth for instances of unacceptable disrespect. Jang's lead-off leaned heavily on cultural guilt-tripping, an approach which ultimately seems to resolve into insider racist practice.
Online observation of much of the proceedings, including the specifically cited Grant instance, and supplemented by ¾ hour of direct Monday observation from balcony, shows no basis for such a strong degree or extent of reactivism among councillors. Compared to many other sessions witnessed at City Hall since 2005, the level of disruption was mild, even innocuous. Then why the heavy-handed outrage?
First of all, displacement and diversion and revenge. The ten developer-party councillors finally found themselves forced to gore themselves on the horns of a dilemma. Wounded, they lashed out at the most acceptable target, and the most vulnerable.
Second, deep fear. This fear manifested especially in repeated councillor attempts to drive a wedge between highly interactive youth and seniors. As Yuly Chan perceptively observed, the real divide was class. The establishment gets edgy at any manifestation of persistence, solidarity, zeal meshed with experience, and amalgamation of resistance — especially if these qualities start to combine. This is the scariest thing has has happened yet to bloc-voters in the present City Council, and likewise to the developer interests that they represent. Plus 2018 is an election year.
Third, broken pattern. One rupture sets a precedent and generates an energy. Possibility is opened up for more of the same. Success in resistance breeds further resistance. Machines need their oil, and to make sure that no gear loses a tooth. Simply put, uncertainty cannot and will not be tolerated by big money.
Fourth, statistics and demographics. According to the 2006 Census of Canada [2016 figures remain unavailable until fall 2017], Vancouver's totals for Ethnic Origin include:
Type / Total Responses / Single Responses / Multiple Responses
Total / 2,097,965 / 1,273,220 / 824,740
Chinese / 402,000 / 356,845 / 45,155
Percentage / 19.2 / 28.0 / 5.5
It seems plausible that one-quarter to one-third of potential Vancouver voters might swing on the one issue of what happens to 105 Keefer and to the Chinatown area. This is political dynamite. Obviously the three "yea" voters — Ball, De Genova, Louie — have speculated that they can afford to run this particular risk. Or perhaps they have unannounced plans not to run for office again.
Personal Note: I did not anticipate writing this story. I fell into it, and it insisted on being told. In many respects, this account is a sequel to another day of high drama, Vision Vancouver Hits the Panic Button. On 20 January 2011 councillors took the first step toward carving Chinatown out of its larger local area so that developers could be unleashed faster onto the profit potentials of a subarea perceived as ripe for redevelopment. My direct involvement with Chinatown issues goes back to participation in a workshop for the now distant Historic Area Height Review.
This episode of GroundWire was produced on Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe traditional territory in Kingston by CFRC.
Defence Minister mispronounces Kingston Land Declaration at the RMC graduation | CFRC
Land Defenders at Imperial Metals AGM | Joel Benson & Zoë Ludski, CJMP
Two Spirit Pow Wow | Süss, CKUW
Walk 4 Salish Sea | Chris Cook, CFUV
Prison Farms new plant based farming | CFRC
Community Radio Report
Highlights from the Future of First Nations, Inuit and Métis broadcasting convergence hosted by Homalco First Nation Radio | Coutney Harrop, GroundWire with files from http://indigenousradio.ca/Campbell-River.php
Thanks to hosts Jasmine Chapman, Lucas Wang, & Karin Pryal, all of our contributors as well as Gretchen King and Omme-Salma Rahemtullah.
Music by Kassador with Talk About It and Stewart Legere with Wishes in Wells.
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