Liberals’ license for larceny
Great economic pressure is brought to bear on native people to force them to participate
in the treaty process. However, many knowledgeable native leaders have grave misgivings
about this ‘process’.
the treaty process has had two separate components: one part requires the native
people to voluntarily surrender all their Aboriginal Title, whereas the second
part of the Government treaty process agrees to a cash settlement and other concessions.
Historically the government has always enforced the first part while seldom living
up to the second part. Here in British Columbia even the non-native people are
seeing their contacts with the government dishonored. If the government will
not honour the agreements that were made with its own people who voted them in
by a vast majority, how likely is it they will honour the agreements they make
with the First Nations, whom they hate?
The government of British Columbia is not dealing with the Nuu Chah Nulth in good
faith because, even as the negotiations are underway, logging companies continue
to illegally clearcut the disputed land at an alarming rate with none of the revenue
going to the bands, and oceans continue to be depleted and polluted; after receiving
a formal protest against toxic fish farms being constructed within Nuu ChahNulth
territory, the government lifted the existing moratorium on the construction of
fish farms, showing its total disregard for the environment and the native people.
In spite of a higher court's acknowledgement
of Aboriginal Title, federal and provincial laws continue to be enforced against
native people, denying them access to their own resources, which they need in
order to become self sufficient. In spite of these obstacles, Chief Walter Michael
is committed to working with his band in exploring different ways for his people
to earn a living. What treaty
that the whites have kept has the red man broken? Not one! What treaty that the
white man ever made with us have they kept? Not one. – Sitting Bull In
the hour of his death in 1871, Tu-eka-kas, the father of Chief Joseph of the Nez
Perces, reminded his son never to sell the bones of his father.
Chief Joseph describes the death "My father sent for me. I saw he was dying.
I took his hand in mine. He said: ‘My son, my body is returning to my mother earth,
and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit. Chief, when I am gone,
think of your country. You are the chief of these people. You must stop your ears
whenever you are asked to sign a treaty selling your home. A few years more, and
white men will be all around you. They have their eyes on this land. My son never
forget my dying words. This country holds your father's body. Never sell the bones
of your father and your mother.’ I pressed my father's hand and told him I would
protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land.
buried him in that beautiful valley of winding waters. I love that land more than
all the rest of the world. A man who would not love his father’s grave is worse
than a wild animal."