Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something Ain't Right Here.

Like most Canadians I have spent most of my life knowing our interactions with our Aboriginal peoples were not as they should be, but that most of the problems were in the past and that they weren't really my problem. But since my trip with CPT to Ardoch I've started to see things differently. First off, the problems of the past have not been resolved. Canada and the First Nations have signed treaties that outline our relationship with one another. In the treaties Native Canadians were supposed to be consulted on any decision that involved extracting resources or building stuff on the lands they let the settlers use, and they were supposed to be able to fish and hunt on those lands. These treaties were never honoured. Many times, the land that was not even given over to Canada was taken, moving the people that had lived there for thousands of years unceremoniously to less valuable lands. This is how we as Canadians 200 years later are still involved in the problems. Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, and the wealth that has been gathered over the last 200 years has been from extraction of natural resources. Natural resources are gathered from the land. In many cases the land was not even ours. In best case scenerios we did not honour our end of the treaty, ignoring our responsibility to consult First Nations groups about whether we could proceed with exploiting the land. As a result, 200 years later, the average Canadian enjoys comforts unheard of throughout much of the history of the world, while most First Nations communities remain poor. And we continue to benefit from this situation by sticking to archaic laws that work to our advantage and the disadvantage of Indigenous Peoples.

This injustice is manifesting itself again in Algonquin Territory of Ardoch First Nation and Shabot Obaajiwan First Nation. Despite all the environmental concerns about uranium mining, the negotiations, blocking the gate, and doing just about anything to keep Frontenac Ventures from drilling for uranium, on December 1st, money talked and drilling was accepted as a possibility by the Shabot/Obaajiwan First Nation. The situation was made to look like a beautiful collaboration between Frontenac Ventures, Ontario, and First Nations groups; however, Ardoch First Nation has still not agreed to the terms, and Shabot Obaajawin made its deal with 77 million dollar lawsuit hanging over their heads. The deal looks a little more like coersion than collaboration to me.

Bob Lovelace says it better here.

1 comment:

todd said...

I have to apologize for adding one more article Indigenous Rights, too many in a row. That said, these issues are largely ignored and have been ignored for generations. If a few more people get to read about the injustices that have been happening for over the past 200 years, then I feel it's worth space on our blog.