Federal Government’s refusal to engage in free, prior and informed consent when developing laws and policies that directly impact Indigenous peoples
|May 6, 2019 – The Chiefs of Sovereign and Treaty Nations from Treaty 6, 7 and 8 have consistently told Canada, “Nations don’t make laws for other Nations”. Despite numerous attempts to work with the Federal Government, Canada continues to unilaterally develop laws and policies without our right to free, prior and informed consent. Alexander First Nation, Chief Kurt Burnstick|
|“On behalf of our Nation and three other First Nations, we filed an early warning action with the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) against all the unilateral actions of Canada. In December 2018, a letter was sent to Canada asking what steps Canada has taken to protect the rights of our Nations to our free, prior and informed consent in all aspects from legislation to policy changes. CERD gave Canada until the 8th of April 2019 to respond to our UN CERD submission” added Chief Makinaw.|
Government of Ontario for appealing annuities claims
|Jan. 22, 2019 – Appealing the Robinson-Huron and Robinson Superior Treaties Superior Court decision around Annuities claims while at the same time negotiating with the 21 First Nations making up the Anishinabek people in northern Ontario. CBC|
|In her December ruling, Justice Patricia Hennessy wrote the annuities described in the treaties — which hadn’t been raised since 1874 — were meant as a mechanism to share the wealth from the treaty territory’s resources. “As the historical and cultural context demonstrates … the parties were and continue to be in an ongoing relationship,” wrote Hennessy. The government of Ontario disagrees.|
|ROBINSON-HURON TREATY 1850|
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III and is a document that set out guidelines for European settlement of Aboriginal territories in parts of North America. The Royal Proclamation was clear that lands did not become available for settlement – known as public lands – until after a treaty with Aboriginal inhabitants.
“The treaties were entered into on a nation-to-nation basis; that is, in entering into the pre-Confederation treaties, the French and British Crowns recognized the Aboriginal nations as self-governing entities with their own systems of law and governance and agreed to respect them as such.” (source: Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples). Through the Treaty, the Lake Huron Chiefs and leaders of the Anishinabek signatory First Nations intended to protect the territory and establish relations. Contrary to what many Canadians believe, nothing has been given to our First Nations. In fact, it was our First Nations who agreed to share our resources with the newcomers, now Canadians.
The Robinson-Huron Treaty intended to provide economic benefits for the First Nations parties to the Treaty in perpetuity. Significant wealth has been and continues to be generated from resource development within the Treaty territory.
Federal, Provincial and Territory governments for refusing to accept Aboriginal title as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada
|Feb. 2, 2019 – Continued refusal to accept Aboriginal title as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Delgamuukw decision and the Tsilhqot’in decision. The Supreme Court of Canada similarly recognizes in Delgamuukw that constitutionally protected Aboriginal title is not created by Canadian law; rather, Aboriginal title “arises from the prior occupation of Canada by aboriginal peoples.”|
|Canada’s Constitution and judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada recognize the pre-existing nature of Aboriginal rights and title, which are interwoven with Indigenous laws and governance. Furthermore, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which both the federal and BC governments have committed to implement, recognizes “the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources.”|
|The Supreme Court of Canada observed that Aboriginal title constituted an ancestral right protected by section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982. According to the Delgamuukw ruling, Indigenous people seeking to prove their title to ancestral territories must provide evidence of the existence of Aboriginal title in respect of the following requirements:|
· The Indigenous nation must have occupied the territory before the declaration of sovereignty. This means that the Indigenous nation must have demonstrated to other First Nations and to Europeans that it clearly used and occupied the land. This is different than the ruling in the Van der Peet case (1996), which established that Indigenous peoples need to prove that their traditional rights were integral to their culture when Europeans arrived. In the Delgamuukw test, it is sufficient to say that occupied land was integral to their culture at the time of contact.
· If present occupation is invoked as evidence of occupation before sovereignty, there must be a continuity between present occupation and occupation before the declaration of sovereignty. In other words, there must be evidence of a continuous ownership of the land. However, it is not necessary to prove a perfect continuity; the demonstration of a substantial maintenance of the bond between the people and the territory is sufficient. In this respect, the Supreme Court held that oral evidence could be admitted as proof.
At the time of declaration of sovereignty, this occupation must have been exclusive. This means that the land had to have been the exclusive territory of an Indigenous nation, although they could have shared it with another Indigenous nation.
Federal, Provincial and Territory governments for refusing to formally repudiate the “Doctrine of Discovery”
|Mar. 21, 2019 – Continued refusal almost 4 years after the TRC Calls to Action in June 2015 to formally repudiate the “Doctrine of Discovery|
|Mar. 21, 2019 – APTN News: Governments assume jurisdiction over Indigenous lands and give themselves the right to enforce injunctions over Indigenous people who refuse to get out of the way of industry based on The Doctrine of Discovery which Canada used to assume control over Indigenous territory and continues to rely on to assert sovereignty. Hayden King, Yellowhead Institute (Ryerson University.|
|Canada has yet to enshrine Aboriginal title and rights to land in law. Hayden King, Yellowhead Institute. APTN news|