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Rants and Raves


Page 5

Chief asks, "Where did the honour go?"

Dear Editor,

This is in regards to the article on the comments of [Congress of Aboriginal Peoples' leader] Patrick Brazeau. (Windspeaker, Dec. 2006 edition)

I believe the current Indian Act chiefs are not at all holding onto power and refusing to let go of the Indian Act. In my case, I refused the First Nations Governance Act because it was more of the same. The reserves were not to be increased or set aside; the treaties were not to be eliminated. It was somewhat like Kelowna, expecting success out of nothing.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 is the basis for "the honour of the Crown" in relation to Native interests. It is also the basis of French interests in North America. The French have a province, an official language, a distinct society and a territorial integrity.

A determination is needed as to where this 'honour" went wrong for the Native interest, why we ended up in reserves as dependent government wards.

The Constitution Act of 1982 only affirms existing rights. These are treaty and Aboriginal rights defined by case law. The problem with these rights is that they are not three-dimensional. They are rights like the squirrel rights. They are just temporary surface rights, the right to occupy space until that space is needed. Also, the basic element needed for life - water - is denied to us in treaties. All reserves end at the water boundary, however, so as extermination instruments there is no question. In this regard, to eventually expose this and correct it is and should be the goal of every Native leader. If this is not in your agenda you should not be a chief of any kind. These are the concerns the national Native leader should be pursuing, not programming. We do that at the community level and we have been doing it since the 1960s.

In 1969 Indian Affairs proposed to fast track the elimination of status. Termination is the goal of the reserve Indian Act system in the long term; there is no other purpose for it. The reserves cannot expand. The people that are there now, if they increase their populations, are expected to disburse to "urbanity" and into assimilation. The residential school was established to smooth the way.

The abuse of conscience: the taking away of Aboriginal sovereignty, lands, airspace, ground, water and the destruction of cultures, was not the purpose of the royal proclamation. In Treaty 9, there is an echo of what might be its true purpose that they signed: "knowing nothing but good was intended."

Aside from working every day on our water and sewer, our problems dealing with our generator fuel for our electrical supply, and trying to bring in roads and bridges to the Albany River for access to economies, I always emphasize the implementation of the treaty.

What national leaders do in their work to look after communities, I do not know. But I do believe that if their attention is on Indian Act chiefs' expenses, they should be concerned also with the large bureaucracy of Indian Agents. I am told half the Indian and Northern Affairs' budget is used to pay the civil service bureaucrats to implement the Indian Act.

There is a lot to do first before our chiefs and reserves are written off. There is a need to revisit the instruments of our relations with the Crown, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the treaties, the British North America Act (1867), the Constitution Act (1982).

You cannot just do away with relations overnight because certain elements dislike the status, reserves, treaties, Indian Act, tax exemption, etc. There is talk of moving northern, costly, isolated Native communities to urban centers in relation to water and sewage issues at Kashechewan, Marten Falls, Pikangikum, Attawapiskat and others. A few months ago there was a suggestion of moving protesting Mohawks out of the urbanized areas in Southern Ontario and moving them to Northern Ontario.

So moving the urban centers is not an option apparently.

I think the real issues hre are the Crown not honouring its commitments and third party encroachment.

- Chief Elijah K Moonias

Martens Falls First Nation, Ont.

"That word" used on air - again

Dear Editor

In late December, popular Ottawa-based radio station Chez 106 welcomed guest, Larry the Cable Guy, onto its Doc & Woody Show. He was sharing his "favourite upcoming Walt Disney movies" with the hosts of the show and claimed his all time favourite was one about an "Indian prostitute." The film's supposed name, i.e. the punch line, was: "Squaw Shank Redemption." The hosts of the show found this absolutely hilarious, so much so that it was aired again, and again on subsequent days, touted as one of the year's "best."

The term squaw has historically been used within the dominant culture as an extremely derogatory one, equivalent to other words that would never be mentioned on the radio, the N-word being one of them. None of those words are tolerated by Canadian radio and television standards. Using this term also adds further insult to injury by directly belittling the feminine gender.

As entertaining as the staff at Chez 106 may have found the above-mentioned, members of our local Aboriginal community found this so-called humour outrageously inappropriate, racist, ignorant and hurtful, especially in light of Ottawa's recent tragedy of the horrific murder of First Nation woman Kelly Morriseau ? whose community, by the way, denies her involvement in prostitution, contrary to the media's projected stereotype.

Negative stereotypes such as these only perpetuate racist attitudes that ultimately empower the perpetrators, influence the populace, and inflict further pain upon those targeted. We urge all Aboriginal peoples across this nation to listen carefully to what is being broadcast, to realize the impact of such flippant remarks ? whether intentional or not ? and the seriousness of their repercussions.

Turtle Island (and the world over) is in a turbulent political time. Radio and televison stations have a responsibility to represent various cultural groups found within our local and global communities from a fair and unbiased perspective. If they, and we, assume this responsibility of awareness and education, we would all contribute towards a much-needed respectful worldview. Please do not tolerate ? in any way ? the promotion of vulgar and dehumanizing attitudes towards women, children, and peoples of culture.

In unity and spirit,

- Suzanne Krantz

Albert Dumont,

Aboriginal community activists

P.S. On behalf of The Ottawa Native Concerns Committee, the above signed have advanced a letter of complaint to Ottawa's Chez 106 radio station.

Problem with poster

Dear Editor,

I must say that your poster featuring a very young child holding a firearm appalled me. I am all for passing down our hunting right and customs to our children, but this picture is not the way.

You should have included a father image holding the rifle accompanied by the son.

This picture is relaying a dangerous message; that it is ok for a child to manipulate a firearm. You should retract all of these posters immediately.

- Nicole Sioui

First Nations Education Council

Wendake, Quebec

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