A Referendum On What?

By Ricci Grafton

Revitalizing the Provincial Approach to Treaty Negotiations:
Recommendations for a Referendum or Treaty Negotiating Principles.

Well, this shameful act of discrimination has reached its destination, 2 million ballots have been sent and 760,000 returned by the those on the registered voters list, and Campbell the Cannibal has just officially let the First Nations of this province know that he fully expects to have the last word on this matter. I donít think so!

The results, apparently, are overwhelmingly in favor of all the principles that were presented for approval. By whom? By the colonialist population.The Voting results on the eight principles were as follows:

Question #1: Private Property should not be expropriated for treaty settlements. Yes or no?
85 per cent felt private property should not be expropriated for treaty settlements.

Whose private property? The land that the explorers invaded and sold off for future development? The land that they sold under the feet of the families of the warriors (now veterans) they conveniently sent overseas to win their war for them while they let white settlers expropriate land under the 'Homestead Act'? The land they forced us onto and then forced us to surrender in a treaty for the rich resources and minerals it took them a while to discover. We knew it was there all along, which is why we've protected it so fiercely from future development, as well. Now in the past decade or so, they've invaded the reserved lands with casinos, golf courses and ski resorts.

Question #2: The terms and conditions of leases and licenses should be respected; fair compensation for unavoidable disruption of commercial interests should be ensured. Yes or No?
92 per cent felt that terms and conditions of leases and licenses should be respected; fair compensation for unavoidable disruption of commercial interests should be ensured.

What the greedy gophers would like from this question is to be able to build more casinos, golf courses and ski resorts. "We have a license to use your ancestral territory as our playground Our smaller societies are not immune to the progressive thievery by the elected leaders who mask the thefts by convincing the First Nations that they've issued a license or lease for compensation and use; while the elitists are happily rubbing elbows and robbing us blind.

Question #3: Hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities on Crown land should be ensured for all British Columbians. Yes or No?
93 per cent felt hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities on Crown land should be ensured for all British Columbians.

Does this mean that the Crown will commit itself to ensuring that all Aboriginal peoples can hunt and fish on their own land, as well, as a result of the revitalized treaties? Will the DFO continue to harass Native commercial fishermen on their own shorelines? Recreational opportunities, meaning more golf courses, casinos and ski resorts? How many more traditional burial sites can they desecrate for recreational opportunities?"

Question #4: Parks and protected areas should be maintained for the use and benefit of all British Columbians. Yes or No?
95 per cent believe parks and protected areas should be maintained for the use and benefit of all British Columbians.

The original people who occupied them have forever maintained the parks and protected areas. Just because some white explorer comes and puts borders around these "provincial parks" that does not give him the right to control what our Mother Earth created, "To all their British Columbians they bestow these vast lands as public parks, dedicated in honor of the original owners that they stole them from, the First Nations."

Question #5: Province-wide standards of resource management and environmental protection should continue to apply. Yes or No?
94 per cent felt province wide standards of resource management and environmental protection should continue to apply.

The descendents of the original thieves of our resources and land who created an organized form of control over the minerals and waters wish to continue to be the lords of the land. They established a set of standards dictated by British rule to discover and claim the opportunities created by Mother Earth. "In the name of British sovereignty, they are raping the Earth and impregnating the economy for future embezzlement."

Question #6: Aboriginal self-government should have the characteristics of local government, with powers delegated from Canada and British Columbia. Yes or no?
87 per cent said native self-government should have the characteristics of local government, with powers delegated from Canada and British Columbia.

Since they seemingly gave us the right to vote, the right to seek a better life through education and employment among the white society and the right to set up our own Chief and Councils, they have introduced underhanded control tactics in order to continue to establish British rule over Indian Nations. Now they are using the new Aboriginal self-governance as another gift they are supposedly handing to us after hundreds of years on layaway. But as any gift giver they hang onto the receipt and to the power to rescind any negotiations made as a result of treaties.

Question #7: Treaties should include mechanisms for harmonizing land use planning between Aboriginal governments and neighboring local governments. Yes or No?
92 per cent believed treaties should include mechanisms for harmonizing land use planning between aboriginal governments and neighboring local governments.

They pretend to be using this as a way for taxpayers to participate in the treaty process and have a say as to where their taxes are going, and how the land will be used in the future. They don't want to harmonize relations with the First Nations peoples, they want the cooperation of the people to rape the earth; to have everyone sit at a giant conference table and plan forthe destruction of our ancestral territories. The Mohawk prophesies say that once the final tree is cut down the world as we know it will come to an end, so why would we sit down and give consultation and permission to bring our world to an end?

Question #8: The existing tax exemptions for Aboriginal Peoples should be phased out. Yes or No?
91 per cent felt existing tax exemptions for Aboriginal Peoples should be phased out.

Well, of course the people will answer yes to this question; there is no doubt in my mind that all the voters feel confident that the outcome of this question will erase the tax exemptions for First Nations peoples and they will benefit from lower taxation. I would like to see the faces of the greedy when they learn that no matter how they vote for this question, their taxes will still remain the same and Campbell will be the only one who benefits from a yes answer. He is not concerned about the little people who are getting screwed out of what little money they have in their pockets, because he has all the big businesses in his pocket.

The West Coast wasnít officially crown land until they made their way here in 1778; when Captain Cook came to the West Coast. He showed a great interest in sea otter pelts which were in high demand in Europe. Many ships came to the West Coast to trade with the natives and a booming trade between white man and native evolved. In 1846, Britain declared the West Coast as part of its empire and it became known as British Columbia. The Gold Rush began in 1849 and brought more disease and pestilence with it. In 1872, BC joined Canada and in 1876, the Indian Act combined all laws affecting the native people of Canada. This act would provide for the uniform treatment of Indians everywhere in Canada. Any reserve land was held in trust by the Canadian government. The land could not be taxed, mortgaged, or seized for defaulted debts, and it could only be sold with the approval of the majority of adult band members and the superintendent-general of Indian Affairs. Only the Crown could purchase the land, and the proceeds from the sale would be held in trust although ten per cent could be paid directly to the band members. Any resources on the land such as timber and minerals could not be harvested or removed unless the same procedures for obtaining consent, with regards to land sales, had been followed.

So, with a little bit of history in your minds, you can understand why the this referendum process has been degrading to the First Nations. Would they hold a referendum on the Japanese, the Jewish, the Chinese, the Italians, the Australians, and all those who came to this country to escape religious persecution? The First Nations of this country have been living in religious persecution everyday since the Europeans first showed their white faces. And the results of this referendum just go to show that not one thing has changed since the first days of the settlers.

We have been forced to protect Our land, Our resources, Our rights, Our people and Our lives. This referendum is just another way of forcing our people to put up their defenses and fight for our rights; the impact of this will be further division and will serve only to escalate the differences of the two sides at the negotiating table. I can see no good coming of this, in the end the First Nations peoples will be made to look the enemy. The government will use these results any way they choose, they designed the questions in such a way that they would easily receive a yes answer to all of the questions. They manipulated the public opinion. So let me ask you, did you participate in this mass racist action against our people? Did you vote accordingly? Did you spoil or burn your ballot? Or did you simply choose to toss it straight into the garbage where it belongs? Either way, the First Nations Peoples will be screwed in the end.

Sovereignty and self-sufficiency are the two key components in progressive Aboriginal self-governance. Until those are on the table, the treaty negotiations are at an impasse; the unavoidable disruption of commercial interests for First Nations has already been ensured. The waiting game continues.

Ricci

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