Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
July 2, 1991
Enclosed for your information is a copy of a newspaper article on the plight of aboriginal people in Canada.
Unfortunately there's no evidence that appropriate government remedial action is in the offing from the Canadian Government.
Rather available evidence suggests that the Canadian Government only plans to escalate propaganda efforts intended to discredit critics and create the illusion of appropriate remedial action.
re-printed without permission from THE EDMONTON JOURNAL, Friday, June 28, 1991
NATIVE RIGHTS GET MASSIVE SUPPORT
Commissioners surprised at resounding call for settlement of land claims
Canada's unjust treatment of natives is a national disgrace that must be corrected quickly.
That was the virtually unanimous assessment of the estimated 400,000 participants in the Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future, according to the report that was released Thursday at the feet of towering totem poles at the Museum of Civilization.
But the strong consensus was clouded by what the report described as "a potentially harmful ignorance of the realities of aboriginal peoples' aspirations."
The resounding call for the federal government to deal quickly and fairly with aboriginal land claims surprised most of the commissioners, including Carole Corcoran, a Slavey-Cree from British Columbia.
"I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of support," she said Thursday. "It just demonstrated there is a lot of goodwill. People know that there are problems and they're darned if they know how to deal with them...But most people have a good understanding that there are issues of injustice."
However, Corcoran said she was disappointed the final report's section on aboriginal issues was "gutted".
The interim report was much stronger, she said.
That document talked about Canada's "shameful international reputation" in dealing with native people, Corcoran said.
"We completely steered away from that," she said.
"We never even mentioned the potential for violence and what will happen if we don't deal with these issues."
Ovide Mercredi, the recently elected chief of the Assembly of First Nations, also said he was gratified by the good will expressed by Canadians.
But like Corcoran, he said it must now be backed up with quick government action.
The commission demanded "prompt, fair settlement of the territorial and treaty claims of First Nations people to secure their linguistic, cultural and spiritual needs in harmony with their environment."
It supported native self-government and supported the involvement of aboriginal people in the definition and implementation of that concept.
It also recommended that the Department of Indian Affairs and the federal Indian Act be phased out and replaced by native self-government.
"The collective guilt we feel around the mess in our own nest holds us back from taking the place we should as a peacemaker/keeper in global affairs," one discussion group in Vancouver wrote in its report.