National Association of Japanese Canadians: Letter to Mulroney

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
FAX: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
FAX: 403-437-0719

January 28, 1992

Enclosed for your information is a copy of a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on the continuing Lubicon tragedy. The letter is from the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

January 24, 1992, letter to Brian Mulroney from the National Association of Japanese Canadians

Dear Mr. Mulroney:

RE: The Lubicon Cree; Abuse of Human Rights by Canadian and Alberta Governments

The National Association of Japanese Canadians is writing to call upon your government to reopen negotiations and to deal in good faith with the Lubicon Cree Indians regarding their aboriginal rights to unceded ancestral lands in Alberta. The continued abuse of this group of people and the destruction of their land by resource extraction and clear-cut logging is a disgrace to Canada and an affront to all national and international principles of human rights and self-determination. It is especially disturbing to our organization as a body with a strong commitment to human rights.

The NAJC is a body which successfully obtained redress for Japanese Canadians in September 1988 on the basis of the abuse of our human rights carried out by the Government of Canada. The redress settlement showed strong leadership by your government, and was an outstanding demonstration of commitment to minority rights. It represented an affirmation of the principles of justice and equality for all Canadians, and was achieved as a result of our own efforts and the support of many other Canadians, including native peoples. We are therefore morally obligated to protest in the strongest possible terms the flagrant abuse of the rights of the Lubicon Cree people of Alberta.

If the rights of this small band of aboriginal people can be ignored because they stand in the way of multi-national resource development, we must seriously question whether we have genuine human rights protection in Canada.

The fifty-year struggle of the Lubicon Cree for their unceded ancestral territories has been well documented and publicized throughout Canada and internationally. The inquiry by Dave Fulton, appointed by your government, has recognized and upheld the legitimacy of the Lubicon position. Nevertheless, accelerated extraction of resources (oil) and the granting of timber cutting rights to Daishowa Canada Ltd. have caused rapid destruction of the land of the Lubicon people and destroyed their traditional way of life. We are greatly concerned about the environmental destruction and about the effects on the Lubicon people and their survival.

Despite their own vigorous efforts, and the efforts of many church, environmental and other bodies, governments and the resource extraction companies have failed to respect due process and basic human rights.

We believe genocide is not too strong a word to describe what has been taking place. This is completely unacceptable in a free and democratic country which claims to uphold human rights protection in the world forum.

As an organization we have no choice but to take the strongest possible stand in support of the Lubicon people. We very much regret the growing cynicism regarding government actions, and the growing alienation of large numbers of people in our community and throughout the country which results from the very obvious abuse of one of Canada's first nations. We urge you to take the leadership in resolving this issue in a fair and honourable way which respects the legitimate aspirations of the Lubicon people to a self-determination and the exercise of their aboriginal rights as protected under the Constitution of Canada.

Sincerely yours,

Arthur Miki, M.C.