Lubicon Action Week in Europe/Austria


Vienna, Feb. 5 1992



FOREWORD



As many of you may have learned via NativeNet, a Lubicon Action Week was going on in Europe (last week of January). I'd like to share with you information on the Austrian leg of this Action week.



The information below contains three materials:



  1. A press release of the Association for Endangered Peoples - Austria
  2. A statement for Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and his Indian Affairs Minister, Tom Siddon, personally delivered with 350 signatures under a Lubicon petition at the Canadian Embassy here in Vienna/Austria.
  3. A letter written to the political councellor of the Canadian Embassy protesting against and counteracting the so-called "standard response letter" on the status of the Lubicon claim, which Canadian Embassies all over the world have recieved from the Department of External Affairs in order to send this to people inquiring on the Lubicon situation.


There will be a follow up on 3. The embassies has checked with External Affairs and will provide me in the next future with an answer. Additionally they have requested for a personal meeting with me next week. Obviously they start taking us seriously.



Peter Schwarzbauer


GESELLSCHAFT FUER BEDROHTE VOELKER - OESTERREICH

Association for Endangered Peoples - Austria

Mariahilferstr. 105/II/13, A-1060 Vienna, Austria

__________________________________________________________________

Ass.Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer, Weissg. 9-13/2/1, A-1170 Vienna, Austria

ph.:+43 (222) 45-33-51 or 34-25-00/ext.315

Fax: +43 (222) 310-51-75 or 369-16-59



Vienna, Austria, January 31 1992; For immediate release:



100 PROTESTERS DEMONSTRATE FOR THE LUBICON LAKE INDIAN NATION AND AGAINST DAISHOWA IN VIENNA/AUSTRIA ON JANUARY 31 1992



Vienna, Austria, Europe: More than 100 people gathered at 2.30 p.m. on January 31 1992 in Vienna/Austria to protest against the treatment of the Lubicon Cree and against the potential of clearcutting the traditional Lubicon territory by Daishowa before a settlement with the Canadian governments is reached. Upon the request of traditional Blackfoot people in Montana, the demonstration also included protest against the opening of an - so far untouched - area south of Glazier-Park (Montana), "Badger Two Medicine", for oil-development. The demonstration was organized by the Austrian human rights organization "Association for Endangered Peoples - Austria" as part of an Europe-wide "Lubicon Action Week" (Jan. 27-31 1992). The event was also supported officially by "Greenpeace - Austria". Concerning Lubicon, the purpose of the demonstration was to increase international pressure on Daishowa and the Canadian governments.



The demonstrators carried transparents and plackards with slogans like "STOP DAISHOWA", "NO CANADIAN CLEARCUTTING OF NATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS" or "CANADA - START SERIOUS NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE LUBICONS - FINALLY". The route led from the Viennese offices of a Belgish oil-company, Fina (this is one of the oil-companies to develop oil-ressources in Badger Two Medicine), to the Canadian Embassy and further to the US-Embassy.



During the demonstration, main organizer Peter Schwarzbauer, met with the Charge D'Affairs of the Canadian Embassy in Vienna, Mr. Ernest Bergbusch, in order to discuss the concerns of the Association members about the Canadian policy relating to the aboriginal peoples in general and to the Lubicons in particular. Being well aware that all Canadian Embassies in Europe and elsewhere have been provided with misleading External Affairs and DIAND information about Lubicon (including a "standard response letter"), Mr. Schwarzbauer presented to Mr. Bergbusch a copy of the Goddard-book "Last Stand of the Lubicon Cree" to counteract the propaganda material. The book was signed by Schwarzbauer with a statement saying: "As proof that we know and always have known, what we are talking about". He also presented a foto-calendar produced by the Assocition titeled "1492-1992: 500 Years of Indian Resistance", in which the Lubicons are given a prominent role. The November sheet in foto and text is dedicated to the Lubicon case (the blockade happened in November 1988). Additional to these items Schwarzbauer presented a petition for the Lubicon Cree signed by 350 Austrian and other citizens to be passed on to Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and to Indian Affairs Minister, Tom Siddon. Mr. Bergbusch promised to do that.



During the week similar activities like this happened in various European cities like Duesseldorf/Germany (headquarters of Daishowa owned companies in Europe), Munich and Berlin/Germany, Brusseles/Belgium, London/England and Bern/Switzerland. These events were coordinated by the Munich based human rights organization for North American Indians "Big Mountain Action Group" and were widely supported by environmentalist groups.



The Association for Endangered Peoples with offices in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg has similar goals as "Amnesty International". Unlike AI the work does not focus on individual human rights violations, however, but on human rights violations of indigenous peoples and minorities. The Association has about 6000 members in the four countries.



For more information please contact: Peter Schwarzbauer, Weissg. 9-13/2/1, A-1170 Vienna, Austria/Europe, +43 (222) 45-33-51 or 34- 25-00/ext.315, Fax: +43 (222) 310-51-75


Attachment: Statement for Mulroney/Siddon

GESELLSCHAFT FUER BEDROHTE VOELKER - OESTERREICH

Association for Endangered Peoples - Austria

Mariahilferstr. 105/II/13, A-1060 Vienna, Austria

ph.: +43 (222) 597-11-76

Fax: +43 (222) 597-37-43

__________________________________________________________________



Ass.Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer, Weissg. 9-13/2/1, A-1170 Vienna, Austria

ph.:+43 (222) 45-33-51 or 34-25-00/ext.315

Fax: +43 (222) 310-51-75 or 369-16-59



Vienna, Jan 31 1992



To the Honorable Prime Minister of Canada

Brian MULRONEY

and the Honorable Minister of Indian Affairs

Tom SIDDON

via the Canadian Embassy in Austria

Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 10

1010 Vienna, Austria, Europe



Re: The Claim of the Lubicon Cree Indian Nation in Alberta



Dear Mr. Mulroney, Dear Mr. Siddon:



We are pleased to pass on to You a petition concerning the Lubicon Cree signed by 350 Austrian citizens. We also would like to use this opportunity to inform You about out concerns relating to the treatment of the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation by the Canadian Federal Government.

  1. We know that External Affairs has sent information about the status of the Lubicon claim to Canadian Embassies in Europe and elsewhere. As you will certainly know, this information is misleading and we are well aware of that. We have sent a detailled letter on that issue to the Canadian Embassy here in Vienna in order to provide correct information.

  2. We strongly protest the ongoing campaign of the Federal Government to again deliberately discrediting the Lubicon Cree, their claim (as unrealistic) and certain people involved on the Lubicon side. Based on existing information it is easy to qualify this campaign as another attempt to make the Lubicon Cree look bad in the public. While Mr. Siddon tries to create the image that he would invite the Lubicons to supposedly new negotiations, it is very clear that there is nothing new in substance with these negotiations -- still the Federal Government is only prepared to talk basically about the 1989 "take-it-or-leave-it" offer, which even Provincial Premier, Don Getty, considers as inadequate.

  3. In connection with the boycott of Daishowa products, we would like to remind you that not only Daishowa's image is at stake. At stake is the international image of Canada in terms of human rights and environmental standards, which will also affect or has already affected the general climate for foreign investments in Alberta.

  4. As John Goddard says in his book "Last Stand of the Lubicon Cree", the story of this people reveals "... to what extremes of deceit and cruelty federal and provincial governments are prepared to go to crush native rights". We would urge You to change this policy because - again a quote from John Goddard - "... the recognition of such rights is (essential) to the well-being of Canadian native peoples, and to the general prosperity of the country".


A response from your side would be very much appreciated.



Sincerely Yours



For the board: Ass. Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer


Letter to the Canadian Embassy in Vienna/Austria concerning the "standard response letter".

GESELLSCHAFT FUER BEDROHTE VOELKER - OESTERREICH

Association for Endangered Peoples - Austria

Mariahilferstr. 105/II/13, A-1060 Vienna, Austria

ph.: +43 (222) 597-11-76

Fax: +43 (222) 597-37-43

___________________________________________________



Ass.Prof. Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer, Weissg. 9-13/2/1, A-1170 Vienna, Austria

ph.:+43 (222) 45-33-51 or 34-25-00/ext.315

Fax: +43 (222) 310-51-75 or 369-16-59



Vienna, Jan 7 1992



To the

Canadian Embassy

att. Mr. Claude Larcharite

Councellor and Consul

Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 10

1010 Vienna



Re: The Claim of the Lubicon Cree Indian Nation in Alberta

Dear Mr. Lacharite:



The purpose of this letter is twofold:



  1. We strongly protest the ongoing campaign of the Federal Government to again deliberately discrediting the Lubicon Cree, their claim (as unrealistic) and certain people involved on the Lubicon side. Based on the existing information it is easy to qualify this campaign as another attempt to make the Lubicon Cree look bad in the public. We would like you to pass on our protest to the Federal Government in Canada.

  2. We have recieved documentation that Canadian Embassies have been supplied with (supposed) information on the status of the Lubicon claim together with a standard response letter. Because the information provided in these documents is incorrect, mislea- ding and - in any case - misrepresenting the Lubicon claim and because you may not have the background information to qualify this information as such, we would like to provide you with some corrected information on that issue below.


The "standard response" letter starts with a sentence stating that "The Canadian Government acknowledges that the Lubicon Band has a valid claim under Treaty 8, which was entered into with the Cree and other Indians in 1899". This statement qualifies the Lubicon as a socalled "specific claim" (or outstanding claim) usually applied to situations, in which Indians have signed treaty and for various reasons have ended up with less land or rights than that treaty would have guaranteed. As you may know, signed treaties are well documented and it is easy to find out, who signed them. The Lubicon Cree are not among the aboriginal groups, which have signed Treaty 8. Written provisions can be found in the 1989 supposedly "fair and reasonable" offer by the Federal Government that "the Lubicons (have to) cede, release and surrender to Her Majesty in Right of Canada all their aboriginal claims, rights titles and interest, if any, in and to lands anywhere within Canada" and that the Lubicons have to formally sign an "adhesion" to Treaty 8. The latter is a procedure for joining an existing treaty. In a December 2 1991 letter to the Editor of the Edmonton Journal Federal Indian Affairs Minister, Tom Siddon, publicly admitted that the Lubicons were "overlooked when Treaty 8 was signed". All this together makes a strong case for the Lubicons not to have signed Treaty 8 and, thus, retaining aboriginal rights over their traditional territory. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 establishes that such rights remain with the aboriginal owners of the land until formally transferred to the Crown through negotia- tion of a formal land cession treaty. According to Canadian law the Lubicon Claim therefore is to be qualified as a "comprehensive claim" and not as a "specific one". This difference is fundamental and not only a technical playing around with words and terms.



Other than the quantitiative description of the offer the Canadian Goverment to the Lubicon Cree in 1989 in paragraph 1 of the "standard response" letter suggests, the offer is not adequate and fair at all. What this offer basically does is providing new houses to the Lubicons and making them dependend on welfare forever. Even Provinvial Premier, Don Getty, and others considered the offer as inadequate in providing the basis for a new economy.



It is irrelevant in paragraph 2 that the Forest Management Agreement between Daishowa and the Province of Alberta is excluding the proposed reserve area, because the Lubicon retain aboriginal rights over their entire traditional territory. The letter suggests that the Lubicons claim an area as big as the Netherlands and Belgium combined. That is nonsense. The Netherlands and Belgium combined cover an area of about 72,000 square kilometers, while the Lubicons claim approximately 10,000.



In paragraph 3 the letter claims that "The United Nations Human Rights Committee decision, on the case brought by the Lubicon, said that the government offer to the Lubicon was an appropriate remedy". This again is a misrepresentation of that decision. The actual wording of the UN Human Rights Committee decision reads as follows:



"Historical inequities, to which the State party refers, and certain more recent developments threaten the way of life and culture of the Lubicon Lake Band, and constitute a violation of article 27 (of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) AS LONG AS THEY CONTINUE (capitalization added). The State party proposes to rectify the situation by a remedy that the Committee deems appropriate within the meaning of article 2 of the Covenant. (Article 2 says basically that each party to the Covenant, which includes Canada, undertakes to ensure that the rights of all people living within its boundaries are respected.)"



Finally paragraph 3 is referring to other Indian bands in that area, which have signed settlements with similar terms. One of these groups is the artifically (by the Federal Government) created Woodland Cree Band, which has not been accepted as such by any other Indian organisation in Canada because of the way it was created. This is not to blame the members of the Woodland Cree Band, but it is easy to talk poor and desperate people into an agreement, when you pay them $ 50 to vote and $ 1000 to vote "yes". This procedure has been well documented by the Canadian press.



Unfortunately all this information, which is very easy for you to verify, again proves that in terms of native claims, especially in the case of the Lubicons, the real goal of the Federal Government is not to negotiate a fair settlement but to discredit Indian people to make the settlement, if any, cheaper for the Government.



A response from your side would be highly appreciated.



Sincerely Yours



For the board



Dr. Peter Schwarzbauer