Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
May 11, 1993
Attached for your information is a copy of a press statement released by one of the European groups with whom Federal Indian Affairs Deputy Minister met during his recent European junket.
BIG MOUNTAIN AKTIONSGRUPPE
c/o Dionys Zink
D-8000 Munich 40
APRIL 8, 1993
Obviously, the tour of Canadian Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs, Dan Goodleaf, turned out to be quite different from what he had expected. Instead of meeting with people who are merely interested in or concerned about the situation of Aboriginal peoples in Canada, Goodleaf had to face discussions with human rights and environmental groups who are well informed about what is going on in Canada.
Recently, the terrible situation of aboriginal people in Canada has hit the headlines, after six children had tried to commit suicide in the Native community of Davis Inlet, which has a rate of four suicide attempts each month and over 90% alcoholism among the adults. But this is only one problem among countless others which include ruthless exploitation of natural resources and the destruction of Native survival.
Canada had sent its deputy minister on a propaganda tour to European countries in order to repair Canada's bad reputation in Europe. But having had already suffered defeats in Brussels at the European Parliament, in Vienna, where he met support groups, Goodleaf got another stab in Bonn.
On Tuesday, April 6, he met with representatives from the European Parliament, the Bundestag and various ministries in Bonn. During the three hour meeting he had to answer detailed questions on the Aboriginal policy of the Canadian government and had to explain why the government is still keeping on with a policy of ignorance and injustice. Attacked by the devastating facts he tried to counteract by telling some of his "success stories", which are merely rare incidents in a long history of oppression of Canada's first peoples. As Goodleaf was lacking facts that prove any positive development in the government's Native policy he closed with stating that Canada should stop excusing itself.
Yet, his arrogance and ignorance was smashed again when he met with representatives of human rights groups on Wednesday. This time he tried to play the defensive part by opening the discussion with the excuse that he is no expert on e.g. forestry or hydro- energy -- all issues related to Aboriginal people -- but he said he knows his department, and in this context he claimed to be tired of an image that portrays native people as victims. He also admitted that he has no solutions for the numerous problems involving aboriginal people, but he would be open for any solutions support groups could offer. Asked about recent incidents of breach of treaty conducted by the Canadian and provincial governments, he gave very general answers that reached from mere ignorance to plain lies.
Apparently he had already expected that he couldn't give any convincing answers and that he was on the losing side, he excused himself by saying he had another appointment, and therefore the meeting only lasted 45 minutes.
Goodleaf is of Mohawk origin, but has no authority to represent any native nations.