Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
February 24, 1994
Attached for your information are copies of media reports and a transcript of a radio program talk show related to a recent meeting between new Federal Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin and Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak.
Attachment #1: Transcript of CBC Radio News Broadcast (6:30 A.M.) Friday, February 18, 1994
Phil Henry, CBC News
A private meeting takes place in northern Alberta this morning that may pave the way for a long-awaited treaty. Ron Irwin, Federal Minister of Indian Affairs, is meeting with Chief Bernard Ominayak of the Lubicon Cree Indians. The meeting will take place at Little Buffalo, home of the Lubicons. That's about 100 kms. east of Peace River. Ottawa promised the Lubicons a reserve more than 50 years ago. The traditional Lubicon territory is rich in natural resources, such as oil and gas. The Lubicons say $1 million worth of oil and gas is taken from the territory daily but none of it goes to the Band. There's a dispute over who actually owns the land. The Lubicons say it belongs to them. The Alberta Government says it's Crown land.
Attachment #2: Transcript of CBC Radio News Broadcast (11:00 A.M.) Friday, February 18, 1994
Phil Henry, CBC News
The Chief of the Lubicon Cree Indians and the new Federal Minister of Indian Affairs are meeting in northern Alberta this morning. They're trying to settle a dispute that's dragged on for more than half a century. Chief Bernard Ominayak and Ron Irwin are meeting in Little Buffalo, home of the Lubicons, east of Peace River. The Lubicons weren't discovered by Federal officials until 1939. Since then, oil and gas companies have moved into an area the Lubicon claim is theirs. The Province gave the companies the green light to work there, saying it is Crown land. The Lubicons say because they've never signed a treaty, they've never given up title to the land.
Attachment #3: The Edmonton Sun, Friday, February 18, 1994
LUBICON TALKS RESUME
The federal government is trying to get decades-old land claims back on the rails with Alberta's Lubicon Lake Indian Band.
Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin is to meet band officials today at Little Buffalo, 345 km northwest of Edmonton.
"I will want to express the federal government's resolve to settle their claim," Irwin said in a statement.
Irwin's trip makes good an earlier commitment to visit the Lubicon settlement, the statement adds.
The 500-member Lubicon band has turned down a federal offer of $45 million and 645 square km. of land surrounding its settlement.
Land claims talks have continued on and off for about 50 years.
Attachment #4: The Edmonton Journal, Saturday, February 19, 1994
LUBICON LAND-CLAIM TALKS MAY RESTART
Chief, Federal minister weigh options
Journal Staff Writer
A first step was taken Friday in restarting land-claim talks between the federal government and the Lubicon Indians.
Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak and Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin met for several hours Friday in Little Buffalo in a preliminary meeting to discuss how to proceed with talks.
"Basically the chief and the minister talked about how to restart talking," said Lubicon adviser Fred Lennarson, who attended the meting. "The chief is going to be spelling out some proposals to the minister."
Neither Ominayak nor Irwin could be reached for comment.
Irwin and Ominayak agreed the chief would set out some proposals on how to proceed, Lennarson said. These will include such items as the format for negotiations and the issues to be dealt with.
Lennarson said the meeting was almost a "getting to know each other" session, and included discussion of history and legal matters relating to the land claim.
He noted that talks have been stalled since the federal government made some proposals to the Lubicon in July 1992.
Ominayak is likely to send a proposal to Irwin sometime next week, Lennarson said.
Attachment #5: Transcript of CFRN TV Eyewitness News Broadcast (6:00 P.M.) Saturday, February 19, 1994
Ottawa's new Minister of Indian Affairs says he's serious about solving the Lubicon Indian land claim. Ron Irwin was at the Little Buffalo settlement near Peace River yesterday. The 500 member Band turned down the previous Tory Government's settlement offer of $45 million. The Band says it wants $200 million.
The Hon. Ron Irwin, Federal Indian Affairs Minister
The spread is so significant that we have to sit down and devolve a process that we would either be bound by, or bound by parts of it, or spin off sections of it. Without getting into dollars, we're more interested in how we get to a final solution.
Irwin was interviewed by CFRN Eyewitness News during a meeting today with northern Alberta Indian Chiefs which was held here in Edmonton.
Attachment #6: The Edmonton Sun, Monday, February 21, 1994
LUBICON DEAL NEAR
Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin is optimistic he'll soon be able to solve the long-standing Lubicon Cree land claim issue.
Irwin said everyone connected with the ongoing dispute is anxious to get it settled, including Alberta's Mike Cardinal, minister responsible for native programs.
"Minister Cardinal wants to move. He wants to get it solved. We're on the same wavelength," Irwin said yesterday after meeting with Alberta treaty Indians. "Industry in Alberta wants to get it solved, and the Lubicons want to get it solved, so I think we will."
Irwin met Friday with Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak and hammered out a process to begin resolving the claim.
"In two weeks he'll send me what he thinks the model will look like. We'll look at it," Irwin said. "And if we agree between the two of us we'll send it on to the Province of Alberta."
Negotiations in the 50-year dispute have been at a standstill since July 1992.
The 500-member Lubicon band has rejected a federal offer of up to $45 million and 645 sq. km. of land surrounding its settlement 345 km northwest of Edmonton.
Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi said Irwin has tried to be responsive to his organization's agenda of land claim settlements.
"I'm more than just satisfied. I'm encouraged with the response from the government," Mercredi said in Edmonton yesterday.
Attachment #7: Transcript of CBC Radio News Broadcast (8:30 A.M.) Monday, February 21, 1994
Phil Henry, CBC Radio
The Federal Minister of Indian Affairs says he's confident Ottawa can reach a settlement with the Lubicon Cree Indians. For more than 50 years the Lubicons and Ottawa have been unable to sign a treaty. Last Friday Ron Irwin met with Bernard Ominayak, Chief of the Lubicons. Irwin says Ominayak told him the Band has lost faith in dealing with Ottawa. The Minister says Ominayak accused Ottawa of divide-and-conquer tactics.
The Hon. Ron Irwin, Federal Minister of Indian Affairs
The major problem at the Lubicons is where there was a Lubicon people now we have two new reserves plus Little Buffalo. And there's a healing process that has to take place there because families are split. Families that moved to one or another of the reserves, leaving their children there. The Elders are upset. The main problem there is that there has been a deep division in the Lubicon community and that has to be healed.
Irwin says he asked Ominayak to come up with a process on how to settle the dispute. The Minister says he expects to hear from the Chief in about two weeks.
Attachment #8: Transcript of 630 CHED News Broadcast (11:00 A.M.) Monday, February 21, 1994
Irene Bell, 630 CHED
Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak says these are dangerous times for Canadian Natives trying to settle land claims. He told Collister show listeners this hour that the danger isn't only in the way that Ottawa treats Aboriginal people but in the nature of the claims themselves.
Chief Bernard Ominayak, Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
The traditional lands that we have contain a lot of natural resources -- meaning gas, oil and timber -- which everyone else would like to steal rather than the governments coming to terms with us.
He wants the settlements kept separate from Ottawa's drive to cut down on spending.
Attachment #9: Transcript of Ron Collister Show, 630 CHED (10:00 A.M.) Monday, February 21, 1994
Ron Collister, 630 CHED: A new government in Ottawa -- does that necessarily mean a new relationship between our Native people and the new Federal Government? Maybe yes. Maybe no.
I notice in the Sun today two important stories that create entirely different impressions. One story -- Alberta Natives are in an uproar over Federal Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin for yelling at Tribal Chiefs and storming out of a high level meeting yesterday. I'll tell you more about that in a minute. Obviously the Native people who were there felt they had been insulted and it was disgraceful conduct and they want an apology. But right along side this story we have another one that says Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin is optimistic he'll soon be able to solve the long-standing Lubicon Cree land claim issue.
So we have stories which create one of, I suppose, hostility; and one of cooperation. Well, let's find out what the real facts are by talking to the Lubicon Chief right now, Chief Ominayak. Good morning, Chief.
Chief Bernard Ominayak, Lubicon Lake Indian Nation: Good morning.
Collister: How does it look to you in terms of a settlement?
Ominayak: Well, it's a little early to tell at this point. We did meet with the Minister last Friday back in our community. At that meeting we went over a lot of ground as to what has transpired in the past. He was looking for a process mainly as to how to proceed with negotiations, how to get things back on track. He basically left it with us to propose something that we think would work by way of some serious negotiations. That's where we left things at this point.
Collister: Now I think Chief -- and you and I know -- you've been at this stage of cautious optimism before, haven't you? So what's different this time? Do you think you can do business with a Liberal Government in Ottawa?
Ominayak: Again as I said, it's a little early at this stage. I would hope that we make some headway this time. The Minister felt that there were more complicated problems within Canada amongst the Native peoples than the Lubicon situation. I would think that would be the case. I don't think it's so complicated that it can't be done. It's just a matter of trying to put things on track where people aren't chewing at one another...I think we tried our best many times in the past. The other side seems to take them apart. The Minister stated the Government would like to get it resolved and we certainly would like to get it resolved. So based on that I hope there's going to come a time when we do come to a fair and just settlement for our people.
Collister: So everyone wants it resolved, but on what basis? What is more important to you, Chief? The territory or the money?
Ominayak: We've always stated land was an important issue. Of course the Federal Government reneged on its constitutional responsibilities in the past and we had come to terms with the Getty Government, the Alberta Government. At the time the Feds were claiming that it's fine and dandy for somebody to be making deals as long as they aren't sending somebody else the bills. So we kind of got dragged into that situation. Hopefully this time the land issue is settled from the Provincial point of view but there's going to be some other points with which we have to deal with the Province. But the land issue shouldn't be a big concern on the part of the Federal Government because that has been settled with the Province in the past.
Collister: One of the big issues, Chief, was how many Lubicons there are. There was a great gap between the number that you claimed and the number that the Government claimed. Has that been resolved?
Ominayak: Not resolved from what they've been saying. In fact there are government officials still trying to recruit members to the Woodland Band and also to the Loon Band... But the fact still remains that we believe we've had our membership code in place for a long time and they haven't respected that, meaning the Governments. Not necessarily the Liberal Government at this point. We don't know where they stand. But in essence we have come to terms and what was decided is that the Lubicon people determine their membership based on their membership code.
Collister: Are you concerned that your situation is -- to use the expression -- small potatoes compared with some of the large issues that the Federal Government is having to deal with right now? I mean, allegations lately that the Federal Government is about to move in on reservations in Ontario and Quebec, the whole smuggling issue, escalation of tensions, lack of resolution through the Charlottetown Accord. It's beginning to look a bit dangerous and quite negative, don't you think?
Ominayak: Well, I think it's dangerous all around for Native people at this point in time. And of course the Lubicon situation has been very important because of the positions that are there, meaning the question of aboriginal rights and how governments deal with them. But more so I think because the traditional lands that we have contain a lot of natural resources -- gas, oil and timber -- which everybody else would like to steal, rather than the governments coming to terms with us. So there's a lot of money involved and a number of other issues which affect a lot of Canadian Aboriginal people.
Collister: Now what is it that Ron Irwin, the Indian Affairs Minister, has said to you that gives you encouragement to at least go ahead with trying to get a process that will lead to agreement? Because it's hardly worth the effort unless situations are going to change, is it?
Ominayak: That is true on one hand. But at the same time we've tried to work with people within the Liberal Party for a number of years who know the situation very well. Going into the election and then forming the Government they have stated all along that they would do what they could once they were in. And I hope there's a continuation of that.
Collister: What they don't have, though Chief, is money. We're going to have a budget tomorrow and money is a national problem. And I see that the last offer, which was unacceptable, $45 million and 236 sq. km. of land surrounding your settlement northwest of Edmonton -- can you really reasonably expect a cash offer much higher than that?
Ominayak: All kinds of figures have been thrown around and there's been a lot of work done in the area -- we've had independent cost assessors looking at it to see what it would take. Now whether the Liberal Government or any government is moneyless or not, or doesn't have the money it takes to deal with the situation correctly is another question. The fact is they've extracted billions of dollars of resources from our traditional territory. It's only a matter of returning some of that money to the rightful owners. So we're not talking about taxpayers' dollars or anything of that nature. I don't believe that we can avoid these facts because the country is financially in bad shape -- I think we've got to try and look at it from both sides.
Collister: Okay, let's sit tight and take some calls. I'm talking to Lubicon Chief Ominayak. You can talk directly to him and answer the questions we're discussing here and questions we haven't raised yet. How should the Lubicon issue be resolved? How do you feel about some of the negative eruptions across the country in relations between Native people and Ottawa right now? And of course the Quebec Government. Are we entering into a dark period or is there room for optimism?
Chief, before I go to the callers, I just want to ask you about this unfortunate incident over the weekend when Ron Irwin did meet Native leaders here in Alberta and is accused of yelling at them and storming out of the meeting. And of course the people who were there want an apology for all of this. Catherine Twinn, who is a lawyer and member of the Sawridge Band, said of this -- let's see now, she's talking about the refusal to commit to introducing proposed self-government legislation. She says "it's like a kick in the head, it's shocking". "He said" -- and she's talking about Ron Irwin -- "that if he does introduce it the Reform Party will attack it because they hate Indians. They want to be seen as the defender of the white man". Now here's a Native person making really incredible statements about the Reform Party. From what you know, what you understand, does that have any validity? Is it a serious criticism or was it just a wild yelling reaction?
Ominayak: I presume Cathy knows the Reform Party better than I do. I've had an opportunity to meet with Preston Manning a few years ago, well before he got into the position that he's in at this point. I know that there's still a lot of racism out there towards Native people within Alberta and within Canada. But I would hope that the situation isn't as bad as has been said for everybody, for both the Indian people and also for white people. I think as times get harder we need to understand one another a whole lot better if we are to survive through these hard times.
Collister: I agree with that entirely. I just want to ask you again if you feel that the Reform Party is a vehicle for perpetuating misunderstanding, discrimination, even hatred towards Indians? From what you know.
Ominayak: There're some hard liners within the Party. I guess we all realize that. That applies to all the different parties. But overall I think Preston Manning is somebody that has good common sense and I think the man is smart and I would hope that with his leadership that we wouldn't get into those situations. It's hard for me to really say at this point whether it's that bad or it isn't that bad. I just hope that it isn't.
Collister: Let's just briefly -- before I take calls -- look at the national picture right now and ask you how you feel about it. First there was Oka. Then there's post-Oka. And then there's all sorts of problems with smuggling. And then in the middle of all this of course there's a Provincial election coming up in Quebec where people will be asked to take sides, and maybe very little will get done until it's resolved whether Quebec even stays in Confederation. It's a real dog's breakfast right now. It's a mess. And it's getting quite negative in terms of the relations between the governments and the Native people, if you follow the headlines anyway. Do you feel sad about all of this, dispirited? Do you feel there's a time here when very little will be achieved?
Ominayak: I guess a lot depends on the Federal Government. If the will is there then I'm sure a lot of these problems could be ironed out or resolved. For example, with the Oka situation, I think the Mulroney Government did a terrible job in that particular case when it should have been a simple matter where they just resolved the issue around the table. But that wasn't the case. Instead what happened was they sent in an army and created a big, big issue. They never dealt with it. To this day it hasn't been resolved. And it's a simple matter that I think going to the table and having some people with some common sense at the table could have solved -- I think the Mohawk people tried many different ways to do that. But as long as the army is there and the police are there, then they're forever instigating problems. So these kinds of situations aren't going to be resolved as long as that's taking place.
Collister: Okay, back in a moment with our guest, Chief Bernard Ominayak, and your calls.
Let's talk to Harry. Hello Harry, do you have a question for our guest?
Caller #1, Harry: Yes, Ron, I have several questions. First of all I want to say that I was a former Band financial advisor for Indian Affairs, so I know quite a bit about the funding and operations of bands and Indian Affairs. I'd like to ask the Chief, you are part of Treaty 8 are you?
Ominayak: We are within the Treaty area that's been identified as Treaty 8 but we're not a party to Treaty 8. We never signed treaty.
Harry: That's right. So that is the basis of all your land claims now?
Harry: This is the kind of thing...
Collister: What is Treaty 8? Explain to us very briefly, what is Treaty 8?
Harry: Treaty 8 covers northern Alberta.
Collister: Okay, go ahead.
Harry: And of course that's the problem I've found in working with the Bands and the Department of Indian Affairs -- first of all, the band members did not know what the treaty is all about. You know, it was never explained to them. The leaders knew about it but the Band members didn't. As a matter of fact, many of the Indian Affairs people don't read those treaties and they are very important as a basis of negotiations. You either have a treaty and accept it or you renegotiate it. I wonder if the Chief would be interested in going through that kind of a route?
Ominayak: We've looked at Treaty 8 and in fact even though we're not part of Treaty 8 we're bound in more than one way by it -- for example, in what Treaty 8 allocated for land and stuff like that. We couldn't really go over and above that. What we've tried to do to work something out is put certain issues aside going into negotiations hoping that we would be able to arrive at a fair and just settlement between both levels of government.
Collister: I'll have to break in Harry, I'm sorry, but it's news time here on our program. We'll be back in a moment.
Collister: The headlines today say "Lubicon deal near". I don't think that's what the Chief is saying. The Chief is saying there is some process that's about to begin which may or may not produce a deal down the line. Is that a fair statement Chief?
Ominayak: Yes, I would say that's a fair statement. On the other event that took place Saturday and Sunday with the other Treaty 8 Chiefs, I feel it's unfortunate and I hope that things are worked out by the Minister and the Treaty 8 Chiefs...
Collister: Okay, now before you were on the air today we had an open line segment. There were several calls, people calling in about the Lubicon issue. One of the callers said that you are not -- I'd like you to answer it and clarify it right away -- that you are not a legal band. To quote this woman, you are a group of disgruntled members of other bands. What's your answer to that?
Ominayak: We have heard that one before way, way back when we first started. It's absolutely not true.
Collister: Okay, let's go to the board and talk to John. Hello John, go ahead.
Caller #2, John: How are you, Ron? Hi Bernard. I see that Chretien, before the election, said that he supported recommendation #5 of the Settlement Commission Report to hold all royalties in trust and withhold all leases and permits in traditional Lubicon land until approved by the Lubicon. Was that brought up to the Minister of Indian Affairs?
Ominayak: No, not at this point. What has been done by way of the Commission's recommendations was that report was hand-delivered to the Minister last Friday. But we will be getting back to the Minister and his people on how we would like to see things proceed now. I'm sure that they're going to have different ideas. But together hopefully we'll work something out that will work and lead to a resolution.
John: I see. Ron, for the people, I'm sure you're going to get a lot of calls about this over the next little while, maybe you could point out to the holy taxpayers that phone up complaining about what it's going to cost that there is in fact a million dollars a day being extracted from Lubicon territory. Would you sort of point that out to them so we can get that little thing out of the way?
Collister: You pointed it out already and that's fine. Where is the million dollars from?
Collister: Oil. So that's coming out of there right now, that's $365 million a year.
John: There's about $8 billion I think so far that has been taken out.
Collister: Where is that money?
John: I don't know. It's been spread around. It's probably in a few strategic back pockets as well. A lot of people, a very lot of very high profile people, I'm sure, are waxing rich on this one. Because this whole Lubicon thing started off with the Provincial Government debasing the law. I'm sure you know that they brought in retroactive legislation. They went right against all democratic principles in trying to rip off the Lubicons. And they were allowed to succeed in doing it. If they're willing to do that, they're willing to do an awful lot of underhanded stuff. I mean, even the Federal Government right now is still spreading the same propaganda that the Mulroney Conservatives were spreading around the world. So if you happen to be in Germany and you want to find out what's happened to the Lubicons through the Canadian Consulate, they're still giving a false image of what's going on.
Collister: Well, Chief, how do you answer all of that?
Ominayak: I know that there's a lot of money being made off our land. That's what I said earlier -- it would sure be nice if some of that money could be returned after all the damage that they've done to our people. They've used a lot of the money that comes out of there against us instead of trying to deal with us in a manner that would be fair and just. I think we're just asking for something that's rightfully ours.
Collister: Is this what the crunch is all about -- the division of the loot?
Ominayak: No, not necessarily. What has happened is our people have hunted and trapped off this land for many, many years and all of a sudden there's oil found and gas, and our traditional lifestyle now is gone so we have to look for other ways to try and survive. We've tried to work things out with both levels of government and that has not been possible. Their interest has been in money. And we realize that it's going to take money for our people to re-build the community and try and build a new economic base.
Collister: Now tell me, is John right that a million dollars a day has been taken out of claimed Lubicon land?
Ominayak: I don't know the exact figures on how much has been taken out. We've tried to find out a lot of different times. We know there're a lot of producing wells. There've been a lot of different figures out there. The $8 billion figure has been around for some time.
Collister: Okay, thank you very much, John, for your call. Now I'm just wondering how an agreement would change things, Chief. Now would that money come to you because you'd be self-governing? What would be the change?
Ominayak: First of all, right now we don't have lands that we can call reserves, like a lot of these other First Nations within Alberta and within Treaty 8. Therefore the Indian Affairs Regional Office here in Edmonton -- they get away with a lot. We don't have the same kind of access that the other Bands have by way of getting money or anything of that nature to try and build any kind of economic base in the community. So there's a lot of things when we speak of how things would change. I think it would be good for the rest of the country to allow us to start building our own future hopefully for the younger generation...
Collister: But is it self-rule you want, or something short of that, and if you want self-rule, how would you define it?
Ominayak: A lot is dependent on what we negotiate with the governments. I see in the paper, as you pointed out, it seems like there's two different ideas coming out again where the government has their own point of view as far as self-government is concerned, and Native people have a totally different view. But I don't think we're asking the Federal Government to delegate or to give us self-government. What we're trying to do is govern ourselves and we're asking the government to respect that -- and that may vary to some degree from Nation to Nation -- as to how we see it would be possible to govern ourselves and our people.
Collister: Whatever happened to the race horse that Don Getty gave you?
Ominayak: It's still alive and well.
Collister: Is it winning?
Ominayak: We're not into racing at all.
Collister: Not at this time of year anyway.
Ominayak: Not at this time.
Collister: Okay, back with your calls for the Lubicon Chief after this break.
It's a confusing day if you just read the stories of our Native people. As I mentioned earlier, you either have more heightened confrontation which is one way of interpreting that yelling match between the Indian Affairs Minister and Alberta Natives over the weekend; or you have maybe the first slim hopes of harmony with the Lubicons. We'll just have to wait and see about what is the real state of affairs.
Right now we're talking to the Lubicon Chief. You can talk to him too. There're lots of calls so let's go the board and talk to Walter. Hello Walter. Go ahead.
Caller #3, Walter: Hello, Ron. You know, I'm getting sick of listening to this Indian stuff. It seems the Indian people, all they do is think of themselves. They forget that we have a Canada. The only time that they want to talk to the government is when the welfare checks come, when the family allowance checks come, when any hand-out comes. But they seem to forget that Canada has to pay for this. We're all working as is as Canadians. If they put half the effort into trying to get along with their neighbor as what they do trying to get their hand-outs, I think they'd be as rich as we are. They've got as much benefits as we have.
Collister: Okay, Chief, how do you answer that?
Ominayak: First of all, I think the gentleman needs to look at the situation a whole lot closer. I can only speak about the Lubicons. We never bothered anybody in the past and all of a sudden they found oil and gas on our lands and we're in the way. Now if we're talking about sharing, we certainly would welcome that opportunity because they've stolen a whole lot of money from us and it's time some of it came back.
Walter: Chief, I disagree agree with you, this stealing. I am a farmer. If they find oil on my place, I get nothing. I get sweet tweet. I get surface rights. I got roads just like you got. I got schools like you got. I got all the improvements like you have. What are you guys hollerin' about?
Ominayak: I would imagine that somebody like yourself would understand things a lot better if you survived off the land and somebody took your farm and left you in a closet, I wonder how you'd feel?
Walter: Well, who took over your land?
Ominayak: The government and the oil companies and now Daishowa wants to move in there.
Walter: Well, the same thing here. If the oil company wants to drill an oil well on my place and I don't like it, they take it to arbitration and they drill anyway. If I want to be not cooperative with them guys, they just walk in. So you people got as much rights as I have. I had to pay dearly for my land when I bought it. You guys haven't bought your land. We bought all our land. What are you hollerin' about?
Collister: If you don't mind me saying so, you sound just as angry about what the companies are doing to your land as...
Walter: No, I enjoy it, Ron.
Collister: Okay, well explain it then, because you say they come in and have their way.
Walter: No, I'm just trying to point out that we're not any better off, we're the same treated as they are and I think we're rightfully treated.
Collister: Okay. Chief, go ahead.
Ominayak: Maybe Walter is treated properly, but we certainly aren't. For example, a lot of the treaties were made with Aboriginal people within Alberta and within Canada...
Walter: Hey, in my part there was a treaty. Does that make me one?
Collister: Just a minute, Walter.
Ominayak: I think, Walter, maybe the government should give you a one way ticket back to where you came from. You've got to realize that Indian people were here and we tried to share with non-Native people what we had and now we find ourselves with everything gone and nothing...
Walter: Your forefathers...
Collister: Walter, I must cut in now. We've got a lot of calls, but thank you for your outspoken views. Always appreciate it...(change tapes)...
Caller #4: I'd like to ask the Chief what future there is for the Indian people of Canada? What are we going to look at 200 years down the road? Will it be the same as today? I'm inclined to think we'll be in the same place with the set-up we have today. The Indian people are constantly asking, asking, asking. And enormous amounts. The country can't afford it. The cow is being milked on every side and it's going dry. And another thing, they want self-government only to the point -- you stay off our reserve. We're not subject to your laws. We're not subject to duty. We're not subject to taxes. We're not subject to income tax. But when the checks come out, they're in line for them. Now this can't go on. It's just impossible.
Collister: Okay, let's get a brief comment on that point too from the Chief. Go ahead. The cow is being milked from every side, Chief?
Ominayak: ...I think as things get harder economically and so on, I think people are going to have to start taking different attitudes and realize that we're all human and I think to be fair, Indian people have given up a whole lot for the other nationalities that are in Canada at this point in time. I think people have to realize that. Once we can come to terms with that -- that we're all people -- then I think we've got to look at one another in that light. It's true that a lot of Indian people have hard times and a lot of it has to do with the bureaucracy and all the greediness of governments that are in place and everybody that's destroying everything. The forests have now been destroyed. The oil and gas exploration has taken its toll. So I think a lot of the non-Native people have to understand that it can't go on forever and have anything left. Money isn't everything and we know that. But we're forced into these situations where we get third-world conditions. It's not by choice...
Collister: Okay, back in a moment with more of your calls for the Lubicon Chief, Bernard Ominayak, and we'll squeeze in as many calls as we can -- the board is jammed -- and then of course we run out of time at the top of the hour which is unfortunate, but let's get in as much as we can after this break.
Okay, let's talk to Don. Hello Don. Go ahead.
Caller #5, Don: Good morning. I've been sitting listening while I've been driving along to the conversation with Mr. Ominayak. I knew Bernie before he was the Chief. I can't disagree more with your previous callers that we owe nothing to the Indian people. The Federal Government has a right to extinguish land title of Aboriginal people. They don't have a right to do it without compensation. In 1930 the Province was given Federal lands under what is called the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement and had to agree to fulfil any unfulfilled Treaty things, like Treaty 8, where you had Bands like some of the smaller groups, like Bernie's, that were in the north that couldn't be reached at times of the treaty and that never adhered to it. So they have a treaty entitlement. I don't think there's any question. And that Indian people should have self-government is obvious. We've been spending 100 years screwing it up. I think that they can't do any worse, and should be doing that. But on the Indian side, every time I watch this thing as I have over the last decade, they're not without fault either. I mean, Mr. Ominayak has got a battery of white advisors, and the positions you're hearing -- like your earlier caller Harry is probably what, Fred Lennarson with the same dogma we've been hearing for the last ten years. So why doesn't Bernie go with his Band members and get something for his Band members and get rid of the white advisors? From the government's point of view, why doesn't the government sit down and negotiate this thing?
Collister: Okay, but the first point you raised -- what about that Chief, why don't you get rid of your white advisors?
Ominayak: Well, again, Ron, I think we've heard that one before...
Don: It's the confrontational white advisors.
Collister: Okay, but let's get the answer now, we know the point. Go ahead.
Ominayak: Whatever kind of advisor you use -- white, brown, black or any other colors -- is not the issue. It's rather trying to come up with something and how best to do that. We've never tried to use people because they were white or any other color. But rather to try and come up with something that would hopefully enhance our people's situation to arrive at a fair and just settlement...
Don: But you want self-government. Start doing it.
Collister: Okay, we got the point and it's a good strong point. Thank you very much indeed. Let's move on though, we've got lots of calls waiting. Hello John. Go ahead.
Caller #6, John: I just wanted to make a comment on that one fellow that called in and said the Native people are just wanting to take, take, take all the time. I disagree with that. I think he doesn't understand the agreements of the treaties. When they were signed, the governments in good faith made promises to the Aboriginal people in Canada recognizing them being Aboriginal, and has fallen short on some of their promises. This is where we have issues arising like the Lubicon Lake issue. It's an issue that needs to be dealt with. There's been a shortcoming of promises that have not been fulfilled yet. I'm not saying that it's the fault of the present government right now, but over the years it's been neglected. I believe that the Liberal Government will deal with it in good faith. I'd like to tell the Chief that. The other issues that were in the Sun this morning, I find them interesting and there'll be a lot happening I believe in `94 with the Native people.
Collister: Okay, thank you very much for that. We're almost out of time with the Chief, but it'll be open line in our third hour and if you want to keep on discussing these points don't put the phone down. You'll have to go to the bottom of the line because there's still lots more to be said and certainly there are huge information gaps clearly on both sides -- an understanding of the problems which the groups face. Let's start doing more to fill those information gaps. Let's ask you just briefly, Chief, a new government in Ottawa, a new era, or not?
Ominayak: We certainly don't think we can do too much worse than we have in the past. I would hope that situations get better. I guess a lot is dependent on the Chretien Government. If they even half try to deal with some of them it would be a whole lot better. I think it would clear the air and reduce animosity that's been generated through a lot of these situations. For example, about the Mohawk situation there's been a lot of stories coming out about the Mohawk situation that were not necessarily correct...
Collister: Well, Chief, just to repeat what I said a moment ago. There're a lot of information gaps to be filled on both sides and we'd be delighted to have you in the studio sometime again in the near future to keep on talking about this. There is major public interest as I sense just on the board here and of course in other ways too. So I hope you'll drop in. Okay?
Ominayak: Okay. Thank you.
Collister: Thank you very much. Bye, bye.