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'Many Paddles, One Canoe': Allies Back First Nations as They Ready Tar Sands Pipeline Fight


'Many Paddles, One Canoe': Allies Back First Nations as They Ready Tar Sands Pipeline Fight

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

In what has been described as an unprecedented grassroots mobilization, activists, environmental groups, and others concerned about the future of the Pacific coast this week are rallying to support a First Nations court battle to block the construction of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.


I think it worth pointing out the unique situation British Columbia and its First Nations people are in simply because of geography.

Across Canada most of the First Nations tribes did in fact sign treaties where lands ceded in return for Government guarantees of various sorts too numerous to mention.

BC was rather unique in that it was so rugged there was little direct contact between the various tribes and the Government of the day. Added to that the number of tribes in BC was very much greater due to that geography. As such there were very few treaties signed in British Columbia.

Prior to Confederation and BC entering the Dominion there were 14 treaties total signed based on the New Zealand model which was very different than the process used in Eastern Canada. After joining the Dominion very few treaties were signed so the First nations peoples here have a strong legal basis for claims these various pipelines will cross their sovereign territory.


Canadian and Aboriginal sovereignty and the Supreme Court

It is a fact that Aboriginal sovereignty of Indigenous Nations existed before British North America and Canada. Where did it go? Sovereignty cannot be taken from nations: It can only be given up by them. In Canada, Indigenous Nations never gave up sovereignty, never ceded, surrendered. Indeed, the treaties that define Canada were negotiated with sovereign Indigenous Nations, and Canada’s sovereignty, thus, relies on Aboriginal sovereignty.

Reconciling Sovereignties: Aboriginal Nations and Canada by Felix Hoehn

Reconciling pre-existing Aboriginal sovereignty with de facto Crown sovereignty will not threaten the territory of Canada, nor will it result in a legal vacuum. Rather, it will facilitate the self-determination of Aboriginal peoples within Canada and strengthen Canada’s claim to territorial integrity in the eyes of international law.

In Reconciling Sovereignties, Felix Hoehn presents a persuasive case that the once unquestioned and uncritical acceptance of the Crown’s assertion of sovereignty over Aboriginal peoples and their territories is now being replaced by an emerging paradigm that recognizes the equality of Aboriginal and settler peoples and requires these peoples to negotiate how they will share sovereignty in Canada.
Hoehn concludes that the Supreme Court of Canada has taken us to the threshold of a new paradigm for Aboriginal law that

(a) rejects the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius,

(b) accepts that Aboriginal sovereignty continues, and

© holds that only treaties can elevate the Crown from de facto sovereignty to a de jure sovereignty that is shared with Aboriginal peoples.

The sovereignty paradigm will provide needed answers to the pressing moral and practical crises that plague the old paradigm, and it holds the greatest promise for reconciliation.

The text is current to William v. British Columbia (BCCA), June 27, 2012.



Opening Statement to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Federal Participation in the British Columbia Treaty Process—Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

(Chapter 7 - November 2006 Report of the Auditor General)

8 February 2007

Ronnie Campbell
Assistant Auditor General

…“For instance, Mr. Chair, since the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2004 Haida and Taku River decisions, the federal government has had a duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate First Nations. This duty arises when the government has knowledge of the potential existence of an Aboriginal right or title, and is considering taking actions that might adversely affect it. At the time we tabled our report, the federal government had not yet put in place a policy to fulfill this duty.”


The Crown’s Duty to Consult and the Role of the Energy Regulator
Authors: Keith B. Bergner | May 2014 – Volume 2, Winter 2014


The Resources: An Aboriginal Perspectiv­­e
By Frank Meness
This essay provides a brief overview of the historic Red and Black Series and Indian Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements­­. It highlights­­, from an Aboriginal perspectiv­­e, their importance to contempora­­ry historians and researcher­­s.
Red and Black Series
Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements
Importance of the Historical Record
Accessibil­­ity and Efficiency
Research Applicatio­­ns


Georges Erasmus wrote in the forward of DRUMBEAT: Anger & Renewal in Indian Country - ISBN#0-929091-03-5 ( page1): “As people of the First Nations of Canada we have a vision of the sort of country we want to live in & to build in collaboration with other Canadians. It is certainly not the sort of country we have now… To do so we have to go back to the agreement made in the Two-Row Wampum Treaty signed between First Nations & the newly arrived Europeans in 1664. All across North America today First Nations share a common perception of what was then agreed: we would allow Europeans to stay among us & use a certain amount of our land, while in our own lands we would continue to exercise our own laws & maintain our ouw institutions & systems of government. We all believe that that vision is still very possible today, that as FN we should have our own governments with jurisdiction over our own lands & people. WE SHOULD DECIDE ABOUT AND BENEFIT FROM THE TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT WE WANT IN OUR OWN TERRITORIES, NOT HAVE SUCH DEVELOPMENT FORCED ON US TO SERVE OUTSIDE INTERESTS.”

Please note: links are not allowed on this site…but I left many clues for those interested …

I ll comment later about Treaties…but it should be noted that The Numbered Treaties cover Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and parts of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia

course Shin Imai wrote about this :

Treaty Lands and Crown Obligations: The ‘Tracts Taken Up’ Provision

Shin Imai
York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

February 6, 2001


Thanks for the awesome informative post! Every option for reclaiming sovereignty is “on the table”!


Canada’s First Nations view their treaties as being agreements directly between them and the Crown, not with the ever-changing government of Canada. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 made clear that the First Nations were autonomous political units and affirmed their title to lands. It remains an important document, mentioned in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, outlining the Canadian Crown’s responsibility to protect First Nations’ territories and maintain the bilateral “nation-to-nation” relationship.

In 1984, as a bicentennial gift, Queen Elizabeth II gave the Christ Church Royal Chapel of the Mohawks a new silver chalice to replace one lost during the American Revolution. The lost chalice was from a set given to the Mohawks by Queen Anne in 1712 to embody the relationship between the Crown and Mohawk people.

In May 2005, the Queen, during a visit to the First Nations University of Canada in Saskatchewan, presented a piece of Balmoral granite engraved with the ciphers of Queen Victoria and herself. The gesture behind the gift was outlined in the Queen’s words:

"This stone was taken from the grounds of Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland — a place dear to my great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. It symbolises the foundation of the rights of First Nations peoples reflected in treaties signed with the Crown during her reign. 

& more recently ( although not noted in mainstream media as of yet)

The Queen Among the Mohawks
Jul 9th, 2010
by James Cullingham.
RE Mohawk bells

On July 4, American Independence Day, the Queen of Canada, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper called her throughout her recent visit, attended a Sunday morning service at St. James Cathedral in downtown Toronto. Four days after Canada Day, the choice of a service at St. James, one of the most visible manifestations of Toronto’s increasingly atavistic ‘English connection’, was a reminder of the living presence of history.

This was poignantly apparent in Queen Elizabeth’s personal decision (according to Kevin S. MacLeod, Canadian Secretary to the Queen) to present two peals of hand bells to the Chapels Royal of the Mohawks.

In so doing, as the Archbishop of Toronto Colin Johnson and the day’s homilist Cathedral Rector Douglas Stoute reminded the 700 sweltering bodies inside the Cathedral and the thousands lining King and Church Streets outdoors, the Queen honoured a relationship that pre-dates the existence of Canada by more than 150 years.

As a historian, one is struck by Elizabeth’s choice of July 4 as a date to commemorate the 300-year relationship between the British Crown and the Mohawk Nation. Further, given the contentious, sometimes even bloody, relationship between the Canadian state and the Six Nations since Confederation, the import of the Queen’s decision to pay such homage was not lost on the Mohawks present, or on attentive observers of indigenous-settler relations in Canada. The silver bells that Queen Elizabeth presented on July 4 are engraved with the words The Silver Chain of Friendship 1710-2010; according to notes provided by the government of Canada, they “are symbolic of the councils and the treaties that originated between the English colonies in North America and the Iroquois Confederacy.”


The history of European contact with the Haudenosaunee goes back nearly five hundred years. Jacques Cartier made their contact with the Haudenosaunee in 1534-35, when he encountered a group of Haudenosaunee people living along the St. Lawrence River (at the place of Hochelaga.)
In 1609-10, Samuel de Champlain made an alliance with the Hurons, and together they made war upon several groups of Iroquois at the Battle of Richelieu and the Battle of Lake Champlain. French-Iroquois relations remained tenuous for centuries afterward. However, the Iroquois established positive relations with other European groups who provided them in turn with trade goods and European supplies.
In 1643, the Iroquois concluded an important treaty with the Dutch allowing for the two cultures to live parallel to one another, without interfering with the other. This contract is known as the Two-Row Wampum belt, which signifies two rivers running parallel but never intersecting. When the British later conquered the Dutch colony of New Netherland and renamed it New York, they inherited and continued the alliance with the Iroquois. The Haudenosaunee relations with the British were generally sort of alliance with trade relations as well.
As European contact continues, missionaries from various countries and sects of Christianity were sent to convert the local Haudenosaunee population. Several Jesuit priests are often cited to illustrate this. In 1649, the Jesuit preists Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were martyred in Brantford… Information gathered by the Jesuits is documented in their journals. These firsthand accounts may be read in Jesuit Relations and des peres Jesuites.
The new European population settling in the Americas brought new diseases to which the Haudenosaunee and all indigenous populations had no resistance. Aboriginal people suffered from epidemic diseases they knew no cures for, such as smallpox, the common cold, measles, influenza, tuberculosis and cholera. With severely decimated population, the Haudenosaunee people were easier to annex from the new European settler population. The seventeenth century was one of plagues and decimation for the Haudenosaunee.
Although the British and Iroquois had been allies in the American Revolution, the British had signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which ended the war with the United States. Many of the Haudenosaunee regarded their ally’s signing of this treaty with their enemy as a betrayal of their alliance.
Thus, the British General Frederick Haldimand responded to this by persuading his British government to give a tract of land six miles deep on both sides of the Grand River from mouth to source (approximately 300 kilometers long) to the Iroquois loyal to the crown-“His majesty’s Faithful Allies.”
This awarded on October 25, 1784. This is how many Haudenosaunee people came to live along the Grand River, and partly how the Six Nations Reservation came to be.
Many traditional structures were threatened among people of the Six Nations with the allotment of reservation lands in 1840s.
From 1869 onward, Canadian law required a mandate of paternal descent.
In 1924, the rule of the traditional confederacy chiefs was terminated/forcibly removed in favor of an elected municipal government on the reserve. This is currently the only governing body on the reserve recognized by the Canadian government.

The 1613 treaty was recorded by the Haudenosaunee in a wampum belt known as the Two Row Wampum. The pattern of the belt consists of two rows of purple wampum beads against a background of white beads. The purple beads signify the courses of two vessels — a Haudenosaunee canoe and a European ship — traveling down the river of life together, parallel but never touching. The three white stripes denote peace and friendship. This wampum records the meaning of the agreement, which declared peaceful coexistence between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers in the area.
Haudenosaunee tradition also records the specific meaning of the belt as follows, in the form of a Haudenosaunee reply to the initial Dutch treaty proposal:
You say that you are our Father and I am your son. We say, We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers. This wampum belt confirms our words. These two rows will symbolize two paths or two vessels, traveling down the same river together. One, a birch bark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs and their ways. The other, a ship, will be for the white people and their laws, their customs and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other’s vessel. The agreement has been kept by the Iroquois to this date.
The treaty is considered by Haudenosaunee people to still be in effect.

Further Haudenosaunee tradition states the duration of the Two Row Wampum agreement:
As long as the Sun shines upon this Earth, that is how long OUR Agreement will stand; Second, as long as the Water still flows; and Third, as long as the Grass Grows Green at a certain time of the year. Now we have Symbolized this Agreement and it shall be binding forever as long as Mother Earth is still in motion.

& just lately:

THE HAGUE – On a slow rhythm a procession of Moluccans moves towards the Tree of Peace in Wijkpark Transvaal in The Hague.

They participate in an annual ceremony which commemorates the UN declaration which guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples. This year attended by Indians from the United States.

Apart from one of them , who wears a feather headdress, they look very ordinary. The three men, Oren Lyons , Kenneth Deer and Joseph Deom, belong to the Iroquois, an Indian tribe from New York.

They are there to celebrate a four hundred year old peace treaty with the Netherlands. At the end of the ceremony the men get a symbolic handshake of human rights ambassador Lionel Veer of Foreign Affairs.

Lyons sees the friendship between his tribe and the Netherlands as a good example of peaceful cooperation. “It is important to remind of peace at this time. It requires hard work. Not only by world leaders, but in particular by the common people.

Because peace is in their hands. “tworow-1-duExceptional is that the Indians did not travel with a U.S. passport to the Netherlands but with that of the Onadaga Nation.

Onadaga is an independent reservation in New York. Leo van der Vlist, director of the Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, says this caused quite some hassle: “The Onadaga passport is not officially recognized.

Because today is such a special occasion, an exception was made.”The 83 -year-old Lyons, spiritual leader of the nation, finds that the place has a special meaning. “This Tree of Peace was planted in 2006 with one of our Mohawk brothers.

That’s why it was important to gather here.” Van der Vlist agrees. “I was here in 2006 too. To now come back to this place with people I have been trying to get to the Netherlands for years. A fantastic moment.”

Originally posted: Article published in daily national Dutch newspaper Trouw on 14 September 2013
MICHAEL RAMAKER – 14/09/13 , 00:00 Reportage | Indians from reservation in New York honor 400 years old peace treaty


some History …

Iroquois Patriot’s Fight for International Recognition
The old chief, Clinton Rickard, lived in a little house near the Niagara County town of Sanborn on the reservation of his nation, the Tuscaroras. People of the Iroquois Confederacy will always remember that house not merely because Clinton Rickard had done many good things for his people in his long lifetime, but because at his invitation, another fine man, a homeless exile, lived out his last days there. Though his name is known to few white people, no loyal Iroquois will forget Deskaheh, Chief of the Younger Bear Clan of the Cayuga Nation.
Deskaheh was a descendent of Mary Jimerson, famous in Indian and colonial history, and he was born in Grand River Land, a reservation of the Six Nations People who fled or were driven to British lands, now Canada, from their lands below the border after the American Revolution. They chose these acres, gratefully guaranteed to them by the British through General Haldimand, because the Grand River, with its level flats, reminded them of their beloved lands taken over by New York State.
After his years of grammar school, Deskaheh, like many other Grand River people, exercised his rights, guaranteed by the Jay Treaty to cross the U.S. boundary to become a lumberjack in the Allegheny Mountains, but after an accident, he returned to Grand River and took up farming. He married the daughter of a Cayuga mother and white father and she bore him four daughters and five sons.
By 1914, Deskaheh had reached the middle period of what white neighbors called a “successful reservation Indian life.” His honesty, sincerity and his ability as an orator in Cayuga language had brought him deserved appointment as head speaker when the Canadian Government, satisfied until the beginning of World War I to allow the Iroquois the status of a separate nation, decided on grounds of expediency to disregard the old treaties and assimilate the Indians, by force, if necessary. Deskaheh was the leader of the delegation that patiently explained in Ottawa, first, that the Canadian Government had no jurisdiction over the little Iroquois nation, and second, that since the Indians had already volunteered in proportionately greater numbers than the people of any other nation in the world, enforced draft of its young men by a foreign ally would seem silly.
They won this argument, but the end of the war brought other attempted encroachment and the Iroquois soon knew that the majority in the legislative halls of the Canadian capitol planned further inroads on their rights as citizens of the separate country known as Grand River Land. In 1921, to thwart the purposes of these schemers, Deskaheh, appointed “Speaker of the Six Nations Council,” presented as travel credentials a passport authorized by his nation and crossed the Atlantic to seek British aid. Since, as he pointed out, the treaty by which his people had their rights guaranteed was signed by George III, he asked its confirmation by George V. The English authorities refused his request saying that they would not deal with a Canadian domestic problem and the Cayuga returned, disillusioned. Then the Canadian enemies grew bolder. The creating of a fifth-column party through persuasion, promises, and payments was easy. It was easier still to get the new minority to ask for protection. And it was easiest of all to order a detail of the red-jacketed Royal Canadian Mounted Police to ride into the Grand River country to protect the “loyalist” Indians and “to keep the peace.” So obvious was this procedure that Deskaheh, who strongly opposed it, pleading earnestly for arbitration, won many sympathizers among his neighbors and through them, news of the coming raid reached him in time for a hasty flight across the border of the United States to the city of Rochester in western New York State.
The raiders arrested and jailed a number of Iroquois, and though Deskaheh was known to abstain from alcoholic liquors, they searched his house on the pretext of looking for illegal beverages. The Canadian Government then ordered barracks built for the housing of their police and Grand River was suddenly an occupied nation. Deskaheh now began to fight back desperately.
With the Six Nations counsel, George P. Decker (a white Rochester lawyer) as his companion, he again used his passport, this time to travel to Geneva to bring his people’s case before the League of Nations. He arrived in September of 1923, took lodging in the Hotel des Families, and began to work towards presenting personally to the Council of the League the petition of his people. Though he met with no success, he fought doggedly. Winter came and went ,and in mid-April, he wrote to his wife and his sons and daughters. “I have no time to go anywhere, only sitting on the chair from morning till night copying and answering letters as they come, and copying the documents and I have many things to do.” May came to the city by beautiful Lake Leman, but his thoughts were with his people beside the Grand River and like a good believer in the religion of the Longhouse, he was seeking aid through the prayer of his people to their God. To his brother Alex General, he wrote: “I believe it will be a good thing to have a meeting in one of the longhouses, but you must (combine) all the good people and the children of the Longhouse, only those that are faithful believers in our religion and no other, and it must be very early in the morning to have this, so that our God may hear you and the children, and ask him to help us in our distress at this moment, and you must use Indian tobacco in our usual way when we ask help to our Great Spirit…and you must have a uniform on…and also ask God you wish the religion will keep up for a great many years to come and the Indian race also…”
By June, he had obtained the services of a Swiss lawyer who was preparing a statement of the case of the Six Nations in French. The money the Indians and their friends had raised in North America was almost gone, and some means of replenishing it was necessary.
Again he wrote brother Alex from Geneva: “And we had a meeting of the Iroquois of the Six Nations of the Grand River Land (really the committee devoted to the interests of the Six Nations) on the 27th of June and the meeting decided to raffle off the two portrait pictures which they made and just think of it, these two pictures of myself with my costume on it brought 6,000 Swiss francs – it means a little over 1,000 dollars of our money…and it gives me very great lift to our fight…very strong committee, all big people, of high class people. When the meeting takes place everybody looks decent of their suit and dress very well.” If these informal reports written to his beloved family in unfamiliar language seem naive, the campaign Deskaheh and his good friend, George Decker, were waging was not. It was hard-hitting, simple, direct. The embarrassed officials who had to deny this representative of a small nation the right to speak before the League Council committed to the Wilsonian doctrine of autonomy for small nations. These two made the situation more awkward for the British interests by getting into the public prints distributed in Geneva quotations from treaties and documents that Canada had decided to abrogate as “scraps of paper.”
The Cayuga was also attracting much favorable attention as a person. To the Irish woman correspondent of the Freeman’s Journal he seemed a “good-looking, broad-shouldered man, about 40 years of age (he was actually 54) wearing ordinary dark clothes…and presenting every appearance of a well-to-do farmer with the one exception of his beautiful moccasins…” She commented on the penetrating searching glance of his dark eyes, his kindly smile disclosing remarkable white teeth, and finished her description with the sentence “His beautifully shaped but stern mouth, firm chin and heavy jawbones are those of the born fighter, the strong man who knows his strength and believes in it, whilst his shining eyes speak of enthusiasm and idealism.” But in the middle of this enthusiastic and sentimental interview, the chief had persuaded her to quote from the text of a memorial address to the Grand River Indians, dated as late as December 4, 19I2 and filed by Great Britain.
“The Documents, Records, and Treaties between the British Governors in former times, and your wise Forefathers, of which, in consequence of your request, authentic copies are now transmitted to you, all establish the Freedom and Independency of your Nations.”
Time wore on and though a few Englishmen and Canadians spoke up for the Six Nations Indians, though the representatives of the Netherlands and Albania Iistened sympathetically and spoke of supporting his petition, Deskaheh began to suspect that his cause was lost. News from the homeland was bad. The Canadian Government had announced a “free election,” which would in effect determine whether or not the Six Nations Government of Grand River Land should be dissolved. For this vote, the Canadian Government agent had taken possession of the Six Nations Council House, surrounding it with a guard of twenty police. In protest, the Indians favoring their nation’s continuance did not vote. The Canadian authorities then broke open the safe holding the records of the Six Nations and took from there a number of wampum belts, revered as sacred by the Iroquois, refusing, on demand, to return them. In November 1924, Deskaheh wrote to the editor of a Swiss journal, “it is the heart broken that I must affirm that since several months I am against the most cruel indifference…My appeal to the Society of Nations has not been heard, and nothing in the attitude of Government does not leave me any hope.
It is in this dreadful agony that I take the advantage to cry out that injustice, by the means of your free review, to my Brothers from all races and all religions. Too long we have suffered from the tyranny of our neighbors who tread under feet our Right to laugh at the Pact which binds them…Our appeal is for all those which are animated by the spirit of justice and we ask them their benevolent help.”
As if to seal its own lack of interest, the Secretariat of the League which had notified Deskaheh of the refusal to allow him to appear as a petitioner before a plenary session, aware of the embarrassment he had caused, now denied both Deskaheh and George Decker seats in the gallery to observe deliberations.
Despairing, the two friends struck their last brave blow. They hired the Salle Centrale, and advertised in the press their own meeting at which Deskaheh would present the case to those who would come to listen. The response was amazing. The North American “Indian” had been a popular figure in Europe since the time of Columbus and, the populace, the vast majority of whom had never seen an example of the noble savage as popularized by translations from the works of James Fenimore Cooper and other romanticists, attended in thousands. All the Geneva Boy Scouts were present, but not a single League of Nations Official. Members of the press of many nations, sensing possibilities of stories about a picturesque if not politically important character, were at their reserved tables, among them the distinguished Hungarian journalist Aloys Derso, who told amusing and movingly pathetic incidents of the occasion.
“I went to the evening to see my first American Indian. He was in the dressing room already in full regalia. I drew a few sketches of him and he was a good model, sitting immobile. He had not the typical Indian profile, the nose not the aquiline nose I had expected. His eyes were tired and there was a great melancholy in his expression”.
When Deskaheh appeared before the great audience, he walked in dignity and with no self-consciousness. There were giggles because, though in the elaborate dress of a Chief of the Cayuga Nation, he carried an enormous yellow suitcase which he placed carefully on a table in front of him.
Smiles soon ceased, however, as Deskaheh related his story simply and sincerely. His people had heard in 1515, he said, of a repulsively homely white chief. The young Indian men had swiftly formed a regiment and gone across the big water to fight for world freedom and justice as the allies of the government that had once so gratefully guaranteed his nation its lands. Here he repeated a passage from the Treaty of 1784, as worded by Sir Frederick Haldimand, governor-in-chief of Quebec and territories depending hereon:
“I do hereby in his Majesty’s name, authorize and permit the said Mohawk nation and such other of the Six Nations Indians as wish to settle in that quarter to take possession of and settle upon the banks of the river commonly called Ouse or Grand River…which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever.”
Then he recited the tale of the broken pledge, the raid of the Royal Mounted Police, the rummaging of his own house, the building of the police barracks, the seizure of the sacred wampum. The story would be incredible without evidence, he said. but he had foreseen this and had the proofs with him. Then he lifted the lid of the suitcase and with care and reverence drew from within the old headed wampum on which might be read the sworn agreements of’ white governments with his people. Speaking with deep feeling, translating these documents slowly and impressively, stopping now and then to make clear the meanings of the bead colors and of the representations of the symbols, he made his entranced listeners feel that this was not the narration of the grievances of a small racial unit, but the story of all minority peoples – the tragedy of every small nation that is a neighbor to a larger one. When he finished, there was a moment of silence – then a roar of a tremendous ovation. Thousands rose to their feet to cheer him and the great hall echoed and re-echoed with their applause. Straight, unsmiling, impassive, he waited until after many minutes the sound began to wane. Then, still expressionless he left the platform.
Before the end of 1924, the Speaker of the Six Nations Council had returned to the United States, a disillusioned and discouraged man. An exile from Canada and from the nation he thought he had failed, he found refuge with Clinton Rickard in the house of the benign old chief. There, by the Niagara River, which marks the Canadian boundary, he found that the people for whom he had fought did not think him a failure. From their northern homes in Grand River Land, they journeyed here to see him and assure him of their loyalty. Though his disheartening experience had weakened him physically, his spirit took fire from their words and with never-ending courage, he kept up his battle.

NOTE: This is an exerpt from “Basic Call to Consciousness”.


It is important to allow the Gateway Project to be built. The resources are there and they will provide a monetary cushion for Canada until the use of fossil fuels is curtailed and replaced with alternate energy sources. The big question is to keep the pipeline free of spills and damage of any sort. Why not hire and train First Nations’ people to do the hard work of monitoring the safety of the pipeline and maintaining its integrity? These are the people with the most interest in a well performing asset, free of trouble, so their warnings will be listened to and acted upon.


I feel sorry for you because your hyperbole is destroying any possible influence you might have in persuading the government to consider alternatives to the Gateway Project. This is not a situation where negotiation is one sided. Both the government and its partners the private sector must negotiate in good faith with the First Nations but they must also negotiate in the same fashion. There are many more people involved in the ramifications of these negotiations than just the indigenous peoples and the government, many more. If “Do Nothings” of past eras had spouted the kind of hyperbole you do, we would all still be living in grass huts. A way will be found to transit Canada’s resources to market and you can either be a part of how it is done or you can continue crying in the wilderness. Its your decision!