I don’t know if you have heard as of yet, but the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People was written, I believe, back in 1996, and most countries have signed onto it very early on. The three countries that did not were Canada, the United States and Australia. Since then, they have all signed on. Bennett*, when she was in power, signed on and that was a couple of years ago. Just recently, if you are watching the news, all the land in British Columbia is going to be, or has been given back to the native groups. This is a very interesting process of how our government baits and switches things. Without us recognizing or without us getting full disclosure, or understanding full disclosure, I understand the natives in British Columbia are very happy about getting their land given back to them because they believe they have ownership of it or possession over it.

The reality is that all they have done is changed the ownership from one corporation to another. The BRITISH COLUMBIA is a corporation and the INDIAN ACT is a corporation under the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is a corporation under the CROWN and the UNITED NATIONS is a corporation. So what we have done is taken the federal and provincial rules and regulations (laws) and turned them over to the United Nations because it says in its title, United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People. U.N.D.R.I.P. is the short term (acronym) for it, if that is what you are hearing on the news. The reality is that all we have done is changed the ownership from one corporation to another corporation.

The second corporation that we are going into has more restrictions than the corporation that we are coming out of. Why then would intelligent, God fearing people that believe they have rights ever subject themselves to such a program as what the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People offer. I would hope to think that as we go down these roads that we will think about what our rights are, the rights we do have, and start reading documents instead of just signing them. It is important for all of us to not sign our name, give our energy, unless we know what we are signing and what we are signing for. The legalese that are used and words that are used have different meanings take advantage of, intentionally, of people like you and me that are not lawyers, that are not politicians, that do not have that training or understanding and we end up picking up what is leftover and trying to move forward.

Canada is the second largest country in the world. We not only have the right but the responsibility to be able to understand what is happening within the world that we live in, which is called Canada. We are one of the wealthiest countries in resources. We are one of the lowest populations based on land mass in the country, in the world. We hold a high percentage of the fresh water of the world. The wood and minerals that we have are enormous in comparison to a lot of the world, and we don’t recognize it and we allow our government to sell these assets off to corporations that pollute, that take away the beauty, that take away resources, destroy Mother Earth. Destroy the ability that we are trying to save for our children and our grandchildren. How do we force the governments that control us and these corporations to step back and make sure that what they do is good for the environment? How badly do we need what they are taking out of the ground? How badly do we need to cut down trees without replanting? How badly do we need to sell off our water? How badly do we need to let them run pipelines of water from the Great Lakes down into the southern US, to our neighbours? But we are not aware of these things actually happening because they are kept very quiet until they are in a position where they can roll them out. We need to be more active in order to be able to protect our little part of this world. From the knowledge that we are going to gain from doing that is going to help us to support others in other parts of the world. We are all brothers and sisters and until such time as we can look at each other’s differences, respect and honour those, we will have a very hard time moving forward and protecting what we have for our children and our grandchildren.

* Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

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