Forwarded: [Nuxalk self-determination]

Ryan Daum rdaum at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
Sun Oct 15 15:37:38 MDT 1995


The following is the text of a pamphlet written by Socialist Challenge  on the
defense of the right of the Nuxalk nation to self-determination. 
_________________________________________________________________________

Defend the Nuxalk Nation,
Defend the Right to Self-Determination

Interfor has resorted to the courts and the RCMP to defend its
rights to plunder the costal forest for corporate profit on unceded
native land.
          The Nuxalk Nation has never ceded its traditional territory or
consented to the destruction of their environment by Interfor. They
have been protesting against the occupation of their lands for
nearly one hundred years They finally said enough is enough and set
up a peaceful blockade on King's Island near Bella Coola with the
support of people in the environmental movement.
          But on September 26 some 150 RCMP and SWAT team members raided
the camp and arrested 19 people for contempt of court.
          Three hereditary Nuxalk chiefs and a member of the First
Nations Environmental Network remain in jail. They are refusing to
sign a conditional release form that states that may not return to
the area that Interfor wishes to log. "We have a responsibility for
this land and territory. We cannot sign a paper that would mean we
could no longer care for this land," they say.
          Further, the chiefs will not enter into land claims talks as
they are a sovereign nation who never gave up title to this land.
"We do not need to go to anyone and request or seek a claim to this
land. It is our territory."
          We believe the Nuxalk Nation is exercising its legitimate
right to self-determination. It is they and not the multi-national
corporations who should decide what is done with their territory.
It is they who have a right to an ecological and sustainable
future.

Let the First Nations and Quebec decide
          The federal and provincial governments do not recognize the
right of First Nations to genuine national self-determination. In
1990, the Sûrétè du Quèbec and the Canadian army were used against
the Mohawks. In 1995, the Ontario Provincial Police tactical squad
killed Anthony George when they fired into a group of Chippewa
occupiers at Ipperwash. The BC government branded the actions of
Shuswap sovereigntists at Gustafsen Lake as purely criminal and the
RCMP mounted one of the biggest operation in its history against
them.
          The only time and place the Canadian government and the
provincial premiers of English-speaking Canada are prepared to
tolerate and recognize First Nations rights to sovereignty is if
Quebec votes Yes in the upcoming referendum.
          The Cree and Inuit of Northern Quebec are holding their own
consultation processes during the referendum. We support the right
of the Cree and Inuit in Quebec and the First Nations in the rest
of Canada to self-determination.
          Socialist Challenge/Gauche Socialiste thinks the Parti
Quèbècois is wrong to deny First Nations the right to self-
determination. They insist on the territorial integrity of Quebec
at a time when the Quebec nation is seeking to exercise its
legitimate right to become independent if it so chooses. We stand
in solidarity with those left wing forces in Quebec (primarily the
PDS the Party of Socialist Democracy) who are waging an independent
campaign for a Yes that respects First Nations rights to self-
determination.
          But we reject the hypocrisy of the No side in Quebec and in
the rest of Canada. We don't think they have anything to teach the
Quebecois about respecting First Nations rights. We reject racism
whatever its banners. One can accuse the PQ of fanning racism
against First Nations. But we should remember it was the pro-
federalist Premier Bourrassa who was the great champion of James
Bay hydro development and it was Bourrassa who asked for the
Canadian army to be sent to Oka.
          Governments and corporate interests in the rest of Canada have
tried to use First Nations as pawns in their game plan against
Quebec nationalism. But now they are backing away from even the
limited recognition of inherent right to self-government they
accepted at Charlottetown. Chretien wants to negotiate the most-
limited municipal-style self-government with individual native
bands and to offload the costs of government on their shoulders. He
has so little respect for First Nations that he won't negotiate
with the Assembly of First Nations or other First Nations groups
who oppose his plans. The BC NDP government has placed strict
limits on what it is prepared to accept in the First Nations treaty
process and it is capitulating to a right-wing racist law-and-order
campaign. The NDP's opponents would offer even less or would scrap
negotiations altogether.
          Supporters of First Nations rights have an enormous amount to
do. People in the rest of Canada need to overcome their own
government's shameful treatment of First Nations. If a majority in
Quebec votes Yes, people in Quebec who wish to becoming independent
will need to work out their own arrangement to respect First
Nations rights. Consistent support of the right to self-
determination is the only way forward.

Socialist Challenge/Gauche Socialiste
For more information on these issues,
or for a sample copy of Socialist Challenge magazine
Contact Socialist Challenge Vancouver,
Box 4955, Vancouver, BC V6B 4A6



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