Some issues of international law and genocide

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Thu Feb 20 16:26:32 MST 2003




>>                      LIL'WAT V. FRANCE AND OTHERS


Not a very promising precedent for entities contending for the status of
states in the ICJ, I'd have to say. Are you citing this to demonstrate that
international law is a hypocritical facade on the exercise of force, or as
an example of protest against that facade?

Treaty 7 (http://www.treaty7.org/info/treaty7.htm) seems key to one facet of
your argument, but that raises as many questions as it answers. I'm
perplexed how an advocate of Blackfoot sovereignty could cite this treaty
approvingly -- it clearly looks more like an outright surrender of
sovereignty. Only with a full-on attack on the legitimacy of this treaty can
I see you making a case that the Blackfoot -preserved a claim to independent
statehood through continuous exercise of sovereign authority. Does your
reference to the fact that "some Blackfoot deny that Treaty 7 was actually
signed by the principal chiefs of the Blackfoot" express your own position?
What do you think Treaty 7 left the Blackfoot with, besides than "requisites
of nationhood" unaccompanied by state status? Taking Treaty 7 on its face, a
Blackfoot state existed, as you point out, because one had to exist for a
treaty to be validly contracted. But in Treaty 7 the Blackfoot plainly
extinguish that state and pledge to become loyal subjects of the Queen. This
is no logical contradiction, as you argue, but the common practice
accompanying both imperialist conquests and peaceful confederations. Both
types of events have been sanctioned and legitimated via treaties, precisely
in order to extinguish claims of independent sovereignty and extend the
domain of one state into that of another. Whatever the status of the
Blackfoot representative institutions after Treaty 7, they could no longer
claim to constitute a sovereign state while acknowledging that treaty as
valid. Do you read this document differently, or question its legitimacy? If
so, why don't you spell that out in your statement?

Stuart


Dear Folks,

The above illustrates painfully what Indigenous Peoples have to deal with
from elements on the left. Treaty 7 did not, even in its own content,
"extinguish the Blackfoot Nation [to be replaced with] a pledge to become
loyal subjects of the Queen. That came much later. In the case of the U.S,
for the same reasons as in Canada, the governments stopped referring to
agreeements between themselves as Indigenous Nations because they did
understand that in making treaties they were recognizing the treating
"partners" as sovereign nations and co-equals; hence after 1871, such
agreements were no longer classified as "Treaties." As for "common
practices" of predatory imperialists, we are well aware of what those
practices were, on what basis they developed, in whose interests and under
what pseudo-legal/patently illegal covers they were undertaken. We just
refuse to take these "customary practices" as a fait accompli.

We welcome suggestions; but we welcome them from a base of substance and
familiarity with the core issues, laws and historical realities. Idle
speculation, armchair theorizing we do not need. If someone cannot in good
conscience support our position (that is why we say can HONESTLY attest), we
understand, we're still friends, we do not apply ideological litmus tests.
But we are not here to debate. We have no time for that.

Further, our People do not sit in offices with tenure as I do. They are
under seige every minute of the day. And Blackfoot have been singled out for
some very special attention because of the types of ACTIONS in which we are
involved. We do not "SPELL OUT" everything in forums read by the "Man" nor
do we "spell out" all of our arguments so as not to give full warning of
what we intend and allow counter-preparations.

Thank you,

Jim Craven

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