[Marxism] Suspension of Indian Act and Governance Act (Part I)

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Tue Feb 3 12:27:56 MST 2004

"Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination--by starvation and uneven combat--of the 'Red Savages' who could not be tamed by captivity." ("Adolf Hitler" by John Toland, p. 702)

"Set the blood-quantum at one-quarter, hold to it as a rigid  definition of Indians, let intermarriage proceed...and eventually  Indians will be defined out of existence. When that happens,the  federal government will finally be freed from its persistent Indian problem." (Patricia Nelson Limerick, "The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West" p338)

Government paper warns of risks of apologizing for residential schools 
WENDY COX  July 27, 1998  from Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA (CP) - Government officials were urged two years ago to provide a compensation package to aboriginal people who suffered in residential schools as an attempt to control the potentially explosive costs of lawsuits, an internal document shows. The report, stamped Secret and obtained by The Canadian Press, compares the pros and cons of forcing claimants to go to court with offering financial redress to victims. It concludes that in the long run, compensation would be  cheaper. 

"The number of individual claims as well as any negative implications for the federal government in defending such actions (lawsuits) would likely be minimized if a government policy, including some form of redress package, were adapted," says the 20-page report. The document also warns against using the word "apology," preferring instead "an acknowledgment or expression of regret."  "It could be worded in such a fashion so as to not lay blame on anyone." 

Government officials confirmed the report, which is titled simply Residential Schools Discussion Paper, was written in late 1995 or early 1996 for Ron Irwin, then the minister of Indian Affairs. It may also have been prepared for the Justice Department.  The report never reached current Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart and the advice in it never formed the basis for actions she later took, officials say. Earlier this year, Stewart issued a Statement of Reconciliation, saying the government was "deeply sorry" for those who suffered the "tragedy" of  physical and sexual abuse at the schools. 

The statement also included a $350-million healing fund.  "It was critical that the apology meant something to us," said Shawn Tupper,  spokesman for the minister on the residential schools file. "We can point to (the $350-million healing fund) and say we're actually doing something substantive to back it up." The statement has been accepted by national Chief Phil Fontaine, however other native leaders said at the time that it wasn't good enough.  But critics who have read the 1996 document say the federal government has  followed the advice to the letter. They say it's evidence the statement is not an apology at all but merely an attempt to control costs. Ovide Mercredi, a former national chief, said the document shows "the minister didn't follow her heart or her sense of justice." "She followed legal advice and the advice was to reduce legal liability at all costs and the government measure is designed to do that." Fontaine was unavailable for comment. 

The document advises that forcing former students to take the government to court would ensure they would have to prove their claims. As an added advantage, it would also limit lawsuits, the report states.

"There is a general disinclination by persons who have suffered abuse to testify on such a personal and painful matter in a public and adversarial forum," the report says.

"A litigation approach may well keep the number of claimants down to a minimum." 

However, going to court would cost the government dearly in money and in bad press, the report concludes. The author, who is unnamed, recommends a compensation package instead.  Since the report was written, thousands of former students have joined class action suits or have filed individual lawsuits against the federal government. A landmark B.C. court ruling last month declared for the first time that both the federal government and the United Church are legally liable for widespread sexual and physical abuse at a Port Alberni, B.C., school and ordered them to compensate about 30 former students. A figure for the compensation has not yet been decided.  The mounting lawsuits are anticipated in the 1996 report, but the document also cautions that apologizing is dangerous territory. 

"Whatever it is called, the department will want to ensure that the statement cannot subsequently be used to establish a cause of action against the Crown in any particular individual cause," it states. "It would appear that this government is committed to looking ahead and in these tough economic times, it would not want to be involved in anything that is too expensive or linked to the past." Tupper said the department's thinking has evolved since the report. When asked at a news conference last January if the statement of reconciliation was an apology, Stewart responded yes.  "In our view, the statement of reconciliation is not an acknowledgment of guilt in a court of law," Tupper said. It is an acknowledgment of a historic policy and the negative impacts of that policy and it is a commitment to do something about it." 

However, John McKiggan, a lawyer for about 800 former students at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School in Nova Scotia, said the internal document reveals the federal government's strategy. "There is an amazing similarity between the present and suggestions made in the paper," he said.  "The statement of reconciliation does not apologize for government actions. It recognizes the pain. It doesn't admit responsibility for that
pain."           © The Canadian Press, 1998

 From "Hitler and his Secret Partners: Contributions, Loot and Rewards, 1933-1945" by James Pool, Pocket Books, N.Y. 1997

"Always contemptuous of the Russians, Hitler said: 'For them the word 'liberty' means the right to wash only on feast-days. If we arrive bringing soft soap, we'll obtain no sympathy...There's only one duty: To Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the natives as Redskins.'[Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 57]. He saw a parallel between his effort to conquer and colonize land in Russia with the conquest of the American West by the white man and the subjugation of the Indians or 'Redskins'. 'I don't see why,' he said, 'a German who eats a piece of bread should torment himself with the idea that the soil that produces this bread has been won by the sword. When we eat wheat from Canada, we don't think about the despoiled Indians.' [Ibid. p 57] " (Pool, pp. 254-55)

"Hitler did not approach the problem of extermination of the Jews haphazardly. He had carefully studied some of the most prominent examples of mass murder in history. His four principal inspirations were the slaughter of American Indians, the killing of the Armenians by the Turks, the Red Terror during the Communist revolution in Russia, and the Japanese butchery at Nanking in 1977." (Pool, pp 272-273) 

"Hitler drew another example of mass murder from American history. Since his youth, he had been obsessed with the Wild West stories of Karl May. He viewed the fighting between the cowboys and Indians in racial terms. In many of his speeches he referred with admiration to the victory of the white race in settling the American continent and driving out the inferior peoples, the Indians. With great fascination he listened to stories, which some of his associates who had been in America told him about the massacres of the Indians by the U.S. Calvary.

He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government's forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate p[olicy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations for his plans of the Holocaust is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large 'reservation' in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease." (Pool, pp. 273-274)

"It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is geared towards the FINAL SOLUTION OF OUR INDIAN PROBLEM."
(Department of Indian Affairs Superintendent D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent-General Major D. McKay,DIA Archives, RG 10 series).  April 12, 1910 (emphasis added)


News release from the Minister of Indian Affairs: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nr/prs/j-a2004/2-02462_e.html

MINISTER ANNOUNCES COLLABORATIVE LEGISLATIVE STRATEGY FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS EDMONTON, ALBERTA (January 21, 2004) - Today, the Honourable Andy Mitchell, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, announced a revised approach to legislation sponsored by his Department. This new approach will see the introduction of new self-government legislation, as well as the reinstatement of other pieces of legislation which had not completed the parliamentary process.

Supporting this approach is a desire to build a relationship with Aboriginal Canadians based on collaboration and cooperation.

In an address given to students with the University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies, Minister Mitchell said, "I have spent the past month in dialogue with our First Nation partners on ways in which we can work together to improve living conditions in First Nation communities. It was clear from my discussions with First Nations leaders that perhaps more than ever we have got to work together if we are to help bring about real improvement to the quality of life of First Nations people."

The coming parliamentary session will see the Government of Canada bring forward two important self-government agreements. Legislation enabling self-government agreements for British Columbia's Westbank First Nation will be reinstated and the Northwest Territories' Tlicho First Nation Claims and Self-Government legislation will be introduced.

Minister Mitchell also clearly indicated that he will not be reinstating the First Nations Governance Act. "While I will not be seeking to reinstate this bill back into Parliament, I am eager to work with First Nations leaders and others on effective and practical ways to apply the principles of good governance into First Nations communities. Discussions are now taking place with First Nations leaders aimed at engaging them and First Nations people across Canada, both on- and off-reserve, to work collectively at a new partnered approach to accomplishing this important objective," said Minister Mitchell.

The government will also seek to reinstate through Parliament the proposed First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act, offering First Nations who choose to use its provisions improved access to engines of economic development.

The Government will move to implement the Specific Claims Resolution Act, which received Royal Assent in November 2003. It will also work with the Assembly of First Nations and its members to address some of their concerns in the course of the bill's implementation.

"There's much to be done. We need to ensure the full engagement of our partners in the approaches we intend to take in addressing these legislative priorities -- through this, Canada and First Nations people from coast to coast to coast will benefit from the positive vigour we can create by working together in collaboration," said the Minister.

For information please contact:

Christine Aquino
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development
(819) 997-0002

Diane Laursen
Media Relations
Department of Indian Affairs And Northern Development
(819) 994-2044

Excerpt from the "Speech from the Throne," 2/2/2004, online at

Aboriginal Canadians
Aboriginal Canadians have not fully shared in our nation's good fortune. While some progress has been made, the conditions in far too many Aboriginal communities can only be described as shameful. This offends our values. It is in our collective interest to turn the corner. And we must start now.

Our goal is to see Aboriginal children get a better start in life as a foundation for greater progress in acquiring the education and work-force skills needed to succeed.

Our goal is to see real economic opportunities for Aboriginal individuals and communities.

To see Aboriginal Canadians participating fully in national life, on the basis of historic rights and agreements - with greater economic self-reliance, a better quality of life.

The Government of Canada will work with First Nations to improve governance in their communities - to enhance transparency and accountability - because this is the prerequisite to effective self-government and economic development. Aboriginal leadership is committed to this end and rapid progress is essential.

In order to support governance capacity in Aboriginal communities and to enhance effective dialogue, the Government will, in co-operation with First Nations, establish an independent Centre for First Nations Government.

The Government will also focus on education and skills development, because this is a prerequisite to individual opportunity and full participation. To pursue this goal, the Government will work with provinces and territories and Aboriginal partners in a renewed Aboriginal Human Resources Development Strategy.

Too often, the needs of Aboriginal people off reserve are caught up in jurisdictional wrangling. These issues cannot deter us. The Government of Canada will work with its partners on practical solutions to help Aboriginal people respond to the unique challenges they face. To this end, the Government will expand the successful Urban Aboriginal Strategy with willing provinces and municipalities.

The Government will also engage other levels of government and Métis leadership on the place of the Métis in its policies.

The Government is committed to a more coherent approach to Aboriginal issues. To focus this effort, it has established a new Cabinet Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister; a Parliamentary Secretary; and an Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat in the Privy Council Office.


Excerpt from the "Address by the Prime Minister inReply to the Speech from the Throne," 2/3/2004, online at http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/sft-ddt.asp?id=2

Mr. Speaker: There is one aspect of Canadian society, one aspect of our history, that casts a shadow over all that we have achieved. The continuing gap in life conditions between Aboriginal and other Canadians is intolerable. It offends our values, we cannot remain on our current path.

To turn the corner will require a new partnership. It will require a shared commitment to improving Aboriginal governance - essential to self-government and economic development.

With our partners, we will expand health care, education, skills development and entrepreneurship, and match our training programs to real economic opportunities - from Voisey's Bay to northern pipelines.

With our partners, we will tackle head on the particular problems faced by the increasing number of urban Aboriginal people and by the Métis. We will not allow ourselves to be caught up in jurisdictional wrangling, passing the buck and bypassing their needs.


CBC news story, 1/22/2004, online at http://calgary.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=ca_mitchell20040122

Web Posted   Jan 22 2004 12:17 PM MST

Indian Affairs minister promised to consult with chiefs Edmonton - A controversial bill intended to help First Nations become self-sufficient is dead, after the new minister of Indian Affairs decided not to reintroduce it into parliament.

Andy Mitchell, speaking to students at the University of Alberta Wednesday, said the Liberal government didn't do a good job of consulting with the people who would be affected by the First Nations Governance Act.

"That needs to be dealt with. There were some issues that dealt with process. I've indicated we're going to launch a different type of process," he said. "It's my intention not to reintroduce that bill into parliament." Mitchell says that process will include discussion with chiefs across the country, a move being welcomed by native leaders.

"This became another piece of 'government knows best for aboriginal peoples' approach," Edward John, who represents more than 140 B.C. First Nations, said of the original legislation.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Craven, Jim" <JCraven at clark.edu>
To: <pen-l at sus.csuchico.edu>; <a-list at lists.econ.utah.edu>; <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 12:00 PM
Subject: [Marxism] Query? Suspension of Indian Act and Governance Act?

Dear Friends,

I just got a call from the Rez at Brocket, Alberta and was told that last night there was a "Speech From the Crown" announcing the suspension of the Indian Act in Canada and also suspension of plans for the new Governance Act. The person who told me is most fluent in Blackfoot language and did not catch and understand all of it in English and some of what the eprson said is not translatable into English conceptwise.

Any Canadians on the list who heard this speech last night? Would appreciate any details or references.

Jim C.

James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd. Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863 http://www.home.earthlink.net/~blkfoot5
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." (George Orwell) "...every anticipation of results which are first to be proved seems disturbing to me...(Karl Marx, "Grundrisse") FREE LEONARD PELTIER!!

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