Re: [MOL] My Canadian Friends Christine and Jeanne [00425] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] My Canadian Friends Christine and Jeanne

Dear John,

Thanks JOhn, truly. 

God Bless

John wrote:
> Dear Christine and Jeanne,
> I know this is off the mark of cancer but saw this in todays' NY Times
> and just had to pass it along.  Congradulations...I think.  Like Stephen
> Nyce's grandfather said "...not to celebrate until you know for sure what
> you are celebrating"!
> I have always loved and related to American Indian beliefs and
> philosophy.  It is a real loss that the European forefathers saw fit to
> anniliate rather than assimilate the Native Indian into our culture...we
> lost the opportunity to learn a great very sad.  Also lost was
> a chapter on healing and treatment of numerous ailments.
> I just pray that we learn from the mistakes of the past...although
> history seems, at times, to be like a record stuck in a scratch, and
> repeating those same tragic chapters of our heritage.
> God Bless ...and, onward and upward into the light!
> John
>     ---------------------------------------------------------------
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>           August 5, 1998
>           In Canada, New Treaty With Indians Threatens
>           Division and Uncertainty
>            [Image]
>           By ANTHONY DePALMA
>               EW AIYANSH, British Columbia -- Canada's
>               federal Government signed a landmark treaty
>           with West Coast Indians Tuesday, giving a group of
>           them control for the first time of a majestic
>           swath of pine forest, crystal streams and towering
>           peaks, along with the legal rights to run their
>           own nation.
>           The Canadian Government had hoped the treaty --
>           seen as a model for dozens of other Indian land
>           claims -- would foster the process of
>           reconciliation between indigenous people and other
>           Canadians. But its most immediate result so far
>           has been division, suspicion and great uncertainty
>           throughout British Columbia and across Canada.
>           Some Canadians argue that the treaty, which won't
>           take effect until it goes through a full
>           ratification process, fundamentally alters the
>           Constitution and endangers the country's delicate
>           unity by allowing the Indians a level of
>           self-government that has been denied to
>           French-speaking separatists in Quebec.
>           The rights granted under the treaty are comparable
>           to those of Indian tribes in the United States,
>           which already have the power to govern most of
>           what happens on their reservations, although
>           conflicts occasionally arise there over the extent
>           of Indian jurisdiction and just who is covered by
>           Indian laws.
>           But the treaty signed Tuesday in Canada carries
>           with it even more potential for conflict because
>           it was signed so much later than those in the
>           United States, which were largely struck more than
>           100 years ago. Now about 50 other Indian groups
>           are staking claims to territory covering virtually
>           every square mile of British Columbia, even for
>           already-developed cities like Vancouver.
>           If Tuesday's precedent, which covers about 750
>           square miles, is repeated, as seems likely, there
>           will be intense clashes with high economic stakes.
>           Even before Canada's Minister of Indian Affairs
>           and Northern Development, Jane Stewart, arrived
>           for the signing this morning in this remote corner
>           of Canada, hard by Alaska, the historic treaty
>           with the Nisga'a (pronounced nis-GAH) people was
>           being attacked. Some residents of British Columbia
>           fear the treaty establishes a new level of
>           government based on race, with its own system of
>           privileged justice and sanctioned inequality.
>           Others criticized its price tag -- the equivalent
>           of $320 million in United States dollars spread
>           over several years, in addition to the land -- as
>           a giveaway.
>           The commercial fishing industry and others
>           condemned provisions they feel give the Nisga'a
>           unfair access to natural resources.
>           Indian claims were bolstered in December when
>           Canada's Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling
>           involving the Gitxsan, another British Columbia
>           Indian group, that Indian claims extend to the
>           land's natural resources. The court also
>           recognized Indian oral history as having legal
>           standing.
>           Nevertheless, rival Indian groups in the province
>           oppose the treaty because it impinges on their own
>           land claims.
>           Even members of one of the four bands that make up
>           the 5,000-member Nisga'a nation has gone to court
>           to stop the treaty. Some members, like James H.
>           Stevens, say it is poorly conceived and badly
>           executed because it omits 90 percent of the
>           territory that the Nisga'a have traditionally
>           claimed.
>           "It was done by a bunch of young guys on the
>           negotiation committee who don't even know our
>           resources or our culture," said Stevens, a
>           72-year-old elder of the Kincolith band of the
>           Nisga'a. "Maybe they were just sitting there
>           nodding their heads."
>           Despite the flood of criticism, federal
>           negotiators and most Nisga'a leaders believe the
>           treaty breaks new ground in Canada's long and not
>           always successful relationship with its Indian
>           groups.
>           "It's time we did it," said Lorene Plante, a
>           Nisga'a woman who took part in the negotiations.
>           While also hopeful, Stephen Nyce was more guarded
>           since he, like many other Nisga'a, has not yet
>           seen the details of the treaty. "My grandfather
>           told me not to celebrate until you know for sure
>           what you are celebrating," he said.
>           Tom Molloy, the chief federal negotiator, said
>           that for the first time an Indian treaty will
>           resolve a question of territory while establishing
>           the principles of self-government that can free
>           Indians from dependency on the federal Government.
>           "Today we join Canada and British Columbia as free
>           citizens, full and equal participants in the
>           social, economic and political life of this
>           country," said Joseph Gosnell Sr., president of
>           the Nisga'a Tribal Council, who wore a headdress
>           trimmed with seal whiskers and ermine furs. "We
>           intend to live here forever."
>           While Indian self-government is a new concept in
>           Canada, most of the more than 500 Indian tribes
>           and councils in the United States already govern
>           themselves to varying degrees, and with occasional
>           challenges from non-Indians.
>           Jerry J. Cordova, a negotiator with the office of
>           self-governance in the United States Department of
>           the Interior, said that in most cases, non-Indians
>           are not allowed to run for office or vote in
>           tribal elections, but there are exceptions.
>           The American tribes consider themselves sovereign
>           nations, a view not always shared by individual
>           states and the Federal Government. The tribes
>           often do not tax the people living on their land.
>           In some instances, their right to levy taxes has
>           been challenged in court.
>           The experience of the American Indians suggests
>           that a tribe's ability to govern itself greatly
>           increases the chances of its reaching economic
>           independence.
>           "Tribes that do have better control over their
>           assets -- whether cultural assets or trust funds
>           -- are more successful in economic development,"
>           said Lela M. Shepard, development associate with
>           the First Nations Development Institute, a
>           nonprofit group that provides financial assistance
>           to Indian tribes like the Pauma Tribe of Southern
>           California, which used a $300,000 grant to improve
>           its orange and avocado orchards.
>           Ms. Shepard said the biggest problem for most
>           tribes is raising the money to begin projects,
>           since many banks are reluctant to lend them money.
>           The Nisga'a treaty that was signed Tuesday will
>           allow the indigenous people here to run most of
>           the social and economic activity in the area they
>           will control -- more than half the combined land
>           and water area of Rhode Island. They will set and
>           collect taxes and determine how the revenue is
>           spent, while agreeing to eventually give up the
>           exemption from some sales and income taxes they
>           have had.
>           Ms. Stewart, the Indian affairs minister, praised
>           the treaty, calling it "a just and honorable
>           settlement" that reinforces the Supreme Court of
>           Canada's directive that negotiation, not
>           litigation, is the way to settle Indian land
>           claims.
>           Following Tuesday's signing, the treaty proposal
>           will be put to a referendum among the registered
>           members of the Nisga'a. Fewer than 2,000 of the
>           5,000 Nisga'a live in the area that is considered
>           their ancestral home.
>           Some British Columbia residents want a
>           province-wide referendum on the treaty because
>           they say that by preventing non-Indians from
>           running for government offices or voting in such
>           elections, the treaty fundamentally changes
>           Canada's Constitution.
>           Indian leaders have rejected the idea of a
>           provincial referendum, calling it "the white man's
>           veto." The Premier of British Columbia, Glen
>           Clark, said the 250-page treaty is too complicated
>           to be put to such a broad test. The people of
>           British Columbia will be able to make their views
>           known when the treaty goes before the provincial
>           legislature, he added.
>           Following that, it also will be voted on by the
>           federal Parliament in Ottawa. Negotiators believe
>           the whole process could be completed by next
>           spring, although substantial objections could
>           delay it.
>           Unlike the eastern provinces that signed land
>           treaties with Indians hundreds of years ago,
>           British Columbia entered into only a few such
>           deals, on Vancouver Island and in the northeastern
>           part of the province, before abandoning the
>           process. Small scattered reserves were created but
>           the Indians themselves never surrendered claim to
>           traditional lands.
>           By all measures, Canada's 800,000 indigenous
>           people are the poorest, least educated and least
>           healthy Canadians, which deeply embarrasses many
>           Canadians. The Government has been looking for a
>           way to change the situation by embracing the idea
>           of self-rule.
>           Government officials hope that by giving Indian
>           groups clear title they can not only compensate
>           for past injustices but also encourage forestry,
>           mining and other activities to sustain
>           independence. Uncertainty over who controls the
>           land has hampered such efforts.
>           Tuesday's treaty is considered full and final, and
>           can be amended only with the consent of the
>           Indians, the province and the federal Government.
>           "It's a done deal," said Jack Ebbels, the chief
>           negotiator for British Columbia.
>           But this is not like past deals in which Indian
>           bands were bullied into giving away most of their
>           land.
>           The Nisga'a will become major landholders in
>           British Columbia, owning the land outright, just
>           like other property holders. They will own the
>           rights to all the timber, except for existing
>           leases, and subsurface minerals, and will be able
>           to negotiate future contracts.
>           Local government will be in the hands of the
>           Nisga'a, who will have the power to make laws
>           concerning language and culture, property,
>           employment, traffic and most social services. The
>           100 or so non-Indians living on Nisga'a land will
>           not be allowed to run for office or vote, although
>           they will have the chance to do so in elections
>           involving education and boards of health that
>           directly affect them.
>           These restrictions have already stirred a huge
>           controversy that threatens to derail the
>           ratification of the treaty. Despite the small
>           number of non-Indians on Nisga'a land, critics are
>           worried about the precedent of establishing
>           governments on racial lines.
>           "For the first time I know of, they are
>           entrenching inequality in the Constitution of
>           Canada," said Gordon Campbell, leader of the
>           Liberal opposition in British Columbia. Campbell
>           said that this also endangers Canada's national
>           unity. "We are giving to the Nisga'a government
>           something that the Quebec government asked for a
>           long time ago and were told, 'No, you can't have
>           it.' "
>           But Ms. Stewart, the Indian minister, said the
>           Constitution actually guarantees Indians special
>           rights simply because they were in Canada before
>           Europeans arrived. She said the federal Government
>           fully supports the restrictions that the treaty
>           places on participation in Indian government.
>           But that has proved to be a far more uncomfortable
>           position for the province. "It was a thorny,
>           thorny issue," said Ebbels, the provincial
>           negotiator. He suggested that the province had
>           been worried about non-Indians being taxed by the
>           Nisga'a without any representation in the local
>           government. In the end, Indian taxing powers were
>           restricted to Indians, while others will continue
>           paying taxes to the province.
>           "We took some comfort in that," Ebbels said.
>           --------------------------------------------------
>           Other Places of Interest on The Web
>         * Homepage of the Nisga'a Indian Tribal Council.
>           --------------------------------------------------
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