It’s treaty days on the rez

It’s treaty days on the rez

Posted 13 July 2011, by Administrator, The First Perspective,


Treaty days is coming up on the rez. And the familiar ideas and arguments come out of the closet and spill out onto the news pages and blogs. Here’s a tidbit on treaty negotiations if they were to be held today. I know what you’re gonna say. They ARE being held today – in some parts of Canada.

“Oh come on. What else do you want? I already gave you more than what I’m authorized to offer.”

“The thing of it is, it’s buying into your neoliberal capitalism which we can’t tolerate. It’s destroying Mother Earth.”


“Yeah, multinationals are not accountable, unrestricted flow of capital means Germans are buying up our resources, free trade, labour exploitation, environmental degradation. This is a prescription to ruin. And we’d be the most vulnerable.”

“Where are you guys getting this stuff?”

“It’s all there on Google, but we been saying this for years.”

“Oh, well you can’ believe everything you read on the internet.”

“But it’s true. Government needs to exercise more control over the economy to ensure everybody benefits from the state. We need home grown business, the markets allow unrestrained greed to rule and we, the taxpayers, have to come and bail out the rich people. Like we did with the banks and the car companies.”

“But you’re not paying taxes right now.”

“That’s because only a handful of us would be in the tax bracket.”

“Well, what about if I include you guys in the first minister’s meetings? Then you could have your say in making public policy.”

“Yeah, that would help. But we have a fundamental disagreement. Individuals should not own the land. The land can’t be bought and sold.”


“It’s a gift from the creator to all peoples. Mother Earth is for everybody. When the land is owned by individuals and corporations, then of course, the profit motive is paramount, they will not be responsible for the environmental stewardship, the land and the waters will go to ruin. It’s happening right now.”

“Syncrude, Exxon, Deepwater Horizon. I see you’re up on the disasters. This is gonna have to be taken back to Ottawa.”

“We want the treaty payment to be indexed to the cost of living and inflation.”

“What? That’s completely beyond me and my authority. I don’t even know..I’m not even sure what that is.”

“Everybody who’s on a pension is familiar with the cost of living and the Consumer Price Index. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) rates are adjusted every January if there are increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index. This should be done with our treaty payments.”


“Like if we’d have got $5.00 back in 1873, the individual payment should be $50,000 per person.”

“How do you arrive at that?”

“Well, we can argue about that.”

“Okay but shouldn’t that money go to the individual then, rather than the Band Council?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But that would provide a way for the citizen to hold their government accountable, wouldn’t it? The citizen would pay some of that money to the government. As a tax say.”

“It’s hardly sufficient to live on. How do you tax that?”

“Many of your people are living on a lot less.”

“Which is why we are negotiating. This tax system would put First Nations on the same level as other Canadians. The First Nation citizen would have a say in the governance of the community.”

“I don’t think our council would go for that.”

“No, I don’t think they will. They have things pretty good the way they are now. They decide their own salaries and travel rates, the people don’t know half what’s going on.”

“But your government is no better. Look at the way they’re rolling back the Information access laws. And they’re letting their Christian ideology steer their crime agenda. I think you have to leave the issue of governance up to us. We don’t need to be instructed by youse people.”

“Well, I have to go now and talk to my people.”

“Well, you talk to your people and we’ll talk to our people.”


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