#1
Reading articles like this feels like living in a parallel universe. The last lines of the article assumes, "We let you in, there's no problem here." You would think Elijah had a hand in writing the Indian Act.


Last paragraph here:

Amending the Indian Act "is like extending that chain a little longer so we can maybe move a little more freely. That's what we want to get rid of because we have shared our home."






Activist says aboriginal rights still need charter protection





Activist says aboriginal rights still need charter protection






By Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix April 18, 2012







Elijah Harper, right, with brother Edmond Jordan, arrives to speak at a Canadian Bar Association event on Tuesday.

Photograph by: Greg Pender, The StarPhoenix , The StarPhoenix




Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms has benefited aboriginal people, activist Elijah Harper said, but he hopes for a day when they don't need to rely on its protection.

"I look forward to a day when (charter protection of aboriginal rights) will be far less important than they are today because the advantage gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginals would have been reduced by resource sharing and a treaty-based partnership," he said.

Harper said he imagines "the relationship between (them) will have matured and there would not be conflict between our values that requires a shield."

The former Manitoba politician, best known for blocking the Meech Lake accord in 1990 because the constitutional amendment package had been negotiated without First Nations participation, addressed members of the Canadian Bar Association in Saskatoon on the 30th anniversary of the charter Tuesday.

Harper wants First Nations people to have equal standing with their treaty partners.

"There should be a third order of government in this country like the provinces and the federal government," he said.

The first peoples governed themselves before Europeans arrived and then signed treaties with the Crown, in which they shared the land and its abundant natural resources, he said.

"We were to share in these resources and also to govern this country together," he said.

The treaties were an opportunity for the two parties to establish a "true partnership," but government leaders have not recognized many of the rights and promises, Harper said.

The federal government excluded its treaty partners in constitutional talks, leaving a "constitutional vacuum" in which a discussion of the ability of First Nations to make their own laws should be recognized, he said.

Instead, aboriginals were "invitees" asked only to comment on and help identify their constitutional rights.
First Nations people remain bound by the "yoke" of the Indian Act, Harper insisted.

"It doesn't belong in Canada. It's based on colonial policy and it's something Canadian people shouldn't be proud of. - We are the only people that are legislated," he said.

Amending the Indian Act "is like extending that chain a little longer so we can maybe move a little more freely. That's what we want to get rid of because we have shared our home."
Last edited by dumpthemonarchy; Apr 19th, 2012 at 12:47 AM..