How does saving Springwater Park connect to protecting First Nations federal treaty rights?

The SPCC understands FN are our last, best hope for saving our planet … 1,200 hectares of park and forest at  a time.

Dr. Pam Palmater

Pam Palmater says Bill C-45 is intended to break up Aboriginal communities and assimilate First Nations people …

Dr. Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaq lawyer whose family originates from the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University and head of the Centre of Indigenous Governance.

AWARE Simcoe understands this. Dr. Palmater explains here how we are all one.

Idle No More was against Bill C-45 and all of the legislation being imposed on First Nations without their knowledge and consent. This amounts to about 14 pieces of legislation in total that directly impact First Nations rights, interests, lands, waters, governments and communities in a wide variety of ways.

In general, Idle No More was opposition to the immediate threat before us – Prime Minister Harper’s aggressive ‘assimilatory’ legislative plan meant to break up our communities and assimilate First Nations peoples. It also was opposition to the substantial funding cuts to our political and advocacy organizations and communities that were designed to silence our voices when the legislation was brought into fruition.

But there’s something much bigger at stake here: there has to be a fundamental shift in the relationship between Canada and First Nations that recognizes their sovereignty and jurisdiction over our their own lives (a Nation to Nation relationship arising from treaties or covenant if that is more clearly understood by those of a Christian settler heritage).

A treaty promise was made that both treaty partners would enjoy the wealth and prosperity of our lands. So far only Canada has benefited from our lands and resources, while many of our First Nations live in multiple, over-lapping crises like youth suicides, poor health, over-representation in child and family services and prisons, hundreds of murdered and missing Indigenous women, deaths in police custody…

Canadians need to realize that we are their last best hope at saving the lands, waters, plants, animals and resources for future generations because our Aboriginal and treaty rights are constitutionally protected.

We have the power to stop Harper’s destruction of our farmable lands and clean waters. We are not just doing this for us, we are doing this for all of our future generations because if we can’t use the lands or drink the waters, Canadians won’t be able to either.

Hollow words or silence is no substitute for thoughtful research, moving outside your comfort zone and presenting your body in solidarity with the “other”.

Centre for Indigenous Governance

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