On 50TH ANIVERSARY OF THE 1969 WHITE PAPER ON INDIAN POLICY INDIGENOUS ACTIVISTS NET- WORKS CONDEMN THE TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT’S TERMINATION LEGISLATION

Indigenous Activists Networks, Defenders of the Land, Truth Campaign, Idle No More

(Turtle Island/June 25, 2019) 50 years ago today, under a government led by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chretien, stood in the House of Commons and introduced a Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy.

1969 White Paper on Indian Policy

The White Paper proposed the Termination of “Indians” through various measures to “end the legal dis- tinction between Indians and Canadian citizens.”

The 1969 White Paper proposed:

  • Eliminate Indian Status.
  • Dissolve the Department of Indian Affairs within 5 years.
  • Abolish the Indian Act & remove Constitutional Reference to Indian & Indian Reserve Land.
  • Convert reserve land to private property that can be sold by the band or its members.
  • Transfer responsibility for Indian Affairs from the federal government to the province and inte- grate these services into those provided to other Canadian citizens.
  • Provide transitional funding for economic development.
  • Appoint a commissioner to end outstanding land claims and gradually terminate existing Trea- ties.

The reaction from First Nations was swift and furious across Canada.

Cree Leader Harold Cardinal compared the White Paper to the American policy that “ The only good In- dian is a dead Indian” and said “ Chretien had amended this to read "The only good Indian is a non-In- dian.” In the face of the fierce opposition the government publicly withdrew the White Paper in 1971. However, internal correspondence from within the Department of Indian Affairs shows the 1969 federal Termination Plan has remained the federal objective.

As DIA Assistant Deputy Minister (Indian Consultation and Negotiation) David A. Munro, wrote in a 1970 letter to the DIA Deputy Minister, not to abandon the White Paper Plan but to change tactics

"We need not change the policy content, but we should put varying degrees of emphasis on its se- veral components and we should try to discuss it in terms of its components rather than as a whole. [emphasis added]

This was followed by a 1971 letter from the Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chretien to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau confirming continuation of the White Paper Plan:

…we are deliberately furthering an evolutionary process of provincial and Indian inter-involvement by promoting contacts at every opportunity at all levels of government, at the same time recognizing the truth of the matter – that progress will take place in different areas in diffe- rent ways at a different pace. Experience shows that the reference of a time frame in the policy paper of 1969 was one of the prime targets of those who voiced the Indian opposition to the pro- posals. The course upon which we are now embarked seems to present a more promising approach to the long-term objectives than might be obtained by setting specific deadlines for relinquishing federal administration. [emphasis added]

Today, on the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy we are facing the implemen- tation of White Paper 2.0 by the current Trudeau government!

What is White Paper 2.0? It’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework, which involves co-opting the Assembly of First Nations to use them as a springboard to manufacture consent through various co-development tables and processes giving the illusion that Indigenous Nations want these Bills, policies and changes. The Federal Government is im- posing an overwhelming “shock and awe” strategy of massive changes to legislation, policies and new funding agreements that are designed by the Prime Ministers’ Office and the federal bureaucracy to com- plete the assimilation-Termination objectives of the 50 year old 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy.

Justin Trudeau’s version of the longstanding federal Termination Plan, which he calls the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework, was first announced on February 14, 2018 with the goal to remove bands from the Indian Act and turn them into federally recognized “Indigenous Gov- ernments” or “Nations” that will have self-government given to them as defined by the Government of Canada. They will be subject to the Canadian Constitution as a 4th order of government—below fede- ral and provincial governments and with less power than municipal governments.

The Trudeau government has delayed the “Rights Recognition“ legislation because it was widely rejected by First Nation Peoples and Chiefs across Canada. Now the government is taking advantage of our pov- erty to change administrative agreements and funding that forces us to accept policies that impact our sa- cred Treaties & Inherent Title & Rights, while directly attacking our sovereign jurisdiction. This is geno- cide through law and policy!

Moreover, the Trudeau government is now proceeding to implement its White Paper 2.0 Framework in a piecemeal approach that involves: 1) issuing a one-sided Directive to Federal Negotiators who preside over “Land Claims”, Self-Government & “Recognition Tables”, 2) new coercive funding policies, in- cluding 10 year funding agreements & new funding arrangements and 3) through the following Termina- tion Bills that passed into law on June 21, 2019:

Bill C-97 – On August 28, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal govern- ment was dissolving the Department of Indian Affairs & Northern Development and creating two new federal departments: one for Indigenous Services and one for Crown-Indigenous Rela- tions. The legislation to make this happen is buried within the April 2019 omnibus budget bill now before parliament without any debate from Indigenous peoples. This federal restructuring of government is central to the Trudeau government’s White Paper 2.0 Framework approach to Indigenous policy, law, funding and is unilaterally defining a “new” relationship with Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Metis & Inuit).

Bill C-86 – a 900 page Omnibus Bill that became law in December 2018, making substantive amendments to the: First Nations Land Management Act, First Nation Fiscal Management Act, Additions to Reserve and First Nation Matrimonial Property Act – all of this legislation facilitates eliminating reserves by transitioning communally held reserve lands into a new land regime that eventually leads to individually held private property (fee simple) that would come under provincial laws and lands registry.

Bills C-91/92 – language and child welfare legislation are intended to take our existing Inherent Rights and convert them into federally defined section 35 rights, which are subsumed under Crown Sovereignty (to be dictated by the limitations stemming from section 35 federal doc- trine/court decisions), as well as, provincial controls into Indigenous jurisidiction.

This suite of federal legislation will now be used by the federal government to continue the attack on our sacred Treaties, Inherent Title & Rights and sovereign jurisdiction, particularly with the creation of two new federal departments (Indigenous Services & Crown-Indigenous Relations) to continue to implement the 1969 White Paper objectives through the current Trudeau government’s White Paper 2.0 Frame- work (2019).

Although the current Trudeau government was able to push its Termination Bills through Parliament our Resistance Campaign will continue to support our grassroots Peoples in their exercise of the right of self- determination as Indigenous Peoples!

We note from the AFN Website, the 40th Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations will be held July 23-25, in Fredericton, New Brunswick and “ only Chiefs will be allowed in the main ple- nary”, so ask your Chief and Council what are they doing to stop White Paper 2.0?

We remember June 25, 1969, as a dark day of infamy in the history of Canada’s Plan to Terminate our collective rights! We survived into today because of the fierceness of our parents and grandparents in op- posing it and this is our inspiration in our continuing fight against this the new offensive to convert us from being Indigenous Peoples into becoming ethnic minorities as Indigenous-Canadians.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Communications Contact: E-Mail: info@IdleNoMore.ca

Sylvia McAdam, Idle No More Organizer, Cell: (306) 281-8158 Rachel Snow, Spokesperson, Cell: (403) 703-8464

Russ Diabo, Spokesperson

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.