Discussion on both Tsawwassen and Nisga'a Final Agreements. I encourage all to look into the possible agreements that 'Namgis members would be presented with. The "bargaining" the government does is based on an unmovable equation that gives more-land-less-money or more-money-less-land (all valued before negotiations start). Land which will see us sign away over 90% of it with the "more-land" choice. Why are we borrowing millions of dollars that we have to pay back and at the same time giving them 90% of our traditional territories? The Nisga'a are now paying taxes for the land that they all owned outright. Do we really want to give our band chief and council more power with our own scarce money supply through taxation?
The letter below by Bertha Williams has been reposted from Stephen Reese's Blog HERE.
To view an interview with Bertha Williams HERE.
A dissenting voice is raising serious concerns about how the Province of BC is seeking to influence the key vote of the Tsawassen First Nation on the treaty that would make port expansion possible.
A substantive piece from the Province newspaper - the only one that prints on Sunday. It’s a tabloid but it gave Bertha Williams’ letter to the Premier and the Prime Minister some prominence. And Damien Gillis has produced a short video so that Bertha’s own voice can be heard.
There is definitely something not right about a process which first of all still has some court proceedings under way after the privatization of the rail spur that is crucial to the plan had to be stopped, because of a corrupted process. And now the province getting involved in using public funds to try to make sure it gets the vote it wants.
The idea that BC needs to secure a greater percentage of the cross pacific container trade is itself dubious. But the lengths to which the BC Liberals seem to be going to ensure that they get what they want leaves a nasty taste. The original Roberts Bank terminal put an end to the TFN’s traditional way of life. The environmental impact of this new expansion - removing the mitigative measures put in place to lessen the impact of the existing port facilities, seems to make a bad situation worse. And it is hard to see that the economic benefits for BC as a whole - or even the region - are worth this kind of impact.
Bertha Williams on TFN Vote (from the LRC General email list) updated July 19, 2007
The hand of skullduggery is at play. The chief and council of our band are bouncing around like rabbits after a carrot on a string that the federal and provincial governments are dangling. They use such trickery as an enrollment application? In order to vote on the treaty. In the application is a section where we have to relinquish our right to claim. If we don’t enroll, we are not allowed to vote. This would pave the way for a more secure “yes” vote. This is an infringement on our sovereignty as first nation people. Our native status is handed down by our forefathers, which I do not believe may be voted on by other band members, may not be bartered by a treaty team, or taken by any government. Our birthright has to be surrendered by the holder. If this is not true, then why do they resort to such extortion tactics as to blackmail the native population out of their unique status. Once this is proven, and the treaty is pushed through, then it will not be worth the paper it is written upon. Past and present governments realize we are the true owners of the lands where our ancestors thrived. What better way to usurp the people of their position then to utilize the greed or ignorance of our leaders. Which ever it may be, it shows gross incompetence and they should be immediately removed from office.
Another scheme in their bag of tricks from the Tsawwassen First Nation, to witness first hand the prosperous Nisga’a Agreement. One should only imagine the perfect picture that will be painted. What they will not show is that after seven years of treaty, 70 to 80% of the Nisga’a people are on social assistance. And, that the young men have to travel from their homeland, as far away as Calgary in search of employment. Also, will not speak of pending lawsuits and investigations of the misappropriation and mismanagement of funds. So much for prosperity at home! Now the Nisga’a descendants may look forward to possible expropriation when the tax kicks in
next year, and is in full swing 12 years from their signing in 2000. The Tsawwassen treaty will only ensure the demise of our people, where the fat cats have been feeding for the past 14 years of negotiations. To enable an extra jingle in the deep pockets of the already rich. The Tsawwassen treaty wished us to surrender our traditional territory, our right to claim from our inheritable status, and for that we will receive 0.2% of our lands and have the opportunity to pay taxes on our own lands. Something sure stinks with this deal! Speaking to a TFN elder she said “the treaty is a short term gain for a long time misery!” They may shove this treaty down our throats today with their conniving schemes, but tomorrow our case will be proven that they never had the authority to bargain away our birthright. Accountability will be made to the aboriginal peoples and the healing process will begin.