Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

January 25, 2013

First Nation Terrance Nelson: Rail Blockades and the Future

Rail Blockade Jan. 16, 2013
By Terrance Nelson
Roseau River Ojibway
Censored News
Jan. 25, 2013

Jim Edmond,
As legal counsel for CN, you were involved in the undertakings that took place in 2007. There was absolutely no need for a train blockade in 2013 in Treaty One territory if the federal Conservative Government of Canada had honored the agreements reached in 2007. You indicated yesterday that you would convey what you termed my "request" to the powers that be at CN, that there needs to be a more formal agreement with CN, CPR, Enbridge and Transcanada to pressure Canada. You told me "Terry, you are no longer Chief". My response is clear, if CN wants to believe that the court has the power to enforce CN title and can order police to arrest blockaders, you place all your eggs in one basket. Seven rail blockades across Canada occurred on January 16th, if CN thinks the courts alone will resolve this, they can't be getting very good advice.
I attach for your information the letters and documents that will form a small part of the Defence that I will file with the court outlining the efforts we made to bring Canada to the table in 2007. As you can see by the tone of my letters from 2007 the frustration of trying to get Canada to do the right thing. The fact that your client CN considers itself an "innocent" third party does little to pacify the owners of the lands, the First Nations who signed treaty with a thief. The treaties were a complete fraud, with the Crown negotiators at the Treaty One having a Treaty already written previously in Ottawa for signature at the Treaty "negotiations". The immigrants wanted only one thing, to get the rightful owners to sign a treaty ceding and surrendering all their lands and resource wealth to the white people. They did this with complete fraud, promising many things that they never intended to honour. CN has a title from the thieves and will attempt to get that fraudulent title upheld in court. The court is a creation of the government of Canada, using only the laws legislated by the very government that seeks to uphold the fraud.
CN, CPR, Enbridge and Transcanada are all in jeopardy, not because the First Nations are unreasonable or impatient but because Canada has refused to do anything about their legal obligations. Since our undertaking in 2007, my meetings with then Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice, there was conversion of 75 acres of land in Rosser Municipality for Roseau River in June 2007. After that conversion in June 2007, I promised Jim Prentice that I would not block railway lines for five years from June 2007 to June 2012. We gave him and Canada time to convert the lands promised under the 1996 Roseau River TLE Agreement. Not even one acre of land was converted since June 2007 for Roseau River.
In the RR 1996 TLE, the government recognized a "shortfall" of 5,861 acres and up to 16,218 acres in ATR. Canada had fifteen years to complete the conversion process. The deadline for completion was April 2011. Almost two years ago the Roseau River TLE agreement went into breach. If the Treaty terms and conditions are not honoured, how can Canada expect to have any chance to legally uphold the fraudulent title it gave to CN. Treaty One Territory is 16,700 square miles and includes all the lands CN claims is theirs in our territory. I am the Chairman of the Treaty Land Entitlement Trustees of Roseau River as of fall 2012.
If CN sees itself as an innocent third party, how can it be transporting billions and billions of dollars of stolen resource wealth each year while the original owners of that property continues to live in extreme poverty, an artificial poverty that is a direct result of legislation put in place by the Canadian government. CN pays nothing to Treaty One for access to our lands. The court cannot hope to pacify the First Nations with threats of jail for blockaders when the court refuses to allow injunctions for the First Nations against Canadian business. These are the same business who continue to steal our resources. While injunctions can be put in place against the indigenous people, the whites can still steal our natural resource wealth and sell it to the Americans. The United States continues to deny international standards, refusing to sign on to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canadians have purchased over two trillion dollars worth of United States exports in the last few years. Canada is a $1.7 trillion GDP country that is dependent upon the continued theft of the indigenous people natural resource wealth.
As I have stated I have no illusions about the court. The courts are not about justice, the courts have become enforcers of the law regardless of whether or not the laws are seen as justice or not. I will file my information and remind the court of the obligations they have under the Royal Proclamation. I will take the time to file a Notice of Constitutional Question which I expect you will contest. This will be a long court battle.
If CN expects to do business peacefully, they need to go beyond just trying to get the court to uphold their fraudulent title to our lands. The undertakings in 2007 prove that we tried to give Canada time, time they used only to do nothing. I kept my word, despite provocations, I refused to take part in any railway blockades for the five years I promised Prentice. I shook hands with Prentice when I made my promise. They have wasted their time and now they blame us for taking action. Chief Fox of Onion Lake and other Chiefs would be prepared to meet with CN if CN can bring Enbridge, Transcanada, and CPR to a more formal agreement. Business Canada must be seen as more than just writing letters urging Canada to do the right thing. We have given Canada all the time they needed. No undertaking will be taken that only gives the immigrants what they want, continued theft of our wealth. We are not in a position to hold back our people who want justice and are prepared to go to jail to get justice. We are not traitors to our people but we would accept an opportunity to meet with Business Canada to see if we can work toward justice for indigenous people.
I will present my documents and information in court. I have no illusions about the courts. If CN thinks that the court will settle this issue, Good Luck. There has always been Chiefs who tried to hold back the young warriors, in the past, they were termed the "hang around the fort" Indians, now the youth are calling them the "sellouts". I hope that CN has Chiefs with influence over the youth if things go as badly as the Judge believes will happen if "violence:" occurs. I want to remind the white people, violence is already here, we as First Nations have been burying our youth, the murdered women, and the white jails are filled with our people. If the Judge believes that the court has the power to order peace with the people who are in 60 to 95% unemployment in their communities, while all I say is we tried to avoid this. When the white people talk of coming violence all they are saying is violence against whites, because violence is already there for our people and has been for decades.
Two sides are in court, CN with a title given to them by thieves and the original owners of the land. Canada is no where in sight, they hope the court they set up will not call the government to answer any questions about the undertaking in 2007.
I have tried over and over to warn Canada that this day would come when the original owners would tire of the artificial poverty. I have written the following as the first paragraph of the article I wrote entitled How Dangerous is the Situation in Canada.
“One thing that police and the army know is that indigenous people don’t have any real supply of guns. The supply of guns is controlled but what the authorities don’t understand is that every one of the 633 reservations in Canada has old cars. In Winnipeg thousands of cars were being stolen every month, our indigenous youth who make up to 95% of the inmates in jail, were in criminal “training schools” on how to steal cars. If ever there was a military showdown between Indigenous people and the Canadian army, the first target would be the railway lines and burning cars would be on every railway line in Canada”
If you are advising CN that the Courts can protect them and the police can enforce the artificial poverty on reserves, CN needs to rethink who they hire. Throwing our people in jail and bankrupting the blockaders maybe good publicity to the racists in Canada but in reality you invite confrontation that this country does not want and you are part of the problem, not the solution. Yesterday, the Winnipeg Free Press had an article of a CN train hitting a grader and a serious derailment. We are not terrorists. We have been peaceful far longer than any other people. No other people would have put up with this situation as we have. The difference between 2007 and 2013 is night and day. In 2013, you see the anger of the people while in 2007 all you saw was the Chiefs speaking angrily. You would do well to recognize that the Chiefs cannot order the people to be peaceful if there is no real progress. Another undertaking like we did in 2007 will not be enough to quell what is already here, if the Judge is correct, things will get far worse and it will not be business as usual for CN or anyone else.
Terrance Nelson

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