By Terrance Nelson
Roseau River Anishaabe
Last week, I decided to run in the election for Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief. It was a late decision giving me only a few days to get three Chiefs to sign my nomination papers. , I was confirmed a Candidate for Grand Chief. There are four others running, Gary McLean, Brent Wilson, Jerry Daniels, and Former Chief of Keesee, Norman Bone.
Southern Chiefs Organization is one of three organizations in Manitoba that represents the Chiefs. There are 33 First Nations in SCO, the Grand Chief of SCO works for the 33 Chiefs of those First Nations. A friend of mine told me, "the Chiefs are scared of you" tone down if you want to be elected. I thought about his advice and then said no.
I made a decision to run for Grand Chief only because I can offer real change to the political system. SCO and all First Nation political organizations across Canada are being cut dramatically in Federal Funding as of . As an example, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is being cut 82% of their funding in April. SCO also faces huge deficits and cuts in April.
So why run for Grand Chief of a soon to be very poor organization?
In 1994, my home community Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation was going to buy the Winnipeg Jets. A plan had been put together in 1994 by the man who would later help me bring in the eighty million dollar 1903 Surrender land claim. After a lot of work back in 1994, the president of the American Bond issuing company phoned one morning and said, make the deal, you have your $275 million.
The deal didn't happen because the Manitoba Conservative government would not approve the very same plan now in place in the MTS Center in Winnipeg. The jaws dropped at the meeting when it was announced that Roseau River had $275 million to buy the Winnipeg Jets and build a third level for the Arena at the Winnipeg Convention Center. That plan was put together two years before Roseau River signed its 1996 Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement but it shows how First Nations in Canada can seek international financing if they looked pass Government funding.
Native American reservations have been raising money on the Stock Exchange for a long time. Manitoba First Nations can do the same but haven't done so. The biggest opportunity currently availabe for the 33 First Nations in southern Manitoba is the creation of new reservation lands. Only seven of the First Nations in SCO have Treaty Land Entitlement agreements with Canada, they are Buffalo Point, Rolling River, Peguis, Long Plains, Swan Lake, Brokenhead, and Roseau River. The other First Nations who will be able to acquire new reservation lands are the flooded communities of Lake St. Martin, Dauphin River, Little Saskatchewan, and Fairford.
Even though, there are only eleven of the 33 First Nations in SCO that can create new reservation lands under TLE or Flood Compensation, the other reservations can create new reserve lands also. I can explain that to those First Nations.
A properly functioning Urban Reserve in Winnipeg can generate $400 million in retail sales and send $40 million each year back to the First Nation that owns the Urban Reserve. Within ten years, one of the First Nations in SCO will be getting $100 million from its benefits flowing from the Winnipeg Urban Reserves. The First Nation who does this will have to believe in private business and private wealth if they are to reach that level. I am the Chairman of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation Treaty Land Entitlement Trust. I know the Canadian Government system. I wrote five books and two of them were on Treaty. In 2007, I forced the Government of Canada to convert 74 acres of land in Rosser Municipality within six weeks, start to finish. It happened so fast that I didn't include Designation.
Designation is the process by which the First Nation conditionally surrenders reservation lands to Canada and Canada sends it back but it is no longer protected under the Indian Act. Designation allows businesses, investors, banks and others to be able to seize on reserve and therefore makes it safe for business to invest into the reserve. In 2008, my opposition in Roseau River defeated the Designation referendum by 93 to 91 votes. We did not explain the purpose to the people and simply thought that the people understood. The 74 acres now sits almost empty, only two businesses in place. The vision of Walmarts, Costco, Revys, Car Dealerships, hotels, office complexes, Health Center, etc selling to the $2 billion market that comes down Highway Six, was defeated by my opposition. Roseau River still has 75% unemployment.
I learned from that mistake in 2008. I know how to make Urban Reserves a reality. I can promise the Chiefs, five Urban Reserves in Winnipeg within two years, eight to eleven new reservations in southern Manitoba including conversion of Rolling River lands in Brandon. The most powerful Chief in Manitoba right now is Chief Kelly Bunn of Birdtail Sioux. His reservation was robbed of land in 1904 or so, land CN bought for something like 75 dollars. I can promise Birdtail to convert lands they have in Foxwarren with two months of becoming Grand Chief. Within one year, I can get the land near Brandon converted to Reserve Status for Rolling River.
I am going to print up my campaign information on Monday. Only fifty copies will be available because the information is sensitive and will be given only to the Chiefs and some people I trust. Conversion of lands to reserve status does not depend on threats to government or railway blockades. In 1871, the Treaties were signed in southern Manitoba. The First Nations own southern Manitoba including all of Winnipeg. In 1927, Canada passed Section 141 of the Indian Act which made it a crime for Indians to be in the presence of a lawyer. In 1930, under the Natural Resource Transfer Act, the Federal Government transferred all lands to the Provinces. By 1951, Section 141 was repealed but eighty years had passed since the Treaties were signed and people forgot what was called "shortfall", reservation lands owed under treaty.
In the 1990s, the reservations that signed Treaty Land Entitlement were tricked into the Addition to Reserve process, a 23 step process that transferred federal obligation to clear titles and third party interests and in the TLE agreement made that a responsibility of the First Nations. Most people think that I got the land in Rosser converted in six weeks by threats of a railway blockade. That is not true, I understand shortfall and I understand how to create reservation lands in spite of ATR. That is why I can promise five Urban Reserves in Winnipeg and eight to eleven new reservations in rural southern Manitoba.
I am putting my promises to the Chiefs in writing.
-five new Urban Reserves in Winnipeg
-eight to eleven new Rural Reserves in Southern Manitoba
-a five hundred million dollar bond on TLE in Manitoba
-a huge office complex in an urban reserve in or near Winnipeg
-East Side Permanent Road built by the First Nations themselves
-Two months after I am elected Birdtail Sioux lands in Foxwarren will be converted to Reserve
-Within one year, Rolling River lands in Brandon will be converted to full Reserve Status
-The new rural reserves will include new reservation lands for the Dakota
-Formal written offers from the Federal government of settlement of all flooded First Nations by June 2014
-NDP will be forced to complete promises of Casinos for Swan Lake and Sioux Valley
In my presentation and campaign information, I will explain to the Chiefs why completion of these promises do not have include railway blockades or threats.
On January 16, 2013, nearly a year ago, I organized a CN Railway blockade near Portage La Prairie. I took on a $44 billion company in court. I didn't have a lawyer representing me, I was self represented. We forced the Attorney General of Canada and Manitoba into the court Case. In the decision, we appear to have lost but in reality we forced the Governments out in the open. The court refused to allow us to file any information on Treaties. Supreme Court of Canada made a previous decision that only the Chiefs can file a defense based on Treaties. The court said, we as individuals did not have standing to file information on obligations of the immigrants to Treaty or to file a challenge to CN Title to indigenous lands.
In closed meetings, in camera sessions, I as elected Grand Chief of SCO would bring in people to present to the Chiefs how the First Nations can levy taxes and payments to the First Nations for any businesses located or crossing traditional treaty territory of the First Nation. I won't make this information public, it needs to be explained to the Chiefs in camera before the plan of action is implemented. I will explain in camera why Shortfall is not ATR and how First Nations with shortfall can declare TLE lands reserve lands the day they buy it. I will provide the decision on CN vs Terrance Nelson and explain why the Chiefs are so powerful if they pass the legislation that will bring taxes and payments from business in southern Manitoba.
I know how to enforce that legislation.
If the Chiefs made the decision to enforce Treaties, SCO can become the most feared and effective political organization in Canada. Getting away from Government funding is a tremendous opportunity and that is why I made the decision to run for Grand Chief of SCO.
As an individual, I and Dennis Pashe went to Tehran Iran in the fall of 2012. I had sent information of a study to build a health center. Based on that, Dr. Zargari showed me his plans to build a $100 million Hospital on Roseau River lands near Winnipeg. He wanted to show that Iranians were a caring people. Iran is under Economic Sanctions and Canada would never allow Iran to invest in First Nations in Canada but remember it is still possible. Iran is head of the 120 Non Aligned Movement, the countries that are not part of NATO or East Pact Nations etc. Iran is also head of the OPEC countries. Does it mean if I become Grand Chief, I rush off to Iran? No, I can say or do anything I want as an individual but if I am hired by the Chiefs, I will have to speak and act as Grand Chief, subject to the Chiefs who elected me.
My bio, a document on Urban Reserves, and a power point will form part of my campaign information.
My Campaign literature will be printed by Monday, it will be extensive information, meant only for the Chiefs.
I am sending an email to some of my friends asking for campaign donations. Donations can be sent to my bank account, Terrance Nelson, Bank of Nova Scotia, Transit # 20107 Account # 0006025 or they can send an etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
There is 8,000 First Nation children in Child and Family Service in Manitoba alone, 60 to 95% unemployment in most of the 33 First Nations in SCO, Gangs, Drugs and Alcohol, Housing problems, 90 Murdered and Missing indigenous women in Manitoba, 70% of the inmates in Manitoba are indigenous, huge health and education funding cuts, police brutality and still some Chiefs believe that Government funding is the answer. According to Chief Nelson Houle, when I ran for National Chief, the government was so scared of me that they lobbied for Chiefs to vote for Atleo. Atleo is a nice guy. Today, our National political organization is meeting in Gattineau, Quebec, the question is how effective is the nice guy at AFN. When will the Chiefs get tired of government funding and look to building own source revenue.
I believe in private wealth where profit is not a dirty word. I believe that the Winnipeg Urban Reserves must create millionaires and multi-millionaires amongst our people. The First Nations do not have a business class and small business is the core of any economy. The Treaties state, 160 acres per family of five. Business by committee and all reservation held in common under the Indian Act is the cause of the poverty on reserve. Those First Nations that allow private wealth, that allow for private business, that protect investors, banks, and business people will profit and they will see budgets of $40 to $100 million per year for their First Nation if they act as the conduit to investment, not the blockage to investment.
There is no Santa Claus, Business is not Charity but Business is the answer to our poverty, the Urban Reserves must be a place for Business to escape bureaucracy, to profit, to take advantage of less property taxes, school taxes, business taxes and for First Nations people to work with no income tax and to be exempt from gasoline tax, provincial and federal sales taxes. Some of what I will tell the Chiefs, they will not like, what happened to TCIG confused Pepsi and scared RBC, if we want to make the Urban Reserves work, we need to protect those who will invest in the Urban Reserves and we need to create First Nation millionaires.
As Grand Chief, I can help make SCO the conduit to domestic and foreign investment, but the future belongs to the First Nations who will take advantage of the opportunities.