August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, February 28, 2020

Mohawk Nation News 'McGill Law Students Stand with Wet'suwet'en'


Posted on February 28, 2020





Mohawk Nation News

MNN. 28 FEB. 2020. akwehon ionkateriwarani entitawaneh. We are not Canadians.

The constitution act of 1982 is a continuation of their colonization of our land and people. It is impossible to bring our issues on colonization and genocide to the Admiralty Courts, WHICH IS FOR BANKS, CORPORATIONS ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY. The kaianerekowa was and still is the original law of this land. Our relationships are based on the teiohateh, the two row agreement.

McGill law students say that the indigenous people should be given the most respect because of sovereign law. UNDRIP UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People declared in 2007 has not been adopted by Canada. onowarekeh, turtle island, is the birthright of the tahatikonsontontie, the unborn onkwehonweh. According to our culture each of us are the original caretakers of all of turtle island. No one has a right to convey, surrender or sell any part of onowarekeh. It belongs only to the future generations placed on turtle island by creation.

Minister of Justice David Lametti of the government of Canada ignores the violation of our culture as caretakers of the land. Foreign entities cannot impose fraudulent documents that convey the land of our unborn to anybody. We were invaded. onowarekeh was usurped. We were placed in POW camps called “reserves”. There was no war. The foreigners set about to extinguish us. They had the plan, the military and the weapons to take what they stole through their false claim ‘doctrine of discovery’. The Roman Catholic Pope declares he owns all heathen lands on the earth given to him by God. Anything based on a lie will always be a lie.
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KAMLOOPS JAN. 9/2019: TRUDEAU SAID IN EFFECT: “CANADA [MYSELF] IS GUILTY OF GENOCIDE”. REMEDY – DISSOLVE THE INDIAN LANDS ACTS OCT. 25, 1924. The McGill law students understand this. They signed and filed this letter to the Minister of Justice David Lametti.



“FEB 27, 2020.

LETTER FROM STUDENTS AT THE MCGILL FACULTY OF LAW TO THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE DAVID LAMETTI IN SUPPORT OF THE WET’SUWET’EN

We, the undersigned, as students and faculty members of the McGill Faculty of Law, object to the inaction of the Minister of Justice David Lametti in regards to the RCMP invasion of sovereign lands. As students of this faculty, we have a particular responsibility to call on the Minister, who is an alumni, a past Associate Dean, and a Full Professor at our Faculty, which prides itself on promoting reconciliation and recognizing Indigenous legal orders. We feel his continued silence on the RCMP invasion of unceded Wet’suwet’en territory has the effect of condoning the violence occurring at the hands of the BC government and the RCMP. We assert that he has a duty (1) to condemn the actions of the RCMP and the BC government as violations of ‘Anuch niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) and sovereignty. The actions of the RCMP and BC government undermine Indigenous and human rights protected under the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Further, given that the Minister has the mandate to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and that neither the Crown nor TC Energy obtained the free, prior and informed consent of the hereditary chiefs, the Minister ought to (2) state that the Crown is violating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and that the sovereignty of Wet’suwet’en people must be affirmed.

Since February 6th, the RCMP has been conducting raids on unceded Wet’suwet’en lands to allow TC Energy to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en have never granted consent to TC Energy allowing them to undertake work on their lands. This is not the first time militarized RCMP officers have invaded Wet’suwet’en territory; in January 2019, similar raids took place. These are repeated attacks on the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en people. We, the undersigned, were also appalled when we learned this summer that the RCMP was ready to use lethal force during that operation.

Faced with the escalation of colonial violence, we are adding our voices to the large solidarity movement that has emerged across the world in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. Given the role the Canadian justice system has played and continues to play in legitimizing colonialism, we have a special responsibility, as law students, to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island. This is why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission singles out the legal profession and law schools to do better. We are trying to live up to those calls to action.

Aboriginal Title

The Wet’suwet’en people have been living on their lands since time immemorial. They have never ceded or surrendered their lands to Canada. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Wet’suwet’en People, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights or title to their 22,000 square kilometres of territory. These rights are also guaranteed and protected under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

The Duty to Consult and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

The duty to consult is a constitutional obligation that must be fulfilled by the Crown prior to taking action or making decisions that may have consequences for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The necessity of consultation has been affirmed in various Supreme Court of Canada rulings, including in Haida Nation v British Columbia (Minister of Forests) [2004] and Delgamuukw v British Columbia [1997], which mandate proper consultation with and deference to the hereditary chiefs. However, this duty falls short of the requirement set out in UNDRIP, which details the importance of free, prior, and informed consent in article 11(2). The importance of FPIC has been supported by other sources of international law, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Labour Organization Convention 169. It is clear that proponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline have not secured the FPIC of the Wet’suwet’en nation, who remain opposed to the pipeline’s construction and have never ceded their territory.

While Coastal GasLink says it has consulted and signed agreements with all 20 First Nation communities along the path of the pipeline, the agreements were signed by elected councils created through the Indian Act, which does not grant them the authority to act beyond the boundaries of reserve lands. Under ‘Anuch niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law), the five clans have not given their consent to Coastal GasLink to continue working on Wet’suwet’en lands. The hereditary leaders worry about risks to pristine waterways and salmon spawning grounds, as the people of Wet’suwet’en still use their ancestral homelands to hunt, fish, pick berries, and gather medicines.

A Violation of Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, and International Law

Earlier this year, in January 2020, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada to immediately suspend work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline. In a two-page statement, the committee said it is alarmed by the escalating threat of violence against Indigenous peoples in B.C. and disturbed by the “forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation by law enforcement officials against Indigenous peoples who peacefully oppose large-scale development projects” on their traditional territories.

Soon after, Kasari Govender, British Columbia’s human rights commissioner concurred with the UN Committee and stated, “This is a matter of fundamental human rights.” She too, urged Canada to immediately cease the forced eviction of Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc peoples

Further, Minister Lametti received the mandate to implement UNDRIP into law by the end of 2020. The current actions of the RCMP and BC government clearly violate Article 10, which stipulates that no Indigenous person shall be removed from their land. They also contravene Article 32, which mandates governments to receive the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples before any development is made on their lands.

The Importance of Legal Pluralism

Beyond duties and obligations found in the Canadian Constitution, our time at the Faculty has taught us to appreciate that numerous legal traditions exist within the borders of Canada. There are not only the common and civil law, but also Indigenous legal traditions. The assertion of Crown sovereignty over what is today known as Canada neither displaced nor extinguished Indigenous sovereignty, legal orders and title over their lands. We hold this to be a legal truth. The Rule of Law also means respecting ‘Anuch niwh’it’en and Wet’suwet’en sovereignty.

For these reasons, and in respect of the plurality of legal systems operating in so-called Canada, we understand it is essential that we not stand by passively. We want to enter into a legal system of which we can be proud. At this moment, Minister Lametti is not acting in accordance with this standard.

As part of our McGill Law community, we are calling on the Minister to uphold his responsibility to us, to Indigenous peoples and to Canadians, by making a statement condemning the invasion of the Wet’suwet’en land and nation. We acknowledge Canada’s long history of violently removing Indigenous Peoples from their lands – from residential schools, the relocation of Nunavik Inuit to the barren High Arctic to assert Canadian sovereignty over it, to the Oka Crisis and Ipperwash. The government’s current action represents a continuation of colonial governance and should be condemned as such.

SIGNATURES OF MCGILL LAW STUDENTS: Adrian Levine, 3L, Adrienne Tessier 2L, Aidan Wall, 1L, Aimée Riou, 4L, Alanna Crouse, 2L, Alec Sader, 3L,Alessia Zenga, 1L, Alexandra Champagne, 1L, Alexandra Magazin, 3L, Alexandre Giroux 3L, Aliosha Hurry, 1L, Allisa Ali, 1L, Amanda Bowie-Edwards, 2L, Amélie Drouin, 3L, Ana Qarri, 2L, Andrea Sim 1L, Angar Awj 3L, Anna Gignac-Eddy, 1L, Anna Rotman, 3L,Annabelle Blanchet, 3L,Aretta Gelineau, 1L, Ariel Holmwood-Bramwell 1L, Attou Mamat, 2L, Audrey Parent, 1L, Austin McDougall, 1L, Aymen Benbouzid, 2L, Beatrice Mackie, 2L, Beth Friesen, 3L, Bradley Por, DCL, Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, 4L, Brett Howie, 2L, Camila Franco, 1L, Camille Rivard, 2LCassandra Betts, 1L, Chloe Barrette, 1L, Christopher Ivancic, 1L,Christopher Joseph Ciafro, 1L, Chrys Saget-Richard, 2L, Chukwubuikem Nnebe, 1L, Claire Henderson-Hamilton, 2L, Claire Lawrence, 3L, Corrine Tansowny, 1L, Curtis Mesher, 3L, Daniel Powell, 3L, Danielle Arseneau, 1L, Daniel Tamblyn-Watts, 1L, David How, 2L, Diana Stepner, 2L, Elise Mallette, 2L, Elizabeth Mu Tan Yu, 1L, Emilie Duchesne, 4L, Emily Cherlet, 2L, Emily Knox, 2L, Emma Brayley, 1L, Emma Lodge, 1L, Emma Sitland 1L, Félix-Antoine Pelletier, 3L, Gabriel D’Astous, 2L, Gabrielle Landry, 3L, Garima Karia, 1L, Geneviève Nevin, 1L, Genevieve Shemie, 2L, Georgia Therriault, 1L, Gwendolyn Muir, 4L, Hanna Rioseco 1L, Helen Tucker, 4L, Iradele Plante, 2L, Isabelle Coté, 1L, Isabelle Marie Zwicker, 1L, Jasmine Razavi, 2L, Jeanne Mayrand-Thibert, 1L, Jemark Earle, 2L, Jeremy lohier 1L, Jeremy Wiener, 1L, Jerry Lan, 3L, Jocelyne Couture, 3L, Jodie Côté-Marshall, 3L, Jonathan Martin, 2L, Julianna Duholke, 2L, Justin Miller-Clarke, 3L, Justin Jalea, 1L, Justine Simoneau, 3L, Kassandra Neranjan, 1L, Katerina Cook, 1L, Kathleen Barera, 3L, Kathryn Chadwick, 3L, Katrina graham, 1L, Kaelyn Macaulay, 1L, Karifa Magassouba, 1L, Kayla Míguez, 2L, Kerrin-lee Whyte, 3L, Khadija Ahmed, 1L, Kiana Saint-Macary, 1L, Kim-Lan Dam, 2L, Kimia Towfigh, 3L, Larissa Parker, 2L, Laura Doyle Péan, 1L, Lauren Manoukian, 2L, Laurent Côté-De Lagrave, 1L, Lauriane Palardy-Desrosiers, 2L, Léonie Bourdeau, 1L, Lian Francis, 3L, Liam Brunton, 1L, Liam Connor, 2L, Linda Muhugusa Murhimanya, 3L, Maia Stevenson, 4L, Marc Lussier, 3L, Margo Crawford, 3L, Mark Townsend, 1L, Maria Anghelidis, 1L, Marianne Goyette, 1L, Matthew Tse, 1L, Maya Gunnarsson, 3L, Meg Heesaker, 1L, Meghan Boyer, 1L, Mehlka Mustansir, 1L, Michelle Arentsen, 1L, Michelle Pucci, 2L, Miguel Therrien, 1L, Morgan McGinn, 3L, Natalia Koper, 2L, Natalia Paunic, 3L, Nevada McEniry-Hatajlo, 3L, Niamh Leonard – 1L, Nick Pineau, 1L, Nicole Maylor, 3L, Nicole Whitmarsh, 1L, Oliver Chan, 2L, Olivia Huynh, 2L, Raphael Schmieder-Gropen, 2L, Renaude Morin, 4L, Robyn McDougall, 1L, Rose Adams, 3L, Rose Savaria, 1L, Ryan Faulkner, 1L, Samuel Helguero, 1L, Sandrine Masri, 1L, Sandrine Royer, 1L, Sara Tadayyon, 2L, Sarah Nixon, 1L, Savleen Sur 1L, Sayre Potter, 2L, Sejeong Park, 2L, Sharayer Rajabi, 2L, Siddhartha Borissov-Beausoleil, 4L, Simon Filiatrault, 2L, Sonia Ahimana, 3L, Stewart Wiseman, 1L, Theresa James, 2L, William Bryson, 1L, Yanicka Poirier, Alumni, Yulia Yugay, 4L, Zach Morgenstern, 4L, Zain Abdulla, 1L, Zoë Christmas, 2L

Tom petty sings about standing with the people; “Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down. You can stand me up at the gates of hell. But I won’t back down. No I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around. And I’ll keep this world from draggin me down. Gonna stand my ground … and I won’t back down”

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