October 10 Canada-wide Day of Indigenous Action: Trudeau, It's Time for Deeds Not Words

September 28, 2016

Indigenous Day of Action October 10

Justin Trudeau, it is time for DEEDS, NOT WORDS, that respect Indigenous rights

(List of events here.)

First Nations in Canada are waking up to the reality that the Trudeau government has a big smiley face for a front man, but when it comes to business, nothing has changed. This government approved the Site C mega-Dam in Treaty 8 (BC Peace River region), against the objection of First Nations whose lands will be devastated by flooding, destroying access to their food, medicines, and sacred sites. Just this week, they approved the dangerous and climate-destroying Lelu Island Liquid Natural Gas plant against the wishes of local First Nations. Now under review in Alberta by a system that has never denied a tar sands mine is the Teck Frontier tar sands mine, which would be the largest ever. The federal government, which campaigned on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has since informed chiefs from across Canada that adopting UNDRIP is unworkable. Now they have backtracked on their obligations under the Paris climate accords, too.

It is already clear what needs to be done. Canada needs a leader with political integrity and courage to do it. We demand that the Trudeau government to take credible action to: 

  • Implement UNDRIP in Canadian law.
  • Clearly indicate it respects Indigenous Peoples’ right to say no to development on their land. (This means Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, not manipulated sham consultations)
  • Stop the Site C dam
  • Close the funding deficit for First Nations now
  • Stop pipeline, gas, and oil megaprojects: build green energy, transit, and houses

Accordingly, this Thanksgiving, Indigenous communities and supporters will be conducting actions, holding ceremonies, and gatherings across Canada to protect land and water and to demand the Trudeau government stop pretending, and start acting like it respects our rights. It is high time for deeds, not words. We ask First Nations and allies on both sides of the medicine line, on the land or in cities, to respond to this call by undertaking action, in accordance with their own capacities, responsibilities, and their protocols.  To join us please email indigenousdayofaction@gmail.com.

Background

On matters of substance, this government is pursuing the same assimilation agenda as previous governments. There has been no change to the disastrous comprehensive claims policy. 150 years of Canada trying to terminate and extinguish Indians has not worked. We are still here and we will still be here hundreds of years from now. Until Canada reckons with, recognizes, and respects Indigenous Peoples’ rights and title, and make legitimate redress for past wrongs, there will be no lasting peace.

This government has still not committed to a plan to undo the deliberate cultural genocide that targeted Indigenous languages and traditions. No serious commitment to Indigenous language revitalization has been put forth. The important recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples have been ignored.

Optimists believed this government would deliver more money for programs and services. Yet the much vaunted spending announcements of this government will not kick in for years, and will still leave First Nations gasping, at poverty-level funding below funding for the average Canadian, after decades of an arbitrary 2% funding cap that has scrimped First Nations into a $60 billion funding gap. The lack of clean water, safe housing, and adequate education, coupled with abusive government and failure to redress the legacy of cultural genocide, have produced a profound mental health and suicide epidemic in many communities.

In the face of government indifference or hostility, Indigenous Peoples across Canada and the United States have had to protect their waters and lands from abusive development that violates their duties to protect the land: from hydro dams at Site C in British Columbia, Keeyask in Manitoba, and Muskrat Dam in Labrador, Newfoundland, to Mi’kmaq people and their allies in Stop Alton Gas protecting the waters of the Sipekne'katik district of the Mi’kmaq Nation; the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in their decades long struggle for their rights against government abuse, now fighting a Copper One mine being developed on their territory without consent; Neskantaga First Nation, trying to stop Noront’s Ring of Fire drilling on its land; and Indigenous peoples and allies fighting toxic, reckless pipeline and oil development in places like Aamjiwnaang, Kanehsatake, Unist’ot’en, Tsleil-Waututh, Secwepemc territory, and Standing Rock, North Dakota. For legitimate defense of their rights, many Indigenous land and water protectors are criminalized or targeted with legal harassment and intimidation by big corporations, like Vanessa Gray of Aamjiwnaang, currently facing expensive court proceedings. 

As part of this day of action, we call on Canada to take seriously its obligations under international law, the Canadian constitution, and the principles of justice, and once and for all reconcile itself to our continued existence on this land as Indigenous Peoples. The government has ignored the excellent recommendations of Commission after Commission. Will it ignore the recommendations of the Murdered and Missing Women and Girl’s Inquiry too? Now is the time for Deeds, not Words.

ENDORSED BY:

 

ALBA Canada Network

Algonquins of Barriere Lake

BorealAction -Treaty 6 Idle No More

Chippewas of the Thames

Ellen Gabriel, Kanehsatake Mohawk

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

FightC

Greenpeace Canada

Idle No More

Idle No More Duluth

Idle No More Duluth Wolf Action

Idle No More Ontario

Idle No More Toronto

Leap Manifesto

No One is Illegal - Toronto

No One is Illegal - Coast Salish Territories

Pamela Palmater, Mi'kmaq Nation

Red Nation - 2nd Annual Indigenous Peoples Day

Rising Tide Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories

Say “No” to Site C Dam

Secwepemc'ulecw Grassroots Movement

Stop Alton Gas

350.org

Unist’ot’en - People of the Headwaters

Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network