This is an historical tragedy – but it doesn’t seem right or just to collectively punish the descendants of your oppressors by demanding this sort of coercive wealth redistribution in a massive payout package. It’s equivalent (in terms of the principle of justice) to kicking families off land that they’ve lived on their whole lives because your ancestors used to live there. Surely there’s a statute of limitations on these things. Well, not even that. It’s more like: the individuals involved aren’t around anymore to bring this case forward. There are no such thing as ‘collective rights’, so such a settlement would be an injustice to individual taxpayers. However, the question of secession is an interesting one since it deals with hunting on crown lands (which, presumably, are unoccupied) and relationships between corporate entities, eg; the crown and the various tribes. It seems eminently reasonable to recognize the right of the Metis to hunt, to live in the nationl park. The government never had a right to restrict access in the first place as though it were the King banning poaching in the Royal Forest. Compare the case of these Newfoundlanders slapped with fees to visit their traditional lands.
Related: Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeks global forum on abuse of native peoples | Residential school survivors fear network end | Residential school graves research a daunting task | For many aboriginals, the truth of residential schools is irreconcilable: commissioner | The future of the residential school commission — An interview with Judge Murray Sinclair | GG relaunches Truth and Reconciliation Commission | New members tapped for residential school commission: report | Chair to have final say as residential schools commission jobs rewritten | Remaining 2 members resign from residential schools commission | Commission to Probe Graves at Native ‘Residential School’ Sites | Government to hold talks over future of residential-schools commission | Chairman quits troubled residential-school commission | Truth commission tied too closely to government: aboriginal groups | Canada hears of native abuse pain | Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time; Independent Tribunal Established
April 29, 2010
Provincial, federal governments named in $13B claim
A New Brunswick-based aboriginal group and three men are suing the New Brunswick and federal governments for $13 billion in damages for alleged “genocide” and loss of native lands over the past 400 years.
They are also seeking a declaration that the two levels of government have no jurisdiction over aboriginal and MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis people in the province.
The lawsuit also demands the province stop all hunting, fishing and forestry prosecutions against aboriginal and MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis people until the case is heard.
The notice of action, filed in Moncton’s Court of Queen’s Bench, cites colonial actions dating back to 1610, saying they amount to genocide against native people.
Aboriginals never ceded their land to European powers and they deserve compensation for their losses, the court document states.
“Historically, it’s not been what you could consider a good relationship from the perspective of how it’s unfolded, and therefore the need for redress in certain areas basically has an economic component to it,” said lawyer Michael Swinwood, who works for Elders Without Borders, an Ottawa-based non-profit group backing the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are: the East Coast First People Alliance; Mi’kmaq hereditary chief Stephen Augustine of the Elsipogtog band, who now lives in the Ottawa area; and Jackie Vautour and his son, Roy Vautour, of the Moncton area, who say they are MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis and have long fought for MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis constitutional rights.
The federal government has not recognized MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis – people with mixed European and aboriginal ancestry – in New Brunswick.
A 2003 Supreme Court of Canada ruling said MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis status requires the presence of sustained MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis communities. But that requirement doesn’t recognize that MÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©tis in New Brunswick were dispossessed and scattered by colonial powers, said Swinwood.
“You’re basically putting up a criteria that you know they are not going to be able to meet, or that you feel is going to defeat the concept of establishing a right,” he said.
The Vautours live in Kouchibouguac National Park, north of Moncton, in defiance of an expropriation order that dates back decades.
Provincial government officials are aware of the lawsuit, but no one was immediately available to comment.
The United Nations defines genocide as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, including:
- Killing members of the group.
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
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