TURTLE ISLAND 

May 16, 2004 .------Pembroke Ont. 

Panel members, 

I’m here by your invitation to give my input into the draft beneficiary criteria. I can’t respond to the draft presented by the A.N.T.C. because theirs is a draft citizenship law and it’s my understanding that the funders instructions were to address the beneficiary issue. 

To be clear I believe in separating the issues of beneficiary, citizenship, rights and self government.. Each one of these categories calls for different approaches and different thought processes.  For to-days meeting I’m only addressing what I believe to be the main parts of the draft “beneficiary criteria” that Chief and Council mailed to all Band Members. 

By way of Ideology and to form a base for my presentation, I believe in the political statement that “we must be a just society”.  While “just” can have many meanings, I interpret this statement to mean equality.  Further, I interpret equality as meaning that there won’t be a stratification or different classes of people within our “beneficiary criteria” as there is with “Indians” under the Indian Act. 

RE : BENEFICIARY CRITERIA INPUT- “ALGONQUINS OF PIKWŔKANAGŔN GOVERNMENT”

In 1876 the first comprehensive Indian Act was designed and in its design was the creation of the elections of Chief and Council.  This was changed in 1884 to settle for Native government by Council rather than Chief for each Band, with an Indian Agent acting as Chairman of the Council. Shortly after that it appears that this method of management of Indian Bands by the Department of Indian Affairs (D.I.A) changed to some degree. Local records show that Lamabe Sarazin was one of our first Chiefs back in 1909.  He didn’t have a council. 

Currently, Chief and Councils limited powers of governing flow from Sec. 81 of the Indian Act which is administered by D.I.A. to whom the Council must report on how well they’re administering the Indian Act on members of the Band.  As an example, any By-law that’s made by the Chief and Council always makes reference to various sections of the Indian Act to account for it and must have the O.K. of the D.I.A. before it can be implemented. In short, our Council performs as a board of directors for the D.I.A. because of the precise reporting system to them and the manner that it’s carried out. As a creation of D.I.A., Council represents them in our community, I.R.#39. 

In practice, our Council depends on the Indian Act to legitimize their authority and are responsible to the D.I.A.--- the D.I.A. supposedly embodying the interests of all Band Members. 

With respect to our Land Claim, and Council’s unilateral assertion of being the “government” they should know that democratic ideals of Canadian life is reflected in phrases like “government through the consent of the governed”. As this proposed “government” is a brand new arrangement, I’m interested in its’ relevance to the assigned job at hand and its’ basic operation.   My question then is first “why would you govern, secondly who would you govern, and thirdly what would you govern, and finally by what authority has this “government” been developed?

 RE: BENEFICIARY CRITERIA INPUT-“BENEFICIARY CRITERIA” 

The Indian Act is an Act respecting “Indians.”  In Chief and Councils Draft Beneficiary Criteria 1.1, reference is made to the Indian Act as being a standard of acceptance as a beneficiary to the land claim.  This is unacceptable because historically the Indian Acts definition of “Indian” has been far too complex and problematic.  Within its’ policies is structured inequality. 

Eg: Personal categorization of 6(1)’s and 6(2)’s.  To willingly use the Indian Act as a standard of acceptance would perpetuate the control and influence that the D.I.A. and indirectly the Province has over our lives. The Indian Acts’ definition of a/our band is a body of “Indians.”  This is a legal definition and doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re all of Aboriginal descent. As you must be aware, the Indian Act unintentionally discriminates against families who are Band members because of the Indian Act Bill C-31.  Accordingly, what your “draft” is supporting is that some non-aboriginal women who have married Band Members should be beneficiaries while all non-aboriginal men who have married Band Members would not be beneficiaries.   

In any case, my most important point is that the Indian Acts definition of an “Indian” is a legal one with the interchangeable terms such as legal, status, registered, treaty etc., and has nothing to do with Race.   As a result, in the job of establishing beneficiary criteria, focus should be placed on not making the same mistakes that D.I.A did in defining “Indians” beginning in 1850 and many revisions since.    

We Algonquin/Nippissing people are a distinct Race of aboriginal people.  As such we have an ascribed status that’s fixed at birth and is unalterable during our lifetime. 

It’s unacceptable to allow the Indian Act to determine who the Algonquins are going to be in our Land Claim. This is an Aboriginal Land Claim that’s rooted in our Race and was never intended to be controlled or influenced by D.I.A.’s discriminatory and legal distinctions.  

Therefore, I suggest that the following changes be made to Chief and Councils “Draft” to be more in accordance with Section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982, “Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada. (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed”. --- Note that the definition “Indian” isn’t referred to. 

BENEFICIARY CRITERIA

People who will be accepted

1: Any person who is ascribed Algonquin/Nippissing descent will be a beneficiary. 

People who will not be accepted

2: Any person who is not ascribed Algonquin/Nippissing descent will not be a beneficiary. 

GLOSSARY

Aboriginal: An original inhabitant of a region.

Ascribed Status:  An ascribed status is fixed by birth and is unalterable in a persons lifetime.  Race, Gender and Age are examples of ascribed status.

Beneficiary: The person or institution to whom the proceeds of the land claim are payable.

Criteria: A standard on which a judgment or decision may be based.  The recommended tests should be 1) validity or relevance, 2) freedom from bias, 3) reliability and 4) availability. 

Thank you,  

George Tennescoe 

 

 CONSTITUTION ACT 1982

 PART II

 RIGHTS OF THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF CANADA  

35.            (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed. 

(2) In this Act “aboriginal peoples of Canada” includes Indian, Inuit and Metis peoples of Canada. 

(3) For greater certainty, in subsection (1) “treaty rights” includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired. 

(4) Not withstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

  (PLEASE NOTE - THERE IS NO REFERENCE TO
STATUS OR NON STATUS INDIANS IN THE CONSTITUTION.)

 

June 1, 2004. ---------- Pikwakanagan Ont.

Panel Members.

Once again I’m here by your invitation to give my input into the Draft Beneficiary Criteria (B/C) presented by Chief and Council.

To summarize, in my opinion the draft B/C has failed the four tests of development of a criteria.  The tests are relevance, freedom from bias, reliability and cost effectiveness.

Surely by now you must be aware that to date the information meetings that have been held also show much agreement in some form for this same opinion.

Given the time constraints I don’t know what your options are.  I do know that you’ve had six months to develop them.

In future job assignments placed on you by DIA I suggest that the following steps be taken : 

·        Develop a clear understanding of the job. ( In this case , the development of a beneficiary criteria. Understand the meaning of the words beneficiary and criteria and how to apply them properly.) 

·        Develop accepted principles that relate to the job.

·        Put principles ahead of personalities. ( This is our Land Claim, not yours.  Without accepted      principles, you’re only presenting your views in the B/C.)

                       ·        Each statement made in the B/C must support the job and the principles.

 Thank you, 

George Tennescoe.

Turtle Island

Page created by: muckwa
Changes last made on:
September 6, 2004.