I am writing in response to an article in your newspaper titled "Algonquins Clarify Misunderstanding Over Native Moose Hunt." While I am not an Algonquin hunter, I am an Algonquin person with an opinion.
I do not agree with Councillor Meness' assertion the Algonquin Nation Tribal Council (ANTC) does not represent status band members. It is my understanding that the ANTC does represent some "status Indians" who are PikwÓkanagÓn band members. (I've met some of them). I believe the ANTC has documented proof of this.
Under current circumstances, as an Algonquin person, I choose to be represented by the ANTC, because it does not discriminate against "status Indian" Algonquins or "non-status" Algonquins in land claim negotiations. This could explain why there are more Algonquin people currently represented by the ANTC than by PikwÓkanagÓn Leadership in our nation's negotiations.
Algonquin title and rights pre-date the Indian Act, The Department of Indian Affairs, registers "status-Indians" not Algonquins. Not all identified Algonquins are "Indians" as defined by Canada's "Indian" Act. The tern "Indian" is a false construct of colonial policy and legislation which unjustly divides our people into inconsistent and inaccurate racial categories. This undermines our wholeness and is not my understanding of our way.
"Indian" is not the word Algonquin people traditionally use to refer to ourselves. The term we use is "Anishinabe." This is the term I use. From their actions this past year, I suppose PikwÓkanagÓn's council leadership, is asserting their preference for their inaccurate colonial label. I am assuming they are more comfortable with self-administration under Canada's Indian Act than with actual self-government and self-determination. I hope this is something that will change in the future.
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