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GANIENKEH NEWSLETTERS

INDIAN SURVIVAL CRISIS BULLETIN

NO. 6

MARCH, 1984

NOT THE WHOLE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ASSIMILATE THE INDIANS

The Constitutional Conference in Ottawa took an unexpected turn. Prime Minister Trudeau, dressed in native Indian regalia, along with his native sycophants received a set back on his proposed Indian self-government program. Only three provinces, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick approved to have the said Indian self-government entrenched in the Canada Constitution. The reason given by the other provinces for their disapproval is that "they don't understand Indian self government." The traditional Indians assume that the Indians present at the Constitutional Conference who clamored for self-government under Canadian sovereignty also do not understand the proposed legislation.

Mr. Trudeau's Indian followers, convinced that they are superior, more advanced and progressive than the tradtionalists, ignored all warnings regarding the trap being set to entice them into assimilation and extinction as a distinct people. The provincial premiers of little or no understanding regarding Indian self government as proposed by the Prime Minister actually put a stumbling block on the road to Indian assimilation and extinction. This is not to say that the traditional Indians do not want self-government. They do but under their own sovereignty and national independence. This makes a big difference.

Why does Indian self-government under Canadian government sovereignty lead to assimilation and extinction for Indians? As proposed, the Indians shall have control (not complete) in their communities. As the Indian communities shall have the same self-government as do all the white municipalities in Canada, the reservation system becomes a thing of the past. All these self-government municipalities are subject to laws of the federal and provincial governments. Since the Indian self-governments shall be under the control, authority and jurisdiction of the federal and provincial governments, it is not real self-government.

As far as control, authority and jurisdiction is concerned, there shall be no differences from the present conditions. The big innovation is the elimination of the reservation system and the proposed right of the Indian councils to levy tax on their own people. Taxation abolishes the Indian reserve and turns it into a municipality. Bringing the Indians up to equality with the white citizens of Canada means that the Indians shall be expected to do as the white citizens do and to receive the same penalties when they fail to do so. The white citizens are subject to property taxation. They are allowed not to pay the property tax for three years, after which time their property is sold for back taxes. They'll not sell the property at its full value as the tax is so high it won't be long (a matter of a few years) before the buyer pays the full value in taxes.

When this Indian plan was introduced in 1970, it was expected to be implemented by 1975. The Caughnawaga Indian reservation would be a municipality by 1975. Mr. Mackay Smith of Montreal showed us the plan in a big book with maps. Told us that industries would buy up all the Indian properties in Caughnawaga, "But you'll be so rich you can buy another reservation." He also told us: "I'm one of those millionaires." That was to impress us. What he didn't know was that we've been impressed out of our skulls. No impression left. The plan included super markets, manufacturing plants, office buildings, high rise apartments in the area called "The Big Fence" and even a bank or two...as if to show what an accurate prophet was Mr. Smith, the Caughnawaga band council in 1975 made a resolution on a Quebec Province Municipality form. The people quickly forced the band council to retract the Q.P. form and rewrite the resolution as a federal government Indian Affairs form. The move fizzled at that time.

The fact that the plan expected the Indian properties to be purchased by industries shows that Indians are not expected to be able to pay the property tax. Twenty years ago, in a new town the property tax was $1,500 a year. It must be about $2,000 now. The present Caughnawaga band council has publicly stated that they shall never levy taxes on the Indian people. The purpose of the property tax is to pay the municipal expenses, such as the town council's salary, upkeep of city hall, police salary, firemen salary, upkeep of the school buildings, teachers' salary, roads and other expenses all paid by the people in property taxation. Municipalities do not have the government footing the bill for all these services. Also, it's not the government which imposes the property tax but the town council. In the proposed new order of things, if the town council, erstwhile band council, does not impose the property tax they shall be unable to pay for all these services mentioned above. The town will come under the incompetent category and subject to "annexation by the closest well run community" which in this case is Chateauguay. In fact, the people in Chateauguay already say Caughnawaga has been annexed by Chateauguay. White man always beats the gun and takes a lot for granted. When an Indian reserve becomes a municipality, anyone of any race, creed, color or flavor can buy a property. The authors of the Indian plan hope the ensuing situation will spell the end of the Indian people.

In the event the "progressive" Indians, who are clamoring for self-government under Canadian sovereignty, feel they can work towards sovereignty and national independence afterwards, they haven't much time. In three years, after failing to pay the property tax, they shall be dispossessed of the said properties and their persons scattered in low cost housing in cities (slums). They'll hardly be in any position to organize and fight for sovereignty and national independence. They shall then be classified as "naturalized Canadian citizens of Indian descent" having been effectively assimilated and no longer legally Indians. Extinction becomes a matter of course. The Menominees were the most well off Indians in the United States at the time they were talked into accepting self government white man style. They found themselves living in the slums in the city. They say that only ten percent of the white populations own their own homes. So, it's not easy to be a white person.

It could be that the government shall continue to fund the Indian self-government localities as before, during the reservation days, until the said government decides it's time to cut the apron strings. The financial community throughout the world is under tremendous pressure and a general collapse can come at any time. Indians on reservations should be ready with a lot of food products under cultivation instead of depending so much on the great white father. The Ganienkeh Indian Project is an example of what the Indians can do to insure survival of the Indian race.

There is a lot of viable farmland in Caughnawaga ready for such use. There is a bit of limestone which could be exploited for economic purposes by the Indian people themselves instead of letting a white man do it, such as Bedard who had a big payroll to meet and ended up a millionaire in a few years. The Indians should turn what lands they have left into free Indian territories under their own sovereignty and national independence. There are a lot of unused lands and wide-open spaces in Canada that the Indians can take over for such purpose. After all, the said land is theirs. They wouldn't be stealing it. It was stolen from them. Indians can have their own country where they can have real self-government. There are still a lot of people who smoke and will continue to smoke. Indians can grow tobacco, make cigarettes and pipe tobacco and make millions of dollars. They won't need to continue taking handouts from the great white daddy. Indians drink a lot of beer, pour millions of dollars into white man's coffers every year. Indians should grow their own barley, hops and make beer. Keep the money within the nation. They won't need welfare happily ever after. Indians can achieve all this by using the land. All this can be accomplished by a little hustling on the part of the Indians.

The Indians can even set aside an area for tourism. Canada and the United States make millions on tourism. Every country has tourist traps. Why not in a free Indian territory? An educational center where the tourist can learn about Indian culture, customs and tradition, in films and slides. An Indian tavern where the tourists can drink the superior Indian beer and smoke the superior Indian tobacco. If they complain of cancer we can send them to Ohsweken where the Indians can herbally cure cancer, ulcers diabetes, T.B. etc. The tourist area could even have bingo games for those tourists who have gambling in their blood. The Indians could even build a church for the tourists who wish to be saved. There are enough boozy preachers in town who waste their talents in taverns. They could save the tourists. It can be seen that a tourist area can bring in additional revenue to boost the economy. This is the kind of self government the Indians should strive for.