Back in the early 1970's the
I was still in high school, and part of the high school student radical movement, we also produced our own underground newspapers, as well as a Radio Program on CKUA and were active in the embryonic Video Guerrilla movement.. We produced an underground paper for the city that was called The Orb, much like the Georgia Straight, and had followed after the demise of the city’s first underground paper, the Rice Street Fish Market.
The Gateway staff did something unheard of and never done before or since, they took the paper, its advertising revenues and its membership in
One of the people in the collective was Bob Beal, a noted journalist and Prairie Historian, who has co authored one of the best books on the Riel Rebellion; Prairie Fire.
The paper identified a common struggle in
Because the paper also had members of the collective working for the Mainstream Press we were able to get national coverage of this disaster. A disaster of the then genocidal policies of the Department of Indian Affairs of the Trudeau Liberals, under the Minister of the day; Jean Chrétien. It was a paper policy of assimilation at all costs and here it was in all its horrible reality
The Lubicon have been without treaty rights and denied a historical and geographical existence because they remained autonomous from Treaty 6. There are other aboriginal groups across
The Lubicon and their rights to the land, land they never gave up, land that has been sold by the Federal and Provincial governments to the Oil Companies and to the Logging industry, remains the longest unresolved land deal in Canadian history.
And it belies the current Liberal governments claim to be dealing with Aboriginal rights. The recent Aboriginal round table and the accord, was between federations of treaty Indians, and Métis who the colonialist Department of Indian Affairs approves. Who led these 'first peoples' discussions, who set their agenda, none other than Phil Fontaine, Liberal flack and President of the AFN, a comprador ogranization that is just an extension of the Department of Indian Affairs. Nothing was said, or done for the Lubicon.
Blogger Dr. Dawg has done an exceptional job on documenting this history of injustice, and yes modern day genocide by the Liberal Government in its treatment of the Lubicon. I thought I would end this article and quote his closing comments from his excellent article; Paul Martin: Crossing the Lubicon
It is an issue as important as that of the recent disasters on reserves over the unhealthy living conditions they have been left in. And unless a boycott campaign, such as was launched by the Friends of the Lubicon, draws attention to them, the Federal Government continues to ignore the Lubicon, and continues to perpetuate this injustice.
Dr. Dawg says it’s an issue for this election. I agree. It is a disgrace, and it exposes the real scandal that is the historical role of the Liberal Government and its policies towards
Successive federal governments have intervened shamelessly to break the Lubicon resolve. Using its power to create Indian bands under the Indian Act, the Liberal government under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien invented two other bands, hoping to lure away Lubicon; the members of one band, the "Woodland Cree," had been promised $1000 each if they voted for a federal offer of a pitifully inadequate reserve, but they later found out that this would be deducted from their welfare payments.
This brings us almost to the present day, and Paul Martin's shameful continuation of this miserable tradition. He promised to start negotiations with the Lubicon by the end of March 2004, but this never took place, and federal officials claim that they have been given no mandate to negotiate. It's been bad faith all the way with Mr. Dithers.
Amnesty International has denounced Canada for its treatment of the Lubicon; and the UN Committee on Human Rights, which heard the Lubicon complaint and found against Canada in 1990, repeated its concerns only last month.
Decency demands that we make Martin and his Liberal "team" accountable for this outrage during the current campaign campaign. But we ought to be even-handed about it. We should embarrass the Conservatives, whose own record has been nothing to be proud of on aboriginal affairs, and we should force the NDP to put this issue on the front burner. The survival of the Lubicon--those who are left--depends upon it. Let's stand up for them before it's too late."