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COMMENTARY · 11th December 2011
Merv Ritchie
Straight up, here is the truth. The Indians own the works! They proved their Hereditary law and government existed and still exists. Either wake up and smell the coffee or get out of the way. It is an undeniable fact.

The truth is this. The Canadian Supreme Court (Appellate Court) ruling on Delgamuukw stated Indians have a supreme authority over their lands due to their traditional, hereditary law. This was simply and securely attached to the testimony of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. They own their territory. Industry and the government, after the Delgamuukw Supreme Court ruling, were obligated to first consult with the Hereditary Chiefs, the land owners, prior to any activity. And what ever the Chiefs said was the law.

When the BC and Canadian Government fully realized this they went into damage control, how could they possibly stop or reverse such a decision? They needed to destroy their adversary but it had to be strategic and complete. Another challenge and a stronger ruling would destroy all their plans for extracting the mineral wealth from this territory unimpeded. The Court even stated there needed to be another Court case on this issue.

Enter the time honoured strategy of "Divide and Conquer".

All BC Treaty activity stopped after the Delgamuukw decision was handed down. Governments and their administrations went into quiet backroom debate and discussions, “What to do?” They figured out a plan.

When the BC Liberals came into power with Gordon Campbell the Treaty process began again. This time they set up a new set of rules. First, every band was required to set up a society under the Society Act (RSBC). Once they did this the Indians began operating in a completely non-traditional manner outside of the Hereditary laws. As a Society they needed to follow the provisions of the Act by holding Annual General Meetings (AGM’s) and electing directors and officers. The BC Government then began delivering millions of dollars to these Treaty Societies.

In effect what the BC Government did was to fracture the Traditional culture of these peoples once again. The first time they did this was when the Provincial Government outlawed the Indian government by forbidding the practice of feasting (the potlatch). Feasts and the ‘give away ceremony’ was, and is, the traditional and hereditary method of resolving all disputes and determining governmental order in all the Northwest and Coastal First Nations. It was this system the Canadian Supreme court Justices recognized as the undeniable truth; that it still existed and was historically accurate. Electing Directors and holding AGM’s, filing reports and answering to a foreign government was never part of the culture. But that is what the various First nations peoples did and that was the master plan of the BC and Canadian Governments.

Today, if either the BC or Canadian Governments wished to pursue a challenge to the appeal court ruling on Delgamuukw they would in all likelihood win. The Indians would fall flat on their faces because they have turned their backs on their Hereditary systems of laws. If they do not reverse this immediately with great strength and force they will lose everything, in fact it is almost a certainty now.

The Canadian and British Columbian governments through these treaty societies and with INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) have approved various measures and received various Court Judgements against the Hereditary Chiefs and traditional laws. They have been systematically laying the groundwork for the next court challenge.

There is only one solution for the Indians. It is simple yet comprehensive. It will take only one action and will completely reverse all the efforts of the BC and Canadian Governments attempts to destroy their control and ownership of their lands.

Each Nation needs to step forward with their Hereditary Chiefs and proclaim their recognition of the other Nations Hereditary Chiefs as their true and legitimate time honoured government.

To do this they must adhere to the traditional laws so each Nation can rightly proclaim the other Nations Chiefs as been the true Chiefs.

This means the rightful land owners, trapline holders, the heads of the various houses and clans or crest titles, must; have acquired this right (the name) through the proper Matrilineal lineage, have been approved by the Matriarchs and held a feast to establish and display their right to their community.

Once the high Chiefs of the Raven, Eagle, Killerwhale, Wolf, Beaver and the rest of the crests/clans are brought together from each Nation, and when they display their true authority to each other, and then declare each others legitimacy of each others standing, they can make an official declaration of each others National Sovereignty.

Territorial disputes and even disputes over “Name” holding can be resolved by later and future meetings of the High Chiefs and their councils or speakers. Declarations could even be conditional on the resolution of these disputes. The immediacy of these declarations is of the most pressing urgency if the Indian Nations wish to retain anything. Enbridge, Royal Dutch Shell and a multitude of industrialists are waiting for the First Nations to fail this test.

The Tsimshian and the Gitxsan are in disarray due to these Treaty Societies and their associated Band Councils. The Haisla have suffered greatly, almost to extinction of their sovereignty, due to the actions of the Kitamaat Village Council during the passing of their high Chief, Beaver Crest high authority, Chief Jassee (Tom Robinson).

Previously warring and fighting western Nations such as Japan, America, Germany, France, Spain and England, have all joined together and recognized each others territory while maintaining some disputed claims.

This is exactly what the First Nations of the northwest need to do if they wish to have any future.

They must join together with their own version of the United Nations. The United First Nations of BC. Each declaring their own sovereignty and each recognizing the others.

But it is imperative they follow their traditional laws as it is these laws the Appeal Court of the Supreme Court of Canada recognized in the long fight the Gitxsan and the Wet’suwet’en endured against the BC Government on behalf of all First Nations peoples.

Snooze and lose or wake up and win. It is your choice and your choice only. It is up to the Treaty Societies and the Band Councils to consider this with great haste and great care. Keep receiving the bundles of cash for yours and your immediate families benefit or sacrifice it for the good of your Nation.

All Tahltan, Gitxsan, Wet’suwet’en, Haisla, Tsimshian, Nisaga’a, Tlingit and Haida peoples need to consider this very, very seriously. It is not just up to your Band Councils and Treaty Societies, it is up to each and every one of you. Be careful. Are you willing to put down the remote control and the I-pad/smart phone for a while? For your children’s children? Last chance, last warning, it is in your hands now.
This image, the major rivers, which provide all food sources, could be used as an internationally recognized symbol of these great First Nations peoples.   It is a gift from the creator to the people.
This image, the major rivers, which provide all food sources, could be used as an internationally recognized symbol of these great First Nations peoples. It is a gift from the creator to the people.
First Nations not "Indians"
Comment by people of the snow on 13th December 2011
Thank you for your insight on the history of First Nations people.
That is what we prefer to be called, "First Nations People" . Indian is so sterotyped.. and racial.

Only to some, PC is not my strong suit. My Tsimshian Lady prefers to be called Indian. Thinks First Nations, Aboriginal and Native are the insulting terms. Maybe use use 'Me' instead of 'We'. Naw, she was born Indian and claims to still be Indian, even uses the combination of her name and indian calling herself Cindian. Political correctness sometimes goes overboard.