<eng> Solidarity With Native People

The Anarchives (tao@lglobal.com)
Sun, 21 Apr 1996 17:36:35 +0000 (GMT)


Date: Sat, 20 Apr 1996 16:50:47 -0400
From: ACT@myth.org

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

- --------------------------

Regroupement de solidarit=E9 avec les Autochtones
(Solidarity With Native People)
3680, Jeanne-Mance, #440
Montreal (Quebec) Canada H2X 2K5
(514) 982 6606

- --------------------------

FROM BULLETIN 52, MARCH 1996

"Stay out of the line of fire"

Kenneth Deer, editor of The Eastern Door, Kahnawake's weekly
newspaper, recently wrote two editorials commenting on the hotly debated
topic of the partition of Quebec following an eventual separation. We have
reproduced several excerpts.

The partitioning of Quebec 1

"It is interesting that in the debate over the partitioning of
Quebec very little has been said about the Native Peoples in Quebec. If
Ottawa is recognizing the partition of Quebec, they are recognizing our
right to self-determination. But they are only recognizing this right
because of the threat of Quebec separation.

Prior to the possibility of separation, Native Peoples efforts to
self-determination were not taken seriously. The idea of partition has
been
taken seriously because it provides a means to thwart separation.
Partition
cannot be acceptable to Ottawa without recognizing the Native Peoples'
right to also part from Quebec.

What Lucien Bouchard realizes is that if the Native Peoples remain
with Canada, they take their lands with them. This does not mean the
postage stamp reserves that we reside on. It means the traditional
territory that has never been legally ceded to any settler government.

The Native Peoples in reality have three choices. Stay with
Canada,
stay with Quebec or finally be independant within our respective
territories. We wonder if Jean Chretien realizes all our options."

"Let Quebec and Canada fight it out"2

"The Minister of Indian Affairs, Ron Irwin, stated that Quebec
should not assume that it owns all the land that Native Peoples are
claiming and that we may stay with Canada should we choose to do so. This
statement implies that Native Peoples have the right to
self-determination,
a concept that the government of Canada has been fighting against for
years. Why all of a sudden have they changed theirs minds? It certainly
isn't because they suddenly gained a conscience. The reason is pure
politics.

Canada wants to keep Quebec in Canada by all means necessary short
of force. By playing the Native card, Canada can put Quebec on the
defensive. Canada is trying to embarrass the separatists both nationally
and internationally. What is not being said is very interesting. Canadian
officials are not saying that Native Peoples can become independant just
like Quebec. [...]

Let Quebec and Canada fight it out. We should watch and wait.
Statements on our rights are fine, but stay out of the line of fire."

1- The Eastern Door, 2/2/96
2- The Eastern Door, 16/2/96

***

Ten more years of military flights over Nitassinan

Last February 20 the federal government signed a new treaty with
three NATO allies which will double the number of low-level military
flights over Nitassinan. In light of the agreement with Britain, Germany
and the Netherlands, military flights will increase from 7,000 to 15,000
over the next ten years, and the Quebec=1ELabrador peninsula will continue
playing its dubious role of playground for Western military forces.

The rights of the Innu people have been systematically violated by
more than ten years of military training on their territory, by harassment
and incarceration, but Defense Minister David Collenette says theses
military operations constitute a boost for the regional economy. The
Minister maintains that fighter jets flying thirty meters from the ground
and considered unacceptable in Europe because of their deafening sound and
pollution, will successfully avoid Innu campsites as well as caribou
migrations.

According to the Minister, the government remains preoccupied by
the environment and will consequently increase the budget allocated to
"environmental control" in case of mishaps involving combat simulations,
aerial bombings or the occasional airplane crash.

Last November, a dozen Innu from Sheshatshiu, including elder
at the Goose Bay military airport where NATO forces are based, on
September
8, 1993.

The Innu, who chose prison rather than paying a 250$ fine, are
disappointed with the increase in military flights over their territory
and
some are thinking, in the face of such blatant government disrespect, of
reinstagating their campaign of civil disobedience.

***

Mounting Pressure in Favor of Leonard Peltier's Release

Leonard Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences in the
United States for the killing of two FBI agents in a June 1975 shoot out
on
the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

US Prosecutors now admit not knowing who committed the crime, but
Peltier remains in jail following his extradition from Canada in 1976
based
on affidavits which have since been proven false and a trial strewn with
fabricated evidence, coerced testimony and government misconduct.

Leonard Peltier's "crime", in the 1970s, was to oppose the sale of
one eighth of the Pine Ridge reservation to private interests for the
sinking of a uranium mine. The land was sold, Peltier imprisoned and the
American Indian Movement he represented, decimated by violence.

Supporters of Leonard Peltier and his legal counsellors have
petitioned the American Justice department for presidential clemency, but
their efforts have remained unanswered by the Clinton administration for
over two years. As American legal recourses run out, support and interest
in Peltier's case is growing internationally as is the pressure for his
immediate and unconditional release. A national campaign of civil
disobedience is now being organized in the US, with a first wave of
nonviolent actions beginning March 20 in Washington, San Francisco and
Minneapolis. An official visit to the American senate is being planned by
Canadian supporters in May and an international vigil at the United
Nations
in Geneva is being organized for July.

- --------------------------

FROM BULLETIN 53, APRIL 1996

Lubicon Lake Cree on the Edge

For more than 55 years, the Lubicon Lake Cree have been fighting
for their 10,000 km 2 territory, located in the boreal forest east of the
Peace River in Alberta. The land remains unceded, but Canadian authorities
have consistently refused to recognize Native title or jurisdiction. In
1979, the province built the first all-weather road into the territory
which has lead to the accelerated extraction of oil, gas and forestry
resources and the destruction, for all intents and purposes, of the
land-based Native economy. Today, Canada and Alberta maintain before the
courts that the Cree no longer practice a traditional way of life and
therefore can not claim aboriginal title to the land in question...

Between 1979 and 1983, the oil and gas industry drilled more than
400 wells within a 25 km radius of the Lubicon Lake Cree community of
Little Buffalo. While wells generate $ 500 million in annual revenues, the
Crees have had to deal with successive waves of tuberculosis, respiratory
and skin disease, cancers of all sorts, miscarriages, still births and
birth defects. Collapsing social and economic structures have provoked
alcoholism, addiction and suicide among the Cree as petroleum companies
like Norcen, Nova, Husky and Unocal raked in $ 8 billion worth of revenues
of which the government of Alberta received 20% in royalties.

Daishowa moves in

In February 1988, Alberta announced the construction of a new pulp
mill about 65 km from Little Buffalo on the shores of the Peace River. In
addition to $ 9.5 million in federal subsidies to entice the Japanese
multinational Daishowa, Alberta also pledged in 1989 to fork over $ 65.2
million worth of road and rail infrastructure deemed necessary for the
mill's operation in such an isolated location. Alberta also conceded
logging rights to 29,000 km2 of boreal forest which include the entire
10,000 km2 Lubicon claim. The new $ 580 million mill will transform 11,000
trees a day into 1,000 metric tons of dehydrated and bleached pulp. The
annual tree harvest required to feed the mill could fill a football field
72 stories high...

In July 1994, the Cree learned that California's Unocal gas
company
was going to build a sour gas processing plant in Cree territory, not very
far from Little Buffalo. The plant removes lethal hydrogen sulfide from
enough sulfur dioxide to cause medical problems like those already being
experienced by the Lubicon Lake Cree.

In 1990, the United Nations Human Rights Committee finally ruled
that not only were the Lubicon Lake Cree way of life and culture
endangered, but that given the government's underhanded dealings, the Cree
could probably not hope for the legal redress of their grievances before
the Canadian courts. As social conditions for the Crees deteriorate,
Canada
has been cited year after year before the UN general assembly among
countries which violate Article 27 of the International Charter of Social
and Political Rights.

***

Common Struggle For Justice

On March 22, Reinie Jobin of the Lubicon elders' Council, Ed
Bianchi of the Friends of the Lubicon and Fred Lennarson, a consultant
with
the Lubicon Lake Cree for the last 15 years, were in Montreal to speak
with
members and supporters of the Regroupement. Approximately 500 people
compose Lubicon Cree society today as they continue to live in northern
Alberta, as they always have.

For the better part of a generation, however, their lands have
been
besieged by private interests bent on turning the Boreal forests into a
wasteland while making the Cree way of life impossible. As judges, lawyers
and politicians dizzy themselves in the revolving doors between government
and industry, the State fills its pockets with oil and gas royalties,
lavishes generous subsidies on oil and forestry corporations, and
generally
aids and abets the demise of Lubicon society.

In the last twenty years, legal challenges meant to defend Lubicon
rights have been stonewalled. Agreements reached with governments have
been
callously denied. A grass=1Eroots boycott was launched and then legally
stifled. Honorable people have been slandered by politicians and defenders
of the land criminalized... As the determination of the Lubicon and their
supporters grows and as the legal and human costs of their actions become
heavier, the Regroupement will have to find more ways to get involved and
support them in this common struggle.

***

"We can't do it alone"

Reinie Jobin

Physically, psychologically, my people are being ripped apart by
the European settlers in this country. (...) My people are under attack 24
hours a day, seven days a week. We are living in a very wealthy area of
this country. Oil and gas companies have taken over 7 billion dollars out
of our land since 1980, but kids go to bed hungry in our community. There
is no need for that. As long as there is one Lubicon standing in the
territory, all of us are going to continue our struggle and we want
governments in this country to understand that we're not going to go away.

(...) Friends of the Lubicon here have successfully started a
boycott against a foreign corporation (...) that has the nerve to destroy
our resources and then turn around and use Canadian courts to stop any
opposition to their actions. You have to understand that our fight is also
your fight, that these resources are being sold out by two-bit politicians
to foreign interests. We must stand on common ground and fight those
corporations and governments.

(...) This has gone on long enough. I don't want to see this go on
for another 57 years. We have to try and give our children a future, give
them the same chance every kid gets in this country. As parents and
grandparents, we have the responsibility to give them the best possible
future we can. But we can't do it alone.

***

"Friends of the Lubicon"

Ed Bianchi

Friends of the Lubicon started up in 1988 and in 1991, they
answered a call from the Lubicon people to support them in their fight
against two Japanese transnational pulp and paper companies. One was
Mitsubishi and the other was Daishowa. In the late eighties, the Alberta
government practically gave away logging rights to about 29,000 km 2 of
northern Alberta to Daishowa.

Daishowa's Peace River mill located near Lubicon land transforms
11,000 trees a day into high-grade pulp using equipment that allows them
to
work 24 hours a day. (...) If you put clearcutting on top of over 15 years
of intensive oil and gas extraction activity within a 25 km radius of the
Lubicon community, you can imagine the impacts on the Lubicon people and
their way of life.

Successful boycott

Cree was to initiate a boycott of the Daishowa Paper Manufacturing
Company.
(...) The objective of the boycott was to stop Daishowa from clearcutting
Lubicon land. In a consumer society, unfortunately, probably the strongest
voice people have is their pocket book, and so we asked people to use it
and take a stand in support of the Lubicon.

Daishowa, unlike Pepsi or Coke, doesn't sell directly to the
consumer. It sells paper products, like paper bags, to retailers and then
retailers sell their products to the public. Companies identified as using
Daishowa products were contacted and informed about the Lubicon situation
and about Daishowa's forestry practices in Alberta. If, before the facts,
they still persisted in doing business with Daishowa, then we'd take the
issue up with their customers.

(...) Since 1991, 47 companies across Canada representing about
4300 retailers have joined the boycott. That means that they have decided
to stop purchasing Daishowa products. (...) One of the positive things
about the boycott is that since it started, Daishowa has not cut on
Lubicon
land and we think the boycott is a determining factor in keeping them out.

Daishowa and the law

In January 1995, Daishowa served us with legal papers claiming
that
we were breaking the law. Daishowa said we were conspiring to cause it
economic injury, that we were using intimidating tactics in carrying out
the boycott, etc. Daishowa sued us saying that we had cost them about 8
million dollars in lost revenues...

Last year, Daishowa tried to get an injunction against us and
failed. The Ontario Provincial Court ruled that the Friends of the Lubicon
weren't doing anything illegal. Unfortunately, Daishowa appealed the
decision and the Court of appeals in Ontario granted Daishowa an interim
injunction in January of this year.

If Daishowa is successful in getting a permanent injunction, the
Friends of the Lubicon will be severely restricted in the province of
Ontario. But because the case was brought to trial in Ontario, the ruling
only applies within that jurisdiction. If friends were to initiate a
similar public education campaign outside of Ontario, it is unlikely that
ruling would apply. (...) We must continue to put pressure on Daishowa to
make sure it doesn't clearcut Lubicon land.

***

"Undestanding the People on the Receving End"

Fred Lennarson

The traditional Lubicon economy was not destroyed just merely
because of contact between a traditional land-based society and a modern
industrial society. (...) The provincial government directed research
development activity in this area, deliberately destroyed the economy,
pushed people unto welfare and then went to court to argue that the
Lubicon
no longer owned their traditional land because they no longer support
themselves by traditional means, but by welfare instead.

The deliberate and cynical destruction of the economy with awful
consequences for the people. (...) A few years ago, a third of the
population was infected with tuberculosis, asthma conditions are epidemic,
cancer, respiratory problems, etc. But one of the most frightening aspects
of this has been the dramatic effect on human reproduction. In one period
from 1985 to 1986, there were 19 still births out of 21 pregnancies. A
normal childbirth today at Lubicon Lake is unusual.

(...) I think this is as brutal as anything that has happened in
history. I think these people are being murdered by Canadian society. I
think what is being committed up there is genocide. Lubicon society is
deliberately being destroyed so that it wont be in the way of exploiting
valuable resources.

Having an impact on the companies

(...) Every single time we have had any movement on the issue of
Lubicon rights it's because we have economically affected the companies.
(...) When the companies say they're losing money, all of a sudden the
governments wake up and say: "There is a problem here and, yes, we
understand".

(...) The suit against the Friends of the Lubicon is a legal club
over their heads. What Daishowa and the Court are saying is simple: "If
you
criticize us, we'll tie you up in court for years. You're going to spend
all your time dealing with lawyers and court actions. You're barely going
raise money to cover court costs and in the end you may loose your home,
your car and everything you own." That's the message and if we allow them
to scare us off, then you may as well just turn the country and the
resources over to them, and our rights as human beings...

The key to this is to use their court injunction to make what they
are doing all the more controversial, to not only talk about the threat
they pose to the Lubicon but about the threat they pose to free speech. If
we can do that, then the chances that the Lubicon will survive go up and
the chances that the rest of our rights survive also go up. Basically,
we're talking about telling Daishowa that we're not prepared to back down
and unless they back off the Lubicon and stop harassing people with these
legal actions, then everybody is going to boycott everything they do.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: 2.6.2

iQCVAwUBMXkQgde6w1RUSWWdAQEUigP8Df6MWQTFX3G/Qr4MblgQuExKG+a1o6ny
ZNJLCK4YOeB8XtyflqBOCT+EYkeEPVqk7INmOPotshi1fFm6/M5JyS/t/VccF+vO
f5AtyimIVEn+JEDXfygZqM99l9MHgmEFNpBQUxpPn863hre0ofEh0N80Px+GiYiA
0QCLjTIJi5E=
=EE+z
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

~~~ PGPBLUE 2.5 <NR>

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----