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(en) [AFIB] `Conservation' or Colonialism?

From Tom Burghardt <tburghardt@igc.apc.org>
Date Wed, 22 Apr 1998 17:17:34 -0700 (PDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

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|| * -- RESEARCH  -- * - April 22, 1998 - * -- RESEARCH -- *  ||
                       RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT
          The Far Right Agenda of the Ontario Federation
                     of Anglers and Hunters
                      - Printed March 1998 -
                              * * *
                 * ANTI-RACIST ACTION (Toronto) *
                      P.O. Box 291, Station B
                           Toronto, Ontario
                           M5T 2T2, Canada
                         Tel: (416) 631-8835
                         E-mail: ara@web.net
                    Web: http://www.web.net/~ara
                              * * *
     Late in the summer of 1995 four Native men were assaulted in
Owen Sound by three to five non-Natives. Three Nawash Band
members were seriously stabbed while police sat watching the
assault from their car, never once getting out to intervene. Also
on September 3 arsonists set fire to a Nawash fishing tug,
burning it to a shell. Other boats had been vandalized and
thousands of dollars worth of fishing nets had been stolen or
destroyed over the course of the summer.
     Only a month before these attacks about 100 anglers (sports
fishermen) from the Grey-Bruce area marched on the booth of a
Native woman selling fish with her children at an Owen Sound open
market. The anglers were led by Grey-Bruce MPP Bill Murdoch.
     Disputes over fishing around the Bruce Peninsula are the
background to these acts of violence and vandalism against Native
people. The isolated acts of a few rednecks? Perhaps. But a
closer look indicates that a prominent "conservation" lobby
helped create the environment in which these attacks took place.
     The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) boasts
a membership of 74,000 and has been in existence since 1928. The
OFAH builds its public image on its supposed commitment to
"conservation." Yet this organization, which enjoys a close
relationship with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
(OMNR), has devoted much of its energies in the past several
years to a sustained campaign against First Nations' hunting and
fishing rights. What's more, key individuals behind the OFAH's
anti-Native lobby have eye-brow raising connections with the
fringe right and organized racists.
     At the root of these disputes is an argument about who has
the right to use and control resources. Indigenous rights to fish
in and regulate the fishing waters around the Great Lakes existed
before European settlers came to North America and have been
affirmed both in treaties and more recently in court rulings. The
OFAH's attack on Native fishing is more than just a fight about
who can take how many fish. The OFAH's work towards undermining
Native control of resources - which Indigenous people have
historically maintained - is a direct assault on the basis of
First Nations self-determination: land, water, and the way of
life derived from them.
     The OFAH pits "conservation" measures against Aboriginal
hunting and fishing rights, as if the exercise of these rights
threatens conservation. By misrepresenting treaties and court
rulings, and their implications for fishing and hunting by First
Nations, the OFAH has tried to establish that Native hunting and
fishing is both out of control and a threat to conservation
     Although anglers like to refer to the waters around the
Bruce Penninsula as "their" waters, they are not. Anglers, like
non-Native commercial fishermen, must purchase licenses in order
to fish. For them it is a privilege to fish. For Natives it's a
right. That's a big difference. That's the law.
     In the Treaty of 1836 and the Treaty of 1854, signed between
the Anishnabe (Ojibwe) in the Bruce region and the crown, a
couple million acres of Anishnabe territory was ceded, but the
Anishnabe retained the rights to fish in their traditional
fishing waters. This area includes 7 miles around the Bruce
Penninsula and around Manitoulin Island. These rights have never
been surrendered. The Native right to fish in these waters is a
priority right. The only way it can be restricted is for the sake
of conservation and only if all other fisheries are stopped
first. [See Sidebar: Anishnabe Have Always Fished the Great
     A 1993 court case, referred to as the Jones-Nadjiwon
decision by Judge Fairgrieve, recognized the Aboriginal and
treaty rights of Anishnabe communities to fish commercially in
these waters. The defendants, who had been charged with the
violation of a government imposed fishing license, were all
acquited. The First Nations have ignored the license, claiming
certain terms prejudice their rights, and may indeed be
unconstitutional in light of the Fairgrieve decision.
     Indigenous fishermen demonstrate more concern about
conservation than non-Native anglers. In May 1996 a Chippewas of
Nawash by-law was ratified by the Department of Indian Affairs.
The by-law regulates fishing in reserve waters and provides for
gathering information on the fishery by Nawash fishermen. The
angler catch is completely unknown. No one ever does a proper
assessment of the total angler catch. [See Sidebar: OFAH
     The OFAH also supports Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
(OMNR) wildlife "management" practices which actually damage
Bruce Peninsula eco-systems. Splake, a hatchery-raised hybrid of
speckled and lake trout, were stocked into the fishing waters
around the Bruce Peninsula by the OMNR. Studies by Dr. Stephen
Crawford of the University of Guelph and Dr. Mart Gross of the
University of Toronto reveal that stocked fish can actually
threaten the fish population, rather than replenish it. Stocked
fish often bring diseases into the wild, against which wild fish
have no defenses. Hatchery raised fish rarely breed, but when
they do they dilute the gene pool to the point of wiping out the
specialized genes of the native fish population. Further, stocked
fish compete with wild fish for food and territory.
     Pacific salmon, another fish stocked by the OMNR, are not
indigenous to Bruce fisheries. Fish from the only stocks of wild
trout left in the Georgian Bay have been found to have scars
consistent with attacks from salmon. Guess who likes to fish
salmon? You got it, those sports fishermen so fond of
     The OMNR has actively assisted sports fishermen's clubs in
the Grey-Bruce area to stock fish. And, on June 5, 1997, Chris
Hodgson, the (former) Minister of Natural Resources, announced
that he would make fish stocking even easier by waiving the fee
for a fish stocking license (OMNR Press Release, June 5/97).
Attempting to gain and maintain public credibility, the OFAH
shrouds its anti-Native objectives with words like
"conservation." The OFAH's "conservation," practiced by the OMNR,
has less to do with maintaining the natural balance of eco-
systems and more to do with conserving man-made environments
favourable to week-end sports fishermen taking a break from the
urban, corporate rat-race.
     Since the Progressive Conservative government (Tories) under
the leadership of Mike Harris was elected to power in June 1995,
it has made a series of attacks on First Nations. Only months
after the Tories came to power, Dudley George of Stoney Point
First Nation was murdered by the Ontario Provincial Police. The
Stoney Pointers were protecting traditional burial grounds
located in Stoney Point (Aazhoodena) Territory which had been
occupied by Ipperwash Provincial Park for over 50 years. Evidence
now points to Harris' direct involvement in the decision to
confront the Stoney Pointers. Harris also cancelled agreements
made between First Nations and the previous provincial
government, including negotiations regarding co-management of
natural resources by First Nations and the Provincial government.
     In June 1996 the Tory government created the Fish and
Wildlife Advisory Board. Stacked with anglers and hunters, the
Fish & Wildlife Advisory Board is to advise the Minister of
Natural Resources on how to best spend the revenues from fish and
wildlife licensing fees, royalties and fines.
     Since the Board was established, members have advised former
Minister Hodgson to expand sports fishing opportunities and
increase fish stocking. In April 1997, Hodgson announced that the
OMNR will increase its stocking of salmon and trout in Ontario
fisheries. According to an April 16, 1997 press release from the
OMNR, "These initiatives will improve future sports fishing
opportunities available to millions of Ontario Anglers," and, "In
the future, MNR will significantly expand the coho (salmon)
program to add exciting new seasonal angling opportunities for
boat and shoreline anglers."
     Significantly, there are no representatives of First Nations
on the Board which former Minister Hodgson touts as, "a good
example of how this government is keeping its promise to restore
public involvement... in government" (OMNR Press Release, July
     Phil Morlock was appointed as the Chair of the Fish and
Wildlife Advisory Board. In 1992 Morlock gave a speech at an OFAH
"Emergency Meeting" in Pembroke, Ontario and was introduced by
Mike Harris (Harris wasn't yet the Premier of Ontario, but he was
the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party). Morlock's
paranoid speech gave the false impression that then New
Democratic government was threatening conservation by turning
over all the province's natural resources to Natives. Morlock
also tried to play the good guy by stating that through
self-government, Canada is creating apartheid. Now there's a
perversion of reality! Self-determination simply means that a
people (First Nations) determines the direction of their
communites and ways of life, rather than being controlled by
another group (Euro-Canadians). Morlock is ignorant, too; South
Africa modeled apartheid on Canada's reserve system, not on the
right to self-determination and Indigenous control of Indigenous
     Also on the Board is former OFAH president Davison Ankney's
sweetheart, Sandi Johnson, a zoology professor at University of
Western Ontario (Western). Charles Alexander, past president and
director of the OFAH, Gary Ball, an OFAH writer, and several men
who own businesses which serve the angling & hunting and
recreational industries were also appointed to the Board. The
appointment of so many OFAH types to the board is virtually the
same thing as handing OMNR contol over to OFAH!
     OFAH's anti-Native rhetoric stepped up while Davison Ankney
was president of OFAH from 1991-1993. During this time, Ankney
made a presentation to the First Nations Circle on the
Constitution. In his speech, Ankney appropriated the spiritual
basis of First Nation's hunting and fishing, claiming that, "One
hundred years ago members of both groups hunted and fished
primarily for food... Now, except possibly in some very remote
areas, neither non-natives nor natives must hunt and fish for
food... The spiritual renewal from hunting and fishing is
especially important for those of us, who,... must live in urban
areas." Ankney's twist on reality is subtle but unmistakable: not
only does he deny that First Nations people ever hunted or fished
for spiritual reasons, he implies that the only people who
presently have a spiritual connection to hunting and fishing are
non-Native urban dwellers. So urban sportsmens' week-end
vacations in the bush are more "spiritual" than First Nations'
subsistence hunting and fishing - activities which tie First
Nations to a way of life directly connected to the land and
     In the same presentation, Ankney argued that Ontario
government policy on fishing was racist because it's based on
race. But, Ankney's own "research" on so-called "racial
hierarchies" proves him a hypocrite. Ankney is a zoology
professor at the University of Western Ontario (Western). He
published a eugenicist document co-authored by notorious Western
psychology professor J. Philippe Rushton.
     Rushton is infamous for his research into racial
differences. He claims there is a hierarchy of "races" based on
biology...he's obssesed with brain size, penis size and family
size. According to Rushton "races" with large brains are more
intelligent but also sexually inhibited, while those with smaller
brains are not quite as bright but fuck like bunnies. Asians sit
at the top (in terms of brain size) of Rushton's hierarchy,
followed by Caucasians and then Blacks. Native North Americans
are interestingly absent from Rushton's ludicrous theories.
Ankney joined in with Rushton to examine the "data" of brain and
penis size in order to publish their article. [See Sidebar:
     Ankney also rushed to publicly back Rushton in 1989 when
Western University students led a series of protests against
Rushton and his racist excuse for science. The Society for
Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS) was formed in 1989 to
defend Rushton from student outrage and since then SAFS has
opposed affirmative action and support for disabled university
students. The groundwork for the formation of SAFS was laid by
Davison Ankney, Doreen Kimura, a Western psychology professor,
Douglas Jackson (another "gender researcher"), and University of
Toronto psychology professor John Furedy.
     Like Rushton, Doreen Kimura has built her career on studies
linking intelligence to gender and race. As president of SAFS
Kimura is the perfect weapon for SAFS' attack on the gains made
by people of colour and feminists within universities. At the
first SAFS conference, in 1993, she told a crowd of 150 academics
that, "... university administrations in Canada have begun a
campaign that can only be described as discrimination against
men, and particularly Caucasian men."
     Across North America, fringe right groups encompass various
conspiracy theorists, soft-sell fascists, Christian
fundamentalists, "family values" bigots, anti-immigration
fanatics and almost every other stripe of racist or bigot. Any
close study of fringe or racist right groups reveals the
extensive (and sometimes mind boggling) network between these
groups and the individuals associated with them.
     Since the emergence of the modern anti-Native movement in
the United States in the late 1960's, white supremacists have
capitalized on the anti-Native sentiments of groups such as
Steelhead and Salmon Protection Action in Washington Now
(S/SPAWN), Protect Americans' Rights and Resources (PARR),
Citizen's Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) and United Property Owners
of Washington (UPOW). One example of many is the affiliation of
several figures in the American anti-Native movement with the
U.S. Populist Party. The Populist Party has been known to be home
to Ku Klux Klansmen, Christian Patriots and an assortment of
other groups on the racist right. Senator Jack Metcalfe, who has
held a membership with S/SPAWN and UPOW, spoke at a Populist
Party convention in 1984. Darlene Hangartner, a member of PARR,
ran for Wisconsin State Attorney General in 1990 with the backing
of the Populist Party. Anti-Indian Movements on the Tribal
Frontier, a paper by Rudolf Ryser, details the extensive
connections and organizational co-operation between anti-Native
groups and the racist right in the United States.
     In Canada, connections between groups expressing anti-Native
views and the racist right include:
   * Kenneth Hilborn, a history professor at the University of
     Western Ontario is a member of SAFS along with former OFAH
     president Davison Ankney and Hilborn is a member of the
     Reform Party. He has also had five books published by Paul
     Fromm's Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform (C-FAR). Paul Fromm
     was recently fired by the Peel Board of Education for his
     continued involvement with white supremacists. Fromm has
     shared several platforms with white supremacists, including
     the anti-semitic and racist U.S. based National Alliance,
     the Heritage Front, the Women's Aryan Union and Church of
     the Creator. Click for more info about [See the ARA-Toronto
     expose: "Nazis in Suits: Paul Fromm & the Far-Right"]
     Hilborne's C-FAR publication titled The Cult of the Victim:
     Leftist ideology in the 90's contains an introduction by
     Fromm in which he defends the anti-Native comments of Don
     Blenkarn, a former Tory MP. Blenkarn stated that wealthy
     non-Native property owners wished that their community could
     be turned into a reserve so that they wouldn't have to pay
     taxes. Fromm wrote, "Blenkarn's honest comments might tend
     to diminish the victim status of Indians and, thereby,
     harden resistance to their ongoing claims for special status
     in hunting and fishing rights..." Sound a little bit like
     the OFAH?
   * C-FAR also distributes Our Home or Native Land? a book by
     Mel Smith favored by other anti-Native organizations such as
     ON F.I.R.E. and BC F.I.R.E. and also by the Reform Party of
     Canada. Smith's book advocates the assimilation of First
     Nations into mainstream, white Canadian society. Smith was a
     bureacrat in BC for 31 years and he now writes for BC
     Report. [See the ARA-Toronto expose: "Set Fire to ON
     F.I.R.E!: Exposing and Opposing Anti-Native Hate Groups"]
     In the October 1995 C-FAR newsletter, Doug Collins writes a
     review of Smith's book, "...Our Home and Native Land offers
     some valuable debunking of the notion that Canadian
     aboriginals, Indians, native people, or whatever the
     politically correct moniker is, are a victimized minority.
     Far from it they enjoy privileges the majority does not."
   * The Alberta Report, BC Report and Western Report are three
     right-wing magazines coming out of western Canada. Ted
     Byfield, creator of the Reports, is a Christian
     fundamentalist whose publications were the propaganda
     machine of the Reform Party in its formative years. The
     Reports have published articles slanted against Indigenous
     people as well as advocating for the teaching of Christian
     fundamentalism in schools, and espousing hatred for
     pro-choice advocates, feminism, homosexuality, sex education
     and on and on and on. The December 1996 issue of The CAN
     F.I.R.E. Report reprinted an editorial by Ted and Virginia
     Byfield (Ted's daughter) arguing that Native Residential
     Schools really weren't all that bad. Other gems from the
     Byfield's include an editorial in The Globe and Mail (Sept.
     13/97) by Ted's son Link that it was really Indigenous
     people who killed off the buffalo in western "Canada." One
     Western Report article promoted Christian missionary
     activity in Native communities (Western Report, Sept 2/96).
     Link Byfield was one of the founders of the Northern
     Foundation. Members of the Reform Party, the Canadian
     Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, the Heritage Front, REAL
     Women and many other fringe right groups have also been
     supporters or members of the Northern Foundation. The
     Northern Foundation served as a forum to unite members of
     the fringe and radical right with more mainstream right-
     wingers and its original raison d'etre was to advocate for
     white South Africa.
     The OFAH has co-opted the honorable goal of "conservation"
to open the door to the reception of a thinly veiled anti-Native
agenda. What's even more disturbing about the OFAH's perversion
of conservation is that it's being championed by Ontario's
present provincial government through the OMNR, specifically
through the Fish and Wildlife Advisory Board. As well, OFAH
propaganda contains a message which is also championed by many on
the fringe or racist right: equal rights for all or equal rights
for whites. The lesson to be learned from the American experience
is that the racist right will capitalize on or be attracted to
the anti-Native agenda of the OFAH if it is not recognized - and
challenged - for what it is: racism.
     Beneath the arguments over who takes how many fish is a more
fundamental battle over First Nations' rights to self-
determination, a right which implies control of the resources
they depend on for survival as a people. And here's where the
anti-Native lobby of the OFAH and the racist right can find
common cause: both ultimately want to keep control (of resources,
of culture, of laws, etc.) firmly in the grip of white people, or
at least those who would use the resources in exactly the same
way. And that's why it's important for anti-racists and those
concerned about conservation to challenge OFAH in every way
                              * * *
     Long before European settlers came to Turtle Island and
squatted on Native land, fishing was central to the way of life
of the Anishnabe. It continues to be central to many to this day.
     In the mid-1800s the Anishnabe people around the Great Lakes
were manipulated into signing a series of land surrenders. Agents
of the colonial state threatened the Anishnabe with settler
encroachment on Anishnabe territory to coerce them into
surrendering their territories. The Anishnabe communities in the
Grey-Bruce area were told that if they surrendered their land,
the colonial state would help protect their reduced territory
from further settler encroachment.
     The Anishnabe made certain that their jurisdiction over the
fishing waters for 7 miles around the Bruce Peninsula and around
Manitoulin Island was affirmed in these land surrenders. This
jurisdiction has never been surrendered. Typically, the integrity
of these nation to nation treaties was dishonoured by the settler
nation - Canada. Over the years, individual settler sport and
commercial fishermen began to encroach in the Anishnabe fishing
waters. At times this was done with the sanction of the settler
authorities. There were also some Euro-settlers who sided with
the Anishnabe.
     The Anishnabe people also protected their fishing waters
from settler encroachment when the colonial authorities refused
to honour their promises to do so. The Anishnabe burned settler
fishing shacks and chased settlers away from Anishnabe fishing
     Gradually, however, the new settler nation exerted more
control over the Anishnabe fishing waters in violation of the
treaties signed in the 1800s. The recent wave of "fish wars"
between anglers and the Anishnabe is just the most recent example
of settler nation attempts to exert their rule over sovereign
                              * * *
                         OFAH PROPAGANDA
   Check this quote from a Summer 1994 issue of the OFAH
newsletter Call of the Loon:
     Natives from the Golden Lake band ignored the normal closed
     season and fished during the winter. The Natives accessed
     the lake by snowmobile and drove vehicles onto the lake in
     some cases...
     In a May 13 news release by the Ad Hoc Committee to Save
     Algonquin Park, Committee chairman Scott Hayden blasted the
     provincial government for closing the lake after not
     enforcing the law. "The only reason they are closing it now
     is because the ecologically sensitive lake was hammered so
     hard this past winter in the illegal snowmobile winter
     fishing free-for-all indulged in by certain Golden Lake
     aboriginal band card holders."
     Yet if the OFAH cared anything for the truth they would know
that while the MNR puts a limit of 50 fish per year on Stringer
Lake, the Golden Lake Band itself puts a limit of 40 fish on the
lake. And, that winter the Algonquins of Golden Lake only took
about 23-25 fish!
     OFAH and other sportsmen like to throw around the word
equality when talking about hunting and fishing rights. Appealing
to a notion of "equality", the anti-Native lobby tries to twist
the recognition and practice of Aboriginal and treaty rights into
a case of discrimination... against non-Natives?!
     Here's some quotes from OFAH and others:
     ... the Ontario government must treat [Native] people the
     same as anyone else when it comes to enforcment of fish and
     wildlife laws.
     - OFAH news release, May 12, 1994.
     Nor am I racist if I believe that granting special rights an
     privileges for natives is not in the best interest of all
     - Burton J. Myers in Ontario Out of Doors, May 1993 (This
     magazine carries an OFAH insert).
     But when anglers and hunters talk about "equality" they
mean: do away with Aboriginal and treaty rights; put an end to
Indigenous peoples as their own nations, governed by their own
traditions and with a particular relationship to the government
of Canada. And that is another form of genocide.
                              * * *
     Eugenics is removing or preventing the breeding of
"defective" individuals. It encourages the breeding of the
"superior" races and the elimination of the "inferior" races. The
most blatant example of applied eugenics is Hitler's Nazi regime
which used eugenic "science" as a justification for their
genocidal actions against psychiatric patients, disabled people,
Jews, Romas (Gypsies) and many others. Historically,
psychiatrists have been the leaders in eugenics, for example,
Hitler based many of his eugenics ideas on psychiatrists Hoche
and Rudin. As in Nazi Germany, those promoting eugenics in
present day Canada are psychiatrists.
                              * * *
     A study by Dr. Rudolf Ryser of the Centre for World
     Indigenous Studies on anti-Native groups in the US. To order
     check their web site: www.halcyon.com/FWDP/cwisinfo.html
     A book by Walter Bressette and Rick Whaley about how the
     Ojibwe (Chippewa) People and their supporters in Wisconsin
     effectively resisted attempts of sports fishermen to deny
     their fishing rights.
     CLEAR "tracks the industry backlash against the
     environmental movement" otherwise known as Wise-Use. Their
     web site has lots of info. You can subscribe to their
     publication _A CLEAR View_, which sometimes posts info about
     anti-Native organizing: send e-mail with "subscribe" to:
     Web: www.ewg.org/pub/home/clear/clear.html
     Runs a web site with info about current anti-colonial self-
     determination and sovereigntist struggles. Lots of
     background info about colonialism and resistance to it. Info
     about groups actively resisting First Nations' sovereignty.
     Web: kafka@uvic.ca/~vipirg/SISIS/SISmain.html
     An organization of Native and non-Natives committed to
     education about and support for indigenous struggles for
     justice across Canada. P.O. Box 574, Stn. P, Toronto, On M5T
     2T1; Tel: (416) 972-1573; e-mail: casnp@pathcom.com
                              * * *
                    ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN (AFIB)
                        750 La Playa # 730
                  San Francisco, California 94121
                     E-Mail: tburghardt@igc.org
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     Via the Web  --> http://burn.ucsd.edu/~aff/afib.html
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     network. AFF is an info-group which collects and
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     activity and anti-fascist resistance. More info: 
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