ANISHINABEK EDUCATION AGREEMENT: SELF DETERMINATION OF OUR OWN TERMINATION
By: Johnny Hawk
The Anishinabek Education Agreement between the Union of Ontario Indians and Canada is one of 93 agreement’s by 403 Indigenous communities being negotiated under Canada’s Self Government Policy and Comprehensive Claims Process referred by the grassroots community as the Termination Tables. This summer the Union of Ontario Indians are initiating a second vote on the Anishinabek Education Agreement to ratify their right to self termination.
The Agreement will recognize First Nation jurisdiction over Primary, Elementary and Secondary Education. It will create a First Nations Education Board which will distribute Canada’s offer worth about $100,000,000 a year. First Nations who ratify this for their community require the establishment and implementation of a Band Constitution.
This Agreement stems from 20 years of negotiations between the Union of Ontario Indians and Canada. The Union of Ontario Indians are a political advocate for 40 member First Nations governed by Canada’s Indian Act and were incorporated under Canada’s corporations laws in 1949.
Some of the key provisions in the Anishinabek Education Agreement are; – Each First Nation must create and implement a Band Constitution – The Indian Act will continue to apply with the exception of the education provisions. – The fiduciary relationship between Canada and First Nations will continue, Canada’s fiduciary obligations may change over time. – The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to each Participating First Nation as it exercises its authority under the Education Agreement. – The Education Fiscal Transfer Agreement is a contract between the Participating First Nations and Canada. It is not a treaty. – First Nation education laws will exist along with federal and provincial laws. Participating First Nation law-making powers do not extend to matters not specifically addressed in this Education Agreement.
A SECOND VOTE TO RATIFY
In December 2016, 29 of the 40 First Nations of the Union of Ontario Indians participated in a vote to ratify the agreement. Canada required a minimum of 12 First Nations to ratify the agreement to proceed. Canada also required each community meet a 25% plus 1 threshold of eligible voters to legitimize the outcome of the vote. 13 First Nations met the threshold and voted yes, 2 voted no and 14 didn’t meet the threshold of voters needed.
Canada didn’t accept the outcome of the First Nations vote results to proceed and is allowing a second vote. Currently 14 First Nations throughout the summer are in the process of having a 2nd vote where this time there will be no threshold required and a simple majority of ballots cast will determine the outcome.
SELF DETERMINATION OF OUR OWN TERMINATION
Anishinabek already have a Constitution which is our Clan System which gets its authority from the people and is accountable to the people. We have our own governance structure, institutions, laws, dispute resolution processes in assertion of our title and jurisdiction on our traditional territories given by Creation.
These proposed Band Constitutions under this agreement are made to acknowledge the authority of Canada over the Bands where the Indian Act will continue to apply. Law making authority is limited which negates any document under these restrictions as a Constitution which only converts these Bands into a municipal government rather than a Sovereign Nation.
We already can make laws regarding Education if Leaders act accordingly. We already have agreements with the Crown that recognizes and affirms our Sovereignty and Inherit Rights through the 1764 Niagara Covenant Chain Belt that is recognized and affirmed by the Royal Proclamation and Canada’s fraudulent Constitution section 25 and where our “existing” Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are protected in section 35. The Anishinabek communities that the Union of Ontario Indians represents are beneficiaries of Pre-confederation Treaties where funds from the lease of our Territories are put into the Indian Trust Fund. This Fund is there for our benefit for such needs as Education. We already have an agreement by Treaty that guarantees our right to access our monies created from the lease of our Territories.
The Anishinabek Education Agreement states the fiduciary relationship between Canada and First Nations will continue however in the same sentence says Canada’s fiduciary obligations may change over time. This statement expresses already a broken promise. This agreement helps define our Constitutional “Right” in regards to education but at the same time legally releases them constitutionally and financially by this statement. If such fiduciary obligations may change over time then at that time we will have no option left but to become dependent on the province of Ontario for education services ultimately becoming an ethnic municipality.
The agreement states this is not a Treaty. So if this is not a Treaty then we have no right to be entering in any agreements in regards to self government, rights, land, title and jurisdiction as we are franchised corporate entities legally defined as “Indians” under Canada’s illegal Indian Act. Blacks Law Dictionary defines a Treaty as; In international law an agreement, league, or contract between two or more nations or sovereigns. Until we assert ourselves not as “Indians” or “Bands” but truly as Anishinabek then these types of agreements are just more fraudulent illegal documents like the BNA Act, Indian Act that breaches the rule of law that further disregards our title and rights and legitimizes Canada’s theft, fraud and treason.
In 1704 Queen Anne’s Order in Council in a ruling between the Mohegans vs Connecticut which has the same standing as the Royal Proclamation has never been repealed. It states disputes between Settler Governments of the Crown and Indigenous Nations require a Third Party Judiciary and not judiciaries of the jurisdictions involved. This is integral as we should not be defining Title and Rights in Canadian Courts or through these Agreements.
In 1982 “existing” Aboriginal and Treaty rights have been “recognized and affirmed” in Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution however they are subject to being defined by Canada’s court’s in breach of the 1704 Queen Anne’s Order. Today First Nations either go to court or are agreeing to these biased Modern Treaties and Self Government Agreements Processes that breach the rule of law.
Court Cases that define and protect Indigenous Title and Rights such as the Tslihquotin Case have created a “judicial discretion” where our Title and Rights are affirmed, defined and acknowledged but if they get in the way of industry then Canada follows “the rule of judicial discretion” instead of “the rule of law.”
These Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements only contribute to emptying out Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution of any significant legal, political or economic meaning. These Land Claim and Self-Government Agreements all require the termination of Indigenous title and rights for some land, cash and delegated jurisdiction under the existing federal and provincial orders of government converting “Indian Bands” into municipal type governments.
The first groups in Canada who have agreed to compromise their section 35 Inherent and Aboriginal rights through Modern Treaties have created an organization called the Land Claims Agreement Coalition. The Land Claims Agreement Coalition came together because the federal government wasn’t properly implementing any of their Modern Treaties. So the Coalition essentially became a lobby group to collectively pressure the federal government to respect their Modern Treaties where implementation problems persist today.
The fact that Canada has already broken these Modern Treaties demonstrate the dangers of accepting Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government Agreements such as this Anishianbek Education Agreement.
In the Anishinabek Education Agreement Canada’s threshold requirements to ratify it were 25% plus 1 of eligible voters in each community. Canada didn’t accept the Union of Ontario Indians results so asked for a second vote in this second vote there is no threshold only a simple majority vote. It is disheartening that 25% plus 1 eligible voters in each community determines something as important as title and rights whereas a second vote there is no threshold requirements.
As the 1982 Canadian Constitution was being developed the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs learned in June 1980 that the constitution agenda did not include any mention of our title or rights and so took legal action to block repatriation. The Grassroots people and Leaders initiated a campaign to ensure our title and rights would not be left out of the Constitution and were successful.
After the Constitution was “patriated” there were meetings with Indigenous organizations and the First Ministers to define what our Title and Rights meant within the Constitution which ended in failure. The strong national political organizing by our people dwindled down and Leaders began to compromise their section 35 Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights by entering into Modern Treaties and/or Self-government Agreements under Canada’s unilateral negotiation terms. The strong assertive organizing by the leaders became co-opted by government funding which created the Aboriginal Industry.
As we entered the 90’s grassroots people demonstrated more assertive actions to fight for our title, jurisdiction, rights and land at Oka, Ipperwash, Gustufson Lake to actions of Native Youth Movement where our Warrior Spirit and Warrior Societies reemerged. The Royal commission, inquiries, empty promises and this new social media, go-fund-me generation of activism helped pacify the momentum of the reemergence of self sufficient assertive Warrior Societies and traditional governance was gaining.
Today the passion of Leaders of these First Nations Organizations and Bands are failing to fight as leaders of recent past decades and are acting only as Indian Act administrators helping to pass these cleverly disguised surrenders. If Education is something we value, promote and protect then we should use our education intelligently and know what these agreements are really about.
Today leaders do provide their community with a balance educating on what these agreements really mean nor provide a critical analysis or opposition but only promote the people need to vote to accept it. Any opposition by the community is referred to as members being misinformed, lateral violence or dismissed with propaganda that misdirects facts. These Agreements come with funding to ratify and gives people jobs within our community so it is hard to speak against as poverty against us. Any sincere organizing and assertion of our title, jurisdiction and rights comes with no money or government support.
The only rights most leaders of these “Indian Bands” are willing to stand up for and assert is the right to Self Determination of our own Termination in Canada’s illegal Processes. Anishinabek need an alternative representation and advocacy for Sovereign hearted, minded and thinking people where this is the vision of ACTION; Anishinabek Clans to Invoke our Nation. Those who wish to continue making surrenders need to be respected but need to be free to do so individually and not representing the collective Title and Jurisdiction on behalf of our People and Future Generations.