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Truth and Reconciliation is more then Token Gestures

ACTION’s Mobile Heritage and Arts Centre organized by Johnny Hawke brought together Indigneous and Settler Communities at a “This Ain’t Canada day’ event on July 1, 2021 to exercise their rights to access Water at assumed Private Beaches at Thunder Beach and provided space for Grandmothers and Young Women from Beausoeleil First Nation to speak on Truth and Reconciliation.

By Johnny Hawke

The Federal Government’s announcement on Tuesday Jan 4 to compensate First Nations children harmed by it’s underfunding of Child Welfare and to reform the System is a step in the right direction towards reconciliation but is this non-legal binding agreement just a token gesture to calm the flames of truth as unmarked graves continue to be discovered at Canada’s former Residential Schools?

Compensation of Historical injustices is one of many calls to action in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report however the underlying truth of Indigneous Nations Land Title and right to Self Determination often gets buried in such settlements that compensate for past wrongs.

Canada’s policy for Indian Residential Schools was to remove the upcoming generations of Indigneous Peoples from their lands to assimilate them into the Canadian population in order to usurp the rest of their Territories that were not surrendered in Treaties.

June 21 – July 25 2021 Hawke occupied lands in Tiny Township to raise awareness of outstanding claims and to unite advocates of Beach Rights and the Aliston Aquifer with Indigenous Title.

An article titled “Tiny exploring whether its taxing aggregate companies ‘correctly’ https://www.midlandtoday.ca/local-news/tiny-exploring-whether-its-taxing-aggregate-companies-correctly-4951430 in Midland Today this past week triggered a sensitive issue in the current political climate we are in regarding reconciliation and the lands discussed in the article.

In 2009 I was part of a collective of Indigenous and Settler Communities of Tiny Township that stopped the proposed Dump Site 41 that threatened the Aliston Aquifer on the traditional territory of the Wendat and Chippewa of Lakes Huron and Simcoe.

The lands of the Chippewas of Lakes Huron and Simcoe (Beausoleil, Rama and Georgian Island First Nations) were not properly surrendered in Pre-Confederation Treaties 5, 16 and 18 nor were they properly compensated. These First Nations submitted a claim to Canada’s Specific Claims Branch in 1990 on the outstanding claims but was rejected and yet has been rectified.

Circumstances like this across Canada where Indigenous Nations continue to live in substandard living conditions such as being denied access to clean water as a result of resource extraction. Stats Canada reported in 2006 that $26 Billion annually is created from Natural Resources that involved outstanding Land Claim and Title issues and exemplifies how such injustices First Nations continually face is the “tax” they pay as a result of misappropriated lands and exploitation of their Territories.

It is the local Indigneous Nations that have the legal right as title holders to receive such Taxes and to be the one’s issuing such permits that approve or deny resource exploitation in its Territories in respect with environmental protection. NAFTA and the U.S-Canada Softwood Lumber dispute exemplifies how Canada allows Multinational Companies to operate as if they own our Territories such as forests where they pay close to no stumpage fees, are not being properly “taxed” or accountable to the destruction of our lands and water. 

The Supreme Court has made such decisions as in Delgamuuk that recognizes Indigenous Nations Title to our Territories which include Proprietary, Economic Rights. Canada’s Indian Act Bands like Beausoleil, Rama, Georgian however are acceptive of agreements like the 2011 Coldwater Narrows Settlement Agreement, 2018 Williams Treaty Settlement that extinguish their title of their Territory for a quick buck using Canada’s flawed Specific Claims formula where Companies and the Provinces will continue to benefit from resource extraction of Indigneous Territories. 

Tax Payers are also paying large; In 2006 Stats Canada also reports ‘$60 Billion annually’ goes towards paying down Canada’s debt which is created by compound interest of international banks ever since Trudeau Sr handed over the Bank of Canada to this International Banking Scheme in 1975.

The underlying truth in ‘Tiny exploring whether its taxing aggregate companies ‘correctly’ is that the Water Source of the Alliston Aquifer where scientists have proven it as the purest water in the world is being threatened again but this time by an Aggregate Company. What else is being threatened is Tiny Townships responsibility towards Truth and Reconciliation with the local Indigenous Communities which goes beyond wearing an orange shirt for a day.

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