Transcript: The Indian Act: What to do with it | May 30, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "The Indian Act: What to do with it? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says CREATED MORE THAN 150 YEARS AGO,
THE INDIAN ACT HAS STRUCTURED
RELATIONS BETWEEN THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
FOR GENERATIONS.
AND IN THE EYES OF MANY, ITS
PURPOSE WAS, AND STILL IS,
TO ASSIMILATE, CONTROL, AND
EVEN DESTROY THE PEOPLE AND
COMMUNITIES THAT COME
UNDER ITS AUSPICES.
IN 2017, THE CURRENT PRIME
MINISTER PROMISED TO SCRAP IT.
THAT HASN'T HAPPENED.
WHAT SHOULD?
LET'S ASK.
SUZANNE STEWART, SHE'S DIRECTOR
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO'S
WAAKEBINESS-BRYCE INSTITUTE FOR
INDIGENOUS HEALTH AT THE
DALLA LANA SCHOOL
OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

Suzanne is in her forties, with long straight dark hair and short bangs. She's wearing a printed purple jacket and a golden pendant necklace.

Steve continues DOUGLAS ANDERSON,
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT
U OF T'S FACULTY OF LAW.

Douglas is in his forties, with brown hair in a ponytail and a goatee. He's wearing rounded glasses, a gray suit, khaki shirt and spotted yellow tie.

Steve continues RUSS DIABO, WHO RAN FOR NATIONAL
CHIEF OF THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST
NATIONS LAST YEAR, AND SERVED
AS THE AFN INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
COORDINATOR IN THE MID-1990S.

Russ is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a mustache. He's wearing glasses, and a red shirt.

Steve continues AND BOB JOSEPH, AUTHOR OF 21 THINGS YOU MAY NOT
KNOW ABOUT THE INDIAN ACT.
AND MOST RECENTLY...

A picture of a book appears briefly on screen. The cover is white, with a title in red and black lettering that reads "Indigenous relations: Insights, tips and suggestions to make reconciliation a reality."

Bob is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair. He's wearing a blue shirt.

Steve continues AND WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
EVERYBODY BACK TO TVO
FOR THIS CONVERSATION.
AND I WANT TO START BY QUOTING
THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF
CANADA: SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD,
WHO IN THE YEAR 1887 DECLARED...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Sir John A. Macdonald declared." The quote reads "The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian People in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change."
Quoted from Indigenous foundations.arts.ubc.ca

Steve says THAT IS QUITE SOME STATEMENT
WHEN LOOKED AT 150 YEARS LATER,
OR WHATEVER THE MATH IS ON THAT.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN... BOB, I'M
GOING TO GO TO YOU FIRST... THE
MAIN FEATURES OF THE
LEGISLATION THAT SIR JOHN A.
WAS REFERRING TO?
WHAT DID HE HAVE IN MIND?

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph. Author, '21 things you may not know about the Indian Act."
Then, it changes again to "The history."

Bob says WELL, THE INDIAN ACT
IS... WAS ULTIMATELY DESIGNED
TO ASSIMILATE INDIANS INTO
THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
MAINSTREAM OF THE COUNTRY,
AND SO THAT'S REALLY WHAT
HE WAS AFTER.
THERE'S A GREAT BOOK BY A
PROFESSOR OUT OF UBC,
PAUL TENNANT, AND IN HIS BOOK HE
SAYS THAT,
"WE DIDN'T CONCLUDE TREATIES
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA,"
THE COMMON THEORY IS WE RAN OUT
OF MONEY TO CONTINUE FINANCING
THESE TREATIES, BUT TENNANT
ARGUES IT WAS THIS
WHOLE IDEA OF ASSIMILATION
WAS SUPPOSED TO KICK IN.
AND IF THEY ASSIMILATE,
THEN WE DON'T HAVE TO DO
NEW TREATIES...
IF THEY ASSIMILATE,
WE DON'T HAVE TO HONOUR
HISTORIC TREATIES.
AND SO THAT'S WHAT JOHN A.,
I THINK, WAS LOOKING
TO ACCOMPLISH WITH THAT.

Steve says GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES OF THE
KIND OF CONTROL THAT THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD OVER
PEOPLES' LIVES,
COURTESY OF THE INDIAN ACT.

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph. Indigenous Corporate Training Inc."

Bob says OH, THERE IS SO MANY
DIFFERENT EXAMPLES.
WOMEN WHO MARRIED NON-INDIAN MEN
WOULD LOSE THEIR STATUS,
WHERE MEN WHO MARRIED
NON-INDIAN WOMEN,
THOSE WOMEN WOULD
GAIN THEIR STATUS.
BANNING OF POTLATCHES AND
POWWOWS AND OTHER CULTURAL
CEREMONIES WAS ALSO GOING TO BE
AN IMPORTANT PIECE,
BECAUSE IT WAS FELT,
IF THEY WERE DOING THOSE
THINGS, THEY WEREN'T
ASSIMILATING AND BECOMING
LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.
WE MADE THEM GET PERMITS TO
BE ABLE TO ACTUALLY SELL THINGS
OFF OF RESERVE, BECAUSE CANADA
VIEWED THE ACTIVITY OF SELLING
AND HAVING ECONOMIC ACTIVITY ON
RESERVE AS AN AFFRONT TO THE
ASSIMILATION PROCESS.
IF THEY HAVE HOTELS AND GAS
STATIONS AND THAT KIND OF STUFF,
THEY'RE NEVER GOING TO WANT
TO LEAVE THESE PLACES,
SO WE ACTUALLY NEED THEM... GET
PASSES AND PERMISSION TO SELL
THINGS FROM RESERVES, DURING
THE HEYDAY OF ASSIMILATION.

STEVE lifts a stack of papers clipped together in a bundle and SAYS
HERE IT IS.
THAT'S THE INDIAN
ACT RIGHT THERE.
IT'S ONLY 80 PAGES.
CONSIDERING IT'S BEEN AROUND
FOR SUCH A LONG TIME,
AND CONTROLS SO MANY ASPECTS
OF LIFE IN THIS COUNTRY,
IT'S ACTUALLY NOT THAT LONG.
I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT
SECTION 116,
WHICH ARE THE TRUANCY
OFFICER POWERS.
TELL US ABOUT THE KINDS OF
POWERS THAT THAT INVOLVED
IN THE INDIAN ACT.

The caption changes to "Douglas Sanderson. University of Toronto."

Douglas says SO THESE WERE SUBSECTIONS OF THE
ACT THAT WERE ACTUALLY REVISED
OUT OF THE ACT IN 2014.
AND THEY ARE UNDER THE
SUBJECT... UNDER THE SECTION
CALLED "SCHOOLS."
AND THEY INCLUDED A POWER
FOR THE MINISTER TO DIRECT ANY
INDIAN CHILD TO ANY SCHOOL
OF THE MINISTER'S CHOOSING.
SO THAT'S THE BASIS FOR THE
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM,
THAT THE MINISTER NEEDED
THE LEGAL AUTHORITY
TO SEND CHILDREN TO
VARIOUS SCHOOLS.
THE LEGISLATION ALSO INCLUDED
THE POWER OF ENTRY INTO THE HOME
OF A PARENT OF A CHILD IN
ORDER TO DETAIN THAT CHILD.
AND IN THE EVENT OF
TRUANCY OR AN ESCAPED CHILD,
THE LEGISLATION AUTHORIZED THE
TRUANT OFFICER TO USE WHATEVER
FORCE WAS NECESSARY TO DETAIN
THAT CHILD AND TAKE THEM BACK
TO THE SCHOOL.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT THE NOTION OF
REGISTERING YOUR CHILDREN
AS INDIGENOUS?
IS THAT PART OF THIS?

Douglas says NO, MY CHILDREN ARE INDIGENOUS
BY BIRTH, BUT WHAT THEY'RE
NOT... THEY ARE NOT BY BIRTH
WAS LEGAL STATUS INDIANS.
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT CAME TO
THEM AT A LATER STAGE,
BUT I STILL HAD TO DO THE
PROCESS OF REGISTERING THEM.
AND I DID NOT REGISTER THEM
UNTIL A COUPLE OF YEARS AFTER
2014... PRETTY RECENTLY
THEY BECAME LEGAL INDIANS.
AND IT WAS BECAUSE I... YOU KNOW,
MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY,
"LOOK, THEY WOULD NEVER HAPPEN...
THE POLICE WOULD NEVER COME
TO YOUR DOOR TO TAKE YOUR
CHILDREN."
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT... THEY
DID IN THE PAST.
IT HAD IN FACT HAPPENED.
THE HOLOCAUST DID
IN FACT HAPPEN.
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
WAS A REAL THING.
AND SO I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE.
I'M SURE THAT THERE ARE
MANY, MANY OTHER INDIGENOUS
PARENTS... INDIAN PARENTS... OUT
THERE WHO GIVEN THE CHOICE WOULD
CHOOSE TO NOT REGISTER
THEIR CHILDREN AS INDIANS.
OF COURSE THAT SECTION OF THE
INDIAN ACT HAS BEEN ELIMINATED
NOW FOR ABOUT FIVE YEARS,
BUT NEVERTHELESS,
I THINK WITHIN... IT'S STILL
SOMETHING THAT I THINK
INDIGENOUS PARENTS HAVE TO THINK
ABOUT THAT OTHER PARENTS DON'T.

STEVE SAYS YOU'VE GOT KIDS?

Suzanne says I HAVE FOUR KIDS, YEAH.

Steve says DID YOU THINK ABOUT THIS,
AS DOUG HAS JUST SUGGESTED?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Stewart. University of Toronto."

Suzanne says WELL, I DIDN'T HAVE THE
OPTION... WELL, I DIDN'T BELIEVE I
HAD THE OPTION TO NOT REGISTER
MY CHILDREN AS STATUS INDIANS,
BECAUSE THE WAY I GREW UP, WE
WERE JUST TOLD WE NEEDED TO
REGISTER OUR CHILDREN UPON
BIRTH BECAUSE ASSIMILATION
AND MISSIONIZATION HAD SUCH A
STRONG HOLD ON THE DENÉ AND CREE
COMMUNITIES IN ALBERTA AND
THE NORTHWEST TERRITORIES.
I DID AUTOMATICALLY REGISTER
MY CHILDREN AT BIRTH BECAUSE
I BELIEVED AT THE TIME THAT I
HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO DO THAT,
BECAUSE I BELIEVED THAT THEY
WOULDN'T GET ACCESS TO THEIR
NON-INSURED HEALTH BENEFITS
AND THEIR EDUCATION
AND ALL THE THINGS WE WERE TOLD
INTERGENERATIONALLY
THAT WE HAD TO GET.
AND AS A RESULT OF THAT, AS I
TOOK MY CHILDREN HOME FROM THE
HOSPITAL WHEN THEY WERE EACH
BORN, I ALWAYS FELT WHENEVER THE
HEALTH NURSE WOULD COME OR
SOMEBODY ELSE WOULD KNOCK AT THE
DOOR THAT... I ALWAYS FELT LIKE
THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY THAT MY
CHILDREN WERE
GOING TO GET TAKEN.
AND I STILL LIVE WITH THAT
LINGERING IRRATIONAL... OR MAYBE
IT'S RATIONAL FEAR THAT MY
CHILDREN ARE GOING TO GET
TAKEN AWAY FROM ME
BECAUSE WE'RE NATIVE.

STEVE SAYS WHAT YEAR
WERE YOUR KIDS BORN?

Suzanne says IN THE '90S.

STEVE SAYS IN THE '90S?

Suzanne says AND EARLY 2000S.

Steve says SO THAT'S NOT THAT LONG AGO.
YOU HAD A FEAR THAT THE
STATE WOULD COME AND TAKE YOUR
CHILDREN BECAUSE
OF YOUR BACKGROUND?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Stewart. Dalla Lana School of Public Health."

Suzanne says EITHER THROUGH CHILD WELFARE
OR EDUCATION, ABSOLUTELY.
I STILL THINK THAT.
WHEN I SEE KIDS SLEEPING IN,
YOU KNOW, THE FAMILY ROOM OR
SOMETHING, I THINK, "OH, YOU
SHOULDN'T SLEEP IN THERE BECAUSE
CHILD WELFARE'S GOING TO COME
AND TAKE YOU AWAY BECAUSE I'M
NOT HOUSING YOU PROPERLY."

Steve says AND THAT FEAR EMANATES
FROM THIS ACT RIGHT HERE?

Suzanne says ABSOLUTELY.
WELL, ALL OF MY MOTHER'S
SIBLINGS WENT TO
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.
MOST OF MY YOUNGER SIBLINGS
WENT TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.
MY YOUNGER SIBLINGS EITHER WENT
TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
OR WERE TAKEN IN THE SCOOP.

STEVE SAYS SO THIS IS HARDLY AN
ACADEMIC DISCUSSION FOR YOU
AND YOUR FAMILY?

Suzanne says ABSOLUTELY NOT.
MY CHILDREN AND MY
SIBLING'S CHILDREN ARE THE FIRST
GENERATION OF CHILDREN IN
OUR FAMILY NOT TO BE TAKEN
AND FORCIBLY SENT TO
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.

Steve says I'M A LITTLE
SPEECHLESS AT THE MOMENT.
OK, WE'RE GOING TO LEARN A
LOT IN THE NEXT LITTLE WHILE.
RUSS, MANY OF THE ASPECTS OF
THIS LAW... AND DOUGLAS JUST TOLD
US ABOUT ONE SECTION THAT IS NO
LONGER THERE... MANY ASPECTS OF
THE INDIAN ACT
HAVE BEEN AMENDED.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE
ACT AS IT EXISTS TODAY?

The caption changes to "Russ Diabo. Writer."
Then, it changes again to "Today's framework."

Russ says IT'S STILL PRETTY MUCH THE SAME
AS IT HAS BEEN, SINCE,
YOU KNOW, 1876.
THEY'VE AMENDED... THEY'VE RELAXED
IT A LITTLE BIT IN THE
1951 AMENDMENTS, YOU KNOW,
WHERE... WHAT BOB WAS
TALKING ABOUT,
THE BANNING OF CEREMONIES.
ACTUALLY, THEY STOLE A LOT OF
OUR MATERIAL CULTURE FROM
1927 TO 1951.
WE COULDN'T HAVE LAWYERS
REPRESENTING OUR LAND RIGHTS.
THEY RELAXED THAT A BIT IN THE
1951 AMENDMENTS,
BUT... AND
THEY HAVE AMENDED IT.
YOU KNOW, THEY'VE BASICALLY BEEN
INCREMENTALLY DEVELOPING OTHER
FIRST NATIONS LEGISLATION
UNDER SECTION 91-24
OF THE CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867,
WHERE THE FEDERAL PARLIAMENT HAS
EXCLUSIVE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY
OVER INDIANS AND LANDS RESERVED
FOR INDIANS.
SO THAT'S HOW THE INDIAN ACT
WAS PASSED, WAS UNDER THAT
CONSTITUTIONAL HEAD OF POWER.
AND NOW THEY HAVE THE FIRST
NATIONS LAND MANAGEMENT ACT,
YOU KNOW, WHERE YOU CAN OPT
OUT OF THE LAND SECTIONS OF
THE INDIAN ACT INTO THAT.
SO, THEY ARE ENCOURAGING
BANDS, YOU KNOW,
WHICH ARE ALSO CREATURES OF
THE INDIAN ACT...
TO BASICALLY BREAK UP
INDIGENOUS NATIONS INTO BANDS.
THOSE ARE STILL IN PLACE.
SO THIS... BASICALLY, THE COLONIAL
SYSTEM THAT CANADA HAS BEEN
OPERATING UNDER FOR... YOU
KNOW, SINCE 18... WELL, SINCE
CONFEDERATION,
REALLY, IS STILL IN PLACE.
SO THE AMENDMENTS THEY'VE
MADE REALLY HAVEN'T CHANGED THE
FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSE OF THE ACT.

STEVE SAYS WHILE WE'RE ON
THIS... THAT'S WHAT I WANT.
THANK YOU, SHELDON.
LET'S... I WANT TO GET A SENSE
FROM ALL OF THE GUESTS HERE
TODAY: WHO THINKS THE INDIAN ACT
NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED ENTIRELY?
HANDS UP, PLEASE.

Suzanne and Bob raise their hand.

Steve continues TWO HANDS.
HOW ABOUT JUST
AMENDED AND MADE BETTER?
HANDS UP, PLEASE.

Douglas raises his hand.

Steve points at Russ and says
YOU DIDN'T VOTE.
WHERE ARE YOU?

Russ says WELL, BECAUSE I THINK
THERE'S ANOTHER OPTION.

Steve says WHICH IS WHAT?

The caption changes to "Russ Diabo, @RussDiabo."

Russ says I THINK THE INDIAN ACT HAS TO
REMAIN IN PLACE FOR... UNTIL EACH
BAND DECIDES TO DEVELOP A
SELF-DETERMINATION PLAN
ON HOW TO GET OUT OF IT.
YOU JUST CAN'T PULL OUT OF IT
BECAUSE IT AFFECTS EVERY ASPECT
OF YOUR LIFE, FROM WOMB TO TOMB.
YOU KNOW, PARTICULARLY FOR
PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING
ON RESERVE.
SO, THEY NEED OPTIONS TO OPT
OUT THAT AREN'T PRESCRIBED
BY OTTAWA.
AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM, IS
OTTAWA OFFERS... THEY SAID,
"IF YOU WANT OUT OF THE INDIAN
ACT OR GO BEYOND
THE INDIAN ACT, YOU HAVE TO
ACCEPT OUR OTHER LEGISLATION,
UNDER OUR POLICIES, LIKE THE
SELF-GOVERNMENT POLICY
OR THE LAND CLAIMS POLICIES... OR THE LEGISLATION THAT I
REFERRED TO,
THE LAND MANAGEMENT ACT
OR OTHER FEDERAL LEGISLATION.

STEVE SAYS OK, FOR THOSE WHO WANT
IT CANCEL... FOR THOSE WHO WANT IT
ENDED ALTOGETHER, DOES HIS
APPROACH MAKE ANY SENSE TO YOU?

Suzanne says WELL, I THINK, YOU KNOW, ENDING
IT DOESN'T MEAN JUST THROWING
PEOPLE OUT INTO THE
COUNTRY OF CANADA WITHOUT ANY
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OR TRANSITION
PLAN FOR WHERE WE'VE BEEN.
I FULLY... I FULLY AGREE WITH MY
COLLEAGUE HERE THAT THERE HAS TO
BE A PLAN THAT HAPPENS, BUT THAT
THAT HAS TO BE THROUGH A PROCESS
OF AUTONOMY AND
SELF-DETERMINATION.

STEVE SAYS SO SOME
KIND OF TRANSITION?

Suzanne says THAT HAS TO HAPPEN BY THE
COMMUNITIES AND WITHOUT
THAT... THAT COLONIAL PIECE THAT'S
CONTROLLING WHAT PEOPLE DO.
AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT THE
FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE OF
THE INDIAN ACT IS
IS THAT IT BY NATURE IMPEDES
AND PREVENTS AUTONOMY AND
SELF-DETERMINATION.
AND SOMETHING ELSE
HAS TO HAPPEN... BECAUSE I DON'T THINK
WE CAN GO ON THIS WAY.

Steve says SO, BOB, JUST SO WE'RE CLEAR,
IF JUSTIN TRUDEAU CAME TO YOU
TOMORROW AND SAID, "I'M GOING TO
SCRAP THE INDIAN ACT,
AND IT'S GOING TO BE DONE
BY THE END OF JUNE."
WOULD THAT BE A GOOD THING?

The caption changes to "Scrap or amend?"

Bob says I DON'T THINK SO, AND IT'S BASED
ON WHAT WE'VE JUST HEARD THERE.
YOU KNOW, TO SCRAP IT WOULD
CREATE A WHOLE SET OF
OTHER PROBLEMS.
AND REALLY A POLICY VACUUM...
THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SORT OF
REFERRING TO.
AND SO... THE NEXT STEP, THOUGH,
IS WHAT DO WE DO TO FILL THAT
POLICY VACUUM, AND
THAT'S SELF-DETERMINATION,
SELF-GOVERNMENT, SELF-RELIANCE
PIECE, WHICH I THINK IS
TOTALLY ACHIEVABLE.
YOU LOOK AT THE NISGA'A NATION
WHO HAVE GOTTEN OUT OF UNDER
THE INDIAN ACT.
THEY TRANSFERRED TITLE OF THE
RESERVES; THEY GOT RID OF THE
BANDS; THEY GOT A LARGER
LAND-BASE AND RESOURCES
AND JURISDICTION.
THEY ACTUALLY AGREED TO PAY
TAXES AS PART OF THEIR TREATY
SETTLEMENT PACKAGE,
BUT WHAT IT'S GIVEN THEM,
INSTEAD OF THE INDIAN ACT,
IS AN ABILITY SELF-DETERMINING.
NOBODY IN OTTAWA GETS TO TELL
US WHO OUR PEOPLE ARE ANYMORE.
SELF GOVERNING: WE'RE GOING TO
GOVERN OURSELVES IN A WAY THAT
MAKES SENSE.

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph. Indigenous Corporate Training Inc."

Bob continues SO, YOU KNOW, THEY BROUGHT IN
SOME TRADITIONAL GOVERNANCE.
THEIR GOVERNMENT IS CALLED THE
NISGA'A LISIMS GOVERNMENT,
AND IT'S BASED ON THEIR
CULTURE, LAW, AND PRACTICE.
AND THEN THE REALLY IMPORTANT
PIECE, AND I THINK IT'S WHAT WAS
BEING ALLUDED TO,
IS THE SELF-RELIANCE.
WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO PICK
OURSELVES UP AND LOOK AFTER
OURSELVES, PARTICIPATE IN
THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
MAINSTREAM, BUT IN THE WAY THAT
PROTECTS OUR CULTURES
AND OUR SOCIETIES
AND OUR NATIONS.

Steve says YOU'VE HEARD, DOUGLAS, A FEW
DIFFERENT APPROACHES HERE.

DOUGLAS SAYS YEAH.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU LIKE?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Douglas says WELL, I THINK THAT THESE ARE
ALL... ALL OF THESE APPROACHES
ARE RIGHT, BUT I THINK WHAT IT
BELIES IS THAT THE EASE WITH
WHICH PEOPLE TALK
ABOUT THE PROBLEMS FACING
INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS,
AS THOUGH THIS ONE THING
IS SOMEHOW RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL
THE ILLS IN THE WORLD.
THE VERY REAL FEARS THAT
PROFESSOR STEWART WAS TALKING
ABOUT, ABOUT HER CHILDREN,
HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH
THE INDIAN ACT.
THOSE ARE REGARDING
PROVINCIAL CHILD WELFARE LAWS.
BUT THEY'RE NEVERTHELESS PART OF
THE PERVASIVE WEB OF REGULATIONS
THAT AFFECT INDIGENOUS PEOPLE.
I JUST THINK THAT THERE IS
ALWAYS GOING TO BE SOME KIND OF
A LEGISLATIVE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
AND THE STATE.
THERE ALWAYS HAS TO BE,
OTHERWISE, THE ASSIMILATION
PROJECT HAS SUCCEEDED.
AND SO, WE NEED TO
FACE THAT REALITY.
AND THEN WE NEED TO ASK: WHAT
ARE THE ACTUAL PROBLEMS FACING
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, AND
HOW CAN WE FIX THEM?
STARTING WITH, "SHOULD WE GET
RID OF THE INDIAN ACT?"
IS NOT A PRODUCTIVE
PLACE TO BEGIN.

Steve says OK, HUMOUR ME FOR A SECOND THEN,
OK?
BECAUSE 50 YEARS AGO, THERE WAS
SOME CONSIDERABLE DISCUSSION...
AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS IN THE
COUNTRY ABOUT DOING JUST THAT.
AND THIS WAS WHEN THE CURRENT
PRIME MINISTER'S FATHER
WAS IN POWER.
I WANT TO READ AN EXCERPT HERE
FROM HAROLD CARDINAL,
WHO WAS A CREE TEACHER,
POLITICAL LEADER,
NEGOTIATOR, LAWYER.
HE WAS THE AUTHOR OF SOMETHING
CALLED THE UNJUST SOCIETY:
AND AGAIN, THIS
GOES BACK TO 1969.
HERE WE GO.
HERE'S THE EXCERPT...

Another quote appears on screen, under the title "An unjust act." The quote reads "It is discriminatory from start to finish. But it is a lever in our hands and an embarrassment to the government, as it should be. No just society and no society with even pretensions to being just can long tolerate such a piece of legislation, but we would rather continue to live in bondage under the inequitable Indian Act than surrender our sacred rights. Any time the government wants to honour its obligations to us we are more than ready to help devise new Indian Legislation."
Quoted from Harold Cardinal, "The Unjust Society." 1969.

Steve says OK, IF THAT WAS THE CASE... I'M
GOING TO GO BACK TO YOU ON THIS
ONE... IF THAT WAS THE CASE 50
YEARS AGO, WHEN PIERRE TRUDEAU
SAID TO HIS INDIAN AFFAIRS
MINISTER JEAN CHRÉTIEN... A FUTURE
PRIME MINISTER... "LET'S GET RID
OF THIS THING,"
WHY HASN'T THIS HAPPENED IN 50 YEARS?

Russ says WOW
[CHUCKLES].
THEY PROPOSED REPEALING
THE INDIAN ACT AND AMENDING
THE CONSTITUTION TO REMOVE ANY
REFERENCE TO INDIANS
AND LANDS RESERVE
IN SECTION 91-24.
BUT THE REASON WHY THE REJECTION
OF REPEALING THE INDIAN ACT
HAPPENED ACROSS THE COUNTRY
WAS INDIAN LEADERS AND INDIAN
CHIEFS... AS, YOU KNOW, WE WERE
CALLED "INDIANS" AT THE TIME... WE'RE USING "INDIGENOUS."
NOW... IT'S THE INDIAN ACT...

Steve says THAT WORD WAS NOT
USED 50 YEARS AGO.

RUSS SAYS NO, IT WAS NOT.

Steve says RIGHT.

Russ says AND IN THERE, BASICALLY, THEY
SAID, "NOT UNTIL OUR INDIAN
RIGHTS AND OUR INDIAN LAND
RIGHTS ARE RESOLVED,"
WHAT THEY CALLED "CLAIMS."
THEY SAID, "WE DON'T WANT TO GET
RID OF THE INDIAN ACT BECAUSE
IT'S THE ONLY PLACE THAT
RECOGNIZES THAT WE ARE
DISTINCT FROM CANADIANS."

Steve says SUZANNE, DOES
THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU?

RUSS SAYS AND THAT WAS PART OF THE
INDIAN ACT, WAS TO REMOVE THE
LEGAL DISTINCTIONS
BETWEEN INDIANS AND CANADIANS.

Steve says I SEE.
DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU,
AS TO WHY THIS ACT IS
STILL IN PLACE?

Suzanne says ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK THAT'S ONE OF
THE CRITICAL REASONS.
AND I THINK ANOTHER REASON... AND
THERE'S MANY BECAUSE IT'S
MULTIFACETED... THE OTHER REASON
IS THE INDIAN ACT ENSURES THAT
THE GOVERNMENT AND CANADA
AND MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS
CONTINUE TO HAVE UNFETTERED
ACCESS TO THE NATURAL RESOURCES
OF CANADA.

Steve says SO IF THERE WERE... IF
THERE WERE GOOD FAITH ON BEHALF
OF THE CROWN TO CREATE A NEW
PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT WOULD
GUARANTEE ALL OF THE THINGS THAT
YOU'VE JUST REFERRED TO,
YOU'D BE... YOU'RE
SHAKING YOUR HEAD.

The caption changes to "Russ Diabo. First Nations Strategic Bulletin."

Russ says IT'S A CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE.
I DON'T THINK YOU CAN COME UP
WITH SECTION 91-24... SPECIFIC
LEGISLATION THAT'S
GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHAT THE NEW
CONSTITUTION... SECTION 35 WAS
SUPPOSED TO DO IN THE 1980S WHEN
THEY HAD THE FIRST MINISTERS'
CONFERENCES ON
ABORIGINAL MATTERS.
THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A
POLITICAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATIONAL
ORGANIZATIONS, ON WHAT THE
MEANING OF ABORIGINAL TREATY
RIGHTS WERE IN SECTION 35.
BUT THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE
PREMIERS RAN OUT THE CLOCK,
AND THEN IT TURNED TO THE
COURTS TO START
INTERPRETING SECTION 35.
AND THEN THEY STARTED OFFERING
THE SELF-GOVERNMENT POLICY
FOR NEGOTIATING WHAT THE
POWERS OF SELF-GOVERNMENT ARE.
BUT THEY'RE
MUNICIPAL-TYPE POWERS.
AND IT WAS JEAN CHRÉTIEN... MR.
WHITE PAPER... WHO... AS
PRIME MINISTER WHO
IMPOSED THAT POLICY
IN 1995 OF WHAT THEY CALL
THE INHERENT RIGHT POLICY.
AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM... IS,
YOU REALLY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT
THE CONSTITUTION.
AND NOW INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT THE THE
UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON
THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
COMING IN WITH MINIMUM
STANDARDS, WHICH ARE HIGHER THAN
WHAT CANADA'S LEGISLATION
HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTING.

DOUGLAS SAYS SO CAN I
JUST HOP IN HERE?

STEVE SAYS PLEASE.

Douglas says YEAH, I WANT TO ADDRESS A PIECE
OF SUZANNE AND BOB'S ARGUMENT,
BOTH OF WHICH HAVE
TO DO WITH LAND.
AND THE INDIAN ACT IS NOT
THE LEGISLATION THAT CREATES
RESERVES, RIGHT?
AND WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN...

BOB SAYS ACTUALLY, IT IS.

Douglas says WELL... SO IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY
CREATE EACH INDIVIDUAL RESERVE,
RIGHT?

BOB SAYS I THINK IT HAS.

Douglas says IT DOESN'T ANYMORE.
SO, MY POINT JUST IS THAT...

STEVE SAYS OK, YOU
TWO... HANG ON A SECOND.

Douglas says NO, MY POINT IS...

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

STEVE SAYS YOU TWO DISAGREE ON
THIS PRETTY FUNDAMENTAL POINT HERE.

Douglas says WELL, MY POINT JUST IS THAT
THERE'S A LIMITED LAND-BASE
FOR FIRST NATIONS.
AND UNTIL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE
GREATER ACCESS TO THE LANDS,
AS PROFESSOR STEWART WAS SAYING,
THERE'S... WE CAN'T DEVELOP
ECONOMICALLY, THAT THAT'S A
PIECE THAT HAS TO BE ADDRESSED.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT IS
OUTSIDE OF THE INDIAN ACT,
PER SE.
BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT ACCESS TO
CROWN LANDS, AND MOST OF THOSE
CROWN LANDS ARE IN PROVINCIAL
HANDS, WHICH MEANS THAT THIS
CAN'T JUST BE A
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOLUTION.
THERE IS GOING TO HAVE TO
BE A CONSTITUTIONAL PIECE.

Russ says AND...

DOUGLAS SAYS BECAUSE THE PROVINCES
ARE GOING TO HAVE TO CHIP IN,
IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A LAND-BASE
FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
TO DEVELOP ON ECONOMICALLY.

RUSS SAYS AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT
ARTHUR MANUEL... THE LATE
ARTHUR MANUEL SAID IN HIS
BOOKS:
UNSETTLE IN CANADA
AND
THE RECONCILIATION MANIFESTO.
HE SAID LAND IS THE ISSUE.
AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SOLVE
ALL THESE OTHER PROBLEMS ABOUT
POVERTY, JURISDICTION, YOU KNOW,
SELF-GOVERNMENT AND THAT,
UNTIL YOU ADDRESS HAVING
SUFFICIENT LAND-BASES FOR PEOPLE
TO BE ECONOMICALLY VIABLE.
AND THAT'S THE ISSUE.

STEVE SAYS OK, BUT I GOT TO
GO BACK HERE FOR A SECOND.
I GOT TO GO BACK.
YOU JUST SAID THAT THE INDIAN
ACT IS NOT THE ACT THAT
CREATED RESERVES...

Douglas says SO IT CREATED RESERVES
ORIGINALLY, BUT IT DOES NOT
ENUMERATE THE SPECIFIC LAND-BASE
OF EACH AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL
RESERVATION IN CANADA.
THAT WAS MY POINT.

STEVE SAYS EQUAL TIME
FOR BOB ON THIS.

Bob says OH, I'M... I WAS JUST MORE
THINKING ABOUT THE LAND
COMMENTS, ACTUALLY,
IN TERMS OF RESERVE.
WE NEED TO GET AWAY FROM THE
RESERVE SYSTEM,
AND THAT'S WHAT NISGA'A WAS
ABLE TO DO IN THEIR... IN THEIR
TREATY NEGOTIATIONS...

DOUGLAS SAYS AND IN ORDER TO DO
THAT, THEY NEEDED A PIECE OF
PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL
LEGISLATION THAT SET OUT THE
POWERS AND PROVIDED...

Bob says AND THEY NEEDED TO AGREE TO
EXTINGUISH THEIR ABORIGINAL
TITLE, WHICH IS REALLY UNFAIR.

Douglas says OVER A LARGE PORTION OF
THEIR TERRITORY, YES.

Steve says I WANT TO GO... I WANT
TO GO BACK EARLIER.
OK, I'M GOING TO
TAKE A STEP BACK HERE.

DOUGLAS SAYS ALL RIGHT.

Steve says THE PERSON WHO PRODUCED THIS
SEGMENT... LIANE KOTLER... WAS IN
NORTHERN ONTARIO A WEEK AGO.
SHE HAD A CONVERSATION WITH
SOMEBODY, AND WE'RE GOING TO
PROTECT THAT PERSON'S NAME AND
WHERE THEY LIVE BECAUSE WE DON'T
WANT TO GET THEM IN ANY TROUBLE.
THE VIEW THAT WAS CONVEYED
TO LIANE WAS THAT THIS PERSON
BELIEVES THE INDIAN ACT WAS
DESIGNED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF
CANADA TO KEEP THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT TRANSFERRING FUNDS
TO RESERVES WHICH HAS,
IN THE VIEW OF THIS PERSON,
BECOME A CORRUPT PRACTICE
BECAUSE NOW THE BAND COUNCILS
ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO OTTAWA
INSTEAD OF
TO THEIR CONSTITUENTS.
DISCUSS.
YOU WANT TO COME
IN ON THAT FIRST?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Stewart, @SuzanneLStewart."

Suzanne says I THINK THE FIRST THING I WANT
TO SAY ABOUT THAT WOULD BE... SORT
OF A BIRD'S EYE VIEW IS THAT WE
HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT PART OF
THE TOOLS OF IMPLEMENTING THE
ACT... THE INDIAN ACT HAVE BEEN
DIVIDE AND CONQUER.
AND I THINK THAT'S BEEN A
VERY SUCCESSFUL TOOL OF HOW
THE INDIAN ACT HAS BEEN
IMPLEMENTED AND HAS CREATED A
LOT OF PROBLEMS AMONG INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITIES RELATIONALLY.
NOT JUST BETWEEN INDIGENOUS
COMMUNITIES AND THE GOVERNMENT,
BUT AMONG PEOPLE
WITHIN COMMUNITIES.
IT'S CREATED THOSE DIVISIONS
THROUGH THESE TYPES OF PROCESSES
THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

STEVE SAYS WOULD YOU SAY THOUGH IT
IS A PROBLEM IN THIS COUNTRY
THAT SOME LEADERSHIP IN SOME
BAND COUNCILS FEEL MORE OBLIGED
TO OTTAWA THAN THEIR
CONSTITUENTS BECAUSE OF THE
NATURE OF THE
FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT?

Suzanne says WELL, I THINK THAT'S SORT OF THE
WAY THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS SET
IT UP IN ORDER TO CREATE THESE
TYPES OF CONFLICTS
AND THESE PROBLEMS.
I MEAN, THE INDIAN ACT,
ESSENTIALLY, EVERYTHING,
INCLUDING THE EXAMPLE YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT, HAS SET UP A
SCENARIO BY WHICH PEOPLE CAN
CHOOSE TO ASSIMILATE... IF THEY
FOLLOW THE LEGISLATION... OR IF
THEY DON'T WANT TO ASSIMILATE,
THE OTHER CHOICE BY FOLLOWING
THE LEGISLATION IS TO DIE.
YOU EITHER DIE OR
YOU ASSIMILATE.

STEVE SAYS TWO LOUSY OPTIONS.

Suzanne says AND YOU HAVE NO OTHER OPTIONS.

STEVE SAYS YEAH.

Suzanne says AND YOU DIE FIGHTING.

RUSS SAYS BUT THE BRITISH... IT'S
BASED ON THE BRITISH COLONIAL
SYSTEM OF INDIRECT RULE.
THEY USE A
CHIEF-AND-COUNCIL SYSTEM.
OTTAWA DOES CONTROL THEM.
THEY'VE SIGNED CONTRACTS TO
DELIVER PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
FOR OTTAWA.
THAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN 1969 AND NOW.
IN 1969, MOST OF OUR COMMUNITIES
WEREN'T DELIVERING
THOSE SERVICES.
NOW THEY ARE.
YOU KNOW, TO BILLIONS OF
DOLLARS' WORTH OF SERVICES
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
AND THAT'S WHERE THE
CONTROL COMES IN,
OVER THE CHIEF-AND-COUNCIL
SYSTEM.
AND THERE'S A BIG SCHISM BETWEEN
THE MEMBERS AND THE LEADERS.
BECAUSE OF THAT.

STEVE SAYS IS THERE AN UNHOLY
ALLIANCE THERE, IF YOU LIKE, BOB?

The caption changes to "Bob Joseph, @wewap."

Bob says OH, ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK IT'S THE PROBLEM THAT
I'VE BEEN SORT OF WORKING ON FOR
MY LIFE, IS TO TRY AND
CHANGE THIS SYSTEM THAT'S BEING
DESCRIBED HERE.
AND I THINK WE'VE GOT AN
OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW WITH THE
UN DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO REALLY
GO AFTER IT IN A WAY THAT I
THINK NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
AND IF WE TAKE THE PRINCIPLES
OF FREE, PRIOR, AND INFORMED
CONSENT, THEY HAVE TO BE FREE
FROM COERCION, FROM INFLUENCE,
WHICH THEY'RE NOT UNDERNEATH
THE INDIAN ACT CHIEFS SYSTEM.
WE CAN GO... WE CAN GO CUT DEALS
WITH CHIEF ON PIPELINES OR OTHER
SORT OF MEGAPROJECTS, BUT,
YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE'S A REAL
PROBLEM THERE WITH... CANADA HAS
CREATED THESE INSTITUTIONS WHICH
ARE NOW APPROVING THE REMOVAL
OF PEOPLES' LANDS AND RESOURCES.
AND SO, THAT... YOU KNOW WHAT,
THAT'S, I THINK, THE WAY THAT
YOU REALLY JUST
GOT TO BOIL IT DOWN.
AND I THINK THE TIME RIGHT
NOW... AND MINISTER CAROLYN
BENNETT OF INDIGENOUS NORTHERN
AFFAIRS HAS BEEN TRAVELLING THE
LAST FOUR YEARS TO FIGURE OUT:
HOW DO WE MAKE THIS TRANSITION
FROM THE INDIAN ACT TO SOMETHING
ELSE,
IN A WAY THAT DOESN'T
COMPROMISE PRINCIPLES?
AND, YOU KNOW, DO SOME OF
THE... NEGATIVE ADVERSE EFFECTS.
I THINK WE'RE IN A PRETTY GOOD
SPACE FOR THAT TO HAPPEN
RIGHT NOW.

Russ says YEAH.
BUT I THINK...

RUSS SAYS I THINK THERE'S ISSUES
WITH HER APPROACH, MYSELF.

DOUGLAS SAYS YEAH.

The caption changes to "Today's framework."

BOB SAYS AND IT'S THE SAME... RUSS
HAS SAID IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
IT'S ALWAYS THAT
GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE PIECE.
AND IT HAS TO BE DRIVEN BY
THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITIES.
AND IN MY VIEW, THAT CAN'T BE
LED BY THE CHIEF AND COUNCIL.

RUSS SAYS NO.

Bob says THAT HAS TO BE
LED BY THE PEOPLE.
WHETHER THEY GO BACK TO A
HEREDITARY SYSTEM, WHICH IS
WHERE I COME FROM... A HEREDITY
CHIEF SYSTEM... OR THEY STAY WITH
AN ELECTED SOMETHING... MAYBE
YOU CALL IT SOMETHING DIFFERENT,
HAS TO BE DRIVEN BY THE
COMMUNITY PEOPLE,
NOT BY INDIAN AFFAIRS, NOT BY
THE BAND CHIEFS AND COUNCILS,
WHO ARE PROBABLY GOING TO GET
THE MONEY AND DO ALL
OF THIS WORK.

Russ says IN FACT, IN THE HAUDENOSAUNEE
COMMUNITIES AROUND HERE... THEY USED THE INDIAN ACT TO
FORCIBLY PUT ELECTIVE SYSTEMS
IN, AND IGNORED THE
HAUDENOSAUNEE CONFEDERACY CHIEFS
AND CLAN MOTHERS AND SYSTEMS.

STEVE SAYS WHICH IS A
HEREDITY SYSTEM?

Russ says A HEREDITY... WELL, YES... WELL, NOT
SO MUCH HEREDITY BECAUSE IT GOES
THROUGH THE WOMEN.
THE WOMEN CHOOSE WHO THE
LEADERS ARE AND THAT,
SO IT'S A MATRILINEAL SYSTEM.
AND THEY PADLOCKED THE SIX
NATIONS IN, YOU KNOW, 1927,
I BELIEVE IT WAS.
THAT'S WHEN THEY MADE THE
AMENDMENTS TO THE INDIAN ACT,
TO MAKE IT MORE RESTRICTIVE.
WAS BECAUSE DESKAHEH WAS AT THE
LEAGUE OF NATIONS TRYING TO GET
RECOGNITION FOR THE
HAUDENOSAUNEE CONFEDERACY.

STEVE SAYS HAVEN'T HEARD
FROM DOUGLAS ON THIS YET.

Douglas says SO I THINK THIS IS
RELATED TO THE LARGER PROBLEM.
SO, THE INDIAN ACT STRUCTURES
THE POLITICAL RELATIONSHIP SO
THAT THE CHIEFS ARE ACCOUNTABLE
TO OTTAWA, NOT TO THE PEOPLE,
WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE
WAY A POLITICAL STRUCTURE IS
SUPPOSED TO WORK.
AND ONE OF THE REASONS THAT IT
WORKS THAT WAY IS BECAUSE FIRST
NATIONS GOVERNMENTS DON'T GET
TO DO THE FUNDAMENTAL THING THAT
GOVERNMENTS DO WHICH IS TO TAX
LANDS, RESOURCES, AND PEOPLE...
[RUSS LAUGHS]
...TO RAISE MONEY TO
SPEND IT ON THEIR CITIZENS.
AND UNTIL FIRST NATIONS HAVE
ACCESS TO A LARGER RESOURCE
BASE, WHICH THEY CAN TAX TO THEN
SPEND ON THEIR CITIZENS,
THE CHIEFS WILL NEVER BE
ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE.
THEY WILL ONLY BE
ACCOUNTABLE TO OTTAWA.
SO AGAIN, IT'S TIED TO THE
SECTION... QUESTION OF LAND
AND ECONOMICS.

STEVE SAYS HOW CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT
WORKING DIFFERENTLY AND BETTER?

Suzanne says WELL, I CAN'T REALLY BECAUSE
I'M NOT PART... I'M NOT PART OF
A COMMUNITY THAT'S DECIDING
HOW WE'RE GOING TO DO
THAT DIFFERENTLY.
AND I THINK I REALLY WANT TO GO
BACK TO WHAT WAS SAID EARLIER,
AND THAT IS THAT IT'S THE
COMMUNITIES THAT NEED TO BE
GIVEN THAT AUTONOMY TO BE ABLE
TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS ABOUT
HOW THIS IS GOING TO BE HANDLED
NOW, AND WHAT TYPE OF NEW
LEGISLATION IS GOING TO BE... AND
HOW IT'S GOING TO BE INFORMED.
IT'S GOING TO BE INFORMED BY THE
UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION...
IT'S GOING TO BE INFORMED BY
THE TRC CALLS TO ACTION...
IT'S GOING TO BE INFORMED BY THE
GREAT LAWS OF THE...

RUSS SAYS THE HAUDENOSAUNEE...

Suzanne says THE HAUDENOSAUNEE; OR BY THE
DENÉ LAWS OR BY WHATEVER
THE COMMUNITY'S LAWS ARE.

RUSS SAYS IT SHOULD BE,
BUT IT'S NOT.
RIGHT NOW, THERE'S A LEGISLATION
GOING THROUGH PARLIAMENT,
YOU KNOW, TO GET GREATER CONTROL
OVER LANGUAGES, CHILDREN.
AND THEY'RE CREATING... THEY'RE
BURIED IN AN OMNIBUS BUDGET
BILL LEGISLATION TO DISSOLVE THE
DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND
CREATE THIS DEPARTMENT OF
INDIGENOUS SERVICES,
AND ANOTHER NEW DEPARTMENT
CALLED
CROWN-INDIGENOUS RELATIONS.

Steve says YEAH, TWO SEPARATE MINISTERS.

Russ says AND TWO SEPARATE DEPARTMENTS.
AND THEY TOTALLY BYPASSED AND
HAVE MISLED COMMUNITY MEMBERS
ON THIS LEGISLATION.
THEY'VE HAD NO INPUT.
THEY'VE TAKEN THE TOP-DOWN,
NON-TRANSPARENT APPROACH.
SO, MOST OF OUR PEOPLE DON'T
EVEN KNOW THAT THIS LEGISLATION
IS SITTING BEFORE THE SENATE
RIGHT NOW,
BEFORE THE JUNE RECESS.
AND IT'S GOING TO AFFECT
THEIR LIVES, IF IT PASSES.

Steve says BOB, WOULD IT BE YOUR ADVICE
TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ACROSS THE
COUNTRY, WITH A FEDERAL ELECTION
COMING UP IN, YOU KNOW, JUST A
FEW MONTHS DOWN THE ROAD,
THERE'S OFTEN A SPLIT IN OPINION
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE SHOULD PARTICIPATE OR NOT
IN CANADIAN ELECTIONS.
WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE ON THAT?

The caption changes to "The future: It's complicated."

Bob says I THINK EACH COMMUNITY, EACH
PERSON, WILL HAVE TO MAKE THAT
DECISION FOR THEMSELVES.
I DEFINITELY SEE THE VALUE IN
THOSE COMMUNITIES WHO ARE ABLE
TO SWING THE ELECTION FROM ONE
POLITICAL PARTY TO ANOTHER TO
REALLY ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET
INVOLVED, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T
STAND ON THE SIDELINES YELLING
FROM THE SIDEWALK AT CARS GOING
BY AND EXPECT DRIVERS
TO CHANGE THEIR HABITS.
YOU GOT TO BE
INVOLVED AT EVERY LEVEL.
SO, I THINK YOU'VE GOT
TO GET INVOLVED LIKE JODY
WILSON-RAYBOULD AND GET INTO THE
POLITICAL PROCESS AND... BUT ALSO,
THERE'S LEGAL AVENUES AND,
YOU KNOW, PUBLIC, SOCIAL MEDIA
CAMPAIGNS, AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF
THINGS THERE THAT I THINK COULD
BE REALLY HELPFUL.
BUT... SO I WOULD ENCOURAGE THAT.

Steve says NOT TO GET TOO FAR OFF THE PATH,
BUT DOES THE EXAMPLE
OF JODY WILSON-RAYBOULD'S
INVOLVEMENT IN CANADIAN POLITICS... SUZANNE, DOES THAT
ARGUE FOR MORE INVOLVEMENT OR
THAT, IT DIDN'T WORK AND LET'S
NOT WASTE ANY MORE TIME ON IT?

Suzanne says WELL, I WOULD DEFINITELY NOT
AGREE THAT IT DIDN'T WORK
AND LET'S NOT WASTE
ANY MORE TIME OF IT.
I THINK IT'S A PERSONAL DECISION
FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE TO DECIDE
IF THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE ENOUGH
TO BE WORKING IN THAT ARENA.
AND I THINK THE MORE PEOPLE THAT
WE CAN HAVE REPRESENTING OUR
VOICE IN THE COLONIAL POLITICAL
SYSTEM, THE BETTER OFF
WE COULD BE.
BUT I THINK THAT'S REALLY UP
TO INDIVIDUAL PEOPLES'
OWN DECISION.
AND WE HAVE TO SUPPORT WHAT OUR
PEOPLE WANT TO DO TO HELP US.

The caption changes to "Russ Diabo. Writer and Policy Analyst."

Russ says I HELPED CREATE THE
ABORIGINAL-LIBERAL COMMISSION
IN 1990, AND WHEN THE LIBERALS
FORMED A MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
IN 1993, WE HELPED DO THE
RED BOOK... THE PROMISES,
THE ABORIGINAL PLATFORM.
AND PRIME MINISTER CHRÉTIEN
EITHER IGNORED, MANIPULATED,
OR BROKE ALL OF THOSE PROMISES.
AND SO MOST OF US WHO ARE
FOUNDING EXECUTIVE MEMBERS OF
THAT COMMISSION WITHDREW
FROM THE PARTY, BASED ON THAT
EXPERIENCE WHERE WE WERE
BETRAYED BY THE PRIME MINISTER.

Steve says WELL, IN OUR LAST COUPLE OF
MINUTES HERE THEN, IF THERE'S
GOING TO BE A WAY FORWARD, AND
IF THIS IS GOING TO GET EITHER
AMENDED OR SCRAPPED AND REBUILT
OR WHAT,
WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE?

Douglas says I THINK IT'S GOING TO TAKE
EVERYONE SITTING DOWN AND
REALIZING THE MAGNITUDE OF THE
SITUATION AND THE MAGNITUDE
OF THE PROBLEM.
AND FOCUSING ON AN INDIVIDUAL
PIECE OF LEGISLATION IS THE
WRONG APPROACH.
I THINK WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT
WHAT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND THE CROWN
IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE,
AND THEN WE WORK
BACKWARDS FROM THERE.
STARTING FROM WHERE WE ARE,
AND TRYING TO FIX IT
TO MAKE SOME... SOME PUZZLE
THAT WE DON'T HAVE ALL
THE PIECES FOR YET IS NOT A
GOOD WAY TO START.
A BETTER WAY TO START IS FIGURE
OUT WHAT DOES THE END LOOK LIKE,
AND THEN DEVELOP THE
LEGISLATION TO GET US THERE.

Steve says THERE'S AN OLD EXPRESSION:
"YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE."

DOUGLAS SAYS YEAH.
[LAUGHS]
YEAH.

Steve says MIGHT THAT BE THE CASE HERE?

DOUGLAS SAYS I THINK THAT
IS THE CASE HERE, YES.

Steve says BOB, LET ME GIVE YOU
THE LAST WORD ON THIS.

Bob says I GOTTA GO WITH NISGA'A.
GIVE US SOME LANDS AND RESOURCES
BECAUSE WE THINK YOU HAVE
AN OBLIGATION.
GIVE US THE ABILITY TO MAKE
DECISIONS ABOUT THOSE LANDS AND
RESOURCES... SOUTH GOVERNMENT... AND
WE WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
MAINSTREAM OF THIS COUNTRY,
BUT IN A WAY THAT
PROTECTS OUR CULTURE.

STEVE SAYS IS THAT DOABLE?

Bob says IT'S DOABLE.
NISGA'A IS ALREADY DOING IT.
AND WE DON'T HEAR
ANYTHING ABOUT THEM.
THAT'S MY... PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY,
"HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S WORKING?"
BECAUSE WE DON'T
HEAR ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
THEY'RE SELF-DETERMINING,
SELF-GOVERNING, SELF-RELIANT.
NOT A PERFECT SYSTEM,
BUT IT WORKS FOR THEM,
AND I THINK IT CAN WORK FOR LOTS
OF OTHER PEOPLE.
MAYBE NOT EVERYBODY.

Steve says IT'S A TEMPLATE FOR OTHERS AS
WELL.

Bob says YEAH, I ALWAYS TELL PEOPLE WHEN
THEY ASK ME ABOUT TEMPLATES,
WE WANT TO THINK LIKE A CHEF,
BUT NOT A PASTRY CHEF,
MORE OF A... MORE OF
A DIM SUM CHEF.

[STEVE CHUCKLES]

Bob says WE'VE GOT LOTS OF MENU OPTIONS:
LANDS, RESOURCES, TAXES.
WHATEVER PEOPLE WANT
TO... WHATEVER WILL WORK FOR THEM,
BASICALLY, IN THEIR REGION,
THEIR PART OF THE COUNTRY, SO.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler; Student Intern: Maria Sarrouh."

Steve says GOTCHA.
I WANT TO THANK EVERYBODY FOR
COMING INTO TVO TONIGHT AND
HELPING US OUT
WITH THIS DISCUSSION.
IT'S BEEN MOST ILLUMINATING.
THANK YOU ALL VERY, VERY MUCH.

Watch: The Indian Act: What to do with it