Re­spect abo­rig­i­nal rights

Ottawa Citizen - - EDITORIAL -

Re: First Na­tions sovereignty de­mands a new point of con­flict, Jan. 26. In his opin­ion piece Dou­glas Bland over­states the prospects of First Na­tions in­sur­rec­tion as “the cen­tral and most dan­ger­ous is­sue in Cana­dian/First Na­tions is­sues to­day” and as “a dan­ger­ous, smoul­der­ing con­flict over who in Canada is sov­er­eign and where.”

Bluntly stated, First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties as presently con­fig­ured pos­sess none of the at­tributes, nor do they dis­play any of the be­hav­iours rec­og­nized at in­ter­na­tional law as com­pris­ing sovereignty. Th­ese in­clude mil­i­tar­ily de­fen­si­ble bor­ders, a sta­ble pop­u­la­tion ac­cept­ing cit­i­zen­ship, and eco­nomic in­fra­struc­ture gen­er­at­ing gross domestic prod­uct. In brief, they of­fer no prospect to any other coun­try out­side of Canada for act­ing as an eco­nomic part­ner in peace, or as a mil­i­tary ally in war. Cred­i­ble First Na­tions gov­ern­ments and lead­ers rec­og­nize this.

A true night­mare sce­nario in­volv­ing First Na­tions mil­i­tancy and pre­sent­ing an ex­is­ten­tial threat to the very sur­vival of the Cana­dian state would be the re­ceipt of cred­i­ble re­ports from for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vices that dis­af­fected First Na­tions in­di­vid­u­als from in­side Canada were in train­ing abroad with a spec­trum of anti-West­ern state and non-state ac­tors, hav­ing in­ter­nal­ized rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies with the in­ten­tion of un­leash­ing th­ese within Cana­dian bor­ders.

In re­al­ity, the ex­em­plary ser­vice of First Na­tions sol­diers on be­half of this coun­try dur­ing two world wars, Korea and more re­cent con­flicts, is a more ac­cu­rate in­di­ca­tor of First Na­tions as­pi­ra­tions for a strong and sta­ble Canada that respects abo­rig­i­nal rights.

This year marks the 250th an­niver­sary of the Royal Procla­ma­tion of 1763 rec­og­niz­ing Abo­rig­i­nal ti­tle, and it is in this con­text that we should be imag­in­ing Canada’s fu­ture.

JOHN MOSES, Ot­tawa Delaware band, Six Na­tions of the Grand River


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