12/16/2012 61 Comments
Algonquin Anishinaabeg Genocide
© Dr. Lynn Gehl, Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe
Just as Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation is in an abusive relationship with the Canadian state, so is the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation: An abusive relationship that will lead to our genocide. While Chief Spence is currently spending her days on a hunger strike asking that Indigenous treaty rights be respected, the Algonquin are asked to contemplate a pitiful settlement. The irony is not lost on me that Chief Spence has chosen to carry out her hunger strike on Victoria Island, currently unceded traditional Algonquin territory.
In the process of building Canada, the British strategically imposed different languages (French and English), religions (Catholic and Protestant), and legal systems (French Civil Law and British Common Law) on the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation, and in this way divided us into two entities.
While today Canada consists of many provinces, in its early stages it consisted of only Upper and Lower Canada, which are now the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. During the early stages of European exploration the main mode of transportation into the land mass of New France was of course the Ottawa River. The individual Algonquin bands located on both sides of the river were some of the first Indigenous Nations recorded by Champlain and so you can be sure that the French and British knew full well who we were. Through European struggles for new land the Algonquin Anishinaabeg were allies with the French, and for this we were severely punished when the British eventually took over. The British imposed this punishment through very manipulative ways.
Members of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation were constitutional delegates and runners during the 1764 Treaty of Niagara where Canada’s original constitutional documents were exchanged: the 1763 Royal Proclamation, the British and Great Lakes Covenant Chain Confederacy Wampum Belt, the Twenty-Four Nations Wampum Belt, and the Two Row Wampum Belt. These documents collectively codified and guaranteed all Indigenous Nation’s jurisdiction and our right to land and resources through peace, friendship, respected and the continued need to polish and work on our relationship with one another. Following Creator’s law Indigenous Nations agreed they would share with the European Nations.
Regardless of Algonquin Anishinaabe participation at this event, for centuries afterwards British Canada ignored our endless petitions for land and resources. This went on for centuries as the Algonquin submitted over 28 petitions asking that our right to land and resources be respected as outlined during the 1764 Treaty of Niagara. Regardless of this long time heroic effort, members of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation were relegated to the margins when they were continually denied. Historical records expose that British Canada argued the Algonquin Anishinaabeg use and settlement made adjacent land undesirable for the arriving British settlers. Yes, that is right we were undesirable in the British eyes.
In 1853, through The Public Lands Act, our land was granted free to European settlers. Again in 1868, through The Free Grant and Homestead Act, our land was granted free to European settlers. The Algonquin, though, were not entitled. In the 1880s British Canada began criminalizing our culture, the very entity that made us human beings. Our ceremonies, dances, and methods of prayer were all criminalized. In 1927, Canada made it illegal for us to hire lawyers to carry our grievances for land and resources forward.
In 1864 the Algonquin living in Upper Canada were provided with one reserve where all further requests for land were then denied as we were told to go to the Golden Lake reserve. Of course many Algonquin opted to remain on their land where they existed long before European settlers arrived. Regardless of this effort to hold on, many Algonquin lost their land to European settlers when they followed natural law leaving the land in the winter to hunt, as well as when they could not pay the land taxes imposed on them as they remained within a subsistence versus the wage economy, or because they preferred to allow the animal beings to exist as the Creator intended them to be rather than farm the land as Europeans did. To further punish the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation we were also denied land and resources during the historic treaty process. It was in 1923 when Canada once again ignored our participation in the 1764 Treaty at Niagara when our land and resources were identified under the terms of the Williams Treaty, yet we were not present during the negotiation process.
As an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe I have asked myself many many times what is it about the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation? Why is it that successive generations of the Canadian government have continually denied and ignored our very existence? Yes, I agree all Indigenous Nations are being undermined and denied, but there is something special about the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation, so special in fact that Canada would not even negotiate with our ancestors during the historic treaty period, yet they clearly knew who we were. This practice of ignoring the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation was particularly perplexing for me in that we all know Canada’s parliament buildings reside on Algonquin Anishinaabe land. My experience as a Canadian was particularly disenfranchising. Things made no sense. As I spent time on my grandmother’s home reserve and experienced the atrocity of the conditions, I felt invisible. My Algonquin Anishinaabe reality, and how I felt about this reality, I thought must not be real, nor significant for anyone to care about.
After generations of Algonquin Anishinaabe petitions and only after we were in a particularly pitiful state of poverty and division, eventually Canada reluctantly entered into a land claims and self-government negotiations process with the Algonquin of Golden Lake, now Algonquin of Pikwàkanàgan First Nation. In this process only the Algonquin living in Ontario are involved where through this process all Indian status members, approximate 1800 members, are accepted as beneficiaries. So too are the approximately 6,000 non-status Algonquin accepted as beneficiaries. While currently many of the non-status Algonquin are being challenged, questioned, and denied the right to who they are, and thus the right to vote in the final ratification of the final settlement offer, and I feel the disenfranchisement that they must be experiencing, there is a bigger issue that needs to be realized. We cannot afford to think in a linear way, we must look more broadly at the offer on the table.
Through the two policies – the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy and the Inherent Rights Policy – that the Algonquin are negotiating under, and for that matter all Indigenous Nations in Canada, our jurisdiction, land, and land related rights are not protected but rather further denied and placed within the confines of a small b□x. Through these two policies Canada imposes on us what Canada thinks Indigenous Nations are entitled to: a very small percentage of our traditional territory and a one-time buy-out. Clearly 117,000 acres which merely amounts to 1.3% of our traditional territory and $300 000 000 is a bad deal. It certainly violates the agreement as codified in the three wampum belts exchanged during the 1764 Treaty of Niagara.
This pitiful settlement offer, where we are denied the very land and resources that would provide for our livelihoods as we define them to be, and for future generations of Algonquin as they define them to be, is indeed an act of genocide as defined by both Raphael Lemkin and the United Nations Declaration on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime Genocide. My Algonquin ancestors such as Rodney Gagnon, Viola Gagne, Joseph Gagnon, Annie Jane Meness, Angeline Jocko, Francis Meness, and Alphonse Dufont Jocko would be horrified with such an offer, so horrified in fact that they would paint their faces black, be idle no more, and stand with and behind Chief Theresa Spence.
Be sure I am not alone in making this argument. Many have made this argument before me. Don’t hate me because I am pointing out the error in the ways of so called Algonquin leadership sitting at the table and making a deal with the devil. And yes, I do appreciate their heads are in a vice. Regardless, it is a bad deal that will only lead to our demise. Vote “NO!” It is the only way.
Please, like, comment on, and share this Black Face blog.
12/16/2012 11:26:35 am
Banakonda Kennedy-Kish Bell
12/30/2012 11:45:31 am
Lets stop behaving as if they have the right and we don't. We have to stop believing in their way. There is no way of negotiating with the government. It will always be a lie. You can't make anything else out of a 'lie'. And you can't make theft any thing other than it is 'theft'. This 'deal' is theft, like all the other ones from the beginning. Not by accident, but on purpose, with intent and malice.
12/30/2012 01:51:46 pm
Miigwetch Banakonda. So true. Lynn
12/16/2012 11:54:43 am
The reason the Algonquin were excluded during the historic treaty negotiations was simple. It was not the fault of the Algonquin or the Canadian government. It was that if the Algonquin were present then a treaty with the Iroqouis would not have been possible. Or that is what traditional non native history has always held. It was due to historic fighting between the differnet nations that the decision was made to negotiate seperately in some cases.
12/17/2012 01:50:43 am
Tell me more Rodney.
12/17/2012 01:52:23 am
Do a Google search Steve and come back and let me know the pitiful details. After land and resources, though, not much else matters.
12/17/2012 04:29:19 am
As a young white person I want to apologize for the actions of my people. I am sorry we came here and refused to listen to you and to learn your understanding of how to be here in a good way. through our impatience and our dominance we not only submitted you to the pain of attempted cultural annihilation, but also have damaged ourselves and this beautiful land. I know this apology is very small but it is honest. I recognize that I am a guest here who needs to be taught to move through this land in a good way, and I want to ask for guidance. what do I do now to stop living the legacy of colonialism. How do I contribute in a good way to healing the damage my people have caused?
12/17/2012 04:56:27 am
Thank you Tim for your apology. You can take the time to learn about responsible allyship and move from this knowledge. Lynn
12/21/2012 06:09:44 am
Tim, your purity of spirit has moved me to tears. You personally have not done anything wrong (as many maintain) but you recognize the role we all play in contributing to the current problem. You've taught me so much and opened my heart with your words. I daresay any of my people reading this would be gladdened and fortified to be recognized within this light. I'm going to share a link to this and feature a screenshot of your words to show everyone what a real man is. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
12/27/2012 10:27:16 am
What an amazing heart & intelligent young man!! Harper could well use him as an example of what he should be doing!!! <3 Stay strong my friends!! Please continue to educate others as we all need that to assist in our understanding!! <3
12/27/2012 10:25:21 am
Well said young man!! Now you are showing intelligence & understanding that should have existed hundreds of years ago!! & that Harper definitely could take as an example!!!
12/28/2012 03:11:43 am
Please Tim join "Idle No More" Just be there in support. I am a white lady married to a Haida.
Bronwyn J Norris
12/28/2012 02:22:39 pm
Ditto Tim.. and I could not have Ever said it as eloquently :))
12/17/2012 10:12:31 am
algonquins should unite and bring together research...to have clarity and to move towards .TITLESHIP. I BELEIVE its the only way now.
12/19/2012 02:20:00 am
12/17/2012 10:15:39 am
i strongly believe that the algonquins should unite...and to share each other findings ...look at the legal issues and court cases...won and lost...not to negotiate for the lands...but to declare .Title ship to the territory.
12/18/2012 12:35:29 am
Louise you are exactly right, I think it is important to get some leadership from the territory known as Quebec to join in a news release from this side of our Nations main travel route.
12/27/2012 08:37:06 am
With great respect Grant, I suggest that your vision of unity needs to be enlarged to include also our Haudenosaunee cousins and our Metis relations as well. Either we learn to stick together or we will be destroyed individually. That was wise teaching from Tecumseh in 1811/12 and it is so appropriate two hundred years later. The betrayals of this land claim settlement are but another example of divide and conquer. I would say no to the offer for a long list of valid reasons - not the least of which is that the lands of my ancestors was not for sale in their time and should not be for sale now. Also, any agreement that does not include all 'Nish people is wrong minded... either ALL IN or ALL OUT.
Bronwyn J Norris
12/28/2012 03:01:03 pm
I agree with Lloyd.. I am NON anything
12/18/2012 05:35:42 am
I am a 61 year old disabled woman. With much time to think, study, and listen. I am presently convinced that there will not be any true justice for first nations people with the courts. All of our tax money is being spent tying things up in a legal battle and draining the first nations of their energy and resources. All white colonist everywhere should demand on every level of government that a solution be found now. Let us start by telling the truth in our history books. Let us apply a first nations tax on the municipal, provincial and federal level. This tax money is not restitution for the past but an attempt to create a fairer future. I have heard, usually from white folks that money is mishandled and there is corruption in the native communities. If that is true I wonder where they learned it from. I see nothing but self serving and corruption on all levels of government even in this "paradise" called Canada. With a steady source of income anyone can learn to handle their money in a way that helps them and their communities. We treat the poor in this same patronising way. We are so sure that they are poor because they are stupid and lazy that we hire social workers to look after their money. If the social workers fail then the court system, lawyers, judges and jails take over. Poor whites and first nation folks are the fodder for this pathetic system.
12/19/2012 02:21:46 am
Kwey Dawn, I agree that would be great. In the meanwhile you can always donate to a worthy Indigenous cause. Lynn
12/18/2012 01:45:44 pm
Hello I want to say thank you so much for the information my family on my biological fathers side is from the Mattawa Northbay Algonquin and as a very strong supporter of the idle no more movement I do not favor signing any treaty as I have seen far to much discrimination & assimilation to our ppl all over turtle island I support chief spence and my daughter organized a protest in Vancouver a week ago my daughter is Cowichan and Algonquin but I also have lived as non status all my life and I am fifty one I want my children and my grand children to have what is ours I believe it's time for us to evict the Canadian govt from our historical lands
12/19/2012 02:23:57 am
Kwey John, They are not treaties - they are land claim settlements. A treaty is much different. I too am a non-status Algonquin. Miigwetch for you comments. Lynn
1/9/2013 03:57:32 am
Kwey Lynn thank you for correcting me I am apposed to the land claim and selling off our traditional lands to much has been taken already illegally also the disenfranchisement is a great problem would like to know what the federal court ruling that was made on Jan 8th means to us now I have proven my ancestry as Algonquin and will continue to fight for the rights of our people
12/18/2012 09:44:09 pm
I am of Algonquin lineage and have given up trying to be acknowledged as Metis will not accept me nor can I get my Algonquin status even though cousins of mine have it. I live in Manitoba and I guess I am white because no one else accepts me or my siblings. All aboriginals need to come together as one whether Metis, Algonquin, Cree, and so on we need to all stand together and get our right back until that happens the Canadian Government will keep walking over us.
12/19/2012 02:26:37 am
Kwey Pauline, I am a non-status person too - but I am not a white person. Please consider getting your traditional name. It may be useful in addressing any disenfranchisement you feel. Addressing heart knowledge is important work. Lynn
12/30/2012 02:21:34 am
I am also a non statues person, and no government needs to tell me how to be an aboriginal. There is a movement of reclaimers who have struggled with identity in a white colonial society and the effects of assimilation. We must claim our roots and connect with our herstories. And not enable the genocide of our people.
1/10/2013 01:59:20 am
Thank you Lynn. Question I have is how can I find out my Algonquin name as I have always gone by Pauline.
10/23/2016 06:14:44 pm
kwey Pauline. You must be one of my wife's cousins. I had a conversation with Chief Clifford of North Bay in 2014 and the situation is still the same. He told me my wife's documentation was correct but he wouldn't sign the paperwork because it would hamper negotiations.All she wanted was to link up with the Leroux clan.
11/6/2016 12:27:00 pm
kwey Jack B. That would be cool if your wife and I are related would be nice to find more Leroux's. it is to bad my father passed away in 2011.
12/20/2012 06:08:15 am
I have been away from the internet and try to stay caught up on reading this blog. I think it is really important that we keep educating each other and sharing our knowledge. Together we know a lot. And it also great when we can add to each others knowledge and even correct each other from time to time. The Algonquin land claim is definitely not a treaty in anyway we might understand a treaty. The comprehensive claim policy was created without Aboriginal consult well before Canada even signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples so I am certain it would not measure up to that litmus test on many many counts. My father put is quite succinctly and I do not want to reduce this to a simple assessment of the material because it is some much more than that but consider this. There is ranch privately owned in BC that is 600,000 acres and the Algonquin AIP is suggesting 117,000 to be purchased from Who? The Algonquins are deemed to hold original title. Alice definitely fell down the rabbit hole and is negotiating through the looking glass.
12/20/2012 06:51:37 am
Miigwetch Hather for sharing. You dad is a smart man. Lynn
12/21/2012 10:01:24 pm
It is very sad to have Algonquins choose between relatives, land and money.. If ALL Algonquins choose to unite there would be a much better outcome. By allowing a white government to decide WHO is Algonquin by virtue of the I.A. ,so called status Indians are doing the white governments' dirty work, i.e. genocide... It shows what Colonialism has done to us.
12/27/2012 11:46:28 am
Kwey Alfred, While I agree the status and non-status are divided, I do not think our unification will resolve the lack of political will on the part of the Government of Canada. It is clear they have no desire to fulfill a treaty relationship with Indigenous people. Lynn
12/29/2012 11:55:09 am
I understand the lack of political will is a problem, but it is a collective one. That is to say, one must understand that in this case, any status conferred by the Federal Government discounts those who wear it as merit instead of what it really is,.. trickery.
12/23/2012 03:14:48 am
The common law of aboriginal rights was decided in cases that we did not have involvement. That, " By force of the Proclamation, the tenure of the Indians is a personal usurfructory right dependent upon the Goodwill of the Crown" is Repugnant to English Law.
12/27/2012 11:51:07 am
Kwey Micheal, While I am no lawyer I understand my rights as an Indigenous person not through a narrow interpretation of the 1763 Royal Proclamation. The Wampum Belts exchanged at Niagara in 1764 codify an Indigenous understanding of the Royal Proclamation. The Royal Proclamation is written in fork tongue discourse. Lynn
12/27/2012 01:38:59 am
I believe that with this Land Claim settlement...the only people who win will be the government. Natives are going to loose everything and the 300,000,000 will all land back in the government hands anyways. Natives will have to pay land taxes, medical and dental, education, etc.. So how long will it take for the government to get the money back? Not too long. So if the native community takes this deal they really get nothing. How is this fair?
12/27/2012 11:52:27 am
Shirley, You are so right it is not fair - it is colonial. Lynn
12/27/2012 01:53:31 am
at community meetings the lanclaim lawyers told the membership that this is canada's only offer...why are we being offered 1.3 % of the land which we still own and never surrendered? this to me is very upsetting as the land being offered are nothing more than little specks on a map. Without a solid land base the algonquin nation can never rebuild as a nation.How can we have self government with our own land base? I think the elected ANR's have totally dropped the ball on this landclaim and are just happy with the cheques they receive for their role in this fraud that the don't see the "big picture" of what this deal will do to our nation..
12/27/2012 11:54:52 am
Kwey John, Yes I agree and have to ask, why did it take so long to table such a crappy deal? The answer, the government had to manufacture consent. It is awful all the way around. Lynn
12/27/2012 02:03:43 am
I have stated this before elsewhere online but thought I'd share here too....
12/27/2012 11:56:55 am
Mike, We need to understand the differences between consultations and collaboration too. Lynn
12/27/2012 03:49:20 am
Thanks Lynn for the historical context. I would agree with the view that the agreement looks to be unacceptable. What would an agreement that would be acceptable look like
12/27/2012 11:57:57 am
Tom, How about equality - ? Lynn
12/30/2012 10:26:06 am
I agree that would be great. I wish it were that easy. History tells us it is not. . I suppose he only people who will know the answer to the question are those in the negotiation. I hope they are the people with both moral and formal authority. May this matter also be assisted with Harper meeting Chief Spence.
12/27/2012 07:16:27 am
They have divided everyone, this is what colonialists and especially capitalists do (but really, two words for the same thing/process). They also did it to the population of Québec. There was no such opposition between French and English before the 1960s. Wolfred Nelson was a Patriot(e) who revolted against British power.
12/27/2012 07:42:20 am
You should not, must not and cannot sell your Mother Earth to be raped, sliced, torn, dissected, while she provides life force to all upon her, and is living or other. The Great Spirits gave us a duty to protect her, not sell her, bargain with her, if any Tribes do so, will be punished. Do not sell your mother earth out of fear and security, you will not deserve any of these things, from Mother earth and our Great Creator & Spirits.
12/27/2012 12:00:35 pm
Thunderbird, I hope others read and listen to your words of wisdom. Lynn
12/28/2012 02:17:38 am
Lynn I often read your blog. What would be the ideal situation or outcome?
12/28/2012 06:45:11 am
Lynn, this is a powerful history lesson that needs to be shared, read and re-read ! Thank you for providing this blog so that those who are living in ignorance have the opportunity to change.
12/28/2012 09:11:41 am
Kwey Robert, Miigwetch. It was hard for me to pull the knowledge together in such a short and pithy way. Lynn
1/2/2013 04:59:05 am
Rob hit the nail on the head.
12/29/2012 03:34:19 pm
This article (linked below re: leaked documents that Harper has been surveilling the First Nations) has been circulating around. I find it provides an interesting piece to the Indigenous rights movement that has been gaining momentum and global support. If Harper began surveillance of First Nations in 2006, it was either pre-emeptive in that he had already had an agenda to further erode indigenous rights and land claims and was putting colonial control mechanisms in place to anticipate the backlash, or it was a reaction out of "terrorist" paranoia and an excuse to begin introducing draconian martial law legislation against anyone or group that fall outside his grand vision. That would include the Indigenous, the environmentalists, the activists opposing the ongoing rape and pillage of the land and resources and the theft and sale of Indigenous land to foreigners and corporations. I pray the Algonquin will unite and tell Harper to shove his settlement money. Your history and your future is in the land. If you settle, you lose both and genocide is completed. Please fight back. Allies are with you. http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4066
1/2/2013 05:00:17 am
That Raphael Lemkin was a clever dude.
1/6/2013 10:42:53 pm
I am a settler with family history in the Kiji Sibi since the mid-1800s. Chi meegwetch and thank you Dr. Gehl for this article as well as your excellent Ally Bill of Responsibilities. They are timely and informative, and ought to be shared widely.
1/11/2013 04:08:39 pm
As the elders before me..said..this anishnabe lland...you must never surrender this land....it gives you life and purpose to exsist....teach your children this....go to school learn from them....know there ways..but never forget that land gives life...
1/13/2013 01:05:51 am
Excellent article, Lynn. After reading, it sounds like the
7/26/2013 08:38:51 am
How can you negotiate with an institution that assumes ownership of something that cannot be owned?
Dear Lynn, thank you for your blog.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
To subscribe to Lynn's Blog: click here
To subscribe to Lynn's Newsletter: click here
To follow Lynn on her Public Facebook Page: click here
To subscribe to Lynn's YouTube channel: click here
To book Lynn as a speaker: click here
To contact Lynn: click here
Copyright Dr. Lynn Gehl, All Rights Reserved