KAIROS’ reconciliation event scheduled for May 29 – June 3 is on Algonquin Traditional territory yet the event avoids addressing what the Algonquin in Ontario are facing: A land claims process that forces us to extinguish/relinquish our land and resource rights, the very land and resources needed to re-build Indigenous structures of health care, education, and a legal system that speaks to who we are and thus our ability to live a good life.
Disenfranchising the Algonquin Anishinaabeg in Ontario in this way should be unacceptable. Canadians, settler people, descendants of settler people, and new immigrant people really need to think critically about who they are allied with when it comes to the matter of reconciliation.
I offer here 5 short articles to learn more. People genuinely interested in learning more about the limitations of reconciliation can also purchase The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin on the Algonquin Land Claims Process at this link: http://www.lynngehl.com/2-truth-that-wampum-tells.html
1. The heart break of Algonquin genocide
“The Algonquin bands located on both sides of the river were some of the first Nations recorded by Champlain so you can be sure that the French and British knew full well who we were. During European struggles for new land the Algonquin Anishinaabeg were allies with the French. For this, we were severely punished when the British eventually took over.” http://rabble.ca/news/2013/03/heart-break-algonquin-genocide
2. Far From the Reconciliation I had in Mind
“This is how the Canadian government works, by manufacturing Indigenous complicity in their termination. This is hardly reconciliation or anything to be proud of. The Algonquin are far better off as a Nation without a land claims settlement.” http://www.lynngehl.com/black-face-blogging/far-from-the-reconciliation-i-had-in-mind-canada
3. Canada’s interim Comprehensive Land Claims Policy is no more than colonial policy
“On the matter of certainty, Canada’s continued emphasis on extinguishment is not acceptable. On the matter of loan funding, it remains that Canada will only enter into negotiations on the basis of loans which provides an unfair advantage because negotiations drag on to the point that First Nations become mired in debt.” http://anishinabeknews.ca/2014/11/27/algonquin-chiefs-say-tsilhqotin-supreme-court-decision-is-no-more-than-colonial-policy/
4. First Nations finance their own demise through land claims process
“Canada the dominator had to do something with the original inhabitants of the land that it wanted, so settlers from afar were shipped over the ocean blue to crowd out the Algonquin and thus our rights to land and resources. A series of policies and laws were instituted to displace and dispose of our ancestors, who never made treaty with the Canadian nation-state.” https://ricochet.media/en/318/first-nations-finance-their-own-demise-through-land-claims-process
5. Stephen Harper Speaks in Fork Tongue: Elijah Harper’s Thoughts on the Apology
“In sum, oratory and practices/rituals did not harmonize and inform one another as they should have during Stephen Harper’s apology and in this way fork tongue discourse is alive and well in the Harper government, rather than being a colonial strategy of the past.” http://www.lynngehl.com/black-face-blogging/stephen-harper-speaks-in-fork-tongue-elijah-harpers-thoughts-on-the-apology
It was clear to me that Elijah was arguing Indigenous Nations are entitled to our rightful share of the wealth of our resources of our land.
Note: If there is a typo, grammatical error, or sentence structure error in my work and it is offending you greatly to the point that you are tempted to dismiss my knowledge offered and possibly even begin to poke at my education, please take the time to remind yourself not to be an ableist when reading about issues of colonization and structural oppression. Also keep in mind that inherent in ableism is both sexism and racism. Adopting an intersectional framework is a best practice approach when reading and learning. That said, please do not hesitate to report an error as this is always valued. Chi-Miigwetch
Lynn Gehl, Ph.D. is an Algonquin Anishinaabe-kwe from the Ottawa River Valley. She has a section 15 Charter challenge regarding the continued sex discrimination in The Indian Act, and is an outspoken critic of the Ontario Algonquin land claims and self-government process. She has three books: Anishinaabeg Stories: Featuring Petroglyphs, Petrographs, and Wampum Belts, The Truth that Wampum Tells: My Debwewin of the Algonquin Land Claims Process, and Mkadengwe: Sharing Canada's Colonial Process through Black Face Methodology. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see more of her work at www.lynngehl.com.