Celebrate the Arrival of MARCHE AMUN / AMUN MARCH

Update: check the link here - http://picasaweb.google.com/peiju.wang/MarcheAMUNByNikGehl# to see photos from the feast and rally by Nik Gehl

On June 1, 2010, after nearly one month of walking, the AMUN March will arrive on Parliament Hill to draw attention to ongoing legislative sexism in the Indian Act, and to call people of conscience to join the struggle against it.

AMUN March kicked off its 500 km march from Wendake, QC to the Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 4, 2010 to pursue the fight that was undertaken by Sharon McIvor (see Sharon McIvor’s fight for gender equality in the Indian Act), and to request that the Canadian Government resolve the injustices created by the Indian Act.  The Government of Canada introduced Bill C-3 to bolster gender equity in the registration provisions of the Act.  However, this Bill is just another continued failed remedial legislation, it partially corrects discriminatory aspects of the Indian Act registration rules (See Sexist Bill C-3 is racist and fatally flawed).

Furthermore, the government of Canada failed to consult with Indigenous Peoples and accommodate their concerns prior to introducing Bill C-3, which violates Section 35 of Canadian Constitution Act of 1982.  Not only Bill C-3 does not end discrimination against Indigenous women and their descendants, it also does not address the underlying issue of the Indian Act – categorization of Indian status.  If Canada is SINCERE in its promise of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples following the Apology of June 11 2008 and in the recent Throne speech, Canada must recognize and respect the INHERENT RIGHT of Indigenous peoples to govern themselves, to define who can be a citizen of their nation.

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa is one of many groups, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and Québec Native Women Inc., calling allies to come out and greet the march as it arrives on Parliament Hill.

Community Feast to Welcome AMUN March

L to R: Vivane Michele, Danielle Guay, Sharon McIvor, and Michèle Audette with her son Yocoisse Sioui. Photographer Gwen Brodsky

6 PM Monday, May 31, 2010
Odawa Friendship Centre, 12 Stirling Ave.  Ottawa, Algonquin Territory
Everyone is Welcome to the fest!

Opening ceremony by Elder Annie St. Georges

Speakers:
Michèle Audette and Viviane Michel, Marche Amun Organizers,
Sharon McIvor,
Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, and
Lynn Gehl, Giizhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe, Makinag Ndoo-dem

Rally & Press Conference

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

11:45 AM   Victoria Island
(end of Middle Street, off Chaudière Bridge, follow signs for “Aboriginal Experiences”)
EVERYONE IS WELCOME

12 PM    Welcome
Jeanette Corbiere Lavell, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada
Michèle Audette and Viviane Michel, Marche Amun Organizers
Sharon McIvor, McIvor v. Canada
Dawn Harvard, President of the Ontario Native Women’s Association
Kathleen McHugh, Women’s Council Chair of the Assembly of First Nations

12:45    Closing

1-1:30 PM    Press Conference (Charles Lynch Room, 130S, Centre Block) ALL MEDIA WELCOME

Further Information

What to do:

Write to you MP and the key politicians below about your opposition to Bill C-3:

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Chuck Strahl;
Opposition party leaders: Duceppe, Ignatieff and Layton;
Members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs: Bruce Stanton, Rick Clarke, LaVar Payne, John Duncan, Earl Dreeshen, Greg RickfordAnita Neville, Todd Russell, Larry Bagnell (Liberals); Jean Crowder, Carol Hughes (NDP); Marc LeMay and Yvon Levesque (BQ).

BACKGROUND

The Federal Government had until April 6th, 2010 to amend the Indian Act, but requested the Court of Appeal of British Columbia an extension till July 5th, 2010. It must act. The Indian Act discriminates and marginalizes the Native Peoples since 1876. Ms Sharon McIvor, a Native woman from British Columbia, questioned in Court one of the discriminatory outcomes of this Act, that is the impossibility for a Mother to hand down the Native status to her grand-children when the father of the children is not Native, when this right is recognized for Native fathers in the same situation. It is thanks to 25 years of legal procedures that things will change.

However, the women will go on being subjected to discrimination in such domains as:

  • The Right to Indian status for themselves and their children (abolish categories)
  • The Right of Membership to the Band for themselves and their children;
  • Registration of children whose paternity is questioned or not recognized;
  • The Right to live in the reserve for themselves, their spouse and their children;
  • The clause on distribution of lands and services on the reserve;
  • Property division following a breach/break-up in the relationship;
  • The Right of Ottawa to determine who is Native

Through history, discrimination founded on sex towards women of First Nations becomes official as soon as 1868, legislative measures then enacting that the Indian status could be handed down only by men. A man who married a non-Native kept his Indian status conferred by the Indian Act, his wife and their children became Indians according to the Law. A woman from a First Nation who married a non-Native or a non-registered Indian lost her aboriginal and treaty rights, as did her children. In the Indian Act jargon, she lost her status.

It is to continue the struggle undertaken by Ms McIvor and request the Canadian Government to settle these injustices of the Indian Act that the AMUN March is held.

Francais

Le gouvernement fédéral avait jusqu’au 6 avril 2010 pour modifier la Loi sur les Indiens, mais a demandé une extension jusqu’au 5 juillet 2010 à la Cour d’appel de Colombie- Britannique. Il doit agir. La Loi sur les Indiens discrimine et marginalise les peuples autochtones depuis 1876. C’est ce qu’a décidé la Cour dans la cause de Mme Sharon McIvor, femme autochtone de la Colombie-Britannique qui a contesté l’un des effets discriminatoires de cette loi, soit l’impossibilité pour une mère de transmettre le statut autochtone à ses petits-enfants lorsque le père des enfants n’est pas autochtone, alors que ce droit est reconnu pour les pères autochtones dans la même situation. C’est grâce à plus de 25 ans de démarches légales que les choses vont changer.

Toutefois, les femmes continuent de subir la discrimination de la Loi sur les Indiens dans les domaines tels que:

  • Le droit au statut indien pour elles-mêmes et leurs enfants (abolition des catégories);
  • Le droit à l’appartenance à la bande pour elles-mêmes et leurs enfants;
  • L’inscription d’enfants dont la paternité est contestée ou non reconnue;
  • Le droit à résider dans la réserve pour elles-mêmes, leur conjoint et leurs enfants;
  • La clause de distribution de terrains et de services dans la réserve;
  • Le partage des biens suite à la rupture de la relation,
  • Le refus d’ajouter des nouveaux argents pour les nouvelles inscriptions,
  • Le droit exclusif d’Ottawa de déterminer qui est indien.

Dans l’histoire, la discrimination fondée sur le sexe à l’égard des femmes des Premières Nations devient officielle dès 1868, des mesures législatives décrétant alors que le statut d’Indien ne pouvait être transmis que par les hommes. Un homme qui mariait une nonautochtone conservait son statut d’indien conféré par la Loi sur les Indiens, sa femme et leurs enfants devenaient indiens au sens de la Loi. Une femme des PN qui mariait un non-autochtone ou un Indien non-inscrit perdait ses droits ancestraux et issus de traités, tout comme ses enfants! Dans le jargon de la Loi sur les Indiens, elle perdait son statut.

C’est pour continuer la lutte entreprise par Mme McIvor et demander au gouvernement canadien de régler ces injustices dans la Loi sur les Indiens que la Marche Amun aura lieu.

Press release: Barriere Lake governance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Canada seeks to unconstitutionally abolish Algonquin’s customary government to avoid honouring agreements and recognizing legitimate leadership

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory:– On Friday, October 30, 2009, Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl sent notice to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake that he will not recognize their legitimate leadership, but instead impose elections on the community in April, 2010 by invoking a section of the Indian Act that would abolish the customary method they use to select their leaders.

The attempt at assimilation would be a violation of Barriere Lake’s constitutionally-protected Aboriginal right to their customary system of government.

“The Canadian government doesn’t want to deal with our Customary Chief and Council because we are demanding that the federal and Quebec governments implement agreements they signed with us regarding the exploitation of our lands and resources. So rather than recognize me, they want to do away with our customary system of government by which I was selected,” says Jean Maurice Matchewan, Customary Chief of Barriere Lake. “And while they are not recognizing our community’s legitimate leadership, Quebec has been taking advantage by illegally allowing forestry companies to clear-cut our forests in violation of our Trilateral agreement.”

Documents released under court-order indicate the Government of Canada was invested in quashing the precedent-setting Trilateral agreement, signed with Barriere Lake in 1991, and undermining Barriere Lake’s legitimate Customary Chief and Council.[1]

Jean Maurice Matchewan was reselected as Customary Chief on June 24, 2009, but the Government of Canada has refused to answer six consecutive letters sent by Barriere Lake’s lawyers, the last on Thursday, October 29, requesting that the Government recognize this result. The June leadership selection process was facilitated by Keith Penner, a former Member of Parliament who chaired the Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government in 1983 that culminated in the historic Penner Report on Indian First Nations Self-Government. Penner concluded that Matchewan and his Council “followed and adhered to in each and every respect” Barriere Lake’s Customary Governance Code and are the “the legitimate and properly constituted leaders,” a result which should clear up confusion about the identity of Barriere Lake’s legitimate Customary Chief and Council.[2]

At a Federal Court hearing on September 24, 2009, Prothontary Tabib urged the Minister, in light of the new leadership selection, to withdraw his recognition of Casey Ratt, whom the Minister has been dealing with as Chief since March 2008.  This could allow the claims to leadership to be resolved through the Courts. Rather than recognize the June leadership selection or take direction from the Courts. Minister Strahl has decided to impose elections on Barriere Lake, alleging the community is “lacking the political will and the governance tools to resolve this matter” of their leadership selection.

“We already have a Customary Governance Code, which would work well if it were not for the internal interference of the Government of Canada. First the Government of Canada recognized and worked with a minority faction which didn’t respect our Customary Governance Code, in order to derail our signed agreements. Now that we have the Government backed into a corner because of our legal challenges and the recent leadership selection process, which was documented by credible witnesses, they are trying to win some more time by attacking our customs,” says Customary Chief Matchewan.

Section 74 of the Indian Act states that the Minister of Indian Affairs can impose an electoral system on First Nations with customary leadership selection processes. But Barriere Lake’s Customary governance code is recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, and the Minister is therefore prevented from changing their customary system of government.

Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral Agreement in 1998, but has stalled implementation despite the 2006 recommendations of two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, that the agreement be implemented. The 2006 recommendations include forest plans to harmonize logging operations with the Algonquin’s land use and revenue-sharing to give the Algonquins a $1.5 million share of the $100 million in resource revenue that comes out of their territory every year.

The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, a Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to support Chief Matchewan.

– 30 –

Media contacts:
Jean Maurice Matchewan, Customary Chief of Barriere Lake: 819-435-2136

Notes
[1] http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com/2009/08/another-smoking-gun-top-diplomats.html
[2] http://ia341334.us.archive.org/0/items/2009-06-24AblPennerLeadershipReport_695/2009-06-24AblLeadershipReport.pdf