To the Editor,
Re: First Nations chiefs prepare city, province to talk treaties, April 7.
I agree with Vancouver Island University president Ralph Nilson in that, “It’s important in any of these kinds of dialogues that there be information, education, etc”.
We need more information on the many native treaties we keep hearing so much about, especially on their validity.
Hopefully, VIU’s Aboriginal Speaking Series won’t just produce a lot of politically correct commiseration, which only serves to perpetuate a victim mentality among natives.
I would suggest some expert legal input to this series. Preferably, a panel of judges who could thoroughly analyze all of the treaties to determine their validity. Then determine how much would be offset by the hundreds of billions of dollars given over the decades to the Assembly of First Nations to provide for native programs – tax dollars that the federal auditor general still has no authority to audit.
There is no denying that native land claims need to be settled, but in B.C., the claims are twice the size of the provincial land mass, so need some weeding out.
I’ve read of a Specific Claims Tribunal comprised of six judges for faster, binding settlements, but so far it appears the only ones getting rich are lawyers and consultants.
Once claims are settled, however, we should devote our ‘speaking’ efforts to native independence.
AFN national Chief Shawn Atleo has some very good intentions, but can he gain a consensus from more than 600 other AFN chiefs, some inclined to be militant, and many not willing to give up power and wealth created under the current system? Lots of luck.