title graphic


Decolonizing Justice and Sovereignty:

The Impact, Implication, and Issues for WABANAKI Nations regarding the "canadian/united states" Border and the Misapplication of "canadian" Immigration Law to WABANAKI Nationals 1

* * *

Statement by gkisedtanamoogk of the WABANAKI Nations
Cultural Resource Center and MIINGIGNOTI-KETEAOAG


The relationship between immigrant "north america" and the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island, specifically that of "canada" and the WABANAKI, is a political one. Furthermore, these current issues are an extension of the pernicious and historical nature of invasion, occupation, settlement, and colonization of Turtle Island by europeans. My Family and Nations are systemically confronted by a legacy of foreign aggression and injustice intentionally directed to all that is meaningful to the Spiritual/political foundation and Life of WABANAKI People. The process for resolving these matters comes as a personal initiative, but is not an exclusive search for meaningful and lasting justice. Because the ramifications of success or failure will impact on the Confederacies, Nations, Communities and Families of the WABANAKI, the input, decisions, strategies, work, must be open and inclusive of as many of the People, both Immigrant and Indigenous, as can be enlisted.

One of the most important/pertinent questions needing fundamental analysis addresses the history in "north america". How can Indigenous and Immigrant people proceed to peaceably live, acquire real mutual respect and find justice on a common territory? The actual process of deprivation and usurpation of territories and lives of Indigenous States, begs the question of the permissable and judicious rise of colonial foreign powers on the lands of Indigenous Peoples. Over 500 years, such issues, attending this kind of process, has yet to be addressed, much less resolved. All that has been seen and experienced thus far, is a consistency of patterns that suggests that "might makes right"...that "white is right"...that brutality, force, intimidation, the threat to use force is legitimate in order to serve greedy self-serving ends; that truth, honour, integrity are non-essential and unvalued in any official, legal and less, moral, capacity; that destruction of land, air, water, of the life-giving elements of Creation, of Indigenous People's Homes, dreams, realities is a justifiable end to suit ideologic needs, particularly for economic prosperity; that coveting another person's property/possessions is legimized under manifest destiny.... Examining the true resultant consequences of these continuing circumstances, relationships, activity of colonialism guiding Life over the past five centuries on this Turtle Island, is simply not acceptable on any level. Tremendous harm and destruction has called forth total healing for all Living Beings. Realistic life-ways, we have concluded, must yet be founded on the unconditional love and respect for the Living and the dead, one that is free from abusive, narrow-minded, single-dimensional lines of authority that has fuelled and perpetuated the most perplexing calamity on WABANAKI Life. The resolve is simple, but is made complex by obstructive colonial authoritarians and mind-sets bent on maintaining their status quo formula for hoarding power/control over the masses of Life. This simple resolve requires commitment and will to activate realistic and meaningful solutions.

There has yet to be fairness and justice for WABANAKI and Aboriginal People throughout Turtle Island ( "north america" ). Western colonial establishments administratively, judicially, and legislatively inflict on-going continuances of gross injustices, that without proper foundations, illegally extend their jurisdiction beyond the rule of law simply on the merit of cultural bias and misguided, if not racist, notions of the superiority of western civilization. Clearly, these injustices are abusive, enabling patterns of an intense and violent nature of usurpation and violation as secretive but legal processes; these must end. The manner and style of such patterns have evolved from outright genocide to its more subtle forms, the trivialization and intimidation of WABANAKI/Indigenous people, masquerading in the form of citizenship, integration, assimilation into western societies. The mis-authorized, forced, and undesired inclusions of WABANAKI Peoples into such western socialistic schemes have justified the alienation and usurpation of both the inherent authorities of WABANAKI governance and original jurisdiction. The restriction/denial, for instance, placed against WABANAKI inherent responsibilities/rights to implement sovereignty and self-determination, to process original jurisdiction over WABANAKI Nationals and to protect territorial integrity, is also the denial of the rule of law and due process. Through the unilateral extension of "north american" federal, provincial, municipal law and policy, often accommodated with the use of force (both the police and the military have, throughout history, been required to enforce such measures against Indigenous Nations and Peoples), WABANAKI People exercising the full responsibilities/rights to own our own territories and to exercise our own sovereignty, jurisdiction and world-view/self-determination, becomes regarded as criminal acts, terrorism and/or subversion. All that makes for the very basis of our fundamental existence, becomes a formidable aspect to this issue of freedom of movement, borders and its impact on WABANAKI lives and rights.

The impact of this issue however, reaches far beyond the simple free movement to cross an illegal intrusion, in the guise of an international border, but is the consequential separation and termination of WABANAKI Families. Incorporating the wholesale usurpation, denial, and trivialization of a people's cultural, political, spiritual, territorial integrity and inherent rights, this issue most importantly extends to the contravention of the rule of law. This violation includes the customary law, traditions and treaties of the WABANAKI, impedes the application of international law and human rights treaties, and suspends constitutional obligations, safeguards, and requirements of government responsibilities, particularly the fiduciary obligations arising from nation-to-nation protocol of First Nations treaties. The colonial states of the "united states" and of "canada" have risen from the illegal occupation and confiscation of WABANAKI /Indigenous territories, the denial to WABANAKI original jurisdiction, and the subterfuge of the rule of law.

To explain such fundamental difference of world-view and reality between First Nations and "north american" nation-states is adversely tantamount to acknowledging, by reference, the existence of "north america". The colonial occupation is commonly accepted as something that is assumed to be legitimate. The current and historic occupation of Indigenous/WABANAKI Territories by the "north american colonial states" is not legitimate and neither is the authority to dispossess, destroy, divest, extinguish, exploit WABANAKI/Indigenous People of possession of territories and Way of Life. The presence and application of the international border to WABANAKI and other Indigenous Nationals, is an assault and offence to the history, dignity and Honor of, not only our Nations and Homelands, but to all Peoples and Nations. The systemic ruthless violation of one nation's integrity and will to maintain itself, by an aggressor, must compel all other nations to act decisively against the aggressor, no matter who that aggressor may be! All People of the Earth are part of an inclusive Family; the crisis created by unprovoked aggressive acts of one befalls all. Accordingly to the rule of law, the continued presence of these "north american" entities in WABANAKI territories, is one of DE FACTO occupation and usurpation. This occupation is completely illegal according to the conscience and heart of humanity, that is often expressed in various doctrines and sources of the rule of law.

Existence and Reality in WABANAKI World-View

The World-view of the WABANAKI Ancestral Elders, teaches us today, the Understanding that the WABANAKI are, at all times, intimately connected to the Earth and Life, both from within and throughout Creation; we embody our Spirituality as our Way of Life. We are, therefore, Family to All Living Beings. Our existence is the evidence of the Natural World, the presence of the Cosmos, and flowing through our Bodies, Spirits, and Intellect, is the Power of the Universe, the Life Principal we acknowledge as the Great Creator, ETJINISGAM/KI'E'TAN. In this context, all human Beings share this reality, but it is Indigenous People who have not forgotten and continue to strive for this perfection. This is the nature of both the historical and contemporary confrontations between western authorities and Indigneous Nations; the Heart of all our struggles.

We are established in Oneness with this Principal of Life and accordingly, we have become the sum total of the Earth, Sky, Waters and Spirit. Our experiences are in Holistic continuity of the Life throughout the Ages of Creation, its experiential Knowledge and Wisdom, and the Truth and Reality of all that Was and Will Be, reaches inclusively to our Ancestors and on towards the Generations of the Yet-To-Be-Born. The tasks and struggles to fulfill our responsibilities of our Ways of Life, considers the Integrity, Strength, Commitment, Truth, of our Ancestors. Guiding our Way through our deliberations and thoughts, is the proportionate ratio to the cause and effects of our conduct and decision-making impacting on the Wellness and Well-Being of our Great extend Family of the Creation, embracing all Generations of the Yet-To-Be-Born.

ETJINISGAM/KI'E'TAN, the Great Creator, provided for the Life of the WABANAKI. The Creator founded our lives upon these cosmic principals that would guide our Peoples to Wellness and Well-Being. We have acknowledged these principals as the CREATOR Laws, commonly known as the Original Instructions. Since Time Immemorial, we have always struggled and strived to maintain and keep these Laws to accomplish the purpose of our Being; endlessly in committment from Generations to Generations. The Creator Laws are embedded in our traditional Ways of Life; they become our Customs; they manifest in our Ceremonies; our Spirituality is our Life and the foundation and source of our sovereignty, protection, defence, polity, and reality. WABANAKI Spirituality directs synchronization of movement and voice represented and contained in our Songs and Dances. The Harmonic, Balanced Rhythm of Natural Cycles have established the integral Oneness we value and hold for all Living Beings. This is expressed in our Teachings of Respect and the need to Honour Life. Such foundations have evolved in the natural, inherent ways we think, the manner in which we live, work, and play and the ways we have chosen to make our decisions. Through our Spirituality, we have come to understand who we are, what we are, where we are, and why we are.

Since the occupation of our Homelands and Territoires by europeans, and now their predessors, the "euro-north americans", our life has been one of incessant struggle to keep the integrity of our way of life and connection to our Homelands as we have had since time immemorial. We are in virtual conflict both from internal sources, of our own people who have been throughly convinced through "euro-americn" indoctrination, that colonial european and subsequent "north american" colonization, its oppression and their near destruction of our life and lifeways, are unfortunate but "now we have to move on and accept our rightful place in american socieity." The other source is, of course, the pattern of ruthless exproriation and exploitation of WABANAKI Life and Lands by "north american" church, state, and transnational-corporations.

To exacerbate these conditions even further, some of our people have been bought, educated, and sold the "american" dream. Bogus tribal authorities have been set-in-place to give the appearence of legitimate representatives to people who are not familiar to Indigenous life. These phony regimes are agents of repression implementing "north american" federal governmental laws and policies against their own peoples. These federal government chiefs and councils are financied at the cost and expense to both WABANAKI and "north american" societies. Thus rather than questioning the legitiamcy of federal appropriation of our orignal government strucutres and systems, these federal chiefs and councils question the legitimacy of their own culture and people who are struggling to keep and maintain their People's sovereignty and self-determination. Although band councils have often declined support for and /or obstructed the work of independant community organizations, holding community meetings and, especially establishing consultations with community members over matters that impact on their lives, responsibilities, and rights, the resolve to these extenuating and disturbing circumstances is to continue developing working relationships with and accountablities of this "leadership". Organizing local community-based support for one another solidifies Families, Culture, and Destiny common to all human Beings seeking Well-Being and furthers/accomodates the successful conclusion to real and potential issues.

The Issues

While most citizens of "north america" rarely give much notice to the international border, its presence has continually wrought havoc and turmoil for WABANAKI Peoples and Nations. Stemming from the border, issues of sovereignty, territorial integrity, immigration, citizenship, unilateral violations of treaties, circumvention of intentional law, the rejection and denial of commitments made to our PEOPLES through federal fudiciary obligations to our Nations, are some of the more serious implications bound by this issue. These are all needless Problems, but have beset and inflicted conditions of tremendous physical, spiritual, emotional harm and psychological distress upon WABANAKI nationals. i say needless because the rule of law, if having been observed and implemented, foremostly would have made such indignities and illegalities non-existent. This rule of law is embedded in the depth, and source found in WABANAKI traditional, customary/spiritual laws and treaties, in international law, and in the supremacy clauses and body of "north american" constitutional law. All these sources of the rule of law have immediate presence and bearing on the rights and issues directly effecting WABANAKI/Indigenous Peoples simultaneously; particularly in this instance.

Again, the border not only separates "canada" from the"united states", but also creates the separation, alienation, and termination of our WABANAKI Families and territories from one another. From the beginning, the border represents a division of WABANAKI territory that has never been wanted nor agreed to by WABANAKI Peoples. This unauthorized division of our territories is tantamount to acts of unprovoked aggression against a peaceful people. Since colonial times, the WABANAKI have had no armies. We have never had a police force that had to enforce our customs and traditional Life. An act of aggression, the type that is often directed to Indigenous Nations, upon any industrialized/western peoples anywhere in the world, would be considered an act of war, illegal and acknowledged as such by the nations of the world, and immediately dealt with accordinly. Since Columbus, Indigenous nations have had to confront multitudinal attitudes of indifference, racism, and arrogance of european competition over compelling interests culminating in controlling and accessing our Territories and resources. The creation of the border exempliefies such arrogance, racism, and indifference to WABANAKI territories and revels in the pattern of historical and present, abusive treatment of our Peoples.

Initially, protests of our People regarding the establishment of this border without our approval, eventually lead to the "friendship" treaty, supposedly to "normalize" relations between the respective citizens of the "united states, the subjects of "great britian" and Indigenous nations following the "american" revolutionary war. Commonly referred to as the "Jay Treaty", the Treaty of Amity, of 1794, was also concluded to avert the possibility of War with Indian Nations growing from the unrest and anxiety experienced among our People and our Allies for the very issues were are confronted by today. It took 11 years for the "americans" and the english to act on WABANAKI concerns about the wholesale confiscation of our territories and the very causes of alienation and separation of Families and territories that is now being addresses by our case. Assurances from both the crown representatives and the officials of the "united states" made to clear to the WABANAKI and our Sister and Brother nations, that the border was never meant to apply to, nor, restrict the free movement, access, and unification of our people and our homelands.

The issue of the separation of Families is central to "canadian" immigration law application and to the label of so-called "american/canadian" citizenship to our People. To refer to and apply to WABANAKI people, "canadian" or "american" citizenship labels, confirms the border and at once separates our Familial integrity, then denies and subverts the national identity of our Peoples. This colonial usurpation of our Integrity is synonymous with the illegal activities of conscription and impressment. 2 WABANAKI peoples have relentlessly struggled to maintain ourselves as members of our own nations and exist in this right. The existence of the Confederacies of the WABANAKI encourages every member to acknowledge ourselves as members of this great body, as extended-Families. Our historic clan-systems enhance this understanding. Our peoples are and have been consistently recognized by europeans and "north american" governments as our own separate sovereigns, possessing territories belonging to no one other than ourselves. We are not and can never be immigrants in our own territories and to the exclusion of our own Familial/social ties and associations to one another.

The "canadian " government obstructs the right of our People to maintain our own separate social associations, the integrity of those associations, the practice of WABANAKI spirituality, ceremonies, customs, economy, and traditions, and attempts to prevent the legal/binding application of these inherent activities and associations to our Selves. By example, my Wife and i were intentionally married together from the customs and traditions of WABANAKI Peoples. Our whole Life has been based upon the survival and the perpetuation of the Good Health and Well-Being of WABANAKI Communities and Families. We intentionally demonstrated the bonding of our communities by way of our union/marriage. Our unity was conducted in a private ceremony confirmed and formalized in ESGENOOPETITJ ("Burnt Church Reserve" via "canada"), then celebrated in MAUCIPIOTAN (" Mashpee" via "united states") by Family, Friends and Community. However, the "canadian" state refuses to recognised the legitimacy of our ceremonial marriage by way of our WABANAKI customs and traditions. Rather, to recognise the legitimacy of our marriage, we are given two options:

    * To marry [or re-marry] in a recognised, bona fide church [christian] service, or
    * Be married by a state official [commonly by a justice of the peace]
WABANAKI ceremonies and spiritual practice are given no consideration, much less honour or respect. This complete disregard for the responsibility and right of WABANAKI spiritual practice and to independently maintain our ceremonial responsibilities and to perpetuate this ceremonial heritage is an affront to all religious faiths. This is a typical example of the christian and western colonial domination, and the cataclysmic perils placed on our Peoples, and demonstrates/indicates the historic patterns of discrimination and racism directed against our Peoples.

To initiate and maintain our free association to one another, to perpetuate and keep a living practice of our spirituality, among our own nations independent of foreign interference, ("regulation, coercion..."), are attributes of our natural and inherent sovereignty and the free exercise of our obligations and responsibilities. To determine for ourselves, in a manner that is important and meaningful to our peoples, is naturally required by our inherent status as a people and to the nations we properly belong to. Yet, in contradiction to "canada's" own constitution, the immigration act makes no clear distinction of its application to WABANAKI Nations or to its Peoples. By extending its imigration act to include WABANAKI peoples belonging to, and born of our nations north and south of this intrusive international border, WABANAKI Familial ties are significantly obstructed, making the maintainance of our free association and continuity of our Peoples and territories a criminal act; hence violating "canada's" immigration, citizenship and other laws. We have the right, as all people do, to determine with who and how we choose to maintain our lives and what course of directions our future is allowed to manifest our destiny. We further possess the right and responsibility to maintain Wellness and Well-Being of our homelands and territories in furthering the unobstructed freedom to honour and establish our associations to one another under our confederacies. Hence, self-determination.

The nature of determining WABANAKI/Aboriginal Rights is solely our responsibility. We understand that our world-view is definably different from that of the colonial and domineering character of "canadian/american" nation-states. In furtherence to the rule of law as expressed in the binding relationships to the WABANAKI created under the color of treaties of Peace and Friendship, the resolve to these immediate, pressing, circumstances, and generally for such conflicts, has been established through the etiquette and protocol of international diplomacy and the fudiciary obligations to our People by these federal governments.

It is unlikely, as history continues to record, that resolving conflicts arising from the issues between or involving WABANAKI Nationals and the governments and citizens of "north america" can be ultimately, adequately and competently concluded in "north american" courts. Should court actions be considered, an amalgamation of WABANAKI and "north american" tribunals is called for and must be established. As well, a separate and independent tribunal constituting an unbiased third party outside of "north america"must be created/implemented. "North american" federal courts have demonstrated an incompetency to honor, respect, and understand the nature of Indigenous laws, reality, distinction. The judicial, executive and legislative process has truly been a vehicle of colonial expansion, expropriation, exploitation, and provided judicial justification for such activities based on racist notions of cultural bias/superiority. The matter of confering jurisdiction on the "north american" court relative to matters involving the WABANAKI, has consistently produced the harmful consequencial intrusion unto our sovereignty, jurisdiction, and the paramountcy of our integrity of Life and Territories. These various branches of government have invoked a policy of intolerance for the nation-to-nation status, creating fudiciary obligations. It is the undertaking of this policy that has eventually led to such confrontations with our Nations. This has made the violations of both WABANAKI Treaties and International Law possible. Within such violations, the subterfuge of our Integrity as a People and the usurpation of our Homelands has and continues to occur. This is aptly demonstrated by this case and the continuing circumstances arising from the existence of the "canadian-united states" border.

Unilateral Application of Domestic "canadian" Law to WABANAKI Nationals

The federal laws of "canada" involving immigration, citizenship, the indian act, taxation, and revenue[ customs and duties at the border ], are substantially, an illegal application to WABANAKI Nations. While these areas of "canadian" law have an immediate bearing on this issue, the overall application to the First Nations is a subversion of the existing nation-to-nation polity between our respective governments. There is no authority of the "canadian" government to seize WABANAKI territories and jurisdiction in the first place, but by attempting to do so, circumvents WABANAKI sovereignty, international law, and the "canadian" rule of law as embodied in the supremacy clause (section 52) and outlined in sections 25, 35, pertaining to the rights, treaties, and freedoms of First Nations.

Foremostly, WABANAKI Nationals are not "indians" of "canada" nor of the "united states."Claiming that our People are "canadian" or "united states" citizens, is a claim based on the inclusion and unilateral extention of citizenship codes of these nation-states over our peoples. The passage of such legislation and subsequent application of this legislation to Indigenous Nations, did not involve the desire, participation, nor the consent of First Nations. The WABANAKI and many nationals of First Nations have continuously rejected, resisted, and maintained opposition to this unilateral intrusion since the enactment of citizenship laws.

WABANAKI territories, be these the places of residence or unceeded lands,3 are not the territories of "canada" nor of the "united states." Our Peoples do not reside in "new brunswick, nova scotia, prince edward island, maine, massachusetts"... Land claims initiated and maintained by member nations of the WABANAKI confederacies, conclude that no territories have ever been knowingly, willingly, nor intentionally ceded to"north america." For those territories that have the guise of "surrendered/sold" lands, acquisition by an appearence of a legitimate and legal process, are in fact, not a legitimate and legal process and ought to be reviewed and questioned in its authenticity and due process, despite what "canadian" officialdom rules.

Usurpation of WABANAKI jurisdiction over the affairs and matters of our peoples and territories, was first initiated by "canada's" self-proclaimed rule over the Nations of Turtle Island subsequent to the passage of the 'british north american act" of 1867. With this enactment, the "canadian" parliament passed the "indian act" which self-servingly gave total powers to the government of "canada" over First Nations Peoples and territories. The central plan of the "indian act" was the policy of complete assimilation/absortion of our Peoples into "canadian" society. This also translates into divesting First Nations Peoples of territories and resources. In this process, the government of "canada" relied on this policy to forcibly restructure and transform Aboriginal families, communities, the inherent traditional governance, customs, traditional laws and spirituality to accomodate the passage of Indigenous peoples and territories to domestic ownership of the "canadian" state (following the example established by the" united states" government). The creation and objectives of the operation and existence of band government/councils for example, was aimed at the gradual assimilation into and the"appreciation" for western civilization and simultaneously engineering the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) replacement and destruction of Indigenous socio-cultural institutions, self-government, world-view, values, spirituality, and self-determination. Under the citizenship and indian acts, WABANAKI territoies can be expropriated by and inherent self-governance have become subjected to, Provincial and Federal purposes. Territories and citizens of another nation can not be accessed by internal/domestic mechanisms, such as parlimentary legislations, but rather only by diplomatic political agreements between nations. Hence international law acts as the guiding force and the rule of law.

"Indian act" band governments are not the original governments of the WABANAKI peoples. The original structures, commonly known as the Longhouse, have become prohibited under the "inidan act" and federal public policy; the present band council systems are the "canadian" government's substitution/replacement. This was done under the pretence of providing "democracy" to Aboriginal people. This prescription eventually alienated our Peoples inherent rights and access to our exclusive and inherent jurisdiction over our People and our territories. Such operations make the economic interests and lechery of "canadian" governmental and corporate objectives possible. With even a more sinister aspect, the "indian act government" creates a needed appearance of Aboriginal/First Nation governance. Building on the lack of knowledge the "north american" public has of Aboriginal Peoples initially, gives the idea and appearence that their government officials are working with legitimate representatives of First Nations. At such inferences, the "canadian" public easily believes the rhetoric and propaganda of official statements and actions. The dismal conditions of Aboriginal societies today reflects the colonial official paternalism and failure at westernizing our Peoples while revealing the levels of "canadian" democratic hucksterism and the lack of its principals, both in the context of morality and ethics. "Indian act" governments are banana republic regimes that have aptly demonstrated the capacity for corruption and criminality on the deepest levels. In stating this however, not all band chiefs and councillors are necessarily bad, but certainly, their capacity to represent the sovereighty and and the nationhood of our Peoples is severely diminished if not totally non-existent. The "indian act" allowes for restricted "governmental" exercise, however, no offical decisions, actions, and policies can be implemented without the minister's approval and priviy council consent.

The Rule of Law : Sources of Support in International, Treaty and Aboriginal Rights, "north american" constitutional laws

Much, if not all, the issues existing between WABANAKI/Indigenous Nations and "euro-american" nation-states, regarding the conflict and contentions/disputes over competing jurisdiction, claims of primacy of sovereignty, ownership and control over land and its natural resources, are a result of the contravention of the rule of law. Regardless of the opinions, legal or otherwise, of "north american" nation-states, Indigenous Peoples are nations within the full scope of the definition and spirit of the rule of law. International law directed early european policy and relationship to the existence of People and their territories in the western hemisphere. The rule of law became the practical medium between european nations and now was to be applied in its spirit and intent to the Nations of Turtle Island. Although, both the spirit and the intent, the law was not rigidly followed, if followed at all, by europeans, eventhough international law remained the vehicle to develop relationships to Indigenous Peoples. Often the diplomatic protocols were observed and rules of etiquette observed, especially by early french and british presence in WABANAKI Territories. Treaties between the crown and WABANAKI Confederacies were and are maintained to this day, unilateraly by the WABANAKI under the residual effects of international law.

Despite the meaningless, rhetorical claims of the present-day "north american" states that Aboriginal treaties are not "true" treaties and that international law doesn't support the claims of First Nations to sovereignty, self-determination, and status as nations,4 contemporary federal political actions to extinguish First Nations rights to land and sovereignty remains a testimony to the existence of independent status as nations and the application of international law. The whitewash of history cannot alter the truth, our sovereignty has been recognized continuously by european nations and these "north american" nation-states time and time again. The following sources of the rule of law, demonstrates support for the positions, claims, and the rights of WABANAKI Peoples and our Sisters and Brother Nations of Turtle Island and indeed for Indigenous Peoples globally.

Some Examples of International Law Supporting WABANAKI Nations 5

The United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights states the following:

Article 2:
...no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing, or under any of limitation of sovereignty.

Article 15:
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16:
(1) Men and Women....without any limitation due to race, nationality, or religion, have the right to marry and found a family...(3) The Family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection by society and the state.

Article 21:
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country...(3) the will of the People shall be the basis of authority of government...

Article 27:
(1) Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community...

Article 29:
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.

Although these statements are supportive of WABANAKI rights they are reflective of western values. While these enactments cite and intimate individual rights, in WABANAKI world-view, the individual is served by ones Longhouse and it is this entity that is the basic social unit of WABANAKI Life. We are speaking of the collective body of our social relationships as the source of our individualism. This is quite a difference in perspectives in comparison to western world-view and social context.

The MONTIVIDEO Convention on the Rights and Duties of States adopted on "december 26, 1933", the working definition of what constitutes the requirements of nationhood:

Article 1:
Permanent population; defined territory; effective government; capacity for foreign relations
WABANAKI Nations, as well as the other Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island, have aptly demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, both the quality and qualification of those requirements of nationhood. The expanse of the original territories of WABANAKI Peoples ranges from what "canadians" know as "newfoundland", and the"maritime/atlantic provinces", to what the "americans" call "new england", the atlantic coastline throughout to what is called "north carolina." In these regions alone, there currently exists approximately seven Confederacies of WABANAKI peoples. The WABANAKI are coastal algonquian-speaking Peoples having historical ties and relationships pre-existing colombus by thousands of generations. In these territories, the combined existing population of WABANAKI Peoples is approximately 70,000. The WABANAKI, with few exceptions, have maintained our presence in this regions, from long before the arrival of columbus to the present day. Furthermore, the Longhouse system of government remains. The basis of cultural development and traditional knowledge, despite the efforts of a ruthless and zealous ambition developed through "north american" federal governmental conspiracy to eradicate, brainwash and deny WABANAKI identity, the Longhouse Teachings and systems continue to create and re-create traditional life and service the Well-Being of our Peoples throughout our Homeland Territories. There are numerous treaties made with WABANAKI Nations and Confederacies since at least 1620-1763.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights declares in part, the following:
Article 1:
(1) ALL PEOPLES have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.
"north american" nation-states have pursued a policy of extinguishing these rights and persist in the denial and dismantling of the Aboriginal Rights of self-determination of the inherent sovereignty and self-governance of WABANAKI Nations. Traditional Peoples of the WABANAKI continue to resist such extinguishment and policies,as well as challenging its the precepts and justifications. The Life and potential of the Longhouse remains in existence due to the sacrifice and determination of Traditional Peoples.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights decares in part,
Article 17:
(1) No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, Family, Home...

Article 18:
(1) Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching...(4)...to have respect for the liberty of parents...to ensure the religious and moral education of their Children in conformity with their own convictions.

Article 27:
...persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.

During a jurisdictional dispute between the governments of Greece and Turkey over the island of Cyprus, in 1970, the Permanent International Court of Justice, at the Hague, defined the characteristics of what constitutes a PEOPLE:
a group of persons living in a given territory or locality, having a race, religion, language and traditions of their own and united by the identities of race, religion, language and traditions in a sentiment of solidarity, with a view to preserving their traditions, maintaining their form of worship, insuring the instructions and up - bringing of their children in accordance with the spirit and traditions of their race and rendering mutual assistance to each other.
Later, the International Commission of Jurists, a non-governmental organization of the United Nations, expanded the definition to include the following:
having common history, racial or ethnic ties, cultural or linguistic ties, religious or ideological ties, common territory or geographical location, common economic base, sufficient number of people...
The Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples states in part:
a people is entitled to be free from internal and external domination, from discrimination on the grounds of race, color, creed, political conviction, to pursue their own economic, social, and cultural development, to enjoy fundamental human rights and equal treatment, to form a government of their choosing.
Both the "united states" and "canada" have consistently recognized and confirmed the validity of Indigenous Treaties and their active force, binding legal obligations, responsibilities, and accountabilities rising from the "north american" treaty relationship with the WABANAKI and the other Sister and Brother Nations of our Turtle Island. These nation-states continue to acknowledge and recognize the basis, claim, and legitimacy of the political "nation-to-nation" doctrine. This concept and relationship remains, based on International law rather than the domestic policy and authority. Both the "u.s." and "canada" are signatories to these treaties and to international conventions. Since the commencement of the history between european and Indigenous Peoples here on the Turtle Island, approximately 1500 treaties have been concluded and remain binding and in force. In the "united states" alone, 500 treaties with Indigenous nations have yet to be "ratified" by congressional obligation and requirement, yet the "united states" has directly benefited, both in territorial "aquisition" and resource development, from these treaties at the expense of those Indigenous nations. Over 371 treaties have been duly implemented by the "u.s." government but never honoured. In "canada" many treaties , both from the time of pre-confederation and afterwards, including treaties made in this century, have been implemented into existence, but as well, not one has ever been honoured, to my knowledge. The existence of landclaims is all about the failure of honouring these legally binding commitments in addition to the wholesale theft of lands never negotiated nor surrendered.

Sources of Support in "north american" Laws for WABANAKI Treaties and Sovereignty

In Part, this is what the constitution of the "united states" says about their obligations to treaties signed under their authority...
Article 6,section 2:
...and all Treaties made, or which shall be, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and Judges in every State shall be bound thereby...
In the CHEROKEE Nation cases Chief Justice John Marshall, of the u.s. supreme court, stated:
...the acts of our government plainly recognizes the CHEROKEE Nation as a state and the courts are bound by those acts; we have applied...the word treaty and nation to Indians, as we have applied them to other Nations of the Earth; they are applied to all in the same sense...
These cases and the comments of Marshall inaugurated federal statutory law application to First Nations throughout both "canada" as well as the "united states." There is ample evidence that such policies were duplicated world-wide and applied to Indigenous Nations and Peoples. It is a customary procedure for courts, legislatures and administrations to study legislation and policies of the "united states" as models/examples of developing policy of their own.

The Constitution of "canada"expressly recognizes the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of Indigenous/First Nations...
Part 1, section 25:
...this Charter..shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty, or other rights and freedoms that pertain to the [A]boriginal [P]eoples...

Part 2, section 35:
(1) the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the [A]borignal [P]eoples...are hereby recognized and affirmed.

Part 8, section 109:
All lands, mines, minerals, and royalties belonging to the several Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick at the Union...shall belong to the several Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick...subject to any trusts existing in respect thereof, and to any interest other than the Province in the same.

Part 9, section 132:
The Parliament and Government of Canada shall have all Powers necessary or proper for performing the Obligations of Canada or any Province thereof, as Part of the British Empire, towards Foreign Countries, arising under Treaties between the Empire and such Foreign Countries.

Part 9, section 139:
Any proclamation under the Great Seal of the Province of Canada issued before the Union to take effect at a time is subsequent to the Union...shall be and continue of like force and effect as if the Union had not been made.

Part 7, section 52:
(1)The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada,and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.


What can be our possible future? What can/should we expect our lives to be, together? It is The Great Healing, what i call that time when immigrant peoples and the Way of Life that has been built, merge with the Indigenous Nations that have existed on this Turtle Island since time immemorial. In that time, the alternative to what Life is now for both societies at this moment, is one that is based on real Peace and the security of Happiness for all human and Natural Beings. "Eden" is not a fanciful myth of a past romanticism but actually existed for our Peoples. Despite the near total ruination of our Homelands and the present dysfunctional conditions of our Communities, we remain hopeful in knowing that these conditions are created by human folly. Our Healing and Destiny are but a decision and committment manifested in that moment of decision.

Human Beings must conclude that tryanny in all its forms is not the natural consequence to democracy. The only true uncharted frontier is human relationship. The conditions and circumstances to war existing presently in the world and within Indian Country, for example are exclusively due to human greed for power, wealth, control. The dark side of human nature is responsible for the dilemma facing Creation and humankind. Already many people including members of our own socieities are not only seeking alternatives but are now implementing strategies of transforming our selves in healthy, self-determing and viable societies of Natural Being. This transformation is not based on the dissolution, dismantling, decolonizing partiarchal idioms and maxims of power, control, self-interests and greed, and rebuilding on the original and natural teachings of the Heart. If all that the world had for teachings and inspiration is the presence of the "golden rule"...do to others as You would have done to You....this would be all that is needed as law; law not to be enforced, but followed, naturally, compassionately and lovingly. The Creator Laws are simple and clearly understandable. Human laws are meant to be complexed and subsequently difficult to understand.

In the present case of the borders and jurisdictional tresspass, the existing rights and treaties of our People are all that is needed to resolve these matters. The rule of law needs simply to be followed. There is no justification for the presence of turmoil in Indian Country, and indeed the world, these are simply bad, self-serving, and deliberate judgements of the few power-mongers.

i believe that the true People of our Nations remain steadfast in seeking friendship of all who desire such with us. For Indigenous People, there is only one way to live here upon Turtle Island, and that is in Oneness and Balance to Creation. Absent the will to implement those laws contained in the Conscience and the Heart of every human
Being, prolongs the inevitable and provides for the continuing agony and suffering of all peoples. Indian Country will survive only because, as a race of People, we have been given a responsibility assigned to us by the Creator, just as other races human Beings and Natural Life have their gifts and responsibilities.

Self-determination applies to all peoples and all nations regardless of the degree of technology, structure, way of life. Genocide remains a crime against humanity not because some legislative law exists, but because it is contrary to the Natural disposition of the Creator's Law of Love. The WABANAKI are Nations of People living in our own Homelands, having and possessing a Way of Life and human characteristisc found no where else in the world. As nations, we will implement our form of self-determination, government, sovereignty and responsibility to insure the Well-Being , Security, Happiness, Integrity of our Homelands, Territories, Families, Communities, Nations and Confederacies based soley on our committment to maintain ourselves in Good Keeping to Creation and KI'E'TAN. All nations and Peoples throughout the world has such duties to their peoples.


1. The use of uncommon capitalizations, quotation marks, and lower case lettering is intentional in order to reflect WABANAKI world-view and Spirituality. These are not to be mistaken for grammatical errors.
Return to text

Conscription: Drafting ...compulsory... into the militarty service of the state...
Impressment: A power possessed by the English Crown of taking persons or property to aid in the defense of the country, with or without consent of the persons concerned.
Black's Law Dictionary, 4th edition.
Return to text

3. FOR THE QUESTION OF CEEDED TERRITORIES; EXAMPLES HOW OUR PEOPLE "LOSE" LANDS: The maine landclaims settlement act would be an excellant case study. To the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy who fought against the settlement, the issue still remains active and unfinished. For an Historical account of other questionable land surrenders and fraudulent expropriation read:

Our Land: The Maritimes The Basis of the Indian Claim in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, Editors Gary P. Gould and Alan J. Semple; Saint Annes Point Press, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1980; and Francis Jennings' Virgin Land and Savage People, article appearing in American Quarterly, October 1971 Volume 23, number 4.
Return to text

4. THE REMARKS OF JOE CLARK, External Affairs Minister, 14 March 1988: "Nonetheless, althought it is not relevant to the treaty study per se, it remains important to emphisize that fact that Canadian aboriginal treaties are domestic, not international treaties."
Return to text

5. THESE SOURCES OF SUPPORT ARE SIMULTANEOUSLY THE VIOLATIONS OF WABANAKI RIGHTS BY "NORTH AMERICAN" GOVERNMENTS each of these international human rights laws are systemically denied to Indigenous Peoples on the basis of the difference of definition between populations and a people, the former are considered a domestic ethnic group of a nation-state and thereby under internal jurisdiction and the latter has international status. Return to text

miingignoti-keteaoag homepage Site Designed by Laura Brooks. Copyright 1997
Date Page Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 1997
Graphics and Background Courtesy of Dreamfires