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
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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.
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.
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.
* Be married by a state official [commonly by a justice of the peace]
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.
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.
Some Examples of International Law Supporting WABANAKI Nations 5
The United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights states the following:
Article 2: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: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:"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: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: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:
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.
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.
2. THE DEFINITION FOR CONSCRIPTION AND IMPRESSMENT:
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.
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."
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
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Date Page Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 1997
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