Category Archives: Original Peoples

The Dispossession of Canada’s First Nations and the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Imagine that a group of bandits entered your house without permission and booted you and your family members out. Afterwards the bandits continue to occupy the house, but they graciously allow you and your family to stay in the cellar. Would you accept such a state of affairs? Would you not want your house back in its entirety? And would you not want the usurpers evicted?

Now imagine that the usurpers had some dubious code of honor whereby if they made any alterations to the stolen abode that they must consult with the original home occupants. Moreover, if the displaced first occupants sought to legally challenge their dispossession or alterations to their former domicile, the usurpers would graciously cover the legal expenses of the dispossessed original occupants from the largess of the goods befallen the usurpers through acts of dispossessing others. Of course, the legal proceeding is controlled by the usurpers and ruled according to usurpers’ law with judges appointed by the usurpers.

No intelligent person denies that the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North America) were the original inhabitants. In fact, they precede the coming of Norsemen, Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, and conquistadors by several millennia. Yet the Catholic Church of later seafarers decreed (in the papal bull Inter Caetera, 1493) that non-believers were savages and that their territory would belong to European monarchs. This was largely overturned by the papal bull Sublimis Deus in 1537.

One might have thought that humankind would have evolved morally such that the egregious crimes of centuries ago would not be perpetuated in the 21st century. Nonetheless, at the very least, human morality wouldn’t devolve, would it?

*****

In Canada, the American pipeline conglomerate Kinder Morgan desires to multiply the amount of fossil fuel carried from the province of Alberta to the British Columbia harbor city of Vancouver. Many First Nations and a multitude of British Columbians are opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project.

While the NDP-Green Party coalition in BC is opposed to the pipeline project, the federal government has approved it. However, chicanery has been unveiled in the process that led to federal approval.

Investigative reporting by the National Observer, revealed documents that the federal government had “instructed public servants to find a way to approve the project, even though the government was supposed to be consulting and accommodating First Nations at that time.” Consultation with First Nations is required by the constitution in Canada.

This filliped the Tseil-Waututh Nation, supported by at least four other First Nations (the Coldwater Indian Band, the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc (SSN), the Squamish Nation, and the Upper Nicola Band), to file an extraordinary motion asking the Federal Court of Appeal to force the government to order the release of uncensored copies of federal documents cited in the National Observer investigation.

The federal government and Kinder Morgan reacted by asking the Tseil-Waututh Nation to pay for their legal fees for the delayed pipeline project.

BC is unceded territory.1 First Nation oral histories tell of a colonial-settler control over the landmass of the province that was wrought by genocide.2 Canadian courts have evaded the question of who has legal jurisdiction over the land.3 As for the treaties, Andrea Bear Nicholas – a Maliseet from Nekotkok (Tobique First Nation) in New Brunswick, and a professor emeritus at St. Thomas University – points out that in the Maritime Provinces, most treaties were nation-to-nation agreements – peace agreements between the encroaching settlers and Original Peoples – not land treaties.

“When you add it all up, for about 90 per cent of Canada, even under the best possible scenario, there is no legal transfer of title from the Aboriginal inhabitants to the Crown,” said Dr. Roland Chrisjohn, an Onyota’a:ka (Oneida) and former Director of Native Studies at St. Thomas University in the audio documentary Hoping Against Hope? The Struggle Against Colonialism in Canada.4

Now the federal government which finances itself through the dispossession of First Nations is requiring the First Nations to pay for a legal determination in the court of the usurpers.

Informed people should not be surprised. One brave lawyer, a specialist in Indigenous sovereignty matters, Dr. Bruce Clark charges that the situation is so dire that the Canadian legal profession and the judiciary are complicit in misprision of treason, fraud, and genocide.3

  • First published at Global Research.
    1. Kerry Coast, The Colonial Present: The Rule of Ignorance and the Role of Law in British Columbia (Clarity Press and International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, 2013). See review.
    2. Tom Swanky, The Great Darkening: The True Story of Canada’s “War” of Extermination on the Pacific plus The Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations Resistance (Burnaby, BC: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2012). See review.
    3. Bruce Clark, from his soon to be published book, Aboriginal Rights and Genocide (Theytus Books).
    4. The link is now dead for the audio series. See review.

    Israel Commemorates Nakba with Mass Murder at the Gaza Fence

    One of the essential features of European colonialism were the boundaries drawn between Europeans and so-called Western civilization and everyone else. Even during the European enlightenment, the accepted philosophical justifications for human inequality in Western liberal thought meant that women, the colonized, the enslaved and non-property holders occupied different rungs on the ladder of humanity and were excluded from demanding same inherent rights as the White, male bourgeoisie.

    The “othering” of human beings on the basis of race, gender, religion, class and later nationality was embedded in the collective consciousness of Europe. But in the colonial context, the process of othering wasn’t just psychological but also physical.  In that context the stratification of humanity into those categories of people who had rights that were recognized and everyone else, had deadly consequences for those individuals and peoples who fell into the category of “other.”

    Barbed wire, apartheid walls, railroad tracks, fences guarded by armed officers of the state, and the reservation system perfected in the United States as part of its conquest and containment of Indigenous nations, were some of the boundaries used to police difference.

    It is at one of those colonial separations between the “fully human” Israelis and the Palestinians where the latest colonial outrage is taking place. In one day at a fence on a barren strip of land in Gaza that separates “Israel” from the open-air concentration camp where 1.5 million Palestinians are confined known as Gaza, over 50 Palestinians were systematically murdered by heavily armed soldiers positioned elevated on mounds of dirt that turned the unarmed protesters who approached the fence to protest their confinement and occupation into a killing zone. This happened the day before the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe in Arabic, when 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and turned into permanent refugees.

    While the bodies of men, women and even children were rushed away from the fence after having their bodies torn to shreds by live ammunition, the world’s elites were drinking champagne and celebrating the move of the embassy of one racist, settler-colonial state—the United States—to the conquered capital of another racist, colonial state, Israel.

    Watching those scenes of horror, I couldn’t help but wonder about the psychological health of anyone who could find a way to reconcile themselves to that kind of madness. How one could somehow explain away the brutality. How one week you can be prepared to go to war because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allegedly killed over 40 people with gas, but remain silent while dozens of human beings are systematically murdered right before our eyes. The events in Gaza reminded me once again of the insight James Baldwin provided that has become the recurring theme of my writings, and that is the psychopathology of white supremacy.

    The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their ‘vital interests’ are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the ‘sanctity’ of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.

    One would think tear gas and bullets today would tear away any semblance of civilization that gave cover to the Israeli colonial project. But that pathology is too deeply ingrained in the collective imagination and thinking of the West to be jettisoned by one incident of brutality when the West has been destroying whole nations over the last decade and a half in the Middle East.

    On the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the “catastrophe” that resulted in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, and the theft of their lands, homes, and even their household possessions, the message today was clear: the Israeli state is prepared to maintain its apartheid state by any means necessary.  The catastrophe for the Palestinians was the birth of Israel and was celebrated by the Israeli state with tear gas, bullets and the blood of Palestinians.

    For those of us, confined to the zones of non-being with Palestinians and all of the other victims of this 500-year-old nightmare, we have always known what Samuel Huntington openly admitted:

    The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.

    For the de-colonized, we have always understood that simple fact. Our experiences with the horror of European imperialism has steeled us against those same very same horrors.  So, we are not surprised or shocked by the brutality and the moral hypocrisy of Gaza, because we understand Hitler and Nazism. We have had an intimate relationship with Hitler and Nazism for over 500 years.

    Hitler came to the Americas in 1492. He traveled with the conquistadors as they destroyed the Aztecs and then the Incas. He oversaw the Transatlantic Slave Trade, then went to the Congo and reduced the population by 5 million. He rode with U.S soldiers at Wounded Knee and advised the French, British, and Portuguese to attempt to keep their colonies after the second imperialist war in 1945 no matter how much native blood was shed.

    Aime Cesaire captured the historic travels of Hitler and Nazism, the Nazism we see today in Gaza and in the halls of the U.S. Congress.

    They say: ‘How strange! But never mind—it’s Nazism, it will pass!’ And they wait, and they hope; and they hide the truth from themselves, that it is barbarism, the supreme barbarism, the crowning barbarism that sums up all the daily barbarisms; that it is Nazism, yes, but that before they were its victims, they were its accomplices; that they tolerated that Nazism before it was inflicted on them, that they absolved it, shut their eyes to it, legitimized it, because, until then, it had been applied only to non-European peoples; that they have cultivated that Nazism, that they are responsible for it, and that before engulfing the whole edifice of Western, Christian civilization in its reddened waters, it oozes, seeps, and trickles from every crack. Yes, it would be worthwhile to study clinically, in detail, the steps taken by Hitler and Hitlerism and to reveal to the very distinguished, very humanistic, very Christian bourgeois of the twentieth century that without his being aware of it, he has a Hitler inside of him, that Hitler inhabits him, that Hitler is his demon, that if he rails against him, he is being inconsistent and that, at bottom, what he cannot forgive Hitler for is not the crime in itself, the crime against man, it is not the humiliation if man as such, it is the crime against the white man, the humiliation of the white man, and the fact that he applied to Europe colonialist procedures which until then had been reserved exclusively for the Arabs of Algeria, the ‘coolies’ of India, and the ‘niggers’ of Africa.”

    Zionism aligned itself with the European colonial project and adapted its methods, embraced its white supremacy and in the process has written its future. Zionism is Hitlerism, as is the capitalist European colonial project and so Israel’s fate is sealed as the day of reckoning with the 500-year European project as it faces its inglorious end.

    Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute

    As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

    This NACLA article is a recent excellent example of many. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

    As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and right-wing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

    In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

    NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Webber (and here), Jacobin, ROAR, Intercontinentalcry, Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS (or oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency) and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

    This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

    What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

    On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

    (a) The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”.

    (b) The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.

    (c) “The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.

    Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a right-wing, anti-Evo Morales political party.

    (d) The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.”

    REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

    (e)These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”). Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

    CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets.

    The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

    Therefore, this liberal-left media is not actually defending “the indigenous.” They are choosing sides within indigenous ranks, choosing the side that is funded and influenced by the US government.

    (f) The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.

    (g) Anti-highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.

    (h) They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

    If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

    Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

    The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.

    US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds.  That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

    The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.

    This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

    Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”

    Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

    Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyor belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

    Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking to closely into it.

    It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

    Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. Upside Down World is an excellent example of this.

    Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

    Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from the Western domination.

    Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

    A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played.  To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

    A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

    The Error in the Canadian Tsilhquot’in Case

    Territory of the Tsilhqot’in people

    1. Before the influx of Europeans the Indians of what is now Canada lived in organized societies with exclusive possession and jurisdiction of the land. But according to the Supreme Court of Canada in Tsilhquot’in v. British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44:

    [113]… Can the [provincial] legislature have intended that the vast areas of the province that are potentially subject to Aboriginal title be immune from forestry regulation? And what about the long period of time during which land claims progress and ultimate Aboriginal title remains uncertain? During this period, Aboriginal groups have no legal right to manage the forest; their only right is to be consulted, and if appropriate, accommodated with respect to the land’s use: Haida. At this stage, the Crown may continue to manage the resource in question, but the honour of the Crown requires it to respect the potential, but yet unproven claims.

    [114] It seems clear from the historical record and the record in this case that in this evolving context, the British Columbia legislature proceeded on the basis that lands under claim remain “Crown land” under the Forest Act, at least until Aboriginal title is recognized by a court or an agreement. To proceed otherwise would have left no one in charge of the forests that cover hundreds of thousands of hectares and represent a resource of enormous value. Looked at in this very particular historical context, it seems clear that the legislature must have intended the words “vested in the Crown” to cover at least lands to which Aboriginal title had not yet been confirmed.

    2. This conflicts with the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the previously established precedents interpreting it and section 109 of the Constitution Act, 1867 read together. They confirmed the continuity of the Indians’ exclusive possession and jurisdiction of the land pending treaty of relinquishment.

    3. The proclamation is what is now Canada’s 1st constitution. The proclamation enacted:

    And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds—…therefore…no Governor or Commander in Chief…do presume, upon any Pretence whatever, to grant Warrants of Survey, or pass any Patents for Lands…upon any Lands whatever, which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us as aforesaid, are reserved to the said Indians, or any of them.

    …And We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any…Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements.

    …if at any Time any of the Said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, the same shall be Purchased only for Us, in our Name, at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that Purpose by the Governor or Commander in Chief of our Colony respectively within which they shall lie…

    4. Section 109 enacted:

    All Lands, Mines, Minerals, and Royalties belonging to the several Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick at the Union, and all Sums then due or payable for such Lands, Mines, Minerals, or Royalties, shall belong to the several Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in which the same are situate or arise, subject to any Trusts existing in respect thereof, and to any Interest other than that of the Province in the same.

    5. The precedents held:

    St. Catherine’s Milling and Lumber Company Ltd. v. The Queen, (1888), 14 AC 46, 52-53, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60 (JCPC). [52-53] Of the territory thus ceded to the Crown, an area of not less than 32,000 square miles is situated within the boundaries of the Province of Ontario; and, with respect to that area, a controversy has arisen between the Dominion and Ontario, each of them maintaining that the legal effect of extinguishing the Indian title has been to transmit to itself the entire beneficial interest of the lands, as now vested in the Crown, freed from encumbrance of any kind, save the qualified privilege of hunting and fishing mentioned in the treaty….Although the present case relates exclusively to the right of the Government of Canada to dispose of the timber in question to the appellant company, yet its decision necessarily involves the determination of the larger question between that government and the province of Ontario with respect to the legal consequences of the treaty of 1873.

    [54] Whilst there have been changes in the administrative authority, there has been no change since the year 1763 in the character of the interest which its Indian inhabitants had in the lands surrendered by the treaty.
    [55] It appears to them [their Lordships] to be sufficient for the purposes of this case that there has been all along vested in the Crown a substantial and paramount estate, underlying the Indian title, which became a plenum dominium whenever that title was surrendered or otherwise extinguished.
    [58] The Crown has all along had a present proprietary estate in the land, upon which the Indian title was a mere burden. The ceded territory was at the time of the union, land vested in the Crown, subject to “an interest other than that of the Province in the same,” within the meaning of sect. 109; and must now belong to Ontario in terms of that clause,…
    [59] The fact that the power of legislating for Indians, and for lands which are reserved for their use, has been entrusted to the Parliament of the Dominion is not in the least degree inconsistent with the right of the Provinces to a beneficial interest in these lands, available to them as a source of revenue whenever the estate of the Crown is disencumbered of the Indian title.
    [60] By the treaty of 1873 the Indian inhabitants ceded and released the territory in dispute, in order that it might be opened up for settlement, immigration, and such other purpose as to Her Majesty might seem fit, “to the Government of the Dominion of Canada,” for the Queen and Her successors forever….

    The treaty leaves the Indians no right whatever to the timber growing upon the lands which they gave up, which is now fully vested in the Crown, all revenues derivable from the sale of such portions of it as are situate within the boundaries of Ontario being the property of that Province.

    AG Canada v. AG Ontario: (Re Indian Claims), [1897] AC 199, 205, 206, 210-11 (JCPC). [205] The effect of the treaties was, that, whilst the title to the lands ceded continued to be vested in the Crown, all beneficial interest in them, together with the right to dispose of them, and to appropriate their proceeds, passed to the Government of the Province,…

    [206] The beneficial interest in the territories ceded by the Indians under the treaties of 1850 became vested, by virtue of s. 109, in the Province of Ontario.
    [210-11] On the other hand, “an interest other than that of the province in the same” appears to them [their Lordships] to denote some right or interest in a third-party, independent of and capable of being vindicated in competition with the beneficial interest of the old province.

    6. The critical error in the judgement in Tsilhquot’in is the sentence “It seems clear from the historical record and the record in this case that in this evolving context, the British Columbia legislature proceeded on the basis that lands under claim remain ‘Crown land’ under the Forest Act, at least until Aboriginal title is recognized by a court or an agreement.” It is true that “the historical record” consists in British Columbia granting warrants of survey and passing patents for lands throughout the province, before purchasing the lands by treaty with the Indians as stipulated mandatory by the royal proclamation, section 109 and their precedents. But in doing so the province acted unconstitutionally; it could not and did not repeal the previously established law by breaking it, which is what the Tsilhquot’in Court in effect held.

    7. In 1874 British Columbia enacted a Crown Lands Act that regarded all crown land as if it were public land available for disposition, even though the land is part of the continental reserve for the Nations or Tribes of Indians, not being “ceded to, or purchased by Us.” In a report to the Canadian Privy Council, Attorney General Télésphore Fournier recommended disallowance under section 90 of the Constitution Act, 1867, on the ground of conflict with the proclamation and section 109. The report was approved in a Minute in Council dated 23rd January 1875 and endorsed by the Governor General.

    Section 90. The following Provisions of this Act respecting the Parliament of Canada, namely, — the Provisions relating to Appropriation and Tax Bills, the Recommendation of Money Votes, the Assent to Bills, the Disallowance of Acts, and the Signification of Pleasure on Bills reserved, — shall extend and apply to the Legislatures of the several Provinces as if those Provisions were here re-enacted and made applicable in Terms to the respective Provinces and the Legislatures thereof, with the Substitution of the Lieutenant Governor of the Province for the Governor General, of the Governor General for the Queen and for a Secretary of State, of One Year for Two Years, and of the Province for Canada.

    8. British Columbia then made a proposal to Canada to resolve the Indian problem by establishing a commission to investigate and “set apart” provincial Crown lands as “reserves” for Indian use. This led directly to the Indian Act, 1876. The Acting Minster of Interior Affairs in a report dated 5th November 1875 recommended approval of the provincial plan, which was done by the Canadian Privy Council pursuant to Minute in Council dated 10th November 1875. This entailed leaving the originally disallowed Crown Lands Act to its operation, i.e., reviving it. Attorney General Fournier was elevated to the Supreme Court and was replaced in office by Attorney General Edward Blake. Blake reported under letter dated 6th May 1876 to the Governor General explaining that “Great inconvenience and confusion might result from its disallowance.” As recommended, on second thought the Governor General did leave the statute to its operation. Treaties were not made thereafter in mainland British Columbia. There was no need, since all Crown land was thereafter unconstitutionally regarded as public land available for disposition. It was as if the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the “subject to” proviso in section 109 duly had been repealed or had never existed.

    9. The Court in Tsilhquot’in overlooked the determinative St. Catherine’s and In re Indian Claims precedents, and also the crucial historical fact that British Columbia’s legislative disregard of Indian Title should have been disallowed pursuant to section 90 of the Constitution Act, 1867, but was not because disallowance might have caused inconvenience and confusion. In consequence Tsilhquot’in is per incuriam, meaning it is a decision taken through inadvertence or want of care, in ignorance of a binding statute or precedent, and of a crucial historical fact, and therefore is itself wrong.

    In the Eye of the Crow

    You ever wonder what a Martian might think if he happened to land near an emergency room? He’d see an ambulance whizzing in and everybody running out to meet it, tearing the doors open, grabbing up the stretcher, scurrying along with it. ‘Why,’ he’d say, ‘what a helpful planet, what kind and helpful creatures.’ He’d never guess we’re not always that way; that we had to, oh, put aside our natural selves to do it. ‘What a helpful race of beings,’ a Martian would say. Don’t you think so?

    ― Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist, April 2002

    Respite. Oregon Coast. Tidepools, grey whales, seals and sea lions, puffins and eagles, riotous rookeries and crashing tides, Milky Way and bioluminescence.

    One large emotional palette from which to paint new images, and to recharge batteries, reset some clocks, and reflect.

    Yet, how can a thoughtful person go minutes or hours or days with a blank mind, or into some levitating meditative state without all those deaths by a thousand cuts eating at the conscience?

    Death by a thousand laws, by a thousand penalties, by a thousand codes/regulations/permits; death by a thousand fines/levies/fees; death by a thousand firings/sackings/diminishments of our collective humanity. Death by a thousand tons of toxins in our community’s air, water, soil, education system, legal framework, urban planning. Death by a thousand seconds of celebrity culture, insane fake news, mauling media, lecherous lawyers, junkyard scientists, medical malpractitioners. Death by a thousand broken treaties, broken laws for the One Percent, broken promises, broken bureaucracies.

    How can you not wake up, look in the mirror, and be angry? Really angry at the state of the world, at the state of inequities, at the state of billionaires capturing our souls by the gigabytes to the 1,000th power, billionaires foreclosing on our jobs, our schools, our communities, our safety, health, sanity?

    John Trudell said a lot about that, waking up angry every single day . . . decrying what whites like to think are the great civilizers of the world (themselves) – what whites think western civilization is:

    The great lie is that it is civilization. It’s not civilized. It has been literally the most blood thirsty brutalizing system ever imposed upon this planet. That is not civilization. That’s the great lie, is that it represents civilization.

    John Trudell

    Think about it: going into tourist space has more curves and dangerous cliffs to negotiate than being in the mix 24/7. The mix, man: fighting for homeless, fighting for the drug addicted, fighting for students, fighting for our people’s health, fighting for clean air, water, soil, money. With each overfed, overpaid/-paying, overly obnoxious and arrogant tourist, with every 30-foot RV with Lexus SUV in-tow, with every Indian Pale Ale microbrewery pitcher consumed and mountain of fried clams gobbled up, well, reflection isn’t just looking at Ursula Minor and Major as the tide goes out and the Dungeness crabs come in.

    Reflection is seeing the human species as a cancer. Self-centered, violent, believing there is a dung heap for the rest of the scum and a golden city for the vaunted, valued, human. More specifically, here’s sentiments from Susan Sontag, not to be taken lightly:

    If America is the culmination of Western white civilization, as everyone from the Left to the Right declares, then there must be something terribly wrong with Western white civilization. This is a painful truth; few of us want to go that far. … The truth is that Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, Balanchine ballets, et al., don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.

    Scheme of things, the scale of the glass half full or glass half empty. The hierarchy of needs, and the implosion of those who have and those who do not. Peter Principle of the most incompetent, the most ethically challenged, the most philistine, the most ignorant, the most self-aggrandizing, the most murderous and sociopathic, rising to the top – in governments, parliaments, boardrooms, corporations, militaries, schools, hospitals . . . et al.

    A Pacific Coast that was once sane and peopled by Salish Tribes, now one with pink-skinned folks like Gremlins scurrying about to stake out more retail space, more consumer opportunities, more territory yanked from anything left in a fractured “natural world.” Five days of being on the coast, and it was all white people looking for saltwater taffy and goofy expensive humpback whale blown glass monstrosities. Unending kitschy stuff while the Anglo Saxon/Caucasian minds funnel through moving lips to purge out strings of commentary that are insipid, childish, all bundled up in the “where are we going to eat breakfast next and then find a nice seaside table to sip that Pinot while we stay comforted in our great white world?” Not an African-American, Black, Indian, Native American in sight.

    The smartest things in the air out here along the Oregon Coast are the corvids and thousands upon thousands of sea birds, falcons, bald eagles and osprey. It certainly isn’t the thoughts, words and actions of humanity here, from Newport south all the way to Golden Beach. We are talking about unending caravans of motor homes with full-sized SUVs in tow, the other traffic feeding a crisscross onto summer home beaches, some of them two-month-stay homes, and a lot of real estate for sale, properties moving from one hand to the next and a world of tourists devoid of color. It’s five days, and no Mexican-American families, no African-American families. It’s as if the US of A is that alt right David Duke land of the white Christian.

    Disconcerting, being out here for a respite for myself and my significant other. Tough jobs both of us manage back in Portland, and the getting away from the woods and rivers where we live and work, to the Oregon Coast is a deserving break. But, again, bizarre, really, the lack of diversity as if the USA, with 335 million citizens, is not about to largely (percentage wise) transform into a country of non-white-Germanic-Anglo people.

    State of the mind of white Americans tied to their whiteness, their Crypto Christian/Crypto Zionist earth razing and financialization schemes to corner everything we do, see, hope for, dream of, create, think of, believe in, live for, die for, hold dear, propagate as a market, it’s a sickness sent out to all corners of the world through the London School of Economics-Oxford-Yale-Stanford-Yeshiva type of recruiting as slick and effective as any School of the Americas or West Point!

    Trump is Obama is Clinton is Bush is Andrew Jackson is Nixon is Roosevelt is Washington. Whiteness is the key to civilization, even with our one outwardly mixed-race CEO. He excels as a man of white civilizers holding the key to final subjugation. Obama, who is like a Stepford Son!

    But let’s pause on the sheer demographics and exponentiality of the globe’s racial make-up coming onto the 8 or 9 billion mark:

    One demographer, who didn’t want to be named for fear of being called racist, said: ‘It’s a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing else happens, non-Europeans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland.’

    Lee Jasper, race relations adviser to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, predicted a similar future, telling The Observer : ‘Where America goes, Europe follows 30 years later. There is a potential for whites to become a minority in some European countries.’

    In Europe, with its 40,000-year-old indigenous white population, the rise of a non-white majority may not be greeted with such equanimity.

    In the United Kingdom, the number of people from ethnic minorities has risen from a few tens of thousands in 1950 to more than 3 million now.
    •In Italy, the birth rate is so low that, without immigration, the population is predicted to decline by 16 million by 2050.
    •The United States government predicts that non-hispanic whites will become a minority in the country by 2055.
    •The United Nations predicts that 98 per cent of world population growth until 2025 will be in developing nations.
    •The population of Europe is expected to drop from 25 per cent of the world total in 1900 to 7 per cent in the next 50 years.

    — Anthony Browne, The Last Days of a White World, Guardian, September 3, 2000.

    No matter how quickly the demographics shift in the US of A, correcting and redressing the past biggest injustices of Native American genocide by the white economists, bankers, clerics, militaries, serfs into this country will never happen. First Nations aboriginal peoples used to have this land to themselves. But now, less than one percent of the population they teeter on complete historical banishment, as the largest growth groups are among Latinos (largely derived from Spain), and Asians, (largely from China and the Philippines).

    This state of the world a la Oregon Coast is a state of people not able to get under the skin of how messed up the country is, has been and is continually going. No large conversations about those things, even the ones who adore and lust after Trump, they just move along in a world of retail relationships, one where the food is talked about while eating it, where the weather is detailed beyond absurdity, and where no serious talk about our collective and individual pain ever unfolds.

    Whites are lobotomized by debt, depression, deceit, emasculation, Hollywood, F-U Book, the Billionaire Mile High Club of Data Dealers, overeating/under-nutrition, delusions, and dreams of a UFO End Times or New Times.

    I attempt to gauge how illiterate folks are along the coast, looking at stuff in museums, people trying to understand the scheme of 70 percent of the globe’s surface (oceans) on all life, and their attempts at trying to understand the clouds above and the winds below.

    The corporations-TV-jefes have done a very good job, alongside the schools, media, ignorant politicians, and celebrities, AND scientists, of denuding the western mind of anything real or pressing, anything resembling a solution to the unfolding ills of climate warming, oceans rising, resources dwindling, bodies toxifying, communities eroding.

    This vast Pacific Coast is, of course, under the gun as acidification of the waters around Oregon is ramping up due to all sorts of upwellings, smokestack-tailpipe spewings. Species are collapsing. More people are moving into the tsunami belt here, and more woods/forests are being clear cut. More cars, more CO2 pushed out of internal combustion machines and burning of other fossil fuels all the way up the Industrial Age chain our factory technology 12,000 miles away from Depoe Bay. This is a big thing, ocean acidification, and the Oregon Coast is sort of the testing ground for the rest of the world tied to this double-headed monster – climate changing (warming) and ocean acidification.

    The Surfrider Foundation is working hard on this project to understand how Oregon’s coast will be affected by lower PH levels. Take a look at this amazing web site and organization, a coalescing of forces that very few tourists and locals alike know even little about. Here, the news not fit to broadcast or turn into a Netflix drama (sic):

    Canary in the Coal Mine

    Whiskey Creek Hatchery became the ‘Canary in the Coalmine’ for Oregon’s shellfish industry in 2007 when their oyster larvae experienced a massive die off. Scientists determined that the lower pH of the seawater they were pumping in from Netarts Bay was preventing the larvae from growing their shells.

    On a map of Oregon, find the coastal town of Newport. Draw a straight line directly west, perfectly perpendicular to the coast, out into the mighty Pacific 200 nautical miles from the blinking beacon of the Yaquina Head lighthouse. You’ve just sketched the Newport Hydrographic Line. Nearly everything we know about the function of Oregon’s coastal ocean ecosystem has been learned from samples collected at these stations between 1961 and … well, last week.

    The technology used along the Newport Line has evolved with the times. Since 2006, autonomous underwater gliders (the first two were named “Bob” and “Jane” after Bob Smith and Jane Huyer) have been patrolling it 24/7. At this very moment, two gliders resembling small yellow missiles are swimming their lonely way, diving and surfacing in an undulating path, collecting data on temperature, salinity, water clarity, ocean currents and more.

    These remarkable instruments transmit about 10 percent of their data as they “fly,” communicating via satellite when they surface. When a battery gets low, the glider surfaces and calls home. Scientists retrieve it from a boat, switch the battery out for a fully charged replacement, download the full data set and release it. The gliders can be monitored and even controlled via a smart phone app.

    Initially, studies along the Newport Line focused on physics — currents, temperatures and winds — in order to understand and characterize the most important oceanographic phenomenon in the region: wind-driven coastal upwelling. This process underlies nearly everything else that happens in Oregon’s ocean, from the flourishing fisheries to the presence of gray whales to the low-oxygen conditions and ocean acidification that have been in the news in recent years.

    In a nutshell, summer winds blowing from the north push surface water to the west and drive the conveyor belt of deep, cold, nutrient-rich waters into the coastal zone, fueling the Northwest’s food webs.

    Sometimes called “climate change’s evil twin,” a phrase coined by Oregon State’s Jane Lubchenco, ocean acidification is an insidious and unseen effect of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere. The oceans have always absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere, but as levels of the greenhouse gas have climbed, primarily the result of fossil fuel burning, the oceans have taken in ever-higher amounts, leading to shifts in ocean chemistry.

    Organisms from oysters to corals are considered sensitive. Over the past 200 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, average ocean-wide pH has dropped from 8.2 to 8.1. That may not sound like much, but on the pH scale, it amounts to a nearly 30 percent increase in acidity. Other researchers have found that highly acidified water can cause calcium shells made or used by many marine creatures to be harder to build or to dissolve. The net effects may be felt up and down the food chain. Animals in the intertidal and near-shore zones, including economically important species such as oysters and crabs, may be at risk.

    ‘The ocean may look the same, but the water is changing, especially on the Oregon coast,’ says Chan. Here’s why the Oregon coast is particularly vulnerable to acidification and thus an important place to study ocean chemistry.

    A Deep-Ocean Conveyor Belt

    The summer sun can warm your face, and the air can feel hot, but if you’ve ever been swimming along the Oregon coast, you know how cold the water can get. It gets especially chilly when north winds blow and push warmer surface water to the west. In its place, currents from deep in the ocean rise along our beaches and bays to replace it. This water — delivered by a process that scientists call upwelling — isn’t just colder; it also carries more nutrients that can fuel ocean life.

    On the downside, it has less oxygen and tends to be acidified. Like the proverbial slow boat to China, it can take decades for deep ocean currents to travel to the West Coast. When it last touched the atmosphere at the start of its journey, CO2 levels were lower than they are today. In the future, the water upwelling along our coast will carry the memory of the annual increases in CO2.

    Okay, so I cut and paste a lot here, but again, what are those crab cake bakes and flounder fries really about here along Oregon’s coastal water, which mostly originates in the North Pacific off Japan? Answer: Two cold, deep-water currents, one of which takes a decade to reach Oregon, while the second current brings those waters to the Oregon coast in about 50 years as it follows amazingly serpentine routes around the globe.

    Now, here’s the physics and chemistry we don’t talk about when eating our dill-infused, olive tampenade-drenched salmon — cold water holds higher concentrations of CO2 than warmer water, so these circuitous currents start off with increased CO2 levels. Then while making their slow flow toward the U.S. West Coast, the biological activity by organisms living in that water layer — zooplankton, phytoplankton and other microorganisms — constantly generates CO2 until, by the time the ocean conveyor belt of water rises to the surface off the Oregon coast, its CO2 level has increased greatly. Then, as the water is exposed to our atmosphere after decades in the depths of the mother ocean, even more of the greenhouse gas gets absorbed. This is something most Americans can’t-won’t-don’t grasp – chemical changes caused by engines of biomechanics of currents, air, and pollution.

    Okay-okay, not all tourists get into this level of science and deeper looks at how messed up the world is because of the Corporate Line and Power (One Percent) and the Collective Delusion of their Compliant Consumers (us). But truly, how can people in 2018 NOT go through the thought process of considering each and every bite we take, each mile we drive, each foot of earth we walk onto, each inch of clothing we buy, every trinket and every product we consume as part of the big picture?

    That little oyster stand in Newport has its intended and unintended consequences already built in, all that embedded energy to get to the oysters (metal in the ships harvested in mines/smelted/galvanized; then fossil fuel dug up and piped in to propel those ships to sea); to harvest the bivalves, then to haul them back, and next to process, package and ship them out, and, finally, to attract people from all parts of the West Coast to consume them.

    Yes, our own trip to get there and each nibble we make with the squeeze of a lemon, well, the footprint of Homo Sapiens-Consumo-Retailpithecus is dramatic. We are talking about those shellfish, now vulnerable to ocean acidification, all that fossil fuel to propel humans to the parking lot and propel foreign made utensils and plates and equipment to the little archetypal oyster shack, in Oregon, well, consequences are being laid out as I write this on the Cloud.

    In a world where everything is a retail transaction, where no thought of how the stuff we stuff into our mouths got from farm to fork is expended, it’s no surprise we are cooked intellectually and as communities of me-myself-and-I cancers. Then, more onion peel pulled back: who are these owners of these small businesses in these small towns on the Oregon Coast? Do they care about the world, or their little zone, little hamlets or beach towns? Do they care about the rampant poverty, the growth of shaky families aging in place, in the death spiral of education and decent ways to be, to be human, in small style, while living in a world of entertaining ourselves to death and make-believe idealism and ideals tied to the rich and the famous or notorious?

    Do they care Portland is filled with houseless people, homeless veterans, youth living on couches under an average of $80K in college debt, people like me working our tails off for the underpay the non-profit world of social services spreads like disease across the land? And that’s not just Portland, but Every Town USA. Do they care about fence line communities in Houston or the lead in water in Flint or the lack of electricity in Puerto Rico six months after a hurricane?

    Do they care about words having universal meaning, or the poetry in being versus consuming, or the truths of human kind, or the lessons in evolving history, or the potentiality of real revolution, or the bigger power of changing him-or-her-self into a giver, no longer a taker, or being part of the smaller and bigger solution, while still grappling with their privilege, and then finally seeing the future of seven generations out being more important now than ever before?

    Respite. Observation. A poem. Sanity:

    Contemplating Nine Crows Jumping Mid-Air for Our Trail Mix near Yachats, Oregon

    on the eve of partner’s 48th birthday

    something about cobalt
    tips, wings the black of eclipse
    birds smarter than
    parking lot humanity
    tricksters, crowing along faded lines
    jumping, leaping, barely flapping
    corvid line of avian
    harmonizing with wind
    people looking into ocean sky

    we asked crows into our lives
    two of us tired of heavy
    hearts, our own species
    cancers, riotous Homo
    sapiens, like the cracks
    of coast cliffs
    beaches we surmount
    hoping gulls congregate

    we never know when
    light from animal brother
    inches into our hearts
    never know when whimsy follows
    us into memory, love
    how coal black birds
    possess mental might

    through tricks, we can’t stop
    thinking birds, smarter
    than human race, the Oregon
    Pacific in the background
    creek emptying into swells
    we find harbor momentarily
    comics like Charlie Chaplin
    waddling, marching, the grip
    of their sky, somehow
    transformed into our world too

    Prospects for Metis Civilization

    Transition from the Indian Act to Aboriginal self-government

    The debate about the Indian Act and how to reconcile the elected councils and the traditionals over the past 40 years has been shaped by the sweeping intent of the White Paper of 1969, issued as Pierre Trudeau began his career as prime minister. It set out a liberal, multicultural challenge, an attempt to supersede the Indian Act by eliminating any special status for natives altogether. This galvanized the natives towards a defence of their special status, above and prior to the colonial settlers. It is a nice historical touch that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made native issues a priority, perhaps putting in place a new dispensation that has been germinating ever since.

    BC Nisga’a New Year’s Celebration

    Some landmarks in the movement to replace the 1876 Indian Act include:

    (a) In 1973, the federal government commenced talks with the Yukon Native Brotherhood (later the Council for Yukon First Nations). In 1995, the Umbrella Final Agreement and the Final and Self-Government Agreements for four Yukon First Nations became law.

    Other Yukon First Nations subsequently signed final agreements, bringing most of the Yukon’s First Nations into a radically different relationship with the government of Canada. Reserves were replaced by settlement lands. First Nations governments operating under settlement agreements, with much wider scope than those regulated by the Indian Act, had to design and implement financial management regimes, and continue negotiations with federal and territorial authorities on financial/tax arrangements and transfers of programs and services. In the Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act (1994), the legislation noted, “When a final agreement is given effect, the Indian Act ceases to apply in respect of any reserve identified in the agreement as settlement land.”

    (b)  The creation of Nunavut in 1999, an Inuit-controlled jurisdiction with the same range of powers as the other two territories, has raised even further the bar on Aboriginal governance.

    (c) An agreement with the Nisga’a and the governments of Canada and British Columbia was reached in 2000, eventually leading to a British Columbia referendum on treaty process in the province. The Nisga’a approach to self-government is markedly different from that laid out in the Yukon, where each of the 14 First Nations has a First Nations government operating under the Umbrella Final Agreement. The old Indian Act administration has been removed, and replaced with the Lisims Government. Wilp Si’ayuukhl is the principle law-making authority for the Nisga’a, established along traditional lines, with a Council of Elders, made up of Hereditary Chiefs (Simgigat), Hereditary Matriarchs (Sigidimhaanak) and other key Nisga’a elders providing crucial cultural leadership. Local matters are administered by the Village Governments established for the four main Nisga’a communities. In addition, the Nisga’a made permanent provision for Nisga’a living off the settlement lands, establishing Urban Locals in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Vancouver.

    The Nisga’a moved quickly to convert their settlement into an active and productive Nisga’a-led government, defining the contours of fisheries regulation, creating and amending electoral procedures, and otherwise handling the business of government and administration for the Nisga’a First Nation. As Kevin McKay, Nisga’a Lisims Government Chairperson commented, “The Indian Act was in our lives for approximately 131 years. Compare that to the history of the Nisga’a Nation: our oral stories tell us that we’ve been here since the beginning of time. The Indian Act was here for 131 years and it did a lot of damage. The demand of our people, especially our hereditary chiefs, matriarchs and respected elders, was that we achieve recognition of the land question in a just and honourable way. The agreement, by removing the authority of the Indian Act (save for the role it plays in defining whether an individual is an Indian under the terms of the Act), represented a major shift away from the long-standing system of external control.”

    (d) Since the passage of the Cree-Naskapi (of Quebec) Act in 1984, nine Cree communities are not subject to the Indian Act or the band system. Instead they are represented by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), which signed an agreement in 2012 with the province of Quebec that would abolish the municipalities in the region and merge them with the Cree Regional Authority in a new regional government called the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory.

    Many of these Aboriginal governments have reconstituted themselves along traditional lines, re-establishing the control of clans, recognizing the authority of elders and hereditary leaders, and/or permitting the exercise of Aboriginal customary law. As of 2016, twenty-two comprehensive self-government agreements had been signed by the federal government. Of those, eighteen were part of a comprehensive land claim agreement or modern treaty.

    Land is now controlled locally, under the terms of the settlement agreements. There has been a gradual reduction and eventual elimination of the First Nations tax exemption. The current push to finalize modern treaties in British Columbia and treaty negotiations in the Maritimes will, over time, result in even more status Indian communities agreeing to come out from under the Indian Act.

    Ontario lags behind. In January 2014, the Nipissing First Nation adopted what is believed to be the first constitution for a First Nation in Ontario. It is supposed to replace the Indian Act as the supreme law which regulates the governance of the First Nation, but has not been tested in court.

    The government of Canada has finally begun to address Canada as a Metis civilization, moving in other ways beyond the Indian Act, working with Métis communities and urban Aboriginal populations, groups ignored under the Indian Act. “Put simply, the Indian Act no longer dominates Aboriginal-government relations and no longer provides a singular focus for the management of status Indian affairs.”

    An important nongovernmental organization helping to facilitate the transition is the Centre for First Nations Governance, a non-profit organization that supports First Nations as they develop effective self-governance after the demise of the Indian Act. It was founded as the National Centre for First Nations Governance in 2005 with federal government support, but was defunded in 2012 by the Harper government and reconstituted as a self-financing consultancy group.

    Dual authority

    The writing is on the wall for the Six Nations elected council and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The century-old legitimacy of the elected council vies with the millennia-old legitimacy of the confederacy. Government policy to support one side against the other undermines the search for an acceptable compromise. Understandably, there is no strong movement to overthrow the elected council, which carries out the important work of maintaining day-to-day life on the reserve. The unfunded Haudenosaunee Confederacy has the prestige of tradition on its side (David Suzuki paid a visit to them in 2014), but is in no position to usurp the elected council.

    The HCCC and the SNEBC have parallel structures to govern and promote develop, the SNEBC holding government funding and legitimacy as their trump card. The HCCC authorized the Haudenosaunee Development Institute to set up a corporation, the NewCo, to negotiate contracts with external economic corporations, as part of the next phase of development for the Haudenosaunee. The Joint Stewardship Board (JSB) is an agreement between the HCCC and the City of Hamilton for shared responsibilities and environmental guardianship of the Red Hill Valley. The HCCC worked to restore the Burtch Lands after its use and abandonment by the official government, but the Ontario government is determined to put the lands in its own control under the corporation it set up with SNEBC participation.

    The SNEBC works directly with the official Canadian government on housing, education, infrastructure. They hosted the North American Indigenous Games, Champion of Champions Pow Wow and the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in 2016-7. Both are present at international fora such as UNDRIP. The dual authority weakens the overall authority of the natives in dealing with the Canadian government, but things still get done.

    Prospects for Metis civilization

    Number one priority for both SNEBC Chief Ava Hill and the HCCC is recovering some of the land stolen over the past two and a half centuries. Number two is recovering some of the revenue which all of the Haldiman Treaty lands are producing for Canada every day. Number three is using these resources to build, or rather rebuild, native life. Outreach to the broader society is also a priority. Natives traditionally have been generous and trusting, which accounts for how easily they were conned into giving everything away to a European money- and private property-oriented society.

    The SNEB have a tourism program, offering participation in traditional ceremonies, art and sports events, canoeing by moonlight. An innovative example of this outreach is the program of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN), which brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to learn about the history, people and ecology of the Credit River. Indigenous elders and leaders lead workshops run by the environmental group Ecosource. Carolyn King, who led a workshop about the history of the MNCFN, told the Toronto Star it’s important to give youth “a more intimate look at, and relationship with, the First Nations community, a first step to creating and building relationships. The Indigenous youth who participated were a very important contribution.” Joseph Pitawanakwat, from Manitoulin Island, a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, and founder of Creator’s Garden, ran the workshop about the significance of plants along the Credit River.

    This initiative is a hint of how a real Metis civilization can come about. It relies on a deconstruction of the ‘colonial syndrome’ as outlined in Part I, a renewal of human-based civilizational thinking that arose at the same time as the native civilizations were being destroyed: the radical rejection of imperialism and racism proclaimed for the first time in 1917 in Russia. Communism became imperialism’s mortal enemy, much more worrisome at the time than the defeated native resistance. Not surprisingly, communists were hounded and vilified much as natives were through the 20th century, even as they fought for fundamental human rights.

    But it was not only communism that was anti-imperialist and anti-racist. Islam promoted this from the 7th century onwards, and Muslims suffered the same travails as did Canada’s native peoples in the 19th–20th centuries. Now that communism has been defeated, it is possible–necessary–to go back to the drawing board to fashion a new Canadian identity, incorporating the anti-racism of the communists, Islam and the native traditions as embodied in the Great Law of Peace. We are beginning this very haltingly, though pipelines, resource exploitation and dams still have the upper hand, and our cousin Israel continues to remind us of our past and present sins towards natives, both Canadian and Palestinian.

    Already one third of Canadian native peoples are Metis; i.e., intermarrying and assimilating naturally to the dominant colonial, immigrant culture. The new popularity of all things native, the rediscovery of culture, languages, ethos, is encouraged by new immigrants, especially Muslim, as Aalia Khan, the leader of the nature walk through Mississauga’s Creditview Wetland underlines.

    Islam is now the second largest religion in Canada. There is much in common between Islam and native cultures. Perennialism is a perspective in modern spirituality which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth from which all doctrine has grown. The Swiss Frithjof Schuon (1907–1998) was first attracted to Hinduism before converting to Islam in Algeria in 1932. He lived with and wrote about the Plains Indians in the US, emphasizing the commonalities between native religions and Islam.

    Canada’s special place in world culture will come, not through its colonial past, which created a rich but exploitive ‘civilization’, but through its multiculturalism, tempered by the precious heritage of our native peoples. The Great Law of Peace is the foundation of renewal, and is very much in line with Islamic teachings on governance and relations with nature. Muslim Canadians can find common ground with Canada’s native peoples; for Torontonians, that means working with the Six Nations as the people whose land became Toronto.

    Read Part 1 here; Part 2 here

    “Six miles deep… forever”

    Six Nations, southwest of Hamilton, Ontario, is the largest reserve in Canada, with 27,000 members, though only 12,000 live on the reserve. It is a mini-multicultural nation, the only reserve in North America that has all six Haudenosaunee nations living together.

    The Haldimand Proclamation, negotiated by Joseph Brant on behalf of the Six Nations in 1784 in gratitude for native support of Britain against the American revolutionaries, was, until 1924, governed by the traditional native government, now called the The Haldimand Proclamation. It promised the lands “six miles deep from each side of the river beginning at Lake Erie and extending in that proportion to the head of the said river which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever.”

    This agreement was a decree, never formalized as a treaty, promising what translated into 950,000 acres of what is arguably Canada’s most fertile, scenic, and resource-rich land. As this became apparent in the 19th century, the decree was downgraded by the government, using a new survey in 1821, to 674,910 acres. Canada prides itself in ‘winning’ the war of 1812, but despite fighting for the British then, the result for the natives was to have their earlier promises betrayed, in the first place via the theft of 90% of the land promised to the Six Nations. Canada was becoming ‘independent’, but for the settlers only.

    Ignoring the proclamation, settlers moved into Six Nations territory, the land was cleared and became unsuitable for hunting. Only a small section, now the Six Nations reserve, was left, though it too was mostly denuded and is now primarily used to grow tobacco. The Six Nations were forced to surrender lands to the Crown purportedly to raise funds for the perpetual care and maintenance of Six Nations. Soon, the Crown had expropriated approximately 600,000 acres in questionable transfers. The Crown appointed “Indian Agents” which gave Six Nations’ land to friends and families, or sold land in order to pay their own salaries. Forty years after the Haldimand Treaty was confirmed, Six Nations were dispossessed of 90% of their original grant.

    In 1924, the Canadian government dissolved the native governing structures completely, and installed the elected council system according to the 1876 Indian Act, in the case of the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Elected Band Council (SNEBC). This divided the natives, who were forced to accept the changes, resulting in a schism in the community with those who held on to traditional governing structures, embodied in the Great Law of Peace, that exists to this day.
    From approximately 1840 to 1865, the Six Nations Confederacy council met in a log building near Middleport (since, confiscated). In 1856, against protests from the Onondaga chiefs, Indian Department superintendent Jasper Gilkison established a council building in what is present day Ohsweken, about 6 km south-west of Middleport.

    The traditionals have no government recognition or funding, weakening their ability to function effectively. But at moments of crisis, the two power structures have worked together, however hesitantly. The elected council for the Six Nations, the SNEBC, is run like a western-style local government, and is headed by Chief Ava Hill. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is governed more diffusely, incorporating traditional roles of each of the member tribes. There are 50 chief positions, though not all are filled.

    But for the Great Law to function, at least half of all the members must actively support the traditional ways (really it should be unanimous). That is the bottom line, according to native rights activist Nicole Lebrasseur, who is working through the Canadian People’s Union to popularize the Great Law as a prototype for all Canadians, as a way to fight neoliberalism and corporate globalization, where corporations continue to erode citizen democracy. “The Six Nations can be the germ of a renewal of genuine democracy for all nations,” says Nicole Lebrasseur.

    Current stand-off

    The current Grand River land dispute hit the mainstream media in 2006 when the Six Nations formally reactivated their 1995 suit against Canada and Ontario, protesting to raise awareness about their land claims, in particular, 40 hectares in the Haldimand Tract in Caledonia, Haldimand County which Henco Industries Ltd had purchased in 1992, and planned to develop as the upscale Douglas Creek Estates.

    When the contested land was officially registered for real estate development in 2005, this led the traditionals, the HCCC, to stage protests, closing roads, and at times escalating to damage of electricity generation and even the burning of a bridge. While not condoning the actions, the elected band council benefited from them, the national publicity they generated, creating the conditions which pushed the federal and provincial governments into action to solve the dispute. Call it: the elected council natives playing the good cop to the traditionalist bad cop.

    In May 2006, natives occupied Douglas Creek Estates and twenty-one were arrested, prompting several hundred natives, some of whom were masked and were armed with baseball bats, axes and hockey sticks, to return to the site. The police retreated and the natives reclaimed the site and set up roadblocks along the access street. During the evening, the protesters put hundreds of tires across the highway, doused them with gasoline and lit them.

    “As the world has seen, our protest has been firm but peaceful. Our people are responding without weapons, using only their bodies to assert that we are a sovereign people with a long history and that we cannot be intimidated,” said Six Nations Confederacy Chief Allen McNaughton. When the community’s chiefs ask people to abandon the barricades, it was the clan mothers who overrule them, leading a cultural reawakening in their traditionally matriarchal community.

    Local nonnatives were furious and in June more than 400 area residents and businesses filed a class-action suit against the Ontario provincial government for its failure to protect them adequately. This was settled in July 2011, with the government paying the nonnatives $20 million and prosecuting several demonstrators.

    In 2007, another development site within six miles of the Grand River in nearby Brantford was blocked off by protesters. On September 13, Sam Gualtieri, a builder, was attacked in a confrontation with occupiers at the 90-home Stirling Woods development and seriously injured. Mohawk native Richard Smoke was convicted of assault for resisting Gualtieri when he tried to force Smoke and several others to leave his daughter’s house, which he was helping build as a wedding present. Smoke later apologized to Gualtieri in court.

    The 2006 government promise read, “It is the intention that the land title be returned to its original state, its status under the Haldimand Proclamation.” The historic road-block stand-off over Caledonia and the Burtch Lands ended in 2010 with the province promising to hand it back to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, but instead putting it in a federal corporation, with an Six Nations Elected Council member on the board.

    Elected Council vs Confederacy

    The stand-off in Caledonia continues, pitting the SNEBC against the traditional Confederacy. In 2010, the SNEBC rescinded a motion that recognized the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council as the leader for the Douglas Creek Estates site in Caledonia. “The Confederacy negotiating team has been there for four years with limited success,” said SNEBC rep Chief William Montour. At the same time, Mohawk farmer Kristine Hill, who had been farming a section of the nearby Burtch Lands (formerly seized by the Ontario government and used as a prison) under authorization of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, was evicted after an injunction was filed against her by the government on behalf of the SNEBC, the elected council. A decision on this case, along with a contempt of court charge, was delivered in an Ontario court in September 2017.

    “We the Onkwehonwe of Kanonhstaton are still standing strong,” said Ronda Martin, in front of the blockade decorated with Haudenosaunee and Mohawk Warrior flags, built of what appeared to be part of a decommissioned electrical tower. “We ask again for the public’s patience as we work on some very complicated issues.” In a YouTube video uploaded by Turtle Island News on August 17, Doreen Silversmith listed off three demands of Six Nations people at the barricade. They include that the province and the Canadian government return to the negotiation table with the Confederacy, that Ontario honour its promise to really return the land, and that Six Nations elected band council withdraw its injunction against Hill. This latest blockade ended peacefully in early September, but after the court ruling upholding the eviction, the matter remains unsettled.

    The current stand-off is over who has authority over these lands reverting to native control – the traditionals or the Elected Council. The traditionals are more interested in agricultural and woodlands use, the Elected Council want to use it for housing. The elected council is cooperating with the Ontario and federal governments by accepting the corporation fig leaf for the development of the lands, but claims to be resisting the government and striving for the same goals as the traditionals.

    The confederacy is refusing to acknowledge the Ontario government corporation, which would still leave Canadian officials in control through the elected council. Ontario Premier Wynne threw the gauntlet, playing games with the band, in an attempt to undermine the authority of the HCCC, by utilizing the factions the government has created to get what they want: the complete and total assimilation of the Six Nations.

    There are 28 land claims by Six Nations, which have been on the books since the 1990s when litigation against the federal government was filed. This, as well as other court challenges made through the Elected Council since then, have all stalled without ever being heard and without the SNEBC being able to achieve any headway.

    This stand-off reached a crisis point in the 1959 occupation of the elected council meeting in the Old Council House, which lasted 8 days, with the demand to disband the band council and reinstate the confederacy. The elected council chief resigned, but the ‘revolution’ was still born.

    • Read Part One here;

    Ode to America

    My own little world
    Is what I deserve
    ‘Cause I am the only child there is.
    A king of it all
    The belle of the ball
    I promise I’ve always been like this.
    Forever the first
    My bubble can’t burst
    It’s almost like only I exist.
    Where everything’s mine
    If I can keep my mouth shut tight, tight, tight.

    — Guster, “Center of Attention”, Lost and Gone Forever Live, 2014

    So much for the city on the hill. Narcissism has changed to nihilism and solipsism: “climate change isn’t real”, and the ravages of history continue down the rabbit hole of memory.

    Take another look. Genocide and chattel slavery. The war against Mexico, the quite uncivil war, the Spanish-American war, the massacres in the Philippines, the two World Wars. Dust off a book and check out the post-WWII carnage. Three million dead in Korea, three to five million dead in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. A million or more in Indonesia where our CIA handed out kill lists to Suharto’s regime. Untold atrocities in Nicaragua. Juntas and death squads covering South and Central America, trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. Hundreds of thousands dead in Afghanistan, a million or more in Iraq. Refugees numbered 65 million last year, with 20 million worldwide at risk of starvation.

    Welcome to America, where minorities are killed for loose cigarettes or burned-out taillights. Where kids are shot up in school after warning of the madman dozens of times. Where we are chided to “support our troops” as they massacre, where we’re told “blue lives matter” as black men are murdered in cold blood.

    The only solution is to abolish the military and the police. There is no reforming to be done. Likewise the nation-state and the corporation must be banned as well. Banish capitalism to the dustbin of history. The neoliberal globalizers (yes, Trump, that means you too) have got to go.

    This is the fourth world war, as Subcomandante Marcos explained brilliantly. Billions of people now are no longer needed in the global economy and form the reserve army of temporary, part-time, and seasonal laborers. This is the new precariat, which along with the ever exploited proles constructs and maintains the property of the oligarchs in our new gilded age.

    The risks from global warming, nuclear war, industrial pollulants, new pandemics, and food and water shortages from drought, floods, and extreme weather all should remind us that we are constructing our very own abattoir as well. Seven-and-a-half billion of us fighting and scrambling over the scraps and dregs of our fossil fuel age doesn’t paint a pretty picture when you step back and look at things with a global perspective.

    There is an absolute nothing at the heart of Western life. This gets touched up in media and the arts, when terms like “Spaceship Earth”, “The Big Empty”, and “Lonely Planet” are used in a playful way, masking our sorrow. Projecting our own isolation and alienation onto the world, we anthropomorphize features and creatures around us and thus imagine that everyone and everything else must be feeling as helpless, bleak, and disturbed as we are.

    Yet, it is just not so. Just because the universe is kind of a lonely and scary place does not give us the right to destroy the planet out of fear of our own mortality, our own sense of meaninglessness.

    While our foreign wars mutate and mushroom out of control, domestically, America today is increasingly provincial and insular. Like many subcultures, the political realm is dominated by nostalgia, a return to a so-called Golden Age. From “Make America Great Again” to Bernie Sanders’ New Deal/Keynesian/Social Democratic promises, they are all based on delusions. These are delusions of isolationism, delusions that we can use a Scandinavian blueprint onto a population of 320 million, delusions of American exceptionalism, being the indispensable nation.

    There is also a delusion regarding the “living wage”. There can only be a living wage coinciding with a radical restructuring of the economy towards sustainability and ecological living. Without this, what would happen? A wage hike to $15/hour would encourage everyone to spend more, consume more, go on more trips and use more fossil fuels. This would not help any single living thing on the planet, as our economy is built to destroy and degrade the Earth’s natural resources and ecosystems.

    Comments on US Left Radicals, with Respect

    I also sense a split between two strains of Leftist radical thought in the US: the activist/socialist Left and what one might call the counter-culture/spiritual Left. Turns out, each has much to offer the other.

    The activists/Marxists will be instrumental in breaking the passivity, new-age hedonism, and tendency to harp on conspiracy theory of the spiritualists. Organization and discipline on the strategic and tactical levels are in short supply, and here socialists have a lot to contribute to the conversation.

    As for the counter-culture/spiritual types, they have much to teach the social justice activists and socialist/communist organizers and academics as well. In a very practical sense, those in the counterculture who have “dropped out” are doing a great service by not contributing tax money to our war machine. Those who squat and occupy public land responsibly should also be applauded, not ignored, by the academic Left. The growing movement in permaculture and homesteading also is uniquely absent even in alternative media (is too much patchouli and yoga a repellant for otherwise intrepid journalists?).

    There is also an idea as old as time, summed up by the saying “Man does not live by bread alone”. The constant focus of some on the socialist Left on only materialistic problems and solutions (exemplified by some Marxist and lefty economists, among others) and inequality does not give enough weight to questions of inner life in modern society.

    Many of the activist/socialists cannot even be counted on to support full drug legalization. Additionally, many ignore the issue of, or are scared at speaking out in favor of, the responsible use of cannabis and psychedelics, even though study after study confirms their beneficial effects. Of course, I’m not trying to inflate the heads of the credentialed experts, as any hippie on Haight-Ashbury or Rasta in Kingston could have confirmed this 50 years ago.

    Speaking of the 60s, 50 years ago the French managed to scare De Gaulle out of the country, with an alliance of students, workers, feminists, artists, Leftists, and citizen protestors. Union workers in the US should be supporting high school students’ calls for increased legislation to halt gun violence, as well as college students’ call to end student debt, creating free higher education for universities and community colleges, etc.

    Then there are people who fit neither category, including environmentalists, peace activists, anti-nuke and GMO protestors, dissidents, anarchists, etc. For many here, the Greens are simply not anti-capitalist enough, and the socialists do not put enough emphasis on environmental concerns and ecology.

    I have offered a respectful critique of one of the main Left parties, Socialist Alternative, in a previous piece, especially their call to “democratize the Fortune 500 companies”, instead of breaking them down to human-scale anarchic cooperatives and inherently questioning the nature of the consumer goods and production model, which contribute to pollution, misery, disease, alienation, and global warming.  Also, their call for a living wage without structural transformation of the industrial system falls flat, for reasons mentioned above.

    Last year, Alan Jones wrote a pretty epic essay dismantling the faulty thinking going on in the leadership of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in an essay here.

    What is needed among radicals is more guts, and more imagination. We need more people like SPUSA 2016 presidential candidate Mimi Soltysik who called for the military and the police to be disbanded in the LA Times.

    What is necessary is to become more grounded in speech and action. Technological utopianism has to be replaced by scale-appropriate bio-regional and eco-centric Earth-based production techniques. To accomplish this, we will need to reorient our culture and pay respects to the main keepers of this wisdom, the First Nations of Turtle Island, the land we know as North America.

    Visioning

    What anyone with a heart wants is a rainbow nation, not in terms of a country or nation-state with borders, but groups of interdependent communities, aka intercommunalism as the Black Panthers called it, where our brown, black, white, yellow, and red sisters and brothers can live and thrive in a veritable kaleidoscope, a mosaic of multicultural and intergenerational cooperation and beauty. To live in cooperation with each other and live close to the Earth, we will have to learn from and adopt the rejuvenating and conflict-avoidant cultural practices of indigenous communities.

    Land and property reform are at the center of this agenda, as is instituting a universal basic income. We must utilize the burgeoning fields of bio-dynamic farming, perma-culture, and agro-forestry to feed ourselves. We must decentralize…Small Is Beautiful, as Schumacher explained.

    Over the course of human history, the village was the central unit of society, where bio-regional production, markets, and trading dominated. This is how unique culture is formed, where syncretism and blending is encouraged, not denigrated by xenophobic bigots.

    The modern city is completely unsustainable as well as uniquely alienating as it divides citizens by class, race, as well as in the more subtle realms of social and cultural capital, as Bourdieu foresaw.

    Holistic, ethical science can be used in tandem with decentralizing farming practices and renewable energy infrastructure. The dream of the primitivist, anti-civ, and “green anarchists” (funny how some have tried to appropriate this term, which can apply to a wide spectrum of theory) to go without any modern technology is ridiculous. Sustainably made labor-saving devises should be encouraged, not denigrated, and applied science based on the precautionary principle must be upheld.

    Also necessary will be deliberative councils based on merit, publicly broadcast to stimulate citizen input and education, where scientists can openly debate and plan for strategies to mitigate global warming, industrial pollution, medical and psychological epidemics of suffering (drug abuse is rampant in this country and largely attributable to loneliness and alienation, as the Rat Park study showed), etc. Imagine how much more enlightening and interesting watching the top researchers in their fields resolve crises would be, compared to the absolute shit on CNN, CSPAN, FOX, or MSNBC.

    Meritocracies are not utopian, and flourish in scientific research, in spontaneous social situations, as well as for open-source coders, engineers, and technologists. Arthur Koestler sketched this idea out a bit in his book Janus, dubbing it “holarchy”.

    Global warming continues to be the number one threat to the planet. By opting out of the Paris Accords (a pitiful excuse for a climate agreement, but better than nothing), the US government has  clearly shown itself to be very clearly at war with the world.

    Yet “America” does not exist. Borders do not exist. We must become ungovernable, semi-nomadic if need be, like many of our multicultural, cosmopolitan ancestors were. We should re-wild and reinvigorate our natural surroundings through sustainable communal-based agriculture.

    This does not mean consigning every family to peasant-level subsistence farming, as likely only 10-15% of the population would need to work in a food-production based capacity and would be compensated for their hard work and dedication compared to our mass society, compared to the 1-3% in our mechanized agro-business model where laborers and seasonal workers are ruthlessly exploited. There must be a mind-shift from a culture based on scarcity to a culture based on natural abundance.

    More and more people are waking up to the ever-increasing dangers of runaway climate change and nuclear war. If the Left does not unify and form a cohesive, coherent strategy that speaks to ordinary people, the proto-fascists in Washington as well as the alt-right will continue to scapegoat minorities for capitalisms’ failures in pursuit of their goal of a tyrannical white-supremacist state.

    Possibly the most feasible solution to our interlocking crises is to address the elephant in the room: overpopulation. Instituting a global program promoting woman’s education, safe sex, and birth control, and redistribution of wealth to the Global South could help tremendously.

    The fragmentation of the Western Left continues because ultimately it is rooted in Eurocentrism, in a Baconian/Cartesian/Newtonian view of science and the universe. The advent of capitalism as well as the cementing of the Westphalian ideology of the nation-state ultimately leads to oligarchy, fascism, and the destruction of the biosphere and natural resources. Revolutionizing the system of global capital and abolishing the nation-state cannot be delayed for reforms that seem more realistic. Our time is running out.

    The US needs “Eureka!” Moments re “Vetting; “Displacement”; “Discernment”; “Integration”!

    Eureka! Eureka! (I have found it!)
    — Archimedes

    Having played with fire, one knows inner forms, inner function.
    — Kijima Hajime

    Let’s first debunk the “fake news”!  Famed scientist and mathematician, Archimedes, probably did not cry out “Eureka! Eureka!” (Greek for “I have found it!”) when he sat in a public bath in Syracuse, Sicily, discovering one of his—and our—“laws of buoyancy”!

    But, as with most good, apocryphal stories—the parables in the Bible, for example—there are grains of truth, lessons to be vetted and discerned—pieces to be integrated into the bigger puzzle.

    Here’s the story/myth: Hiero, the local tyrant, suspects a goldsmith of replacing a measure of gold with silver in a golden crown.  Hiero contacts Archimedes to verify his suspicions.  But… how?

    During a trip to a local bathhouse, “the Arch” observes that the more he sinks in the bath, the greater the displacement of water.  And, that displaced water correlates with his body’s weight and volume!  Now he reasons: gold is heavier than silver; therefore, a crown of silver and gold would be bulker than a crown solely of gold—thus displacing more water!  “Voila!” he cries (or, more precisely, “Eureka!”) And he leaps out of the bath, runs naked through the Greek colony, declaring his discovery.  (Whether or not the ladies were amused or alarmed is not reported….)

    It’s a good story about the way critical minds work: they “vet.”  They test ideas and propositions.  They theorize and test their theories and then they vet their own conclusions with careful observations, records and consideration.  They test—again and again.  It’s a shining example of “trust, but verify”:  The critical mind trusts the methodology—the scientific/methodical/hypothetical approach.  But the results need to be noted, verified, repeated.  Modulations of methodology and results also need to be noted and recorded.

    Can the US Empire learn a thing or two about critical thinking?

    In addition to his “laws of buoyancy”—much less apocryphal than the bathhouse story—the Arch thought a lot about levers.  “Give me a lever big enough,” he said—“and a place to stand…and I will move the Earth.”  (When imperialist Theodore Roosevelt spoke about his “big stick,” was he echoing the ancient Greek?  Or merely being “salacious”?)  Do we have levers big enough now to “move the Earth”?  Do we have “a place to stand”?

    Let’s start with “vetting.”

    In 2017 it seemed to have become a wing-sprouting, ubiquitous neologism.  That’s because Trump had campaigned on “building a big, beautiful wall” along America’s southern border—“vetting” illegal aliens, as well as legal immigrants, passing through Mexico.  Now that the victorious presidential candidate intended to carry through with his campaign promise, the opposition party suddenly balked: unfair to immigrants!  Unfair to “dreamers.”  Not in the “tradition” of America’s “nation-of- immigrants” policies.

    What balderdash!

    Odd how our “opposition party”—either one–always seems to make its strongest case—and loudest complaint—at just the wrong time!  I recall John McCain squawking about “campaign finance reform” before that (s)election.  After defeat, not a peep!  (Why would he bother?  He had lost, and he was a one-trick pony!)  Back to the old system!  After the 2016 election, we suddenly heard much more strident voices about the phoniness of the “electoral college”!  When those vocal chords had belonged to those convinced they would win both popular and electoral votes—they had been mum on the subject!  Not justice, not fairness, but opportunism rules our day.

    Overload the system, and there can be no “vetting”!  Much of our problem in the US today is not so much about “fake news” (a major problem in itself), but about a glut of news—both the fake and the legit.  We are overwhelmed!  What, and whom, to believe?

    Don’t like “vetting”?  Do you like your skin?  If you don’t like “vetting,” remove your skin—a “vetting” agent between your internal organs and the enveloping world…of dust, toxins, microorganisms, etc.  How about your lungs—“vetting” the air you breathe, taking in oxygen, expelling CO2?  How about ideas?  If we are lucky, we are “vetting” throughout our lives: determining what works, what doesn’t; who are the “good kids,” who are the “bullies”; what’s smart and what’s dumb; what lessons to take from teachers, parents, books, the arts; and what to file away—there if we need it (if we can discern).  Cerebellum and cerebral “vetting”…to maintain physical and mental balance!  And moral balance, too!

    Why wouldn’t we want to “vet” who comes into America and who does not?  Trump is right about this: “without borders, you have no country.”  He might have said, “without skin, no body; just an exoskeletal-muscular system and a blob of organs.”

    Our “nation of immigrants” mantra is nonsense.  We’ve been a nation of conquerors from the beginning!  The greatest growth in our numbers occurred in the 16-year period following the French and Indian War to our American Revolution!  Americans don’t like to pay much attention to that war—probably because it had much more to do with defeating France’s “Indian” allies than with defeating the 60,000 French colonists.  Britain’s 1,600,000 American colonists (in what would become the US eastern states), led by our “Great White Father”—General Washington—easily made mincemeat of the “savages” allied with the French.  (“Savages,” btw, is how Jefferson referred to our “Original Peoples” in our “sacred” Declaration of Independence.  Of course, most Americans never get past the first few flourishing, hyperbolic sentences.  “All men are created equal”!  Really?)

    Having defeated the uppity, dandified French and their “savage” allies, we—i.e., the Brits–were now free to import boatloads of folks from Europe—mostly poor Brits, some Dutch, some Germans.  “Immigrants!”—though, of course, only wealthy white men could vote!  (We were also mercilessly packing non-immigrant African Blacks into sailing “cattle cars,” destined for “concentration camps–i.e., “plantations–in the South.)  We had nearly doubled our population by 1776—the year of our own “Glorious Revolution.”  And we’ve been growing like crazy ever since—more than 160-fold since 1763!  (And about 150% in just the past allotted 3-score and ten—about my lifetime up to now!)

    And what was all that “largesse” about?  Helping out “the wretched of the earth”?  Much more to do with getting wealthy on slave labor in the South, indentured servitude and close-to (and sometimes worse than)-“slave labor” in the factories in the North.  Much more to do with constant displacement of those remaining “savages” in that vast Western “territory” conquered from Mexico.  More to do with consolidating the Empire, knitting it together with railroads, and stretching past its borders (its skin!) to conquer the Caribbean (by 1898; we already had the “Monroe Doctrine” justifying all that, didn’t we?), and then across the Pacific to conquer the kingdom of Hawaii, the betrayed Philippines (handy “coaling stations there!), butting heads with land-starved Japan, and always justifying all our conquests, all our “interventions,” with pleasant-sounding platitudes; e.g.:

    Give me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

    Pretty good for a platitude…, but, what about “displacement”?  Archimedes discovered the correlation between body weight, volume and displacement of water.  It was measurable, quantifiable.  In the US, we ignore “displacement.”  Yeah, sure—we brought in all these “pioneers” from Britain, etc.—but what about the “savages” displaced?  Yeah, sure, we bring in all these tawny, olive-skinned people from southern Europe—some relatives of mine included!–but what about the people “displaced” in our factories, spewing pollution to the now unemployed, no-longer-needed “deplorable” masses?  (And consider this, George M. Cohan, et al.: No doubt we would have far fewer people wishing to immigrate here if we made far fewer wars “over there”!  And, is it not strange that no one talks about the Ehrlichs’ “Population Bomb” anymore?)  The more the merrier?  Really?

    Is our “Labor Movement” getting a bit too big for its britches?  Let’s pollute the “Movement”—bring in more immigrants!  Let’s crowd our laboring masses into crime-ridden cities like Chicago and Detroit where they can be better “managed” by political “bosses” and our militarized police.  And let’s just keep feeding the masses their fast-food slop, and fake-news and glut-of-news B.S.! The people are overwhelmed!  They cannot “vet.”  Education has been displaced by political, rhetorical nonsense.  Media, including “the Arts”—their own kind of “media”—for the most part: titilate, inundate, reiterate, eviscerate and regurgitate!  They don’t educate, certainly don’t elevate.  Whether it’s a TV “anchor,” late-night mouthpiece “host,” Hollywood predator-producer, or some other hyped-on-self-importance android…for the most part the name of the game is degrade and evade.  Students at the “best” universities do not learn “how” to think, but “what” to think.  Techno-humans (and non-humans) displace the extended family, the nuclear family, the individual, et al..

    It takes most of us a long time to “discern”: to put the puzzle pieces together, to vet ideas and notions, weigh, observe and correlate.  Do people still read books?  Is there time?  I finally got around to reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle last year!  (One upsetting, unsettling capsule of a lesson learned: “Adulteration”!—of food, of truth.  It’s been an egregious, omnipresent fact of life since Sinclair’s time…and before….)  I still haven’t read War and Peace!  Much as I like Mark Twain for work like The Mysterious Stranger, isn’t it time for our public schools to replace Tom Sawyer with The Jungle?  Might we replace Julius Cesar with Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children?  Could we be a little more “relevant”?)

    Life is short; and the grains of sand flow ever-faster through the hour-glass, and the algorithms now reach “conclusions” before we passing mortal beings can even stammer out a premise.  What are our “human” values now?  The very notions of “humanity” and “The Humanities” seem fading flowers.

    One idea still lingers: after the vetting, and the discernment and recognition of the pain of “displacement”–the idea of “integration” remains.

    After the old monuments are dismantled, what new monuments can we assemble?  Do I have the right to destroy a man or woman’s pride in his/her heritage because it differs radically from my understanding?  Does that “other” have a right to destroy my pride?  Where are the teachers to help us understand our history, to help us reconcile our differences; to help us recognize who we are, who we have been, who we may become?

    It is not a dreamy, nationalist, “melting-pot” fantasy we’ve nurtured, about forming a “greater Union”—as Lincoln had it.  (Shall we tear down the Lincoln Memorial or blow up Mt. Rushmore?  The greatest mass-hanging in American history was ordered by “rail-splitter!” and “Indian-fighter!” President Lincoln, when hungry, destitute and desperate Sioux “Indians” wandered off their open-air-prison-“reservation” to gather food for their starving families.  Over 30 hanged in a few shivering moments.  A spectacle to teach them kind their place!)

    Whom shall we lionize; whom condemn?  While victorious and prosperous Americans were jitter-bugging during the “Roaring Twenties,” German children were starving in the streets…and their parents prayed for a “savior”!  Who is “innocent”; who is “guilty”?  What generation has been free of folly…or delusions of grandeur…or solipsistic violence?  Is the pain of disenfranchised Palestinian children less keen than the “never-forgotten” pain of the Jewish holocaust?  Is that holocaust less terrible, or more terrible, than the holocausts of North and South American native peoples…, or those holocausts in Ukraine under Stalin, or in Russia during World War II when 20 million died; and Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Dresden?  Their embers burn in our hearts evermore.

    Not a greater “nation-state” to win the competitive economic battles ahead—and possible sanguinary battles—with an emergent China, a persistent Russia, or some new alliance based on the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) or OBOR (“One Belt, One Road”—China’s own super-version of the American rail system that knit our land-empire together, and our Interstate highways that changed our culture forever)!  Nein! Nyett! No!  We need a greater Eureka vision now!

    When I think about “integration” it is Martin Luther King’s words that I hear—about “all God’s children” being “free at last.”  That is the “freedom” and “integration” of a greater vision, a greater calling.  But, how can there be “freedom” without knowledge, without understanding?  (“Where shall wisdom be found?” Job wondered. “Where is the place of understanding?” And, a long time after, “The Preacher” pondered: “In much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”  And yet, he pondered: “A wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”)

    On this tiny, threatened planet–this electron whirling around our flash-bulb-sun–can we possibly transcend to a higher vision—a Carl Sagan/Archimedes kind of vision of that miniscule “blue-dot” of Earth in a spiraling galaxy? Transcend to a sensibility that courageously vets ideas and concepts rationally, educates our children honestly, and recognizes/discerns the pain we have inflicted by displacement, “deplorable” put-downs, and our ignorance and prejudices?

    Can we rectify the names (as Kung Fu-tzu/Confucius taught)?  Can we correlate, and balance the equations?…judge between real gold and fool’s gold?  Is it too late?  Is it time to give up?

    Then, who will tell the children?

    Human Sacrifice in the Yucatán

    One of the world’s great civilizations, the Maya, flourished in southern Mexico and parts of Central America for more than three thousand years. From about 2000 BC until the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century AD, various Mayan centers rose in their far-flung territories in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

    Maya peoples developed a hieroglyphic writing system, as well as ornate arts and sculpture designs, architectural innovations, complex mathematics and a detailed calendar based on their highly sophisticated astronomical calculations. Over the centuries the Maya withstood conquest by other indigenous peoples, sometimes for prolonged periods, and the systematic destruction of their culture by the Europeans.

    The Spanish demolished Mayan temples, spreading Catholicism and disease wherever they went. The island of Cozumel, off the eastern Yucatan coast, now a destination for cruise ships and scuba divers, was once a sacred site of pilgrimage for the Maya, home of their Moon Goddess, where women came to seek fertility. At least ten thousand Maya were living on Cozumel when the Spanish arrived in 1520. But the smallpox they brought soon reduced the native population to a few hundred, who were later forcibly relocated to the mainland. As Wikipedia succinctly notes: “The Spanish conquest stripped away most of the defining features of Maya civilization.”

    Despite the best efforts of the soldiers and the priests, Mayan culture and language persisted in part because some of its population centers were remote, and because some Maya peoples stubbornly and secretly persisted in their beliefs and customs away from the official gaze. When the Spaniards had taken everything they considered of value, they left the population of subsistence farmers largely to its own devices.

    In the nineteenth century the Maya were “discovered” by adventurers, ethnographers and archeologists, who romanticized and plundered Mayan sites, including the “cenotes,” (pronounced “sen-OH-tays”) the underground rivers where Maya buried their dead, often laden with gold and jewelry. Mayan treasures – pottery, stone carvings, paintings, codices – ended up in museums and private collections around the world. Not until the mid-twentieth century did Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History organize against this systematic looting and demand the return of their national patrimony.

    In 1964 Mexico’s National Museum of Anthropology opened in Mexico City. Full of archaeological riches, the museum features artifacts from many indigenous peoples of Mexico’s pre-Columbian past, including a generous selection of Mayan art and architecture, a fair portion of it returned from abroad. A visit here is a must for anyone who hopes to grasp the cultural and historical diversity of Mexico’s complex identity.

    Though many Mayan pieces had been ripped from their original contexts – from tombs and temple walls in various sites in the Yucatán and elsewhere – at least some had now been repatriated to Mexico. But the most grievous threat to the legacy of Mayan culture was yet to come, in the form of apparent adulation that morphed into a full-blown assault that continues today.

    One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.
    — Crazy Horse

    In 1967 the Central Bank of Mexico commissioned a two-million-dollar study about how to attract foreign currency through tourism. The Mexican economy was in trouble, despite the country’s huge petroleum reserves. Mexico had nationalized all foreign oil interests in the 1930s to create PEMEX, the government oil monopoly. PEMEX constantly increased oil production but was unable to meet the even greater demand, as Mexico industrialized during and after World War Two. Combined with mismanagement and corruption, that demand forced Mexico to become an oil importer instead of an exporter.

    The only tourist area attracting significant foreign currency to Mexico was Acapulco, a resort that came together in the 1940s when war eliminated Europe as a holiday destination. Through private investment and government assistance, Acapulco built infrastructure and luxury hotels that turned it into a jet set “playground of the stars” by the 1950s.

    Mexico’s Central Bank – Banxico – had a different touristic plan in mind. Their study identified five areas of Mexican coastline – four on the Pacific and one on the Caribbean – ripe for massive investments in infrastructure and luxury hotels. Banxico formed an investment agency to create Ixtapa, Huatulco, Loreto, Los Cabos and – as their first project – Cancún. The plan was designed not only to attract foreign tourists and their currency but to provide jobs outside Mexico’s major industrial cities, where desperate unemployed people by the millions were crowding in from rural areas seeking work.

    In some ways it seemed an unlikely, even quixotic, idea. The area now known as Cancún had a population of only about five hundred people in 1970. (By 2014 the population had boomed to 722,000 people and counting.) Roads on the Yucatán were rudimentary, as were the coastal ports. The few air strips could only accommodate small planes. Where only forested limestone plains and low hills existed, inland from a mostly empty coast, Banxico proposed to devise and construct a massive mega-resort zone. A number of extraordinary Mayan temples, pyramids and cenotes were also in this area, many of them protected and preserved only because they were largely inaccessible.

    For the first couple of decades, things seemed to be progressing well in Mexico’s concocted Caribbean tourist Mecca. Tens of thousands of Mexicans found work constructing and staffing the huge luxury hotels, restaurants and other tourist services. The tax base expanded. Public services increased. Living standards improved. Foreign currency came rolling in. “From one of the most marginalized regions in the 1960s, the Mexican Caribbean became one of the wealthiest in terms of GDP per capita in 2000.”* Cancún’s new international airport became the second-busiest in the country, after Mexico City, with the most international traffic. Forty percent of all foreign currency generated by tourism is from Cancún.

    But by the late 1990s the social and environmental costs of this rapid development and apparent prosperity had become acute and undeniable. Despite liberal federal government subsidies and tourism promotion, income inequality in the region was well above the national average. Insecurity was increasing. School attendance was down. Suicides and teenage pregnancies were on the rise. The reefs were degrading, partly as a result of pollution, partly from excessive dive tourism and partly from growing cruise ship traffic, which continues to increase. “Cozumel edged out Nassau to become the world’s most popular cruise destination in 2016,” according to the Oxford Business Group.

    As the once-clear air suffers from increased motor traffic on the clogged roads, the paths to Mayan ruins suffer from increased foot traffic. Unless you arrive to visit ruins as soon as they open in the morning you will have to struggle through crowds of visitors at the once-pristine settlements. The streets of Tulum, a rapidly expanding city as well as a picturesque Mayan ceremonial site, are ankle-deep and in some places, knee-deep in littered garbage. Can it be redeemed? There is no sense that anyone is making any effort.

    In 1984 a Hollywood movie, Against All Odds, was filmed using locations on Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, and Mayan sites at Tulum and Chichen Itza. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, that “was the first time permission had ever been granted by the Mexican Government to use these sacred ruins for a theatrical motion picture.” Visitors to those areas who see that movie now will be shocked at the changes that have occurred there in the past thirty-five years. Movie viewers can behold a natural and architectural beauty that no longer exists in reality, if they can take their eyes off Rachel Ward, or Jeff Bridges, depending on their predilection.

    During the Christmas holiday, the peak of peak tourist season, many of the expensive guided tours to Mayan sites or natural wonders are abbreviated, without any advance warning or reduction in price, simply so that tour operators can entertain the highest possible volume of tourist traffic. Visitors only find out about the foreshortened experience in the middle of it, after they have paid. Human interaction has become commercialized and degraded. Tourists are dehumanized, as are the vendors and service providers. It’s all about money. Faces and identities of locals and visitors disappear in the mercenary blur.

    In their rush to cash in on the tourist dollar, local merchants have rendered once-unique and charming landscapes into tacky pizza-t-shirt-tiki-bars and generic luxury hotels. And they’re not slowing down. Of course, this is a problem in many places, not only the so-called “Riviera Maya,” the bogus term boosters use to describe the ongoing metastasizing development down the Yucatán peninsula.

    It represents a modern travel calculation: the value of a unique destination decreases in direct proportion to the number of visitors it attracts. Machu Picchu is struggling with this problem, as are Iguazu Falls and many U.S. national parks, prisoners of their own popularity. At this point, Cancún has exceeded its acceptable limit. There is less and less to see: reefs with no fish, jammed and littered beaches, coasts with diminishing beach access, and Mayan sites too crowded to really see, let alone contemplate. And just too damn many people.

    The Mayan calendar, a detailed and highly accurate record, spanning centuries, ended at 11:11 a.m. on December 21, 2012. Some excitable New Agers thought the Maya were prophesying the end of the world. Perhaps they just knew it was the end of their world. Or maybe they just ran out of rock to carve. Centuries ago, when what is now a sprawling resort was a raw, barely inhabited wilderness, it was the Maya people who named it Kankun, meaning “nest of snakes.” In some ways – considering the hustling and price-gouging going on there now, not to mention the declining quality of life for the locals – that term seems prescient.

    World travelers these days must struggle with what might be called The Galapagos Conundrum. Situated off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Island group spans both sides of the Equator. The northern islands get the warm Panama current, while the southern islands get the cold Humboldt current. This variation in water temperature causes variations in habitat and among the species of animals who live in these islands. As Charles Darwin discovered, the same species of birds and reptiles differ markedly on different islands, though they live not far from one another in miles.

    The Galapagos are a unique world unto themselves, with creatures that exist nowhere else, and great variety among (and within) different species. It is a protected national park, but also Ecuador’s touristic cash cow. The country is trying – as Peru is struggling at Machu Picchu – to limit the number of visitors to this sensitive environment, in order to preserve it, while making the maximum possible profit from its popularity. Peru has limited visiting hours and drastically increased entrance prices to the Incan remains at Machu Picchu, but still they come, without cease, visitors from around the world, to feel the magic firsthand.

    So the Galapagos Conundrum is simply this: do you go there as soon as possible to experience this unique ecology for yourself before it disappears forever? Or do you refrain, in order not to contribute to the degradation of this sensitive place that it may continue to exist?

    Sadly, that is a riddle too late to wrestle with on the Yucatán Peninsula. Those were not questions the Central Bank of Mexico ever asked. But Kankun may have more to worry about than pollution and the school drop-out rate. There are signs that the Mexican drug cartels are starting to muscle in on Cancún’s tourism industry as they did in Acapulco, demanding protection money and turning it into a ghost town, with lots of murderous violence. That would make its Mayan name a genuine prophetic curse.

    Check out this shocking video:

    • Author’s Note: Linda M. Ambrosie, Sun and Sea Tourism: Fantasy and Finance of the All-Inclusive Industry, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015, p. 111. Most statistical data in this article are from Ambrosie’s book.