Canadians take issue with the validity of aboriginal land claims.


Canadians take the view that it would be better
to do away with aboriginal treaty rights and
treat aboriginal people the same as other Canadians.

Half of Canadians disbelieve land claims
Bill Curry, CanWest News Service
National Post, Nov 27, 2003

OTTAWA - Half of all Canadians believe "few or none" of the hundreds of land claims made by aboriginals are valid, according to a new poll that shows stiff opposition to the trend toward expanding native rights. A full 49% of Canadians take issue with the validity of aboriginal land claims, says the poll of 3,204 Canadians by the Centre for Research and Information on Canada. That compares with 45% who said "all or many" land claims are valid. The poll also found 42% of Canadians take the view that it would be better to do away with aboriginal treaty rights and treat aboriginal people the same as other Canadians.

The results arrive as incoming prime minister Paul Martin is expected to implement major increases in the native land base, as called for in the 1997 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. But such changes could further inflame tensions in the West and Atlantic Canada, where recent court rulings have affirmed preferential access to land and resources for First Nations.

The poll echoes a policy approach first recommended by Jean Chrétien, when he served as Indian Affairs minister in 1969. Mr. Chrétien released a policy paper calling for the federal government to transfer all reserve land to First Nations and transfer all Indian Affairs programs to the provinces and other federal departments, such as regional development agencies. The report was widely condemned by First Nations leaders at the time and such an approach would likely be considered unconstitutional now, following the inclusion of aboriginal treaty rights to the constitution 1982.

On the specific issue of hunting and fishing rights, 63% of poll respondents say the resources should be regulated in such a way that everyone is treated the same. Only 35% support the idea that aboriginal peoples should have preferential access to hunting and fishing grounds in areas where they have traditionally lived.

Nancy Pine, a spokeswoman for Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine, said the poll showed the need for more public education about treaty rights. "Without a proper understanding, this may create unfounded fear or discomfort with the implications of claims or initiatives, so it really does point to a need for greater public education, more dialogue between First Nations and non-aboriginal people and a need to show the successes," she said.Andrew Parkin, the co-director of the survey, agreed the results show a need for more education. "There's a significant body of opinion that is out of sync with the constitutional reality of this country," Mr. Parkin said. "Treaty rights, land rights and even self-government have been constitutionalized since 1982 and have been repeatedly upheld by the courts."

While the national numbers are relatively unchanged from previous studies, the centre found significant changes in attitudes at the regional level. The number of Quebecers who consider land claims to mostly be valid has increased steadily since 1998 and now stands at 47%. However, that view is shared by only 38% of residents in the Prairie provinces, down from 47% in 1999. Canadians in Atlantic Canada are the most opposed, with 74% saying governments should treat everyone the same when it comes to regulating access to hunting and fishing grounds, but opposition is also strong in Saskatchewan, at 73%, and in British Columbia, at 71%.

Since 1974, the federal government has settled 254 land claims worth a total of $1.7-billion. However, hundreds more have yet to be resolved.

The report states that previous studies have shown public support for treaty rights rises when people are informed that these rights are constitutionally protected. While the survey found uneasiness regarding aboriginal rights, it also found that three out of every four Canadians think it is beneficial to all Canadians that the distinctive cultures of aboriginal peoples remain strong. In general, the poll shows Canadians believe relations between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians are improving.

The centre's annual survey is called Portraits of Canada and was conducted by Environics Research Group and CROP. The results of surveys of this size have a margin of error of approximately plus or minus 1.7%, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for regional or provincial numbers are larger. The results are in sharp contrast to responses to similar questions posed in a recent survey of First Nations living on reserves. The May 21, 2002, government study found 82% agreed that only when First Nations people can exercise treaty rights in such areas as hunting and fishing for sustenance, can they be more self-reliant and have a better life. Only 23% agreed that all people in Canada should be subject to the same conservation regulations, regardless of treaty rights.




Indians rally to support Supreme Court ruling (want gov't to abide by decision to consult them over resources). Vancouver Sun, Nov 26, 2004. Go to 10.Rulers & 9.Masses Down & CANADA GOING TO THE INDIANS

CANADA'S RED TRUDEAU (wrote Canada's constitution in 1982)


INNUIT HELL IN HANDBASKET (tribe & gov't in booze cahoots while youth sniff gas undisturbed). National Post, Nov 1, 2003. Go to 10.The Rulers & DRUG WAR & PEACE

Big-buck Indian casinos (playing with marked cards provided by politicians). SanFranChron, May 11, 2003

GREEN INDIANS GRAB LAND (Indians, environmentalists & UN score huge deal). Edmonton Journal, Apr 17, 2003. Go to ENVIRONMENTAL ANIMALISM

Indians join corporate America (buying the nation piece-by-piece with revenue from mega-casinos). San Diego Tribune, Feb 18, 2003. Go to 24.The Lottery

Canada becoming Asian nation (since 1961 when it was European). National Post, Jan 22, 2003. But miraculously Indians increase 22% (without giving birth & dying)

Tribes are front organizations (non-Indians enriched by gambling). NY Times, Dec 12, 2002. Go to 24.The Lottery

Cashing in on Indian casinos (making claim to land that was never theirs). Time, Dec 8, 2002. Go to 24.The Lottery

Natives given free bullets (disarmed taxpayers foot the bill). National Post, Dec 3, 2002. Go to GUN CONTROL

Indians claim California desert (major blow to state's economy). Fox News, Sep 21, 2002. Go to 9.Keeping Masses Down & 10.The Rulers

UN tells Canada to ease land claims (says Indian Act is racism). National Post, Aug 27, 2002

Bill to give natives more financial control unveiled (gov't would not back new bonds). National Post, Aug 16, 2002

Natives to get power to issue own debt (private investors would manage cash, seek credit rating & sell bonds). National Post, Aug 16, 2002

Salmon ban lifted for Native nets (critics say 'We don't like it but what can we do?'). National Post, Jul 19, 2002

Sask Indians get $95M land claim deal (gov't dishonest in 1907 says Indian Claims Commission). National Post, Jun 22, 2002

Indian Act revision ignores economic needs: Aboriginal banker (Indians have trouble getting bank loans). National Post, Jun 17, 2002
Legislation fails to provide real economic tools native communities need to become more self-sufficient, says Brian Davey, head of a Bay Street aboriginal investment bank and chief executive officer and founder of First Nations Equity. Davey, whose firm raises capital exclusively for aboriginal groups and companies, keeps a close eye on business dealings between the private sector and First Nations communities ... Many aboriginal businesses trying to get bank loans have trouble qualifying due to provisions of the Indian Act that prohibit the seizure and mortgage of personal property of an aboriginal person or nation, for example... First Nations governance should include tax legislation to attract investment into their communities... Financial instruments that could open the doors to investment include tax-exempt bonds for First Nations... labour sponsored equity funds for First Nations could be sold to the general public.

Indians lay claim to Canadian land & resources (9.8 billion barrels oil, 25.9 trillion cu.ft. gas). Toronto Star, Mar 7, 2002

I want a piece of this First People's action. National Post, July 27, 2001

The new native tycoons (Indians are cashing in on energy, forestry, mining, gambling, liquor and other sectors and are creating businesses at a rate faster than the national average). National Post, Jan 27, 2001

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~