Those who have more power have more responsibility — Murray Sinclair
Let us mark the Orange Shirt Day with a clear understanding of the connection between the unmarked graves of Indigenous children and land/nationhood dispossession.
And with that, let us make collective efforts for Indigenous nationhood beyond this day.
— Isadore Day
IT IS ABOUT THE LAND
The use, connection and control of land (and water) is by far the most fundamentally central and critical struggle faced by Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island and across the planet ------ Isadore Day
Restitution of Indigenous land and governance transcends many issues that face Indigenous communities. We need to determine how we are addressing the issue of state sovereignty over Indigenous lands now. Cycles of pre-election promises and program-based funding have had no impact on the systemic discrimination and racism that Indigenous people face. Encroachment, misuse, and destruction of Indigenous land continues, and Indigenous people continue to be marginalized.
Control of land determines who is making the decisions about laws and justice.
THE VERY PREMISE OF OCCUPATION AND CONTINUED ENCROACHMENT
The “doctrine of discovery” is embedded in Canadian constitution and laws. Canada’s constitutive power and legal sovereignty stem from the imported and occupation-focused British North America Act of 1867. Since its founding, Canada has been interpreting its relationship with Indigenous peoples through unfair case law judgements in settler courts. Broken Treaties and the Indian Act have unlawfully banned the existing Indigenous jurisprudence of the land and made Indigenous people wards of the state. With no Indigenous legal template, the Canadian courts have been free to interpret 91(24), Charter of Rights, Federalism, nation-to-nation, Section 35(1) in settler terms. The very premise upon which Canada operates has long needed to be redressed.
Nationhood is the soul of a nation, a sense of belonging. It is what defines a people spiritually, culturally, and traditionally. Bringing together families in shared language, heritage, history and geography, a nation’s sovereign and inherent rights are asserted in its Nationhood laws. Identity, experience and undivided relationship with the shared land, water and non-human beings are further consecrated in Nationhood governance.
There is a significant gap for Indigenous nationhood platforms that provide high quality research, critical analysis, policy and legal advisory to effectively support Indigenous communities on issues concerning their land rights. Indigenous communities lack capacity for building and asserting their inherent laws.
In the last 60-70 years, there have been hundreds of well-funded brain trusts/think-tanks with multi-million dollar budgets (for example, the Fraser Institute, C.D. Howe Institute and Frontier Centre for Public Policy) that have played a major role in the ongoing knowledge production and policy advocacy in Canada and that have advanced colonial structures in law, economy, education, politics, media, religion, and philosophy on this land. Currently, there exists only 1-2 independent Indigenous think-tanks that are working in the legal and policy space. Such Indigenous organizations need to sprout all over Canada and grow in magnitude.
NCH should be established in many Indigenous communities.
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