A group of indigenous people will travel to Ottawa to visit 120 Embassies located in the nation’s capital. For four days in mid March, indigenous people will be in Ottawa visiting 30 Embassies per day with information on violations of indigenous human rights. Former Chief Terrance Nelson of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation is one of the main organizers along with Dakota Chief Frank Brown and they have support from some Mohawks,
“We will carry over 200 packages of information, targeting the Canadian Indian Act, Housing, the over 600 Murdered and Missing Women, the theft of our children under CFS, but the big issue is getting international action on a share of our own wealth, the Natural Resources which has been stolen from the indigenous peoples of these lands”.
“No one should dismiss us, in the National Day of Action four years ago, we warned that a confrontation between indigenous peoples and the government would have dire economic consequences for all of Canada.”
A caravan of seven vehicles will start out from Winnipeg on Friday March 9th, stopping three nights in various First Nation communities along the way before reaching Ottawa on Monday March 12th 2012.
At ten a.m. on Tuesday March 13th 2012, the group intends to demonstrate outside the Iranian Embassy and as stated in Nelson’s letter to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the group will deliver a package of detailed information requesting specific help from the Iranians. In the following three days, demonstrations will take place at the Chinese Embassy, the German Embassy and on Friday, the American Embassy, 30 Embassies in total will be visited each of the four days.
For Further information
Contact Terrance Nelson 204-451-0740
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To All Chiefs and Councils
First Nation people
February 28th 2012
Re: Lobbying the Embassies in Ottawa
Please find attached the letter I wrote to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and the list of embassies we will visit March 13 to 16, 2012, in Ottawa. This will cost us around $50,000 to carry out because we are driving out to Ottawa starting March 9th from Winnipeg.
On Friday March 9th, we will at the Manitoba Legislature from 11 a.m. to Noon, for a rally. Come out and see what we plan to deliver to the Embassies. If nothing else, hear from the people who are going to Ottawa. We are deliberately avoiding going to the government of Canada, they already have as much studies and documents from us to do something about the problems. They don’t need more paper from us.
We need access to foreign banks for mortgages and investment for business development. We have a chance to get something done, we are going to get access to OPEC nations. Mohawks are going to put in half the costs of this event but if the documents on First Nations isn’t done right, or the banners etc aren’t done right, we lose a chance of making the impact we need. Just the Child Welfare issue alone is reason to make this trip. Ten thousand children in care in Manitoba, the Residential School era is happening right now and some of those children in care today will become a statistic of the murdered and missing women of the future.
There is no money to be made in activism; we are not doing this for money. We are doing this to change the system that we have lived under for so long. If we are doing it for the kids like we always heard from the speeches given at the meetings, why would we be so scared to go to an embassy? If you are tired of being ignored in Canada, why not send a document on your situation with us?
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His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
C/O Embassy of I.R. of Iran Telephone # 613-235-4726
245 Metcalfe St. Ottawa, Ontario, Fax # 613-232-5712
Canada K2P 2K2 firstname.lastname@example.org
February 23rd 2012
Mr. Terrance Nelson
Re: Indigenous Peoples of Canada
I wish to thank the Iranian people for their continued interest and support for the indigenous peoples of North America. When I wrote the book “Genocide in Canada” (1997), the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa requested more copies. Iranian interest in First Nations in Canada has been longstanding. Years ago, eight of us indigenous people demonstrated in front of the Iranian Embassy. Sixteen police cars, including Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Secret Service and Ottawa city police did not allow us to deliver our information. We will attend to your Ottawa embassy on March 13, 2012 to try again.
Ramin Mehmanparast, (Iranian Foreign Ministry) responded February 15th 2012 to Canadian Foreign Minister Baird’s comments on Human Rights in Iran by referring to the appalling conditions of indigenous people in Canada. Mehmanparast urged indigenous peoples to take Canada to international forums for meaningful remedies. We are taking his advice.
As an indigenous person and a former Chief of my community, I take the position that economic sanctions against Iran is genocide. I support the right of the Iranian people to defend themselves against undue aggression and financial extortion.
Canada currently sends 2.5 million barrels of oil per day to the United States. Twenty miles from my home community of Roseau River, Enbridge operates a pipeline depot that pumps over a million barrels of oil a day to the United States. Canada has not fulfilled its legal obligations pursuant to Treaty with our people and endangers its right of access to our Treaty historical lands including the lands upon which the pumping depot sits.
Canada has purchased over 2 trillion dollars of American exports in the last ten years. For 22 years I have been trying to get the United States to pressure Canada into rectifying the dismal human rights record that has devastated the indigenous peoples of Canada. Iran has already highlighted the human rights record in Canada, while the United States government continues to remain silent.
Officially, the United States government sees the issues facing indigenous peoples in Canada as an internal domestic matter. The sixty different metals and minerals mined in Canada benefits the American economy but not the indigenous people in Canada. Unlike the American Bill of Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms contains no Right to Property. Canadian politicians feared“Americanizing” the Canadian Court system and thus excluded the right to property to ensure that indigenous people could not use the courts to uphold their rightful ownership of all the natural resource wealth.
Originally, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United States voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, there is security of energy exports for the United States, but NAFTA does not recognize the rights of indigenous people in Canada to property or payment for natural resources extraction.
Canada has consistently been in the top level of the United Nations Living Index while indigenous peoples in Canada are at the 72nd level of that same index. At one point, for seven straight years, Canada was ranked first place in the United Nations assessment as the “best country in the world to live in”.
British legislation, the Indian Act, first enacted in 1876, is today not simply a violation of human rights but creates living conditions that fits the 1948 United Nation’s Genocide Act.
Genocide is defined under article II of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Act as:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The Indian Act is archaic colonial legislation. The act creates a system of undeclared economic sanctions that remain in effect 136 years later. In a book written in 1963 by W.H. Jennings on Canadian Business Law, the impact of Section 89 of the Indian Act is explained in law as;
IndiansWhen living on a government reservation, an Indian is a ward of the Crown and is protected in the following manner;
- 1) He is not legally bound in a contract-not even for necessaries.
- 2) As in the case of a minor, such Indian may hold the other party to the contract.
- 3) No contract to dispose of or to place a mortgage against the property of an Indian is binding.
- 4) All personal property of an Indian is free from seizure for debt, but the unpaid seller may take security on any article purchased for any part of the price which is unpaid.
- OTHER PARTIES HAVING LIMITED POWERS
- In addition to minors, insane persons, intoxicated persons and Indians, two other classes have limited power to contract.
- They are:
- 1) Limited companies
- 2) Alien enemies
According to the World Economic Forum, Geneva, survey of 133 countries, Canada has the strongest banking system in the world, ranked first in the world. We as indigenous people living on a reservation, however, are denied access to Canada’s banking system. The Indian Act ensures that all indigenous adults living on reserve are legally in the same category as children and alien enemies. The Indian Act has created economically devastated indigenous communities.
As a result of the undeclared economic sanctions enforced by Canadian law, there are now over 600 murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada. Over 10,000 indigenous children in the province of Manitoba are in foster care. United Nation defines Genocide as Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. This same system happened previously in the Residential School era where over 125,000 children were taken deliberately from their homes on reserve. They were forcefully indoctrinated into non indigenous belief systems.
The current system that restricts individuals from acquiring personal mortgages and therefore personal ownership of homes on reserve becomes an excuse to house indigenous children in the homes of immigrants, immigrants who don’t face the same restrictions as indigenous people.
The Assembly of First Nations, the national indigenous political organization in Canada has concluded that 80,000 new houses are required in our 633 reservations. Canada has set aside $400 million per year to finance the public housing needs of First Nations. At a minimum cost of $150,000 per new house in northern Canada, it will require $120 billion to finance First Nation housing needs. Denying indigenous people individual mortgages and access to banks means it will take 300 years for Canada to finance our current housing shortage.
In order to break the system of undeclared economic sanctions against our people, we must look to other nations who are willing to give us access to their banks and financial institutions. We are the real owners of all the natural resource wealth in Canada but we are denied a share of our property. We need other nations to condemn the theft of our lands and resources. We should be the wealthiest people in the world if we had even a small share of our own natural resource wealth.
United States and western nations have declared economic sanctions against Iran and perhaps even an all out war against the Iranian people. Economic sanctions are however a double edged sword now that the United States is in such deep financial crisis. In the 2007 National Day of Action we warned Canada that a confrontation between indigenous people and the immigrants would have dire financial implications not just for Canada but also the United States. This is even more so following the economic meltdown in 2008.
I accepted an invitation from the Saddam Hussein Government in April 1998 to visit their country and see the effects of economic sanctions. I organized a fact finding mission with 7 indigenous people from Canada. During our 11 day visit, we took 25 hours of video footage. The Iraqi dinar which was worth 3 and half American dollars prior to 1990 faced hyper inflation under economic sanctions and in 1998, it took 1,450 Iraqi dinars to buy one American dollar.
The United Nations concluded in December 1995, that 567,000 Iraqi children had died in the first five years of economic sanctions. To my knowledge no nation has ever raised the issue of the U.S. military using depleted uranium against targets in Iraq. A four-fold rise in cancer in Iraqi people after 1990 is documented. How the military use of depleted uranium was authorized within American law remains an outstanding question. Will Iran’s nuclear sites be bombed with the same impunity?
I live within sixty minutes ride from one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons in the world. I do not support the use or proliferation of more nuclear weapons but I believe all people have a right to defend themselves against aggression. There are over 22,000 active nuclear warheads in the world. Weapons of mass destruction is of concern for all people in the world and we have every right to voice our concerns even against our own military.
The American people have a right to question their government and their military. The “Occupy Movement” in the United States is similar to the movement against the Vietnam War. The average American is held hostage to $4 a gallon for gasoline and are questioning their government. Many Americans question any declaration of war against Iran. The internet has given people an ability to look beyond stereotyping by western media. There are people in North America who are willing to listen to the Iranian position.
I remember clearly in the 70s that students from Iran came to the United States trying to protest the violations of Human Rights under the Shah. The United States government took no action against the Shah. When our rights are ignored or violated, we all have a right to take action.
I seek an opportunity to present information to the Iranian people. Specifically I ask for your help to break the undeclared economic sanctions that have devastated our First Nations in Canada. We understand that because of the economic sanctions Canada will never allow us to have financial support from your government.
Despite 22 years of trying to get the United States government to respond to the violations of indigenous human rights in Canada, going outside of American sphere of influence will have consequences for us.
We seek your government’s support to help us open the doors to OPEC nations that may be willing to do business with the indigenous people of Canada. We have lands that if developed can provide food security for OPEC nations. We can do business that is mutually beneficial. We ask that the OPEC nations help us to acquire a share of our own natural resource wealth. Like the OPEC nations, if we can finally get a share of our own natural resource wealth, we will be able to support ourselves. Until that day comes, we need your help.
Dakota people and our group will be demonstrating in front of your Iranian Embassy in Ottawa mid March and it is not a protest against Iran, it is a call for help. I will personally deliver a package of information to your Embassy that will be much more detailed and specific. I believe that this package of information can be sent by Diplomatic Pouch to your attention.
I wish to thank you once again for the people of Iran who are interested and supportive of our fight for human rights in Canada. In my Ojibway language, I say Mii-gwetch, (Thank You) for your attention to this letter and attachments.
‘Canada’s remarks on Iranian nuclear program laughable’ TEHRAN, Feb. 15 (MNA) – Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast said on Wednesday that Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s recent remarks about Tehran’s nuclear program are not worth responding to.
Baird, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post in early February, said, “What we know is that this (Iran) is a regime that is enriching uranium and that has a clear nuclear arms program underway. That is undisputable.”
Mehmanparast said, “Those remarks do not meet the lowest diplomatic standards, so they are not worth responding to.”
“Mr. Baird should fully clarify why he strongly made the laughable claim that Iran is producing nuclear weapons while the International Atomic Energy Agency has officially announced dozens of times that Iran’s nuclear program is under the full supervision of this international body and no evidence of diversion has ever been found,” he added.
In response to Baird’s comments on the human rights situation in Iran, in which he had said that the Islamic Republic has a “disgraceful human rights record,” Mehmanparast advised the Canadian government to make efforts to improve the appalling conditions that the indigenous people of Canada are experiencing.