I spent a fair amount of time studying this statement from the UN and it looked pretty good in the overall sense that aboriginals, have rights, they cannot be discriminated against, and they should be respected equally compared to all other nationalities.
Royal Proclamation of 1763 was a best a pretty vague statement with comments like the following as an example, implying that Canada had all the say.
“We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of Our Displeasure, all Our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved, without Our especial Leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained.”
It sort of implies that no private citizens can take away aboriginal land, with only the Crown having that privilege.
“”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. …”
Are they referring to registered reserves? Again so very vague.
NOTE: I am not taking sides here, but am opening this to future discussion as discussion leads to understanding, that in turn leads to solutions.
The issuance of the Royal Proclamation and the accompanying promises made at Fort Niagara in 1764 laid the foundation for a constitutional recognition and protection of First Nation rights in Canada. The Royal Proclamation itself is referred to in the Constitution Act 1982, in section 25, which states:
- The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including:
- any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and
- any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.
In recent years, the B.C. and Canadian governments have jointly attempted to negotiate agreements with the Indigenous nations in B.C., with little success.
The reason is that B.C. refuses to give up any land and the federal government refuses to negotiate unless the First Nations agree up front they will surrender the land.
Since the UN Declaration on the Rights of indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) clearly states they cannot be required to surrender their land, the government of Canada and British Columbia appear to be creating a permanent state of stalemate.
Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
There are a number of issues and questions that remain. The first being who decides who owns the land? Keep in mind overlapping claims by aboriginals is also at stake here.
Is claimed land unceded land?
UNDIP leaves Canada and BC in the impossible position of surrendering all of Canada to First Nations by accepting and making UNDRP the law in Canada, as UNDRIP does not allow for First Nations to surrender anything. So we are not talking about negotiations as there is nothing to negotiate.
Is this where we want to be as Canadians, where we can never ever settle land claims and come to an agreement everyone can live with?
We all need to be talking about this, it’s insane that we sign it first, then talk about where do we go now with this new set of entrenched laws.