Second attempt at historic Sliammon treaty vote gets underway near Powell River

 By Zoe McKnight, Vancouver Sun/Canadian Press July 10, 2012

Voting is finally underway for the Sliammon First Nation after a court ruling ensured polling stations would remain open.

The first attempt came on June 16, but protesters formed a blockade to prevent voters on the Sunshine Coast near Powell River from deciding a historic treaty with federal and provincial governments.

On Monday, the B.C. Supreme Court upheld a June 22 injunction stopping the Protectors of Sliammon Sovereignty from holding up Tuesday’s referendum.

Chief Clint Williams, who has publicly supported the treaty and the court injunction, said he was unable to predict the result.

“The larger part of the Sliammon community are a silent majority, where they’re not out there creating havoc. A lot of the people in Sliammon will sit back and let their ballot do the speaking. I really don’t know what to expect,” Williams said.

Williams said he cast his ballot when the polls opened at 10 a.m. and voting was going smoothly so far. He said RCMP officers were patrolling the area as well.

Voting ends at 8 p.m. with a result expected within a few hours. About 600 people had registered to vote.

The group of protesters have alleged the vote was tainted by ineligible voters and bribery.

The treaty has been in negotiations for more than a decade. If ratified, it would give band members 8,300 hectares of land, self-government and $30 million.

Opponents argue it could prevent the band from making future land claims.

Posted on July 10, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. In regards to this Treaty now being passed it’s a sad day for all First Nations. If Canada can impose on Quebecers a “clarity act” which makes the threshold for a vote to separate from Canada to 60% then we as First Nations (Band Council/ Mayor, and or Hereditary Chiefs, and or Referendum) should be able to pass such a law to make is 60% to as such a decision affects to much of us, and tears us apart (this treaty wouldn’t have passed) before treaty talks are even started . In a day where people think fee simple land is ownership (The government can expropriate fee simple land) and think money is ok to compensate more stolen title land, shows the people are not properly educated yet do know what they are signing (and that this is also Extinguishment). We should also have the option to define who can vote on the treaties as under the current rules if you can prove it, if you are related many generations ago and never been to the lands, don’t know nothing about the culture (and especially in areas where there is lots of settlers, people are more assimilated, people there may not want anything to do with the culture, but just want money) the people that aren’t in that category should be able to have a referendum on what constitutes our citizenship, even if it is to keep the Indian act membership rules as the requirement if that’s what they vote for.

    Canada has already broken a modern day land claims agreement with the Nunavut, can we  trust them now. we should not have to have their consent for justice, we should not be negotiating with our oppressors, we should be in the international courts, we have a better position than the Palestinians have, and the whole world is on their side except for Israel and the U.S., the Palestinians have to fight the fact that Jews where there in historically as well, whereas here no such argument is possible for the oppressor. The U.S. wont be on our side either though as they have said before (as if they were speaking for us) that “First Nations don’t want sovereignty, they just want self government”(paraphrased). We have to think about our future generations when making such decisions, and why should First Nations be the only race on the planet without our own country. The Native youth movement or a related organization should campaign to travel to all communities coming close to signing a treaty, on behalf of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs to talk to the communities (have gatherings), to ensure every member is properly educated in such an important part of all our history, that will affect our Nations forever.

    For those who think we as First Nations separating either independently, or as a Sovereign Union (Confederated {which means we can still separate from each other in the future if we wish to do so, but become one state for all BC First Nations}) is to hard due to economic/ workforce limits, we should look at other choices, of which the best one to start out would be a state in free association (for example the Associated State of Niue, which only has a population of 1,398 people, only has 260 square kilometers of land, and a $10 million GDP), and since it is a State in Free Association with New Zealand it still enjoys the right to Independence if they wish to, but untill then, external affairs and defence and economic and administrative assistance respectively, shall remain the responsibility of Her Majesty the Queen. Also we could all remain Canadian citizens and Queen Elizabeth II would be head of state in her capacity as Queen of Canada, and we would all still enjoy favorable economic terms such as market access. How we get there could be a number of ways.

    One way I believe would be the quickest and cheapest is to, go to Canadian court for Aboriginal Title land the would just comprise of a small enough area to be able to fight in court (as affordable as possible), and areas that we would surely have recognised in Canadian courts (maybe even just go for some of the curent reserve lands) and then declare independence, and go to international court for the remaining Title lands. After that we would be in a better position to negotiate a Compact of Free Association, if we wish to. I Also believe that leaving one or part of a reserve out of the Aboriginal Title claim would possibly be a good idea, as then if we do completely separate, we could still be dual citizens, and have our Indian Status, and other rights recognized in the Canadian Constitution. Maybe the location of reserve land that is kept as such could be where the church is in most reserves across Canada because those entities already enjoy a special status as tax exempt anyways, and that it could be used for Political Asylum (like a Canadian embassy whether Canada wants one there or not {whether they recognizes us enough to have an embassy on our land or not}). Why do we have to surrender our Sovereignty and Independence to our land forever, just to get out from out of the paternalistic parts of the Indian Act and grow (just to have a normal standard of living, and act like a city, and nothing else), and why do we have to prove we exist (in court) when we’ve been living on this land for over 10,000 years when they can claim land just by planting a flag, this is clearly nothing more than racist colonial tactics, and cultural genocide.

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