Canada’s War on First Nations

Russel Diabo: Presentation as relevant today as in 2008


I developed this PowerPoint presentation about Canada’s War on First Nations (click here to access) in the summer of 2008 after the federal apology for Residential Schools and the announcement of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Since before Confederation in 1867, to the 1876 Indian Act, to the Liberal 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, to the Conservatives “Buffalo Jump of the 1980’s” Native Policy, successive Liberal or Conservative governments have continued to implement a First Nations Termination Plan to end the collective Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights of First Nations.

Despite the Trudeau government’s lofty promises and the use of a federal Justice Minister—who is an Indigenous Person—as camouflage, the federal War on First Nations continues albeit through stealth in secret Cabinet meetings, an internal federal Ministerial Working Group and about a hundred Termination Tables where over 400 Chiefs & Councils are negotiating the extinguishment/conversion of their Peoples’ Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

I urge you to read my presentation from 8 years ago as a benchmark to measure against the Trudeau government’s actions today and decide for yourself if I am right or wrong!

For your information, this is the message the RCMP and intelligence agencies didn’t like in their SITKA Report and I was singled out for mention because of it!

To access the presentation, use this address or click the link under “File attachment” below:

For more on project SITKA and Indigenous resistance, see this recent article in Briarpatch Magazine.

File attachments:

For activists, CSIS-spying revelations were cold comfort

Idle No More protesters march through Victoria on Dec. 21, 2012. Photo by R.A. Paterson via Wikimedia Commons

“We’d say things like, ‘Blow me, CSIS,’” she recalled with a laugh recently.

The thought that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) may be bugging her calls did not seem far-fetched to Cress, who is from Beausoleil First Nation, on the south shore of Georgian Bay. She saw RCMP and CSIS members regularly at marches and events. She accepted surveillance was part of her everyday life.

“I don’t think anybody I knew was under any illusion that they weren’t being monitored,” she said.

In 2013, a Vancouver Observer investigation found evidence CSIS and the RCMP had monitored Idle No More and environmental groups — including Leadnow, Sierra Club, Dogwood Initiative and ForestEthics (now called — that opposed the Northern Gateway pipeline, a project that was quashed in 2016.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) launched a complaint against CSIS in 2014 based on this investigation. On July 6, they released more than 8,000 pages of documents from hearings about whether the agency illegally spied on Indigenous Peoples and environmental groups.

Indigenous Peoples and activists say that, regardless of how much of what’s in the Protest Papers is ultimately made available to the public, they’ve long accepted government spying as a day-to-day reality — and they don’t expect it to change/

These documents, called the Protest Papers, include testimony from CSIS employees responding to the BCCLA’s complaint, which the association lodged with the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), CSIS’s watchdog. The committee dismissed the BCCLA’s complaint in 2017.

Six years after the allegations first came to light, and faced with a pile of redacted documents that raise more questions than answers about CSIS surveillance, Cress said she’s still not surprised. She said that, for people in her community, “it’s a given” they are under CSIS surveillance.

“For the majority of Indigenous people, our interactions with the police state have not been positive,” she said. “And we know it, we feel it, because we live it. So… it’s no different.”

Tori Cress, pictured on June 23, 2018, in Chimnissing, Ont., says she has always taken for granted she was watched by CSIS as an Idle No More organizer. Photo by Tori Cress ​​​​​​ ​​​​​ 

Zach Ruiter is a former environmentalist who was personally named in the Protest Papers and in emails obtained through the investigation by Vancouver Observer. They also said the surveillance alluded to in these documents is “nothing new” for activists.

And though the BCCLA’s complaint focuses on the Harper years, both Cress and Ruiter said CSIS is likely monitoring people who are against the oil industry to the same degree today, and since the case was dismissed by SIRC, there’s no reason to believe CSIS has changed practices. MORE

RCMP concerned Indigenous rights advocates will gain public support: new study

New research shows Canada’s police force assesses the risk Indigenous activists and protesters pose to the nation — not based on factors of criminality — but based on their ability to summon sympathy from the broader populace

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An RCMP officer records at a citizens’ protest rally against Kinder Morgan on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014. Several protesters were arrested. PHOTO: Mark Klotz, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

As police enforce a court injunction against two Indigenous camps standing in the way of a proposed B.C. pipeline, the authors of a new report say their research indicates the RCMP’s action against Wet’suwet’en land defenders will be neither fair, nor objective.

Jeffrey Monaghan of Carleton University and Miles Howe of Queen’s University outline in a new report published in the Canadian Journal of Sociology how RCMP assess individual activists according to political beliefs, personality traits, and even their ability to use social media.

The report says government and RCMP documents uncovered through access to information requests indicate the police are not assessing Indigenous protests in Canada based on factors of criminality but are more concerned about the protestors’ ability to gain public support.

It also shows the government’s risk assessments of Indigenous protests, court injunctions initiated by private corporations against Indigenous people, and RCMP policing tactics all favour corporate interests and private property rights over Indigenous rights and title. MORE


Strategic Incapacitation of Indigenous Dissent: Crowd Theories, Risk Management, and Settler Colonial Policing

When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police

It’s become routine, but ignores latest law on rights and title, say experts.

RCMP action against the Wet’suwet’en last week was intended to send a message, says professor Jeffrey Monaghan. Photo by Michael Toledano.

The use of heavily armed RCMP to enforce a court injunction and tear down an Indigenous blockade against TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline in northwestern British Columbia last week was part of a familiar pattern, say criminologists.

“It seems like Canada uses a show of force and police repression whenever it wants to contain First Nations exercising their aboriginal rights and title,” said Shiri Pasternak, a criminologist at Ryerson University and director of the Yellowhead Institute, a research centre focused on First Nations land and governance issues.

“Canada is creating the problem by refusing to recognize what its own courts are saying about aboriginal rights and title,” added Pasternak.

Over the last decade rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts have established that Canadian governments have a duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous people before resources are extracted from their land, and that in many cases their land and title rights have not been extinguished. MORE