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Indian Nations Prepare Ottawa Offensive: British Lobby Continues

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      FEBRUARY/MARCH 1982      v12 n02 p02  
NIB Joint Council plans Ottawa Strategy.
NIB Joint Council plans Ottawa Strategy.

Chief Sanderson pointed out the need to implement Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Principles within the boundaries of our own nations. "The real enforcement of a political solution," he said, "lies with the Indian people at the reserve level."

Graydon Nicholas, President of the Union of New Brunswick Indians, initially spoke against a political solution. "We can't jeopardize our legal cases," he said, "because a political solution does not overrule law.

Patrick Mahdabee of the Union of Ontario Indians pointed out that the supremacy of parliament is stronger than the courts. Graydon Nicholas shot back saying, "The courts are still the final arbiter. Protocol is a policy riot a law. What is to guarantee that Parliament will follow through and legislate appropriately?"

Chief Sanderson said, "While the courts can make nice judgements for Indians they cannot enforce their rulings. They have to accept the supremacy of Parliament. It is Parliament who legislates the law. We do not accept the right of Parliament to legislate laws affecting Indians. That is why we are seeking an Indian/Federal protocol agreement which sets out the terms and conditions of an Indian/Federal relationship."

An extensive resolution was drafted and put to the Joint Council late in the afternoon of February 18. It was moved by Chief Sol Sanderson and seconded by Chief councillor Eric Robinson of Manitoba.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

The political policy committee, chaired by Gordon Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians met February 19, February 23 and 24 and March 2 to draft the necessary background information and do the strategic planning for the national lobby. Representatives from FSI, Union of New Brunswick Indians, Grand Council Treaty 3 and the Four Nations Confederacy sit on the committee.

The Committee drafted a protocol agreement, and letters to key government leaders in Canada and Britain. Olive Linklator was appointed to co-ordinate the National lobby. He spent 3 weeks in Ottawa in late February and early March meeting with senior government bureaucrats and members of parliament to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Constitution Ministers.

As we go to press there are still no indications that Trudeau is willing to meet with Indian leaders to solve their mutual difficulties over the Constitution.

In the meantime the lobby is gearing up in Ottawa and Indian Nations remain firmly resolved to stick to their pre-patriation strategy.