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The Battle For Self Government Continues

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      NOVEMBER 1992      v21 n08 p02  
As we sift through the ashes of the October referendum on the constitutional changes a few things come to light.

First, there was not enough time given to get all the information out to all the Bands and second there was a lack of trust that was evident on the part of all Canadians.

Even without the support of First Nations the Accord was doomed the accord was roundly defeated in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Only the Maritimes supported the Accord. Ontario was evenly split for and against.

The breakdown of the aboriginal vote in Saskatchewan shows that the voting went along with the national average in their rejection.

According to press reports the Saskatchewan Indian vote was 53.1% against, with 40.5% in favour.

Nationwide the results showed that 62.1% of the Native voters rejected the accord with only 37.4% supporting the deal.

The figures don't include those aboriginal people living off the reserves in urban areas. Also the figures include Metis and Inuit people.

Earlier in the campaign the AFN National Chief, Ovide Mercredi had stated that he was concerned that Indian people were used to rejecting government policies because historically government policies meant negative change for his people.

The FSIN had been an active participant in the constitutional negotiations as an active member of the constitutional working group and the technical working group both of the AFN.

In his speech to the Chiefs, Chief Roland Crowe expressed his disappointment however he felt that not enough time as available to make informed decision.

"Our people needed more time to review the accord and determine what would be the affect on our Treaties", he stated to the Chiefs at the recent Chiefs Legislative Assembly.

If the accord had been accepted the First Nations would have been recognized in two important areas. First the steps would follow to implement it. Second, a process would have been put in place to define the treaties in a "Just, broad and liberal manner".

The Chiefs at the Assembly gave the FSIN a mandate to proceed with negotiations on self government in light of the failed accord.

The battle for self government and the recognition of our Treaty Rights will continue, only it will move to a different arena. Now that the constitutional route is cut off we will have to look to the legislative route.