Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 10 (1 March 1983)

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Date: 1983-03-01
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 10 (1 March 1983).
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Issue No. 10

In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Tuesday, March 1, 1983

Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner

Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Committee on

Indian Self-Government


The status, development and responsibilities of Band governments on Indian reserves, as well as the financial relationships between the Government of Canada and Indian bands


(See back cover)

First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament. 1980-81-82-83


Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Stan Schellenberger


Warren Allmand
Ray Chénier
René Gingras
Jim Manly
Frank Oberle–(7)

(Quorum 4)

François Prégent

Clerk of the Special Committee

Pursuant to Standing Order 69(4)(b):

On Monday, February 28, 1983:

René Gingras replaced Henri Tousignant.

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The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at 7:24 o’clock pm., this day, the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Schellenberger, presiding.

Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Chénier, Gingras, Manly and Schellenberger.

Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms Roberta Jamieson.

Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms Sandra Isaac.

In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.

Witnesses: From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations: Mr. Sterling Brass, Chairman and Senator John B. Tootoosis. From Treaty No. 2: Senator Bill Standingready. From Treaty No. 4: Senator Henry Langan, From Treaty No. 5: Senator Thomas Young and Mr. Stan Wilson, Interpreter. From Treaty No. 6: Senator Angus Merasty. From Treaty No. 8: Senator Louis Chicken and Ms Mary Rose Yooya, Interpreter.

The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Refernce dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982, Issue No. 1.)

Mr. Brass made opening remarks.

Senator Tootoosis recited a prayer.

Senators Standingready and Langan each made a statement.

Senator Young, through an interpreter, made a statement.

Senators Standingready and Langan answered questions.

At 9:22 o’clock p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 9:33 o’clock p.m., the sitting resumed.

Senator Merasty made a statement.

Senator Chicken, through an intepreter, made a statement.

Senator Tootoosis made a statement.

Senators Tootoosis and Chicken answered questions.

Senator Chicken recited a prayer.

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At 11:28 o’clock p.m.. the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

François Prégent

Clerk of the Committee

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(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)


Tuesday, March 1, 1983

The Vice-Chairman: I would like to call the first session of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government in Saskatchewan to order, and I will turn the meeting over to Mr. Sterling Brass for some opening remarks.

Mr. Sterling Brass (Chairman, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is our custom in Saskatchewan to open our meetings and sessions with the blessing of an elder, and at this time I am going to call on Senator John Tootoosis to come and say the opening prayer.

Will you make your way forward, Senator Tootoosis, please. As I ask this, I will be making an offering of the sacred sweetgrass.

Senator J.B. Tootoosis (Elder–Indian Nationhood, Indian Law, Treaties, Sovereignty: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Prayer recited in native tongue.

Mr. Brass: Thank you, Senator Tootoosis.

On behalf of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, I wish to welcome the hon. members and staff of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government.

I understand that some members of the special committee are missing and will not be here tonight. However, I will go through the list and ask that when I come to the name of a member who is here, since I am not familiar with all you people, that member perhaps will make some motion so that we will be able to recognize him or her.

Mr. Keith Penner, Liberal member from Cochrane–Superior, Ontario, Chairman; Mr. Stan Schellenberger, P.C. Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Vice-Chairman; the Hon. Warren Allmand, Liberal, Notre Dame-de-Grâce–Lachine East, Quebec. I am sorry, the riding is written in French here. Mr. Henry Tousignant, Liberal, Témiscamingue, Quebec; Mr. Ray Chénier, Liberal member from Timmins–Chapleau in Ontario; Mr. Frank Oberle, PC. from Prince George–Peace River, B.C.: Mr. Jim Manly, NDP, from Cowichan–Malahat–The Islands, B.C. From the Assembly of First Nations there is Ms Roberta Jamieson, ex officio member; from the Native Women’s Association of Canada there is Ms Sandra Isaac, liaison member; from the Native Council of Canada there is Mr. Clem Chartier, liaison member.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, and on behalf of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, we would like to welcome you to Saskatchewan. We hope that the end result of the presentations to be given in the hearings here will be positive, and that we will work in an effort to accomplish a very very important objective. Thank you.

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The Vice-Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Brass. and thank you very much for those words of welcome. We appreciate them very much. I must mention that Mr. Tousignant will not be here, but Mr. Gingras, who is a member from Abitibi of the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development, will be taking his place. Also, Mr. Penner, who is the chairman of the special committee, is preparing some work for the constitutional conference with his caucus tomorrow, and he will be here tomorrow evening and, for sure, for Thursday.

I also must take note of the fact that there are some cameras in the room. The Parliament of Canada does not allow the filming of parliamentary committees for broadcasting, whether it be public or private. I have discussed this with Mr. Brass. We have come to the agreement that these tapes will be used only for internal purposes for the archives and, at this moment, as the chairman of the meeting, I intend to allow that to continue. I will have to check, of course, with Parliament tomorrow. to see whether or not we can continue to allow it tomorrow and the next day. However, for now, we will allow it to continue.

The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government has been given the terms of reference from the House of Commons to look into a number of areas regarding Indian self-government. We started by taking the extraordinary step of asking that we have, as well as members from the three political parties in Ottawa, an ex officio member from the Assembly of First Nations. That person is Roberta Jamieson, who is assisting members of Parliament with knowledge that we do not have because we are not Indian people. We appreciate that help very much.

We also have with us two liaison members–one from the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and another from the Native Council of Canada. I believe Mr. Chartier will be here tomorrow. These people, as well, are assisting the committee in areas of concern to those groups–something we also appreciate very much as well.

With that, I will call our first witness to the table to assist us with our terms of reference. We are very interested in beginning the hearings to learn more about those areas which will assist us in writing a report, which must be completed by the fall. We have undertaken this job in conjunction with other very important work that is going on at this time, such as with the Constitution and other developments, and we appreciate the opportunity to hear from you tonight, tomorrow and Thursday.

Now we would like very much, Mr. Brass, if you would call the first witnesses to the table.

Mr. Brass: Thank you. Our first witness tonight is Senator Bill Standingready, Treaty No. 2


Please make your way forward, Senator Standingready.

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The Vice-Chairman: We welcome you, Senator Standingready. Please proceed when you are ready.

Senator Bill Standingready (Elder, Treaty No. 2, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Good evening, everyone, and friends and members of the committee who are here. My presentation will be relatively short; it holds my respect and will apply to our people in Saskatchewan and all through the Dominion of Canada. I will be giving a presentation on treaty rights for Indians, with their spiritual intent.

First, I will say that we love our treaties which our Queen Victoria made for us–Treaty Nos. 2 and 4. I want to let this committee know that we are protected and are trying to live peacefully with our brothers who came across here and made the treaty with us. We made sacrifices in two world wars, just to be in this position–to live in peace. But some of the rights we try to work with sometimes have been denied a little; but there have been some very good things for the Indians who were originally put here by our Creator. This is the country where the Indians were put in; we are the natives, the First Nations, as we call ourselves.

Here, I am going to review a little bit of the treaty that was signed in Fort Qu’Appelle, where my chief was. That is Treaty No. 4. We live on a numbered treaty area, where a little map says that this is No. 2 area. But White Bear actually signed the treaty; his name is on the treaty books. Having been born not until about 50 years after that, I can only witness what they have brought to me. I was a chief for a number of years and tried to work on it in a political way–sometimes with failure, but sometimes I was able to bring happiness to the people with what we got. In a lot of ways, as I look at it, a treaty is a very good thing for Indians as natives. Sometimes our brothers, especially in our own provinces, do not understand us in this treaty that we need.

Before we went to Fort Qu’Appelle, where they signed the treaty, we had our own hunting grounds and different things: we roamed in this country as we pleased. Also, I am going to tell you that we had our own area, White Bear, the Moose Mountain area, which is the southeastern part of the Province of Saskatchewan now, although it was not a province at that time when the Indians were here. We had a hunting ground stretching way down in Manitoba; it was a place called Beaver Creek; but today that place is called Birtle, Manitoba. This is the hunting ground we protected. We worked wherever we got the best hunting, and that is where we wintered. That is the way it was before the treaty was written.

When the treaty was signed here in Fort Qu’Appelle by my chief, he saved himself a piece of land. A lot of people say we got it from Queen Victoria. That is not true. We saved that piece of land so we could build our homes. The queen’s representatives told him to go and choose a piece of land wherever he liked. So this is where he went–to Moose

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Mountain, where he was familiar with the land and the hunting. You will notice in the reserves throughout Saskatchewan that there are always hunting grounds. They provided our livelihood at the time they signed the treaty in 1874.

So he went up there. They told him, you go up there and camp there; take a walk all day in a southerly direction; then go west the next day; camp there, and then go west the next day; this is the piece of land you reserve for yourself. This is why they call them reserves. That is the part of the country we dearly love. We do not want to lose it. We are still there and are still making homes there.

At that time. those treaties promised that as the population grew–I think it says this there–for five persons, we would get a section of land. But at one time the reserves for Indians were deteriorating, and that was when the surrender started. The Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa sent guys here to make deals over some of the reserve lands. But now as a nation. our population generally is growing pretty rapidly and that is why we put in some land claims. That we get some of that land back through band claims is one thing we would like to see happen.

On the other side, spiritually, all that the Indians said to the government’s men who were there was, we do not want your animals; we do not want your hunting; we want the land. so that we can prove that we can make money and will finance those people when they go to the reserves and make their homes so that they can be happy there. Then they were given a medal, a Union Jack, and uniforms with brass buttons and stripes–I mean the headmen, the councillors and the chief. Already we had these chiefs.

So this is why people today are crying that we should govern ourselves in this respect: it is because we were given to that area.

That is the presentation I would like to give tonight. I could give a lot more. I could be here a few hours, but our time is pretty well limited here again, as usual. I am certainly glad that the Canadian government is, we hope, going to recognize. . . for the betterment. . . The Indian Act was made later to protect our treaties and we still carry that on.

Those are the things I would like to give in the first presentation. My other senators are here on this paper; I am sure they will give a lot more on their own areas–Treaty Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. A few of those are going to speak on the same thing that I did; there are others who will be speaking on other ones.

Thank you.

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The Vice-Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Standingready, Mr. Brass.

We call the other two witnesses to the table–Senator Langan and Senator Young.

Senator Langan. you may proceed when you are ready.

Senator Henry Langan (Elder Treaty No. 4, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to share with you . . . What we went through today was very refreshing in regard to some of the comments made by my fellow elders in trying to reach a consensus as to what may have happened 100 years ago. One consensus we reached, when we talk of one mind, was when we talk about the treaties, about what happened–when Bill mentioned Treaty No. 4, that is the area I come from. Something I have often wondered about is the treaty or the interpretation of the white man when he talked about the treaties.

One thing I did get clarified from my fellow elders was that when we talk about the reserve situation the interpretation of the white man is that the Indians surrendered all the land and the white man turned around and gave him this piece of land. The interpretation of my fellow elders is that it never happened that way. The Indian held a portion of land for himself, then was willing to share whatever might be remaining in the area, which is quite a large area if you look at the Treaty No. 4, which also extends into Alberta and Manitoba. I do not know how many million acres would be involved in that.

I think what I am trying to say to the committee, as to the connotation of the interpretation of the white man as to how those treaties were reached, is that it certainly does not look that way, hearing it from the elders. I think that is one of the points I wanted to stress: it appears as though the land the Indian people are living on is owned by government. The message I get from my fellow Indian elders is that that is not so. I think, hopefully, in time that will be rectified.

When we talk about the treaties, the other thing that we agreed on, that came of one mind, was this. Before the coming of the white man the Indian people in this country were orderly people and they exercised their own authority as far as the Indian government was concerned.

I guess what I am saying here is something we agreed on, as far as the Indian government is concerned. We are not asking for anything, as far as the government or any government is concerned. When we talk about the Indian government, something that I found today when sharing and comparing notes with my fellow elders is that the so-called Indian government has been dormant. It was always there. But the people. over a period of years, never had that right to exercise the authority they were supposed to retain. The guy who killed that was the Indian agent. He became the Supreme Being. He was the guy who suppressed the people from, I guess, exercising self-determination, if you will–because to me that is what that means: it is to exercise self-determination as to what our

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destiny should be. We were of one mind on that issue, as far as the elders were concerned.

The comments I am making here to the committee, the references I am making, are not generally for me, but sitting down with the elders. . . I do not know for how many years now the elders, or the senators, have been in existence. I do not know how many times we do get together, for instance, in one year. comparing our differences–tribal differences, traditional differences–and what is written by the white man is, a lot of times, very perturbing to our Indian people. That is not the wording I find coming from my own elders, those who do not understand English, but this is the message I get from them, so this is what I am trying to express.

When we talk about Indian government I like to stress that point: we are not asking for anything extra from anybody; I think what we are trying to do is ask the government to revive what was ours and what was almost wiped out by the so-called Indian nations at one time.

I would like to tell you a story, maybe from a lighter point of view. The Indian people generally still practise within this country traditional things and it has been a practice for our young people still to go to the elders. One day this one young man he went to his grandfather and gave the old man, which was a tradition, tobacco for him to smoke, and he asked the old man if he would you say a prayer to our Supreme Being. I think the connotation of that story reflects what happened in the past, because when the old man got the pipe, he pointed the stem up and he said: the Supreme Being, I offer you this pipe–Indian agent.

You know the message that I get from that, the connotation of that story. Now the younger man intercedes: Grampa, that was not what I asked you, I asked you to pray to God. The old man said: God is not the boss, the Indian nation is the boss.

That was the reason why that adds on, I guess, to where the Indian government was dormant. We are sharing that today, I guess. For the first time, I think, it came out today very prominently where that has been dormant for years.

The other one I would like to share with you, a very perturbing issue, is the problem areas issues. The one I would like to bring to your attention is–the Indian people were not involved in this; I think it is a breach on the part of the government, and I feel very strongly that it has to be rectified–and that is that transfer agreement of 1930, the natural resources agreement. The reason why I bring to your attention what was brought to our attention is it clarifies the whole situation, or brings into the light what has happened within the last 30 days, that 47 people, 47 Indians, have been apprehended by game regulations. With that transfer agree-

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ment the Indian people never had a chance to voice their concerns in those areas.

What is developing in that area in terms of a relationship, whatever that might be, to my way of thinking has to be resolved very fast, because the animosity that is developing between ethnic groups, for instance, or agencies, or organizations–they are accusing one another even to the point of being racist. If we do not resolve that problem, I do not know what may happen, because it may come to the point where it may involve lives. I think we have seen, for instance, what happened down in Restigouche over salmon fishing, where the people within that area tried to exercise their treaty rights. So what I am saying is that there is a great need for a linkage with the government at the highest level.

About entrenching those rights the Indian people negotiated over a hundred years ago, I think that is one of the big areas we are having a problem with when it comes to the province, because each time there is an infraction, if an Indian gets away with it, then the province turns around and enacts legislation to build a brick wall the Indian people are going to run into. So each time the Indian people within a province win a case, legislation takes place. So animosity is developing. For instance, the wildlife federation is not an easy one.

There are other areas I am sure the other people are going to make a comment on: education, health, social services, economic development. We regard all our rights and obligations as being a treaty with the Crown unless otherwise agreed to. Canada does not have the right to transfer its obligations to other jurisdictions, such as to the Province of Saskatchewan.

Hopefully when I talk about the treaty rights of Indian people, the government will look at, or the committee may well make strong recommendations about, resolving the problems that we are encountering. I think one of the strongest recommendations we could make in trying to resolve these problems is that we have to have these rights entrenched in the Constitution. If you have nothing in place to protect the people, then that is the kind of problem we are running into now, because we do not have those things in place that should be protecting the people.

One other thing that really perturbs the Indian people is the commitments, the treaties that have been made, regardless of what treaty that might be. Slowly but surely these treaties are being eroded. I am not sure where we might be in time. As old as I am–and I am 71–I do not have all that confidence or that faith, regardless of who that might be, especially when we talk about the government, when we talk about the politicians. I have been a politician pretty well most of my life myself, so I think I know what I speak about–where trust may be.

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However, there are quite a few other areas that I have been involved in. For instance, I thought at one time I was part of the system; I was no more on the outside looking in. I shared this with Roberta yesterday: should I bring up that issue? I supervised 18 JPs within the province, adjudicating provincial legislation. One of my experiences in that area, when supervising 18 JPs within the province–it became conflicting, because between two posts. Being an Indian and having sworn an oath of allegiance and office, it became very perturbing; so I backed off from the whole issue.

I think one of the first issues that really confronted the Indian people was the vehicles act. I do not want to belie my comments, but that was one of the biggest rewarding experiences I ever had while being part of the system, as I say, being a part of it rather than looking in from outside, because when sitting on a bench adjudicating legislation, there were times it became very perturbing from my own side, and also trying to visualize what the person was confronted with who was facing me. It was not a very light job, trying to adjudicate common sense when sentencing somebody. However, as far as I am concerned, it is not a dead issue. I think it is one of the things that probably the federal government should be looking at.

I think what I am saying here, in other words, is we have to have the Indian people as part of the system. Otherwise you are going to be biased in the system. I felt very comfortable at being part of the system, I guess is what I am trying to say.

Those, Mr. Chairman, are some of the observations I encountered in terms of being comfortable on that issue. There were seminars which I attended. I have sat with judges. I had an open line to practically any judge within the province, if I was hung up on any issue. So that is the reason I make that comment. That is my observation in that area: if we are going to have Indian people supporting the ideas of the white man, or vice versa, we have to get these people working together.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Senator Langan. Your comments are very much appreciated by the committee.

I can now recognize Raymond Chénier, a committee member, who has joined us at the table. We will now hear from Senator Thomas Young, through an interpreter, Mr. Stan Wilson.

Thank you. You may proceed.

Senator Thomas Young (Elder, Treaty No. 5: Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Interpretation): My friends, I am going to talk to you about treaties. We had a meeting some time ago at Prince Albert where we discussed some of the points I will be talking

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about. We used a tape recorder to record our thoughts. Mr. Tootoosis told the person recording the minutes that the reason for it was so that our thoughts would not be just for them to have as information. I think it would have been useful to have read the record of the proceedings from that meeting to be able to help each other to recall what we had in mind.

I have been asked to talk about Treaty No. 5, which started in The Pas, Manitoba. At that time, when the chiefs and councils were in place, one of the chiefs selected was a very old man. He did not speak a word of English, not even a yes or a no. These chiefs and councillors were given attire; they had uniforms which were similar to the RCMP uniform. Thus authority was recognized, in that these uniforms were 21 symbolic representation of it.

Today we are faced with a difficulty which was not anticipated by those first chiefs and councils. They did not anticipate that the situation would be as it is today. The representatives from Queen Victoria came and brought their promises with them. The promise was made for as long as the sun shines, the river flows, and the grass grows. Yet now we are in conflict with the white man.

We were given this land by the Creator. We Indian people are situated in our various lands. One promise that was made to us was that Indian people would receive the sum of $5 per year. Some of the promises that were made, it is true, were carried on for a brief period of time; eventually, however. these policies have been wiped out and now we end up without any. As an example of what we are talking about, when these lands were being selected the chief was accompanied by one of those representatives. I do not know if this was one of his instructions, but he told the chief that if he went too far he would shoot him. Thus it happens that we are one of the few bands that have not very much land. We only have two square miles.

I have been talking about this problem for a while now; if the land remains the same size it is, not all of us would be able to fit into the land. Now I am appealing to you people to listen to me. We are requesting more land. I am thinking of the future generations in doing this, because I realize that things are going to be a lot different in the future.

There is something else I am going to talk about. I am going to talk about a former chief, Gilbert Moore, who was told by his people that if he continued to be the chief his people were going to kill him. That is when I came to be a chief of my band. I was a chief for over 10 years. It was at that time that the former chief told me I needed to take heed, that in the future the white man would come and I should not be intimidated, I should stay with what we had; even if I were threatened, I should not be scared, they would not shoot me. That is why. when I speak as an elder and I am speaking to the chiefs, I tell the chiefs to hold fast to the treaties.

The advice I give to the chiefs I follow. When I give them advice, I try to support them in doing their work. I see myself as being in the same position as they are.

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One of the other promises made was that animals were given, like cattle, and I saw that myself. It was in those times that they used oxen for hauling wood. With what was given these old people at that time we were able to carry on, and we thus then also raised cattle. At that time, to make a living, to make a livelihood, was very hard, as there were no jobs. Those people who followed the chiefs’ instructors were never in any need.

It would be that way today still if the younger people would follow the same pattern; but it is not that way any more. Things have changed now. Money has taken precedence. Back at that time there was no money. there was no welfare.

I think that is all I will say for now.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you very much, Senator Young and Mr. Wilson.

If the three senators would allow us to do so, we would like to ask a few questions of you, if that would be in order.

Senator Langan: I have a comment, if I may, Mr. Chairman. This is in reference to Treaty No. 4. The amount of land that was surrendered is amazing to me, just looking over the treaties now. The amount of land that was surrendered in every treaty area was 50,000 square miles. So to me, as old as I am, I really begin to wonder what we were given in exchange for those 50,000 square miles of land that were given to the white man. I think, looking at that kind of situation, where 50,000 square miles of land are involved, are we getting a fair shake for the land that was surrendered to the white man?

Here, again, we have a misconception in that whole area. A white man, today, is saying to me how much longer are your people going to bleed us? The message I get is that it is coming out of the taxpayer’s pocket. I think references have already been made to that by our president from the province, Sol Sanderson.

The other thing that was brought to mind when Tom was making his presentation was the treaties. the obligation. The Indian people had an obligation in reference to the treaties they signed. They had a commitment to the government to be orderly and be of peace. To signify the obligation the Indian people had to live by, they were given uniforms. To me, today, that still means something to Indian people, because you could see the Indian wore a yellow stripe on the side of his pants.

You could pick out. within the group, who was the headman. The other four headmen, when we talk about the {our headmen, wore the same kind of uniform, but with a red stripe. When we talk about the treaties, there is supporting evidence; that is one piece of supporting evidence that we have.

The other one is that the Indian people here again–Tom–brought it to my mind that the chief was Peter Salloray and the four headmen. So here, when they talk about the Indian government, the Indian people had an obligation towards the

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government. That was one of the ways the Indian people were compensated–by the treaty.

I thought I would just add that to try to shed some light on how the Indian people view that whole situation of Indian government and what may support that Indian government.

Thank you.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you for those additional comments.

If questioning is in order, I would ask my colleague, Mr. Chénier, to begin.

Mr. Chénier: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I would like to apologize to the elders for being late for the meeting. I hope they will understand that this morning I was meeting with the Government of Manitoba. We are starting negotiations on the land entitlements there and I hope that we will come to a fair and equitable settlement, and not in 10 years or 20 years, but quickly. I came in at 6.30 p.m., had a bite to eat, and rushed over.

I think, Mr. Chairman, it is really imposing to see the elders appear before our committee. Last week I was in Manitoba; I was at a public meeting and there were eight elders there. It gave me time to think maybe in our white society we have left the elders out of our deliberations. We have forgotten about their wisdom. Maybe that is why we are in such a mess. I think if we followed the Indian way of life and listened to those people who have lived for a long, long time and who have had a lot of experience, maybe we could gather a lot of wisdom from them for the future.

What I would like to ask any one of the elders, or maybe the three of them, if they want to answer, is this. When we look at the treaties and the way the Indian peoples of Canada signed them and what has happened in the last 100 years or 90 years or 80 years, I would like to ask the elders how they feel we, our committee–because we are a committee of Parliament, we are not just a group of Liberals or a group of Conservatives or a group of NDPs, we are a committee of Parliament and we hope to work together to bring an honest resolve to this whole thing–can come to a final solution to the treaties we have signed. You signed them in good faith, I think at the time we signed in good faith, but maybe over the years things having changed, maybe things were not done in good faith.

Senator Langan: I guess, trying to analyse the situation, when we talk about the 37(2) conference, which is pending, what is of concern to the Indian people is that, hopefully. it is not a kind of one-shot deal that we may be going through. When sitting down with Indian people, we are hoping that this may be an ongoing process in terms of trying to resolve the dilemmas they were in. I think I would say with all sincerity that, hopefully, it is not taken in that light. As I see it, we are

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certainly not going to resolve a lot of these issues overnight or In one sitting.

That is one of my observations on that issue. Thank you.

Mr. Chénier: I am reading a book right now from, I think, one of your good friends, and it opened my eyes. Sometimes I wonder if it is not a responsibility of the elders among the Indian nations of Canada, because you have such a very vivid oral history. Is it possible, or have you tried, to bring it to the Canadian people? In Parliament we have our problems, we have our problems with the Canadian population in trying to tell them, at times, that treaties with Indian people are not like agreements that you sign with the Canadian public service union or any other agreement that the Government of Canada, or any government, signs. Do you think there is a possibility that the elders could make the case to the Canadian population, through publicity, that treaties with Indian peoples are not the same as any other agreement that the Government of Canada has signed with anybody else in Canada? Or has it been done? Have you succeeded? Have you failed?

Senator Langan: If I may elaborate on that issue, I think that is one of the very disappointing areas we have encountered. I think it was only about a month ago when we had the press, the media, here. I sat and observed when the press and the radio media came in when Dave Ahenakew, who is the national president, and also our provincial president, Sol, stated to the news media and the radio that they have an obligation to the people in general, that they should make an effort to appear on the scene so that they could enlighten the people.

That is one of our big dilemmas when we talk about the public in general: they do not understand the treaties. I think I just said that that was one of the irksome issues that I am confronted with from time to time, even from a clergyman–he was the person who made that comment: how much longer are you guys going to bleed us? That kind of statement, coming from a person of that nature . . . How many more people are like that? It really made me wonder.

I think, Mr. Chairman, you have definitely mentioned something that has been a big concern to us. When we talk about the treaties, it is not given to the public. From that point of view, when we talk about the treaties, there are so many treaties that are unfulfilled. There are a lot of issues that we have not gone into yet. One of them–two of them–for instance, is the fishing stations. Our jurisdiction within the boundaries of that Indian reserve is over and above within that area, I have a fishing station maybe 40, 50 miles away, where there is a lake, and I also have rights of access to a hunting area. So when we talk about jurisdiction, everything has to be within the reserve. This is what the province is saying. So we are in conflict there.

Senator Standingready: Well, we have quite a time, all right. Some of the public have failed to study our rights as a

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First Nation. Sometimes we have quite a time, especially with provincial affairs. They just think that we are compelled in this little piece of land that we received for ourselves. But it is more broad than that with the treaty promises, because our hunting was never taken away from us: animals, fowl, what have you. Indians have been picked up on these things and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians have tried to fight that. The majority of the time they come out on top, because of treaty promises that we have had.

Our treaties are a beautiful thing, when we think about it. Some people think we have just $5 a year in these treaty promises. That was just a token. We honour that every year just to show that we have those treaty rights as long as the sun shines and the water flows. These are the promises that we had. If it were put into legislation, it might help quite a bit.

Mr. Chénier: This is not a question, Mr. Chairman, just a final comment. I wonder if it would be possible for the committee to make a recommendation, either through the Government of Canada or the press, that there be a series of articles to show that these treaties are not ordinary agreements. Quite often we say Canada signed treaties with Indian people and people take that as a very light affair, it was just like anything else. But we fail to recognize, or the Canadian population fails to recognize. quite often, that these treaties were made by a government with people who were free, people who owned the land.

It would be the same way if the Government of Canada came to me and said, I want to buy your land and we are going to give you so much in return; that these articles not be based on I982 thinking, but be based on exactly what the elders are talking about, on how it was done when these treaties were negotiated, when the promises were made–not necessarily the legal document itself, but the minutes of what was said. That is what is more important than the treaties, I think, because there were all kinds of promises made in those days.

I think that is one way that we can minimize the backlash of the Canadian population about the treaties; and, as you were saying, people are saying, how much more do you want to have? Are we going to have to give you back the country? This kind of stuff is what has to be stopped if we want to settle it once and for all in a fair and honest way.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you for those comments, Mr. Chénier. The committee may want to take that under consideration in our deliberations.

We will go on to the next questioner, Mr. Manly.

Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to thank the Senators for their presentation.

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Like Mr. Chénier, I think perhaps the most important thing that was said was said right at the beginning of Senator Standingready’s presentation when he said, we love our treaties; and I think it is important for the Canadian people as a whole to begin to understand how important the treaties are to the Indian people.

One of the concerns that the Saskatchewan people have been working on has been the whole question of treaty land entitlement. You pointed out, Senator Standingready, how surrenders were encouraged by Indian Affairs and how important land claims are now. I noticed in a press clipping last year that the Premier of Saskatchewan promised that he would give an answer before the end of the year about the land entitlement program for Saskatchewan. Could you inform the committee what the current position of the Government of Saskatchewan is on land entitlement?

Senator Langan: I am not exactly sure who should be making comments on that issue. I do not know whether the committee has the agenda. We have delegated some other people to deal with that issue, and they are very well versed. They are people, I think, whom we, the elders, depend upon to interpret those areas. I do not know whether you have looked at the agenda, but I think to that point we, the elders, have to hold ourselves in abeyance to that agenda that was adopted, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Manly: Well, thank you very much, then, Senator. I am sure that we will be getting the answer to that question in the next two days.

I would like to carry on, Senator Langan, with one of your concerns, and that is the growing sense of animosity that you detect. I think this is something that concerns a great many people.

Senator Langan: It is a national issue.

Mr. Manly: It is a national issue and it is something that concerns both Indian people and many non-Indian people. I wonder if you could give the committee any idea as to how a strengthened Indian government would be able to work with the national government and the provincial governments to overcome that kind of animosity so that we, in Canada, can live together in some kind of peace and harmony. This is really what the treaties were trying to do.

Senator Langan: Mr. Chairman, I think I could say, with all sincerity, that when we talk about the elders, we are not professing to know all the answers. But I think in terms of trying to resolve the problem we have to try to feel at ease, to be able to sit down at the table to try to resolve the problem. I do not think any given agency or ethnic group could ever come up with how you are going to resolve these dilemmas.

That is such a broad area where the animosity is developing. Naturally, there are other factors that enter into the picture: the financial crisis that the country is in plays a big role in that area. There may be even family disputes because they are

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short of money. The factors that enter into the picture of resolving that problem require a group of people, I guess, to sit down at a table. Hopefully that kind of an area will be open to the Indian people. If we are going to have a sincere thought in mind, hopefully that kind of a thing would develop. Now we are going to sit down at a table to try to resolve some of these dilemmas that we are in.

Mr. Manly: I think what you say is very important, which is that when we are in difficult times people often look around for scapegoats and often the Indian people end up being the scapegoats. I think it is important that our whole country should have a solid economic foundation and that the Indian people should have a solid economic foundation. You talked about the fact that Indian people were not involved in the 1930 resource transfer agreement. Is your basic concern there the loss of any jurisdiction over wildlife? Is that correct, Senator Langan?

Senator Langan: I think one of the big problems related to that is the absence of recognition by the provinces regarding the treaties. Provincial legislation does not recognize the treaties. So, that is one of the big dilemmas confronting the Indian people. Okay, the province could prosecute me; I will plead guilty to the charge. So I appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and 9 times out of 10 I will win at the federal level or Supreme Court of Canada level. The treaty supersedes provincial legislation. That is how we understand it because you are trying an international situation. The provinces do not respect those treaties. I think that is the message the Indian people are trying to get across. Thank you.

Mr. Manly: You talked about some 47 people who have been apprehended in the last month on violation of game laws. Do you say that if they appealed their situation, in 99% of the cases they would be released, too?

Senator Langan: I think we would have to look at the sort of violation involved with each of the 47 specifically. There might be some instances where they would be identical, but it all depends on what infraction is involved, or breach.

Mr. Manly: Then one of the basic problems is some kind of provincial recognition of the treaties. Thank you very much. I think that is important. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Manly. Roberta Jamieson.

Ms Roberta Jamieson (Ex-officio member): Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I would like to recognize the presentation made here tonight by Senator Standingready, Senator Langan and Senator Young. I think you have shown once again that you are willing to come before yet another group and explain the treaty negotiations and the treaty situation the way you see them. This point has already been alluded to by some of the members on the committee, but one of the things this committee is worried about is how we are going to explain matters, or

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prepare a report, which will be received by the Canadian public in a positive manner.

One of the things said is that the Indian people have some responsibility to educate the public. I would like to say that while I think that is true, to my mind there seems to be a larger responsibility–and I wonder how you feel about this– on the part of the Government of Canada. They seem to be saying two things: to the Indian people they say out of one side of their mouth, yes, you have special rights; yes, we have special obligations owing to you. Out of the other side of their mouth they say to the rest of Canadians, everybody in Canada is the same; nobody gets any special treatment. That has been one of our problems. The federal government is not prepared to come out front–and even now we see it before the 37.(2) conference–and declare that, yes, Canada has special obligations to Indian nations in this country.

You talked about how the provinces do not respect the legislation . . . I mean the provinces through their legislation do not respect treaty rights. In negotiations they do not respect Indian nations and treaty rights. I wonder if any of the senators would speak to that and let me know what you think the federal government’s responsibility is here. Should they not be overseeing some of this provincial legislation to see if it conforms to treaty rights? Just where do you think that responsibility lies?

Senator Standingready: That is a pretty fair suggestion, what you are saying there. In other words, we have to let them know what rights we have. I would not say anything about the senators they have in Ottawa, but they should know quite a bit about Indians. But as to the rest of the government, especially that dealing with provincial affairs, they need to go through these Indian matters and Indian treaties; they need to know all that. Their lack of such knowledge is why these people are being picked up; officials are not aware of treaty rights. In most cases they lose out.

For the first time, this year we had a little trouble there. Down our way, in the provincial park, they threw it wide open for the Indians to hunt. They had found out that was our right. This is why they did that. This is the first year that they knew that, yet it has been over 100 years that this treaty has been here.

There is another thing. I will always remember when Tommy Douglas was the premier of Saskatchewan and was campaigning. One of his men came to my reserve-l happened to be a chief at that time–and we had a few votes in there which he wanted. So he offered us medicare. I can remember that day clearly. I asked, Why should we vote for medicare? We have all our other things to vote for. We have had medicare since we have been treaty Indians, way back when the treaties were signed–that being one of the promises we had. In fact, I guess he did not know this was in them himself. So that is why I say that I do not want to say anything about senators; he should know that and I think he is a senator now.

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Ms Jamieson: Thank you. That is a very good point. I remind you that Senator Young has said that a lot of people–well, no one–could speak the language they were negotiating in. And I agree with Ray Chénier when he says that some of the minutes which were taken–even the minutes–were not going to reflect accurately the proceedings, although they will be a whole lot better than what was finally written in the treaties. Do you think that because of the very unfair way in which they were negotiated, and the ways in which they have been broken over the years, that those treaties should not only be entrenched in the Constitution but should be brought up to date? Should they be renegotiated? That is what some of the Indian governments coming before us are asking for–that is, the up-dating and renegotiation of those treaties. How do you feel about that?

Senator Langan: Roberta, if I may, I would say that the feeling of the Indian people within the province when we talk about the treaties relates to something which happened, you know, 100 years ago. So the message that I get, or the mandate that I am given, from Indian people is that those treaties are non-negotiable; they are something which happened a hundred years ago. The Indian people tell me that they want to retain what happened a hundred years ago. They are non-negotiable.

Ms Jamieson: Does that mean that they could not be updated, or that they should be updated’?

Senator Langan: Yes. When we talk about the compromise, eh? It appears to me that the issue then would go out the window. The treaties as of now, as they see them, are so precarious in terms of what they stand for. It all means so much to the Indian people, as Bill said.

Yet, as to how other people view that, it seems to be very, very weak as it is. In no way are the Indian people within the province going to dilute that, because it appears as though it is so weak at the moment. That is why the mandate we were given by the Indian people is: If we are going to seek the protection of our Indian people, the number one priority has to be the entrenchment of those treaty rights within the Constitution.

Thank you. Does that answer your question?

Ms Jamieson: Yes. One thing no one has touched on yet is this trust relationship or special relationship.

The Vice-Chairman: That is going to be covered in another special . . .

Ms Jamieson: It will be covered in another. . .I will not raise it then.

Senator Langan: It is one big hearing, anyway.

Ms Jamieson: I will ask just one final question. I would like to raise one thing for the members’ information; that is, when you talked about the money that was going to chiefs and headmen. Much of what is discussed today between a lot of Indian leaders and government people. . . As I understand it,

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when they talk about the fact that the Government of Canada has an obligation to support financially Indian government, they point to some of these sections in the treaties as the basis. Is that right, Senator Langan?

Senator Langan: Yes, it reflects back to what happened 100 years ago, where the government was willing to pay the chief $25. But that should be updated; it is away out of line at the moment.

So to that point, Roberta, that is the reason our provincial president has been working for I do not know how many years, trying to get a salary for the chiefs and the full headmen. It relates to what happened 100 years ago, where at the beginning, on the part of the government, they were willing to pay a salary to the chief and the four headmen. At the time, the value of that money was somewhat different from what it is today; and it should be updated.

Mr. Jamieson: Thank you, Senator Langan. That is what I was referring to when I talked about updating the treaties.

Mr. Chénier: Mr. Chairman, could I just make a little comment on what Ms. Jamieson has said and what Senator. . . ? No, it is not an argument, not at all.

Before I got into politics, I was in education; so I have made it a point over the last three years to visit schools and talk to high school students. In Ontario, in grade 10, they have a course called civics, and they talk about treaties. I have a lot of fun when I go down to meet with them, because I try to be very facetious.

I say: Boy did Canada give away the ship when they bought the lands from the Indians. Then I read the parts of the treaties where they have the uniforms, the $25 a year and the $5 a year, the bullets and the twine; and the thing is that the kids are the ones who really understand how obsolete the treaties are.

I think that is where we have to work. If we could only get to a lot more kids, maybe once they are 18 years old, they would be on our side when we start to talk about treaties.

Senator Standingready: The Indians must have (inaudible–Editor) even the time they gave them some fish nets to work with, and those things. So that shows you again they never took the hunting away from the Indians.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you very much for those comments. I have one question I would like to ask and I ask it out of. . .

One of the senators said something about the Indian agents. I was wondering if he might comment a little further about the role of the Indian agent and how it affected Indian government. You mentioned it placed Indian self-government in a dormant stage. Would you like to expand just a wee bit on that?

Senator Langan: I do not know whether it was I or Bill who made the statement. But one of the statements I made in that reference was that Indian people were submitted to selling their own portion of the land they had selected. One of the

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gimmicks they came up with was that Indian could not leave that portion of the reserve.

We are trying to read between the lines as to what happened, but what we visualize happened at that time was the Indian people had to concede. The game was depleted on the reserve; in other words, there was nothing to live on. I think Tom brought out the issue that there was no welfare, no pension or anything. So the Indian people lived off the land.

One of the gimmicks we find when comparing notes with the elders is: The Indian agent came along and said: Look, your people are starving. This is what he said to the chief. Look at all the land you are sitting on. You are not using it. Why not sell it so your Indian people can eat? In a lot of cases, the chiefs had to submit to that, knowing the situation, seeing the situation and the plight of the Indian people.

One of my findings on that issue was based on a thesis one white girl had to write. She went through the university in Regina, where she was sent to one area; and that was Broadview. After having been gone a week, she reported back to the university. The written statements she had on paper, her findings during that one week, were so controversial that the university was prepared to pull her off-in fact, they tried to pull her off-finishing the thesis because the universities were being funded by governments. If they were going to disclose these things through one of the students, they were afraid the axe would come down.

However, the student became very involved in the whole situation, and it is really enlightening to read that book. I am not at liberty at this moment to disclose who wrote that book, because. . . I think it is unbiased, at least to my thinking. That write-up did not come from an Indian; it came from a white person, and her findings really shook me.

For instance, in Round Lake, there was a student residence brought about by missionaries. One of the missionaries, on his travels, found Indian people starving within that area; and that is how that school came into being, whereby this missionary stayed in that area.

The Indian people could not leave the reserve because you had to have a pass. If I wanted to go to town, if there were a town so far from the reserve, I had to figure out how long it was going to take me to get from point A to point B and back. It had to be on that pass. The other thing is I had to eat something, supposedly, if it were quite a distance. It would state in that pass whether or not I was able to carry a rifle, whereby I would have the privilege of being able to kill something on the road and probably cook it on the road somewhere.

But when they talk about the Indian agent, something that came about soon after the Second World War, this is our finding in that area. I spent five years in the army. I think I would have been welcome, even to this day, to live under those paternalistic roles, I guess you may say; but when I came back,

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I saw the other side of the fence. There is no way I am going to live under those.

So I guess what I am trying to say here is that the veterans who came back and went over and saw the other side of the fence became very vocal. Not necessarily just trying to take credit, but I think the veterans became very, very vocal and in no way were they going to live under those conditions, and no way was I going to live on the reserve. Good-bye. I thought, when I came back, I was not going to live under those conditions with an Indian agent dictating to me every day. There were a lot of Indian people who were blacklisted, and if you ever got on the wrong side of an Indian agent. . .

For instance, I could illustrate to you. A man a little older than I am told me. I could swear to it any time. Now, here was a man who was quite vocal. He was a pretty big man: he was a little over six feet and over 200 pounds. I know Indian Affairs were afraid of the guy–in terms of physical contact, I guess. He was a menace to the Indian agent. Believe it or not, they were going to put that guy in the bughouse because he was disrupting the system of Indian Affairs. Luckily, he had a few friends, a lawyer, and he thought to himself: God, before they take me away to the bughouse, I had better get around. So he did contact a lawyer because he read a letter. That letter was at Fort Qu’Appelle, where this man was to be apprehended. The police were already notified that they were going to have to apprehend the man. So then the man had a good lawyer, which saved him: but to this day I am pretty sure that he may have been still in the bughouse.

Those are the kinds of things that happened at that time. If you became vocal, you were blacklisted, and I do not know where. . . You could not live on the reserve because you would never get any form of assistance from that Indian agent.

Thank you. I think I have carried on too long, but hopefully that shed some light when I talked about the Indian agent.

The Vice-Chairman: Do you want to make a comment?

Senator Standingready: What Henry says is quite true. I have seen that myself. But, not to say peacefuly, we have enjoyed some parts of this treaty of ours, I would say, especially at one time. We are getting a fairly good amount of education for Indians now.

In fact, like myself being a chief and senator. being retired from politics for about five years. . .But I and my wife also raised quite a number of kids. To be true, I always say my wife beat me on it because she had four girls and I had three boys. This is pretty well divided, but she beat me on one. All these girls have taken university and they are all employed, and the boys are the same. I lost one boy in a car accident.

When you see things going like that, when I see my kids coming out of the university for bread and butter, that is just like the coming of the white man. We had to go to that school,

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and those are some of the bright spots of the treaties that we used to love, and this is where my happiness comes from. Now I have grandchildren going to these universities, and that is happiness, that is their livelihood nowadays. It seems to be the only livelihood; our hunting is pretty well demolished although we have quite a little bit yet.

I am in favour of the conservation as a treaty Indian, these things that we enjoy, because if we did not have the conservation I think it would be the same as when our buffalo went out of sight.

We are in favour of all these. We are friends with any white man. I celebrated my 50th anniversary last spring with my wife. We had tea in the church in the town. We had over 300 people come in there who were friends of ours in this country. Then we had a family dinner. There were a lot more crashes in there. We could hardly have any room for dispute.

So that shows you that your happiness with the treaty is there if you try to follow it in the right way. Too many people think a treaty is just a verbal –I do not know how you explain it–but to me there are bright spots there for us because our elders made that treaty.

I think those are all the comments I will make tonight. As you stay here for a couple of nights, a couple of days, you will get a lot of this feedback in education, health and so on, and you will get it all in here. . .

I thank you.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you. Mr. Gingras.

Mr. Gingras: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I guess you came here tonight to explain the spirit and intent of treaties. Being only 40, and you being 71, you are closer to the treaty than I am on that day of November 1876 when they signed the treaty.

Roberta said that we should update that treaty, but one thing we cannot update is the spirit. I agree with you when you said that it is a good treaty, but if we put it in 1982 dollars this will be the same tonight as if I said at the end of the meeting we will give you a suitable suit of clothing, that means we will give you clothes, and after that they say, okay, and a suitable flag to put on your land. So it is not a question of digits, it is a question of spirits.

I have been in Parliament about three years now. When I came I did not know anything about those treaties. I have worked in that committee for the past three years, and you should see my office, how many papers I have on Indian affairs.

So Mr. Parrish, yes, last Wednesday and tomorrow is coaching even our caucus about what we heard in the Indian Affairs committee. Even in Parliament, I think we are about a bunch of maybe 10 or 12 knowing a little about Indian affairs and treaties and Indian rights.

Last week we pushed in caucus to be able as members of the committee to try to put some knowledge even at that confer-

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ence. I have to say one thing: those premiers do not know a thing about Indian affairs, not the first line of any treaty. Just look at the transfer agreement in 1930. I do not understand that treaty.

I am trying to feel not at home in my own house because I am living up north of Quebec in Ruperts Land. It was bought from the Hudson Bay in 1889 and given to the province in I912, and the province sold me that land where I live. But I am not sure if it is mine when I read the paper. So I like to be on that Indian Affairs committee: but, believe me, it is hard.

I have no questions to ask, but I thank you that the more we go the more we learn. The problem is to try to teach all the things we learn. We have some members who have been here, like Mr. Penner and Mr. Oberle, who know about 10 times what I know. But I fear to know more, and I thank you, because in my own family I asked my Mom and Dad–they are dead now–what was it when you came to Abitibi? It is from elders that we have to know the history. It is not a question of asking questions; it is just listening and knowing that there is a problem there. It is not for nothing that they have to join all the premiers and the Prime Minister next week to see what is under that cover. If we search too much, we will find something.

Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Gingras.

I propose to close the first presentation. Would you like any further comments before I close this presentation?

Senator Langan: If I may be given the privilege of making further comments, I want to share this with you. I have been up at the top of the Hill quite a few times over the past year, and it is really amazing to me, analysing the situation, when you talk about the treaties, how little informed the MPs were on a lot of the issues. I went to the Hill to knock on the doors of members of Parliament to speak to them, to present them with the declaration of principles whereby the Indian people are already placing their position with the federal government. I think if the MPs would read what is in there–I think Roberta has the yellow copy that we passed out to a lot of MPs on the Hill. Sometimes I wonder whether it did not go into the waste-paper basket, because I still find a lot of the MPs are not versed or have very little knowledge–it appears they do not give a damn, if I may use that word.

The Vice-Chairman: I guess as chairman I would say that that would not be the case. Members of Parliament generally find themselves dealing with issues that are very important in their ridings. It is more the duty of those of us who spend time on the Indian Affairs committee or who have native people in our constituencies to make sure that they are aware and that they do read the declaration you describe. I guess that is what

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Mr. Chénier was saying before, that it is our duty and the duty of people as a whole to try to make the recognition of treaties and what we did 100 years ago more prevalent amongst our members of Parliament and amongst the Canadian people as a whole. I hope this special committee will contribute to that as we travel the country and as we write our report.

Senator Langan: In reference to wildlife, as I said, we are going through some very tough situations. It appears as though when we talk about the treaties the wildlife federation, for example, has more weight when we talk about the plight of Indian people regarding their treaties. If that kind of situation is so, we are very leery of the provinces and provincial premiers, because Indian people sense there are already indications as to the positions or the stands the premiers are going to take. For instance, there is not going to be a third party when we talk about the government.

We are not talking about anything new as far as Indian government is concerned. We are talking about something that we have had before. We are not asking for anything, whether it is federal or provincial.

I thought I would bring that to light again. I was asked to bring it to light because it is really very conflicting at the moment. I think that should be one of the priorities we have to confront ourselves with, how we are going to resolve that problem, because as I said. it is really creating animosity between people.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you so much.

I would like to thank Senator Bill Standingready, Senator Henry Langan, Senator Thomas Young, and Mr. Stan Wilson for enlightening the committee–we really appreciate your remarks–and for being so patient with our questions.

I will bring this presentation to a close. We will have a five-minute recess as Senator Merasty, Senator Chicken, and Senator Tootoosis come to the table. In five minutes we will begin the second presentation.

Ms Jamieson: Could I have a word before we break?

The Vice-Chairman: One word.

Ms Jamieson: I am very happy that the senators have again brought the declaration to our attention. I must say I share Senator Langan’s frustration at times. That cannot be emphasized enough, because I asked the Minister of Indian Affairs in this very committee about this declaration and he indicated to me that he had seen something the colour of that paper before but was not knowledgeable about it. So I am very encouraged by the fact that you continue to bring it before this committee, because this is something I think we have to keep in front of our minds at all times.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you.

We will have a five-minute break.

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The Vice-Chairman: We will begin presentation two with Senator Merasty, Senator Chicken and Senator Tootoosis.

I would like to call on Mr. Brass, firstly, to point out just what area the witnesses come from.

Mr. Brass: This is the area that Senator Chicken is from, the extreme northeastern end of the province. Senator Tootoosis is in the Treaty No. 6 area. Senator Merasty is also in the Treaty 6 area.

The Vice-Chairman: We might begin by asking whether Senator Merasty would like to address the committee.

Senator Angus Merasty (Treaty No. 6, Second Elders’ Group, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations): Members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen:. When I was asked to be a witness, I said, in Prince Albert, this is the fifth generation now since the treaties were signed and I do not think there is anybody that can, surely, through the Bible say what had happened at that time. We learn all these things from our elders. We learn all these things, democracy, and we learn that the British Empire we can call the father of democracy, of the western democracies. We learned that from the people, the elders. In those two world wars a lot of us joined the army to save, with the help of the Creator, this democracy we are living in. Yet we see today that we can sit across the table, solve our problems, and you people come in here to meet us. We are very glad to meet you people so that you will be able to understand us. It gives us a lot of encouragement, your coming here, the way we understood it, to sit down and learn from us the way we understand treaties.

I have asked people who have signed treaties to come and visit us, getting ready for you people, from the treaty areas of Manitoba and Alberta, because I guess one of the biggest areas is Treaty No. 6, it takes in right into the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. They are mostly Crees all the way as far North as Lac La Ronge, which is about 200 miles from Prince Albert. At that time, that was agreed upon. This man–I got this from two or three elders about 60 years ago–has said, in Treaty 6, that the treaties were signed and agreed. At that time, these people, our leaders, had asked for different things, such as that they,wanted to keep their animals, fish and to have a representative. “Well,” he said, “I am representing, the Queen sent me.” He did not say, through the interpreter, that he was sent from Ottawa. He said: All the directions I am about to tell you, the Queen tells me these things. These promises I am going to give you, and what you are going to ask and I agreed to shall be taken back to the Queen. He made that speech–Treaty 6 area. I will be taking this. The Queen told me: When you come back, bring this back. When you

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have agreed, and the people have agreed, I will sign my name and put it to the Constitution of the British laws.

This priest, had two interpreters at that time. He had one government interpreter, the other one was an interpreter but he watched everything that this interpreter, this representative of Queen Victoria, said, word by word. This is what we have been told by these people. They said: These things I have promised you this day, there will be no man walking on two legs in my kingdom will break these treaties until you break away from these treaties. (Witness speaks in native language–Editor) as my great-grandfather said. He said until such time as that flag goes down with the Crown and I am defeated, then the treaty has to go to another kingdom, because I am defeated.

But until that day, no man–all these treaties l have with you this day will never be broken. I have asked one of the leading lawyers, you know him well, John David Baker. I called him twice–he was in Prince Albert–to ask him questions, and he said, do you know that is the best treaty that ever was signed between nations, because, he said, talking to a lot of us, if that wording would have been used forever, then the politicians and the lawyers could have broken that in 99 years, but it was used as long as the rivers and the grass grew and the sun shines. That means your treaties will stand until the end of time. We had to have some advisers like that. Not so long ago as people we had very little education, so when we started to organize we had to have advisers, sit down with them. They helped us along, but they tell us that the time has come, you are able to speak out for yourselves, for your people.

But I guess us elders, we forwarded all these things we learned from our elders to the university students that come out with good educations and who are able to speak good English when they are speaking, when they are talking. Like myself, I have only a Grade 3 or 4 education, but I hope you can understand what I am talking about anyway in my poor English. I cannot use very hard words. If I was talking in my own language, I would speak right out because it is mine, but I had to use the English language and I did not have the education. If I had gone to university, I could be talking hard words. You will have to excuse my poor English, but I hope you can understand me, because 1 come back again to we are sitting here together the same way as our forefathers sat together with freedom of speech and we worked together, and with the help–I said that many times to my people–of the Creator we will win back our democracy by the skin of our teeth. We have been defeated twice, but we worked together and destroyed old Hitler the last time.

But now, as I said before, I am glad that you have come to visit us, to stay and learn from us, because you had to visit us to understand us, how we understand these treaties that we have and are still depending on. We cannot afford to lose those promises that were given to us, promised to us, because it says there that with this land that you have surrendered to me, you

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have to give it to me. I shall give you I guess a share out of this land, this country, and I will give you schooling and education and look after you in sickness from the strength of this land that you have surrendered to me this day. So the Indian people–treaty Indians–are still depending on those promises that were contracted to by the British Crown, the British people, that were agreed upon and to which they signed their names.

I do not think I should say any more because you people have knowledge and wisdom; that a person does not have to talk very long for you to understand him, what he is talking about. Thank you.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you, Senator Merasty. I would like to ask whether Senator Louis Chicken would like to address the committee.

Senator Louis Chicken (Treaty No. 8): (Interpretation): I will speak to you. say a few words to you. I may not say much, but one thing I wish to bring to your attention is that we were told that we will be sitting here with you because you are leaders, great leaders in the government; and therefore what we request of you is we would like you to listen to us very carefully and seriously to make sure you carry out what we request.

I would like to explain something to you first. In the Chippewyan language, they refer to treaties as takers of $5. That means treaty people. We treaty people sitting here at the table with you government leaders, all should work together; if we argue, we will not accomplish anything. We have to work together in order to get something done.

We are facing you here at this table–you as government leaders. The different items which my brothers have mentioned here are not going to be the only points that we will bring up. There are going to be a lot of other issues brought to your attention. I have a lot of things on my mind that I wish to speak to you about.

We treaty people here believe that the deals which were made with us when those treaties were signed, including the papers that the then-Queen signed have not been destroyed. If those papers are still in existence from our side, we respect and live by those treaties.

At the time those treaties were signed, people referred to now as Indian Affairs people but in those days were called Indian agents, approached the different hands. We were told then that as long as the sun shines and the river flows, those treaties will never be broken.

The way that treaty was signed with the Queen, the way those treaties exist we want preserved. We do not want to break those treaties nor do we want to destroy those treaties.

What we were told then and formed part of the treaties–what the Queen promised us then also in those treaties–were

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things which would not be taken away from us such as hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering; in fact, our way of life. We were told that we would be allowed to keep those things.

One other promise in the treaty was that we would be allowed to maintain our freedom of movement and to live wherever we wish. We were also promised that we would be allowed to maintain our hunting, trapping and fishing rights.

It was not we who started breaking that treaty. It was other people. They have been fighting us and trying to destroy those treaty rights, in my experience, for over 23 years. Back then they really started fighting us and trying to break our treaties from us.

It is not we treaty people who are breaking those treaties. The people I have talked to at the band level, as well, have tried to maintain and protect their treaties. From listening to my brothers that spoke before me, I also hear that we are trying to protect our treaty rights.

One of the main things we treaty people wish to protect in our treaty rights is our livelihood–the way we used to live; hunting, trapping. We do not want to lose those rights. But it looks as if there are other people always fighting us and trying to take those things away from us.

The people bothering us most are white people. Our way of life, the way we live, does not hurt them; we do not bother about how they live. They should think about those things when they try to create problems for us. We all share one Creator. He made everybody on this earth. He made them different, but we all have to live.

Senator Chicken (Interpretation): Those white people who live in society, they have an easier way of life, not like us poor treaty peoples. They manage to have jobs to maintain their way of life somehow. We do not have money in our pockets to go and eat in cafés or dining rooms, whatever. The only way, mostly, we manage to live, to eat, is by maintaining our old lifestyle.

We treaty people, the way we wish to maintain our lifestyle, to live, hunting moose, deer, fish, whichever way we can live, we wish you to help us protect those rights.

In the old days, way back, as far back as in history, our lifestyle was living off the land. You people in the south, you have different lifestyles such as farming, gardening. You have it easier than we do. To this day, our main way of life is still living off the land.

One of the requests he puts to you, we treaty people in this province, we have different lifestyles. I am from the far north. There are also treaty people in the south. But what he requests of you, he would like to see you try your best to help them.

Where I come from, the northern part of the province, the people that maintain the way of life such as trapping or

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hunting, their trap lines and their gathering areas, you can call them, go into the Territories as well. These are traditional lands. In the south, those treaty people will also have their traditional lands. Those should be protected for them.

The treaty people, Indians, who live here in the south, their basic way of living may be farming. That is their basic way of earning income. In the middle of the province, it maybe fishing. At the top of the province and going into the Territories, it maybe a totally different lifestyle.

You are sitting here with us in preparation towards making documents that will govern. The way it should work is for you take into consideration the different lifestyles we have across the province. I also heard you speak about the Department of Indian Affairs, the existence of that department. I heard somebody ask if it should be allowed to stay in existence, or if it should be done away with. I have some thoughts on that; therefore, I would like to speak to that.

It is not just one place that there are treaty people. There are treaty people all across the country. The department is dealing with Indian people. For example, if a band requests funding for a certain program, the department–I will refer to them as bureaucrats–those Indian Affairs bureaucrats will gather in a little circle, sit down together and decide how much money that band is going to get. Quite often, more often than not, they will not give us what we need. They always cut us short. Usually what happens when funding is requested at the band level, whichever Indian Affairs officer approaches the band, they sit down together at the provincial level, and the group then takes their decision to Ottawa. If they would listen to the Indian people in the First place, at the band level, and take that request directly to Ottawa, instead of cutting down the request at the district and provincial level, a lot of problems would not arise. But quite often they cut the funding that is requested by more than half.

Another promise that was made to us. We were given these reserves and we were told that the chief would be the leader on that reserve and whatever he said would be law on that reserve. Today, it does not look as if it is happening that way; it looks as if nobody listens to us.

What is happening today with regard to law enforcement on reserves, when a chief approaches an RCMP officer and requests that the officer assist him in enforcing band laws, that officer will say, that is not law, you have to follow the laws that I have. He enforces his rules on the band memberships or the band. He does not listen to what the chief tells him.

We, in the far north of the province, which is practically in the territories, make requests to the government through the Department of Indian Affairs, the district office in Prince Albert, and those letters and requests get stuck there. We do not think they reach the higher level in government in Ottawa;

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they do not reach you people who sit there. A lot of times it is not known what happens to those documents. It sure would be nice if this were fixed so those things do not happen.

If a chief makes a request, usually through a band council resolution, they phone or write to the district office. They are told, we forwarded them, we do not know what the answer is. That is the answer they usually get.

I am happy that I sat here and talked to you and shared some of my information with you. Some of the things that people request, such as assistance for commercial fishing, if you were able to somehow help them obtain these requests, it would be good.

Another request or another point that I would like to bring to your attention, one of the main lifestyles of the people in the far north is trapping, therefore, to some extent, they need trappers’ assistance from the federal department, This year they were told that that would be terminated. What can be done to help these people? It is their way of life: they make a living from it, so why can they not be helped?

We are sitting here listening to each other, My co-senators are speaking to you: you are speaking to them. I did not hear any arguments, any dissension, and for that I am very happy. The information that I shared here is for people who are sitting here listening to me. This is all I have to say for now.

I was also told that the meeting would continue tomorrow, as well as the day after, and if I think of something else that I should bring to your attention, I will do so.

Thank you for listening to me.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Senator Chicken, and thank you, Mary Rose.

Would Senator Tootoosis now like to address the committee?

Senator Tootoosis: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am very happy to sit with you people who are all nice-looking gentlemen. You have been elected by people in your constituency. You have come to the top; you must be good men.

However, we never did have members of Parliament at meetings that Indian people organized in western Canada. When we first started to organize everything seemed to be against us. We got started when Fred Loft came out west to organize the Indian people to speak for themselves, to speak out for their rights. It is the only way they can be followed.

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However, what I would like to speak on are our treaties. Our treaties are just as good as any treaty made by nations in the world because we were accepted as a nation. It verifies that on the Kings Proclamation of October 7, 1763, when King George told his colonies in eastern Canada not to come and colonize until they could make a deal with us over our land. We recognized we had a title to the land. the country, where we are now. As they came, they signed those treaties; there were so many treaties on the way.

We belong to Treaty 6 in my area. Saskatoon is on Treaty 6.

There were good intentions when the treaties were signed. Indians understood in their language. They had interpreters, and the way they understood in their language was the way they agreed. So that is where we stand today: the way we understood, the way our ancestors understood, the way we believe our treaties.

As this gentleman says, our treaties are to last forever. We believe in that.

So we were promised, and a lot of promises you made to us. In other words, you got the country by promises. A lot of it has never been fulfilled, and we are still expecting, holding our bag, for those promises you made to us. But after we studied, the question we found out.

Since you came to our shores, the Indian people said to us new human beings come to this continent and to accept you as human. I am not going to take time tonight to explain all that happened when the British came by Hudson Bay, dealing with the Indians, killing the Indians. They killed us by the thousands and thousands in the west and destroyed our economy. There was a great starvation here in this continent when we had nothing. and then they came and signed these treaties with us. We know the history because the old people used to talk a lot about it.

This agreement we still want to hang on to because we promised the Almighty we would never break this treaty; we would live up to it. In our belief we would commit a great sin if we support to have our treaty broken.

In all those years we got in time to know just what they were doing with us. All these institutions they have here for Indians: there were residential schools run by missionaries of all different churches, the ones that were here, and they applied the wrong educational system on Indian people because they were out to destroy this treaty, to destroy the Indians.

But finally we found out why we were the way we were, why we are the way we are now. We are not the same people who lived in this land. The people who lived before us. before we got into these institutions, were a self-supporting people. They did not depend on anybody. They even made their garments. They made everything for themselves. Of course, they were living in a very rich country according to their way of living,

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healthy people. They had laws, which they complied with. They had their chiefs, which we called our governments.

So under this treaty we had sovereignty before the white people came here. We had that. But when we signed this agreement across the bargaining table with the white race, with Her Majesty, we did not surrender those aboriginal rights. We did not surrender our governments to be under the white government. We were given an understanding that you were to come and live here in certain areas. We let you have it.

At Fort Carlton here, when we first signed Treaty 6, the Indians were asked if they were going to keep a piece of land to live in. They said: Yes, we are going to retain some land. So they chose a place and these lands were surveyed. That is what we call today our reservations. We reserved that ourselves. You did not reserve it for us. We reserved it. You did not give us the land. How can you give us before we give you our country? We reserved these lands, and we did not get all that was coming to us. So that is the reason we have still been after land entitlement. There is a lot of land coming to us yet.

They wanted to give us Crown lands, provincial Crown lands and federal Crown lands, lands only fit for animals–not hardly fit for them: even birds will not build nests in those places. That is the kind of lands they want to give us. We have good lands on our reservation, but they did not give us all that was coming to us. So the land that we should have had. . . Had we been given a square deal and surveyed the lands right, we could have had one of the best farmlands. They were using it for over 100 years.

I believe Indians should turn around and sue the government to give them compensation for using all of their land all this time.

All those things could have happened, and the provincial governments played the same game. They said: You are entitled to only Crown lands.

When this question first came up, first when we were entitled to some more land, we had pamphlets. I still have those pamphlets at home. It says in those pamphlets if we are going to get more land, if we could not get the land, we would get the cash value of the land now, and if we wanted farmland, they would buy this farmland for us because it is absolutely coming to us; it is our land. However, this is all twisting up and we are having a hell of a time.

So all these governments that have been in power in Canada are the ones who are causing all of this trouble that we are still claiming more land.

However, I am still going on with these long range programs they had on the Indian people. When we found out about those long range programs, we did not know just what to think of you people. You say you are going to help us, with the one hand; yet you destroy us with the other hand. That is about the size of it.

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I am going to read a document to you people to show you how we understand this–how we found this out. Even the churches support this. But we suffered. We suffered to hold these lands all this time, especially without a proper education. When I first came out of school I was so brainwashed in that religious residential school in Delmas, an R.C. school that I was not fit even to live amongst my people. Nor was I fit to go into the white society because I did not have enough education. How I got out was by going to work for a farmer for four years; I learned how to farm and I went home and farmed myself. I was a young man then. So with all these troubles we had, it is unbelievable that we are still living. And I have here one article I am going to read. This is what is said here: “Indians were too tough to die.”

I am going to read an article here to prove to you that we know what your game is against the Indian people. It says here:

Canada’s Indian Policy–De-tribalization policy of 1840. Canada’s first policy was to destroy the Indians’ political, religious, social and educational institutions. This was done by confirming legislation, boarding schools. which were controlled by Indian agents.

How can you improve people when you have this in mind in 1840. But you had this intention a long time before. So this disease is in your minds and in your brains. Your children have inherited this. That is the reason today you are still trying to destroy what I have–my lands and so on–and to destroy me. You have got to have a medicine to cure that somehow. It is a disease. That was 1840 policy.

Now, in 1947, there was a plan to liquidate Canada’s Indian problem within 25 years. This plan was presented to Parliament by the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs hearings by Dr. Jensen. The plan for liquidation of Indian lands; the whole same integration and enfranchisement of Indians, and the fusion of Indian programs to departments and the provinces.

The white paper policy. This policy called for a five-year phase-out of the Department of Indian Affairs and the transfer of Indian services to the provinces. It closely followed the disastrous termination policy adopted in the United States. That is terrible.

I think in my mind of what you got from us. You got one of the richest countries in the world–Canada. The last two wars were mentioned here. Indians died, hundreds of them, in England, or never came back from Europe, while defending Great Britain and the Crown and the Canadian people. And what is happening now? The same game. We people appreciate whatever others do for us–even a little bit; give us a little

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gift, oh, we highly appreciate it. But you people do not seem to appreciate anything. Funny people, eh?

My next paper: The full citizenship for Indians, hope of organizations.

The Indian officials believe changes will be brought about gradually. Calgary, April 28, 1936. Full citizenship rights for Canadian Indians and abandonment of the closed reserve system is forecast by officials and organizations directly concerned in work among the red men. The transition will require a longtime, but the trend is now fairly definite, said M. Christianson, Department of Indian Affairs’ Inspector for Alberta and Northwest Territories. Gradual lessening of regulations and breaking down of geographical barriers has for years been the object of the department and slowly, but surely, education is bearing fruit.

How is it bearing fruit? Where it bears fruit is the condition in which the Indians are today. You got them to be what they are in those institutions. That is where it is bearing fruit. If it were bearing fruit otherwise, we would be utilizing all the potential we have in our lands. All we needed was your support, according to the treaty. In Treaty No. 6, the people were told, we are going to educate you, and we are going to bring you to a state of self-supporting and self-sustaining people, We have still got a lot of hope. If you people had done your duty and appreciated what you got from the Indian people, we would not be on to social aid today–many of us would not, because we would have utilized some of the good reservation lands which we have. All we needed was support from you people. As somebody said in the treaty, look at all the support they give for foreign countries to improve people, to educate people to be self-supporting. Why can you people not do it at your back door to improve the Indian people?

Now, as the Indians become better educated they will, with reserve restrictions removed, associate more closely with white people. Day schools will probably replace boarding schools. Voting rights will be granted and high educational facilities will be made available to the red men.

It was only a few years ago when they opened it up so that an Indian can vote, provincially and federally. As soon as they opened the door a little bit so Indians can get a higher education, the Indians popped out of that door.

Now, we have some lawyers today; we have well educated young people of whom we are making good use in our organization. But if we had the right kind of education system from the start, a lot of our people would be out helping to build Canada. I would be. I wanted to go out and work but I was not fit. I would not live on my reservation, because my people had this instinct in them to support themselves, never to depend on anybody.

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We still have that attitude in our minds, but there is nothing we can do. The only thing the Indians could do is go in a beer parlour and have a little break with all this worry and trouble they had. The first thing you knew, they were alcoholics. It is terrible. It is very nice to be an Indian, to be tough, with all we went through. Perhaps the wrong system in governments is the reason there are so many mental hospitals.

However, it goes on to say:

Similar objectives and ideas were expressed by Canon S.H. Middleton of Cardston, Alberta, when he reported at the annual meeting of the Synod of the Calgary Church of England diocese.

“Today we take second place to none in the excellence of our schools,” Canon Middleton asserted while speaking of work in Indian schools.

“In the next few years”, he said, “I am confident the reserves will be done away with. Thank God, for I am tired of the closed reserve system. I believe before long our Indians will become citizens, exercising the franchise, and it will be due to the work of the Anglican schools of the diocese.”

The only thing we can do is support each other and get together and talk to you people; but we never have a chance. This is the first time government is sitting with us. I appreciate your visit and I hope you keep in mind what has been going on in the past.

It is 11 p.m. now, but I am just going to read to my people a court case that just came through on January 25, 1983. On page nine, the judges said the majority favoured the Indian side. There were seven judges, and six of them voted favourably for the Indian people.

He said here:

It seems to me, however, that treaties and the status relating to Indians should be liberally construed and doubtful expressions result in favour of the Indians. If the statute contains language which can be reasonably construed to confer tax exemption, that construction, in my view, is to be favoured over a more technical construction which might be available to deny exemption.

It goes on to say here:

It was held that Indian treaties must be construed not according to the technical meaning of their words, but in the same sense in which they would naturally be understood by the Indians.

Do you want one to translate that into Cree? They will always understand me. We can do that tomorrow.

However, it is 11 p.m. Is that the time you wanted to. . .?

The Vice-Chairman: We have five minutes or so.

Senator Tootoosis: Five minutes? Thank you. I will stretch that five minutes.

Senator Merasty: Are you going to ask us questions tomorrow?

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Senator Tootoosis: It is a great appreciation for me to meet you people. Are you going to meet us again? That is very good. I think you members of Parliament, every time we have a conference, should come up anyway for a few hours to listen. You can take back the facts to Parliament, to the floor of the House; and no doubt the Indians will give you some information to improve the Indian people.

All these years I have been travelling around rganizing my people. As I said a minute ago, if we were given the proper kind of financial support, I believe the Indians could make use of their reservations. But by lack of proper support, you get them to look like Indian camping grounds. Really, it is terrible. After you got all the riches of our country. leaving us to live in such conditions. . .I would like to take you around to see where there is a lot of room for improvement for the Indian people.

Thank you.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you, Senator Tootoosis.

Senator Tootoosis: At least I stopped!

The Vice-Chairman: If you still have a little energy, we have a couple of questions we would like to ask, if that would be in order. I have Mr. Chénier, Mr. Manly and Roberta Jamieson who would like to each ask a question. If you would not mind, perhaps we will extend the hearing for 10 or 15 minutes and ask those questions; and then we will close the presentation.

Mr. Chénier.

Mr. Chénier: Mr. Chairman, since we are on television tonight, I think we should have a commercial.

I was given a book this week by Jean Goodwill, who happens to be Mr. Tootoosis’ daughter. I have read the book almost in its entirety, and it is a good one. We read all kinds of things about treaties; but in this one, we read it from the Cree point of view. If I had been lucky enough to be around then, I think I would have jumped the gun at Frog Lake and I would have shot those bastards about two weeks before you did.

Some hon. Members: Oh! oh!

Mr. Chénier: I quote from the preface of the book. It comes from a press release given to the Saskatchewan Indians in 1976. It says: “For John Tootoosis, the iron man and the granddaddy of them all, a dream has been fulfilled.”

I will go on and quote a few other things. The present chief, Dave Ahenakew, calls Senator Tootoosis, “a very tough old buck.” Then he goes on and says: “Certainly Mr. Ahenakew’s labelling of the senator as tough is true, when he had no travelling expenses, a scorning Indian Affairs agent and almost no means of travel.” The reason why I read that was to show a little the determination that Mr. Tootoosis had. When they talk about the dream that was fulfilled, it was the fact that he was instrumental in establishing the FSI.

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In the article they do not state the rest of your dreams, sir. Could you tell us what you want? The FSI, or any other Indian organization, whether it be the Union of New Brunswick Indians, or the FNC, or the MKO, what do you think should be the objectives of those organizations?

Senator Tootoosis: I think they all have the same objectives, like proper support so that they can help themselves. We do not want anything from the government so we can lie down and go to sleep. I think most of the Indian people would like to improve their countries and improve themselves. And supply more money, so that our young people can go to the cities and learn trades. A person without a trade looking for a job is in a hell of a spot. If they had that training–that is what I was lacking in my early days. I wanted to go out and work but I had no trade skills. The only place I fit was when I went to work for a bachelor farmer. He was an American guy, too. He used to teach me a lot, how to farm and how to look after his stock. That is where I learned, otherwise I would have been in a beer parlour, I guess, all my life.

I think a lot of our young people are very energetic, they want to help themselves and get to live like other people, make their own living. Naturally, their children would follow up and you could have good Indians to help you to build Canada and the provinces, like Saskatchewan. I often say that if I had had a good education when I left school, I could have been helping to build Saskatchewan by paying tax and income tax and everything and build Canada, and still make a good living. That is possible.

Mr. Chénier: I would like to follow up on that. Throughout the book you put an awful lot of emphasis on education. Do you think we can see, across Canada today, Indian bands taking control of their schools? Do you think that is the right direction?

Senator Tootoosis: Yes.

Mr. Chénier: How far would you go, as far as the bands’ taking control of their education is concerned?

Senator Tootoosis: I think a lot of bands want to control their own schools. We were promised, as soon as we settled in the land, that a school would be built–that is an Indian school. But the schools they put up on the Indian reserves are white schools. We have no input there. So with the two cultures, there is a great conflict. That is the reason why we have come to the decision to have self-government to enforce our laws, to be more forcible–the Indian people–according to our cultures or according to our beliefs, the way you white people built your laws.

Mr. Chénier: I think that is a very important point, what he just said. I think it is an important point for us, as committee members, and it is also a very important point for Canada. In the treaties it was indicated clearly that there would be Indian

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schools on Indian reserves and they were not to be operated by outsiders they were to be operated by Indian people, for Indian people. I think this is probably one of the biggest weaknesses of the treaties.

Senator Tootoosis: It would create better families, it would create young children who when they grew up, would respect their parents–they are the best guardians you can have when you are growing up good parents. But we all have been brought up by other people. This child and parent love ring, we are inside in there. That was broken. Once you break that the child is gone. We know that, and that is just what happened with the Indian race.

The reasons why are all that l have read to you. This has to be forgotten. It is for you people to forget it. I will burn these papers.

Mr. Chénier: Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you. Mr. Manly.

Mr. Manly: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, and I would like to thank the three senators for appearing before us and helping us to a deeper understanding of the spirit behind the treaties.

Just one comment regarding Senator Tootoosis’ comment: I believe all the members of this committee know that you have helped to build Saskatchewan and Canada, we share your sense of loss that you and other Indian people could have made a much greater contribution if you had had an education. But we do want to say that we recognize that in your work you have made a great contribution to Saskatchewan and to Canada.

I would like to address a question to Senator Chicken. You say that over the last 23 years they have tried to break the treaties and that this has made it more difficult for you to follow your traditional lifestyle. I would like to ask who it is that is trying to break the treaties how this has happened, and whether or not you think your people are worse off today than they were 23-25 years ago.

One last question, you said that your way of life is different from the way of life of non-Indians living in the south, that non-Indian people have an easier lifestyle. Yet I do not think you want to change your lifestyle for an easier one. I would like to hear your comments on those questions, please.

Ms Yooya: Can you repeat that, please?

Mr. Manly: I will break them down. First of all, when you say that over the last 23 years they have tried to break the treaties, who has tried to break the treaties and how have they tried to break them?

Senator Chicken (Interpretation): You people sitting here are the ones who should know the answer to that question, but obviously you do not. We sat at meetings with the provincial government in Regina as well as in Prince Albert. They said things to us that indicated a want to destroy some part of the treaty.

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Are you trying to tell us that this is the first time you have ever heard of anybody trying to wreck those treaties? We have known it all along; this is not the first time we have talked about this destruction of treaty rights.

It is the provincial government, within the last 23 years, that has really started concentrating on doing away with these treaties. You people sitting in Ottawa should be aware of what is happening in the provinces. That is why I am very surprised to hear you say you do not know who those people are.

We Indian people sitting here have always fought to protect those treaty rights. We want to protect them and we are very happy you are sitting here at this table with us trying to resolve these problems.

We have been sitting here talking to you. You are asking us questions, as if you are not aware of what has been happening. You should be aware of what has been happening. You, sitting in Ottawa, should know what to do to resolve these problems.

Mr. Manly: Thank you very much. Just one comment; I think we all know that treaty rights have been broken, but they have been broken in different ways in different places, and I was trying to get some information from Senator Chicken about the way in which they were being broken in his area. Could you ask . . .

Senator Chicken (Interpretation): I cannot point to any specific or definite part that has been destroyed, but the main thing I want to stress is that we want to protect our treaties and we want your help in maintaining those treaties. I guess another way of putting it is entrenching those treaty rights in this new Constitution.

Mr. Manly: Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chairman: Roberta.

Mr. Chénier: One question.

Ms Jamieson: Over here. Chenier. I am always last.

An hon. Member: You get the last word.

Ms Jamieson: I will get the last word. I have one comment and one question, but the chairman gets the last word.

First of all, I am very happy that Senator Tootoosis took us through the years and the various policies that have been applied to Indian people over the years. I think it shows one thing, that is, one direction. It is that over the years the policies have tried to make Indians like all other Canadians and have been well meaning, from their point of view. Some Indian people would argue that, but I give them the benefit of the doubt. Well-meaning, from their point of view, but not something that was appropriate for the Indian people. I just wanted to share with Senator Tootoosis something. Since I have been travelling around with this committee, I have a daughter who is four-and-a-half years old and I am trying to tell her what we are doing on this committee, because she wonders why her mother is away most of the time. I try to

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explain to her the treaty-making relationships and what has happened since then, the various policies that come into effect and what kind of an opportunity I think we have, through this committee. to change that. I have said to her that all these policies have been applied by–in our language we refer to non-Indian people as Kweramka–applied by Onkwehonwe, which are Indian people–because the Kwerosaka wanted to make Onkwehonwe like them, wanted to make us all the same. One thing she said to me was, “But, mommy, do they not understand the Onkwehonwe cannot change?”. I thought that was quite something, coming from somebody who is four-and-one half years old. I think this is something this committee has an opportunity to change, and I am thankful you have impressed on us tonight that Indian nations are different; they have a different history, different relations. They have entered into different treaties in this country with the Canadian government, with the Crown, and I hope the one thing this report will do is to try to set some of those things straight, try to see if we cannot make some changes in Canadian law and institutions to respect Indian governments. I hope we will do that. Only time will tell.

The other thing I wanted to comment on is to thank Senator Chicken for raising that point. He mentioned it to me yesterday and I am thankful he has raised it again, that one answer is not going to work for everybody; that there is a need for flexibility and that there are different lifestyles. I have a question for him. I understand that in Northern Saskatchewan there are six uranium mines being developed which will have a severe impact on the air, the wildlife and the people. My question is this: in other areas, Indian governments have told us that where these big projects are being developed, they feel they should have been dealt with and they should have the controlling voice in the development. My question is, are these developments affecting Senator Chicken’s area? What involvement has he had or does he think he should have?

Senator Chicken (Interpretation): Towards those effects, at this point, I cannot speak very much because it is fairly new in that area and we do not know yet what effects it will have. We know there is a mine just off Wollaston Lake, that the effects that it has on that area. . .There is one other mine that has just been closed down not too far from where I live.

Inside the boundary of the reserve that we were given there is a lot of exploration going on right now. That is the Stony Rapids Band. While those explorations are going on, there is a lot of it, but one thing I do not like seeing that is happening is that it is only white people who are doing that work. In other words, it is imported labour. The band membership are not given any job opportunities. They certainly do not like that. In

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turn, when my chief gets to speak up, I would like my chief to speak to this further.

They are going away from the agreement that was signed with the band with the mining company completely. They are not following it. I wish to hear Chief Ben Toutsaint speak to that effect when he gets up to speak.

Ms Yooya: Roberta, if I may, I will get off my interpreting chair for a minute and speak. We have Chief Joe Tsannie here from Lac La Hache. When he will be making a presentation he will be speaking to the uranium developments in the north.

Ms Jamieson: Thank you for those words, Senator Chicken. I will hold my questions, then, until the chief addresses that over the next two days.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

The Vice-Chairman: Thank you.

That brings to a close our second presentation. I want to thank Senator Merasty. Senator Chicken and Senator Tootoosis for their enlightening comments and for answering our questions. We appreciate that very much.

I will call on Mr. Brass to conduct the closing ceremonies. Before I do that, I want to say that the committee will then adjourn until 9.00 a.m. tomorrow. Mr. Brass.

Mr. Brass: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I am going to call on Senator Chicken to offer the closing prayer, if he would. Could you ask him to do that, Mary, please?

If you would all rise. please.

Senator Chicken: (Closing prayer in native language–Editor.)

The Chairman: The meeting is adjourned.


From the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations:

Mr. Sterling Brass. Chairman.
Senator John B. Tootoosis.

From Treaty No. 2:

Senator Bill Standingready.

From Treaty No. 4:

Senator Henry Langan.

From Treaty No. 5:

Senator Thomas Young.
Mr. Stan Wilson, Interpreter.

From Treaty No. 6:

Senator Angus Merasty.

From Treaty No. 8:

Senator Louis Chicken.
Ms Mary Rose Yooya, Interpreter.

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