Indigenous leader calls for new reconciliation deal with monarchy – National
One of the leading experts on treaty rights and First Nations governance in Canada says the Queen’s death is an opportunity to improve the relationship between the Crown and Canada’s indigenous people.
Sol Sanderson, 80, is the former head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and has fought for nearly 65 years to dismantle what he calls the colonial oppression of indigenous self-government in Canada.
“We must exercise our own form of government based on our own worldview, our philosophies, traditions and values of the nations.”
He was also born in James Smith Cree Nation and claims that the knife attack that resulted in one of the worst mass murders in Canada’s history is partly rooted in the colonizing power of the British royal family, making the brutal and senseless acts of violence completely predictable.
“There’s still a lot of shock in the families and a lot of people there who are injured … the sad thing for me is that I’ve been warning about this kind of thing for years,” Sanderson told Global News when he returned. to his home in Saskatoon after spending time this week supporting grieving members of the community.
The horrific mass stabbings that killed 10 people and injured another 18 shocked people around the world.
“Suicide, mental, physical and emotional abuse, addictions of all kinds… there are about 4.5 pages of symptoms that you can identify today that affect us as a result of losing total control, losing our way of life,
because we have been under the oppression of the empire and colonial policies for 500 years,” he said.
Sanderson points to foundational precedents, such as a papal bull promulgated in 1493 that allowed lands inhabited by non-Christian peoples “discovered” by European explorers to be conquered and its peoples subdued. He says it was used to validate the theft of indigenous lands and resources, setting the stage for more than 500 years of systemic racism and cultural genocide.
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“No one even knows there was a law of dominance that made it legal to kill ‘Indians’ and we are still doing it today without it being corrected and the right steps taken, both internally and externally,” he said. .
Sanderson condemns the senseless killings of First Nations relatives. The two indicted men were members of the same nation, which, like many across the country, struggles with high suicide rates, mental health problems, substance abuse, violence and addictions, all problems he believes are a product of colonial issues, centuries in the past. to make.
“That’s what it was all about, taking away our way of life so that we would destroy ourselves … the violence will change internally, that’s what’s happening today, like in James Smith Cree Nation,” he said.
Sanderson calls the widespread denial of the impact of the Papal Bull, known as the Doctrine of Discovery, and the ongoing attempts at assimilation that are still believed today, a “code of silence.”
“De-tribalization policies were created with ‘Christianization’ to make us like them, then the residential schools, integration, assimilation, civilization, these were the goals,” he said.
Now that the Queen has passed away, Sanderson says he doesn’t believe the monarchy should be abolished or Canada cut ties with it, but he is renewing the royal institution’s calls to action.
“There must be a new settlement in terms of agreement, a reconciliation implementation agreement that provides for recognition of everything they denied in 1493 under that papal bull,” he said, adding that he believes King Charles supports the indigenous people in Canada. and is hopeful for a better future.
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dr. Kisha Supernant, who has Métis ancestry on her father’s side and British on her mother’s side, says she understands the impact that generational trauma can have. She is directly involved in ongoing investigations at former residential schools as a specialist in Indigenous archaeology.
“To me, it’s unfortunate that the monarch’s death has taken some of the necessary attention away from those events and the families at James Smith Cree Nation,” Supernant told Global News.
She said the Queen’s passing leaves a complicated legacy for the indigenous people that must now be recognized.
“I think we are at a very important time to bring this conversation fourth and if we have any hope of reconciliation we need to remember that truth comes first and that includes any truth about the British monarchy and the British rich … if there’s a time to talk about legacy, it’s when someone passes over,” Supernant said.
Sanderson agrees and remains optimistic that a major shift is possible that will one day make unfulfilled promises and perpetuate abuses against indigenous peoples history.
In the meantime, he works to bring ideas for Indigenous self-government to the attention of political and religious leaders around the world, including pitching the idea of Indigenous equity stakes in major resource projects and the telecom industry, as well as improved federal funding models to ensure First Nations can better support their own communities.
“It’s time we move the field to occupy our own country and jurisdiction,” Sanderson said.