A special for Saskboy. Saskboy points to this website
in his August 7, 2008
blog entry. Saskboy has been caught before swallowing a load of Indian Industry BS, lock, stock and barrel. However, on this one, I can't really blame him much since the narrative on the site he links to has become standard fare for today's politically correct version of history. However, there is barely a single sentence in the webpage to which he links which is wholly accurate, and that's a polite statement.
It's about the Treaty Right to education and that's only a small part of the vast and ever expanding politically correct version of the history of Indian and White relations that has been written by professors in various politically correct colleges and university departments over the past thirty five years or so. There's plenty of that there on the site, so I am going to have a grand old time, as you will see.
I intend to pick this one apart, bit by bit, especially for Saskboy's deprogramming efforts, should he ever come to the realization that he, along with legions of others have been duped. I don't really expect it will work toward that end and I fully expect several leftards to pounce upon me and accuse me of racism and an assortment of other honorable badges now hung around the necks of those who speak the truth.
However, let's begin, shall we. Here are the first two sentences from the website:
"Treaty Rights in Canada are promises that were made during the signing of Treaties with First Nations from across the territory that would become Canada. These agreements were made on a Nation to Nation basis because of the implications of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 [link added], which established that the First Nations possess legal title to the land and that the only provision available to extinguish that title was through Treaties."
This one is not too bad, actually. It is true that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 did contain provisions for ensuring that Indian lands were properly surrendered to the crown rather than just trampled on and taken over by the westward rush of American settlers into Indian country (those of you of a certain age will remember all those movies about whooping Indians shooting arrows at hapless settlers in covered wagons and what not). Well, that had been going on for a long time prior to that and it had been making things difficult for King Charles III, who needed Indian allies in his struggles to hang on to his North American possessions. The colonies were restless and the French and Spanish were cunning opponents, capable of forming alliances with who ever else on the continent wanted to stick it to the British.
However, if you read the actual text of the Proclamation and understand the history and milieu in which it was issued, you will know that the version adopted by Indian groups almost two hundred and fifty years later is just a wee bit distorted. King Charles does not view the various Indian tribes all as Nations. In fact, the very concept and definition of the word "nation" was something quite different than what it is today as far as nations states possessing sovereignty are concerned.
Even though the word "nation" is used in the Proclamation, the text specifically says the lands are "reserved" for Indians for the purpose of hunting, implying that they do not belong to the Indians, but have been set aside for their exclusive use by the British Crown who is the owner. Note the way the Proclamation refers to the territory on which the Indians hunt (the use of the word We, Our, Us, etc. are expressions of the Royal We, in other words it refers to one person only, that person being King Charles III):
"And whereas it is just and reasonable, and essential to our Interest, and the Security of our Colonies, that the several Nations or Tribes of Indians with whom We are connected, and who live under our Protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the Possession of such Parts of Our Dominions and Territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their Hunting Grounds."
Not exactly a statement expressing a strong sense of Indian sovereignty, is it? But it gets worse.
"And We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described. or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements."
Oh. Wait a minute, now. What does this mean? Just who has the right to police this edict and evict squatters. You'd think the Indians, if they are recognized as nations, would have that right, wouldn't you? If the Royal Proclamation recognized their sovereign status, why would agents of the British Crown have to do the dirty work of evicting people? Note, this is not a negotiated document. It is a statement issued by a King during the era when the Divine Right to Rule philosophy prevailed across Europe. The Indians whose protection it seeks to guarantee did not negotiate the terms of the text.
And what about this?
"And We do hereby strictly forbid, on Pain of our Displeasure, all our loving Subjects from making any Purchases or Settlements whatever, or taking Possession of any of the Lands above reserved, without our especial leave and Licence for that Purpose first obtained."
What's that you say? The Indians are sovereign nations but they can't enter into contractual relationships with anyone they please. Any land sales have to be handled by the Crown? Hmmm. Not much in the way of nationhood expressed there, is there?
The next few passages express the notion that any settler or governor (and here he's referring to the governors of the various New England colonies which were still British possessions, including the newly acquired territories that were formerly under French and Spanish control) could not purchase or take land directly from the Indians but were compelled to purchase it from the Crown.
In other words, by this Proclamation, the British Crown is making it absolutely clear whose sovereign territory is being preserved for the use of Indians as their hunting grounds and it ain't the Indians'. Needless to say, for anyone who knows American history, those Governors and settlers ignored the Proclamation and went on seizing and grabbing up lands from the Indians anyway. Some thirteen years later the American Revolution occurred, with the Royal Proclamation being one of the colonists' grievances against the British king, and as we all know, poor ol' Charles lost all the lands covered by this declaration, so neither he nor his agents could enforce it anyway. But I digress.
There is one final point that needs to be made, and it's a biggie. The Royal Proclamation specifically exempted vast tracts of land within what is now Canada. The entire Hudson Bay drainage basin was exempted, not to mention most of the land east of there, under which treaties already existed.
"And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson's Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid." [Emphasis mine]
That includes just about every river from the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains to the Red River and beyond. For the most part, this is the territory known as Rupertsland, named after the British Prince Rupert, in a Charter issued in 1670
for the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company and its trading monopoly. Not much thought was given to Indian sovereignty then, either. Anywho, that covers 40% of what is now Canada and is precisely the territory where the Treaties numbered 1 through 10 covering most of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta apply. The first of those treaties was negotiated in the early 1870s, some 200 years after the British King, a certain King Charles II, had granted all that land to a group of Englishmen interested in trading for furs. So, the moral of the story is, that to claim that the Royal Proclamation recognized all this great stuff about Indian rights and nationhood is pure unadulterated bunk.
Never mind that the people in the story about the lack of an adequate school facility, which Saskboy is discussing, are the James Bay Cree whose "treaty" wasn't negotiated until 1960s - one hundred years after the first mention of education in a treaty and more than 200 years after the Royal Proclamation that didn't apply to the James Bay area anyway. Well done, Saskboy. Way to pick your sources.
Of course, that hasn't stopped an entire industry from developing, devoted to spin and misrepresentation about the Proclamation. But oh well. C'est la Vie. Every generation brings with it some freshly scrubbed gullible newbies ready to believe everything an Indian says.