Welcome to the city of Six Nations…

In a climate of shifting Liberal sands across the country Indigenous leaders are objecting to, and raising concerns over Canada’s emerging Indigenous Rights Framework and the host of new policies that go along with it.
And it is moving quickly.
The framework bills itself as promoting relationship reforms with a Nation-to-Nation MOU, has already split INAC into today’s Indigenous Services and Carolyn Bennett’s Crown and Indigenous Relations ministry.
It describes its version of constitutional obligations and what it thinks Indigenous “self-government” is by throwing funding at communities for capacity building under the guise of building their nation…under Canada.
It moves to fiscal relationships and what it describes as Modern Treaty Self-Governing communities.
Fiscal relationships will span 10 year funding cycles that are devolved into grants negating the federal government’s fiduciary responsibility.
It looks to settle land claims describes what it sees as aboriginal title and it will “decolonize” its laws.
The changes to the machinery of government are coming, they are huge and place a whole new face on what Canada thinks “First Nations” should look like…and, again, in case you didn’t get it the first time… under Canada.
The Indian Act is on its way out. The federal government is breaking down the land claim process and self government policies are changing.
If an emerging Canada didn’t decimate most Indigenous economies the new Trudeau Indian policy will continue moving to funding policies that fall below the needs of communities forcing discounted payments in lieu of compensation for lands, territories and resources.
There are two new fiscal policy frameworks being drafted.
One for First Nations and the other for those under self government policy. Both of which are under a soon to be created First Nation Financial Regime . The new fiscal framework includes the 10 year block grant funding arrangements, repealing the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, creates own source revenue tools ,development of a new First Nation led Funding arrangement and repealing the third party management policy.
The federal government is pushing the fiscal reform onto four institutions; the First Nations Tax Commission, First Nations Finance Authority, First Nations Management Board and the First Nations Statistical Institute. They carry a huge amount of power in implementing the new fiscal framework.
Funding or fiscal relations will see a heavy push to focusing on accountability and won’t address land or resources and certainly won’t look at at land restitution or treaty obligations.
Aboriginal Title itself may be at risk with clauses within the framework that allow the the government to prevent First Nations from exercising jurisdiction over their lands and resources.
First Nations will be expected to temporarily suspend their claims in exchange for financial compensation or a co- management regime, none of which includes First Nation jurisdiction.
Instead it focuses on creating what it sees as self-governing First Nations who are little more than municipalities with responsibility for service delivery on continuing shrinking land bases while adding a transition to “fiscal independence.” That so called fiscal independence will come from a combination of funding generated by the First Nation /Indigenous government from their own sources with supplemental funding from federal transfer payments with increased support from the provinces.
The draft policy says Indigenous fundraising will then rely heavily on tax revenues.
It comes under the guise of closing the gap and building capacity through what it has tagged a “whole government approach” aimed at easing the transition to taxation.
To convince First Nations to opt in without complaint (convincing them its all for the greater good of nationhood) the federal government is throwing more money their way all to simply continue with a modified version of what has been the status quo.
Top of the list on spots to start, throwing money at are health and education and capacity development.
Academics have begun to pull the frame work apart and the messages they are delivering aren’t encouraging.
The Trudeau package entrenches a very narrow vision of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands, resources and self determination if it will be present at all
Into this heated landscape walks Elected Chief Ava Hill, councillor Audrey Powless-Bomberry and lands consultant Phil Monture armed with Six Nations Global Solution and a plan to take over education. It’s naive, it is frightening and it is without community support.
Any uninformed Indigenous leader, band council politician or researcher who walks into this monstrosity of legislation that has emerged with little or no transparency and in the face of First Nations resistance can only be likened to sheep heading to the slaughter.
No Indigenous community can afford to go running to Ottawa and Toronto waving their own solution to their people’s outstanding land rights and expect to emerge the victor. That’s not what Trudeau’s plan is.
The time now is for study, research, analysis and action. And in Six Nations case…a unified front, difficult to achieve in a climate of lawsuits.
But without it the dream of rebuilding Indigenous Nations will continue to be just that… a dream.

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