I am not sure when I will take a timeout from writing and research, the subject is both fascinating as well as critically important at this time in our history, not just to First Nations and their children, all Canadians and their futures have a stake in this. However this should be the job for a team of young specialists, not someone who prefers to remain retired.
So far we have kept up with these attention seeking hoodlums, doing a truth vs hoodlum toe to toe dance in the press. They plant lies we weed them out and set the record straight.
You cannot separate TRUTH from history to achieve reconciliation. It’s high time we had a government that will demonstrate their commitment to law and order, as we witnessed the other day in Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall office, where hoodlums were once again permitted to break the law in regards to protest.
I say permitted to break the law because the police were not allowed to lay charges. The question is who up the chain of command issued that order? Again where is the press, its their job to be finding out why and who authorizes permission to break the law?
Every day working citizens obey the law pay thier taxes only to see it squandered on police not doing their job.
We need to have a government who has a zero tolerance to those breaking the law in the name of protest and or First Nations issues. If you cannot be civil, then they deserve the bill for policing costs. The same should apply to the hooligans on the Morice River Road, they need to be billed for policing costs.
Fact Check: Blockading roads was and remains illegal.
From 2013 “In the latest important decision from the Supreme Court of Canada on aboriginal law, the court held that individual members of an Aboriginal group cannot invoke “self-help” remedies—such as blockades—when claiming that the government breached its duty to consult the Aboriginal group before making a decision affecting the group. “
Supreme Court of Canada holds Aboriginal rights cannot be used to justify road blockades.
One issue I have with history is that the citizens of today have became the victims of fortune hunters, as a resident and senior citizen growing up in the Bulkley Valley we considered all those people who built this valley as pioneers. The aboriginals were as much part of the pioneer spirit as were people that traveled halfway around the world to be part of it, there are also hundreds if not thousands of non-aboriginal Canadians who were born here in the Bulkley Valley since then.
The fortune hunters have divided us into two groups, us vs them, they do not give aboriginals a choice here, your either one of them or one of us. It bullshit, they were in every way the people who helped build the towns we know today in the Bulkley Valley.
If we consider the rail yards in Smithers part of our core, then it would not exist but for First Nations labor as well, no it was not them alone, it was more a case of “we” built this community.
Yes they were often abused by racist people, or people with the ability to exploit others, I do not recall any of the real pioneers (not the criminals) who would object to a fair shake for any nationality, and trust me there were a lot of nationalities, and we were there for each other when someone died or needed comfort, regardless of race.
Yet most of those who were abused, complain the least, and those who were not abused complain the most.
When I hear Wet’suwet’en chiefs say “For thousands of years the Wet’suwet’en have stewarded our 22,000 square kilometers of traditional territory under a matriarchal clan system.” Delgamuukw evidence shows it to be quite the opposite, very little evidence exists to establish stewardship over the land they now claim.
NOTE: Below we will provide ample evidence that this claim is an outright lie created to justify the illegal actions the Chiefs are supporting on the blockades.
Every time I hear someone start the line with, “since time immemorial”, my first thoughts are, damn another set of fortune hunters.
First of all there is little evidence that the Wet’suwet’en existed as a clan beyond what our forefathers told us via the grapevine or campfire stories, or potlatch stories, prior to recorded time. Due to the non-existence of evidence it’s an assumption, nothing more. Let the Delgamuukw evidence be evidence to those facts.
The chiefs expect society to accept assumptions as facts, we need examine and only table facts, not assumptions.
The more I read the more I am blown away at how the media has been so incredibly shallow in its coverage of this landmark case. I can honestly say I feel completely duped by false impressions that support the Wet’suwet’en chiefs claims. Why does the press fear telling the story by investigating it?
If you and I as readers can read what happened, why can the press not do the same? If I am wrong, why not publish some evidence to support their case. Right now it looks more like a case of a grab bag for land in the Bulkley Valley, where a group of chiefs collaborate on what land they want as their claim.
Time immemorial, recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with Sumerian Cuneiform script; the oldest discovered form of coherent writing from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC. Recorded history in British Columbia started in the 1800’s so that is already time immemorial.
Oral history, goes back less than 200 years, most of it originates in the 1980’s. If oral history is lost due to Canadian Governments of the past, then so be it, it’s the truth, replacing it with aboriginal guess work and wishfull thinking does nothing to solve the problem.
We need to separate the facts of history, from what was fabricated in the absence of facts.
Everything seems to be banked on history backing the Wet’suwet’en chiefs, but the more you study the history, the more you become painfully aware that the history is very vague and mostly missing. You keep hearing about possible grave sites as historical evidence, yet modern history shows in 1932 photos of small wooden structures well above the ground that housed the deceased.
There is a tremendous amount of printed TRUTH out there, yet a total shortage of people in the press doing any research, and for alarming reasons, it may not fit the political outcome desired. The Smithers Museum is a gold mine of truth and we need to use it to prove everything about land title, particularly land claims.
The land is now the latest gold rush for some seeking a modern day opportunity at the expense of the rest of society, so it must be done precisely and with great accuracy.
It’s time we recognized aboriginal pioneers as brothers and sisters again, ending the divisive nature caused by fortune hunters. What someone did to your ancestor or someone did to my ancestors was their business, it’s not yours or mine to exploit. Yet we see kids, yes I said kids today saying that. What a joke, its hearsay from the past, occurred several generations ago and you cry like your the victim?
Is selling guilt the newest edition of snake oil sales?
So this brings me to yet another chapter of what we know as the Delgamuukw evidence files.
I have to admit it annoys the hell out of me to have to divide Canadians into two groups of humans, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, we are all Canadians, and this is what the fortune hunters have done to us. Remember always that the Chiefs are house Chiefs, and what is good for their family, depends on their relationship with the head chief. History has taught us that it favors a few, and denies the many, recorded history that is.
The next chapter takes us to the cross examination of a local resident, a local doctor, a hunting guide by the name of Dr. Igor Steciw, who served most of the aboriginal families in the Bulkley Valley at one time or another, as well as so many Canadians.
This is a longer read, but it again proves the point that First Nations simply live here much the same as local residents did. Much of the so called “Wet’suwet’en title, rights, laws and traditional governance throughout the Wet’suwet’en Yintah, or territory.” Is a modern day fabrication.
The contradictions that appear are staggering, and if the press wanted headlines, they should be exposing these contradictions.
I should make a special note to the fact that we do not have the exhibits as evidence in our blog, there may well be some substantial evidence in favor of the chiefs, however the oral seems to be sorely lacking in content and very contradictory in regards to evidence.
A total of close to 160 pages to read, but worth reading if you are comparing other testimony from the Delgamuukw evidence files. There may be more that I did not stumble across.delgamuukwDr Igor Steciw
delgamuukwDr Igor Steciw2
In hind sight I see the value of adding commentary in regards to the 2 days of transcripts, its valuable to read it all in regards to the issue of both the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en were fully aware of hunting guides and the territories they used. Its astounding that they would not ever apply the so called “governance” to these lands.
There are parts you really must read to believe it, where very renowned First Nations members joined guides in hunts as a form of kindred friendship with zero conversation about ownership of land by the members of the First Nations. Leonard George & Henry Alfred both highly respected elders of the Wet’suwet’en, and they do not talk about needing permission.
I personally knew Leonard George quite well and find this testimony to be very much consistent with what he told us, what is unexpected if the claim by John Ridsdale that they practiced, “Wet’suwet’en title, rights, laws and traditional governance throughout the Wet’suwet’en Yintah, or territory.” is a lie he cannot back up.
In my own experience he (Leonard George) only ever referred to our people lived in this territory, not one mention of anyone needing any permissions from them.
If time and energy allow we will do a fully review of Wah Tah K’eght Henry Alfred’s testimony as well. I do want to remind all the hooligans protesting, this man worked for a living, he wore man pants.
“After Henry got married, he always worked hard to support his family. He got a job on the CN Railway, working 13 years as a section foreman. After that, he took a position with the Department of Highways, working his way up from a laborer, to a truck driver, to a grader operator over 15 years. Finally, he became an independent truck driver, hauling logs until he retired.”
This testimony blows massive holes into John Ridsdale’s claims.
I want to direct your attention your attention to page 513 on the 11th of 1989 in the testimony given. You have to read this to believe it. Page 513 deals with the south side of Houston and Telkwa.
On page 514 and 515 a Mr. Morrell working for the native council in Hazelton asks permission to enter the guiding territory of Igor Steciw 1978 or 1979 in the Slamgeesh Lake area. Consent from a non-aboriginal. It’s the way life really was back then.
On page 516 note:
The territorial reference is to Exhibit 672, section
- Did John Namox ever inform you that around Quick or Round Lake, was territory that he claimed or that he regarded as his territory?
- No.Page 516 -517Q. We have referred to Grouse Mountain, and the territorial affidavit number is Exhibit 667-A, and you know Mr. Leonard George, did he ever inform you that the Grouse Mountain territory was territory in respect of which he had an interest or his house had an interest?
More on 517
Q. With respect to Owen Lake, were you ever advised that Mr. Alfred Joseph — do you know Mr. Alfred Joseph?
- You know, the name just barely rings a bell but I honestly can’t put a face on it.
Q Were you informed that Mr. Alfred Joseph claimed that territory or had an interest in it and that you required permission to go on it?
More evidence that the Wet’suwet’en did not apply any governance whatsoever on their claimed territory, this again is a more recent days claim Chief Namoks somehow wants to backdate.
I should also mention at this time, before land claims proceeds that a call needs to go out to all people who can witness if or not anyone needed permission to go onto the now claimed territory of the Wet’suwet’en.
If we are going to reconcile, it starts with being honest about everyone’s relationship with the lands before any claims can be settled.
END OF FIRST TRANSCRIPT
The following is cross examination by the FN lawyer
Pages 582 -607 cover mostly the volume of visits to the Slamgeesh area
Now, you told me in ’79, in 1978 or ’79 I think it was —
Q — that two native people contacted you to use your — to get your okay or your permission to use the Slamgeesh cabin for spring trapping.
A That’s not quite correct. Mr. Neil Sterritt phoned me, that if two native people could use it.
Q Mr. Sterritt phoned you on behalf of two native people?
A That’s precisely it.
Q To determine if they could use your cabin for spring trapping; is that right?
A Winter trapping. There is no spring trapping.
Well, I suggest to you that he told you that the area was not just a trapline to him, but it was his chief’s territory. Do you remember that?
A No, I don’t. He could have, you know, but I just don’t recall.
Q All right. Did he tell you that the territory belonged to the House of Niist?
A If he did, I certainly don’t remember it.
Q You don’t remember that?
A No, honestly.
More on 609
Q And if I tell you that these photographs were taken in September of 1986, it would indicate Indian activity at Slamgeesh Lake, wouldn’t it?
A Well, it would indicate their presence as pictured on the photograph.
Q But I think your point is that there wasn’t any presence of Indians in the area either.
- GOLDIE: Excuse me. His evidence was he observed no presence.
THE WITNESS: That’s right.
Page 613 – significant here is the badgering by the lawyer for First nations
I just want to pursue with you for the moment this question of the effect of the commencement of the Land Claims case. You oppose the hereditary chiefs’ case, don’t you?
A Let’s put it this way: I propagate equality of rights and equality of opportunity to all the Crown lands of B.C., to all Canadians irrespective of their racial background.
Q All right. In 1983, Dr. Steciw, you described the Gitksan-Wet’suwet’en court claim for the ownership of river waters and fish passing through reserves as an frivolous and arrogant claim?
Q Isn’t that right?
A I think I have written a letter to the editor, and you are taking a small part of it, and I would like to give the reason why I’ve used this.
Q Well, you can explain what you want to when you agree with me.
Q All right?
Q All right. And if you will, for the moment, direct your attention, please, to the closing paragraph, where you say, and I quote:
“In closing, I would like to say that I agree with your statement that the provincial government should settle this matter out of Court. As a matter of fact, the government should dispense with it by throwing it out of Court. Your case constitutes a frivolous and arrogant claim and is discriminatory to all non-Indian Canadians who have every right to use the fish and waters of our country.”
Further down the page.
I want to interject my own thoughts about what Dr. Steciw says next. Most resident of the Bulkley Valley, other than those living in a glass bubble, or are too new to understand, would agree 100% with Igor’s reply.
Q All right. And I suggest to you, Dr. Steciw, that that reflects your views of this court case?
A No. I think I specifically write in this case about which I would like to make this very clear — perhaps I should explain this a little bit, your lordship, if I can have two minutes. The way I understood this case, that Neil Sterritt is speaking for whoever, I guess the hereditary chiefs — in fact, probably, yes, it was, stated that because the Bulkley River ran through a reserve in Moricetown, that the — that the Moricetown Reserve people had essentially claim on all the fish that — the migratory fish in this case, it was — meant the salmon that passed through. The reason why I thought this was totally unreasonable, because these fish, you see, go from the sea by the Skeena River, they enter the Bulkley River, they continue on and on, and how can we say that, you know, because somebody has — owns property on the river on a tiny portion of it should own all the fish in the system. To me this seems totally unreasonable, because, you know, extending this by corollary, somebody that owns half an acre, each side of the river 100 miles down or up, or 20 or 10 miles, can make the same claim, you see. And for that reason I thought it was really totally, you know, out of proportion, and I have —
Q Well frivolous and arrogant is what you say?
A Yes. I think it is, you know, but the rest of this case, you know, is a little — well, I just am writing here about this particular case.
Q I understand that, Dr. Steciw, and I hear what you have said by way of explanation.
Q.I’m suggesting to you, Dr. Steciw —
- It’s just my observation.
Q. That you knew full well that he and other native people were up there in April of 1979?
A No, sir, that’s wrong, that’s not true, and I’m under oath.
Most of the remaining pages are just a repeat with questions about testimony, but there is one significant point on page 646. This coincides with what was being taught in local schools at this time.
“Wet’suwet’en” is also a new word on the block, that was born alongside land claims.
Q. My friend used the word “Wet’suwet’en” in describing a language to you, and I believe you said that your — at that time the word that you were familiar with was “Carrier”?
A. I believe so, yes.
Q. Have you any recollection of when the word “Wet’suwet’en” came into your knowledge as a replacement or —
A. No, not exactly, but I would say approximately at the time that this Land Claim — this thing came about in the press, I think it was used in the press.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
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