Canada and Quebec officials are hard at work in Europe at taxpayers’ expense spreading misnomers about how Natives are well-treated back home, reports Deputy Grand Chief Kenny Blacksmith.
Kenny was in Europe for two weeks in March. He says Canada lobbied hard to water down a draft declaration on indigenous rights now before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Canadian officials made a lot of headway with Asian countries like Indonesia and China where indigenous peoples are in armed conflict with the government. Canada also worked in league with Brazil. In that country indigenous peoples are under attack from death squads organized by police, miners and ranchers.
Later on in the trip, Chief Blacksmith met 10 Members of the European Parliament in Brussels and addressed the European commission on relations with Canada. This is the group of parliamentarians that is also handling the fishing dispute between Spain and Canada.
At first, the Deputy Grand Chief was not well-received by France and Belgium, which tried to block him from addressing Memories of residential school.
the commission. They said he was trying to “trap” Canadian officials.
Not so, he responded. “My trapline is in Northern Quebec.” After that one Kenny was finally allowed to speak. The Deputy Grand Chief asked the Europeans not to fall for assurances that the First Nations are doing fine. “Listen, all is not well,” he told them. “We are not Canada’s Indians. We are not Quebec’s Indians. Both have not done much to stand by us and support us.” “I think it was very helpful,” says Chief Blacksmith of his trip. “I think there’s a real interest. It could help us in the long run in the debate on sovereignty and the protection of indigenous rights. If Canada will not listen to us and neither will Quebec, we might as well talk to other people who are ahead.” The bad news is Kenny also had to do some convincing on the importance of fur sales to First Nations communities. European politicians are bent on banning imports of Canadian wildfur this summer.