"Our government has no grand scheme to repeal or unilaterally rewrite the Indian Act," Harper said, speaking to First Nations chiefs and government bureaucrats gathered in Ottawa for the “historic summit.” Instead, Harper wants to “modernize” the Act and implement “real change.”
The Indian Act — a 136-year-old statute that targets aboriginal Canadians. It seems that it wasn't enough for the Crown to steal land and cause genocide; the State must also control and regulate the individuals who are considered “registered Indians.”
"Our goal,” said Harper, “is self-sufficient citizens and self-governing communities.”
That should be the goal for all Canadians, not just the descendants of the people who were here first. But like all goals, this end requires means. The debate is always about the means.
Chief Shawn Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations National said the summit "must mark the beginning of renewal" between aboriginals and the State.
The history of the State and aboriginal people is littered with death and disease with no regard to property rights. The State's true colours shine when one examines their relationship with the various aboriginal communities throughout history. The best thing Atleo and the other aboriginal leaders can do is announce their plans to secede.
In many cases, newer claims of private property trump the older ancestral claims – but there ain't no such thing as Crown Land. 90% of Canadian land is pristine wilderness, untouched by man. This wilderness does not belong to the Monarch. By all intents and purposes this land is either unowned or belongs to individuals who claim ownership.
If I were to occupy a patch of unowned (or 'Crown') wilderness, transform or use it in such a way as to sustain my livelihood, then the land is my private property. By the same reasoning, aboriginal people may relocate their communities and effectively secede from the Crown.
In fact, this may be the best course of action for aboriginal individuals to take. Many aboriginal cultures, religion and way of life centered around working “with” nature rather than working “against” it. Life in the untouched wilderness may create a resurgence in Indian way of thought and life.
In addition, there's no reason why non-aboriginals can't denounce the Canadian state and declare their non-compliance. Call them the modern Métis if you like labels. “Squatter” communities occupying “Crown Land” may come in all shapes and sizes, with many different belief systems.
Certainly anything is an improvement upon modern Indian reserves; some groups may practice traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, while others may modernize and resemble any other typical town in the Western hemisphere. With one important key difference: independence.
The solution to aboriginal affairs (or the affairs of every single Canadian for that matter) is one of independent sovereignty. Independence from the State and the declaration that you are an individual sovereign. That is, you have the right to your own life and property.
Once this is established, secession may come in many different forms. But for now, one method consists of declaring total independence and relocating to unowned wilderness. Especially in the case of individuals whom original ancestral homes were nomadic or primitive. This austerity doesn't have to be a negative. For many, living simply surrounded by the natural environment is key to a healthier life. Both physically and mentally... And also politically.
"We all need to move forward," Harper said. "So let us be willing partners."
Yes. Let's. When a group of people decide to cease their relationship to the Crown – don't interfere. Just stay out of it and let society run itself.