Saturday, April 23, 2016

You Must Hear Sharon Venne Speak!!
Sharon Venne is a member of the Cree Nation - an accomplished First Nations Lawyer, she has worked on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples since the 1970s at the United Nations in Geneva and New York.

She is a lobbyist and an expert on Indigenous politics at the United Nations and has won several cases against Canada. She also works with First Nations communities on implementing their own legal systems and advocates for First Nations to be recognized as 'Peoples' and not just 'People', a word that is used to refer to a minority and not what First Nations in Canada are working toward.

 She has served as an advisor for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee's international team, played an active role in the national and international struggles of many Indigenous Peoples, including the Lubicon Cree and Dene Nation.
Sharon has a Masters of Law degree from the University of Alberta and is the author of Our Elders Understand Our Rights: Evolving International Law Regarding Indigenous Peoples (Theytus Books, 1998)

Sharon Venne is an indigenous lawyer from Saskatchewan and one of the first indigenous women to graduate from law school in the country. She was instrumental in helping establish the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous

 Sharon Venne: In Canada, I think we’re going backwards. The recognition of our rights is not a positive thing. We have had to bring what’s going on with our peoples to the UN. In February, we filed an urgent action with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) about all the legislation that’s coming down. The other part was on the racism that was generated in the media against the Idle No More movement. There was no one doing anything to prevent that kind of racism from being spread by the media. So we put a two-part intervention together to CERD. So the UN work is ongoing; the declaration is only one aspect…

Sharon Venne, Lawyer, Expert in International Law Linking Inherent Rights to Self-Determination and Treaty

I don't watch much TV. We haven't had satellite for ten years, and rabbit ears don't work in the valley -- I've tried -- but when I do get to watch TV, the commercials are my favorite. Some appeal to the heart. Some appeal to the funny bone. Some appeal to the intellect. (My sister and daughters get tired of explaining these ones to me.)

First Nations and Canada: Jurisdiction and Education Presentation by Sharon Venne 

Toward Disestablishing the Doctrine of Christian Domination

Read more at 

Treaties: Negotiations and Rights

Author: Tamara Starblanket


In what is now the Canadian state, from 1870-1921, eleven numbered agreements took place between Indigenous Peoples and the British Crown. In contemporary times Treaty1 is greatly misunderstood from both Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples alike. What took place at these historical meetings has been a source of contention from the outset. The central issue is the land. Who had authority and jurisdiction over the land? What was agreed to in terms of the Treaty? Another issue is whether Indigenous Peoples signed away their right to govern themselves according to their laws and customs. The source of this contention is based on oral understandings versus the written understandings of Treaty. An explanation as to the reasons why

Treaty is misunderstood is in the following quote:

For an understanding of the relationship between the Treaty Peoples and the Crown of Great Britain and later Canada, one must consider a number of factors beyond the treaty's written text. First, the written text expresses only the government of Canada's view of the treaty relationship: it does not embody the negotiated agreement. Even the written versions of treaties have been subject to considerable interpretation, and they may be scantily supported by reports or other information about the treaty negotiations2

Sharon H. Venne, "Understanding Treaty 6: An Indigenous Perspective" in M. Asch, ed., Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada (2002) 

Bill C-27 (39th Canadian Parliament, 2nd Session),_2nd_Session%29 
1] Bill C-27 was proposed legislation that would have changed to Canadian laws to help prevent identity theft. A bilingual copy of the Bill is available on the Parliament of Canadas website. The bill was never passed, as it died on the order paper when Stephen Harper's government prorogued parliament in December 2008.[2]

The White Paper 1969

In spite of all government attempts to convince Indians to accept the white paper, their efforts will fail, because Indians understand that the path outlined by the Department of Indian Affairs through its mouthpiece, the Honourable Mr. Chr├ętien, leads directly to cultural genocide. We will not walk this path.
—Harold Cardinal, The Unjust Society

In 1969, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chr├ętien, unveiled a policy paper that proposed ending the special legal relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian state and dismantling the Indian Act. This white paper was met with forceful opposition from Aboriginal leaders across the country and sparked a new era of Indigenous political organizing in Canada.'s_bill

The Indian Act is the principal statute through which the federal government administers Indian status, local First Nations governments and the management of reserve land and communal monies.Apr 14, 2016 

21 Things You May Not Have Known About The Indian Act 

The Indian Act:
    1. denied women status;
    2. introduced residential schools;
    3. created reserves;
    4. renamed individuals with European names
    5. restricted First Nations from leaving reserve without permission from Indian Agent - see picture above (update: 18/04/16 - the pass system was a policy endorsed by the government; it was never an Order In Council or Regulation but was definitely designed to keep First Nations on the reserve)
    6. enforced enfranchisement of any First Nation admitted to university [1];
    7. could expropriate portions of reserves for roads, railways and other public works, as well as to move an entire reserve away from a municipality if it was deemed expedient;
    8. could lease out uncultivated reserve lands to non-First Nations if the new leaseholder would use it for farming or pasture;
    9. forbade First Nations from forming political organizations;
    10. prohibited anyone, First Nation or non-First Nation, from soliciting funds for First Nation legal claims without special license from the Superintendent General. (this 1927 amendment granted the government control over the ability of First Nations to pursue land claims);[2]
    11. prohibited the sale of alcohol to First Nations;
    12. prohibited sale of ammunition to First Nations;
    13. prohibited pool hall owners from allowing First Nations entrance;
    14. imposed the “band council” system;
    15. forbade First Nations from speaking their native language;
    16. forbade First Nations from practicing their traditional religion;
    17. forbade western First Nations from appearing in any public dance, show, exhibition, stampede or pageant wearing traditional regalia; [3]
    18. declared potlatch and other cultural ceremonies illegal; [4]
    19. denied First Nations the right to vote
    20. created permit system to control First Nations ability to sell products from farms;
    21. is a piece of legislation created under the British rule for the purpose of subjugating one race - Aboriginal people.'s_Association_of_Canada

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