Monday, November 19, 2012

Chief Darrel McCallum, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation at Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation

Dear Dan,

I have given away the four Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation CD's I bought from you at cost. Can I order four more? Yesterday, I almost gave away my copy to our Saskatchewan provincial table tennis coach who is from Belgium. He was sharing some of things he's learning in his travels (like how South African apartide was based on our Canadian reserve system) and as I was trying to share my limited understanding of our history, I ran for this CD and said, you need to listen to this, but in our rush to pack up, he left it behind.

Thank you again for letting me post excerpts from the Chiefs' Forum. Many of the speeches were way over my head, and I had to listen to them a few times, and read them, too, to even know what it is I need to start studying. Other speeches went below my head, straight into my heart. Chief McCallum's presentation did a little of both. Again, I am humbled by the lifelong commitment of many of these leaders, who have been fighting an almost forgotten battle. I am also touched by the courage he takes from the elders "sitting behind" him. This leadership must sometimes be lonely and thankless, but it seems to me that the forum was a time of renewal and resolve. Thank you for letting me listen in.

I look forward to meeting with you and Joan again, hopefully considering a community response to the recommendations from Prairie Wild consulting. I want my family -- my people -- to grow as treaty partners, walking in unity, sharing resources, bringing healing to our valley.

With much respect,
Chiefs’ Open Forum
Darrel McCallum: Chief, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation

As a Chief, I look at myself as a Treaty protector first and foremost.  I view Tribal Councils, FSIN and AFN as advocates and I utilize those organizations for lobbying purposes, especially FSIN, which was formed 65 years ago to protect Treaty people.

I’m not sure if I’m a rotten apple in the bunch, but I keep fighting the government on tripartite arrangements, MOUs and MOAs.

I believe that we could have a modern day existing Treaty with the province to do away with 1930 legislation called the NRTA.  That has given the province a lot of control over resources in our traditional lands.  Trappers are impacted because they have to travel far to get a license to trap in territories that their family has used for generations.  We had an existing Treaty prior to 1930 and the NRTA should not have been able to change the Treaty.  We are recognized in Canada’s constitution, and in our own way, that we do have some authority, power and jurisdiction over our traditional lands.  And yet, Saskatchewan is the only province that has yet to negotiate resource revenue sharing.  

We as Chiefs have to view the Treaty as sacred.  Any time Treaty discussions comes around we should be there to fight for that Treaty.

At all times, when we take on the role of Leadership, we have to know our enemies and our friends.  We have to know our opportunities.  We have to know our strengths and we also have to look at any threats against us.

I am proud of those Chiefs who leave the province and speak on our behalf, such as those who went to Geneva to speak to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

We must ask ourselves how we honour and respect the Treaty.  The sacredness of this Treaty has to come from our people.  We look at the housing crisis and say that we have a Treaty right to shelter.  But, along with the right, we also have responsibility for that Treaty right to shelter.  Some people wreck or torch their homes right away.  For Treaty implementation to work in housing, we must ask people how they honour and uphold Treaty.  Maybe Johnny needs to put in half the time building that house in order to value that house.

As for our Treaty right and responsibility for education, we find that attendance is an issue.  I cannot blame Ottawa why those kids are not at school.  Perhaps I can blame some on residential school but only some.  It is up to us to respect this Treaty right to education and take full advantage of opportunities.

If we’re colonized, we need to decolonize.  If we’re assimilated, we have to reclaim our culture.  Teaching ourselves to be responsible is in itself a huge responsibility.  To ensure responsibility we need policies and we need to enforce accountability.  Somehow, someway, we need to teach responsibility back to the people.

I want to commend AJ.  I went to a Treaty gathering in Fort Carlton.  You’re one of the people that truly uphold the Treaty talk in Saskatchewan, along with Dan and the FSIN technicians.  I want to recognize Chief Perry Bellegarde for his work at the international level, along with Chief Wallace Fox.

We must know our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats at the international, national and provincial levels.  We have to include Leadership and role of Leadership in Treaty implementation discussions.  When we have FSIN announce new Chiefs, those guys should be thrown in a room somewhere for a week for a strong orientation on the roles and responsibilities of Leadership, the FSIN, the Tribal Council, the Treaty areas and the AFN, as well as an understanding of the federal and provincial governments.

Some Senators asked me to take the position of the FSIN Chief but I have more power as a Chief to direct that Chief to do what I want because the power is in the community.  At the same time, we need the FSIN to provide forums and a unified position on Treaty and Inherent rights.

We must make it imperative that all Chiefs be here for the next Treaty Forum.  Perhaps the directive should come from the Senate.  Treaty talks are a sacred language.

The next time we gather for Treaty discussions, I recommend that, first and foremost, we revisit the 10 Treaty principles.  We can open with reading of the principles as a Declaration.  Yesterday, I felt the strength of the many Elders sitting behind me and I want to acknowledge them today.

page 93-94, excerpt from
Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation

Dakota Dunes Casino and Conference Center
March 29 & 30, 2012

shared as public document with permission from
Dan Bellegarde, Executive Director, Treaty Governance Office

CD of Chiefs' Forum on treaty Implementation available for $5.00
or free transcript is available
by contacting Dan Bellegarde at

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