“Cashback”: Report investigates restoration of indigenous land theft
Toronto-How much money does Canada owe indigenous people for the theft of land, and what will it be like to restore it to the original state?
A new report raises these and other questions as it delves into Canada’s history and the financial situation behind the continued oppression of indigenous peoples.
This report is called “cashback” Released on Wednesday It is the latest “Red Book” of Yellowhead Institute (Yellowhead Institute). The Yellowhead Institute is an Aboriginal-led think tank run by Ryerson University. Immediately after its earlier “Land Back” report, the report specifically addressed the deprivation and theft of indigenous lands.
This time, the camera focused on the financial aspects of the equation.
Shiri Pasternak, research director of the Yellowhead Institute, assistant professor of criminology at Ryerson University, and one of the co-authors of the report, told CTVNews.ca: “Cashback is still about the return of stolen wealth.”
She explained that the new report looks at how the history of land theft by indigenous peoples “means the loss of livelihoods and economic independence of indigenous peoples”.
That report, Publish through an interactive website It contains graphics, videos, and cartoons, focusing on the actual monetary cost of theft and commoditized land in Canada, as well as the ways in which Canada has perpetually impoverished Aboriginal people through policies and court decisions that limit its economic efforts and choices.
Pasternak said: “The project was completed by approximately 40 indigenous thinkers, leaders, scholars, activists, youth and non-indigenous allies and scholars in collaboration with six artists, animators and creators.”
Some of the main findings include a survey that looked at the deterioration of housing in reserves designed to help communities under the government debt program.
Pasternak said: “The problem is politics, and indigenous rights are not seen as urgent needs or rights.” “So the problem is only passed from one government to another. The fundamental problem will only deepen and deepen the influence of one generation on the next. .”
The report is divided into three parts, pointing out that Canada’s economy is inherently linked to land (by extracting resources or simply occupying space) and therefore inherently linked to indigenous land.
Although Canada received monetary gains from waterways and land long before the arrival of the colonists, aboriginal people from the coast to the coast were excluded from wealth.
The report states: “The indigenous people are trapped in vast protected areas and settler islands, deprived of the right to wealth on their territory.”
In the first part, the report reviews the history of the theft of indigenous lands and wealth in Canada, all the way back to the sale of Rupert’s land, when the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) soon sold one-third of what is now Canada to Canada. It is made up of the territories of many aboriginal people, but after the Confederacy.
The report estimated that the First Nations received an annuity equivalent to 50 million U.S. dollars through annuities to be paid to those who signed the treaty after Rupert’s land transfer, but pointed out that many descendants “never even saw these funds.”
At the same time, HBC and Canadian Railways earned approximately US$97.5 million and US$107 million respectively from land transfers. Although HBC sold the deed to Canada for only C$1.5 million, the report estimates that in addition to retail and resource extraction projects, they also made a profit of C$96 million from other land sales.
Indigenous people are also usually forced to sell land to the Ministry of Indian Affairs at a price much lower than the price at which companies like HBC can sell land.
“In a few figures you can see the impact of the intergenerational wealth accumulated by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the railway company and the colonization company through the accumulation of indigenous peoples and the payment there, compared to the amount of land allocated to the indigenous peoples Give them a treaty annuity,” Pasternak said.
The second part of the report looks at the fiscal policies of indigenous communities and how to make services underfunded, focusing on issues such as education and housing.
According to the report, Canada tried to take active measures and adopt a retrogressive policy to allow indigenous communities to exercise their autonomy, but in the process, it failed to provide the indigenous communities with the necessary funds or resources. Recovered from the damage caused by Canada.
Pasternak said: “On the surface, what you have is that the government is responding and recognizing the demands of indigenous peoples for self-determination.” “But in reality, if you follow closely behind, compared to other governments, you see The huge difference in government funding for the aboriginal people, and then the weird game caused by the aboriginal people’s reserves or the poverty of the community in which they live, without any resources being transferred to the aboriginal band with responsibility.”
Man-made housing crisis
The second part also discusses a project called “Default Management and Prevention Strategy” (DPMP), which aims to assist indigenous people in debt.
The report found that between 2011 and 2016, the community under the DPMP needed an average of 24 additional houses that needed major repairs, reducing about 10 suitable houses.
Pasternak said: “This default policy is designed to help and support communities that are in debt.” “We found that the fact is the opposite: communities tend to get stuck under the policy, and in this decline, their infrastructure is also very poor. Deteriorating at a rapid rate.
“Therefore, we found that according to this debt management policy, the housing deterioration of the community is highly correlated with housing, which aims to free them from deficits, but instead enables people to gain a deeper understanding of these foundations that have lasting intergenerational effects. Facility debt.”
She explained that since the band originally planned to focus on getting rid of debt, the DPMP community has regulations not to use funds for housing infrastructure or basic maintenance. However, if it is found that these problems have been ignored for a long enough time, the cost of fixing them will increase greatly in the future, which makes the debt problem of the community more complicated, especially because some communities have been implemented under the DPMP for more than ten years.
A community in Pasternak was eventually hooked for $15 million in order to eliminate the damage to the lock system that was unable to use the band’s funds due to DPMP to maintain the lock system around its community for many years.
Pasternak said: “The main problem is insufficient funds.” “There is no surplus in the reserves. The community has been trying to get the maximum benefit from the shortfall, and then put them under debt management, they have to save money in some way. Okay. , If you are already facing a systemic shortage of funds, how can you save money?”
The “cashback” problem
The third part of the report itself is the title: How do indigenous people get cash?
Pasternak said: “We know that’cashback’ belongs to the category of compensation, compensation and compensation.” “In Canada, some of the most famous forms of compensation against indigenous people have been launched through class actions, such as boarding schools in India and the 1960s. Shovel settlement.”
The report pointed out that relying on litigation is not a guarantee of judicial justice-24 lawsuits between 1993 and 2019 involved such as cutting funds for indigenous groups, refusing to provide housing services, and placing them under third-party management. On the theme, only five wins.
The report believes that one strategy for raising more funds for indigenous communities to correct underfunding may be to levy a wealth tax.
Pasternak said: “If a wealth tax is imposed, it can actually generate enough funds to cover the major deficits estimated to be infrastructure reserves, education and language funds.”
Indigenous peoples also called for more funding for child welfare and “annuities”, “annuities to be paid based on resources extracted from their land.” Activists suggested that funds could be transferred from police organizations to indigenous groups.
Pasternak said: “There are also treaty-based funding proposals, so direct funding from the Finance Committee to the community will bypass the bureaucracy and patriarchy of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs.” He added that treaty scholars pointed out that many original treaties include language “providing continuous The language of sharing land resources.”
Of course, one way to get back the cash is to get back the land.
The report said that canceling the idea of ??”royal land” and giving the indigenous people control over these territories again would be the “most direct form of restitution,” and described how the indigenous people would get funds from the land if they control these territories. Lease and tax, and collect payments that match the value of the land obtained from them.
Another aspect of the complex system that prevents indigenous peoples from accessing opportunities is the way the courts can prevent them from engaging in the Canadian economy or creating their own opportunities.
The report detailed the Canadian court’s decision whether to allow indigenous people to fish and sell fish, and if so, whether the case needs to be supervised by the British government. In other court cases, although indigenous peoples have autonomy, they are prohibited from supervising their high-stakes gambling business.
In 2014, the federal government passed the C-10 bill to increase the power to criminalize “violation of tobacco smoke”, which clearly mentioned the booming independent Mohawk tobacco industry, which Canada considers illegal.
Even if the court decides to support the treaty rights of indigenous peoples, they may face huge opposition. For example, in 2020, Mi’kmaw fishermen in Nova Scotia were harassed and attacked by non-indigenous fishers.
Pasternak said: “Once indigenous people seek to participate in those commercial economies in a modest way, this resistance is immediate and extreme.”
The report shows that one of the reasons Canada fears the financial independence of indigenous peoples is its fear of competition.
Pasternak said Canadians should “stop and think about why their estimates of the rights of indigenous peoples are so threatening.”
“Is it because we have always been the beneficiaries of (colonization) and it is time for the theft to end. We all have to adapt and adapt to the decolonization process?”
One thing she hopes to get from this report is to destroy the stereotype that indigenous people receive “charity” from the government.
Pasternak said: “There are many stereotypes about the free money allocated to indigenous people.” “You can see it in the comment section of the newspaper. People there feel that taxpayers’ money is spent on indigenous people, and “where is the result? “and many more.
“I think one of the important goals of the report or one of the results I hope is that this provides a real understanding of the facts for the diagnosis. The facts are just the opposite. Compared with other jurisdictions, the funding methods of First Nations are very large. difference.”
By CTVNews.ca editor writer Ben Cousins