Re: Their land, their wishes, Sept. 14 letters.
Reserves are under the authority of the federal government, not First Nations.
In 1907, Canada declared indigenous peoples to be non-persons and took control of their money, resources and financial affairs. Today, Ottawa holds a billion dollars in a trust-fund account on behalf of First Nations; they can spend the money without their knowledge or consent.
Band chiefs and councils are responsible to their political masters in Ottawa, not to band members.
If a band member decides, “Hey, I’m gonna build a house on my reserve,” the federal government will step in and stop it.
After all, the Indian Act is about paternalistic domination.
In a related matter, if government wants to build a dam on treaty land, it will, forcing First Nations to turn to the courts in order to protect their constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights.
Reconciliation seems to be turning into the chimera it perhaps always was.
Bob Burgel, Surrey