14 August 2006

The James Bay Treaty - Treaty No. 9

It occurs to me that the Spokeswarriors at Caledonia never actually refer to any specific legal event or instance when they talk about how they've been ripped off by the government. It's always "two hundred years ago this", and "clan mothers that". It would be pretty interesting to look at some of the actual documents, wouldn't it? How about, just for a hoot, we check out the James Bay Treaty of 1905?
And the undersigned Ojibeway, Cree and other chiefs and headmen, on their own behalf and on behalf of all the Indians whom they represent, do hereby solemnly promise and engage to strictly observe this treaty, and also to conduct and behave themselves as good and loyal subjects of His Majesty the King.
That sounds pretty reasonable to me. It's a sort of contract, where each side agrees to certain conditions. You'd think that would make it fairly easy to figure out who's been naughty or nice. I mean, this thing, as legal documents are wont to do, is fairly specific.
They promise and engage that they will, in all respects, obey and abide by the law; that they will maintain peace between each other and between themselves and other tribes of Indians, and between themselves and others of His Majesty's subjects, whether Indians, half-breeds or whites, this year inhabiting and hereafter to inhabit any part of the said ceded territory; and that they will not molest the person or property of any inhabitant of such ceded tract, or of any other district or country, or interfere with or trouble any person passing or travelling through the said tract, or any part thereof, and that they will assist the officers of His Majesty in bringing to justice and punishment any Indian offending against the stipulations of this treaty, or infringing the law in force in the country so ceded.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but what say we bring out the pieces of paper and get this thing whipped?

Oh darn, that's right... the natives say they can't be governed by the white man's system of justice. Ok boys... back to the barricades.

Technorati Tags: , ,