Universal Declaration of the Indigenous Aboriginal Nations of Canada
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DOCUMENT: ABORDECL.TXT

     
               U N I V E R S A L   D E C L A R A T I O N 
            OF THE INDIGENOUS ABORIGINAL NATIONS OF CANADA 

     
     OUR HISTORY  
     
     We, the Indigenous Nations of Canada, have lived on our 
     traditional lands for thousands of years, since before 
     anybody can remember.  
     
     Through these thousands of years we lived in keeping with 
     the sacred birthright of the Creator; to live in harmony 
     with our neighbours and the land  
     
     We developed our own values and our own understanding of 
     what it means to live in harmony with our neighbours and the 
     land.  
     
     We practiced stewardship, caring and sharing.  
     
     We developed our own languages and our own laws to foster 
     our harmonious lifestyle.  
     
     We developed unique forms of government.

     We lived as nations with territorial boundaries and 
     respecting the territorial rights of our neighbours.  
     
     
     THE DARK SHADOW 

     Very recently in our long history as nations, our peoples 
     have undergone difficult and threatening times. 
     
     Europeans with different values, different languages, 
     different laws have come onto our lands.  
     
     We extended the hand of friendship and entered into peace 
     and friendship treaties, believing we could live in mutual 
     respect and harmony with these newcomers.  
     
     But we have been disappointed and angered.  
     
     Rather than living with us in peace these Europeans have 
     violated our basic human rights by attempting to force us to 
     feel, think, act and live as they live. 

     Rather than recognizing and respecting our rights as nations 
     they have tried to control us, imposing their own values and 
     institutions and form of government. 

     Rather than respecting and recognizing our right to our 
     land, they have taken our non-renewable resources and 
     seriously damaged our harvesting of renewable resources. 

     The action of these Europeans constitutes genocide - 
     cultural and political genocide as that is defined by the 
     United Nations. 
       
     
     STRENGTH INTO THE FUTURE 

     But we have not been destroyed. We are nations. We are 
     determined to be recognized as such; recognized by the 
     people and by the Government of Canada, by the peoples and 
     governments around the world, and by the United Nations.  
     
     We are strengthened and encouraged in our struggle by the 
     events in recent years around the world; colonialism and 
     imperialism is now dead or dying; from the ashes of 
     colonialism old nations are being reborn and new nations are 
     being born.  
     
     While this emergence is evident in many parts of the world 
     it is not happening in Canada. But we are determined that it 
     will happen.  
     
     We are determined to be recognized for what we are: the 
     Indigenous founding nations of Canada.  
     
     We seek Canadian and International recognition of these 
     rights. 
     
     (1) We are nations. We have always been nations. 
     (2) As nations we have inherent and fundamental rights which 
         have never given up and which we continue to exercise. 
     (3) We have always had and exercised the right to govern 
         ourselves and we will continue to do so. 
     (4) The right to govern is an expression of our right to be 
         a self determining nation of people within a revised 
         Canadian Federation. 
     (5) Our right to govern includes our right to determine our 
         own citizens. 
     (6) Our right to govern includes the right to determine the 
         kind of education we want for our children, the kind of 
         economy we need to foster self-reliance, sufficient 
         control of our land and resources to be self-sufficient 
         and the right to control our land - including water, air, 
         minerals, timber and wildlife.  
     
     These and other fundamental and ancillary rights of the 
     Indigenous Nations must be entrenched in a Canadian 
     Constitution which acknowledges that we are the founding and 
     Indigenous Nations of Canada.  
     
     A first step in acknowledging our rights must be the full 
     and equal participation of our nation at all levels and 
     stages of negotiations leading to a new constitution.  
     
     What we seek is independence and self-determination within 
     the country of Canada.  
     
     Our plea to the peoples and governments of Canada and the 
     world and to the United Nations is to help us in our 
     struggle to find a place in the world community where we can 
     exercise our right to self-determination as distinct 
     nations. 

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