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Below is the most recent information on the latest round of negotiations between the the federal government and the Lubicons which began July 1998 but which have been stalled since late 2003 when government negotiators ran out of mandate to fully negotiate key outstanding issues of self-government and compensation.
Whereas former Prime Minister Jean Chretien failed to deliver on a 1993 pledge of Liberal party support for a "swift resolution" of Lubicon land rights, Lubicon supporters therefore asked his December 2003 successor Paul Martin to step up and provide the leadership required to ensure that a just Lubicon settlement be finally achieved. Lubicon supporters have also been urging the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs to renounce a bad faith approach to negotations brought to light by Lubicon Chief Ominayak in the May 13/05 posting below.
On Feb 6, 2006 Stephen Harper was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Canada. Two years later the not so new Conservative government has failed to return to the negotiating table. Its critical that Lubicon supporters continue to make their voices heard loud and clear so that the new government knows this issue must be dealt with. Theres no time to waste
UN repeats call for moratorium on unauthorized oil and extractive activities at Lubicon
Mar 11/09 : Mission to Canada - Final Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing.
New generation takes up cause in Little Buffalo
Jan 14/09 : Edmonton journal article and associated online Lubicon photo album
Published Letters to the Editor reacting to outrageous news stories
Sep 29/08 : Three letters printed in Peace River Record Gazette reacting to articles in the Sep 25th posting.
Lubicon letter to Reeve Knudsen re: lack of land negotiations and the Lubicon water situation
Sep 26/08 : Chief Ominayak to Sunrise County Reeve Knudsen
Lubicon response to outrageous propaganda masquerading as newspaper reporting
Sep 25/08 : Three Peace River Record Gazette articles and Chief Ominayak's letter to the editor
About the deplorable water quality in aboriginal communities including Lubicon
May 28/08 : news article plus Chief's letter to CLC president, AFN National Chief and Executive Director Polaris Institute re: water quality report
Correspondence between Chief Ominayak and Indian Affairs Minister Strahl
May 20/08 : Recent exchange of letters
A Great Response to Indian Affairs Minister's form letter
Nov 5/07 : Exchange of letters between a Lubicon supporter and successive Indian Affairs' ministers
MP's Letter to new Minister of Indian Affairs
Nov 3/07 : Liberal MP Keith Martin to Minister Chuck Strahl
Interview with UN's "Mission to Canada" Special Rapporteur
Oct 25/07 : Inter Press Service News Agency
UN "Mission to Canada" - Special Rapporteur condemns ongoing injustice faced by Lubicon
Oct 23/07 : Preliminary Observations of the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, "Mission to Canada" Oct 9-22
UN's "Mission to Canada" findings
Oct 22/07 : APTN National News report
Chief Ominayak rebuts government's doublespeak about Canada's inaction in resolving Lubicon dispute
Sep 30/07 : Letter from Minister Prentice to a Lubicon supporter and Letter from Chief Ominayak to the same supporter.
UN rejects Canada's misrepresentation of Lubicon situation and urges Canada to negotiate
Aug 14/07 : Letter from UN High Commission for Human Rights and related media coverage
Canada's Third World -- The Plight of the Lubicon Cree
Jun 20/07 : zNet Magazine article
Chief rebuts Prentice's latest upside-down backwards interpretation of Canadian history, law and justice
June 6/07 : Chief Ominayak's letter and Minister Prentice's letter to a Lubicon supporter
Alberta Band Endures Government's 'Continuing Abuse'
May 10/07 : Vue Weekly article
Submission to the 4th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Regarding Lack of Canadian Compliance with UN Human Rights Decisions
April 15/07 :
Pettiness of Canadian government position on Lubicon land rights
Apr 15/07 : Excerpt of a silly analogy made in the Canadian government submission to the UN Human Rights Committee
Lubicon Nation and Canadian Government written submissions to UN Human Rights Committee
Lubicon response to 'bald-faced lies' by a federal negotiator about Lubicon water situation in Alberta Views article
Mar 16/07 : Alberta Views article and Lubicon Elder Jobin's Letter to Editor
UN to discuss Alberta's Lubicon Cree
Feb 19/03 : CHED News report
Rebutting Minister Prentice's misinformation
Dec 21/06 : Responding to a recent form letter sent by Minister Prentice to a Lubicon supporter
Water / sewage needed for Lubicon residents
Dec 21/06 : Letter to Editor from Lubicon Nation Councilor Gladue to Peace River Record Gazette
Lack of clean water for Lubicon a national disgrace
Nov 27/06 : Edmonton Sun articles
Assembly of Chiefs unamimously call for expedited resolution of Lubicon land rights
Nov 24/06 : Assembly of Treaty Chiefs support for Lubicon Nation
Minister Prentice - "No more ducking, dodging, dithering or delaying"
Nov 22/06 : Comments on remarks made by Federal Indian Affairs Minister in the House of Commons
Rebuttal to federal government's preposterous arguments for refusing to negotiate with the Lubicons
Aug 24/06 : FoL posting about the latest letters between Belgian Indigneous support group KWIA and Minister Prentice
Alberta law journal article regarding the Lubicon Nation
Aug 3/06 : Law Now article
Minister Prentice's comments to Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
Jul 19/06 : Excerpt from Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice's address to the Annual General Assembly of the AFN
Alberta Liberal Leader speaks out on the Lubicon issue
Jul 19/06 : Peace River Record Gazette article
Networking the Lubicon petition and letters
Jul 18/06 : A Lubicon supporter's actions to spread awareness of petition and letter-writing campaigns
European organization opposes unauthorized government sell-off of Lubicon resources
Jul 18/06 : Letter from European Indigenous support group KWIA to Minister Prentice
Strike three for Canada at UN
Jun 26/06 : Article in Windspeaker : Canada's National Aboriginal News Source
Nothing done about injustice - Aboriginal problems left festering for more than 100 years
June 20/06 : Toronto Star opinion editorial
Lubicon issue raised in Canadian Parliament
June 20/06 : MP Jean Crowder reads the recent UN's concluding observations into the parliamentary record
Alberta's latest mass sell-off of oil sands leases on Lubicon land
June 19/06 : FoL posting about Canadian government violations of the latest UN recommendations to Canada
European Organization's Polite, Persistent, and Firm Response to Prime Minister Harper's form letter
June 16/06 : Letter from European Human Rights group Aktionsgruppe Indianer & Menschenrechte e.V to PM Harper
European human rights response to Minister Prentice's form letter
June 9/06 : Letter from European Indigenous support group KWIA to Minister Prentice
Some questions for Minister Prentice in response to his form letter to Lubicon supporters
June 6/06 : FoL posting
Informative article on the state of the Lubicon struggle
June 1/06 : From straightgoods.ca
Statement from Lubicon Chief concerning Minister Prentice's remarks about recent UN decision
May 25/06 : Press Statement from Chief Bernard Ominayak
Amnesty International releases its authoritative Annual Report
May 23/06 : 2006 Annual Report
Media coverage re: latest UN report condemning Canadas treatment of the Lubicon people
May 23/06 : Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Journal, Toronto Star, CBC, CKYL, CanWest News
UN Committee releases Concluding Observations re: Canada's record on social, economic and cultural rights
May 22/06 : Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights
UN chastises Canada for human rights record
May 8/06 : Canadian Press article
Lubicon address to the UN brought up in Canadian Parliament
May 6/06 : Response from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs
At the UN : Aboriginal relations in Ontario, Alberta raising questions about human rights
May 5/06 : Globe and Mail article
A Canadian official's view on human rights violations
May 4/06 : Views of a Canadian official made at a presentation at the Canadian Mission in Geneva
Write to UN representatives about Canada's mistreatment of Lubicon
May 3/06 : Urgent Action : valid until May 9
Canadas record on aboriginal issues is about to get a thorough going-over in Geneva
May 2/06 : TV interview with Lubicon and Six Nations Confederacy representatives prior to UN presentation
European NGO's challenge Canada's candidature for a seat in the new UN Human Rights Council
May 2/06 : Letter from UN-accredited European NGO's sent to all UN Permanent Representatives
Lubicon Nation addresses the UN
May 2/06 : Lubicon Nation submission to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Upcoming election of new UN Human Rights Council prompts scrutiny of human rights concerns in Canada
Apr 20/06 : New Amnesty International web site with reference to Lubicon situation
Ottawa ordered to appear at UN
Apr3/06 : Edmonton Sun article
New Amnesty International report to UN renews call for protection of Lubicon Cree
Mar 30/06 : AI report -"It is a Matter of Rights: Improving the protection of economic, social and cultural rights in Canada"
Faith organizations back call for negotiated settlement
Mar 20/06 : Letter from Inter-faith coalition KAIROS to Minister Prentice
Mar 20/06 : Astute letters urging resolution of Lubicon issue
Mar 15/06 : More letters to the new federal government
Mar 10/06 : Supprters letters to new government
Spotlight on unsafe drinking water sparks Letter Writing Campaign to the new federal government
Mar 10/06 : FoL appeal for supporter action
Amnesty International's human rights' priority issues for new Canadian Prime Minister
Feb 23/06 : Open letter to Stephen Harper
Some excellent letters to the new Minister of Indian Affairs
Feb 21/06 : Lubicon supporters' letters to Jim Prentice
Sample Letter to send to new Prime Minister of Canada sworn in today
Feb 6/06 : FoL appeal for supporter action
Assembly of First Nations demands Lubicon talks
Jan 16/06 : Edmonton Sun article
European Human Rights group blasts Canada and federal candidate's position on Lubicon
Jan 10/06 : Edmonton Sun article
Election candidates weigh in on Lubicon issue
Jan 10/06 : Peace River Record Gazette article and Letters to Editor
Liberals slammed for failing to implement UN recommendations for Lubicon settlement
Dec 22/05 : Edmonton Sun article
"IT IS TIME TO COMPLY: Canadas Record of Unimplemented UN Human Rights Recommendations"
Dec 20/05 : Amnesty International Canada Report
Election Season Lubicon Appeal
Dec 10/05 - Jan 23/06 : includes a flyer for you to sign and hand to candidates who come to your door
UN urges action on Lubicon settlement
Nov 5/05 : Media reports on UN conclusions & Letters to the editor countering government reaction
United Nations' decision reaffirms that Canada is violating Lubicon human rights
Nov 2/05 : Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee Eighty-fifth session regarding Canada
Student rally supporting Lubicon presentation to the UN
Oct 26/05 : Television coverage of the student protest on Parliament Hill Ottawa Oct 17
Lubicon Nation's presentation to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)
Oct 26/05 : Lubicon Statement to the UN, Canadian government response to UN and call to supporters to write to UNHRC and the Canadian Government.
Ottawa stalls despite UN prod
Oct 19/05: Joint Op-ed in Calgary Herald by Chief Ominayak and Secretary General of Amnesty Inernational Canada
Canadian Groups call on UN to hold Canada accountable for human rights violations
Oct 18/05: Joint press release by seven Canadian NGO's after completion of UN Human Rights Committee hearings concerning Canada
Amnesty International submission to the United Nations in support of the Lubicon
Oct 16/05: Amnesty International submission to UN Human Rights Committee and news article
Lubicon to ask UN for help : "Canada should already be embarrassed"
Oct 16/05: Three media reports on upcoming Lubicon presentation to UN and rally on Parliament Hill Oct 17
Lubicon take long-standing land rights dispute to UN
Oct 14/05 : Lubicon Nation written submission to United Nations Human Rights Committee and news article
Invitation to Build a Pipeline of Hope
Oct 6/05 : Amnesty International student group announcement of public event on Parliament Hill Ottawa Oct 17
Lubicon Crees under siege -- again
Oct 2005 : Windspeaker article - Canada's National Aboriginal News Source
Prime Minister Martins bad faith policies towards Lubicon
Jul 11/05 : The Hill Times editorial
Government dodging Lubicon questions in Alberta legislature
May 19/05 : Alberta Hansard
Lubicon Chief rebuts federal "misinformation" -- Canada urged to renounce bad faith approach to negotiations
May 13/05 : Letter from Chief Ominayak to Minister Scott and related documents rebutting letter from Minister Scott to Lubicon supporters
Feds "must be prepared to compromise" their hard line on Lubicon negotiations
Mar 5/05 : FoL web posting responding to letter from Minister of Indian Affairs
Lubicon Settlement Achievable - "The cupboard is not bare"
Feb 15/05 : Canadian Press article
Chief Ominayak challenges provincial sell-off of Lubicon Territory resources
Feb 8/05 : Edmonton Journal article and Letter to Editor from Chief Ominayak
Governmental Delays in achieving Lubicon Settlement Questioned in House of Commons
May 5/04: FoL web posting re: House of Commons question
Amnesty International to PM Martin : "Personally take responsibility for ensuring earliest possible (Lubicon) settlement"
Mar 1/04 : Letter, Amnesty International Secretary General to Prime Minister Paul Martin
AFN National Chief on upcoming Throne Speech - urges fair and just Lubicon settlement
Jan 13/04 : Press Release, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine
Paul Martin responds to Friends of the Lubicon
Jan 1/04 : Letter from Paul Martin
Encouraging Jean Chretien to fulfill his Lubicon promise
Sep 2002 - Dec 2003 : postings of Lubicon supporters' actions, Amnesty International report, media reports, negotiation's updates
For prior reports and information, please see the Negotiations Archive.
The Lubicon People
|1899 - Now||The Dispute|
|1930's||Initial Attempts at Negotiations|
|1939-40||Government Promise of a Reserve|
|1942 - 1973||Government Policy of Subverting Lubicon Land Rights Begins 1942|
|1971||Federal Government Refuses to Negotiate, Declares Lubicons as "Squatters on Crown Land"|
|1975 - 1977||Provincial Government Passes Retroactive Legislation to Avoid Losing Land Rights' Related Court Case Against the Lubicons|
|1978 - 1983||Provincial Government Refuses to Negotiate While Permitting Resource Companies to Destroy Lubicon Way of Life|
|1985||Fulton Inquiry Confirms Legitimacy of Lubicon Rights & Complaints and Outlines Proposals for Settlement|
|1986||Lubicons Reject Federal Government Offer Which Recognizes Fewer than Half of the Lubicon People|
|1987-88||Still No Negotiations -- Feds Reject Fulton as Mediator , Reject Premier Getty 's Arbitration Tribunal and Ask Courts to Impose Settlement of Lubicon Land Rights.
Province Sells Off Timber Rights on Lubicon Land
|1988||Assertion of Lubicon Jurisdiction and The Grimshaw Accord with the Province,|
|1988 - 1989||First Negotiations with Feds -- Feds Table "Take-it-or-leave-it" offer & Refuse to Negotiate Further -- Federal Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign -- Attempt to Overthrow Lubicon Leadership|
|1989 - 1991||Federal Creation of the Woodland Cree "Band" to Divide and Conquer Lubicon Nation|
|1989 - 1990||Negotiations with Province -- Lubicons Table Draft Lubicon Settlement Proposal to the Province, Province Withdraws from Negotiations|
|1991||Lubicons Present Feds with Draft Lubicon Settlement Proposal -- Feds Start Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign|
|1992||Feds Table Proposal Less Acceptable Than 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer & Keep Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign in Full Swing?|
|1992||An Independent Citizens' Commission, Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review, is Established to Compare the Merits of Government & Lubicon Settlement Proposals and to Recommend Ways to Move Negotiations Forward|
|1992||Lubicons Reject 1992 Federal Offer as Inferior to 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer. Federal Government Unresponsive to Lubicon Settlement Proposal|
|1993||Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report - Finds governments not negotiating in good faith while Lubicon settlement proposals are reasonable; Recommends ways to address the impasse in negotiations.|
|1993||Jean Chretien Letter to Toronto Friends of the Lubicon Supporting Recommendations of the Lubicon Settlement Commission|
|1993||Province First Agrees to Honour Grimshaw Accord & Other Negotiation Commitments then Puts in Question Those Other Commitments|
|1993 - 1994||The Dismemberment of Lubicon Society by using "little bribes" to Entice the Laboucan Family to Join Another Band|
Federal Government Publicly Backs Away from the Laboucan Family Initiative to Divide and Conquer of Lubicon Society
Another Effort to Dismember Lubicon Society -- Province Appears Associated with Latest Divide and Conquer Effort - the Formation of a Lubicon Dissident Group called the Little Buffalo Cree.
Province Reneges on the Grimshaw Accord 1995.
Negotiations with Federal Government 1995 - 1996 Leads to Lubicon Rejection of the Government's Latest Version of the Unacceptable "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer.
Attempts to Resume Negotiations 1997 - 1998
|1998 - 1999||Negotiations with Federal Government 1998 - 1999.
Province Again To Sell Timber Rights on Lubicon Land
The Lubicon Cree are a small aboriginal society consisting of about 500 people. Their traditional territory is located in north central Alberta, Canada east of the Peace River and north of Lesser Slave Lake. Their traditional way of life is centred around hunting and trapping.
In 1899 Treaty 8 was negotiated between the British Crown and the indigenous societies in the area surrounding the traditional Lubicon territory. In exchange for reserve lands and certain rights and benefits, Treaty 8 purported to extinguish aboriginal title to lands traditionally used and occupied by the indigenous societies signing it.
Living in an isolated and inaccessible area the Lubicons were not contacted by the government treaty party and therefore did not participate in Treaty 8. To this date no treaty has been negotiated with the Lubicons. Consequently, the Lubicons have not ceded their traditional lands in any legally or historically recognized way and therefore have unextinguished aboriginal title to the land.
The Alberta Provincial Government claims to have received the ownership rights to the Lubicon traditional area from the Canadian Federal Government through the land transfer act of 1930, which transferred vast tracts of unpatented Federal Crown land to Provincial Government jurisdiction. The Canadian Federal Government in turn claims to have obtained the ownership rights to Lubicon traditional lands through negotiation of treaty with its original aboriginal owners in 1899. However, Lubicon Nation says, "we're the original aboriginal owners of our traditional area, and the Canadian Federal Government never negotiated any treaty with us, never properly obtained the rights to our traditional lands, and, therefore, has never been in a position to transfer those rights to the Province of Alberta or anybody else."
The Lubicon Nation states:
"We first started trying to negotiate a settlement of our aboriginal land rights in the early 1930's, after hearing that victims of the great depression were moving into the bush to try and live-off the land. Under such circumstances we decided that we'd better try to negotiate a treaty with the Government of Canada protecting our aboriginal land rights, as we understood other aboriginal people in the surrounding area had done. We therefore sent emissaries to the surrounding aboriginal communities in an effort to initiate negotiation of our aboriginal land rights with the Government of Canada. Representatives of the Canadian Government with whom we managed to make contact responded to our initiatives by giving each of our emissaries a 5 dollar annuity payment and putting their names on the membership lists of the other aboriginal societies where our people had gone to try and make contact.
It was not until 1939 that officials of the Indian Affairs Department actually visited Lubicon traditional area and confirmed that the Lubicons are indeed a separate and distinct aboriginal people retaining aboriginal land rights. The first government official to visit the Lubicons described them as "clean, well-dressed, healthy, bright and intelligent; in other words people who want to live and do well."
An initial amount of reserve land was selected and approved by both levels of Canadian Government pending formal survey. However Federal officials said that it wasn't possible to have the Lubicon reserve surveyed right away, so Provincial officials agreed to set the land aside until a proper survey could be conducted.
A membership list was drawn up and left open to permit the addition of members out hunting and trapping.
In 1942 an official of the Federal Department of Indian Affairs named Malcolm McCrimmon unilaterally removed a number of Indians in northern Alberta from the lists of recognized, registered Indians. His arbitrary removals reduced the previously incomplete Lubicon membership list of 154 people down to 64. McCrimmon then argued within the department of Indian Affairs that with these removals "the number of Indians remaining on the Lubicon membership list would hardly warrant the establishment of a reserve."
McCrimmon's removals were controversial. A judge was appointed to review the removals. Justice McKeen produced a report ruling in favour of the Lubicons. The report was rejected by McCrimmon and quietly shelved. A federal Inquiry was then established in 1944. Justice MacDonald again ruled in favour of the Lubicons however his recommendations for reinstatement of people onto the membership list were again largely ignored.
On April 17, 1952, the Director of the Technical Division of Provincial Lands and Forests wrote the Department of Indian Affairs as follows:
"Due to the fact that there are considerable inquiries regarding the minerals in the (Lubicon) area, and also the fact that there is a request to establish a mission at this point, we are naturally anxious to clear our records of this provisional reserve (set aside in 1939) if the land is not required by this Band of Indians".
The Lubicon Nation then describes :
"After several unsuccessful attempts to talk us into a more "administratively convenient" alternative site, attempts during which the Indian Agent carefully avoided any mention of potentially valuable mineral rights, Federal officials settled on a new strategy.
"Unable to talk us into a reserve location outside of our traditional area but which suited their administrative convenience, they decided to try and wipe us off the books as an officially recognized Indian Nation.
"They questioned the validity of our separate existence as a people, which they'd explicitly investigated and confirmed in 1939.
"They tried to bribe our people into allowing their names to be transferred to the membership lists of other recognized aboriginal societies, promising them educational and other benefits which they supposedly wouldn't have to leave our traditional area to receive, but which Federal officials said couldn't be provided unless our people allowed their names to be transferred.
"They sought, through deliberate deceit and deception to trick our people into voluntarily relinquishing their aboriginal rights by means of a process called enfranchisement, telling them, falsely, that they could always be put back on the list of officially recognized Indians if they didn't like the supposed advantages of "living like a white man" -- like being legally able to buy alcoholic beverages.
"And they transferred the names of some of our members to the lists of other recognized aboriginal societies -- without even their knowledge or permission.
"All of these various strategies to wipe us off the books as an officially recognized Indian Nation ultimately failed, and in 1973 our existence as a separate and distinct aboriginal society was re-affirmed by Order-in-Council. However these strategies were not totally without effect.
"Some of our people have never been included on the list of our members recognized as Indians by the Government; others were removed and never reinstated. Some of our people were enfranchised through deceit and fraud; still others remain erroneously on the membership lists of other Aboriginal Nations. In addition, of course, and this has obviously been the real name of the game all along -- there's never been a negotiated settlement of our unextinguished aboriginal land rights."
For a more detailed discusstion of the above, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with the period from 1942 to 1973.
In 1971 the Alberta Provincial Government started to build an all-weather road into Lubicon traditional territory as part of a plan to open up northern Alberta for resource exploitation. Once again faced with the prospect of an influx of outsiders into Lubicon traditional area, and unsure how to proceed given their previously bad and limited experience with Canadian Government, the Lubicons contacted the Indian Association of Alberta and asked for advise and assistance. The Indian Association contacted the Federal Government on the Lubicons' behalf about the possibility of initiating negotiations regarding our unceded aboriginal land rights.
Federal Government officials refused to even consider negotiations regarding our unceded aboriginal land rights, taking the position that the Lubicons were "merely squatters on Provincial Crown land with no land rights to negotiate, not even the rights to our own homes".
With the federal government refusing to negotiate, Indian Association lawyers advised the Lubicons to file a caveat with the Alberta Land Registration Office. This would put everyone on notice that title to Lubicon traditional lands was contested.
The Provincial Government refused to accept and file the Lubicon caveat as Provincial law at the time prescribed. The Lubicons therefore took the Provincial Government to court, asking the courts to order the Provincial Government to obey Provincial law.
Provincial Government lawyers asked the courts to postpone the hearing of the Lubicon caveat case pending the outcome of a similar case in the Northwest Territories called the Paulette case. The Paulette case went against the Indians, but the decision read that the Court would have held for the Indians, and ordered the Government to file the Caveat, had the land registration law in the Territories been written the same as Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Following the Paulette decision the Province went back to court and asked for another postponement of the hearing of the case, during which time they re-wrote the relevant legislation, making the effect of their re-written legislation retroactive to before the time we tried to file our caveat. Given the re-written, retroactive Provincial legislation, the judge dismissed our case as no longer having any basis in law.
For a more detailed discussion of the above, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with events in the period from 1971 to 1977.
The Lubicon Nation writes "Until about 1979 questions of land ownership, membership, mineral rights and aboriginal rights were essentially academic to us. Our traditional territory was isolated and inaccessible. We had little contact with outsiders, including Government officials. There were no roads into our area, no phones, no electric power, no television, no newspapers, no radios. We built log houses for shelter and spoke Cree. We hunted moose for food and trapped fur bearing animals to trade for basic goods from outside like tea and flour. We used dog sleds and horse drawn wagons for transportation. And we lived on our traditional lands pretty much as countless generations of our people before us."
The Provincial Government's new all-weather road into Lubicon territory was completed in 1978. Shortly thereafter the Provincial Government and dozens of multi-national oil companies invaded our traditional area in force. They made no effort to seek an equitable for fair or just settlement of Lubicon unceded aboriginal land rights. Instead, Lubicon Nations says, "they deliberately sought to undermine our traditional hunting and trapping economy, to subvert our unceded aboriginal land rights under Canadian law, and to destroy our will and ability to resist Provincial Government and oil company exploitation of our traditional territory. "
Between 1979 and 1983 over 400 oil wells were drilled within a 15 mile radius of our community. The number of moose killed for food dropped from 219 in 1979 to 19 by 1983. Average income from trapping during the same period dropped from over $5,000 per trapper to less that $400. Dependence on welfare increased from under 10% to 90%. Social and medical problems of all kinds proliferated, including family break-down, still-born and prematurely born babies, suicide and alcohol-related violent death.
Late in 1981 officials of the Federal Office of Native Claims and Federal Justice Department agreed, without prejudice to their legal position, that the Lubicons indeed had land and sub-surface rights in the area originally selected. In addition they indicated that they were prepared to discuss special hunting and trapping rights, membership problems and special "catch-up" programs.
Taking the position that there was now sufficient common ground between the Federal Government and the Lubicon people to commence negotiations, Federal officials decided that it was time to involve the Provincial Government in discussions. A meeting between Federal and Provincial officials was therefore arranged early in 1982.
During the meeting between Federal and Provincial officials, Provincial officials rejected out of hand most if not all of the points of supposed common ground discussed by representatives of Federal Government and the Lubicon people. Provincial officials refused to consider the question of Lubicon land rights until they were first satisfied that the Lubicons had any land rights. They refused to spell out a timetable or procedure for determining whether or not the Lubicons had any land rights. They refused to consider the land which had been originally selected for a reserve site. They refused to consider any compensation or sub-surface rights. And they refused to meet with any Lubicon representatives.
In court, the Lubicons experienced the growing frustration of trying to plead their aborioginal land rights case before Government appointed judges who were the ex-head lawyers for involved oil companies, judges who were the ex-partners of senior oil company lawyers on the case, and judges who, upon retirement, were appointed to the governing boards of involved oil companies.
For a more detailed and broader ranging discussion of events in this period including a description of concerted provincial government efforts to undermine Lubicon land rights, please see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with events in the period from 1978 to 1983.
In October of 1983 the World Council of Churches wrote then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau charging the Alberta Provincial Government and dozens of multi-national oil companies with "actions which could have genocidal consequences". The World Council of Churches letter was followed by an on-site visit of senior Canadian Church leaders who reported "serious human rights violations" and confirmed that "The traditional lifestyle of the Lubicon Cree is in serious jeopardy". The Chairman of the University of Calgary Anthropology Department charged the Alberta Government with "destroying a whole social order". The Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of the American Indian in New York City charged "ethnocide", which he defined as "tearing apart the very fabric and meaning of life. " A Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government conducting a nation-wide tour reported that the plight of the Lubicon people is "one of the most distressing problems the Committee encountered." The Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada's most prestigious and only national newspaper, editorialized that "meaner treatment of helpless people could scarcely be imagined". The CBC Journal, Canada's most prestigious national TV news program, prepared a special documentary report concluding that "The Lubicon Lake Indians have survived half-a-century of official neglect and political deceit...(but)...cannot survive the destruction of the land around them." The New York Times printed a full page article on the situation reporting that "The plight of the Lubicons has sparked worldwide concern". Faced with growing national and international attention and concern, on November 26, 1984, the newly appointed Federal Indian Affairs Minister David Crombie agreed to appoint a "special envoy" to try and resolve the question of our outstanding aboriginal land rights. Former BC Supreme Court Justice and Federal Justice Minister the Hon. E. Davie Fulton was appointed by Crombie to study the situation. After a years study, the Fulton inquiry report confirmed Lubicon rights, the nature of the circumstances to which the Lubicons were being subjected and outlined proposals for settlement. After seeing the report, the province refused to meet further with Fulton which effectively terminated the Inquiry. Indian Affairs then officially scrapped the inquiry and suppressed his report. For a more detailed discussion of the events surrounding the Fulton Inquiry, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with the Fulton Inquiry.
Fulton Inquiry Confirms Legitimacy of Lubicon Rights & Complaints and Outlines Proposals for Settlement 1985
In October of 1983 the World Council of Churches wrote then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau charging the Alberta Provincial Government and dozens of multi-national oil companies with "actions which could have genocidal consequences". The World Council of Churches letter was followed by an on-site visit of senior Canadian Church leaders who reported "serious human rights violations" and confirmed that "The traditional lifestyle of the Lubicon Cree is in serious jeopardy". The Chairman of the University of Calgary Anthropology Department charged the Alberta Government with "destroying a whole social order". The Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of the American Indian in New York City charged "ethnocide", which he defined as "tearing apart the very fabric and meaning of life. " A Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government conducting a nation-wide tour reported that the plight of the Lubicon people is "one of the most distressing problems the Committee encountered." The Toronto Globe and Mail, Canada's most prestigious and only national newspaper, editorialized that "meaner treatment of helpless people could scarcely be imagined". The CBC Journal, Canada's most prestigious national TV news program, prepared a special documentary report concluding that "The Lubicon Lake Indians have survived half-a-century of official neglect and political deceit...(but)...cannot survive the destruction of the land around them." The New York Times printed a full page article on the situation reporting that "The plight of the Lubicons has sparked worldwide concern".
Faced with growing national and international attention and concern, on November 26, 1984, the newly appointed Federal Indian Affairs Minister David Crombie agreed to appoint a "special envoy" to try and resolve the question of our outstanding aboriginal land rights.
Former BC Supreme Court Justice and Federal Justice Minister the Hon. E. Davie Fulton was appointed by Crombie to study the situation. After a years study, the Fulton inquiry report confirmed Lubicon rights, the nature of the circumstances to which the Lubicons were being subjected and outlined proposals for settlement. After seeing the report, the province refused to meet further with Fulton which effectively terminated the Inquiry. Indian Affairs then officially scrapped the inquiry and suppressed his report.
For a more detailed discussion of the events surrounding the Fulton Inquiry, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with the Fulton Inquiry.
In shelving the Fulton Inquiry, the federal government announced the appointment of a federal negotiator by the name of Roger Tasse.
As a pre-condition to negotiations it had been agreed the Fulton Inquiry Discussion Paper was to be used as the starting point for negotiations.
Two before talks were scheduled to begin, the Provincial Government commenced a Province-wide propaganda campaign intended to subvert our aboriginal position in those negotiations. Provincial Native Affairs Minister Milt Pahl wrote letters to the editors of various newspapers around the Province falsely claiming that our aboriginal rights "were satisfied by treaty". Provincial officials took out paid political advertisements dressed up to look like public information notices claiming falsely that the Alberta Government has the right to determine whether or not "there is sufficient basis for an entitlement based on the facts presented".
During a meeting to discuss pre-conditions to negotiations with the federal government in late March 1986, the Cree were told by Indian Affairs official Bruce Rawson to knuckle under to federal pre-conditions or to "go to the end of the line". When the Lubicons did not agree, the federal official declared the meeting a "nullity" and walked out.
One week later, the Lubicons announced a boycott of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. In support, by the time the games started, 30 museums world-wide refused to lend artifacts to the games main cultural event -- an Indian art exhibit sponsored by Shell Oil.
The feds now wanted to meet. Tasse met twice with the Lubicons, At the second meeting in July 1986 Tasse tabled a written settlement proposal which included membership criteria which would limit the federal offer of reserve land and benefits to less than one-half of the Lubicon people.
Indicating the unfairness of the proposal, the Lubicons pointed out that the aboriginal peoples who'd signed treaty had determined their own membership, using their own historic criteria -- not had their membership determined by Federal bureaucrats using arbitrary and ever-changing criteria which literally split up families and tore aboriginal societies apart. The Lubicons told him that he was proposing to apply the old Indian Act (prior to the 1985 C-31 revision) to the Lubicons retroactively, after the Federal Government had been forced by international pressure to change that Act as completely unjust, unfair and discriminatory. And the Lubicons told him that he was in breach of their pre-negotiation agreement that Mr. Fulton's Discussion Paper would be used as the starting point for negotiations, since Mr. Fulton had recommended that C-31 be used as the policy of the day to determine membership.
The Lubicons told Mr. Tasse that the Lubicon people are all aboriginal people related by family ties and historic ties to our traditional area. The Lubicons told him that there was nothing more fundamental to us than the fact that they are one people, and that they weren't prepared to let the Federal Government split them up into arbitrary, artificial, Governmentally determined groups with different rights and responsibilities. Therefore, the Lubicons told him, they'd welcome him back to their community for further negotiations if and when he had a proper mandate to deal with the Lubicons as a people.
After the July meeting Mr. Tasse spent the next year, until he was forced to resign over conflict of interest charges, trying to sell the Government's artfully conceived propaganda line on the Lubicon situation.
The Lubicons meanwhile proposed that Mr. Fulton be reinvolved as an independent mediator responsible to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.
For a more detailed discussion of the events during Tasse's tenure as federal negotiator, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with events in 1986 to mid 1987.
On August 26, 1987, Provincial Government officials confirmed that nearly a third of the Lubicon people were suffering from tuberculosis, compared to only one out of 100,000 Canadians. Provincial medical personnel acknowledged that a tuberculosis epidemic of this magnitude was likely caused by low resistance to infectious disease related to destruction of our traditional economy and way of life.
Facing renewed pressure triggered by the announcement of the tuberculosis epidemic, Federal Indian Affairs Minister Bill McKnight responded by appointing a new federal negotiator Brian Malone.
However in regards to the Lubicon proposal that Mr. Fulton be reinvolved as an independent mediator responsible to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, the feds refused.
With no negotiations in sight, on December 21, 1987, the Lubicons publicly announced the terms of their settlement offer, including no less reserve land than was retained by the aboriginal people in the surrounding area who signed treaty; sub-surface rights to reserve lands like all other reserves in Alberta; wildlife management and environmental protection rights over their entire remaining traditional area similar to those typically sought by aboriginal people negotiating settlement of aboriginal land rights; establishment of a trapper's support program for those Lubicon people wishing to continue trapping as a way of life but who are no longer able to make a living at it because of the effects of gas and oil development activity; the right of first refusal regarding jobs and contracts resulting from development of our traditional lands; housing and community facilities comparable to other northern communities; development of reserve lands for agricultural purposes; the right of self-government; on-going programs and services like other recognized Indians in Canada; compensation for the extensive destruction and exploitation of traditional Lubicon lands, and reimbursement for costs incurred in their struggle to achieve recognition and settlement of our aboriginal land rights.
The federal government responded with propaganda designed to counter growing international concern over the Lubicon plight, especially in light of the up-coming Calgary Winter Olympics and their Olympic boycott.
Also, Mr. McKnight threatened to call a Federal Inquiry to determine Lubicon membership, threatened to negotiate a Lubicon settlement agreement between the Province and Canada without Lubicon involvement, and threatened to go to court to "settle the claim". The Province meanwhile was after Lubicon genealogical information in order to attempt to apply their own unique criteria in determining who was a Lubicon and so determine an amount of land for use as a reserve.
In February 1988, the province of Alberta announced that they were selling off timber rights in the entire unceded Lubicon traditional territory to forrestry multi-national Daishowa. This announcement drew a firestorm of critical response and protest among Lubicon supporters and the media.
In March 1988, Alberta Premier Getty made a counter proposal to the involvement of Fulton as mediator. He proposed that an independent tribunal be established to resolve any disputes that couldn't be resolved through bilateral negotiations between the Lubicon people and the Federal Government. He said that the tribunal would consist of Mr. Fulton, one person appointed by the Federal Government and a third person appointed jointly by Mr. Fulton and the Federal Government's appointee.
The Lubicons accepted this proposal. The Lubicons then responded to Premier Getty's initiative with a proposal of their own. While continuing to insist on bilateral negotiations between the Federal Government and the Lubicon people regarding settlement of Lubicon land and membership rights, the Lubicons proposed to enter into parallel bilateral negotiations with the Provincial Government regarding non-land and membership issues like wildlife management and environmental protection.
The federal government rejected the Getty tribunal proposal.
In May 1988 the feds took the Lubicons to court to try and impose a settlement of Lubicon land rights upon the Lubicon people and the Province.
Minister McKnight continued his political posturing in the media with no apparent solution to the impasse in sight.
For a more detailed discussion of the events relating to the above impasse in negotiations, see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with events from mid 1987 to mid 1988.
After almost a decade of unrestrained development activity in Lubicon traditional destroying nearly everything they owned and valued as a people, and with absolutely no prospects for ever achieving recognition of our unextinguished aboriginal land rights through the Canadian Courts or Canadian political process, in early August, 1988, the Lubicons made clear their firm intention to enforce Lubicon jurisdiction over their traditional lands. They made clear that it was not a question of "taking the law into their own hands" or "seizing control", but rather of enforcing sovereignty which they'd never relinquished. As of October 15, 1988, they said, anyone wishing to operate in our traditional territory would be expected to obtain appropriate authorization from the Lubicon people and obey their laws.
The federal government now proposed to suspend court action it had started against the Lubicons meant to impose a land settlement on the Lubicons and agreed to accept a mediator to mediate negotiations. However in the two month period prior to October 15th, the feds proved unwilling to decide upon a mediator.
On October 6 the Lubicon people formally withdrew from all legal proceedings before the Canadian courts, making clear that they never accepted the jurisdiction of the Canadian courts over their traditional territory in any case, making clear that after 14 years of experience with the Canadian courts they'd lost all confidence in the ability or inclination of the Canadian courts to compel Canadian Government to obey its own laws and making clear that they now saw no alternative but to enforce their jurisdiction over their traditional territory, effective October 15th, and to then defend their vital interests on the ground as best they could.
By October 11th supporters and representatives of the media from across the country and Europe had begun arriving in the Lubicon area and the oil companies began making arrangements to shut down their operations and vacate the area rather than recognize Lubicon jurisdiction.
On Saturday, October 15th at 1 p.m. the Lubicons established "passport control points" at all main points of entry into their unceded traditional territory and began enforcing their jurisdiction.
Early in the morning of October 20th scores of heavily armed RCMP backed by helicopters and attack dogs mounted a coordinated assault on the four passport control points, arresting 27 of Lubicon people and supporters, including a 14 year old boy, a 71 year old grandmother, two Quaker supporters, two west German supporters, and the Lubicon lawyer.
Immediately following the arrests Premier Getty phoned and asked for a meeting to try and work out the differences between the Lubicon people and the Alberta Provincial Government. The Lubicons refused to meet until their people were released from jail. The 27 people were then released from jail.
On October 22nd Chief Ominayak hammered out an agreement with Premier Getty, since called the Grimshaw Accord. This landmark agreement provides for the Provincial Government to transfer 95 square miles of land to the Federal Government for use by the Lubicon.
The Federal Government could now no longer claim that Province was blocking settlement by not providing sufficient lands for a reserve. This put the onus squarely on the Federal Government to move forward and negotiate a settlement of aboriginal land rights with the Lubicon people.
For more information on the Grimshaw including its text, please see "The Grimshaw Accord".
For more detailed discussion of events relating to the assertion of Lubicon jurisdiction and the Grimshaw Accord please see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with the assertion of Lubicon jurisdiction and the Grimshaw Accord.
Following the Grimshaw Accord with Premier Getty the Lubicons turned their attention to Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who was at the time in the midst of a re-election campaign. Faced with the prospect of significant Lubicon demonstrations along the campaign trail during his re-election campaign, on November 3, 1988, Mr. Mulroney met with Chief Ominayak and agreed to negotiations.
Negotiations with the Federal Government commenced on November 29, 1988, and collapsed on January 24, 1989 -- after Mr. Mulroney's successful election campaign. Negotiations collapsed when the Federal Government tabled a final "take-it-or-leave-it" settlement offer which Federal negotiators knew in advance would be rejected, since it contained no provision for the Lubicon people to once again become economically self-sufficient. Among other things the federal offer failed to include such basic elements of an acceptable settlement package as a community hall, a community store, a facility in which to maintain community equipment and conduct vocational training, development of reserve lands for agricultural purposes and financial compensation.
Immediately upon collapse of negotiations the Mulroney Government launched a major propaganda campaign designed to subvert Lubicon leadership and discredit the Lubicon cause. The propaganda campaign was coordinated with on-the-ground efforts to politically overthrow the duly elected leadership of the Lubicon people. The effort to politically overthrow the duly elected Lubicon leadership failed on May 31st when the current Lubicon leadership was unanimously re-elected, but on-the-ground efforts by the Canadian Government to subvert Lubicon land rights continued.
For more detailed discussion of events above please see the excerpt from the Lubicon Nation's Historical Overview dealing with the Feds Tabling "Take-it-or-leave-it" offer & Refusing to Negotiate Further -- Federal Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign -- Attempt to Overthrow Lubicon Leadership
After a May 1989 Lubicon election produced the unanimous re-election of Chief Ominayak quashing an attempted political overthrow of Lubicon leadership, on-the-ground attempts to subvert Lubicon land rights soon reappeared in the form of the so-called new Woodland Cree Band.
Using an obscure clause of the Indian Act, Indian Affairs created the "Woodland Cree" to draw members away from the Lubicon, thereby decreasing any possible settlement. With unprecedented speed Ottawa recognized a group of disparate individuals as a "band" while ignoring seventy aboriginal societies waiting fifty or more years for recognition. These individuals were drawn together by Canada from half dozen or so different communities scattered across Alberta and British Columbia. They have no history as an organized aboriginal society and no relation as a group to the traditional territory of the Lubicon Cree. Some Lubicon members joined the Woodland.
The federal government then offered the Woodland Cree a settlement proposal similar to the 1989 "take-it-or-leave-it" offer. To insure acceptance, the federal government offered voters $50 to vote and $1000 payable to each member when the deal was accepted. After the vote Ottawa unexpectedly reduced their welfare payments by the same amount.
Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon then told reporters that the Lubicons were now entitled to the "Take-it-or -leave-it" offer minus forty percent to take into account the Woodland Cree settlement.
For more information on the formation of Woodland Cree, please see the Saturday Night magazine article "A Helping Hand" by John Goddard.
After the collapse of negotiations between the Federal Government and the Lubicon people, Premier Getty & Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak decided to continue the negotiations which Federal negotiators had prematurely terminated with the Federal Government's surprise "take-it-or-leave-it" offer.
Getty publicly agreed with the Lubicon position that the federal offer was "deficient " in that it would clearly not permit the Lubicons to once again become economically self-sufficient and presented the Lubicons with a proposal for supposedly bridging the gap between the Lubicon position and the federal "take-it-or-leave-it" offer.
Getty's proposals were examined and discussed with an eye to producing an agreement which both the province and the Lubicons could support.. After several months the Lubicons determined that the proposals clearly contributed liitle of substance to the resolution of outstanding issues, and so decided to prepare a draft settlement agreement which provided a detailed statement answering the question "What do the Lubicons want?".
On June 1, 1990 Lubicon representatives presented the Alberta Provincial Government with a draft settlement agreement. The Lubicon draft settlement agreement covers in detail all of the issues which must be resolved to achieve a full and final settlement of Lubicon land rights. There was no discussion of the Lubicon draft settlement agreement and no alternate draft agreement ever produced by Provincial Government negotiators. Instead, months later Provincial Government negotiators simply advised the Lubicons that "the parties were too far apart on the issues" and therefore suggested arbitration or mediation. However no arbitration or mediation proposals were put in writing. The Lubicons were once again in the position of no negotiations with either the province or the feds.
With pressure from Daishowa in reaction to the growing Daishowa Boycott, Federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon expressed a willingness to return to negotiations nearly three years after tabling the Federal Government's unacceptably deficient 1989 "take-it-or-leave-it" offer. Unfortunately, Mr. Siddon told reporters that the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer was still on the table but less forty per cent to take into account the Woodland Cree Settlement.
Rather than having further talks about the unacceptable offer, the Lubicons, in meeting with Siddon, presented him with the 1990 Lubicon Settlement Proposal tabled with the Province a year earlier and awaited his reaction.
For more information on these events in 1991, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated Nov 16, 1991.
The Lubicons still have no detailed reaction to the draft Lubicon Settlement Proposal handed to the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs on November 1, 1991.
Instead the Lubicons are now presented with a partial federal proposal which is even less acceptable in many regards than the corresponding elements of the 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" offer.
In the meantime government disinformation is circulated about Lubicon's supposed unreasonableness when in fact the federal government is now proposing to shave over 20% off the effective total value of the community construction portion of their previously unacceptable "take-it-or-leave-it" offer.
For more information on these events, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated March 20, 1992.
A group of prominent, and concerned Canadian citizens announce the formation an independent commission, the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review, with the responsibility to compare and report on the merits of Government and Lubicon settlement proposals and to recommend ways to move negotiations forward.
For more information on these events, please see the Lubicon Settlement Commission press release dated May 21, 1992.
Eleven months after the Lubicons tabled the draft Lubicon Settlement Proposal to Federal Indian Affairs Minister Siddon, the feds still have no reaction to it. Instead, the feds publicly present their 1992 offer which is a rehashed version of the highly unacceptable 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" offer. The feds portay the offer as new and improved. The Lubicons see through the government propaganda and expose the feds 1992 offer as inferior and reject it.
For more information on these events, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated September 25, 1992.
The long-awaited report of this independent citizen's commission is finally released.
The report's "principle finding is that governments have not acted in good faith" in negotiating with the Lubicon while "Lubicons have acted in good faith in negotiations".
Similarly the commission found federal settlement proposals would not allow the Lubicon people to "regain self-sufficiency" and that Lubicon proposals for "regaining self-sufficiency" are basically reasonable.
"A further crucial finding is that the situation is urgent. The alternative to a just settlement is to see the Lubicon continue the downward spiral of despair and self-destruction .... The devastation of the community resulting from intrusive development causes severe hardship to the internal organization of the Lubicon people, to its economic basis, and to its moral fibre."
The report makes several recommendations designed to advance the negotiation process.
For more information, please see the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report dated March, 1993.
May 27, 1993, letter on House of Commons letterhead from Jean Chretien to Friends of the Lubicon Toronto
Dear Group Members:
Thank you for your letter regarding the final report of the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review
The Liberal Party understands your concern. For more than fifty years, the Lubicon have struggled to secure a permanent land base -- and the means to preserve their way of life. Unfortunately, negotiations between the Lubicon and the federal government have been suspended since 1989. We believe that the government has reneged on its fiduciary responsibility to the Lubicon People.
Time is wasting. Innumerable studies and reports have been prepared over past years, and they have only served to slow progress in the negotiations for a land and resource base. It is time for action. As a start, we believe the government should proceed with recommendation number five of the Settlement Commission report to hold all royalties in trust and withhold leases and permits on traditional Lubicon lands -- unless approved by the Lubicon. Moreover, future negotiations should reflect the intent of recommendation number eight, asserting that the extinguishment of Aboriginal rights must not be a condition for a settlement -- a position consistent with Liberal policy.
Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Liberal Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, has urged the government to renew negotiations with the Lubicon and resolve this issue, once and for all. While it is doubtful whether the current government possesses the will to do so, you can be assured that Liberals will continue to press the Conservatives to respond to the recommendations of the Settlement Commission and resume negotiations.
We support the swift resolution of all claims, and consider the Lubicon claim to be a priority. As Leader of the Opposition, I appreciate the time you have taken to write and bring your views to my attention.
Sincerely, Jean Chretien
In meeting with the Lubicons, Provincial Native Affairs Minister Mike Cardinal agrees to honour commitments made by former Premier Getty in previous negotiations with the Lubicons. Afterwards, Cardinal writes a letter, responding to a letter from Ominayak, in which Cardinal agrees to honour the Grimshaw Accord ( the agreement relating to reserve lands ) but questions "the exact nature of past discussions (with former Premier Getty) regarding other matters".
Chief Ominayak's letter to Cardinal stated that:
"Premier Getty's other commitments to the Lubicon people were:
For more information, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated June 1, 1993.
Federal, & provincial officials and private parties are involved in the latest major effort to dismember Lubicon society.
Since February of 1989 there has been a continuing effort to "eliminate" Lubicon society through attrition by essentially buying off people around the fringes -- first by offering people "little bribes" to help overthrow the duly elected Lubicon leadership, and, when that failed, by creating new Bands on either side of the Lubicons and then offering Lubicon members "little bribes" to join one or other of these two new Bands. While this deliberate strategy to "eliminate" the Lubicons has over time profoundly damaged Lubicon society in a number of ways most of the people who were available and vulnerable to these various "little bribes" were people who were pretty peripheral to the Lubicon society -- acquaintances, friends and relatives perhaps but usually not important members of Lubicon society.
In November 1993 the people working to dismember the Lubicon society gained access to one of the main Lubicon families -- the Edward Laboucan family. Recognizing the importance of this family to the structure of Lubicon society these three groups moved aggressively and in concert to try and take advantage of the opportunity which this new access provided. Their purpose is clear. Instead of simply continuing to whittle away at the Lubicon society around the edges they are now seeking to precipitate the collapse of the Lubicon society all at once by trying to take out a main family group.
For more information, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated March 20, 1994.
In response to letters from Lubicon supporters, the federal government effectively blocks efforts to have a main Lubicon family, the Laboucan family, split off from the Lubicons and join the Woodland Cree "Band". However, efforts by new Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin to move forward on resolving the land rights' dispute are obstructed by anti-Lubicon elements within the federal bureaucracy.
For more information, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated June 23, 1994.
Another effort to dismember Lubicon society is announced at a press conference called by a Calgary publicist known to have close ties withthe ruling provincial Conservative Party. The press announcement on the formation of a Lubicon dissident group calling themselves the Little Buffalo Cree was made one week before the scheduled commencement of a new round of negotiations between the federal government and the Lubicons.
For more information on events surrounding the formation of a Lubicon dissident group calling themselves the Little Buffalo Cree, please see the Lubicon Nation mail-out dated July 10, 1995.
The province "withdrew" the Grimshaw "offer" in 1995 claiming falsely that it was based on numbers and that the number of Lubicons had changed but saying that they'd transfer land back to the federal government to create a Lubicon reserve for the number of Lubicons the province is satisfied are entitled to be counted for purposes of determining reserve land size. Transferring land back to the Federal government for purposes of dealing with the issue of outstanding Indian land rights is something the province is obligated to do anyway under the 1930 Land Transfer Agreement, and has always said it would do, but the province has no legal or historical right to certify Lubicon membership -- something which would effectively constitute a veto over the federal government's exclusive constitutional responsibility for dealing with Indians and Indian land rights.
Negotiations with the Federal government recommenced in July 1995.
The Federal government tabled the latest version of the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer based on normal government programs and services for government certified Lubicon membership in July of 1996. The feds said that they'd deal later, in promised "phase II" negotiations, with Lubicon settlement proposals which can't be covered under federal negotiator Harold Millican's current (normal government programs and services) mandate. As with the so-called "take-it-or-leave-it" offer tabled in 1989 and again in 1992, things not covered under Millican's current mandate included essential economic development, a vocational training center, a community recreation centre, self-government and financial compensation.
In December of 1996, foreshadowing an up-coming federal election ala the Dene Metis Agreement-In-Principle in the fall of 1988, negotiators tried three times to get the Lubicons to sign agreements-in-principle (AIP) based on normal government programs and services for government certified membership but including an "undertaking" that the feds would negotiate missing Lubicon settlement items like economic development and self-government later -- in promised "good faith" phase II negotiations. The Lubicons predictably refused to sign these agreements-in-principle as substantively no different than the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer rejected in 1989 and again in 1992.
Chief Bernard Ominayak had consciously decided to give negotiators broad latitude to come up with a way to meet known Lubicon objectives. Basically he let them go until they started pressing the Lubicons to approve documents which didn't reflect the Lubicon position on settlement issues and to sign related AIPs at which point he concluded that giving the negotiators carte blanche to come up with ways to meet Lubicon objectives wasn't working.
Bernard Ominayak therefore effectively suspended negotiations and asked the Lubicon political advisers to up-date the numbers on Lubicon settlement proposals, which was done with the assistance of the same independent cost assessors mutually agreed upon by the Lubicons and the federal government previously. Lubicon Chief and Council reviewed and revised this up-dated draft Lubicon settlement agreement word-by-word three times before approving it.
With the draft Lubicon settlement agreement in hand the Lubicons attempted to convince the government to resume negotiations but as of March 1998 without success.
The two main issues regarding the resumption of negotiations remained whether the governments of Alberta and Canada are prepared to honour past agreements, without which a settlement of Lubicon land rights is practically inconceivable, and whether the federal government is prepared to use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating a settlement of Lubicon land rights rather than insisting, however they try to disguise their position, on limiting discussions to normal government programs and services -- in which case settlement is also practically inconceivable.
Apparently the Federal government officials neither want to honour past agreements nor to openly admit their refusal to do so. Similarly they apparently don't want to admit that they are effectively limiting talks to what can be covered under normal government programs and services but neither are they prepared to entertain Lubicon settlement proposals which can't be covered by normal government programs and services. It's on these two basic points that hope for a settlement of Lubicon land rights hinges. If both levels of Canadian government honour past agreements, and if the Federal government is prepared to seriously entertain Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating Lubicon land rights, settlement of Lubicon land rights is all but done. If neither level of Canadian government has the integrity to honour the agreements they make beyond the political expediency of the moment, or to seriously entertain Lubicon proposals for settling Lubicon land rights, it's hard to imagine how a settlement is ever going to be possible.
With regards to the importance of moving beyond normal government programs and services in order to re-establish a self-sufficient Lubicon community, the following exchange is on point:
In discussion with an advisor to the Lubicons, an Indian Affairs official asked why the Lubicons refused to negotiate on the basis of normal government programs and services. The advisor to the Lubicons asked the official if he could name one single aboriginal community in the entire country that's socially or economically self-sufficient based solely on normal government programs and services. The official said "You know I can't do that". The advisor to the Lubicons told the official he'd answered his own question.
For more information on events relating to negotiations in the period from 1995 to 1998, please see the Peter Schwarzbauer web posting dated March 19, 1998.
Land rights negotiations between the federal government and the Lubicon restarted in July 1998 and are ongoing. The most significant development in the latest round of talks concerns the issue of primary importance to the Lubicons: membership.
Both the federal government and the Lubicons agree that the Lubicons will determine their own membership for all purposes and that all Lubicons will have equal status. Such an agreement is intended to ensure that the Lubicons are treated the same as any other First Nation that signed Treaty 8.
Some work has also been done to begin addressing Lubicon environmental concerns.The focus is primarily on water and air quality. The long term goal is to ensure that there is a supply of clean water for the Lubicon Lake reserve.
There has also been discussion on economic development, community construction and infrastructure. The Lubicon settlement proposals which are on the table include detailed plans for their future community. However basic issues like economic development and the provision of a number of key community facilities, as well as many other issues - including financial compensation for natural resources already extracted from unceded Lubicon land and Lubicon self-government - are not yet resolved.
In August 1999, the Alberta provincial government announced that it is now accepting tenders for logging within a portion of the Lubicon traditional territory. The portion being put up for sale surrounds the proposed 95 square mile Lubicon reserve area on the East, North and South sides. That means potential loggers will be allowed to clear-cut right up to the boundary of the proposed Lubicon reserve.
For a summary of the current round of negotiations, please see Negotiations Update December 31, 1999 . For Info after that please see Negotiations News.
For more details on provincial attempts to subvert the current round of negotiations please see Selling Out Lubicon Land Rights.
This archive contains links to documents relating to Lubicon land rights' negotiations including Media Reports, Letters, Lubicon Nation mail-outs, Lubicon Land Settlement Agreement 1997 document, Lubicon Settlement Commmission of Review Final Report. Document links are listed in reverse chronological order. "No clear-cut answer -- Timber rights allocation on Lubicon land a worrisome development" Lubicon Negotiations to Resume and Lubicon Demonstration on Parliament Hill Imposition of discriminatory social assistance policy by Federal Indian Affairs' Regional Office Officials in Alberta leads to suspension of talks, a two-month public battle, and an agreement to re-instate social assistance funding to Lubicons. "Peace River anxious to see Lubicon settlement" Negotiations Update January 2000 Negotiations Update December 31, 1999 Talks with Province Postponed because of Lack of Progress with the Feds "Lubicons, Government Back at Table" "Government Move Underhanded, Say Lubicon", re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory Lubicon Position re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory Selling Out Lubicon Land Rights, Write Premier Klein & Daishowa re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory First Meeting with the Province "Province Invited to Lubicon Land Negotiations" "Negotiations Update" June 1999 Minister Questioned in Parliament about the Lubicons, "Province Accused of Trying to Subvert Lubicon Land Rights", re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory "Legal Wording for Band Membership Stymies Deal Makers" Status of Lubicon-Federal Government Talks up until Mar 19/98 Lubicon Land Settlement Agreement : Lubicon - Canada - Alberta September 17, 1997 is a document prepared by the Lubicon Nation containing Lubicon settlement proposals. The document is an updated version of a document prepared by the Lubicons and presented to the provincial government in 1990 and federal government in 1991. The 1990 document has been updated a few times in the interim before becoming the 1997 version. Another Effort to Dismember the Lubicon Society -- Province appears associated with latest divide and conquer effort - the formation of a Lubicon dissident group called the Little Buffalo Cree, Jul 10, 1995 : Lubicon Nation Mailout Feds Publicly Back Away from the Laboucan Family Initiative to Divide and Conquer Lubicon Society Alberta Officials Fail to Mislead Austrian Ambassador about Lubicon Settlement Proposals The Dismemberment of the Lubicon Society by using "little bribes" to entice the Laboucan family to join another band, Mar 20, 1994 : Lubicon Nation Mailout Province Agrees to Honour Previous Negotiation Commitments But Fails to Confirm in Writing Jean Chretien Letter to Toronto Friends of the Lubicon supporting recommendations of the Lubicon Settlement Commission. May 27, 1993 Media Reports Relating to the Release of the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report - Finds governments not negotiating in good faith while Lubicon settlement proposals are reasonable; recommends ways to address the impasse in negotiations. March 1993 Lubicons Reject 1992 Federal Offer as Inferior to 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer. Independent Citizens' Commission Established to Compare the Merits of Government & Lubicon Settlement Proposals and Recommend Ways to Move Negotiations Forward, May 21, 1992 : Lubicon Settlement Commission press release Feds Ignore Lubicon Settlement Proposal and Table a Proposal Less Acceptable than 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer. "A Helping Hand", re: Government's divide & conquer creation of a new "band" called the Woodland Cree in order to subvert Lubicon land rights, Dec 1991 : Saturday Night magazine article Feds Invite Negotiations But Start Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign -- Lubicons Table Settlement Proposal & Await Reaction , Nov 16/91 : Lubicon Nation mailout Comparison of Lubicon Settlement Proposals with Other Contemporary Settlements Lubicon Historical Overview to June 1989
Mar 5, 2001: Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune
Sep 28/00: News Reports
June 22 - Sep 6/00 : Correspondence, Letters, Resolutions, Media Reports
Mar 27/00 : Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune article
Jan 12/00 : FoL Web Posting & Edmonton Journal article
Dec 31/99, FoL Web Posting
Nov 4/99 : Two newspaper articles
Nov 1/99 : Grand Prairie Herald Tribune article
Aug 31/99 : Peace River Record Gazette article
Aug 25/99 : Chief Ominayak letter to Premier Klein article
Aug 10, 1999 : Action Please
Aug 3/99 : Peace River Record-Gazette article
Jun 22/99 : Peace River Record Gazette article
Jun /99, FoL Web Posting
May 6/99 : Transcript
Apr 5/99 : CBC Radio News Transcript
Jan 12/99 : Peace River Record-Gazette article
Peter Schwarzbauer web posting
Jun 23/94 : Lubicon Nation Mailout
Jun 16/94 : Lubicon Mailout
Jun 1/93, Lubicon Nation Mailout
Sep 25/92 : Lubicon Nation Mailout
Mar 20/92 : Lubicon Nation mailout
Jan 20/91 : Lubicon Nation Mailout
Jun /89 : Lubicon Nation mail (about 225k in length)
This archive contains links to documents relating to Lubicon land rights' negotiations including Media Reports, Letters, Lubicon Nation mail-outs, Lubicon Land Settlement Agreement 1997 document, Lubicon Settlement Commmission of Review Final Report.
Document links are listed in reverse chronological order.
"No clear-cut answer -- Timber rights allocation on Lubicon land a worrisome development"
Lubicon Negotiations to Resume and Lubicon Demonstration on Parliament Hill
Imposition of discriminatory social assistance policy by Federal Indian Affairs' Regional Office Officials in Alberta leads to suspension of talks, a two-month public battle, and an agreement to re-instate social assistance funding to Lubicons.
"Peace River anxious to see Lubicon settlement"
Negotiations Update January 2000
Negotiations Update December 31, 1999
Talks with Province Postponed because of Lack of Progress with the Feds
"Lubicons, Government Back at Table"
"Government Move Underhanded, Say Lubicon", re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory
Lubicon Position re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory
Selling Out Lubicon Land Rights, Write Premier Klein & Daishowa re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory
First Meeting with the Province
"Province Invited to Lubicon Land Negotiations"
"Negotiations Update" June 1999
Minister Questioned in Parliament about the Lubicons,
"Province Accused of Trying to Subvert Lubicon Land Rights", re: Pending Timber Sale in Lubicon Traditional Territory
"Legal Wording for Band Membership Stymies Deal Makers"
Status of Lubicon-Federal Government Talks up until Mar 19/98
Lubicon Land Settlement Agreement : Lubicon - Canada - Alberta September 17, 1997 is a document prepared by the Lubicon Nation containing Lubicon settlement proposals. The document is an updated version of a document prepared by the Lubicons and presented to the provincial government in 1990 and federal government in 1991. The 1990 document has been updated a few times in the interim before becoming the 1997 version.
Another Effort to Dismember the Lubicon Society -- Province appears associated with latest divide and conquer effort - the formation of a Lubicon dissident group called the Little Buffalo Cree, Jul 10, 1995 : Lubicon Nation Mailout
Feds Publicly Back Away from the Laboucan Family Initiative to Divide and Conquer Lubicon Society
Alberta Officials Fail to Mislead Austrian Ambassador about Lubicon Settlement Proposals
The Dismemberment of the Lubicon Society by using "little bribes" to entice the Laboucan family to join another band, Mar 20, 1994 : Lubicon Nation Mailout
Province Agrees to Honour Previous Negotiation Commitments But Fails to Confirm in Writing
Jean Chretien Letter to Toronto Friends of the Lubicon supporting recommendations of the Lubicon Settlement Commission. May 27, 1993
Media Reports Relating to the Release of the Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report
Lubicon Settlement Commission of Review Final Report - Finds governments not negotiating in good faith while Lubicon settlement proposals are reasonable; recommends ways to address the impasse in negotiations. March 1993
Lubicons Reject 1992 Federal Offer as Inferior to 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer.
Independent Citizens' Commission Established to Compare the Merits of Government & Lubicon Settlement Proposals and Recommend Ways to Move Negotiations Forward, May 21, 1992 : Lubicon Settlement Commission press release
Feds Ignore Lubicon Settlement Proposal and Table a Proposal Less Acceptable than 1989 "Take-it-or-leave-it" Offer.
"A Helping Hand", re: Government's divide & conquer creation of a new "band" called the Woodland Cree in order to subvert Lubicon land rights, Dec 1991 : Saturday Night magazine article
Feds Invite Negotiations But Start Anti-Lubicon Propaganda Campaign -- Lubicons Table Settlement Proposal & Await Reaction , Nov 16/91 : Lubicon Nation mailout
Comparison of Lubicon Settlement Proposals with Other Contemporary Settlements
Lubicon Historical Overview to June 1989