Chief Spence is not a gifted orator, which is too bad in this Age Of The Sound Byte. So here is a brief summary of why the Crown must meet with Native leaders. Many First Nation treaties, some of which go back over 200 years, are not with Canada but with Great Britain. Taiaiake Alfred, a University of Victoria professor, told the CBC that ‘Spence’s decision not to go is a “position with integrity” because it’s consistent and because the relationship between Canada and aboriginals is “nation-to-nation.” ‘
Alfred elaborated: “The treaties that we’re fighting so hard to have recognized and respected are treaties … between the Crown and our people. And it’s not really good enough to have the prime minister there, who is the person who is in charge of government. We need a representative of the Crown.”
Alfred believes ‘the native community will splinter politically if [AFN leader Shawn] Atleo doesn’t get good results. “I think it’s a major crisis for Shawn Atleo, and it’s a crisis as well for the AFN as an organization because if they can’t deliver something meaningful in the minds of the people involved with Idle No More, they’re in serious danger of being seen as an irrelevant force or, even worse, as part of a collaborating mechanism with the Government of Canada on their agenda.” ‘
Alfred said that without progress it is ‘going to come to a point where young people in First Nations will recognize that historically “the government only responds to trouble and they are going to find a way to make trouble for the Government of Canada in order to get a response.” ‘ image by fred chartrand.