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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Paternalism Trumps Debate North of the Border

Here in the US, there is much debate within Indigenous Nations about what role, if any, they should take in the election of persons to Federal and State governments. There are those who would argue that there is a need for the Indian Nations to be involved in this process because these elections have more potential impact on them than do the tribal elections on the various reservations regarding the making available of federal funds for education, health, economic development, etc. There are also those who would argue as sovereign nations that we should not be directly involved in the internal political elections of a foreign nation (the US), but rather should respect our own sovereignty enough to remain separated from the US and state political processes.

Whichever way we as individual Indians and Indian Nations lean on this particular issue, it should remain a debate between and among Indians and not an imposed decision by an occupying power. In a show of rampant paternalism, the Canadian government has taken that decision out of the hands of the First Nations by disallowing political contributions by them.

According to the CBC:

First Nations barred from political donations
Friday, June 11, 2004

First Nations have been prohibited from making political donations by Elections Canada. Some of the donations came from federal dollars, CBC News reports.

First Nations gave nearly $50,000 to the Liberal Party and its candidates from 2000 to 2002, according to CBC News. The largest donations came from the Norway House Cree Nation, which gave more than $10,000 during that time.

Norway House Chief Ron Evans says the donations helped the band gain access to top officials. But council member Marcel Balfour says the money could have gone to better use on a reserve with high unemployment and other problems.

story here

This article serves to remind us that our first and most important fight is not with each other over issues, but against the occupying force of the US government for the freedom to decide. The imposition of these rules from without is far more damaging than any wrong decision that we as Indian Nations could potentially make.


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