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INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND THE FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS: AN ALTERNATIVE SUMMIT, CALL FOR PAPERS, PANELS AND INVOLVEMENT
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<-- Return To Globalization

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND THE FREE TRADE AREA OF THE AMERICAS: AN ALTERNATIVE SUMMIT, CALL FOR PAPERS, PANELS AND INVOLVEMENT

SALLE KONDIARIONK, HURON RESERVE, QUEBEC CITY, April 19-21

The proposal to create the FTAA extends a process of imperial globalization that began in 1492 and continues yet. Once again the geopolitical map of the Americas is about to be redrawn in ways that violate the titles, treaties and basic human rights of the hemisphere's First Nations. The FTAA continues the genocidal tradition which began with the founding of New Spain, New England, New France, New Netherlands etc as jurisdictions based on the absorption of Indian lands, usually without Indian consent.

Again and again the map of America has been redrawn in Europe on the assumption that the hemisphere's Indigenous peoples are inferior and subordinate and have no fundamental right to a say in deciding what happens on First Nations lands and territories. This process began when the Pope apportioned the Americas for Spain and Portugal. It continued with the founding of the USA as an engine of genocidal western expansion. The Treaty of Paris which granted the USA its original land base in 1783, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the absorption of the northern part of Mexico into the USA in 1848, the USA's purchase of Alaska in 1867, the transfer of the land titles of the Hudson's Bay Company to the Dominion of Canada in 1869, and the creation of the Noth America Free Trade Area in 1993, all were negotiated as if the hemisphere's Indigenous peoples didn't exist. Now the ministerial gathering in Quebec City points to the prospect of yet another redrawing of the map of the hemisphere with the creation of what is being called the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Such an illegal imposition on all the hemisphere's citizens projects into new jurisdictional frontiers the Columbian Conquests which began in 1492.

The USA's notorious violations of its 400 or so treaties with Indigenous peoples shows that the world's only remaining Superpower has no respect for the sanctity of treaties and for the requirements of living within the framework of international law. The USA added to its notorious reputation in 1871, when the American Congress passed a law excluding the American government from the international juridical principles as they then existed. From that time forward the USA has been an outlaw state in terms of its failure to respect even the limited requirements of international law mandating the purchase through treaty of Aboriginal title before non-Aboriginal settlement can proceed.

The events leading up to the Trail of Tears as well as the country's horrific genocides make the USA one of the world's most grievous perpetrators of that genre of international crime which has recently been labelled "ethnic cleansing." The founding of the state of California as the result of a particularly violent gold rush make that jurisdiction the site of especially horrific crimes against humanity. The tradition of the Indian wars continued into recent times with particular severity in the US backed reign of terror directed against Mayan peoples in Guatemala. As Nobel Peace Prize Rigobertu Menchu has clarified, this ruthless genocide against her own peoples was aimed at destroying the Indian way of life. Until those violations are addressed in appropriate venues for the arbitration of international crimes against humanity, there is no reason for Indigenous peoples, or, for that matter, any other people throughout the Americas to have trust in a new treaty creating a FTAA. Such a treaty would violate hundreds of earlier treaties made with First Nations peoples throughout the Americas. Such a treaty which would formalize the USA's hegemonic dominance in a hemisphere bathed with Indian blood in the ongoing Columbian Conquests.

From April 19-21, the Huron Reserve in Quebec City, the current capital of Wendake, will be the site of an alternative summit to highlight the many issues in and around the relationships of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas to the proposed FTAA. The meetings will take place at Salle Kondiaronk on the Huron reserve at Loretteville. This community is situated about eight miles from downtown Quebec City. This announcement includes a request for proposals for presentations, presenters and panel discussions of relevance to the idea of the FTAA as a violation of the basic human rights of all the hemisphere's citizens, but most especially of the First Nations. This alternative summit can be the site of a wide array of discussions, including those pertaining to environmental, labour and women's issues. The gathering will be in the tradition of the freedom fighters in the Zapatista movement in Mexico. In 1994 the Zapatistas announced their resistance to the North American Free Trade Agreement by asserting Indian jurisdiction over parts of Chiapas. Basta!

Contact:
Tony Hall,
Department of Native American Studies,
University of Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
hall@uleth.ca

Linda Sioui,
Wendake Nation,
Village des Hurons, Quebec City
linda.sioui@sympatico.ca

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