Canada | Opinion

Steven Newcomb: True honor and respect for the original nations






Nisga’a chiefs and members of the treaty negotiating team outside the entrance to the parliament building in Ottawa, for the Throne Speech, October 12, 1999. The Nisga’a Nation signed a treaty with the British Columbia government and the Canadian government in 2000. Photo by Nisga’a Lisims Government / Gary Fiegehen

Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute argues for a new era of reconciliation, one that challenges the religious principles that influence colonial governments have treated the Original Nations in Canada:
These days, the word “reconciliation” has taken deep root in the contemporary discourse between the government of Canada and many of the First Nations of that part of Great Turtle Island. At the same time, in an apparent contradiction, the government of Canada continues to maintain its assumption of “Crown sovereignty and “Crown title” in relation to that part of the vast geographical area of Turtle Island, now commonly known as “North America.”

Notably, the word “crown” means “the very highest position,” such as in the expression “a crowning achievement.” This being the case, it would seem there is one central way for First Nations to “reconcile” themselves with the crown’s dominating claim of superiority. They must freely agree with the view that “the British crown” sits in the highest or ascendant (dominant) position in relation to the First Nations. By agreeing to this view, the First Nations can “reconcile” themselves with the crown’s assumption of “crown sovereignty,” which translates as “the most high” or “the highest of the highest.”

By agreeing with that framework, the First Nations will have then become reconciled with “the crown” and with the society of Canada. They will be viewed as having freely agreed that they are lower than, or subordinate to, “the most high” British Crown. They will have then reconciled themselves with “the Crown’s” system of domination.

However, there is a different and much more accurate way to approach this issue: The Original Nations now have the opportunity to acknowledge that the entire idea of “reconciliation” is wrongheaded. Why? There was never a starting point of friendship or good relations between the British Crown and the Original Nations.

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Reconciliation & Christendom’s Perpetual War Against Infidels (Indian Country Today 6/14)