Letter to the Joint Clerks of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada
Wilson, BillPublisher: United Native Nations, Vancouver, Canada
Year Published: 1978
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX866
The Letter to the Joint Clerks of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada is an official response of the United Native Nations to Bill C-60, the Act to amend the Canadian Constitution.
Abstract: The Letter to the Joint Clerks of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada is an official response of the United Native Nations to Bill C-60, the Act to amend the Canadian Constitution. The letter is based on the recognition of the following reality: "This country's true founders are the people who provided a fertile environment in which the French-Canadian culture and the English-Canadian culture found a place to grow. So, in fact, there are not two founding nations in Canada, rather there are fifty founding nations of indigenous Native Indian peoples who were here for thousands of years before the white man arrived."
The Letter welcomes the inclusion of a "Bill of Rights", but remembers how Native Indian people of British Columbia were incarcerated for practising their culture, e.g. forbidden to assemble in numbers greater than five except for religious purposes, forbidden to own property, deprived of ceremonial masks and regalia. It also calls for continuance and expansion of special status for Native people as the true founding nations: just as French-Canadian society, so too should indigenous people.
The Letter further suggests a role for Native representation and input in the legislative process in the House of Commons (similar to the Maori in New Zealand) and the House of Federation. And it continues:
"The same logic that argues that there should be a minimum number of Supreme Court Justices from Quebec can also be applied to the proposal for a Native Indian Supreme Court Justice."
The letter is signed by Bill Wilson, president of the United Native Nations.