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Harsha Walia on Canadian Colonialism

How Canada's colonial status shapes its foreign policy

by Dominion Radio Original Peoples, →Canadian Foreign Policy

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Harsha Walia on Canadian Colonialism

Harsha Walia is an organizer based in Vancouver who is active in various struggles.

The following talk was recorded as part of the Council of Canadians BC-Yukon Regional Meeting, which took place in Vancouver on April 18th, 2009.

[Photo: Anti-Canada day by Dru Oja Jay.]

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Maine Episcopalians decry

Maine Episcopalians decry ;doctrine of discovery'



Part I : The Discovery Doctrine, the tribes, and the truth



Newcomb: Unbaptized stuff and the ;Right' of Christian discovery

Some thinkers in Western Christendom regarded pagan or unbaptized peoples as existing in a non-legal state, or as having what he referred to as, "an existence sine juribus." Essentially, this means "an existence without rights," or with very few inferior rights, in western law and political thought.

Categorizing indigenous peoples as essentially inhuman "unbaptized stuff," resulted in an automatic inference: Christians are paramount over all non-Christians. It was this idea that led to the pope's claim of "sovereignty over the whole earth," a claim that led Pope Alexander VI to purport to divide the globe by the famous line of demarcation, whereby the Vatican granted Portugal the right of conquest over one half of the globe, and the Spanish monarchs the right of conquest over the other half, so long as the "discovered" lands were "not possessed by any Christian prince." This is the famous papal bull Inter Cetera (four such bulls were issued in 1493) that called for the "subjugation" of all "barbarous" non-Christian nations. The 1794 Treaty of Tordesilla between the two monarchies formalized the demarcation line.

The cognitive system of Christendom did not disappear as the generations passed. It merely morphed into a more secularized expression of the same religious mentality. Thus, Lieber wrote: "The English and Americans have not wholly discarded the idea that the white man, at least, if not the Christian, is entitled to this earth, if not cultivated by the colonizer. So our Supreme Court decided by an opinion of the Chief Justice of the United States [John Marshall]." Here Lieber was referring to the 1823 Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. McIntosh, which he considered the "jus divinum" (divine law) of the United States.

In the Johnson decision, Chief Justice Marshall wrote that whenever "Christian people" "discovered" lands inhabited by "natives, who were heathens," this achievement gave the Christian "discoverers" the right to assert "ultimate dominion" over the "discovered" lands. The Christian assertion of "ultimate dominion" may also be phrased as the assertion of an ultimate sovereign power, or what is most often referred to today as federal plenary power over Indians.


Special note:

Joseph Story had an illustrious career as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1811 - 1845, a span of 34 years. In 1829, he became Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, which provided him time to write. He was also a close friend of Chief Justice John Marshall from 1810 until Marshall;s death in 1835.

In early 1833, Story published his ''Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States.'' This three-volume work received high praise. A few months later, he published a one-volume ''Abridgement'' of the ''Commentaries.''

From a Native perspective, ''Commentaries'' is an important work because it sheds considerable light on the ideas used early in the history of the United States to rationalize the treatment of American Indian nations and Indian land rights. In his ''Commentaries,'' Story later said, ''It may be asked, what was the effect of this principle of discovery in respect to the rights of the natives themselves.'' He answered that the Indians ''were admitted to possess a right of occupancy, or use in the soil, which was subordinate to the ultimate dominion of the discovery.''

In a later section of his book, a ''General Review of the Colonies,'' Story explained the religious basis upon which the United States refused to acknowledge Indian peoples as being entitled to a free and independent existence: ''As infidels, heathens, and savages, they were not allowed to possess the prerogatives belonging to completely sovereign, independent nations.'' The question remains: On what basis is this kind of thinking, which is also found in the Johnson v. M'Intosh decision, acceptable in U.S. law?

Steven Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape) is Indigenous Law Research Coordinator for the Sycuan Education Department, co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, and a columnist for Indian Country Today.


Tell ya what...!!lol

Just C&P & check out the following


In regards to Canada's Foreign Policy

Yves Engler’s The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy is chockfull of such “points”, that demolish, as he writes in his Introduction, “Canadians’ self-appraisal of their country’s foreign policy (as) more positive that (that of) any other country”.
Consider the following hidden gems highlighted by Engler and his editors, Fernwood and Red Publishing, in promoting the book’s launch in the Spring:


  • Washington did not press Ottawa to break relations with post-revolutionary Cuba because it wanted Canada to spy on the island;
  • Canadian companies were heavily invested in apartheid South Africa;
  • Canada helped overthrow Patrice Lumumba, the first elected Prime Minister of the Congo (Kinshasa), who was then murdered;
  • Canadian “aid” has often been used to rewrite mining codes to benefit Canadian mining companies;
  • Days after the September 11, 1973 overthrow of elected Chilean President Salvador Allende, Canada’s ambassador in Santiago called the victims of the military coup “the riffraff of the Latin American Left”;
  • Canada has been the 5th or 6th largest contributor to the US war against Iraq;
  • On many occasions since 1915, Canadian gunboats have been deployed in the Caribbean and around Central America’
  • Canada had between 250 and 450 nuclear-armed fighter jets in Europe in the 1960s;
  • Leftist US intellectual Noam Chomsky considers Peace Nobelist Lester Pearson, the icon of Canada’s “peacekeeping diplomacy”, a war criminal because of his support for the US war on Vietnam.

a world travelling Canadian goldminer's opinion

Canadian aid is low budget stuff in general and a lot of countries don’t even know its there. Our foreign policy is high on preaching and short on funding. It’s like the homeless guy I met in New York with a sigh that said “tell me off for $5” except Canada wants to use a toony. I would say Mr. Engler is right, Canadians do think our policies are better than others and good for poor countries, I don’t think we live up to our self perception.


In the 1990’s when a lot of countries were being ‘helped’ by the World Bank etc. to improve all of their laws concerning trade and banking so that they could qualify for loans, the Canadians did a lot of the mining law reform. Many countries had none that worked or that were used. A lot of mining was controlled by state companies. If you think Canadian companies are bad you should watch governments try to mine.


Other countries had only local companies and very few environmental controls.


It does seem that Canadian companies benefit disproportionately, but it’s not because there is a ‘Canada clause’ in the laws, Its because the Canadian stock markets raise more that half the mining investment money in the world to do this kind of work and Canadian companies bring it offshore. The next closest country that travels to explore is Australia and they raise the next biggest amount of money.


The laws originally had a Canadian feel to them because the Canadian laws were good at getting exploration and mining money to the mine site. they do not always fit local thinking and many are being modified some for the better and some not.

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