To the members of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, self-government begins- but does not end- with
control over our land. Government means jurisdiction over our renewable and non-renewable resources, education,
health and social services, public order and the shape and composition of our political institutions. While some
of our plans may sound far-reaching to some people, they should not be regarding as a threat. We do not want to
recreate a world that has vanished. We do not want to turn back the clock. Far from it. We welcome the challenge
to see our culture grow and change in directions that we have chosen for ourselves. We do not want to become the
objects of sentimentality. Nor do we want our culture to be preserved in amber for the amusement or even the
edification of others. What we do want, what we demand, is nothing more than control over our own lives and
destiny! That control is called "Self Government."
In New Brunswick, our members are widely dispersed throughout the Province in villages, towns, cities, and rural areas. They are people of Aboriginal Ancestry for whom the N.B.A.P.C. provides services, programs, and a political voice for their concerns.
Biologically and culturally, we are Aboriginal People. However, some of us are not recognized under Canadian law as "Indian" people. This discertion were several methods that the government employed to accomplish this.
When the government of Canada decided to register all Indian people, a large number of people did not register. Some did not know they were supposed to register, some were afraid to acknowledge their heritage and some were deliberately left off by the government officials and now they and their children are, in the eyes of the government, not entitled. Some people were enfranchised. This discriminatory practice allowed the government to buy back status for a sum of money which was supposed to represent the individuals share of band funds. This was both a voluntary or involuntary process and in many instances parents sold the birth rights of minor children.
Perhaps the best known way pertains to status women marrying a Non-Native or Non-Status individual or the children who were born as a result of these marriages. This is by far the most publicly know means by which a person became Non-Indian. The government, in 1985, after many years of pressure from Aboriginal people and Non-Aboriginal people and organizations, including the UN, decided that they should attempt to fix the damage this discriminatory act had caused our people. Bill C-31 became a tool with which the government imposed to fix this hurt. This bill allowed those who had been negatively impacted by 12, 1, B of the Indian Act and their first generation children to register as status Indians. It has become painfully obvious that this change has not been the answer to our problems. This change did nothing to address the other discriminatory practices of the Indian Act and how it applied to the Off-Reserve. At this time , the struggle for equality of treatment and equity of access to programs and services for the Off-Reserve, is still on-going.
Asserting one's right has recently become more complex and cannot be taken for granted. Presently our Aboriginal communities (Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy) have been charged for exercising their rights.
Over the last ten years court decisions have been passed down in reference to certain aspects on treaties. The end result is aboriginal identity and treaty components being more cautiously defined.
Is not an easy assertion? In fact there are many obstacles that lie in the path of the modern Aboriginal.
One such obstacle for the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council, is nonrecognition of our Peace and Friendship
Treaty rights by different levels of governments.
The following links are only some of the important court cases in reference to assertion of Aboriginal Treaty Rights.