The government of New Brunswick still clings on to the old colonial belief and concept that is based on misleading and false information regarding “true ownership” and legal occupation of this province. This 30,000 sq.mi. territory was never sold, ceded, given away, surrendered, compromised or legally transferred to the white occupiers since their arrival some five hundred years ago. Native people are assured of the unaltered fact that the land cannot be defined in any other way than as pure Indian territory.
Native people consequently have serious concerns regarding the “handed-down” inaccuracies, “historical” distortions, misconceptions and unjustified claims by non-natives to rightful ownership and legal entitlement to the land.
Being the fact that land treaties or comprehensive territorial land transactions or concessions were never negotiated, entered into, sanctioned, approved or executed between native people and Euro-Canadians in this province, it therefore renders non-native occupation and presumed ownership of the land to a blatant mistake and deliberate distortion or misrepresentation of facts. The land in the first place was illegally taken over and unduly occupied without gaining clear, ratified permission from native people.
From that indisputable fact, therefore, this land, Skiginooweekog (New Brunswick), which covers exactly 28,354 square miles of land and water, still legally belongs to native people and will remain under that title until a universally sanctioned accord or a legally binding settlement or agreement is reached between the rightful native owners and the non-native occupiers.
In coming to terms with this age-old misconception and land question, a neutral (non-Canadian) judicial body would have to be recruited from outside to arbitrate and settle the presumed ‘land ownership’ and proceed to fair arbitration until a clear, unbiased decision for settlement is reached. The neutral judicial body could be drawn from reputable outside agencies like the World Court, the United Nations or some other international tribunal of global distinction to avoid internal conflicts or a misstep into unsavoury roads of favouritism and/or biased placation. Additionally the neutral body would serve to minimize over-riding pressures and influences from home government(s) who could, by subtle intervention, potentially sway or defer ratification of the final decision.
In the meantime a carefully coded catalogue of damages incurred upon the land and environment should be incorporated to constantly measure and monitor the ongoing changes in the landscape and to record the progressive depletion of wildlife and natural resources that have lessened or disappeared over the years. This monitoring exercise would prove vital and an invaluable tool in determining the precise remedy to be accorded to native people after an independent arbitration has transpired and resolution recommended. It is imperative, however, to remember that the day of reckoning is still before us.