Letter: Okanagan Nation denied voice

Columbia River Tracy negotiations take step backward

Okanagan Nation denied voice

This is to the people of the Okanagan and the First Nations People of the Okanagan.

The Trudeau and Trump administrations have collectively denied the First Nations people to be at the Columbia River treaty negotiations.

The statement of May 23, 2018, by the leaders of the Okanagan Nation, the Ktunaxa Nation and the Secwepemc Nation explain our position extremely well. I cannot express in this writing my absolute awe at this decision by our two governments. It’s like the 1850s and 60s all over again.

The Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau spouts reconciliation and does this? Here in America, the Indian people already knew that President Trump was out to step on us and has done that by picking the leadership that oppose our very existence.

The first white man to see the Columbia River and write about it in 1810 was David Thompson, that was 208 years ago. We happen to have been here at least 10 or 12,000 years before that! Excluded from negotiations about a river we lived next too, is ludicrous.

In July 2017, your Canadian government continually stated they wanted to achieve reconciliation with the Indigenous people, to renew nation to nation commitment. Well, the first opportunity to do that they lied! You shouldn’t be surprised. They have been doing that for over 200 years now and it still amazes us that they can cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it onto the bottom of that blanket and tell us they are giving us more. And expecting us to believe it. Not to worry, America has had more practice at it than Canada and just lie to our face with no regard at all.

I want you to call your MPs Albas and Cannings and tell them to stand up for what is right, and just, and honest. The First Nations must be at the Columbia River treaty negotiations.

I am Arnie Marchand, an Okanagan Indian and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Lim Limt-thank you.

Arnie Marchand

Oroville, WA

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