The British crown need not hold any more power here

News Unsettled Opinions
News Unsettled Native Students Union column
Graphic provided by the Native Students Union.

It is time to sever ties with those who have oppressed for centuries

The country of Canada is a constitutional monarchy. This means that the Crown has authority but must exercise it in accordance with the constitution of the nation-state. Since the first settlers came to Turtle Island, they have considered themselves to be under the rule of a monarchy. Not necessarily the same one, but there has always been a monarchy that has had jurisdiction over settlers in Canada.

Everything that the Canadian state has ever done, for, against, or with Indigenous nations is on behalf of the abstract but legally binding idea of the Crown. The Crown is credited with the signing of the numbered treaties among other things. This also means that crimes against Indigenous nations, like the residential school system, have technically been on behalf of the British crown.

Why, then, are we still allowing the Crown to hold any jurisdictional power over our lives?

According to the website set up for the royal family, “Aboriginal peoples who, now for many centuries, have maintained an enduring and very close relationship with the person of the Sovereign and the Crown of Canada.”

This may have been true when the numbered treaties were being drafted. When the Crown was promising Indigenous nations that in exchange for living on the land there would be compensation, and good relations.

What has unfolded on Turtle Island has been the exact opposite of the case.

The Crown’s representatives have completely stabbed Indigenous people in the back. Instead of compensation and good relations, we have been met with being stripped of our sovereignty, our lands, our children, and there have been constant attempts to destroy our cultures and languages.

Still, the Crown claims that they have a “very close relationship” with Indigenous nations on the land referred to as Canada. This is not the truth. It has not been true for a long time. The Crown decided that they had complete authority over the lands and nations here, and we have been struggling against them ever since.

The Canadian public cares deeply more about the dynamics of the royal family than they do about the crimes constantly committed against Indigenous people.

Seeing the amount of sorrow over the death of a 99-year-old man who lived his entire life rich and without worry was almost sickening. The royal family are colonizers to put it simply. There has never been the same amount of respect shown to Indigenous communities and nations when we lose those close to us.

When Colten Boushie was murdered, there were no flags at half-mast or speeches of sadness and respect. His murderer was let walk without any punishment.

When 16-year-old Eisha Hudson was killed by a police officer, there were no flags at half-mast or speeches of sadness and respect. The officer faced absolutely no charges and was left to live life.

Why, then, is there an expectation that those affected by British colonialism show any mercy or compassion?

A popular post that has been shared recently reads, “prince Philip is older than India’s independence and it just struck me that these aren’t even colonizer descendants they’re the og colonizers.”

It is time to sever ties with the British Crown. At one point it may have been an equal party in negotiations and trade, but those days are long gone. So are the days of accepting its rule.