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Faces of the Treaty Empire - Consultant

Artist: Andy Everson

Measurements: 8.5" x 11" 100% Cotton Rag Paper
Image Size - 7.7" x 9.7"

I belong to the K’ómoks First Nation and we are deep into the British Columbia treaty process. I truly have mixed feelings about our involvement in this. By choosing to engage in the process, we enter a world of consultants and negotiators and other strange, scary and wonderful creatures. We partake in a world of borrowing and debt; of meetings andfights. We enter without knowing whether we are journeying into the dark side or are on a path towards the light.

What I do know is that under the treaty process, our community has begun to fracture. Our very future as a people is at stake. Will treaty define who we are or will our culture do that? Will treaty lead us to form a “Treaty Empire” or a “Treaty Rebellion”?

There is an industry in this province that doesn’t rely on natural resources. It doesn’t rely on the market economy and it doesn’t rely on tourism. It is self-sustaining and self-preserving. It manages to produce reams of legal documents, yet fails to produce anything tangible for our communities. It is driven by the glut of the legal, academic and Band systems. The real meetings take place over cocktails or on golf courses, in hotels or in resorts. It is fueled by money that comes in the form of loans taken on the backs of First Nation communities. It is the treaty industry.

In this industry, consultants swoop into our villages like vultures looking to rip the least piece of meat off of our dying carcass. Succeed or fail in their bid for treaty settlement, it doesn’t matter. They will move on to the next village with money. Bounty hunters, hired guns--they will work for whoever is willing to pay their exorbitant fees. As long as the taps to the money keg remain open, the consultants will be on your side....

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