OPINION: If Alberta wants autonomy, they'd better get in line
Western alienation has led to separation movements in the provinces—mostly noted have been Alberta and Saskatchewan. But if supporters think they can separate from Canada without first acknowledging the indigenous peoples, then they will need to get a little history lesson on the Treaties and Indigenous Court Land claims.
As to why, provincial education standards have been proven over the past 150 years that they don’t properly teach about the treaties in Social Studies; many Canadians are consequently misinformed about their importance. Canada would not exist if it wasn’t for the treaties. The province of Alberta (which is part of Canada) will have great issues to separate from Canada and without the consent and cooperation of First Nations.
The Treaty peoples are the land's legal inhabitants. That is why First Nation consent and cooperation is important to a potential separation. The land treaty agreements are between the Crown and the indigenous people; they are a living and breathing document that can never be altered, as they are said to last until time immemorial “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows.
If Albertans can prove they own the deeds to the land with their doctrine of discovery, they can separate, but they can’t prove it! Thus, Alberta's First Nations hold the veto card since treaty law is recognized as international law.
Since the time of Confederation in Canada, the original inhabitants of the land have always been displaced, left out, or had their Treaty rights infringed upon.
Disruption to their way of life throughout history has brought to light common ground, now that Albertans are now feeling similar predicaments to that of the First Nations throughout history.
So in terms of Alberta wanting to practice sovereignty and separate, we have that common ground of displacement and being forgotten from the rest of eastern Canada. Albertan sovereigntists would be wise to find that unity and sense of common ground with the indigenous people. That is to say, offering First Nations better opportunities in the separation process than what they already have with Canada & the Crown in terms of the Treaties.
Serious negotiations, mineral resource sharing, and basic necessities for life must be addressed. As should clean drinking water. The problem is, sovereigntists aren't addressing these issues as of yet.
Thus, Albertans not only have to grapple with informed consent from indigenous people to separate per the treaties (in addition to a slough of unsettled land claims like the NRTA-lands dispute), but indigenous people aren't on board. As a result, I don't believe separation can stand, let alone accomplish total separation.
If Alberta wants to practice sovereignty and separate, they should get in line.