MPP David Zimmer, Ontario's Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is in Aotearoa seeking to learn from New Zealand on Indigenous relations. Doing the usual meetings with Government agencies and Ministers. A bit of a shame he missed the opportunity to connect with Māori businesses in the regions, particularly those who are already in Canada. Thinking KONO and Mangatu's Integrated Foods. Maybe the next time round we will get him out to where the real work is done.
I have just asked the members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to raise concerns about the TPPA and to support development of alternative trade agreements by Indigenous People for Indigenous People. Let them know you support this by contacting the chair of the Committee Ms. Megan Davis, Chairperson via firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a copy of my email to the chairperson. Please feel free to use it.
Kia ora Ms. Megan Davis,
The pending ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as noted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Rights, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, threatens Indigenous land rights, while Indigenous leaders from the 12 counties covered by the TPPA are strongly voicing their opposition to the agreement because it undermines their Treaty Rights.
I would like to ask that at the up coming 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that the Committee:
1) Place on record its opposition to the agreement.
2) Seeks to form a working committee under the forum's mandate to promote economic and social development, to support efforts of Indigenous leaders to oppose TPPA.
3) And that the Committee provide a mechanism for the development and mandating of alternative trade agreements negotiated and agreed between Indigenous Peoples internationally to counter the imposition of trade agreements such as TPPA on Indigenous People.
So when a Nobel laureate economist , Joseph E. Stiglitz, says Canada should reject TPP then maybe people need to listen. Mr Stiglitz sights the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism as particular concern as it allows companies to sue governments over any regulations that may reduce their profits. This will undermine Government's ability to properly respond to critical issues facing Canada from climate change to addressing Indigenous People's economic, social and cultural expectations. Does this sound familiar, oh yea same concerns for New Zealand and Māori Treaty rights. Come on the world is waking up to the real and dangerous downside to these type of deals but the good news it isn't to late. Yes lets trade but we can work together as Indigenous People to show an alternative trade route that actually priorities the environment and our future generations over companies that are increasingly building their own walled states, putting themselves above the communities they exploit. Take Back Trade.
So a bit more about "take back trade" logo. We have decided to license it under the Creative Commons copyright. Read about it here. So please feel free to use it as long as you honor the meaning behind it and display it as a symbol challenging unfair trade.
Like many of you out there I'm not seeing the upside of the TPPA for Indigenous People. Sure we might get to sell a bit more wood, meat and milk (unprocessed and without value add) but at the expense of Treaty Rights. We know Governments come and go and like the wind their promises tend to be more blow than substance but we can't just say no to trade because its part of a healthy and vibrant society so what do we do? Yes reject the TPPA but let's offer an alternative option, trade based on Indigenous values. Ideas like respecting the value of culture and language in building strong cohesive societies; approaches which look after our planet rather than using unsustainable practices to increase profits for a small few and commitments which secure a future for our children and the generations to come.
So here's an idea, lets get the Indigenous People covered by the TPPA together to sign our own Trade and Cooperation Treaties, get them sanctioned under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which supports economic independence of Indigenous People and provide the alternative vision for business that is done the right way. Be leaders that actually make a difference.
So today we at Indigenous Traders are committing to supporting a campaign called "Take Back Trade" (+b+). Its initial goal is to ask Indigenous leaders from the 12 counties covered by the TPPA to convene a meeting to work together to provide an alternative trade agreement that protects our indigenous rights and supports trade and development done right, based on shared values that protects our language and culture, our planet and our future generations. Very much a seed of an idea so we need your support to grow. If you are a seasoned campaigner help us make this campaign work or if you just want to help let us know. And as long as you want an alternative to TPPA promote +B+ to make it happen.
So today NZBusiness published an article about Indigenous Traders and its work on promoting Indigenous to Indigenous Trade. Good on them and I am hoping it leads to more awareness of the potential waiting to be tapped by Māori business if it can just think beyond milk, fish and wood and more about the underlying relationships that actually builds value trade. So how can we use our IP (Indigenous Potential) to help other Indigenous People and in doing so build trade and business links that add value to both societies.
Believe me we have been busy but obviously a bit slow to keep you updated. But this is going to change as we have a number of events and news stories coming up which will see us posting more often. We will also be looking for more community input so if you have stories or news you want to share then let us know so we can add it to this site. And as our headlines says this is our year of action. TPPA has arrived, what are you going to do about? We want you to support Indigenous Entrepreneurs because they are our future worriers and don't forget sovereignty doesn't stop at the boarder, Indigenous People are global citizens so lets act like it. Reach out, create alliances and support Indigenous trade to chanage the world.