- by David Dobson

It's not easy being named in a Native Land Claim.

I was called out of my take-out restaurant on a busy day on the Civic Holiday weekend by a young woman from Toronto. She claimed that she found the information on my blog and the display map on my building offensive. Information that is dedicated to the Sauble Beach Native Land Claim. When I asked what it was that she found offensive she claimed that it was anti-Native. I then told her that I did not put anything on the blog that wasn't true or at least clearly labeled as my opinion. Didn't matter, it was offensive.

This is what it is to live in today's society in Canada. Anything that doesn't agree with the stance of a particular Native band implies racism. I argued that I have a Treaty with the governments of Canada and Ontario by way of Crown Patent and a deed and similar to the Saugeen Natives I am fighting to save my land that I purchased legally. I told her that my fight is not with the Saugeen band, it is with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

It is difficult to fight INAC because unless you are an expert, a lawyer, or a politician most people are not interested in your opinion or your factual evidence. Most people believe that since INAC is a government entity, everything is on the up and up and when they have something to say people are ready to listen.

In the summer of 2014, INAC came to the residents of South Bruce Peninsula in Sauble Beach and Wiarton to sell a mediation proposal to allow ownership of the beach to be given to the Saugeen Band, but run jointly by the band and TSBP. The problem was that INAC only presented one side of the story; the Native side. There was no advocate to present the evidence for the side of the private landowners. The Ontario government did have evidence by way of the Ballantyne Report that supports the landowners, but they weren't sharing or even speaking for that matter.

So, what is one to do? It would cost a small fortune to have a research team like the one the Band enjoys through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The only thing that I could think of was to review the information myself. Nope, I'm not a lawyer, an expert or a politician, but I am a qualified Library Technician so I do have some research skills and I became my own research team of one.

Guess what? I found a lot of things that were never mentioned by INAC at the 2014 meetings or ever mentioned in the last 24 years. Things that don't support the claim of the Saugeen Band. I thought people had a right to know all the main evidence so I created my blog and later made video presentations to present the whole story in an easier to understand format.

It's just information. Real information. Real ideas. Not offensive. Not racist. If people like the young women from Toronto were allowed to shut down the other side of the story, how would anyone know? Just the way, in my opinion, INAC intended. For those of you who are still offended, you can rest peacefully at night; judging by the numbers on my blog and videos nobody's listening anyway. Can anyone see the irony of being called a racist for defending my land rights?


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