Direct Link to Latest News


The Fallacy of Indigenous Nationhood

January 7, 2013



Our original elders were all wiped out by the smallpox wars. They died first, and with them, all of our real traditions. What survives today from our old ways? I'll tell you: nothing.

- Siem Maquinna, Earl George of the Ahousahts, to the author, Port Alberni, May 1995

All of the data indicates that nations at war suffering mortality rates exceeding 25% are permanently traumatized and destroyed, for they are incapable of ever recovering their pre-war integrity. They become for all practical purposes ghost societies.
- United States Air Force Manual on War and Counter-Insurgency, Washington, spring 1983

We've created a completely new Indian society and we're the new leaders of it. It's a done deal.
- Wendy Grant-John, government Indian and "chief" of the Musqueam Tribal Council, April 2006

by Kevin Annett
(abridged by

Indigenous nationhood, like Democracy or Christianity, is a wonderful idea; and wonderfully absent, in practice.

None of us have ever actually experienced these ideals - and yet how passionately we pretend to. In truth, we settle for cheap facsimiles of these visions that our various rulers convince us are the Real Deal. And sadly, we've believed their lie for so long that even now we teach it to one another, and to our children.

Let me leave aside the matter of Democracy, and Christianity, since I'm sure my gentle readers will need little convincing that marking ten ballots in one's lifetime and sitting in boredom in a church pew for an hour doesn't amount to much of anything. But I expect I'll have tougher sledding when it comes to tackling the fallacy of Indigenous nationhood.

treeoflife.jpgThe hard historical truth is that all genuine indigenous nations were historically uprooted and expunged by European colonialism within a few generations of contact.

All of them.

On average, more than 90% of the indigenous people and their nations in the western hemisphere were eventually exterminated by European weapons and diseases, starting with the oldest people, the learned, and the carriers of tradition and authority. The butchery began in 1492 in the Caribbean and ended around 1910 on Canada's west coast.

Killing off ninety percent of a people means, effectively, killing off all of a people. Recovery and continuity is impossible, especially after the children of the remnant populaces endure the massive brainwashing and cultural re-cloning fondly called Christian Education.

What remains today in the wake of this worst massacre in human history are not even pale imitations of those original nations, but something altogether new: namely, "ab-original" societies, manufactured by the conquering powers of church and state. For ab-original means, according to any dictionary, not of the original group.


In none of the hundreds of native groups I've worked with over the decades, have more than a handful of people known even a smattering of their original languages; nor do they practice their traditional ways, since those ways are gone.

None of them can live off the land, or practice ceremonies and rituals going back centuries. Their attitudes and hopes are the same as everybody else. They all flock into the same malls, buy the same pointless things, and poison their kids at the same fast food dumps as the "whites". And most of them pay taxes and vote and call themselves Canadians.

But what's most important, most of these aboriginals acknowledge that their traditional nation is dead and gone.

There are rare exceptions. But native men and women who aren't caught up in the money-chasing game of aboriginal politics are the first to admit that they are not indigenous, and know nothing of who they are, and were. 

These people are denied the financial rewards that come to Professional Indians in the political, legal and academic worlds who posture as "First Nations" - a term created by the Canadian government - and who say all the right phrases and wear all the right regalia.

The vast majority of natives who don't play the Professional Indian game are invisible to the rest of us. I only began to know them when I became an outcast from my own culture and began to share their alienation. The Professional Indians, contrarily, are the only ones that you are allowed to see.

s3.jpgAfter all, upon whom has your attention been riveted by the corporate media for many weeks now other than "Chief" Theresa Spence, the $85,000 a year pseudo-hunger striker who is the poster-person of the government-launched dissent-funneling operation known as Idle No More?

Of course, this kind of fraud is nothing new. Conquerors always create their own version of the ones they've destroyed. The same thing happened to my former people in the Gaelic Highlands after English bayonets and schools wiped us out after 1745. 

The British aristocracy invented the kilt and other Scottish niceties in their ab-original version of what they had destroyed. And they put into power the same kind of puppet chieftains like Ms. Spence who posture in Canada under the banner of the impotent "Assembly of First Nations" (AFN).

It's all part of the deadly symbiosis set up when one culture exterminates another: the conquerors keep tokens of their victims around for their reassurance and consciences; and strangely, over time, they and their conquered learn to depend on and identify with each other.

In truth, that's because a colonized people are no longer a people, but an appendage - that's the Latin meaning of "colon" - of the bigger Body Politic of the Conquerors. The remnant ab-originals depend on that Body for their very life and identity. Ask any AFN chief what he or she would do without a pay cheque from Ottawa. Ask Theresa Spence.

In Canada, as in America, the Pale Eaters - otherwise known as white people, since Assimilation means to eat someone - keep chewing up and swallowing ever more of the colonized peoples. They do so literally, by grabbing their children, their future, their lands and resources, and symbolically, by making the colonized perform for them to assuage their guilt and maintain the lie that Genocide didn't really happen in their country.


There is no authentic Indian leadership in Canada; how can there be, after all, in the wake of such a cunning arrangement? And so the AFN and other cardboard creations are collapsing, having zero credibility, starting with young native men and women. 

And that's why the AFN has had to desperately create publicity stunts like Idle No More, to salvage themselves and the Pale Eaters who for now fund them.

So what does it all mean?

Actually, a lot, once we drop all our blinders.

The indigenous nations that we all once were have vanished, chewed up by a corporate global machine, and we stand now in need of a new definition that embraces our collective humanity and the natural law that has always been our true bedrock.

We, humanity, are in a final war for survival. But as long as we cling to all the false divisions and labels imposed on us by the rulers, we'll remain what we are: appendages of a thing that is killing our children, our souls, and our world. And we will all go under, regardless of our political correctness.

Who is an Elder, anyway? I guess we all become one, eventually. And I suppose that I am an Elder, now, after more than twenty years of struggle. But I don't need anybody to tell me that I am.


222 aboriginal chiefs and counselors from First Nations communities across Canada earn more money than their provincial premiers, and 82 make more than the prime minister.


Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "The Fallacy of Indigenous Nationhood "

Kurt said (January 8, 2013):

The ‘Indigenous’ people were doing a good job of slaughtering each other for centuries before 1492. I live in Northern Illinois where you can visit Dickson Mounds or Starved Rock State Park and learn the history of the region. The Woodland Indians of the area were genocided over several centuries by the Mississippian Tribes from the South West. The conquerors then proceeded to slaughter each other in fractional wars with the Ottawa and Potawatomi starving the Illini to death on a bluff overlooking the Illinois River.

The Kaskaskia were in constant warfare with the Iroquois over hunting grounds. So forget the PC propaganda of the ‘evil white man’ slaughtering the peaceful Indian.

Michele said (January 8, 2013):

Kevin Annett is right on the button with this article and it is refreshing to read after all the jingoistic nonsense that msm like to force down our throats. The "idle no more" campaign is a sick and twisted stunt to humiliate the Indians even more and the so-called Indian leaders are bought and paid for to ensure that the truth never gets out.

I am Welsh on my father's side. The Welsh nobility was completely obliterated by the English and funnily enough the word welsh was the word for foreigner or stranger - in their own lands!! The Welsh language has enjoyed a resurgence in latter years but I suspect it is more to do with some sick colonial attempt to wash some blood off the English hands than to any real appreciation of Welsh culture. Why destroy a culture along with the genocide of its proponents only to make a half-hearted show of resurrecting certain aspects of that defeated culture? The indigenous peoples are no longer a threat to the power of the colonialists so as a sign of their complete subjugation they are given permission to practise some of their customs now. The Bretons in north-western France share a similar language with the Welsh and have been treated in the same way.

Our culture is manufactured for us to a great extent, the Scottish "traditions" were manufactured in the same way. Is this to continue the strategy of "divide and rule"? Yes, in the same way that religious beliefs and allegiance to political parties, and football team support are used as distractions from the real power and how it is wielded.

We have to recognize the puppet masters before we can reconstruct ourselves into what humanity is and should be about, otherwise it is the fairground game of finding which cup is hiding the pea, this game is heavily loaded against the punter.

Marcos said (January 8, 2013):

The global push for Indian reservations is the biggest scam perpetrated by those who want to destroy the sovereignty of countries.

In Brazil, 13% of the country is comprised by reservations. All agriculture and cattle occupy only 27%. Just one tribe with 20K people has more territory than the entire country of Portugal.

The government has destroyed the economy of a whole state in Brasil, Roraima, in order to expand a reservation. Farmers with deeds from the XIX century in their families were expelled from their land. Thousands of people lost their jobs, and ironically most of them were of Indian descent, who were not from that particular tribe and now have to live in slums in the city. The situation is pathetic, because millions of people have Indian ascendancy, but are not eligible to live in the land.

Multinational companies bribe the Indians and steal all kinds of biodiversity material, so they can patent the DNA and chemicals. Most Indian leaders are rich, have trucks and even planes. Foreign NGOs are very active in all reservations, while Brazilians are not allowed to enter !

A recent study showed that almost all Indians live in slums inside the reservations, watching satellite TV and wearing tennis shoes. They don't hunt or farm, but receive federal dole. Their wishes are exactly the same of the poor people in the cities, to go to college, have a car, etc.

The situation is so crazy that the Marxist government won't interfere with tribes which bury alive 2 year-olds who were born with physical handicaps or are children of single mothers. Yes, Brazilian Indians are free to kill children, believe it or not.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at