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Communications The Almighty Buck

First Nations Want Cellphone Revenue 513

Peacenik45 writes "The CBC is reporting that First Nations in Manitoba want compensation for every cell phone signal that passes through their land because it violates their airspace. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs recently resolved to negotiate revenue sharing with Manitoba Telecom Services. Ovide Mercredi of the Grand Rapids First Nations says "When it comes to using airspace, it's like using our water and simply because there's no precedent doesn't mean that it's not the right thing to do." This move may inspire First Nations in other provinces to follow suit."
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First Nations Want Cellphone Revenue

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  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:19PM (#19331483)
    You're too late, at least in the US. That's already been tried in the US, with both broadcast radio and TV, as well as satellite TV (both big dish and pizza dish), and cable TV. To my knowledge, no private (non-government) entity has won even the first round of court using that argument. And complaints filed with the FCC have produced nothing but laughter.
  • by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:42PM (#19331719)
    The truth is often more complicated than the little news blurbs lead you to believe.

    The Straight Dope - Disappearing Bees []
  • by Sunburnt ( 890890 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:45PM (#19331749)

    Not "consumed" per se, but cell phones generate electro-magnetic radiation - which kill off bees that are necessary for their survival.

    (From the FTA to which you linked:) One team of reseachers at Landau University in Germany discovered that if you put cell phones right next to beehives, some of the bees appear to become confused and have difficulty communicating. They don't die, and people who believe that this happens are apparently too lazy to even read the original research that started people discussing cell phones as a possible cause of CCD. Especially, it seems, when this sort of thing confirms pre-existing prejudices.

    Standard boilerplate: In the event that the Parent is determined to be satirical in nature, congratulations! You got me.

  • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:14PM (#19332049) Homepage Journal

    Indian nations are a farcical anachronism who have greatly outlived their usefulness. The US and CA govs should just stop recognizing them. It's time to move out of the stone age people.

    We (or our parents) had a choice of coming to North America. The Indian nations were here, recognized by the crown (Queen Vicky, lor bless her!) as sovereign nations within the British Empire and their land claims recognized. Then some trumped up judge in London decided to write law from the bench (a.k.a. "activist judge") that said that aboriginals had no claim to their land. In direct violation of treaties and the ruling of the privy council. The government of the day said "What harm could come?" Well, as New Zealand and Canada learned, acting on an invalid judgement is a legal time bomb and as a result, modern Supreme Courts in NZ and Canada have said "That ruling should have never happened -- the land claims and treaties are in tact".

    This case isn't about what you think it. A bunch of commissions over the years pointed out the bloody obvious: life on the reserves suck because they were systematically neglected and restricted by the Indian Act on how they could earn a living and still be allowed to live on their land (Part of the goal was to erase the identities and land claims of the original Indian nations and "Westernize" them). So a couple years ago, the Feds and provincial ministers got together with the native bands to figure out how to change things so the native Indians can become self-sufficient and agreed to the Kelowna agreement [].

    An agreement the current Conservative government unilaterally decided to break. This little stunt is probably going to be the first of many public actions. As some have said, it's going to be a long, hot summer in Canada this year...

    (Note, I am not a Native Indian, but a real honest-to-goodness Indian (half actually), but I grew up with native Indians and have great sympathy for them. I also live in Canada and pay taxes so I'm not some unemployed, liberal hippie who won't have to pay for the settlements.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:16PM (#19332061)

    So, pray, tell us, what resource belonging to First Nations is being consumed, so that you have less of it the signal has passed through?

    To play devil's advocate since half of the posters are bashing Indian people and the other half are foaming at the mouth about how stupid a concept this is...

    ...spectrum. When one person is using a certain chunk, another can't until their systems are sufficiently isolated enough. Given that the Canadian and US government sold (and continue to sell) this spectrum off for huge, huge chunks of money AND as a result regulate who can use what parts...why shouldn't they be allowed to do the same, if they are a sovereign nation? (if they're not, then that's a different matter.)

    There are libertarian-esque viewpoints along the lines of, "oh, we shouldn't control the radio spectrum!" Well, then you end up with your neighbor's radio tower cutting off your portable phone or making your garage door open randomly, and your wireless network causes his car's remote lock fob to not work, and the local fire department's radios are suddenly useless because Bob's Plumbing Supply implemented a digital paging system for their truck fleet.

    The world has already settled on cell phone frequencies, but the moral high ground goes to the tribes if Canada didn't consult with them when it signed on to the whole "sure, we'll make cell frequencies in Canada X, Y, and Z", if geography is such that signals from towers in Canada would penetrate to any degree into these territories.

    Note, I said the moral high ground- not the practical high ground. The practical high ground goes of course to the cell phone industry and Canada...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:54PM (#19332363)
    >life on the reserves suck because they were systematically neglected and restricted by the Indian Act

    The indian act was supported by chiefs to keep women off their feet and in beds making babies so they could be beaten by their husbands. Look it up, it's true. Women in first nations are fighting for equality (still) but rarely get anywhere because they are (often quite literally) beaten back down.

    You want indians to have a better life here? Make all indians citizens and remove the indian reserves. Then we can put all the wife beaters in jail. One exception: Indians that murdered their wives just because it was legal get sent off in boats, don't get citizenship, and get their first nations rights removed.

    I see indian women all the day. The abuse they undergo in the backwards tribes that permit violence against them is horrific.

    It's about time Canada stopped letting third world practices happen on her soil, whether it be indian or conquered.

    You know it's that bad when amensty international [] has a special section regarding violence against indian women on their website.

    But that's ok, you can keep living in your fantasy world that indians in Canada have the same values as non-indians. Because it is a fantasy. Because indians keep electing chiefs that support violence against women.

    But statistics like this tell it all, really:

    According to a Canadian government statistic, young Indigenous women are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.

    For five times less violence, I know a lot of indian women that would trade their first nations status in in a heartbeat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:17AM (#19332529)
    the law in the US does not allow you to own land

    This is practically true, though you won't find any literal law to that effect, the only truly owned lands are lands granted by the government with alloidal title, which the government has not done since the revolution. Various forms of alloidal title exist for universities and such, but these are not truly alloidal as the use of the land is restricted to the purpose of the grant. al_title_in_the_United_States []

    Aside from that bit of history, most people who live in subdivisions today believe that they own their house, but the truth is they merely hold a title that permits them to live in the house under certain circumstances.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:21AM (#19332553)
    My stepfather is Cree, and I spend much of my childhood on reserves.

    The indian act was supported by chiefs to keep women off their feet and in beds making babies so they could be beaten by their husbands. Look it up, it's true. Women in first nations are fighting for equality (still) but rarely get anywhere because they are (often quite literally) beaten back down.
    I have to say that I have seen *NO* evidence of this, ever. Not once.

    Life on reserves is difficult, and I would say that native people are the most disenfranchised in Canada (to Americans reading this: they get treated with the same respect that black people get treated in the southern states.) However, I have seen no evidence that spousal abuse happens on the scale you claim.
  • by Your Pal Dave ( 33229 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:55AM (#19332753)

    NPR's Science Friday had an interview with a more plausible cause of colony collapses, it basically involves an intruder insect that is known to be only a small nuisance against African bees but with European bees, it causes a highly stressfull hormone feedback loop such that all the bees basically abandon the hive.
    You can listen to this show here. []
  • by Timbotronic ( 717458 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @01:20AM (#19332941)
    Spot on. There's precedent [] in New Zealand for the sharing of spectrum sale revenue with the Maori population.

    Ultimately, spectrum is a valuable shared resource like any other. If governments are making money from selling it and they have treaty obligations to indigenous populations they're probably going to have to share that revenue. Of course it all depends on how strong the original treaty is. In New Zealand, the Maori kicked some serious butt when the Poms arrived. They negotiated a fairly strong treaty and consequently they have significantly more legal rights than, for example, Australian Aborigines.
  • by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @01:27AM (#19332989)
    For a car alarm, you can get the car towed (at least, you can do that in the State/City I live in). If a car alarm goes off more than 15 minutes (it doesn't have to be contiguous), they'll cite the car and get it towed away (the interval used to be 30 minutes, but a couple of years ago they changed it to be 15 minutes). Nowadays, I can't even remember the last time I heard a car alarm, it just doesn't happen anymore -- I would know too -- because when it did happen -- I'd call the cops right away. Now the alarms are silent, they're wired to a pager that alerts the owner, and they're a great deterrent for car thiefs, since silent alarms only increase their chances of getting caught, and getting pounded on.

    As to the sound from a dog, I believe there are local ordinances that dictate that sort of thing too. If a sound goes above some predetermined number of decibels during some predetermined period of time, the local authorities would take punitive action against such a dog owner, and if the problem was bad enough -- the victim could probably sue for damages. In most other cases however, the dog is probably not that loud, the local authorities may not be that eager to intervene, and a set of double-pane windows may just be enough to drown out such noises entirely.

    In any case, we're not talking about private owners here, we're talking about Native American reservations -- we're talking about sovereign States. And I believe that since the United States and/or some of its citizens such as Rupert Murdoch have no problem drowning out Foreign countries in radio waves and television waves against the express wishes of those countries (e.g. Cuba, Iran, and many countries in South America), then I just don't see them respecting the wishes of the Native American nations either.

    One interesting thing however is that those Native American Nations could try to interfere with those waves, since they can't really be stopped from interfering, and they could also forbid anyone on their soil from carrying a cell phone from a particular carrier. You combine this with the fact that they can still try to sue cell phone networks in American court, and possibly launch a Public Relations campaign against those cell phone networks -- then it may just be better for the cell phone networks to give in a little and negotiate some kind of deal with them.
  • by MonkeyCMonkeyDo ( 1104535 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @11:31AM (#19338185)
    Well, you are mistaken by saying they won't create urban reserves. When I worked for a Tribal Council, their offices were in the city, and that said land was designated a "First Nations Reserve." City taxes, henceforth, were not paid for the office building or the grounds it was on.

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