Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

First Nations Want Cellphone Revenue

Comments Filter:
  • Desperation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mulhollandj ( 807571 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:15PM (#19331467)
    Honestly, it is stupid moves like this that has kept natives mostly poor and depressed. What are they going to do about it? Build a wall to block it?
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:20PM (#19331499) Homepage

    Seems like a very similar argument could be made against laws that prohibit decrypting signals that pass through one's property

  • Fair is fair, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:21PM (#19331501)
    The cellphone companies should respond by treating any call that originates in a First Nations area as a "foreign" call wishing to access their network, and charge the appropriate fees and roaming charges.
  • Not a problem... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:24PM (#19331537)
    Sure, not a problem...

    Oh, did we mention that costs for OUR electricity, gasoline, wood, metal, use of our roads, telephone lines, groceries, banking services, medical services, fire services, and police services for natives on band land have doubled in price?

    You give an inch and they try to take a foot, this will never stop until we put a stop to it. They get all the benefits of regular tax payers, without paying the taxes, PLUS they want additional perks.

    Even the majority of the my native friends think it is getting ridiculous, they live on some of the richest band land in the country and of course they don't see a dime from all that income, only the crazy rich band leader in the massive mansion(s) on the top of the hill see that.

    Give me a break!
  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:44PM (#19331741)
    There's another name for your plan: equality. The tribes (or first nations or whatever) should be equal. The US should amend the Constitution to get rid of the special status for tribal lands and simply make them property of the folks who live there. No special rules, no special treaty rights, nothing. Equality.

    States could start on this. For example, if someone has the right to open a casino on tribal lands, give that same right to the folks with property off of tribal lands. If a tribe member gets an exemption on fishing limits, repeal the limit for everyone. If a tribe can sell without charging a tax, repeal the tax for everyone.

    Equality under the law should be the goal. It is long overdue.
  • why stop there? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr_exit ( 216086 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:59PM (#19331881) Homepage
    The Maori in New Zealand tried to claim airspace and even up where the satelites fly!

    http://twm.co.nz/maorispace.htm [twm.co.nz]

    "The group apparently told MPs that their air space extended even further - to the outer limits of the universe."

    If you're going to be mad you might as well go the whole hog.
  • Re:Fine. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:05PM (#19331951) Homepage Journal
    This reminds me of a situation I experienced when I lived in Wichita KS in the 90s.

    On the east side of town, surrounded by Wichita, is a little city. Little, literally, like maybe four blocks long. If you find it and zoom in on google maps [google.com] it's completely taken up by the third zoom level from the top.

    They sat on what is really the main east/west road through the entire city. Of course they halved the speed limit, had their own police force, and Eastboro was known as the biggest speed trap in the area. Their cops were an urban legend of ass hattery.

    This fine little city of elitist was pretty tired of cars driving through their city, so at the west end of town they barricaded the road, put in giant speed humps that basically did nothing but damage a car trying to go over it at any speed greater than 0.5 MPH.

    The next morning (slight exaggeration), the Wichita City council submitted a law that said that any city completely surrounded by wichita would be annexed withing 15 days or something like that. The barricades were down by the end of the day, speed limit was still 20 MPH though.

    Personally I'd be more entertained by the idea of a giant ass Faraday cage dropped over the region, that'd stop all radio signals and solve their resource use problem.
  • by __aaaehb3101 ( 610398 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:13PM (#19332039)
    Consider that in Manitoba(like most provinces) native land claims have been filed for over 100% actual land mass of the province, and that in some areas 10-15 bands are claiming the same stretches of land. It's no wonder that bands are making more and more outrageous claims to try and wring more and more money out of "the government". Even if we ignore the fact the all airspace is controlled and "owned" by the government of Canada(not the native bands), how are native bands going to measure the number of cell phone signals that cross "their land"? And even more likely the cell phone companies will just blackout reserve land. It's too bad that less than 2% of Canada's population is allowed to engage in various levels of terrorism at their whim, and it's even sadder that they continue to get away with it. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before someone starts vandalizing cell towers in the name "native justice".
  • Re:Desperation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:37PM (#19332207) Journal
    a soverign nation is just that, they have every right they are capable of asserting. so i suppose they could start jamming so long as they produce their own electricity to keep the jammers running and consider that the best use of electricity.
  • Re:Hey Indians... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:58PM (#19332403)
    Sorry dude. As someone else who has lived near major reservations (one in Ontario, one in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and one in Norther British Columbia) I know where the GP is coming from.

    A lot of those people are stuck in a welfare cycle. A culture of entitlement has been bred into them. They have gotten many free handouts from the government, and they've come to expect them.

    Seriously, why bother to make something of yourself is the government will support you forever and no one would dare say "boo" about it. Why try to build an enterprise or prosperity when your chief can just take it away from you and distribute it among the band.

    Specifically in regards to the "drunken savages" line. It's well known that there are major substance abuse problems among native populations in Canada. I don't mean that in a disparaging way. They should be helped to end their addictions and programs should be in place to prevent them.

    I'm not a racist. I've met some really well adjusted natives. Most of them were ones who had gotten off the rez.
  • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@@@cpphacker...co...uk> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:59PM (#19332407) Homepage Journal
    Are you ready to claim sovereign rights to your land?

    Why not?

    For a good discussion of that subject, see http://www.amazon.com/Good-Be-King-Foundation-Cons titutional/dp/1594110964/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-56272 96-5318468?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180583247&sr=1-1 [amazon.com]

    A private land owner getting a decision like that is the kind of thing that would get the constitution amended in the U.S., and would make the Queen angry in Canada.

    It doesn't matter what the Constitution says, or what the Queen thinks. Sovereign individuals are just that: sovereign. We are not subjects of the United States government. "We The (Sovereign) People" created the government, and it serves at our pleasure, and we can replace it, destroy it, or ignore it.

    The only reason people obey laws and rulings they fundamentally disagree with is threat of force. And right now the US government (and it's accomplices at the State and Local levels) employ more men with guns than any individual can hope to overcome. But that doesn't change the underlying principles. We are all free, sovereign individuals, with absolutely inalienable rights, not subjects.

    None of this is - btw - an argument against voluntarily forming associations (call the governments, or whatever) for various purposes where it makes sense for sovereign individuals to work in a communal fashion for the greater good of all. But the point is, any sort of construct of that nature is artificial, created, and cannot preempt the inalienable rights of Freemen.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:14AM (#19332515) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:41AM (#19332653)
    Nothing against the original poster, this is just a good place to rant.

    Ya know, back in the day when Slashdot meant something there would have already been a dozen people citing Lessig's _Free Culture_ and the Causby case. I realize this a Canadian, not American, case but fer chrissake people doesn't anybody *read* anymore!?!?!

    United States v. Causby, U.S. 328 (1946): 256, 261.

    You can look up the Lessig reference yourselves. Right? Please tell me you can do at least that much!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:55AM (#19332755)

    to Americans reading this: they get treated with the same respect that black people get treated in the southern states.
    Or, you know, like Native Americans across all of the United States.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@yaTOKYOhoo.com minus city> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:55AM (#19332763) Homepage Journal
    The US considers the airewaves to be a commodity, as do other nations. Ergo, it is taxable.

    It is also true that when two signals occupy the same frequency (as far as can be distinguished, and allowing for the fact that bandwidth is very literally the width of the radio band used), those signals WILL interfere with each other. This is not just true of signals of comparable strength, although that's when you start to really notice it for analog signals. For digital signals, see most of signals theory.

    Now, arguably ALL electromagnetic signals will (eventually) pass through every point in the observable Universe. This means the tax has to either discriminatory or extremely small.

    Personally, I do believe absolutely in the regulation of the airwaves - more so than the FCC, apparently, as I believe the radio astronomers should get first pick on any frequency that is vital to their science and replaceable by broadcasters. I also believe that there should be zero overlap between uses of the spectrum, so if X is allocated to the military, it SHOULD NOT be used by civilian devices and vice versa. In other words, if people won't play nicely in the radio sandpit, I believe it to be the responsibility of the appropriate authority to smack the b**** over the head with a clue-stick until they do. There are plenty of frequencies to meet all reasonable needs.

    However, that is the exact antithesis of free trade and commodities, in which commodities can be bought and sold with minimal intervention, never mind strict quotas and optimizing for maximum gain to all parties. (Not most, all. None of this greater good for the greater number stuff, if it's not optimal for all then it's not optimal.) You cannot have systems both statically optimized and left to drift in the free market. The latter is good for many things and ends up with dynamic optimization in appropriate cases. Here, the needs and interests are all pre-defined and well known. The constraints on what you need to transmit a given amount of information in a given length of time is well-known. The absorption and reflective characteristics are also well-known and well-understood. The only direction the free market can go is towards inefficiency and waste.

    I accept that airspace is "used" all over the planet by all radio signals, but if radio signals were managed, not marketed, there would be no issue with this. Only the markets can make the First Nations' claim valid.

  • by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @02:06AM (#19333249)

    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.
    I'd go further. I believe that Native Americans are easily the most discriminated against racial group in North America, for evidence simply look at the media. Shows, movies, they always have their representative minority characters, black, indian, arabic, asian, it's not uncommon to see a very positive portrayal of a person from one of these groups in the media. Now think about portrayals of Natives, when is the last time you've seen a native actor in a movie or television show who isn't either some kind of medicine man, unsavory charcter from a reserve, or some other caricature?

    There are ONLY TWO examples I can think of in all the media I've seen.

    The most familiar to ./ers is probably Chakotay, unfortunately the character appeared to related more to South American indian tribes (the actor himself was American-Mexican, not an aboriginal), became a medicine man whenever his Native Americanness was brought up, and of course was on a space ship which kinda blows the rest of the relatability for native audiences (what, native kids are going to now pursue their dream of being a star ship captain?). The only other example I can think of is the police officer (Lorne Cardinal) off Corner Gas [imdb.com], sure he's not a complicated character by any means, it's a sitcom after all, but he's portrayed as a valuable member of the community who has a function other than jumping up to the audience and saying "Look at me! I'm native!".

    My home town was next to a large reservation and as a result my high school had a lot of native students. There were some real nice smart kids among them, and I can just about guarantee that none of them went to university. Can't blame them of course, if you had never seen a single example of someone like you actually succeeding in an educated profession how hard would you pursue an education?

    If people are really interested in native americans succeeding give them some damn role models! Have a doctor or lawyer show where a primary character is native, smart, and doesn't start talking about native rituals or ancient wisdom every chance they get. Heck even a native Brittney Spears or Brad Pitt to show them they can have sex appeal as natives (there's a reason that many native kids in my school started emulating black hip-hop culture).
  • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @02:29AM (#19333397)

    People continue to give in to these sort of ridiculous claims due to only one thing: white guilt. People were very mean to them a long time ago and as such many whites feel bad about their hateful and genocidal Caucasian forebearers. The populations that might benefit from this see an opportunity and exploit it just as anybody would. If you told me I could get special benefits just because I was a read-headed guy with Irish parents I'd be all over that. I can't get benefits for this but other people can get benefits for similarly innate characteristics.

    Well, looking at my family history as far back as I can trace, I think it is safe to assume that out of the white ancestors I have (the majority), almost all of the hating and killing were against other whites, specifically white Europeans.

    In fact, from what I can tell, the side of my family that did most of the killing of non-whites was the small percentage of my ancestors who were non-white. That side was also the side that ended up stealing the land of other non-whites.

    What the above means, I don't know.

  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK ( 708023 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @04:14AM (#19333899)
    If Natives really did care about 'their' land, air, water etc ... instead of suing for revenues from a harmless radio signal service that passes their way, and which they also use, they would be suing every company and government entity upwind from them that release any kind of pollution that drifts down to them.

    This is just another native scam setup to suck money from the productive parts of society so they can stay on reserve.

    The natives of canada pay no income tax, and are exempt from various sales taxes if the store is on a reserve. This alone should give them all the advantage they need to get ahead in life ... especially the thousands of them who use their status cards to buy high tax items like cigarettes tax free, just to sell them to anyone who asks at a great profit while still discounted from legal retail. Anyone remember the extreme example, where thousands of cases of cigarettes were smuggles between canada and the USA through native reserves to avoid taxes at great profit to native leaders?

    In parts of canada, some native groups have legal rights that no one else in Canada has ... reverse apartheid. Here's a great right that some natives in Victoria BC have excersized for decades ... the right to theft and vandalism!

    Members of the Songhees band have purchased boats and cars with no intention of paying for them. To avoid collection agencies and the police, the stolen items simply stay on the reserve. In the case of one stolen boat, i watched it sit overlooking Admirals Road rotting away unused for probably 20 years. The police won't go on the reserve ... so no collector is safe there either.

    For all my life native children from the Songhees band have gotten their kicks by vandalising public and private property and then stepping back onto the reserve before the police can get them. 10's of thousands of dollars have been spent simply to repair a bus stop shelter on Craigflower road that got smashed week after week after week.

    How about the Tsawwassen band, that 'sold' (land on reserver is never really sold) fully loaded condos on reserve land to anyone who'd pay, with a beautiful ocean view ... but oops, no water or sewer service because the band didnt get approval and permits for the hookups from the community supplying the services next door. Too bad for the buyers who put down deposits before construction. For a couple years they had to just hold it til they left the reserve. It was on reserve land, so no one went to jail for the scam.

    All across canada native leaders have been caught in corruption scandals, where millions of dollars have been embezelled while the communities they lead and were supposed to administer with the money are forced to suffer ... but no, the native people don't go after their corrupt leaders, heck they aren't criminals, they're idols! so they go after the government and people of canada.

    They have had plenty of time to adapt to the modern world, they sure don't hesitate to use any modern tool like the rest of us including the very cell phones they want to steal money from.

    Maybe it's time for native bands in canada to pay back other native bands for stolen land. They'd have you believe they were entirely peaceful until Europeans came along ... But bands like the Haida on BC's coast had a long history of invading and pillaging neighbouring tribes. The Kwakuitl band suffered greatly from the Warrior lifestyle of the Haida. But I guess the Haida couldn't take their own medicine when they finally lost their land to the europeans. Maybe this is why the native groups of BC have literally claimed 125% of British Columbia in land claim disputes with the provincial and federal governments. They still can't agree amongst themselves who had taken over what land from what band before the europeans took it all.
  • by Runefox ( 905204 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:21AM (#19336009) Homepage
    Not a direct reply to the AC, but rather to anyone who thinks like him:

    I am a member of a First Nations group, and I have many clues about how this stuff works. I am not an idiot, nor are the rest of the First Nations of North America. I know a good bit about wireless networks and information technology as a whole, and I feel that this sort of thinking is one of the major stumbling blocks facing both the United States and Canada, not only in regard to the First Nations, but also to people of Middle Eastern descent, people of Mediterranean descent, European, Asian, African, or any other heraldry. There exists the same potential in all humankind to grow and expand, and the best example of that is that we come from different parts of the world. The cultural differences between Russia and Japan, India and Canada, England and the United States, Australia and China, are vast and for many, innumerable, but the fact that society has advanced on to this point, has branched out and fluorished in such a way, that's how we know, truly, that we all have the same potential. Just because one country is wealthier than another due to natural resources or any other reason, doesn't mean that the people of another are any less intelligent, or any less capable.

    We should be celebrating our differences, celebrating humanity as a whole, rather than waging personal racial wars against each other, simply because one was fortunate enough to be born in an affluent part of the world, and another was not. In the example of America, there is nothing more in tune with the American ideal than a person landing on the shore from another country, penniless and seasick, looking to make a living.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.