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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 mlawrence ( 1094477 ) <<martin> <at> <>> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:14PM (#19331461) Homepage
    I want a precedent set. Then I will also sue for any cell phone waves passing over my private property. They are not the only ones with the "get everything and do nothing" attitude.
    • 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 FLEB ( 312391 )
        Hell, there's even precedent with airplanes. It's pretty much a dead-end.
    • I want a precedent set. Then I will also sue for any cell phone waves passing over my private property.

      Well first of all I need to know who the check should be made out to. I also need a good address I can use so that if I send it via airmail it flies over your house.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by maxume ( 22995 )
      Are you ready to claim sovereign rights to your land?

      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.
      • by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@cpphac ... k minus language> 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 titutional/dp/1594110964/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-56272 96-5318468?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180583247&sr=1-1 []

        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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by palewook ( 1101845 )
      i wonder if i can sue my neighbor anytime i hear his &&$#! car alarm go off. wait, and the old lady 3 doors down with the barking dog. her too. they all are using the air on my property. (rolls eyes)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by stephanruby ( 542433 )
        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
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by billDCat ( 448249 )

          In any case, we're not talking about private owners here, we're talking about Native American reservations -- we're talking about sovereign States.

          Nope, we're talking about Native Canadian reservations. Not that it changes the argument much, but it's good to get the country right :-)

          I'm actually originally from Manitoba, currently living in British Columbia. I'm not sure how it is down south, but here Native issues are a very complex and politically charged area in both provinces. I personally have trouble trying to separate reason from emotion, and my first instinct is often to think that it's a money grab. On one hand, many reservations are in

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have this really big Faraday cage...
  • by Russ Nelson ( 33911 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:15PM (#19331465) Homepage
    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? I will take one silver coin, and drop it on the ground, and you may comfort yourself with the sound of the money.
    • Umm the radio space that the cellphones use?
      • Umm the radio space that the cellphones use?

        Umm, indeed.

        How exactly are the First Nations incurring a loss of use? Do they have some demonstrable manner in which cell phone traffic through their airspace is harming them financially?

        • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:45PM (#19331753) Homepage Journal
          That's easy to answer! Of course they would like to set up their own cell phone repeaters and collect the roaming fees for anyone using a cell phone near them!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:14AM (#19332513)
          > Do they have some demonstrable manner in which cell phone traffic through their airspace is harming them financially?

          They are First Nations peoples, and are therefore not required to show any demonstrable harm from any thing any where at any time. They are born harmed, they live harmed, and they will die harmed, and as an evil white slave-driving colonizer you will pay them the required tribute no matter when your ancestors got here and you *damned* sure will keep your mouth shut when you get the invoice. Now get out your wallet, bend over, and shut your goddamned oppressor pie-hole.

          By the way, the Right Reverend Sharpton gets here in an hour. Do you have your checkbook on you?
    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:28PM (#19331587)

      So, pray, tell us, what resource belonging to First Nations is being consumed,
      Not "consumed" per se, but cell phones generate electro-magnetic radiation - which kill off bees [] that are necessary for their survival. There's some pseudo-scientific reports that simply state the opposite and should be avoided as much as possible.

      • 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 []
        • Huh! And I thought only the GP was foolishly misinterpreting the study; I didn't realize that those dastardly idiots in the field of overhyped science jounralism were up to no good again.

          We're not having it near as bad in this part of NE as in other parts of the country, but that's an anecdotal statement and not intended as a substitute for scientific evidence.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 )
          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 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.

      • But, bees are not native to America, they were brought by Europeans. So, more cellphone calls is a good thing for the First Nations because it restores the land as it was back then. They should pay us so we make more calls.
    • 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 TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @12:15AM (#19332519) Journal
        "...if they are a sovereign nation?"

        Let's see if the current POTUS can shed any light on that question...

        "Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities." -- GWB
      • by jd ( 1658 )
        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.


      • 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.
  • Desperation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mulhollandj ( 807571 )
    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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 )
      They could put up jammers; that'd work nicely.

      Hey, if I can be prosecuted for decoding satellite TV photons I'm not considered entitled to, why can't I object to photons being sent across my property?
  • Fine. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:18PM (#19331481) Homepage
    Then they should pay for any cell phone signal originating from their territory, too.

    And they should be charged for any rain water that evaporated from somewhere else.

    Let's total up these, looks like they come out even!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) *
      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 [] 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.
  • Stop the insanity. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by glrotate ( 300695 )
    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.
    • by casings ( 257363 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:38PM (#19331685)
      I believe that is the same line of reasoning that caused their genocide...
      • by Shaman ( 1148 )
        He's right. It's time.
      • No the fact that they were occupying the land we wanted that they weren't willing to part with led to their genocide.
        • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:03PM (#19331927)

          Spike: I just can't take all this mamby pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians.

          Willow: The preferred term is...

          Spike: You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. It's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it." The history of the world isn't people making friends. You had better weapons, and you massacred them. End of story.

      • by syousef ( 465911 )
        They're welcome to put up shielding to stop the rays passing through their airspace.
      • by Kohath ( 38547 )
        These cell phone companies are innocent people minding their own business and the "First Nations" are picking fights with them. Does starting conflicts with innocent people play a part in someone's eventual defeat?

        Only if he loses, I guess.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kohath ( 38547 )
      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 a
    • No shit. I for one am extremely tired of having 3%, yes that's right THREE FUCKING PERCENT, of Canada's population have so much influence over the rest of us, indirectly or not. And for NO GOOD REASON.

      These people should be embarrassed.
    • I'm surprised they aren't saying the same thing to each other about us.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iminplaya ( 723125 )
      ALL nations are a farcical anachronism who have greatly outlived their usefulness. We should stop recognizing the US and Canada, and all the others. You're right. It's time to move out of the stone age, and quit marking our territory like dogs. On the other hand, to consider Indian nations any less worthy of the status than a "regular" nation is extremely bigoted. Just sayin'...
    • 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 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.
  • by Viceroy Potatohead ( 954845 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:21PM (#19331503) Homepage
    Before Europeans came to North America, the native people would use every part of a broadcast signal, instead of wasting it like we do nowadays. Apparently they did the same thing with bison.

    Now you know!
  • And next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FrankSchwab ( 675585 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:23PM (#19331527) Journal
    So, how about a seat tax on every airliner that passes over? A transit tax for every satellite that crosses their land? Hell, how about an "image" tax for every person who catches a glimpse of their land?
    • If I take water from a stream on your property, you have less to use. If I take a picture of your property, you can still take as many pictures of it as you like.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      You know, all the time some of your gravity bends the space in their land. Ok, it's only very slightly, but the effect exists. Thus they could tax you for that. Since the effect is so small, I think one cent per human per month should be enough. With about 6 billion people in the world, that would be 60 million dollars per month.
  • Not a problem... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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
  • "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.
    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    Solution: build giant Faraday cages around their land. No cellphone signal inside, no problem.
    • by kypper ( 446750 )
      I agree. Shut out all of the signal in those areas with the blame laid solely at the feet of the chiefs. See if the general populace puts up with that for long.
  • by nigmafyre ( 316209 )
    To quote the above, the "do nothing and get everything" attitude that afflicts the Natives is born and bred on the reserves and brought about through a lifetime of having a silver spoon in their mouth. I am not racist. I am not against Natives. I do however have a problem with the current land claims they are proposing, as well as the terrorist antics that their Grand Chief has been condoning of late. At what point do we cut them off and say "Sorry, you've been paid back, thats enough, now get a real job an
    • attitude that afflicts the Natives is born and bred on the reserves and brought about through a lifetime of having a silver spoon in their mouth.

      I don't know about a silver spoon, but they are completely bought into the cycle of welfare dependency. Any pretense that they are living their traditional lives is a farce; they are welfare bums. The most merciful thing that a first-world nation can do for them is to annex all of their land and end their special welfare status. This would force them to join th

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shaman ( 1148 )
        Fuck white guilt. I don't feel guilty. I feel used.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dasunt ( 249686 )

        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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      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 ce
    • by Viceroy Potatohead ( 954845 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:57PM (#19332375) Homepage
      What a bunch of horsesh*t.

      While I agree the current system doesn't work (in fact, it's absolute garbage which likely exacerbates the problem), pretty much everything else you've said is crap, IMO. I've been to quite a few reserves in Manitoba, and I don't see very many silver spoons in people's mouths. There are plenty of reserves that are absolute holes, where residents don't even own the crappy thirty year old run-down trailers they live in (not allowed to own them on some reserves, from my understanding). No sewage, no garbage pick up, no pavement, mud, no jobs, a laissez faire attitude by the RCMP toward crime (hence lots of juvenile vandalism, arson etc.). What's the option? Move to the city and get a job? Kind of tough when the immediate assumption by too many people, yourself included (I'd guess), is "lazy Indian expecting free hand outs.".

      AFAICT, it isn't "current land claims they are proposing", but existing agreements they want honoured. Personally, I want my government to keep its word, even if it costs me. Some of these treaties are fairly recent (government agreements with natives during the world wars to get them to fight etc).

      And since when did non-violent civil disobedience become "terrorist antics". You might as well paint Rosa Parks with the same brush.

      If 45% of your taxes are largely going to the Indians, you need a new accountant (either that, or I need yours).

      being single, white, male and in my thirties, I can speak out, but I have no recourse, I want my government to honour its agreements. Who knows, it might help.

  • Indeed. (Score:3, Funny)

    by igotmybfg ( 525391 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:29PM (#19331597) Homepage
    I want revenue sharing for all cell-phone signals that go through my body. WiFi too. Oh, and walktie talkies. And ham radios, AM, FM, and XM. You know what, since it's all just EM waves anyway, I also want revenue for each ray of light that bounces off me and onto anything else. Got a microwave oven? Pay up.
  • Manitoba Tel should indicate they've re-worked their network to go around First Nations areas and then indicate that if they want compensation, to identify what signals are going through their land and prove it. This is really retarded.
  • Just make sure that any cell phone calls that originate within their land get appropiately taxed too. And there better be plenty of paperwork made available to show exactly how much originates within their borders, including roaming calls.

    Also, any wind and rain that goes through the land should also be taxed. These are important commodities too. Rain waters crops, and wind generates power using those windmills. They better pay taxes on any rain landing on their land, and any wind passing through, that did
  • oh, canada!

    that explains it

    not enough fat old people to milk for pension checks in the tundra, eh?
  • what happens now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by weighn ( 578357 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:38PM (#19331691) Homepage
    1. no compensation ensues;
    2. First Nations installs signal blockers;
    3. the signals (using a feature that is inherent in this mode of communication) use neighbouring air to route around First Nations' air;
    4. First Nations realise how stupid the whole exercise is
  • Reality check. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by R2.0 ( 532027 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @10:39PM (#19331693)
    Allow me to state that I am fully in favor of the Native American Nations taking advantage of their status and sucking money away from the surrounding governments. They've had a pretty shitty 500 years, and if they want to take money from dumb white folk at casinos, and let those same folk dodge cigarette taxes, more power to them.

    That being said, WTF? They are asserting a "property right" that has been rejected via common, statutory, and international law time and time again. A nation can control physical objects that enter their airspace, but not energy. It's like RFA/Radio Marti - nations may not like broadcasting radio waves into their territory, but there isn't dick-all they can do about it except bitch and moan and try to jam it. But in this case, jamming would be a cure worse than the cause - their own members would lose the same access.

    I mean, are they serious?
  • Big chief no signal. You don't want coverage? No problem! Odds they sue to get coverage if they get cut off?
  • It is no mistake that this is coming out of autonomous territories where federal laws appropriating radio frequencies for specific uses have little or questionable jurisdiction. Whether or not you personally believe they are entitled to, these groups are perfectly capable of jamming radio transmissions used by others crossing over their sovereign territory, so they do have de facto control over them (by virtue of being able to disallow them). They own the territory and have the potential to fulfill this a
  • Moderating (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pcameron41 ( 530230 )
    Can I mod this entire story down as racist flame bait?
  • I don't know what it is like in Canada, but in the United States we regularly sell off parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is considered to be held in common by the people of the United States, so we charge companies to use it. I'm no expert on the subject, but they appear to be well within their rights. Why all the anger?
    • by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:08PM (#19331991)
      They already get their check every month, now they are trying to milk out more. I have plenty of sympathy and outrage over the past of the way they were treated, but after living near a reservation for three years in the here and now I've let alot of that slide. A large chunk of these people are stuck in the welfare cycle and are just looking for handouts. This is just the latest in a long line of schemes they've been trying on the government to get back what was never taken from the living in the first place. Also it really depends on what ever agreement the particular reservation has with the federal government. They are not sovereign nations, nor are they exempt from federal law.
  • 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! []

    "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.
  • Commoditizing Air (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:00PM (#19331897)
    On first glance it sounds ridiculous; however there is some precedence in the monetization of air:

    -The state of New York has filed suit against Ohio for dumping pollution on them through the airwaves 5.html [].

    -A portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum is going to be auctioned off in the U.S.
    "the spectrum is a national resource that should be managed".
    PDF: 0.pdf
    google cache: 0.pdf+lectro-magnetic+spectrum+auctioned&hl=en&ct= clnk&cd=1 []

    If governments can make money off the spectrum then why not so-called "First Nation" governments? It really boils down to how much legal and economic authority Indians should have. And it deals with the ambiguity of a people who both want to claim their individuality and distinction from the rest of society, and still be apart of that society, especially when it comes to exploiting natural resources. It's pretty much politics as usual. Seems like the typical having-your-cake-and-eating-it-to mentality.
  • The total lack of preexisting or logical legal basis combined with the impossibility of an effective enforcement mechanism make such a claim over cellphone traffic and sovereign territory astoundingly absurd.
  • It's way past time to end this ludicrous segregation of Indians into subcitizens on reservations. I propose that we convert reservations into private property contained within the states or regions encapsulating them, with the tribal council or other group elected by the tribal members given the deed to the property. Furthermore, declare a 100-year statute of limitations on all property disputes nationally.

    Seriously, let's repatriate our brothers and put this insanity to rest.

  • by debest ( 471937 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:39PM (#19332229)
    Funny story about Ovide Mercredi. I had the opportunity to meet him in 1992 (I think) when the Assembly of First Nations had their annual conference on Manitoulin Island, in Northern Ontario. At this time, he was the Grand Chief of the Assembly, and recogizable across the country. I grew up on Manitoulin and was working as a waiter/bartender at the hotel/restaurant where he and his entourage were staying during the conference, in a little town called Gore Bay.

    We open up the dining room for dinner early for him and his group (about 10 people), as they had to get to a meeting. I get chosen to serve their table. Hey, it's as close to "celebrity" as I've ever seen in this place, so I consider it somewhat of an honour.

    So I introduce myself to the table and run through the spiel. I hand everyone the menus, and then explain the day's "special" (not on the menu). I then explain that all entres come with your choice of pototoes. Now, the kitchen prepared different styles of potatoes: sometimes they were scalloped, or oven roasted, but most often the choices were mashed pototoes or a baked potato. I've been working at this place for a couple of summers now, so the words just flow off my tongue automatically. Plus, I'm a bit nervous, so I'm talking a bit faster than normal. On this afternoon, I say the same thing I've said hundreds of times: "All dinners come with your choice of pototoes: mashed or baked."

    Mercredi is in the middle of sipping a glass of water. As I say this, he nearly sprays the water across the table, looks up at me, and blurts out, "What kind of potatoes!?"

    Instantly, I (and the rest of the table) realize how the phrase "mashed or baked" can sound if you are being a little rushed!

    Naturally, the table explodes with laughter, and I just about kill myself laughing too. They enjoyed the meal, but of course had to make a comment on how "creamy" the mashed potatoes were, and wanted to make sure that they weren't the "mashedorbaked" style of potatoes. :-)

    I wonder if he still remembers that afternoon?
  • by gravis777 ( 123605 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:42PM (#19332255)
    who sees where they are coming from? Okay, so I just skimmed the article, but don't most native Americans thing that everything is sacred in some way, including the air? Okay, yes, most of us will sit here and laugh about this, but think about it. You are brought up in a culture where everything is sacred. The water, the earth, the soil, the trees, the air. Someone from another culture upstream decides to build a damn that alters the water and how it flows. Most of us would argue they have a reason for compensation. We come in and decide to cut down their trees, they would want compensation. These to us are physical things that we can put monatary value on. But the natives are seeing it not as just a physical thing, but as a spiritual thing. Extending this thinking to the air waves is not that far of a stretch. And the thought of radio waves are invading their aerospace is actually a really good argument. Most countries that I know of require any device that operates that puts out any type of radio waves or electromagnetic field to be licensed and regulated. Broadcasters and radio operators must pay for braodcast licenses. If there is an Indian nation where we are sending radio waves through their aerospace without paying them a licensing fee, the idea of paying for compensation suddenly does not become so outragious.
  • 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.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus