Sharing the Wealth of the Land


Image courtesy Jay Soule 2018.

Tired of public misconceptions about funding for First Nations, Toronto based artist Jay Soule created a billboard to communicate the facts.  First Nations do not receive Canadian tax dollars; they are paid in terms of “LAND & RESOURCES“, “TREATY ANNUITIES” and “INTEREST PAYMENTS FROM A FEDERALLY CONTROLLED TRUST FUND“.   Why is Canada obligated to make these payments?  Why is there a vast misconception about this in the Canadian general public, and how does this support settler colonialism?  (Historical Perspective)

Another public misconception is that Indigenous people do not pay taxes, and this is not true.

When Canada acquires wealth from Indigenous lands– in most cases without permission— to ensure clean running water and provide free education and healthcare for its communities, Canadians don’t consider this funding as “charity” (let alone stolen funds); however, when it comes to sharing this wealth equally with First Nation communities, it consistently allocates a fraction of what Canadians receive, while Canadians mistakenly believe that these funds are “handouts from Canadian taxpayers”.

Historical Thinking Questions

Read the links below and answer the following questions:

What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada? by Dru Oja Jay

1.  Dru Oja Jay states: “Canada’s federal government controls large portions of the cash flow First Nations depend on”.   Where does the cash flow come from?  How does this support a settler colonial system?  (Historical Perspective)

2.  How are First Nations subsidizing Canada?  (Historical Perspective) 

3.  Why have Canadians generally believed the opposite of this idea?  (Historical Perspective) 

Treaty annuity case    Robinson Huron & Superior Treaties in RCAP, Vol. 1 (p.147-149)

4.  How did the Crown violate the relationship outlined in the Niagara Treaty in its handling of the Robinson Huron and Superior Treaties? 

5.  How are Restoule, Recollet and Daybutch advocating for Canada to honour Indigenous sovereignty through their court case? 

Indigenous rights are the best defence against Canada’s resource rush

6.  How does Manuel’s argument dispel the myth that “First Nations leech off the state”? (Historical Significance)

7.  The author states: “Canada’s country-wide policies of ignoring Indigenous land rights have rarely been challenged”.  Why is this so?   (Historical Perspective)

8.  Evaluate the author’s theory that movements like Idle No More can change the above stated fact in the future.  (Cause and Consequence, Continuity and Change)


Herman, J. (2013). Canada’s Approach to School Funding The Adoption of Provincial Control of Education Funding in Three Provinces. WWW.AMERICANPROGRESS.ORG.