Two former First Nation chiefs appeared on Iran’s state-run TV recently to express their frustrations with Canada’s treatment of their people, including its efforts to “exterminate” them.
Terry Nelson and Dennis Pashe visited with Press TV host Kaveh Taghvai to discuss First Nations and aboriginal issues, including missing and murdered aboriginal women, Canada's history with reserves, aboriginal jail populations and more.
Nelson described Canadian reserves as “more or less concentration camps.”
“The reservation was the standard, it was the system that South Africa studied and put in place for Apartheid,” he said.
In response to a question about the large number of First Nations people in jail, Pashe responded, “It’s part of the ongoing effort by the Canadian government to exterminate us.”
"They use policies, they use legislation, and in the past they used the gun and a disease-infested blanket to wipe out our people, to take our resources, take our lands and to exploit them for their own profit,” he later added.
The subject of Canada’s oil also featured prominently in the interview. Nelson said indigenous people don’t see the revenue from the oil Canada pumps to the United States from their land, yet they suffer the environmental effects.
"Any country that can influence the indigenous people has to realize what kind of leverage they have ... I don't think everybody understanding that the chiefs won't sit back any more and say, 'Take our oil,’” he told the Free Press in a phone interview.
The interview comes in the wake of Canada severing diplomatic ties with Iran in September. Despite the growing tension between the two countries, Peshe praised Iran for welcoming them.
“We’re thankful for Iran for bringing these issues of how our people are treated in Canada to the world,” he said.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan responded to the interview on Monday, according to Sun News.