Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Bear Chief refuses to ‘shut up’ or ‘move on’

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor SIKSIKA NATION, Alta.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
17
Year: 
2016

Arthur Bear Chief said his is a story that needs to be told. Not only for himself, but for the other children who were abused at Old Sun residential school and can no longer speak out.

“It’s important for me to make public what I personally went through and also to speak for people that are gone that went to residential school with me and that went through probably the same thing that I did. There’s no voices for these people. I wanted the public to know,” said Bear Chief.

My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell will be published in December.

The book is the first accounting Bear Chief has had of the sexual abuse he suffered. He made a pact with Nelson Wolf Leg, who also attended the school near Gleichen in southern Alberta, that neither of them would talk about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of their supervisor Bill Starr, until one of them had died.

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Museum receives $7 million donation of Indigenous art

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
17
Year: 
2016

An anonymous donation to the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) will be housed in a new Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks.

Construction of the new gallery begins this month and is expected to be completed in time to open to the public by National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2017.

The 200 pieces of Indigenous art, worth $7 million, make up the largest collection of Northwest Coast First Nations art to return to B.C. in recent decades.

The donor was first inspired to amass the collection after seeing totem poles in Stanley Park in the 1970s.

The collection includes rare historical works, as well as fine carvings, jewelry, basketry and textiles by Indigenous artists such as Bill Reid, Charles Edenshaw, Robert Davidson, Isabel Rorick, and Dempsey Bob.

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Feds hoarding environmental data on sinking of tug, say Heiltsuk

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
17
Year: 
2016

The Heiltsuk Nation is disappointed to learn that the federal government is withholding analytical data arising from early environmental sampling after a tug and barge ran aground Heiltsuk territorial waters.

These samples, collected by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and handed over to the Department of Environment and Climate Change, may contain information critical to Heiltsuk decision-making around human and environmental health, reads a statement from the nation dated Nov. 10.

“In the very beginning, we made the decision to collaborate,” said Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett. “We’ve supported the Incident Command System approach to response, and acted with integrity in the expectation that everyone else at the table would do the same.

“DFO and ECC have clearly missed the message on federal reconciliation.”

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Dobson remains calm and steady between the pipes

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor SMITHS FALLS, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
17
Year: 
2016

Bradley Dobson is making quite a name for himself, albeit far from his original home.

Dobson, a member of the Moose Cree First Nation, was born in the remote northern Ontario community of Moose Factory.

The 17-year-old is now starring in his first season of Junior A hockey with the Smiths Falls Bears. The Bears compete in the 12-team Central Canada Hockey League, comprised of teams in and near Ottawa and surrounding areas in eastern Ontario.

Despite being a rookie with the Bears, Dobson, who will turn 18 on Dec. 31, had a league-leading 2.24 goals-against average after his first 13 appearances.

Dobson, who had registered two shutouts already, also had six victories to his credit. And he had secured single points for his squad in two other matches, via an overtime setback and a shootout loss.

“Everything is going great right now,” said Dobson, who is 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds.

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Important school renamed to remember Wenjack

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
16
Year: 
2016

 

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler announced Oct. 28 that the Thunder Bay training centre has been renamed for Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack, a First Nations boy who died while running away from residential school 50 years ago on Oct. 22, 1966.

The Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute will be renamed as a “fitting and lasting tribute to the memory of Chanie Wenjack and all of our youth who were lost during the Indian residential school era,” said Fiddler.

“The institute that has provided new beginnings for so many of our people will be known as the Chanie Wenjack Pimachehowin Educational Institute.” Oshki-Pimache-O-Education and Training Institute is an Aboriginal post-secondary education and training facility providing accredited post-secondary education to the people of the 49 communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation and other learners.

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This is personal: Residential school system was genocide, needs a day of refection

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
16
Year: 
2016

 

MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette says now that he has “put it down on paper what it should look like” he is hopeful that a member of the Trudeau Cabinet – either Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett or Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly – will take his private members bill forward as a piece of legislation, setting June 2 as Indian residential school reconciliation and memorial day.

If the passage of the bill has to depend on him, Ouellette says residential school survivors and their descendants will be waiting at least three years for the first hour of debate on the bill.

“I’m very low down on the list for private members bills itself, so anything I would put forward would take a long time to get debated and then actually be approved,” said the Liberal MP for Winnipeg Centre. “Private members bills often don’t get passed.”

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Unsportsmanlike names and the time for change [column]

Author: 
By Drew Hayden Taylor, Windspeaker Columnist
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
16
Year: 
2016

Indigenous activist and world-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal lost his bid in Ontario Superior Court to stop the Cleveland Indians baseball team from using its “racist name” and Chief Wahoo mascot logo during the American League Championship Series games played in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

The application also named Rogers Communications Inc., which broadcast the games.

Cardinal’s lawyer, Michael Swinwood, said the Cleveland Indians’ team name and mascot Chief Wahoo, the cartoonish image of a man with red skin, a toothy imbecilic grin, and a feather in his headband are offensive and discriminatory to Native people.

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Blackstock flattered, but won’t run for leader of the NDP

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
16
Year: 
2016

A movement started to draft Cindy Blackstock as the next leader of the federal NDP is flattering, she says, but it’s not where she needs to be at this point.

“In life you’ve just got to think about where you’re best suited, where you can make the biggest contribution, and for me, right now, that’s outside of politics,” said the executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Blackstock – and her organization – have been the driving force behind equal funding for children living in care on reserve.

The society joined with the Assembly of First Nations in 2007 to file a claim with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Aboriginal Affairs asserting that First Nations family and child services agencies received less funding to do their work on reserve than the provinces spend for children in care off-reserve.

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Trudeau fails to live up to his responsibility to TRC actions

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

The Indigenous Bar Association says it’s disappointed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his failure to appoint an Indigenous candidate to the Supreme Court of Canada.

With a promise to work with Indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation basis, Trudeau missed an opportunity to do something important and meaningful to live up to his much touted “new approach, both to Indigenous/government relations, and for making appointments to the Court that are more accessible and fair.

“Further, given the Atlantic Provinces' ongoing refusal to appoint Indigenous people to the very bench from which the nominee was drawn, suggests Trudeau is offering a reward for exclusion and the court continues to look precisely how it has for decades.”

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One year in and we’re falling backwards [editorial]

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

That old mistrust is creeping in. And it all started out so hopeful… a new day, a new relationship, and a bright new enlightenment after the long dark bleak winter of Conservative rule.

But today, we’ve got to call it. The Liberal Party of Canada has duped us. Instead of ‘sunny ways,’ we’re getting a long familiar shadow cast over all our dreams. The bright new day promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is diminished in our eyes. He sure talks fine words, but he’s like every other top dog that Canada has elected. Full of himself and full of promises he can’t, or won’t, keep.

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First Nations try to find the balance with oil and gas growth

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

First Nations in Canada are polarized when it comes to oil and gas development.

“You have to respect the inherent right to self-determination… That right to self-determination that Indigenous people have is the right to say yes and the right to say no,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations.

First Nations have been vocal on both ends of the spectrum.

In late September, more than 50 First Nations—including some from the northern United States —signed the Treaty Alliance against Tar Sands Expansion to block Energy East, along with Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the West Coast, Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement and the ill-fated Keystone XL project.

The pact has brought together First Nations from British Columbia all the way across the country to Quebec.

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What’s hanging up MMIW inquiry commission?

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

After two months of silence, Indigenous organizations are reaching out to the commission for the national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and offering their support to get the ball rolling.

“It is frustrating when you have families coming to you, especially at the vigil, and they’re wanting answers now and there are no answers I can give right now because I know as much as they know, which is nothing,” said Francyne Joe, interim president for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The Sisters in Spirit vigil was held throughout the country on Oct. 4.

In early August, the federal government announced that BC judge Marion Buller would head the five-member commission that would lead the national inquiry. Terms of reference were also announced then. But since that time, the commission has been quiet.

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Standing Rock: ‘We’re not gonna be silent anymore’

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

“I made a vow to protect the land and to protect the water, but most of all, I would protect my children and that’s what I’m doing,” said Wilma Steele of Standing Rock Nation. She has four children ages 9, 5, 3 and 2 years old.

“They’re my motivation,” she said. “They’re my strength to keep me going. When I look at them, I tell myself, ‘I gotta fight harder against this pipeline’.”

The planned Dakota Access Pipeline would go through the Standing Rock territory and would carry crude oil through four states—North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, putting land and major waterways at risk. The proposed route crosses the Missouri River, the longest river in the United States.

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Queen’s Canopy agreement fails to protect First Nations territory, says chief

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor DZAWADA’ENUXW NATION, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

 

 Dzawada’enuxw Nation Chief Willie Moon is giving notice to all logging companies and tourism agencies: deal directly with his First Nation and don’t cite the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement as a talking point.

As far as Moon is concerned, Dzawada’enuxw traditional territory in the Great Bear Rainforest is not part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. The canopy was endorsed when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited B.C.’s central coast during their recent Canadian tour.

The Dzawada’enuxw Nation is one of two First Nations to not have signed the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement. Moon says Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council pulled out of the negotiations early on and Dzawada’enuxw Nation didn’t continue on its own.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement does not provide Dzawada’enuxw traditional territory with enough protection, says Moon.

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NHL’s Bryan Trottier will join sports’ brightest stars in Hall of Fame

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor CALGARY
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

The Aboriginal content at Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame will soon be expanding. That’s because former National Hockey League star Bryan Trottier is one of seven individuals who will be inducted this year into the hall based in Calgary.

Trottier, who has Métis, Cree and Chippewa ancestry, is a seven-time winner of the Stanley Cup. He won six championships as a player and one as a coach.

Though the national hall of fame is in Calgary, induction ceremonies this year will be staged on Nov. 1 in Toronto. This marks the 61st year the hall has held induction ceremonies.

Mario Siciliano, the CEO and President of the hall, is thrilled with all of this year’s inductees.

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Guardianship programs a good $500 million investment in reconciliation, say leaders

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

The Indigenous Leadership Initiative is pushing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put reconciliation into action by committing $500 million over five years to create a national network of guardian programs.

The money would come on top of the $8.4 billion committed to Indigenous peoples over the next five years in the first budget delivered by the Liberal government.

While there is “no indication” the government will commit to the funding immediately, said Michael Mcleod, MP for the Northwest Territories, further investments are needed, particularly in the north.

He said previous dollars announced by his government focus on the on-reserve populations.

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Author Drew Hayden Taylor charts a new path with Indigenous Sci-Fi

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
15
Year: 
2016

What happens when science fiction meets Aboriginal literature? These two genres rarely—if ever—come together. Drew Hayden Taylor has broken new ground with the release of his book “Take Us to Your Chief.”

“It’s always been my observation that Native literature and theatre is a very specific and narrow path. It’s either a victim narrative, or dealing with something historical, or dealing with the repercussion of what I call post-contact-stress-disorder… so it’s all distressing and dark,” said Taylor on what has traditionally shaped Aboriginal literature.

“I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if I was able to take stories steeped in science fiction and filter them through an Aboriginal consciousness?’” he said.

Taylor’s book is a compilation of nine stories, written in a matter of months, after he had been harbouring the idea for the book for many years.

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Defenders protecting water are not criminals, says youth facing jail time

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
14
Year: 
2016

“It’s important to always appreciate the water and acknowledge the sacredness of the water, even though it’s not in the greatest shape,” said Vanessa Gray, 24, of Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, Ont. “But for that reason, we have to appreciate the water and we have to respect it enough to protect it.”

Gray was speaking on a panel at Water is Sacred, an event held at the University of Toronto on Sept. 20. She has been an environmental activist since her early teens.

“Our community’s relationship to the water was always different, because it’s dangerous, just like it is in Grassy Narrows and many other Indigenous communities,” said Gray. She was born into a place called Chemical Valley, a centre for oil refining and petrochemical production and home to 62 facilities and refineries in a very small area surrounding her First Nation.

“I was born into this environment that was very dangerous, including the water,” she said.

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Tomson Highway dabbles in death for “soul-inspiring” new play

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
14
Year: 
2016

Tomson Highway is at it again. The pianist, playwright, novelist, honorary doctorate degree holder, and past Writer-In-Residence, will be playing his own music in a play he wrote opening Oct, 12.

The (Post) Mistress is co-presented by Pleiades Theatre and Théâtre français de Toronto, and is a one-woman-act about a Métis woman working in a post office, which alludes to some of Highway’s own beliefs about death.

“It’s kind of hard to talk about the inspiration because there’s a surprise ending and the inspiration for it gives the surprise away. In Native spirituality… cosmology… there is no death. People, when they die, they don’t go to heaven or hell, they just get translated into a different energy,” said Tomson.

“The Post Mistress is a human soul, who handles the mail,” he said.

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Joseph Medicine Crow [footprints]

Author: 
By Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
14
Year: 
2016

Historian was last War Chief of his tribe

By Dianne Meili

As a teenager, Joseph Medicine Crow heard eyewitness accounts of the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn from his step-grandfather, White Man Runs Him.

“He was one of Custer’s favourite scouts,” Herman Viola of the Smithsonian Institute wrote in the preface of “From the Heart of Crow Country”, one of Medicine Crow’s many historical books. White Man Runs Him lived with Joseph in his older years and many non-Indian historians came to listen to his memories of the Little Bighorn.

But the old man eventually stopped talking to them because they didn’t believe some of the things he told them, especially the notion that some of the 7th cavalry drank whiskey before going into battle.

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