Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Grassy Narrows: Young people are scared - they know they’re sick

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

Photos by By Barb NahwegahbowA research report released Sept. 20 says the population at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations are suffering from mercury poisoning. This includes those below the age of 30.

Dr. Masanori Hanada headed up a team that travelled from Japan to do the research for the report. Japanese experts on Minamata disease, a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning, have been working with the communities since the 1970s. Their report contains findings from research conducted in 2014 when they visited the communities with a medical team.

Between 1962 and 1970, with the province of Ontario’s permission, Dryden Chemicals Inc. dumped 20,000 pounds of mercury into the Wabigoon River system upstream from Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations.

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Moose Cree war hero commemorated in home town

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor CHAPLEAU, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

 

 

 

 

 

Moose Cree war hero commemorated in home town

 

 

 

An Aboriginal Second World War soldier has been commemorated. A monument dedicated to Charles Henry Byce, the most decorated First Nations veteran of WWII, was unveiled Sept. 18 at the Royal Canadian Legion in Chapleau, Ont., Byce’s birth-town.

Sculptor Tyler Fauvelle was present for the unveiling, giving a short speech, and sharing his insight into the heroic life of Byce.

“I came across the remarkable story of Charlie Byce while doing research on the contributions of Indigenous people to Canadian war history… Around that time Byce was not known and required much broader recognition,” said Fauvelle.

“It was how a young man from a small community who actually spent time in the oppressive residential school system rose above that,” he added. “It’s uplifting.”

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Indigenous interests must be part of international trade discussions

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

Toronto’s Native Canadian Centre was the venue for a meeting between national Indigenous leaders and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, on Sept. 9.

Minister Freeland said the meeting was “the beginning of a really important dialogue between the government of Canada and First Nations, Métis and Inuit people about international trade.”

“It’s a discussion that’s long overdue,” she said.

The meeting, called by the federal government, was to seek Indigenous input on international trade and trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP would create a free-trade zone among 12 nations around the Pacific. The federal government has said it will sign the agreement, although it still needs ratification by majority vote in the House of Commons.

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Toronto NAIG partners with Hamilton to host five sports


Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

 

The Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games Host Society has announced a partnership with McMaster University and the City of Hamilton to create “a western hub” for the eight-day international sport and cultural event scheduled for July 16 to July 23, 2017.

Five of the 14 sport competitions will be held in the Greater Hamilton Area including:

3-D Archery (Hamilton Angling and Hunting Association)

Lacrosse (Gaylord Powless Arena and Iroquois Lacrosse Arena)

Softball (Turner Park, Hamilton)

Soccer (Ron Joyce Stadium, McMaster University)

Wrestling (Burridge Gym, McMaster University)

“The creation of a western hub for the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games offers an exciting opportunity for celebration, collaboration and strength in unity across communities, which is the essence of the North American Indigenous Games,” said Marcia Trudeau, CEO of the Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society.

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Artwork for second Salish class vessels announced

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

The Stz'uminus First Nation joined BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to reveal the second of three Coast Salish designs for the new Salish Class ferries.

John Marston of Stz’uminus First Nation designed the artwork that will be on the new Salish Eagle.

Marston’s depiction of beautiful red eagles will adorn the hull of the new vessel. The design represents the strength and respect the eagle carries in First Nations culture. Marston’s work is strongly influenced by his Coast Salish ancestors and their work.

The artwork will also be displayed inside the vessel for customers to view along with a profile of the artist.

“The Eagle is highly respected within our culture,” said Marston. “It is a symbol of our spiritual connection to the natural world. The Eagle has long been connected to us and carries our prayers to the Creator. Our guardian in life, we look to the teachings he offers us.

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Man walks Highway of Tears: Deaths are everyone’s concern

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor KTUNAXA NATION, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

Multiple sources

 

 Brett Merchant’s walk along the Highway of Tears underscores the message delivered by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal leaders: That the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls is a Canadian concern.

Merchant, from Cranbrook, is non-Indigenous.

“I think it’s huge,” said Shannon Girling-Hebert, administrator of quality assurance and service integration with the Ktunaxa Nation. She said Merchant has “always had a commitment and connection with First Nations people because his father instilled that value in him.

“It’s a big concern of First Nations people. It should be a big concern for everyone.”

Girling-Hebert said Ktunaxa Nation Council became involved after Debbie Whitehead, director of the social investment sector, personally contributed $50 and commented on Merchant’s Gofundme page. “[U]tmost respect from my family and the community of Cranbrook,” she wrote.

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New doc tells tale of human rights tribunal on First Nations child welfare

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
13
Year: 
2016

Alanis Obomsawin’s latest film is a condemnation of Canada’s discrimination against its most vulnerable citizens – First Nations children.

In 2007, the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations filed a landmark discrimination complaint against the federal government. They argued that child and family welfare services provided to First Nations children on reserves were underfunded and inferior to services offered to other Canadian children. The film chronicles the events following the filing of the human rights complaint

Running at two-hours-and-42 minutes, “We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice”, is Obomsawin’s longest film.  The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 13.

The title harkens back to the Indian residential schools era when, pursuant to government policies, thousands of children were removed from their families and communities and placed in boarding schools run by churches.

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Red Jacket (Sagoyewatha) [footprints]

Author: 
By Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Seneca orator outwitted Christian missionary

 

On a sweltering August afternoon, tourists stroll languidly inside the flint-studded walls of Old Fort Erie in southern Ontario, examining cannons and perusing interpretive displays.

Across clipped lawns to the east, the slow-moving Niagara River underscores the striking Buffalo, U.S. skyline.

The pastoral surroundings belie the fact this is Canada’s bloodiest battlefield; 204 years ago these grounds rang out with black powder shots and, during the height of the war, the blast of an exploding powder magazine killed almost 400 men instantly.

Fighting for the Americans against the British during the War of 1812 was a Seneca warrior named Red Jacket, who took his name for a highly-favoured embroidered coat given him years earlier by the English, who employed him as a messenger.

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Step taken towards economic reconciliation

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

The arm of the Assembly of First Nations in British Columbia (BCAFN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the BC Business Council Sept. 6 which outlines an economic development partnership between First Nations and business leaders in the province.

It focuses on providing a remedy for the negative economic and social outcomes for First Nations in B.C.

Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson and Premier Christy Clark also announced the commitment of $2.5 million over three years to support the BCAFN’s Sustainable Economic Development Strategy. The funding will support environmentally-responsible economic development as B.C. Nations develop economic opportunities.

“The British Columbia Assembly of First Nations continues to work with First Nations to develop our sustainable economic development and fiscal relations strategy, however, in order to advance reconciliation, we must continue to build bridges,” said Gottfriedson in press statement.

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Gladue remembered as appeal court considers arguments

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor EDMONTON
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

 “Travesty and injustice” were the words used Monday morning by the legal director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund as she joined with other organizations, and about a dozen people, to mark the appeal of the man acquitted in the brutal death of Cindy Gladue.

Bradley Barton, an Ontario truck driver, was charged in the June 22, 2011, death of Gladue, a sex trade worker. Last year, a jury found Barton not guilty of second degree murder, accepting that Gladue’s death was due to consensual rough sex.

 

Muriel Stanley Venne, president of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, led a memorial in honour of Cindy Gladue. (Photo: Shari Narine)

“We can try and have some impact on how this justice system works – or it doesn’t work – for Indigenous women and their families,” said Kim Stanton with LEAF.

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SFU to examine reconciliation in higher education


Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Simon Fraser University (SFU) will host a 10-part public lecture series that examines how reconciliation is taking form in higher education.

Called the “President’s Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings: Justice, Identity and Belonging”, the series intends to illustrate the history of Aboriginal peoples in higher education, as well as new ways forward through public lectures, dialogue and ceremony.

“One of the unique offerings of this colloquium is that an All Nations Circle of Elders have gathered to lead the ceremonies and share their teachings,” said Vicki Kelly, professor of education.

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AFN supports tribe's fight against pipeline

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

The Assembly of First Nations is standing in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation’s fight against construction of Dakota Access Pipeline across their traditional territory.

Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, co-chair of the Climate Change and Environment Chiefs Committee and portfolio holder for alternative/green energy, joined international human rights experts and Indigenous leaders to speak out against the lack of meaningful consultation with Standing Rock Sioux prior to the pipeline's development.

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Chief is on a mission to repatriate Beothuk remains

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor MIAWPUKEK FIRST NATION, Nfld.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

It is Miawpukek First Nation Chief Mi’sel Joe’s wish that “when” the remains of two Beothuk people – one a chief – are returned by the National Museums Scotland that he travel with them back to Canada.

Recently, that wish got a boost when the Canadian government got involved.

“To have the federal government come onside, I think that’s an incredible giant step in making sure that this does happen,” said Joe.

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly has sent a formal request to Dr. Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland, asking that the remains of Demasduit, and her husband Chief Nonosabasut, be returned to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Demasduit and Nonosabasut, along with associated funeral objects, were removed by explorer William Cormack during his 1828 visit to the burial site.

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President’s Cup play headed to Kahnawake

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris
 Windspeaker Contributor KAHNAWAKE
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Angus Goodleaf has had his share of lacrosse successes over the years. Now the 29-year-old star lacrosse goaltender is hoping to make a bit of history and bring a national championship to his hometown in Quebec, the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory.

Goodleaf is a member of the Kahnawake Mohawks, a Senior B lacrosse club. The Mohawks recently captured the crown in the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League.

The club is now gearing up to compete in the eight-team President’s Cup, the Canadian Senior B tournament. The event, which begins this Sunday (Aug. 28) continues until Sept. 3 in Leduc, Alta.

The Mohawks are no strangers at the President’s Cup as they will be making their eighth appearance in the past nine years. The Kahnawake squad, however, has never won the national title.

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Délın̨ę people out from under Indian Act

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor YELLOWKNIFE
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

On Sept. 1 a long sought-after dream will be realized by the Délın̨ę people of the Northwest Territories: They will be self-governing.

“When the process of negotiation began, our chief negotiator said, ‘Oh, it will take a couple of years and it would be done,’ and then it took us 20 years. It was back and forth. It took a long process,” said Raymond Tutcho, who will become the first leader of the Délın̨ę Got’ın̨ę government.

Negotiations began in 1995 based on the land claim agreement, which gave the Sahtu Dene and Métis the right to self-government. Transition to self-government began two years ago after membership voted 83 per cent in favour of ratifying the final agreement.

In 2015, the federal and territorial governments passed legislation to recognize the Délın̨ę Final Self-Government Agreement. In just a few day’s time, the Délın̨ę will no longer be governed by the Indian Act.

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Gas line protest shuts down installation: Leaders worry members’ heat will be cut

Author: 
By Colin Graf Windspeaker Contributor WALPOLE ISLAND, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Protestors at Walpole Island First Nation along the St. Clair River in Ontario blocked a construction crew from their territory today, putting completion of a natural gas line in jeopardy. 

Around 20 members of the community, also known as Bkejwanong Unceded Territory, along with non-Native allies, blocked the island’s only access route to stage an information picket Monday morning.

Workers preparing to continue installation of the pipeline were told by Union Gas the day’s work was cancelled after protestors gathered before 7 a.m. on the bridge connecting Walpole to the mainland.  

The pipeline opponents believe drilling under the Snye River, which branches off the St. Clair, could endanger the river water. 

All local traffic was allowed through, and protestors moved two vehicles blocking the bridge to the Island after police arrived. 

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On Skirt Shaming—Another perspective [guest column]

Author: 
By Ruth Hopkins Guest Columnist
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

Windspeaker.com recently featured commentary by Drew Hayden Taylor entitled ‘The Shame of Skirt Shaming.’

In it, readers are forced to endure the bitter tirade of a male author who seeks to shame traditional practitioners of Native ways, including Elders and medicine people, for strictly adhering to centuries-old ceremonial protocol that requires women to cover themselves while participating in sacred rites passed down over millennia.

In a rather patriarchal tone, Mr. Taylor decided that he must speak for Native women who, he feels, are being inconvenienced by having to change clothes pre-sacrament. He refers to our sacred women’s teachings as “controversial” and a “dress code” of “rigid etiquette.”

From his stance, “skirt shaming” is a downright epidemic and Native women should take a page from white feminists and be up in arms, rebelling against the very ceremonial circles their own grandmothers fought and died to protect.

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Racism top of the concerns raised on grassroots tour

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
12
Year: 
2016

 

For the last several weeks, Dwight Dorey, the National Chief of the Indigenous Peoples Assembly of Canada (IPAC), has been hosting meetings for Indigenous people living in large urban centres and small rural settings.

IPAC was formerly known as the Congress of Aboriginal People and before that, the Native Council of Canada when it was founded 45 years ago.

The purpose of the meetings, Dorey said, was to inform people about the organization and to get feedback about their local issues and concerns. IPAC represent status, non-status and Métis people, he said.

“We fought for people to regain their status and their rights and we told them as they regained their status, they could still remain active in the organization.”

IPAC will be compiling a report for government funders containing the priorities identified by the communities.

About 25 people attended the meeting at the Toronto Native Centre Aug. 31.

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60’s Scoop survivor works through her ‘Indian-ness’ with new play

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

Imagine going from being just one-eighth Indian to being half Indian. That requires a whole identity shift, a reinvention of self. 

Exit crazy York University party girl known as Spawn and enter serious, traditional, cultural-identity-seeker dressed in the requisite long skirt, accessorized with Indigenous jewelry, and fair hair dyed black. Lots of ceremonies and Elders.

This is just one of the themes that playwright Shandra Spears Bombay explores in her half-hour one-woman show “If This is the End.”

It’s a work in progress that she workshopped for four days with her ‘dream team’ at Summerworks Festival in Toronto. It culminated in a half-hour public performance on Aug. 12 in the Factory Theatre Mainspace at 125 Bathurst Street.

A 60’s Scoop survivor, Spears Bombay was adopted in 1969 when she was five-and-a-half months old. Her adoptive family was the fourth set of parents she’d had, counting her birth family and two sets of foster parents.

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Thompson gains success in OHL, with an eye to NHL career

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor WINDSOR, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
11
Year: 
2016

Rocky Thompson’s work will once again be closely monitored during the upcoming hockey season.

A year ago people were wondering how Thompson, a former professional hockey player, would fare in his first season as a head coach.

Thompson, a 39-year-old Cree, had spent the previous eight years working as an assistant coach in the junior and pro ranks, including the 2014-15 season when he was with the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers.

After his one year in Edmonton, Thompson agreed to return to the junior level and become the head coach of the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires.

Thompson had his share of success with the Spitfires last season. The club managed to win 40 of its 68 regular season contests, a vast improvement on the 20-win campaign that Windsor had registered in the 2014-15 season.

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