Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Norman Tait [footprints]

Author: 
By Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
7
Year: 
2016

Norman Tait: Determined carver single-handedly revived Nisga’a art form

By Dianne Meili

Norman Tait, Sim'oogit Gawaakhl, exacted the same discipline from his carving team as he did from himself.

“He was ambitious and focused,” said the carver’s youngest brother Robert “Chip” Tait, who, years ago, helped his siblings complete a pole for Vancouver’s Capilano Mall, while also carving ocean-going vessels and paddles for an upcoming Canoe Festival.

“Norman comes in and, out-of-the-blue, tells us we’re going to Chicago and we need carved-wood helmets and armour before we make the trip. He just kept the projects rolling in and we worked to keep up.”

And when you are the foremost Nisga’a artist in wood, precious metals, stone and graphics, the commissions are, indeed, endless.   

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Search for Caitlin: Chiefs must take steps to care for Indigenous women, end violence against them

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor ENDERBY, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
7
Year: 
2016

June 7, 2016.

It isn’t enough that about a year ago a number of hereditary and elected chiefs in British Columbia picked up a commitment stick to live violence-free and to stop violence against women.

It isn’t enough that chiefs across the country have signed the Assembly of First Nations’ pledge to end violence. It isn’t enough that chiefs have had their communities pledge non-violent behaviour. Chiefs have to take action.

And that is what’s happening today, June 7, as chiefs, including Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief Doug Kelly and Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, participate in a search for another missing Indigenous woman.

“This is going another step. Okay, we’ve made that commitment (to end violence), can we start doing something in that area together,” said Chief Charlene Belleau of the Esketemc First Nation. “We have a responsibility.”

Belleau helped organize B.C. chiefs to participate in the search for Caitlin Brandy Potts.

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10,000 kilograms of toxic mercury waste: What would MPPs do if their hometowns were poisoned?

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
7
Year: 
2016

Two very important things happened in 1962, scientist Faisal Moola told the crowd gathered at Queen’s Park on June 2 to support Grassy Narrows First Nation.

The first was the publishing of “Silent Spring”, a book by biologist Rachel Carson that was the inspiration for the modern environmental movement.  “Silent Spring essentially woke up the world to the consequences of environmental toxins in the environment.”

“But something else happened in 1962,” said Moola, who is with the David Suzuki Foundation and is a professor at both York University and the University of Toronto.

 “In 1962, the Ontario Government gave permission to a pulp and paper company in Dryden, Ont. to dump 10,000 kilograms of toxic mercury waste into the Wabigoon River. The people of Grassy Narrows have been dealing with the results of that ever since…

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‘Same old, same old’ lack of action from B.C. on child welfare

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor VANCOUVER
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
7
Year: 
2016

The talking has to end. It’s time for the British Columbia government to listen to the changes First Nations want to make for child welfare and it’s time for those changes to be implemented.

“I believe that the First Nations people have the answers, have the solutions on how we can improve and support our children and families in our communities. We have the answers. We just need to be listened to,” said Debra Foxcroft, president of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.

Foxcroft, along with 400 other First Nations leaders, front line workers and representatives from Aboriginal children and family organizations, met with the Ministry of Child and Family Development at the BC First Nations Child and Family Gathering May 30 and 31 in Vancouver.

But it was the same old same old, says Foxcroft.

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Teachings at core of 16 years of hard work on heritage designation

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor POPLAR RIVER FIRST NATION, Man.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

Respect that the Elders taught Sophia Rabliauskas for the land drove the Poplar River First Nation’s member to take an active role in getting Pimachiowin Aki nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“The responsibility of looking after what’s around me, my environment, my community, the land, was taught to me by my parents, my father and grandfather especially, because it reminded us that each generation had its own responsibility to continue to look after that land and what’s on that land.

 

Sophia Rabliauskas participated as part of the Canadian delegation to the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany, last year.

Photo: pimachiowinaki.org

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Grassy Narrows: The most toxic community in Canada, says scientist

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

“I would say 100 per cent of our people are poisoned by mercury,” said grandmother Judy Da Silva speaking about her community of Grassy Narrows First Nation. “Some of our people don’t even understand that they are being poisoned by mercury when they have all these different ailments,” she said.

 

Photo: (eft to right) Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International, Chief Simon
Fobister of Grassy Narrows First Nation, and Ontario Regional Chief Isadore
Day in Toronto, May 31.

 

She was speaking at a press conference in Toronto on May 31, along with the Chief of Grassy Narrows Simon Fobister, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, scientist Faisal Moola of the David Suzuki Foundation, and Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International.

During the 1960s, the Dryden Chemical Company dumped 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the Wabigoon and English River systems, the waterway that provides fish and water to Grassy Narrows residents.

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The shame of skirt shaming [column]

Author: 
By Drew Hayden Taylor, Windspeaker Columnist
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

The Urbane Indian

Not long ago my partner was attending an Aboriginal healing function when she found out there was going to be a women’s ceremony included, one that she had not been told about in advance.

Under normal circumstances that would not have been a problem. For most it’s usually an enjoyable and respected experience where women come together to share and heal. But her immediate first thought dealt with the fact she hadn’t brought along the proper attire, specifically a long skirt that fell to her ankles.  It is usually what is worn by women to take part in such spiritual ceremonies.  In some cases, it is the only below the waist apparel permitted. 

Women who dress otherwise often face the threat of what is called ‘skirt shaming’, which has become an issue of controversy in the Native community.

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Ontario steps up with action on health

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor THUNDER BAY, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

Ontario has committed close to $222 million over three years to address gaps in health services for the province’s Indigenous population, particularly those in the north.

The announcement came two months after Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, supported by Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Isadore Day, declared a health emergency.

“It’s unfortunate that in a lot of cases that it takes a declaration of some sort to be issued before attention is given to a community,” said Fiddler.

On Feb. 24, the Sioux Lookout Area Chiefs Committee on Health and NAN declared a public health emergency stating “there are needless deaths and suffering caused by profoundly poor determinants of health.” The declaration called for the province and Canada to “commence prompt and sustained action, with immediate, intermediate and long term strategies” within 90 days.

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Hunters’ endurance, strength and agility boosted by games

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

The Banff Center for the Arts has a special guest coming around for this year’s National Aboriginal Day celebration. The Centre has chosen to spotlight the Inuit people for its three-day event, beginning June 20.

Along with screening films based on the Inuit Arctic experience, they will hold workshops about Inuit history and culture, led by Johnny Issaluk.

Issaluk is a well-known Inuit actor and traditional games athlete, who spent 20-years competing professionally.

“I was 16 when I started competing in Arctic traditional games… There’s agility games, strength games, and endurance games. When I started there were seven communities that would come together and compete for a week, with different categories for men, women, juniors, and Elders,” said Issaluk.

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Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations will replace Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

 

 

Treaty4News reports that the name Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations will replace Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The organization’s name change was decided by vote on May 25 at the FSIN Legislative Assembly held in North Battleford, with 22 nations voting for the change, four opposed and a number of the 74-member nations abstaining.

The idea to rebrand the organization had been floating around since 2013, reads the report. The word “Indian” as a label to describe the Indigenous peoples of North America was one that was opposed by many.

“We all have our own language to describe ourselves. When we start to accept the labels that our oppressors place upon us and our grandchildren, then we’re lost,” said Sakimay Chief Lynn Acoose.

The name Saskatchewan was removed because it implies a provincial government connection.

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First Nations banker will accept honourary degree June 1

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor SASKATOON
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

After years of hard work—driven to improve the economic conditions for the Aboriginal people he serves—Keith Martell, one of the original founders of the First Nations Bank of Canada, will be receiving an honourary degree.

Martell is from the Waterhen Lake First Nation (Saskatchewan), and graduated in 1985 from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. The U of S is now bestowing on him an honorary Doctor of Laws from their College of Law and Edwards School of Business. Martell will address the graduating class when he receives the honor during convocation June 1.

“Work ethic is important. I know people don’t like to hear that. There’s a lot of this ‘Dragons’ Den’ idea that says you’ll think of the best idea overnight and make a million dollars. That’s a rare occurrence,” said Martell.

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Kahnawá:ke hockey champ heading to Vermont University

Author: 
By Dale Cory Windspeaker Contributor CHILLIWACK, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

Life is good these days for Kale Kane.

Although still stinging – both mentally and physically - from the rigors of a long playoff run, which ended when his Chilliwack Chiefs fell just two wins shy of a BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League) championship, Kane is thrilled with where he’s at in life, and in hockey.

Kane grew up on the Kahnawá:ke reserve, just 10 kilometers south of Montreal, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Hockey has always been his passion. He drove himself to be a better player, and it paid off with an offer to attend Salisbury (Connecticut) Prep School in 2014-15. Kane played on a Connecticut Wolf Pack U-18 team, which won a national title.

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NEB conditionally approves Trans Mountain pipeline

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

May 19, 2016. The National Energy Board has approved Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but with 157 conditions. Among those conditions is consultation with Indigenous peoples. NEB’s recommendation for Indigenous interests states, “Should the project proceed, Trans Mountain would be required to continue its consultation with potentially affected Indigenous groups throughout the life of the project. As part of the board’s conditions, Trans Mountain would report to the board on its consultation with Indigenous groups during construction and through the first five years of operations.

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First Nations CAO under siege, hires controversial editor

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor NANAIMO, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

May 20, 2016

Three years after he allowed a racist letter to be printed in the now defunct Nanaimo Daily News, the editor of that newspaper has been contracted as a communications consultant with the city.

Tracy Samra is Nanaimo's first female and first Aboriginal CAO.
(Photo: Gordon Fuller)

Editor Mark MacDonald seen during angry protests at the Nanaimo Daily News after a racist letter was published and brought national media attention.
(Photo: Ha-Shilth-Sa/Debora Steel)

It may seem like a strange turn of events, says Nanaimo Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra, but she made the offer to Mark MacDonald as an act of reconciliation.

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Money from feds limits candor—CAP national chief

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor NEW YORK
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

“I’m going to be going to the United Nations saying what I want to say.” – National Chief Dwight Dorey of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

May 19, 2016

His decision to speak at the United Nations this week–and not take money from the federal government to cover the cost of his ticket to New York–finally netted him a meeting with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett about implementation of the Daniels’ decision. National Chief Dwight Dorey of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is convinced of that.

“Their office called me,” said Dorey. “There had been some attempts to try and get a meeting and she never seemed to be available.”

Dorey said the federal government offered to pay his way to the U.N., but he was concerned that accepting that offer would limit his ability to speak his mind.

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Expanded FASD assessments gets kids on the best track sooner

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
6
Year: 
2016

Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury, Ont. announced May 19 that the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) clinic at NEO Kids is now accepting referrals for children under the age of six. Previously, the clinic dealt with children between the ages of six and 18.

New Canadian guidelines use a series of indicators to determine if a child under the age of six has impairments that suggest FASD, even though a diagnosis may not be confirmed because of the child’s young age.

“The new diagnostic guidelines are extremely important as they make it possible to identify at an earlier age children with FASD and those at risk of FASD. Children designated at risk are to receive the same services and interventions as children with a confirmed diagnosis of FASD,” said Kelly Oreskovich, a social worker with the FASD clinic at NEO Kids.

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End child poverty: Where there’s a will, here’s the way [editorial]

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

 
As we go to press, a new study has been released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and we’d like to draw our readers’ attention to it. It’s entitled “Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada.” It can be viewed here: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/shameful-neglect.

The report starts with an “outrageous reality.” The majority of children on First Nation reserves in Canada live in poverty. That’s 60 per cent as of the most recent stats. And this report states the situation is becoming worse for our children.

When one looks at the statistics for rates of children living in poverty, it is stunning enough to learn that 30 per cent of non-status First Nations children struggle under the poverty line with not enough resources to sustain them, with Inuit children (25%) and Métis children (23%), not far behind.

But the on reserve stats are incomprehensible.

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Students get a feel for university life

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor WINNIPEG
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

Forty Indigenous high school students from across Canada got a taste of university life in Mid-May.

The program is the University of Manitoba’s Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering education program. It is for Grade 11 students of Aboriginal descent, already considering a university degree in the field, and they spend a full week shadowing and learning from different researchers, scientists, and professors.

“It’s awesome to be able to see the university and get a feel for what the campus is like. I am also really interested in soil sciences, so it’s cool to go in and learn about the different departments I can study,” said Harmony Cunningham, a Grade 11 student from Joussard, Alta.

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Larry Loyie [footprints]

Author: 
Written by Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

Author encouraged Aboriginal writers

One cold winter night, Larry Loyie and his younger sisters hauled an old steamer trunk up Rabbit Hill overlooking Alberta’s Slave Lake. Unable to afford a real sled, a scoop shovel and tin strips served as sled runners as the children hopped in the box to whiz over the snow.

It’s scenes like this, simply and honestly told, that engaged readers, young and old alike, in Loyie’s books. His Cree upbringing was first captured in As Long as the River’s Flow; it’s success paved the way for three more books detailing his early life.

His sledding adventure in The Moon Speaks Cree, the fourth and final installment in his award-winning Lawrence Series, captures the closeness of traditional Aboriginal life in the early 1940’s, and shares deeper lessons of respect for culture and history.

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Trudeau pledges support for Fort McMurray rebuild in months, years to come

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor EDMONTON
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

May 13, 2016.

After touring Fort McMurray by air and on the ground Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians need to understand that the pictures they have seen of a raging wild fire are accurate and it isn’t because of weather or luck that most of the community remains standing.

“I don’t think people understand that … it was the efforts of the firefighters that prevented us from losing 85 per cent of the municipality….I have spoken to the first responders, the firefighters who detailed just how many interventions were made at various points, strategic moments that ended up saving neighbourhoods and indeed large portions of the community and that’s the story Canadians don’t yet understand,” said Trudeau, speaking from the Provincial Operations Centre in Edmonton.

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