Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Liberal support for Site C flies in the face of UN declaration

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

Treaty 8 First Nations are asking, ‘What is wrong with this picture?’
The Liberal Government of Canada has declared full and unqualified support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), while at the same time allowing the contentious Site C Hydro project to proceed.

On May 10, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett stood before the United Nations Assembly to declare that Canada had renounced the “objector” status imposed by the previous government, and was now a “full supporter of the Declaration, without qualification,” adding:

“Adopting and implementing the Declaration means that we will be breathing life into Section 35 of Canada's Constitution, which provides a full box of rights for Indigenous Peoples."

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Saskatchewan girls take gold again in NAHC

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor MISSISSAUGA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

Delaney Ross ended up with a medal haul from her appearances at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).

Ross, an 18-year-old forward from the Canoe Lake First Nation, participated in the last six national tournaments, including the 2016 event, which concluded this May 7 in Mississauga, Ont.

Ross was the captain of the Saskatchewan girls’ team, which edged the host Ontario squad 1-0 in this year’s gold-medal contest.

Ross scored the only goal in the championship final. And she scored both of her team’s goals in its 2-0 semi-final victory against Manitoba.
This marked the third consecutive year the Saskatchewan entry took top honours in the girls’ category.

“It was actually a really good experience,” Ross said. “And they made me the captain. Plus winning it three years in a row is pretty much unheard of. Not many teams can do that.”

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Soundscape recorded in marine territory threatened by tanker traffic

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

Gitga’at First Nation and a team of researchers from UBC and Michigan State University have completed a groundbreaking acoustic study of Douglas Channel and its adjacent waters in Gitga’at marine territory on the B.C. Central Coast.

The channel has been proposed as a tanker route to ship diluted bitumen flowing from Alberta through the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline.

The goal was to create a comprehensive picture of the existing marine soundscape prior to future industrial development, according to Gitga’at Science Director Chris Picard.

“The results have been published in a scientific journal (Global Ecology and Conservation), and it is titled Collaborative Research Praxis to Establish Baseline Eco-Acoustical Conditions in Gitga’at Territory,” Picard said.

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Cross-country fundraiser to restore victims of Fort McMurray wildfire

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

 
A young member of Sachigo Lake First Nation has set out on a 2,000-kilometre trek from his home in Northern Ontario to raise money for people impacted by the devastating wildfire in Fort McMurray.

Stanley Barkman, 26, set out from Sioux Lookout on May 9, and hopes to reach the Alberta oilpatch capital in six weeks.

Stanley’s father, Robert, is driving the support vehicle. Windspeaker spoke with him shortly after Stanley passed his first 10 kilometre-mark, under sunny skies.

“It’s been gorgeous for the past month. It’s a little hotter than normal – 22 [Celsius] right now,” Robert said.

“Right now, he is walking by himself. There are two others who will join him in progress.”

The proud father said Stanley has no relatives or friends in Fort McMurray, but the images of destruction and dislocation have moved him deeply, and he is the kind of man who is prepared to take action.

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Police over-reach their authority in Saskatchewan courts

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

Change an unethical practise in bail hearing proceedings in criminal courts in the province, says the Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan.

Kim Beaudin, president of the AACS, says the organization is petitioning the courts to do away with a practice that allows police officers to take the place of Crown Prosecutors in “after hours” trials.
Judges who normally appear during weekday and daytime hours are replaced by Justices of the Peace during evenings and weekends. Police officers then often assume the responsibility of the Crown during that time.

“Under Section 515(1) of the Criminal Code… police have no authority to do that, whether it’s municipal, or government, or the RCMP. They do the arresting, then they turn around and act as the Crown,” said Beaudin.

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Conference will feature Indigenous perspectives on pictographs and petroglyphs

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

May 9, 2016

A historic rock art conference that will bring together the leading Indigenous rock art scholars in British Columbia, as well as  scholars from Spain, France and New Zealand, will be hosted for the first time ever by Indigenous people.

Participants will learn about the latest international and local research on pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings).

The conference will be held in Lytton, B.C. near the Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park river valley and its rock art sites.

Illustrated talks will be held on May 28 at the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux School and will feature 16 specialists on rock art studies. They’ll speak about their research on various aspects of rock art.

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Ask not for whom the drum beats, it beats for thee [column]

Author: 
By Drew Hayden Taylor, Windspeaker Columnist
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

The Urbane Indian

 

The
northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat is only too familiar with
tragedy—flooding, chronic housing shortages, government disregard, flagrant
misspelling of its name. And now a frighteningly high rate of suicide and
suicide attempts amongst the youth there.

It
would be enough to break their hearts, if their hearts weren’t so strong. Next
to follow, was a barrage of

the
unsympathetic questions that usually follow any of these calamities, usually
asked by puzzled southern non-Native individuals or, as we like to call them in
this politically correct age, people of pallor. Why don’t you just move?

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Children’s advocate willing to give Manitoba PC's a chance

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

 May 5, 2016.
 
Cora Morgan is hopeful that, even though the new Cabinet under the newly-elected Progressive Conservatives does not include a children’s services ministry, the interest shown by the PCs while in opposition to improve services delivered to First Nations children will carry through.

“It’s a little concerning but hopefully there’s more to it than we know and they do have (children) as a priority,” said Morgan, who serves as Manitoba’s First Nation Child Advocate.

On Tuesday, Premier Brian Pallister introduced a lean Cabinet of 12, eight of whom are rural MLAs, four are from Winnipeg, and none of whom are from northern Manitoba.

Pallister named Kirkfield Park MLA Scott Fielding as minister of families, which includes children’s services. He lumped Indigenous Affairs into a single ministry with municipal relations under Agassiz MLA Eileen Clarke.

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“I do not want to be party to a cover-up,” says grand chief

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

A scathing report on the mining industry by B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer is being received by First Nations with cautious optimism. It’s their hope that it will bring positive changes to protect the environment in their traditional territories.

In her May 3 report, “An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector,” Bellringer concluded that both B.C.’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of the Environment had failed to meet expectations in both compliance and enforcement.

“We found major gaps in resources, planning and tools. As a result, monitoring and inspections of mines were inadequate to ensure mine operators complied with requirements,” she wrote.

“Neither MEM nor MoE have adequately evaluated the effectiveness of their regulatory programs.”

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Indigenous nurses to benefit from $1 million

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
5
Year: 
2016

The Canadian Nurses Foundation is excited to announce its One Million in One Year campaign, with the goal to double the number of scholarships it currently funds for Indigenous nurses.

The aim is to raise $1 million to help support Indigenous nursing and education.

"CNF, in collaboration with stakeholders, is committed to make change happen through its support of Indigenous nurses," said Christine Rieck Buckley, CEO of the Canadian Nurses Foundation.

Funding will also support initiatives to increase the knowledge and skills of Indigenous nurses in mental health.

Given the increased incidence of suicide in Indigenous communities, this initiative will result in more access to timely mental health services.

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Mass education exercises on colonialism to hit capital cities across Canada

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

In honour of the one-year anniversary (June 2) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s release of its calls to action report, a group called Kairos Canada is planning special  events, called the Blanket Exercise, across the country.

Kairos will bring the exercise, a favorite, quick and easy method for teaching material about colonialism in Canada, to the lawns of legislature buildings starting in Charlottetown May 28, at Toronto’s Queens Park on May 30, in Ottawa May 31, in Regina on June 1, in Victoria June 2, and in Winnipeg and Whitehorse on June 4. Other cities are exploring possible dates.

The blanket exercise has been around since 1996. It was created after the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples report was “quickly shelved,” said Katy Quinn, Indigenous Rights Coordinator for Kairos.

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Frances Koncan unapologetic about ‘de-colonial’ comedy

Author: 
By Nigel Irwin Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

These are exciting times to live in with Indigenous people expressing themselves through art, music and literature in ways that have never been seen before.

A great example of this is Anishnaabe playwright Frances Koncan, who is finding her own unique voice in Canadian theater.

She’s telling a historically Indigenous story, but in a way that perhaps hasn’t been considered before with the play Zahgidiwin Love.

“We’re calling it a de-colonial comedy. A dark comedy, a satire exploring the trauma of residential schools and colonialism, spread across some fictional landscapes. It follows this one character who exists through three different phases. In a residential school in the 50’s, in the future in a kind of post-apocalyptic feminist utopia, and also in contemporary society where she is kidnapped and missing.” 
Though her subject matter has bleak and troubling undertones, Koncan seeks to highlight the comedy over the drama.

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Wild ride promised when Red Ride Tour hits the road

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

Musician Kristi Sinclair and some of her musical friends are ready to embark on the sixth annual Red Ride Tour, starting May 4 at Nipissing First Nation.

Sinclair, who organizes the tour, as well as plays in the shows, says they’re hitting smaller venues this year.

“I booked a lot more off-the-grid kinds of shows, and I wanted to go to more remote communities… Going to the smaller communities, you’re invited into the community with open arms, and it’s just really heart-warming,” she said.

The dates this year are in British Columbia and Ontario, but she’ll still be hooking up with various artists along the way.

She started the Red Ride Tour with fellow musician Chris Derkson, but she’s doing the tour without her as a sidekick this time around.

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Neither polite nor gentle: Exhibit will shake foundations of colonialism

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor VANCOUVER
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

“We’re not hiding our culture anymore… We’re sharing it, we’re celebrating it, we’re honoring it… Racism is ‘I don’t understand your religious beliefs; then I fear you, and hate the color of your skin.”

The voice of Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, whose lifetime of work will be displayed at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in May, echoes the sentiment of many.  

“So I’ve made this painting to show people that I’m going to pray as a Native person, in a longhouse on sacred ground, and I’m going to be the ‘noble savage’… that person that worships everything in life, and looks after the world, and cares for everything,” he said.

He refers to the painting called Spirit Dancer Dances Around the Fire, which is as politically-charged as most of his other work, only much, much larger—18 feet by 11 feet to be exact.

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Masquerade gala, exhibit, and symposium celebrates 20 years of Urban Shaman

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor WINNIPEG
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

The Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery in Winnipeg is celebrating its 20th year in business.

In honor of the occasion, they’ll be holding a special exhibit beginning May 6 and ending June 30, which opens with a reception party, followed by a two-day symposium with artist-led discussion panels and a gala ceremony.

Daina Warren, the gallery director, tailored the exhibit to commemorate artists who have been involved with the gallery since its earliest days.

The title is “The Fire Throws Sparks” and consists of 11 people in a group exhibition. “All of the artists have been through the gallery at some point… And I wanted to talk about the ‘spark’ of inspiration or the ‘spark’ of an idea, so chose people’s works that were about a time in their career where they were just getting recognized,” she said.

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Canada in third-party management, says critic

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

The Indigenous Affairs critic for the federal NDP says the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has put Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada under third party management with the new orders it delivered on child welfare April 26.

“They’ve made it very clear. They don’t trust the department of Indigenous Affairs to put children first. They’re effectively putting them under a form of third-party management,” said MP Charlie Angus.

In its 15-page ruling on the continuation of their January remedial order, CHRT members Sophie Marchildon and Edward Lustig said the federal government was not working quickly enough to offer up immediate relief for First Nations Child and Family Services agencies or in implementing Jordan’s Principle.

The CHRT directed INAC to report to the panel in two weeks on the implementation of Jordan’s Principle, which calls for jurisdictional disputes over funding to be secondary to the child’s best interest.

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Stanley Cup (and hockey equipment for kids) heads North to fans

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor YELLOWKNIFE
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

Project North officials are once again anticipating huge success for their Arctic Tour.

For the second straight year, members of the organization will be among those bringing hockey equipment to Inuit children in some of Canada’s most remote northern communities.

But like last year it won’t just be some equipment making the trip to the far north. A pair of former National Hockey League stars, Lanny McDonald and Mark Napier, will also be heading North.

And so too will the Stanley Cup, one of, if not the most prestigious and recognizable trophies in all of sports.

The excursion began on April 27 with the contingent from Project North flying to Yellowknife. The Arctic Tour officially kicks off today, April 28.

From today until Saturday the group will fly about 5,700 kilometres, visiting seven different communities in the country’s northern territories.

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Gang activity, escalating violence requires emergency response, says Tsilhqot’in Tribal Chair

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

The six Chiefs of the Tsilhquot’in Nations of the B.C. Interior are calling on government to help in dealing with a recent increase in the level of violence in Williams Lake and surrounding communities.

Three separate shooting incidents have rocked the community in the past five weeks, beginning with the fatal targeted shooting of a 20-year-old man on March 20.

On April 25, area schools were closed as a precaution after shots were fired at a home on Western Avenue.

In a media release issued April 27, the Tsilhqot’in National Government called for increased resources to deal with an escalating situation, including prevention and emergency response teams.

Looking beyond those immediate needs, there is also a need to provide more recreational opportunities and cultural support, according to Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government and Chief of Tl’etinqox.

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Chief pushes back on editorial writers that “don’t have a clue”

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor BIGSTONE CREE NATION, Alta.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

Strong words from Bigstone Cree Nation Chief Gordon Auger calling the Calgary Herald out on its claim that First Nations need to be monitored for every dollar spent of the $8.4 billion allotted to them in the March federal budget.

Those words have earned the Alberta chief accolades from his band members.

On Wednesday April 27, Auger had his letter, titled by the Calgary Herald “Chief: If you think aboriginals have it so good, come and visit us,” published digitally.

“I got a lot of calls from my band members and they’re very pleased,” said Auger.

Auger was responding to a Herald editorial published March 31 that said the “Liberals must ensure full accountability for the billions they are about to spend” on First Nations, saying financial disclosure is expected of the federal and provincial governments and must be expected of First Nations.

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Elder understands the struggle with suicide

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor EDMONTON
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

 

April 27, 2016.

“In my life I have thought about suicide,” said Elder Francis Whiskeyjack.

Whiskeyjack sat alongside Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff on Monday as they shared the disturbing report of seven Aboriginal youth, who killed themselves over an 18-month period beginning in June 2013.

 

Elder Francis Whiskeyjack (right) with Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff talk about the tragedy of Aboriginal youth suicide.
(Photo: Shari Narine)

 

Whiskeyjack is a residential school survivor. He is the adult child of alcoholics. His mother died of hypothermia due to domestic violence. His story is not so different than those of the seven youth, including two brothers, who are the focus of this report.

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