Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Human Rights panel lights a fire under Canada on child welfare

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

Cindy Blackstock is “just overwhelmed” by the decision delivered Tuesday April 26 by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

“The tribunal is really putting the needs of First Nations children first and reminding the government of the real meaning of Jordan’s Principle and the necessity of taking action now to relieve the suffering of these children who are in child welfare care or whose families are in contact with the child welfare system. I hope the government reacts quickly and thoroughly to the tribunal’s decision,” said Blackstock, executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

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Six days to victory for Vancouver Occupy INAC

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

 
The Council of Mothers has declared victory after occupying the Vancouver office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada for six days.

The grassroots protest was part of the national Occupy INAC movement that was launched following a rash of youth suicides in Attawapiskat, according to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union B.C. Indian Chiefs.
“Essentially, a group of young single mothers took it upon themselves to occupy the B.C. Region [INAC] office in Vancouver, in solidarity with the occupations that were taking place in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto,” Phillip said.

“They want the Trudeau Government to act. They’re not prepared to accept the sunny public platitudes that have been pretty much the hallmark of the Trudeau Government to date.”

The occupation began April 18, with allies from the Black Lives Matter and No One is Illegal movements, and continued through Saturday April 23.

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Sixties Scoop class action for Manitoba filed

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

On Wednesday April 20, a class action lawsuit was filed in Winnipeg for Priscilla Meeches and Stewart Garnett against Canada. It’s the first step in what could be a lengthy legal process.

Meeches and Garnett represent Indian, non-status Indian and Métis children taken from their families in Manitoba and placed in non-Indigenous homes as part of the Sixties Scoop.

“I want to see more action that supports the new purported position of the government,” said Scott Robinson, referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge of reconciliation to the country’s Indigenous peoples.
Robinson is the spokesperson for Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto, which has joined with Troniak Law in Winnipeg to commence the class action.

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NWAC puts forward controversial choices for bank note

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

Canada is looking for a woman’s image to grace one of a series of bank notes to come out in 2018 and has called for nominations. The decision that faced the Native Women’s Association of Canada wasn’t who to nominate, but whether to participate at all.

A monument commemorating Shannen Koostachin, a young Cree activist from Attawapiskat First Nation, was unveiled on Oct. 24, 2015, at the New Liskeard waterfront. The bronze sculpture is the work of  Tyler Fauvelle.  (File photo)

Critics claimed being part of the process and having an Indigenous woman’s image put on a Canadian bank note ignored how the federal government has treated Indigenous peoples throughout history.

“We could not see it as a political statement not to participate, but instead (as a decision) making Indigenous women in the history of Canada invisible yet again,” said Dawn Lavell-Harvard, NWAC president.

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Yellow Horn is seeing the world, getting paid

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor BROCKET, Alta.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2016

Following a stellar hockey season in Austria, Colton Yellow Horn has signed on to compete in an even higher calibre overseas circuit next year.

Yellow Horn, a Blackfoot from Alberta’s Piikani Nation, spent the 2015-2016 season with a squad called Znojmo Orli in Austria’s pro circuit.

Yellow Horn finished third in league scoring, registering 55 points in 52 regular-season matches. He then racked up a record 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 18 playoff matches.

For his regular season and post-season performances, the 28-year-old forward was chosen as the most valuable player in the Austrian circuit dubbed the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL), which translates to First Bank Hockey League.

But Yellow Horn was not entirely happy with the way his season ended up. That’s because his squad was defeated 4-2 in its best-of-seven championship final series by a team called Red Bull Salzburg.

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A moral obligation? The Catholic Entities? What bunk! [editorial]

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

Off the hook

It’s the Catholic Entities—again—that have thrown a wrench into the reconciliation part of Truth and Reconciliation, walking away from a third of its legal responsibility under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, approved  by a government lawyer with a “miscommunication” that got the Catholics off the hook for $25 million.

The Globe and Mail uncovered the fact that the healing programs money that the Entities were required to raise—by legally-binding agreement—was waved by the federal government that was actually trying to put pressure on the groups to pay.

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City welcomes shoppers in Indigenous languages

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ's Aboriginal Peoples’ Advisory Committee launched an initiative April 18 that invites downtown businesses to install decals that welcome people in Indigenous languages. The initiative is symbolic and celebrates Indigenous arts and languages, reads a press statement.

It is also a challenge to downtown businesses to work towards greater reconciliation with the Indigenous community, fostering understanding, respect, and dignity.

The decal initiative addresses the fourth guiding principle outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report: "Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures, and languages."

Languages represented are Ojibwe, Cree, Dene, Michif, Dakota, and Inuktitut. The first decal was installed at Portage Place Shopping Centre.

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More compassionate response from police goal of research

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

The Government of Ontario announced April 18 funding for three research projects to support a more appropriate response from law enforcement authorities when dealing with incidents of sexual violence and harassment against Indigenous women, and to encourage more survivors to report sexual violence. The announcement was made at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres.

Photo: Sylvia Maracle, executive director the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Yasir Naqvi, minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Tracy MacCharles, minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.

“Sexual violence and harassment perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls is underreported due to a lack of various supports,” said Sylvia Maracle, executive director of the federation. “Culturally-grounded research in this area will give voice to those who need it while inviting the system to better respond.

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William Jones “Wolverine” Ignace [footprints]

Author: 
Written by Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

Gustafsen Lake warrior showed bravery under fire

 

The key figure in the 1995 Gustafsen Lake standoff – which saw more gunfire than 1990’s Oka crisis – was a warrior who liked nothing better than to grow squash, beans and corn in his organic garden in later life.

“It was a lot of hard work for an Elder to do, but he would get out there into the field every day,” said Kanahus Manuel, who travelled extensively with Wolverine after Gustafsen Lake to support Indigenous warriors around the world.

“Everything he did was to set an example for the young people. He always said we could feed ourselves and that was what he was doing with his Nourish the Nation program,” she said.

“He was all about creating independence for our nation and he always had young people travelling up to learn from him. It wasn’t just about food. It was about the deeper issues … our land, our freedom.”

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Cultural safety lab to be established at FNUniv

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor REGINA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

After a year of operating on the Enoch Cree Nation in Alberta, the monthly diabetes clinic has a steadily growing number of patients. That success, says Enoch Cree member Joanne McDonald, who also serves as community health representative at the local health centre, is due to the visiting physician’s no-nonsense attitude and understanding.

Dr. Jeff Winterstein, who makes the regular trip from Edmonton to the nearby First Nation, says commitment and trust – both on his part, as a non-Indigenous physician, and the part of his First Nations patients – is part of the reason for the clinic’s success.

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Breaking bad by breaking even

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor EDMONTON
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

What’s in a name, really? Nothing most of the time, unless you’re talking about Gladue Reports in Canada.

For some people, the name alone sparks controversy and mixed emotions, and it’s sometimes even misinterpreted as a “get out of jail free card” by people who don’t understand, or just don’t agree with, their purpose.

While judges can choose a rehabilitative option over jail time using information found in the report, the purpose is not necessarily to skip jail, but to place an offender on a path of healing. It’s the fact that they are for Aboriginal people only, however, that makes others think it might be an unfair advantage.

If you talk to someone like Judge John Reilly, now retired, who sat on the bench near the Stoney Nakoda First Nation for more than 20 years, he will tell you it’s not about advantage.

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Vancouver protesters demand action on Attawapiskat suicide crisis

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor VANCOUVER
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

A gathering of First Nations families and non-Aboriginal activists occupied the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in Vancouver on Monday morning April 18.

The Vancouver protest was part of a series of actions nationwide. The immediate goal was to demand action on the ongoing suicide crisis in Attawapiskat, but the conditions that have sparked the crisis are systemic across Canada, according to organizer Chrissie Oleman.

“We have parents and children and we have allies here,” Oleman told Windspeaker.

Those allies included activists from the Black Lives Matter and No One is Illegal movements. That was no coincidence, Oleman said.

“My friend Gerri Lynne Webster was speaking at the Black Lives Matter rally [Toronto April 17]. I checked in with her before her talk, and I said ‘Please speak about Attawapiskat,’ and she said, ‘Yes. That’s first on my agenda.’”

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Truth-telling at the heart of “Reckoning”

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

“Reckoning”, the latest production by Indigenous theatre-company Article 11, offers an intense experience with their offering of three 30-minute plays dealing with residential schools.

In a post on social media, veteran actor Monique Mojica called it a “Kick ass show. Skillfully crafted & performed. This is what our stories told by us looks like.”

Playwright Tara Beagan, co-founder of Article 11 and co-director of “Reckoning”, said she was initially inspired by her Ntlaka’pamux mother.

“My mom, a survivor, had to be talked into the Common Experience Payment application,” she said.

“She didn’t believe being kidnapped and held unlawfully as a six-year-old was a big enough crime to deserve recompense. Her kids disagreed and she finally decided to apply. When the monies came in, she wanted little to do with it. She bought me a laptop and put money away for my older sister’s two kids.”

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Métis Council, CAP may tussle on Daniels

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

The only Métis body that enjoys a nation-to-nation relationship with the federal and provincial governments is the Métis National Council, and as such, in wake of the Daniels’ decision, it is the MNC that will be conducting negotiations with the other two levels of government on behalf of the Métis people, says MNC President Clement Chartier.

“We’ve made this point, and I believe we’ve won this point, with the provincial and federal governments that we’re not an NAO, national Aboriginal organization, we’re a government, and so on that basis we will be moving forward,” Chartier insisted.

 

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Daniels' decision has CAP National Chief walking on air

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

A highly-anticipated decision from the Supreme Court of Canada has produced a solid win for the country’s 600,000 Métis and non-status Indians.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today in the Daniels’ case that Métis and non-status Indians are a federal responsibility and would no longer be in a “jurisdictional wasteland with significant and obvious disadvantaging consequences.”

In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court said Métis and non-status Indians are considered “Indians” under Sect. 91 (24) of the Constitution, which provides the federal government with exclusive authority over Indians and lands reserved for Indians.

“While finding Métis and non‑status Indians to be “Indians” under s. 91(24) does not create a duty to legislate, it has the undeniably salutary benefit of ending a jurisdictional tug‑of‑war,” stated the 38-page decision.

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Indigenous basketball goes global in Burnaby

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor BURNABY, B.C.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

Caption: Photo credit Marie Octaviano

Team in white is Maori national side
Saints player in black
 
It’s amazing how quickly plans can snowball.

A perfect example of this is an event that British Columbia’s Skidegate Saints, a men’s basketball team, will host this summer.

Last year, the Saints of Haida Gwaii, travelled to New Zealand to play against the Maori national team.

This venture proved to be successful, and the Maori side agreed to return the favour and travel to Canada this year to square off against the Saints again.

But the original plan of having two clubs square off in a cultural and sporting exchange has blossomed into the World Indigenous Basketball Challenge.

Both the Saints and the Maori squad will take part in this event. As of mid-April, 20 clubs have confirmed they will take part.

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Taqqut Productions sets films of the north aglow

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor NUNAVUT
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

A media company in Nunavut is taking a modern approach to traditional stories and culture. Taqqut Productions Inc. is an Iqaluit-based, Inuit-owned film company dedicated to sharing stories from the north through voices of the north.

Created in 2011 by Louise Flaherty and Neil Christopher, Taqqut Productions has been creating animated children’s films, and winning international awards for their work.

“I am a grandmother, and growing up we had very limited books and resources that showed our identity,” said Flaherty. “So for my granddaughter’s generation, I wanted to make sure they had more of us in the books they would be reading, and also in what she was going to be watching.”

“She watches a lot of Treehouse, but it’s not in her language… I thought I would be able to contribute that way, if we started animating at least a few traditional stories,” she said.

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BC Hydro argues against applying UNDRIP to Site C dam project

Author: 
By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor VANCOUVER
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

Lawyers for BC Hydro are taking an “appalling” position on the human rights of Indigenous people by arguing against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in a Site C Dam case now before the Federal Court of Appeals, says the First Nations Summit.

BC Hydro argues that the UN Declaration is not part of Canadian law, nor a customary standard, and is only “aspirational.”

The argument was made in response to an application from Amnesty International for leave to intervene in the case Prophet River First Nation and West Moberly First Nation v. The AG of Canada, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Environment, Minister of Transport and BC Hydro and Power Authority.

BC Hydro lawyers told the court March 21 that Canada’s support for the UNDRIP is “expressly qualified by statements that it is ‘aspirational’ and ‘non-legally binding’,” and that the UNDRIP is not comparable to international laws that Canada has ratified.

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Indigenous lives matter too, reads statement on Lac-Simon death

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

A demonstration is being organized Monday, April 11 at 7 p.m. in Saint-Laurent (Montreal, Que.) in solidarity with the family of Sandy Michel and the community of Lac-Simon, Que.

Michel, 25, was shot by Anishnabe Nation Tribal Council police in Lac-Simon, near Val-d'or during the evening of April 6. Lac-Simon is located 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The police were responding to a report of a man walking in the street with a knife or other bladed weapon. During the incident, a patrol car ran into Michel, after which shots were fired.

“It is an immense loss for his father Johnny, whose older son was also killed by the police in 2009,” reads notification of the demonstration from the group Solidarity with ANORW.

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Unrealistic expectation for police sexual abuse reporting

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor VAL-D’OR, Que.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2016

 
A rescheduled meeting with Quebec Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelly for Friday could not have been better timed for Edith Cloutier, executive director of the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre and president of Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec.

Cloutier will be letting Kelly know that she is disappointed with measures announced on April 5 by Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux to establish a second 1-800 hotline allowing Indigenous women, who allege sexual abuse by police, to lodge complaints against the officers of the Sûreté du Québec. Nor is she impressed with expanding the Montreal Police Service’s mandate to investigate all complaints that come in on the hotlines.

Cloutier says it is unrealistic to expect Indigenous women to call the new hotline and complain about police action.

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