Windspeaker

Canada's National Aboriginal News Source

Woman goes to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Revenant” and realizes she was in the film

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Doreen Nutaaq Simmonds went with her son and a friend to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Revenant” and realized she was in the film, or at least her voice was, reported the Alaska Dispatch News. In a scene from the film, a poem is read quietly in the background as the Pawnee tribe helps DiCaprio’s character build a shelter. Her friend whispered to Simmonds “Hey! I can understand that!” The poem was in the Alaskan Inupiaq language. Simmonds’ son suddenly realized the poem was being read by his mother. “That’s you, Mom,” he said.

“I was so engrossed in what the Indian was doing, I hadn’t paid attention,” Simmonds said. “That’s when my ears opened.” She had recorded the poem 27 years ago for John Luther Adams’ Earth and the Great Weather. Rights to the recording were granted by John Luther Adams/New World Music. Simmonds was not notified that the poem would be in the film, and was not compensated for the work being used.

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A 28-year-old woman found naked and screaming on Thunder Bay street

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

A 28-year-old woman was found March 10 just after midnight on a street in Thunder Bay. She was naked and screaming for help. Her mother is now accusing the local police of ignoring the crime committed against her daughter, because she is a First Nations woman and an addict, reports the CBC’s Jody Porter.

A man who had stopped to help the woman said the victim told the police she had been paid for sex, but the John tried to kill her and dump her in a lake. Her mother saw the bruises on her body. The Good Samaritan, who had given the young woman his sweater to keep warm, said the police showed “a bit less care and less compassion” when it was learned she was a prostitute. The officer handed his sweater back to him using two fingers and told him “to wash or burn it as soon as I got a chance.”

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The remains of 16-year-old Delaine Copenance discovered

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

The remains of Delaine Copenance, missing since Feb. 28, were discovered in Lake of the Woods in Kenora, Ont. Ontario Provincial Police confirmed the discovery March 22. OPP would not confirm if foul play was suspected. A forensic identification unit and the coroner had been sent to the scene at the end of Water St. at the dock. Searches were conducted in both Kenora and Winnipeg, but a ground search for the 16-year-old was called off March 14. The family has asked for privacy to grieve the “devastating loss of their daughter, sister and granddaughter and friend.”

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Regional Chief hopeful federal budget will deliver on promises

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

March 22, 2016.

As First Nations leaders wait for the federal budget to come down Tuesday afternoon, they also wait to see if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has kept his campaign promises and earned the ceremonial name bestowed on him by Tsuut’ina First Nation earlier this month:  “Gumistiyi” or “The One Who Keeps Trying.” 

“We’ll see after the budget,” said Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Craig Mackinaw, who flew to Ottawa Monday afternoon hoping to sit in the gallery Tuesday to experience the first budget to be delivered by the new Liberal government. “We’ll have a better idea then.”

Mackinaw would not speculate on what the budget would contain, but said, like other Indigenous leaders, he hopes to see Trudeau’s campaign promises delivered in dollars.

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Band flip-flops on LNG; Na'MOKS questions consultation process

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor WET’SUWET’EN NATION
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Four days after receiving a go-ahead letter for Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal from Mayor John Helin of the Lax Kw’alaams Band, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has requested more information from Pacific NorthWest.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna has granted a three-month extension.

And if that extension does not include more consultation with First Nations, Wet'suwet'en Nation Hereditary Chief Na’MOKS, says the government can expect legal action.

“Their consultation with First Nations was not complete,” he said. “We’ve approached (the federal government) and informed them numerous times that if the decision is against our wishes, next step (will be) legal cases, up and down the river, right down to the coast.”

Na’MOKS says the warning was issued just last week, when a delegation met in Ottawa with CEAA, and the departments of environment and climate change, and fisheries and oceans.

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Reconciliation found through art that benefits nations

Author: 
By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Artist Dianne Patychuk took up the challenge of her own reconciliation project shortly after the release of the Truth and Reconciliation report last year.

In the last six months, she’s had two art shows entitled “We Are All Treaty People” at the Ben Navaee Gallery in Toronto’s Leslieville community.

Patychuk, a non-Indigenous artist, donates all the money from the sale of her paintings, with the exception of the gallery’s commission, to projects in two Ontario First Nations communities. She doesn’t deduct her expenses for materials and supplies because “I consider that as tuition for all that I’m learning,” Patychuk said. A total of 35 paintings have been sold from both shows.

Patychuk grew up in the prairies. “I was born on the edge of an Indian reserve,” she said at her second exhibition last month.

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Failure to support nets high level apology

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

 
Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Leadership Council apologized to the Nisga’a Nation on behalf of First Nations political leaders who did not support the Nisga’a Nation in its 1973 Calder Case.

The apology was given at the BC Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs’ Assembly held in Laxgalts'ap this week. John also acknowledged the Nisga'a Nation for their leadership in advancing Aboriginal rights and title in British Columbia and Canada in the Calder Case.

A statement on the Nisga’a Lisims Government website said the apology was “long-anticipated and welcomed” according to President H. Mitchell Stevens. Members of Wilp Si'ayuukhl Nisga'a (houses) and simgigat (chiefs) and sigidimhaanak' (matriarchs) present stood before John, B.C. Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson and other members of the First Nations Leadership Council to acknowledge the apology.

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Losing ‘sucks’, so Demons plan to win Creator’s Cup Friday

Author: 
By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor OHSWEKEN, Ont.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Despite the fact the Ohsweken Demons had a regular season record below .500, they are now just one win away from winning a league championship.

The Demons are one of five franchises that competed in the 2016 season of the Canadian Lacrosse League, which is better known simply as CLax.

The Ohsweken club is the only professional sports team in North America to be comprised entirely of Native athletes.

The Demons had their share of struggles during regular season action this year. The club posted a 4-6 record and placed fourth in the league standings.

Ohsweken then squared off against the top-ranked Niagara Lock Monsters, who had a 7-3 regular season mark, in a playoff semi-final contest on March 13.

Though the Lock Monsters had defeated the Demons in all three of their regular season meetings, Ohsweken managed to pull off a playoff shocker. The Demons downed Niagara 13-9 to advance to the championship final.

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“Total chaos” predicted if governments don’t step up on health

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor KEESEEKOOSE FIRST NATION, Sask.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

As Canada debates assisted dying, Ted Quewezance says it’s a concept Indigenous peoples are all too familiar with.

“We’ve lived with that for years,” he said. “The residential schools is assisted dying. Small pox (on blankets) is assisted dying. Health Canada policies are assisted dying. Indian Affairs policies are assisted dying. And what’s going on in our three communities and right across this country is totally outright assisted dying by the government authorities right cross this country.”

On March 14, Keeseekoose, Cote and Key First Nations declared a state of crisis due to an absence of health services. They called on both the federal and provincial governments to take action.

Quewezance, former chief of Keeseekoose and senator for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, says the three First Nations were spurred on to take action “because of all the deaths we’ve had.”

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Dr. Jo-Ann Episkenew [footprints]

Author: 
Written by Dianne Meili
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Her loss is a tragedy for the country
 
 
Historically, Aboriginal people are told what to do by the powerful. Saskatchewan’s Jo-Ann Episkenew, however, was having none of it.
Armed with three degrees, the Métis mother of 13 “leaned in” to the boardroom tables of decision-makers, fighting for policy change to improve the health of her people.

“She asked the toughest questions,” said Bruce Walsh, University of Regina Press Director and Publisher. “‘Ok, I’ll say it’, she would pronounce during meetings when it became clear to her that no one else would. Then she would move forward, lift slightly out of her chair, and in the most generous of ways, address the white elephant in the room.”

With an incomparable mix of street sense, humor, education and passion, Episkenew was changing the status quo. She passed away Feb. 18 from organ failure while battling pneumonia.

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Nunavut needed action on suicide now

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor IQALUIT
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

The “urgent need to take action” has led to partners implementing a one-year plan to address suicide in Nunavut instead of waiting for a long-term approach to have an impact.

Early last week, the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS), which consists of members from the Nunavut government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the RCMP and Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council, released an action plan, entitled Resiliency Within.

“We’re just feeling the urgent need to take action …based on the recommendations of the jury of the coroner’s inquest,” said Kimberly Masson, executive director of Embrace Life Council.

Nunavut’s Chief Coroner Padma Suramala called an inquest into suicide in January 2014, after the number of suicides set a record at 45 in 2013.

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Open Letter: Investigate assassination of Berta Cerecas

Author: 
Open letter from Marilyn Baptiste
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

An open letter from Marilyn Baptiste:
Berta Cáceres, our dear friend; a beautiful strong, courageous and amazing woman leader.

In our way as a people of the Earth, Berta will carry on in her courageous work to protect her land, people and future generations.
A year ago Berta stood side by side with her fellow prize winners, including her friend Marilyn Baptiste, to receive the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize. Berta was honoured as an environmental hero, protecting the Gualcarque River, as the leader of the Civic Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and on behalf of the Lenca Indigenous peoples, against the destructive Agua Zarca Dam.

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Stop the toxic sludge dumping, say chiefs

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band calls biosolid waste dumping “nothing more than a method of cheap toxin dispersal for big cities.” The cities attain a cleaner environment while the people living in agricultural lands and First Nations traditional territories are “expected to take the poisonous burden on their shoulders.”

Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc chiefs met on March 10 at the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council in Kamloops to discuss biosolid dumping on their traditional territories. The ultimate goal, reads a press statement, is to have all biosolid dumping within these territories come to an end.
“Biosolids” is the waste-water industry’s name for the sewer sludge left over after the facilities have done the job of cleaning the water. It represents everything cities pour down their drains, including fecal matter, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, solvents and cleaners, reads the release.

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Murder of Indigenous activist inspires outrage and solidarity

Author: 
By Fernando Arce Windspeaker Contributor TORONTO
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

 The murder of an award-winning Indigenous environmentalist in Honduras has sparked outrage across the world and has emboldened Indigenous movements, which are calling for unity.

On March 11, a coalition of civil society organizations converged on the constituency office of the Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, in Toronto Centre to demand justice for Berta Cáceres, who was shot to death in her home on March 3.

Cáceres had been one of the leading voices of Indigenous resistance to mega-development projects in Honduras and Central America for more than two decades.

Since 2006, she had led peaceful protests against the construction of a dam on a sacred river on which the Rio Blanco community depends for subsistence. Supporters and colleagues believe her successful campaign against the project proposed by a Honduran company is the reason she was killed.

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Little NHL honours the fans

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

The annual Little NHL tournament, which saw a record-breaking 195 teams registered, creates community and builds unity among Ontario First Nation communities, said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day.

It also injects more than $18 million into the local economy, which Day says demonstrates the purchasing power of both Indigenous families and the tournament itself.  

What has become an annual March Break tradition in the First Nation hockey world is now underway in Mississauga, the 45th edition of the Little Native Hockey League Tournament, reads a press statement. Opening ceremonies were held March 13 and the tournament runs to March 17.

This year’s theme honours 45 Years of Fan Appreciation and tournament organizers hosted a banquet honouring inductees into the LNHL Hall of Fame on March 12. Grande Chief Patrick Madahbee emceed the event and NHL legend Ted Nolan offered the key note.

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Sense of identity core to healing from trauma in prison populations

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor SAINT-ALPHONSE-RODRIGUEZ, Que.
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Having culturally-relevant programming to deal with trauma is “extremely important” for many Indigenous inmates, who lack a sense of identity, said Travis Gabriel, a Mohawk Elder and helper at Waseskun Healing Centre.

“Not knowing, not having a belief system … gave them that fearless, hopeless feeling, no direction. It speaks to identity all the way. You have to know who you are in order to know who you want to be, what you’ve become.”

But the role played by the nine healing lodges associated with Corrections Services Canada is limited. The alternative form of incarceration is available only to minimum security male inmates, and minimum and medium security females.

A report tabled in the House of Commons Thursday by Howard Sapers, correctional investigator of Canada, indicated that Aboriginal inmates are more likely to be classified as maximum security.

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Federal relief for child welfare light on dollar details

Author: 
By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

The tone has changed from one federal government to the next, but that doesn’t mean First Nations children living in care on reserves will see changes in the services they receive any time soon.

On Thursday, the Trudeau government filed its response to the Canadian Human Right Tribunal’s direction for remedies that can be implemented immediately to level the playing field between child welfare services on reserve and that which is available off-reserve.

Canada’s response, however, held few details.

“It was lacking in specifics, particularly in the immediate relief stage. The idea of that is really changing the facts on the ground for the kids. There’s a need for more concrete ideas,” said David Taylor, counsel for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

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Deleted emails regarding Highway of Tears nets charges

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Charges have been laid against a former BC government employee following a whistleblower’s allegation that he deleted emails connected to information requests about the Highway of Tears investigation into murdered and missing women.

Charged with willfully making false statements to mislead or attempting to mislead British Columbia’s privacy commissioner, George Gretes will appear in provincial court on April 20. Gretes worked as a ministerial assistant in the Transportation Ministry. Gretes was suspended with pay last May.
Privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham examined the whistleblower’s allegations and referred her report to the RCMP. A special prosecutor appointed by the RCMP approved the two charges under the province’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

The penalty for making false statements to mislead or attempting to mislead the privacy commissioner is a fine of up to $5,000, reports the Vancouver Observer.

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Huron-Wendat grand chief outraged at desecration of remains

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

 
Grand Chief Konrad Sioui of the Huron-Wendat Nation has declared the disturbance of a burial ground and the remains of Huron-Wendat ancestors at Barrie’s Allandale Station construction site “unacceptable”.

He calls on authorities to take immediate steps “to address these serious breaches and find satisfactory solutions in these circumstances, in accordance with their obligations to the Nation and in respect for the Huron-Wendat ancestors.”

Sioui’s concerns come in response to an APTN story about the remains being “dug up, disturbed, and entirely desecrated, likely with the knowledge of certain municipal and government authorities” as they build an extension of its GO Transit commuter system. Sioui calls for an independent investigation to be urgently set up in order to shed light on the issue.

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Get off the Big Grid, focus on the Big Picture, say AFN chiefs

Author: 
By Shayne Morrow Windspeaker Contributor OTTAWA
Volume: 
34
Issue: 
1
Year: 
2016

Canada’s Indigenous peoples are poised to take a lead role in developing a national strategy to deal with climate change, according to chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations.

But Canada must first address the quality-of-life gap between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal Canadians before they can become full partners in this massive enterprise, according to the AFN’s National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the organization’s regional chiefs.
On March 3, Canada’s First Ministers issued the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which sets out a plan to “create jobs, diversify the economy and improve the quality of life” by shifting away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon economy.

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