Volume 33 No. 5 • August 2015
Inform. Impact. Inspire. Independent. Indigenous. Apologies first step on road to better relations Page 9
Winnipegger launches fundraiser for water-deprived FN Page 12
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Saddle Lake Powwow More photos on pages 27 & 28.
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Women continue to fall victim as debate rages on Page 6
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Women continue to fall victim as debate rages on
The cousin of former Alberta Regional Chief Cameron Alexis is one more statistic for 2015. Misty Potts Sanderson of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation was last seen March 14 near the northern Alberta First Nation.
Continue to fill the space created by the TRC with dialogue 7 Don’t wait for “the big home run” or the “big solution” that will resolve Canada’s troubled relationship with Aboriginal people. There are many things on the journey of reconciliation that are “doable” and everyone can exercise acts of reconciliation, said Hereditary Chief Robert Joseph.
Did she jump, or was she pushed? Lavellee resigns
The appeal to the Daniels case, set to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in October, is not enough to keep Betty Ann Lavallee from stepping down as the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. “It’ll be up to the next national chief to take the ball and run with it,” said Lavallee, who feels confident she has done the necessary preparation work to make the next steps easier.
Apologies only first step on road to better relations
Larry Loyie and Lynn Thompson feel differently about the words spoken in the apology by their home provinces’ premiers. But what they do agree on is that the words are only as strong as the actions that follow them.
10 Departments [ rants and raves ] 5 [ windspeaker briefs ] 9 [ provincial news ] 12 - 21 [ health ] 22 [ sports ] 23 [ education ] 24 & 25 [ footprints ] Julie C. Bull 26 When Jodi Taylynn Belcourt attended a healing group led by Julie Collette Bull, her life was in shambles and she had a large chip on her shoulder.
26 ADVERTISING The advertising deadline for the September 2015 issue of Windspeaker is August 20, 2015. Call toll free at: 1-800-661-5469 for more We acknowledge theinformation. financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
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Windspeaker is published by the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA) Canada's largest publisher of Aboriginal news and information. AMMSA's other publications include:
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What can I do? Grandmother Josephine Mandamin is walking again, despite a knee replacement 18 months ago. She continues her sacred Water Walks with a team of people who, this year, are following the great migration route of the Anishinaabe people. The group will be gathering at all seven stopping places where they will smoke the pipe and drum and share stories with whomever wishes to be a part of the gatherings; anyone healthy enough, free from the influences of drugs and alcohol, to care about the spirit of our water can take part. The bucket the women on the journey carry was dipped into the water on the east coast near the GaspÈ Peninsula sometime in June. It’s the first time the Water Walkers, who have been undertaking an awareness of the importance and sacredness of clean and healthy water since 2003, were to carry salt water. They orphaned the water when they collected it, and then after they carried it for a time, they returned it to the body of water and collected a bit more. Mandamin tastes the water from time to time, and she said the water stopped being brackish as they advanced along the St. Lawrence River in early July. They walk for 10 to 12 hours a day, averaging about 42 km a day, raising awareness about the oil spills on the Great Lakes, the train derailments that have caused harm to the water, fish, vegetation and animals. “We do not want pipelines across our country or our communities,” reads the Website at WaterWalkersUnited.com . The walk will take them to Madeline Island in Wisconsin around Aug. 20. Mandamin is a very determined woman, and it all started with a vision. The spirit of a great Miigis entered through her dreams and told her she must take action for the water. She is a member of a very old shell society called the Three Fires of the Midewiwin, Gabriel Peltier told Windspeaker. He takes care of Mandamin along the walk and was her speaker during our discussion. Her vision started a kitchen table discussion amongst a group of women trying to answer a simple question: ‘What can I do?’ It was decided that they would set out to acknowledge the water, treating it like the entity it is, rather than a resource. They wanted to stand up for the spirits of the water. Literally walking the talk, said Mandamin, and there is a lot to talk about. The first Water Walk was in Spring of 2003 when two Anishinaabe grandmothers, and a group of supporters, walked around Lake Superior. This was done “to raise awareness that our clean and clear water is being polluted by chemicals, vehicle emissions, motor boats, sewage disposal, agricultural pollution, leaking landfill sites, and residential usage is taking a toll on our water quality. Water is precious and sacred… it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist.” Mandamin told Windspeaker in July she’s concerned too about the proposal to bury nuclear waste a mile under Lake Huron. In 2004 they walked the perimeter of Lake
Michigan, then Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007. In 2008 it was Lake Michigan again and then someone said ‘now you’ll have to walk the St. Lawrence’, and Mandamin took it upon herself to do that in 2009. And each year after there has been a walk around a lake or other body of water up to this sacred walk of 2015. It’s an amazing commitment. And now, others are catching up to the concerns. In June, recently-elected Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Isadore Day called on Canada and Ontario to work with First Nations to implement the Water Declaration of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk and Onkwehone. The declaration guides in the restoration of the waters in their ancestral lands, based on traditional knowledge, inherent rights, sacred responsibilities and the wisdom of the Elders, Chief Day said. It was in October 2008 that the declaration was presented during the First Nations Water Policy Forum in Garden River. After a discussion about water quality, water quantity, safe drinking water and a clear path forward, they came up with the declaration that said they had a responsibility for, and direct relationship to, the waters, including rain, waterfalls, rivers, stream, creeks, lakes, mountain springs, swamp springs, bedrock water veins, snow, oceans, icebergs and the sea. And it says that as the First Peoples of Turtle Island, through the teachings of the women, had the right and responsibility to defend and ensure the protection, availability and purity of all waters, both fresh and salt for the survival of the present and future generations. At that time, the declaration said the ecosystems of the world have been under considerable stress from misuse and abuse. It’s now seven years later, and that stress has worsened. And it’s not just Ontario that is suffering. Across the country we are seeing a profound impact. When asked how she wants people to respond to this year’s Water Walk, Mandamin said she wants women, if they can, to come and carry the water and for men to come and walk with the women for their protection. And if you can’t walk, come and be a part of their gatherings and listen to the old stories. They are walking for all of humanity. It’s all about the water. There is a Facebook page (Water Walkers United) that tracks the walkers. At this writing they are east of Smith Falls on their way to Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara. And beyond helping the walkers, Windspeaker asks for a wider response to protecting all waters. ‘What can I do?’ was the question asked around that kitchen table in 2003. And we ask that each and every one of you take time tonight around your own table to ask that question of yourselves. We are water, and water needs our help. Windspeaker
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[ rants and raves ]
Page 5 Chatter
(left to right): Peter Schwarzhoff, Liberal, North Island-Powell River, Brenda Sayers, Green Party North Island-Powell River, Glenn Sollitt, Green Party Courtenay-Alberni, Rachel Blaney, NDP North Island-Powell River and Gord Johns, NDP Courtenay-Alberni.
An act of non-partisan activism took place on July 12 in Courtenay, B.C. Three political parties worked together to support the CBC. Hupacasath First Nation’s Brenda Sayers and Glenn Sollitt, both candidates for the Green Party of Canada, Rachel Blaney and Gord Johns of the NDP, and Peter Schwarzhoff of the Liberal Party all worked cooperatively to take petitions and hand out lawn signs. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have launched a campaign to let people know that the current attempt to “downgrade and underfund the CBC” is an election issue this year. Sayers was the first to respond to the invitation to come and she got the most signatures. The invitation was extended to all political parties with seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives did not respond.
The Osheaga Arts & Music Festival announced July 13 that it will not permit people attending their event to wear First Nations headdresses as accessories during the three-day event at the end of July, the Montreal Gazette reports. ÎleSoniq, the electronic music festival held Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 in Parc Jean-Drapeau will also adhere to the same guidelines. Osheaga told Facebook fans and artists to not use the First Nations’ spiritual and cultural icon as a fashion accessory, and to respect and honor First peoples.
The National Observer eports that Dr. David Suzuki pulled several people from the Peace River July 11 after their canoe capsized during the 10th annual Paddle for the Peace event. The nearly 80-year-old environmentalist was first on the scene, and after pulling the canoeists out of the water, jumped into the swamped canoe and paddled several kilometres down river. He then gave the keynote speech in front of hundreds of people who had gathered to protest the Site C dam. The Observer said the Peace River is known for frigid waters and people can succumb quickly to hypothermia. They also report that 40 years ago, during his first struggle against Site C dam, Suzuki capsized his own canoe on the river.
On July 9, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s complicity in the grave sins of colonization in the Americas, and now Aboriginal leaders in Canada hope the statement will lead to a similar apology for the abuses done during the residential schools era. “This can be taken perhaps as an indication that maybe he will be open to complying with, accepting our recommendation, that he come to Canada and apologize specifically to survivors of residential schools and their families,” Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), told Yahoo Canada News. “Overall, I see it as a good sign.” Indigenous leader Adolfo Chavez said “We accept the apologies. What more can we expect from a man like Pope Francis? It’s time to turn the page and pitch in to start anew. We Indigenous were never lesser beings.”
The Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Secretariat, representing the three Mi’gmaq communities of the Gaspe region in Quebec, filed legal proceedings July 6 in a New Brunswick Court. The secretariat seeks to halt construction of the tar sands export project at the Belledune Port that will run two trains of 125 cars each carrying 175,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil every day along the “sacred Matapedia and Restigouche salmon rivers and the Baie des Chaleurs,” reads a press release. “For millennia, our territory has fed us and formed our identity, but these privileges come with responsibilities,” said Listuguj Chief Scott Martin, chair of the secretariat. “That is especially true of our sacred duty to protect the salmon. We are determined to counter the dangerous threat this project presents to our already under threat salmon populations, which would also be a threat against our families and communities. We have not given our consent to this risky project and the government refuses to even consult us.”
[ news ]
A black and red affair in history Canada and America are two different countries, but with similar characteristics. One was born in violence and rebellion, a middle finger extended to King George, while the other was conceived in quiet negotiation, with probably a few ‘I’m sorrys” to Queen Victoria. Over the years, these two step-siblings have grown and manifested themselves in new and different ways. For one thing, America seems obsessed with killing African American people. Whether we’re talking about Treyvon Marten in Florida, Walter Scott in South Carolina, the guy selling cigarettes in New York City, the incident in Ferguson, Missouri or the recent Charleston Church shooting, to name just a few, being a black man in America can be hazardous to your life. North of that imaginary border, being Native in Canada can also be hazardous to your health. The only real difference within the
THE URBANE INDIAN
Drew Hayden Taylor
tentacles of this country is, broadly speaking, it appears Canada has a conscience… of sorts. With spotty results, Canada, it would seem, is attempting to deal with its compromised morality. To me, it seems like both countries act like they are in an abusive relationship with members of its population. America began its existence with slavery and seems to be still taking its anger out on an entire
population of people who were instrumental in its creation. Today, the abuse still continues in America, with one partner opting quite frequently to mistreat those seeking the American Dream and finding an American Nightmare. Truly a dysfunctional relationship. Not to be outdone, we in Canada have our own domestic disputes to deal with. In the last few months there has been story
after story in the media dealing with Native issues, and Canadian society’s attempt at coming to grips with past injustices. In Canada, it’s more like a couple in counselling. A lot of bad things were done and said in the past and they are currently in therapy dealing with the after effects. Case in point: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, detailing the sad summation of a hundred years of forced education in residential schools… or could they be called re-education camps? Unfortunately, nobody really expects this report to go anywhere, other than your local library. When the report was tabled, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt visibly looked like he would rather be the guest of honour at a Mohawk/Jesuit barbeque then to accept the recommendations There was also the Province of Manitoba’s recent apology for the
Sixties Scoop up, when Native kids were taken away by the province and farmed out for adoption to non-Native families; the second salvo at destroying Native culture through children. Manitoba was the first province to publically acknowledge the damage this practice has and still does cause. Oddly enough, it was often referred to as ‘AIM’ – Adopt Indian/Métis. Add this to the federal government’s residential school apology and the stereotype is true. Canadians do like to say “I’m sorry.” Yet another National Aboriginal Day (affectionately known as NADs) has come and gone again, with much government funding provided to celebrate those traditions that once were forbidden and illegal. Perhaps the largest collective case of a passive/aggressive condition known to Canada. (See Black on page 9.)
Women continue to fall victim as debate rages on By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor
The cousin of former Alberta Regional Chief Cameron Alexis is one more statistic for 2015. Misty Potts Sanderson of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation was last seen March 14 near the northern Alberta First Nation. Sanderson, 37, is another in a long string of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. At the same time her family went public with a plea for help, the RCMP were releasing the name of Delores Brower, whose skeletal remains were found April 19 near Rollyview, Alta. She had been reported missing May 2005, last seen in Edmonton in May 2004. Brower was the third Indigenous woman to be located in that area. Amber Tuccaro went missing in 2010; her remains were found in 2012. Katie Sylvia Ballantyne was reported missing in April 2003; her remains were recovered July 2003. RCMP say the bodies were within an eight-kilometre radius. The investigations into their deaths remain open. Figures recently released by the RCMP for 2013 and 2014 show little progress on the national front as the rate of murders and disappearances remains steady. Another 32 Aboriginal women have been murdered and 11 more have disappeared. These numbers are on top of the 1,181 murdered and missing Indigenous women, which the RCMP tallied from 1980 to 2012. These figures reflect cases in RCMP jurisdiction only. Indigenous women account for four per cent of Canada’s population. “The Assembly of First Nations has been saying this all along, that
Organizer Audrey Huntley of Silence No More at Toronto rally to honour Cindy Gladue in April, 2015.
nothing has changed,” said Alexis, who held the portfolio for justice for the AFN. “The Prime Minister continues to say ‘no’ to a public commission of inquiry and, painfully, our people continue to disappear and die. In the meantime, there’s no action.” For years Aboriginal leaders and groups have been calling for a national inquiry into the issue. In June, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission included the need for a national inquiry among its 94 recommendations. The announcement was made at the TRC’s wrap-up event in Ottawa and brought a room full of people to their feet – all but federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt. The provinces are also on side, with the latest call coming from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
“What more does the Prime Minister need, really? Here you’ve got the territorial leaders and provincial leaders telling the Prime Minister this is needed. Yet, he doesn’t want to,” said Alexis. That refusal was underscored in a recent House of Commons vote. On June 18, Carolyn Bennett, the Liberal Party Aboriginal affairs critic, introduced a private member bill calling for a national public inquiry into the “ongoing tragedy” of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The bill was defeated when Conservative MPs unanimously voted against it. “This epidemic of violence must end and the Conservative government — which claims to be tough on crime and to stand up for victims of crime — cannot
continue to ignore this ongoing tragedy,” said Bennett. This lack of action by the federal government has frustrated outgoing Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Betty Ann Lavallee. “Our women continue to be murdered and go missing at a rate that would be unacceptable if it were happening to any other group in the country, and yet the federal government refuses to call an inquiry to determine the best way forward,” said Lavallee. Proponents for a national inquiry say it’s a necessary step in order to determine the root causes behind violence against Indigenous women and how to address them. The RCMP stated in its updated report that it “remained committed to ensuring the reduction and prevention of
violence against Aboriginal women,” but it also said that the RCMP was just one of numerous organizations that needed to tackle the issue. Alexis, a retired RCMP officer, agrees. He says all levels of government and their departments, and the community need to get involved. A sobering statistic offered by the RCMP indicated that the offender was known to the woman in all solved cases of murdered Indigenous women in 2013-2014. That figure drops to 93 per cent with non-Indigenous women. The common factor with both groups is violence within the family relationship. “We have to approach this from a grassroots position, work from the ground up going forward,” said Alexis. “The community has to rise up.”
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Continue to fill the space created by the TRC with dialogue By Debora Steel Windspeaker Contributor
Don’t wait for “the big home run” or the “big solution” that will resolve Canada’s troubled relationship with Aboriginal people. There are many things on the journey of reconciliation that are “doable” and everyone can exercise acts of reconciliation, said Hereditary Chief Robert Joseph. Chief Joseph is the Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and a member of the National Assembly of First Nations Elders Council. He was formerly the executive director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and is an honourary witness to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He was addressing the BC Assembly of First Nations on June 24 and called upon the provincial arm of the Assembly of First Nations to create a Reconciliation Portfolio to ensure implementation of the TRC report and the 94 calls to action. Joseph said there has never been a better opportunity to pick up the tools of reconciliation and challenge Canadians to treat Indigenous peoples as equal. Nor has there been a more important time to hold government’s feet to the fire. Joseph said there are a couple of profound narratives that have unfolded over the last year that will “bring about a change that you have never dreamed of
before.” The first is the exploration of truth by the TRC, and the second is the awareness brought by the Tsilhqot’in title decision, the first Supreme Court of Canada ruling of First Nations title, delivered one year ago in June. He said Canadians are beginning to learn more about Indigenous peoples because of these two narratives. Because of the TRC report, Joseph said there can be no dispute now about what First Nations have been saying all along about what happened in those schools. Joseph said he has spoken to many hundreds of Canadians who said ‘I didn’t know’ and have asked ‘How could it have happened?’ The words ‘cultural genocide’ have shaken the country,’ he told the BCAFN delegates, making people come to see that the kind and gentle country they perceived Canada to be was not the reality for first peoples. He encouraged survivors to keep telling their stories to demonstrate that it was cultural genocide. “We can help create a lens of reconciliation,” said Joseph, by engaging Canadians, corporations, and industry to change their attitudes, creating new allies, making them part of the struggle and the journey. He said Indigenous peoples will transform the soul and conscience of the country. The BC-AFN is the starting place for this kind of work, Joseph said, because it is very progressive. The chiefs, he said, can appreciate not only the past
Chief Robert Joseph
victimization of the residential school era, but can look beyond that into the future and not “soak” in that victimization. Joseph, however, said he wants the national organization to also establish a Reconciliation Portfolio. He said there needs to be an effort made now to keep a focus on the TRC report and the Tsilhqot’in decision, otherwise he fears the dialogue and interest generated by these events will die. Emcee Gwaans (Beverley Clifton-Percival) agreed that each delegate could choose to do one
PHOTO: DEBORA STEEL
small act of reconciliation every day. First Nations can provide a lot of guidance on how this country needs to be different, said Doug White, former chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and currently serving as Interim Director of the Centre for PreConfederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University. Such direction is an important part of reconciliation, he said. “We are in a time that is remarkably historical,” with the TRC opening up an important
new opportunity and space for dialogue, he said, and “it’s up to us now to fill that space.” Chief Joseph holds two honorary doctorates. The first received was an honorary law degree from the University of British Columbia in 2003, and in 2014 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology for his work in reconciliation and renewing relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. In 2015, he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia.
One in the win column, but battle goes on By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor
The National Football League’s Washington Redskins lost their latest legal fight, but the team’s lengthy battle over the use of its name, deemed offensive by many, especially Native Americans, appears to be far from over. The latest in the saga occurred on July 8, when a federal judge in the U.S. ruled to cancel the team’s trademark name and logo. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled the Washington team name and logo may disparage
Native Americans. Brian Cladoosby, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, welcomed the decision. “It’s time to end the harmful legacy of perpetuating racist stereotypes that in no way honor our diverse cultural heritage,” Cladsoosby said in a statement. “The federal courts have recognized that the use of the Rword is offensive and degrading to our identity as Native people.” It did not take long, however, to realize this issue is far from over. That’s because the Washington franchise issued a statement the same day. “I am surprised by the judge’s
decision to prevent us from presenting our evidence in an open trial,” Bruce Allen, the president of the Washington squad, said in a news release. “We look forward to winning an appeal after a fair and impartial review of the case. We are convinced that we will win because the facts and the law are on the side of our franchise that has proudly used the name Redskins for more than 80 years.” Last summer the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Appeal Board voted 2-1 that the Washington team name was ineligible for federal trademark protection. Afterwards the football
franchise filed its own lawsuit against five Native American activists who led the charge against its name and logo. The latest ruling – considered a win for the activists and those looking for changes and a loss for the football team – will not immediately be put into effect. That’s because a final decision will not be made until all appeals have been made in federal courts. Native Americans have been advocating for more than 60 years to have the team change its name. The franchise was established in 1932 and was originally called the Boston Braves. After one year the team changed its name to the
Boston Redskins. The organization relocated to Washington in 1937 and has been there ever since. The franchise has won the Super Bowl three times, in 1982, ’87 and ’91. Though the club has been in Washington since the late ‘30s, it wasn’t until 1967 the organization registered its name with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The franchise registered five other Redskins trademarks, with various letterings and logos, from 197490. The club’s legal battle over its name are nothing new. There has been litigation over the use of its name ongoing since 1992.
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Did she jump, or was she pushed? Lavellee resigns By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor
The appeal to the Daniels case, set to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in October, is not enough to keep Betty Ann Lavallee from stepping down as the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. “It’ll be up to the next national chief to take the ball and run with it,” said Lavallee, who feels confident she has done the necessary preparation work to make the next steps easier. For well over a decade, CAP, with Lavallee at the helm for seven years (and as acting vicechief the previous year), has been part of the charge to have Métis and non-status Indians included under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. With that inclusion, Métis and non-status Indians would come under federal jurisdiction and federal responsibility like status Indians and Inuit. The case went to trial in May 2011 and the ruling, which came down in January 2013, granted recognition to more than 600,000 Métis and non-status Indians. A series of appeals has now brought the case to the Supreme Court. Harry Daniels, who the case is named for, served as national chief of CAP in two separate terms. CAP was also a plaintiff in the Daniels’ case. CAP was created in 1971 to promote the rights and interests of off-reserve Natives, both status and nonstatus, as well as the Métis and the southern Inuit of Labrador. Lavallee says a positive court decision in the Daniels’ case will implement section 35 rights for those living off reserve and Métis. Section 35 rights would allow non-status communities to be
PHOTO: CONGRESS OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES
Betty Ann Lavallee
included in land title and land claims negotiations; have their harvesting rights acknowledged and respected; and be consulted and accommodated in decisions by governments affecting land and resources. She also says such a win will push the federal government on a national inquiry for murdered and missing women, employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, and force action on the wide range of recommendations which came from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She says she is frustrated with the “lack of progress” on Aboriginal issues. Lavallee announced her intentions to resign in April. In the March board meeting, a motion calling for her removal was introduced, but defeated. She says the motion has nothing to do with her decision.
“Sometimes you have to take priority choices…. My family has been in Aboriginal politics since 1996… it’s only fair that I give back to them now,” she said. Health concerns for both her husband and her aging parents have contributed to Lavallee’s decision. Kim Beaudin, who introduced the motion, says Lavallee was forced to step down because there was widespread support for her resignation. “At the time, I believed – and most of the board believed – that she wasn’t really addressing the mandate of the position as chief or addressing the needs of the (provincial/territorial organizations [PTOs]) across Canada,” said Beaudin, who is president of the Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan, one of eight provincial/territorial organizations that form CAP.
But Lavallee says two crosscountry tours in the last two years have convinced her she has the confidence of the membership, despite what Beaudin contends. “You’re always going to get those individuals that, no matter what you do or say, [are] not going to play ball. I think a lot of this is a result of the fact that the individual concerned has always felt that way from the day I got elected,” she said. Beaudin has led the charge against Lavallee since 2012, almost annually introducing motions and votes of nonconfidence aimed at bringing her down. He said he was approached by others to introduce the motion this past March. Lavallee took over from Patrick Brazeau in 2009. As far as Beaudin is concerned, Lavallee has not been following the board’s directives, is not well grounded in the issues, and has done little to promote CAP as an advocate for off-reserve First Nations and Métis people. Lavallee says infighting is never welcome, but does give an organization an opportunity to reflect on leadership. She adds that Beaudin’s constant criticism was not a factor in her resignation. “No, not at all. I mean, I was in the military for 18-and-a-half years. I don’t run from a good fight,” she said. Lavallee says she has kept the organization in a good place financially, despite continued cuts in funding from the federal government. As well, she has been working towards getting Manitoba and Alberta back into CAP. Winnipeg has the largest
urban Aboriginal population in the country and Edmonton has the second largest, but Manitoba has not been part of CAP for the past three years, while Alberta has been absent since 2005 or 2006. “We’re not there to balance books. We’re there to fight for off-reserve Aboriginal people and it’s just not happening,” Beaudin said. “Being the chief is almost like being the minister for Aboriginal Affairs. You should understand the issues.” Beaudin wants to see CAP return to addressing grassroot issues, which include nationwide representation in CAP; tackling the high rates of incarceration of Aboriginal peoples; and ensuring employment opportunities. Lavallee will continue until the annual general assembly Sept. 24 to Sept. 26 in Ottawa, when her replacement will be selected by delegates from the eight PTOs. Each PTO is allowed 10 delegates. Nomination papers need to be filed 31 days prior to the AGA. Already Dwight Dorey, of the Nova Scotia PTO, has put his name forward. He served as national chief from 1999 to 2006. The interim national chief will conclude Lavallee’s term, serving for a year. Beaudin says he’s not interested in the position right now, but is considering taking a run at national chief in 2016. The full term is four years. “Whoever the next national chief is… just like the other national organizations and their leadership, is going to have to be tough and probably work very, very hard in order to move some of these (Aboriginal) issues,” said Lavallee.
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Apologies only first step on road to better relations By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor
Larry Loyie and Lynn Thompson feel differently about the words spoken in the apology by their home provinces’ premiers. But what they do agree on is that the words are only as strong as the actions that follow them. On June 18, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger apologized to families impacted by the Sixties Scoop and became the first province to issue such an acknowledgement. “Today, as premier, I would like to apologize on behalf of the Province of Manitoba for the Sixties Scoop,” he said. “It was a practice that has left intergenerational scars and cultural loss. With these words of apology and regret, I hope all Canadians will join me in recognizing this historic injustice. I hope they will join me in acknowledging the pain and suffering of the thousands of children who were taken from their homes.” Her two sisters and Thompson, at age three, were taken from their home on the Pine Creek First Nation in Manitoba. What ensued for Thompson were 25 foster homes in Ontario and Manitoba by the time she was eight years old and two failed adoption attempts. Eventually, she settled in a German Mennonite community in Manitoba. On June 22, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley became the first provincial leader to issue an apology to residential school survivors. In a moving statement read at the Alberta Legislature, with First Nations leaders and members sitting in the gallery, Notley said, “As our first step, we want the First Nation, Métis and Inuit people of Alberta to know that we deeply regret the profound harm and damage that occurred to generations of children forced to attend residential schools. Although the Province of Alberta did not
establish this system, members of this Chamber did not take a stand against it. For this silence, we apologize.” Loyie is an Indian residential school survivor. He was taken at the age of nine to attend St. Bernard residential school in Grouard, Alta., where he stayed for six years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has identified 12,000 survivors in Alberta, which was home to 25 residential schools. Thompson says Selinger’s actions are a “good step forward. I was pleased with it. We didn’t even have to have an inquiry for him to apologize.” But Loyie isn’t as accepting of Notley’s words. “(The apology) means nothing to me if it’s coming from a person I don’t know, a politician, who thinks she’s doing something good and in fact is not doing anything good if she doesn’t move on something that could rectify what we, as children, went through,” he said. Although they were in different situations, Thompson and Loyie both experienced abuse and loneliness, and were stripped of their culture and language. It is estimated that 20,000 children were apprehended in the 1960s through to the 1980s. The “Sixties Scoop,” as this became known by because the majority of children were taken in the first decade, was a government-sanctioned program entitled Adopt Indian/ Metis children. Aboriginal children were placed in foster homes throughout Canada and the United States. Seventy per cent of those children were put in non-Aboriginal homes. Indian residential schools operated for 130 years with 150,000 Aboriginal children spanning seven generations taken from their homes. Indian residential schools were the focus of the six years’ worth of work undertaken by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The TRC was part of a broader settlement agreement that came about
through a court ruling. Sixties Scoop children are pursuing court action. Thompson is one of two women named in a class action lawsuit against the federal government launched in 2011 in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Regina. Court action filed in Ontario was certified this June as a class action. As a follow-up to Selinger’s apology, Grand Chief David Harper of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak is pushing for the formation of a commission, while Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand wants to see a plan put in place to reunite families. In Saskatchewan, Premier Brad Wall says his government is working toward delivering a formal apology to ‘Sixties Scoop survivors. Thompson, who has lived in Saskatchewan for close to 15 years, is pleased with the announcement. But she would also like to see financial compensation for survivors, something Wall says will not be happening. In Alberta, chiefs have responded favourably to Notley’s apology. “I was very moved and touched by the words the premier made. I spent nine years in residential school and I know what it is to be in residential school. And I experienced all the abuse that you can think of and I was a survivor,” said Siksika Nation Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman, who was in attendance for the apology. Notley’s apology was followed a few days later by an announcement that the province was partnering with the Siksika Nation and the Alberta First Nations-owned Indian Business Corp. to make $2.7 million available to Siksika Nation members to create and develop business opportunities. The province is contributing $700,000. “We’re living in times that we need to work together,” said Yellow Old Woman.
A black and red affair in history (Continued from page 6.)
Then there’s the almost universal call for a national inquiry into the 1,200 murdered and missing Aboriginal women. That is all except for a select few influential, well educated, affluent white men of power, looking down at us from the top. Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to maintain that this situation is more of a criminal issue, not so much a social one in dire need of investigation. The irony here being is, that when you have 1,200 Native women doing the
same thing collectively, it would normally immediately get researched and studied by a whole plethora of sociologists and academics as an important social trend. A good reason why economist politicians should never become cops. Next on the list of past assault anniversaries to be commemorated was July 11. This was the 25th anniversary of Oka, or more accurately, Kahnasatake. It’s estimated that half the Native population is under 25.
So almost 50 per cent of Canada’s Aboriginal population wasn’t born when this happened. Sometimes kids never know what their parents used to do. So, even though we have all these “I’m sorrys”, there is still a lot of work to do. As in any abusive relationship, an apology is a good beginning, but it’s not the end. Anybody can say they are sorry. It’s what you do to follow up on that action that shows real healing. I don’t think anybody wants a divorce.
[ news ]
Windspeaker News Briefs
Prime Minister Stephen Harper (right) meets with Nellie Taptaqut Kusugak, the new Commissioner of Nunavut, in his Langevin office.
Dawn Lavell Harvard, Ph.D has been elected as the new president of the Native Women’s Association. The election was held at the 41st Annual General Assembly held in Montreal on July 11 and July 12 with about 80 Provincial/ Territorial Member Associations casting ballots. Lavell Harvard begins a three-year term. “I am extremely honoured to follow the amazing women and role models who were my predecessors as presidents of NWAC. I look forward to continuing the work to ensure that Aboriginal women’s voices are heard,” she told the gathering. Since 1974, NWAC’s mandate has been to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada. The organization was founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies.
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate change has approved a plan for Eagle’s Nest Mine, the first mining project in the Ring of Fire. The decision comes three years after the proponent, Noront, made its first submission on the project. Noront has worked over that time gaining “social license” for the project, meeting with First Nations for their support. The plan commits the company to supporting Aboriginal knowledge and including it into environmental planning. While some nations have contributed to the plan, Ontario wants the company to include all 10 Matawa member nations.
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations wants people to be aware of phony crowdfunding campaigns that claim to support evacuees from Saskatchewan fires. “It’s unfortunate that in times like this, there are opportunists,” said Chief Kimberly Jonathan. She is aware of “many bogus accounts” set up on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.com.
Métis Elder Nora Cummings wants leaders of the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan to stop their bickering. “Our nation is broken. Our people are sad,” she said July 10 outside Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench. Inside the courthouse, MNS President Robert Doucette was asking a judge to find other elected members of the Provincial Metis Council, including vice-president Gerald Morin, in contempt of court. Cummings said the organization had hit a new low. “The MÈtis people of Saskatchewan are in crisis... The political disruption that has incapacitated our governance organization has gone on long enough.” MNS represents about 100,000 Saskatchewan people, but its offices were shuttered in March, funding cut and with a leadership dispute with no end in sight. The MNS lost its $416,000 annual federal operating grant in October 2014, after warring leadership stymied attempts to hold province-wide legislative assemblies since 2010, despite its own constitution requiring two assemblies a year.
T’exelc and Xatsull First Nations are disappointed that B.C. has allowed the Mount Polley mine to partly restart after a monumental breach of its tailing pond last summer. Millions of cubic metres of water and toxic metal waste poured into the Quesnel Lake watershed. Allowing Imperial Metals’ gold and copper mine to reopen ignores First Nations concerns and puts other communities at risk, spokespeople told the Vancouver Sun. The mine will restart at half capacity. “I strongly feel they are not listening. We had a team of experts working on our behalf. They continually put forth our concerns, and I don’t see any long-term plans (to address those concerns),” said T’exelc (Williams Lake) First Nation chief Ann Louie.
[ news ]
Happy faces, hugs and handshakes the mainstay of Elders Gathering By Windspeaker Staff North Saanich, B.C.
The 39 th annual BC Elders Gathering, hosted by the Tsawout First Nation and the WSÁNEC Elders of North Saanich, attracted about 4,000 participants to the Panorama Centre on the Saanich Peninsula July 7 to July 9. Grand Entry of the Elders who attended was held in the centre’s massive indoor tennis courts building, and it was still too small to hold everyone who wanted to attend opening day. Televisions were set up in the dining hall (a converted arena) when the main hall reached capacity so people could watch the opening ceremonies from there. Grand Entry was led by the school children of the Sencoten Immersion program, the gathering’s King and Queen, Doug and Kathy LaFortune, and dignitaries from the four nations of the Saanich territories, plus provincial, federal and First Nations officials. In attendance for the opening was Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, former Assembly of First Nations national chief Phil Fontaine, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad and a delegation from Malaysia, dressed in their traditional regalia. Elders from each BC Nation that sent representation to the gathering lined up outside the main hall behind banners with their nations’ names on them. Called into the hall alphabetically, each nation sang and drummed, walking past the main stage where the host nation delegates held their hands high to greet them. Elders joyously greeted friends and shook strangers’ hands along the way. Once settled, the children of the immersion program sang songs, the first composed by the women singers that said ‘glad to see each and every one of you.’ They also sang a prayer song that talked about the mountains, ocean and salmon and how sacred they are. Co-emcee Ian Sam said “I am amazed at how many Elders we have here today. Welcome, welcome to our territory… Hope you feel at home.” Each of the chiefs of the four Saanich nations spoke to the gathering. Chief Harvey Underwood said he was feeling overwhelmed. “I value each and every one of you and what you carry.” He said he welcomed the insight, love, wisdom and good humor of the Elders. He hoped the three days of the gathering would be “refreshing and lifegiving.” King Doug LaFortune, a carver of considerable note, said he was
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PHOTO: WINDSPEAKER STAFF
Children of the Sencoten Immersion program sing a prayer song to welcome the participants of the 39th annual BC Elders Gathering, hosted by Tsawout First Nation.
Host Nation Tsawout and delegates raise their hands in welcome as participants of the 39th annual BC Elders Gathering streamed past the main stage during Grand Entry July 7.
“amazed” by the event. Despite being named king, he had never before been to an Elders Gathering. Not because he didn’t want to, but because summer was a very busy time for all carvers, he said. He hadn’t really thought of himself as an Elder. “It just snuck up on me,” he joked. He choked up talking about the children leading the Elders into the gathering, and how happy he was to have his own children and grandchildren at his side. Queen Kathy said she too was “amazed” at the turnout. “It warms my heart.” She said Aboriginal Elders had come through a lot of adversity— residential schools and being put on reserves in the first place—but they remained “strong and beautiful people… I take pride in that.”
Chief Vern Jacks thanked everyone for coming and told the Elders “I love you.” He said we valued both the youth and the Elders and was glad to see some non-Native people in the room. “You have a lot to learn about us,” he said. Asked Chief Don Tom “It’s a great day to be alive, isn’t it?” Chief Rebecca Harris thanked all the wonderful volunteers, about 500 she estimated. The gathering included time for visiting and making new friends, a wide variety of workshops and presentations, health assessment and entertainment, including traditional songs and dances, contemporary singers like George Leach, and an Elvis impersonator. Next year’s event will be held in Williams Lake.
Blossom Stevens of the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Elders is “One Hot Elder!”. She and her fan was part of the Grand Entry procession to open the 39th annual BC Elders Gathering.
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Winnipegger launches $10 million fundraiser for water-deprived First Nation
PHOTO: DAVID P. BALL
Daryl Redsky excited about the possibilities By David P. Ball Windspeaker Contributor
Clad in woodland camouflage pants, black shirt and Native Pride cap, Daryl Redsky stoops down on the gravel road spanning the Manitoba-Ontario boundary and lets out an excited shout as the wind picks up along what his First Nation has dubbed “Freedom Road.” It’s the embryo of what he and others in Shoal Lake 40 hope are the isolated reserve’s long-dreamt link to the outside world, and most importantly to clean drinking water after nearly two decades under a boil-water advisory, despite sitting atop the City of Winnipeg’s tap water. With roadworks soon poised to reach the reserve lands, there’s no plan to stop there, nor to wait for the federal government to come to the table. Redsky, the band’s consultation coordinator, searches through the misshapen grey stones before he picks up two rocks from the road: One white quartz, the other laced with glittery pyrite. Fool’s Gold.
“At night when you rub those two rocks together, they spark,” he muses. “Nice and bright.” Shoal Lake 40 First Nation’s battle to access clean drinking water has now sparked an ambitious $10-million fundraiser on the Internet by Winnipeg residents outraged after the federal government refused to chip in one-third of the road’s $30 million construction costs. Rick Harp, a Winnipegger of Cree descent, was upset after a June 25 visit by Canada’s natural resources and northern Ontario development minister, Greg Rickford, failed to yield anything more than the $1 million already promised last year towards the road’s design costs. That caused several residents to openly weep in front of reporters, holding up signs threatening plans to expand the TransCanada Highway only 28 km northwest. “No Road for Us, No Road for You,” read one sign held up by a local child. “Just seeing some of the images of people of all ages in Shoal Lake 40 basically giving up hope and questioning their relationship to Canada—in the wake of the
recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission report—just seemed like a golden opportunity for Winnipeg to step up,” Harp said. As of July 13, Harp’s online crowdfunding campaign has already netted more than $70,000 in pledges from 650 donors. It’s an all-or-nothing effort that will only see money change hands if the full $10 million is reached by the end of August. But Rickford dodged reporters’ questions during the visit, which saw Winnipeg and Manitoba break ground for a permanent bridge they’re funding that will form a crucial part of the Freedom Road. “Our government is pleased to work with Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation and our other partners on the design of the Freedom Road project,” Rickford said in a press release. “This initiative will help improve the economic conditions of First Nation community members by providing all-weather road access to the Trans-Canada Highway through Manitoba.” Shoal Lake 40 First Nation’s water problems began a century
ago when the City of Winnipeg displaced the band from its historic village site to build its drinking water intake. The community was relocated onto a peninsula jutting out into Shoal Lake. But the engineers knew the water was contaminated with tannins, compounds that can be dangerous if mixed with the chlorine with which they planned to treat the water. So they built a dyke and canal to divert the polluted water away from Winnipeg’s source, and into Shoal Lake First Nation— dividing the reserve in two and creating a manmade island divorced from their own reserve. Freedom Road would rejoin the two parts of Shoal Lake 40, cross over Winnipeg’s waterworks railway tracks and aqueduct, and meet the TransCanada Highway 28 km to the northwest. Harp said he is shocked that many First Nations across Canada don’t have clean drinking water in 2015, in one of the world’s most developed countries. “How can this be, in 2015 in Canada?” Harp said. “There’s a
core injustice there. Who paid the price for that water? “A lot hangs in the balance when it comes to this road, new hope for the future … I’m hoping that once [people] know, they act—not simply in terms of this crowdfunder, but pressuring all levels of government, including the federal government, to do right by Shoal Lake 40 and honour the source of Winnipeg’s water.” For Daryl Redsky, the road isn’t just a way of accessing jobs, clean water and emergency services, however. It’s also become a symbol of hope for locals after decades of frustration. He said he loves bringing community elders to visit the band’s new gravel quarry and see locals working together on a project that will benefit residents for generations to come. “Bringing them out here gives me a good feeling because I share their happiness, their sense of something getting done and a way of getting out finally,” he said. Even if construction has reached just halfway to the TransCanada Highway, “We have never got this far before.”
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A BC Hydro Media Relations press release July 7 says a new poll finds growing support for the Site C hydro-electric dam project on the Peace River that will flood a large area of the Peace River Valley in the province’s northeast. It says 59 per cent support and 22 per cent can accept Site C. Those opposed total 17 per cent. B.C. has approved the $8.8 billion dam, despite lawsuits proceeding through the courts against the project. Provincewide awareness of Site C has increased to 75 per cent of British Columbians, reads the survey. The telephone poll of 1,038 people took place from June 10 to 19. On July 9, the Chiefs-inAssembly at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Meeting in Montreal passed “Emergency AFN Resolution 39/2015, Site C Hydroelectric Dam on the Peace River.” It calls on the provincial and federal governments to immediately cease proceeding with the proposed Site C Dam project, even though environmental approvals and permits have been issued. Treaty 8 First Nations have applied for judicial review of the project, stating the proposed Site C project infringes on the treaty rights of the Treaty 8 First Nations. The Federal Appeal begins the week of July 20. The B.C. government and
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BC Hydro have ignored the requests of the Treaty 8 Nations to put construction on hold until the outcomes of the court proceedings are known, read a press statement from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “Site C will destroy and flood over 5,000 hectares of Treaty 8 First Nation territories. Site C is a threat to Treaty 8 First Nations’ ability to exercise their constitutionallyprotected Treaty and Aboriginal rights and will leave an irreversible and irrevocable wound on the land,” said Chief Judy Wilson of Neskonlith Indian Band, who presented and moved the resolution. “These premeditated actions will forever affect BC’s interactions with First Nations.” Earlier in July, the Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver) called for a two-year moratorium on construction of Site C. On July 3, the president of UBCIC, Chief Stewart Phillip, made a presentation to Metro Vancouver. “If construction begins on Site C, it will be an obvious message that this government has deliberately ignored constitutionallyprotected Aboriginal Title, Rights, and Treaty Rights. The BC government is hoping either Treaty 8 First Nations expend all of their energy and means to defend their territories in the courts or concede their rights
for agreements that minimizes any benefits to Treaty 8 First Nations and absolves the government of any and all liabilities. UBCIC will always support Treaty 8 First Nations and, if necessary, I personally pledge that I will stand with the peoples of Treaty 8 and of the Peace Valley in front of bulldozers and dump trucks to prevent this project from proceeding.”
the physical activities that had taken place at the project site,” said Polak. “While it is clear that some construction has started, I was not convinced that the physical activity undertaken as of Oct. 12, 2014, meets the threshold of a substantially started project.”
for Jumbo Glacier Resort has expired. In June, British Columbia’s environment minister Mary Polak said developers of the billion-dollar ski resort on top of a mountain in the East Kootenay region— challenged in court by the Ktunaxa Nation—will have to “start from scratch.” In 2010, the Ktunaxa Nation delivered the Qat’muk Declaration to the legislature in Victoria protesting construction on Jumbo. It is home of the grizzly bear spirit. The declaration outlines the spiritual significance of Qat’muk and Ktunaxa sovereignty over the territory. The first environmental certificate for Jumbo Resort was given in 2004, then extended in 2009 with an expiry date of Oct. 12, 2014, with a proviso that the project must be “substantially started” by that time. “In making my decision, I had focused on
investment in the Kokish River run-of-river hydro-electric project, located on northeastern Vancouver Island, about 15 kilometres east of Port McNeill. ‘Namgis will own 25 per cent of the hydro facility, and Brookfield Renewable will hold 75 per cent. The $400,000 in funding supports the equity investment by the ‘Namgis in the 45megawatt run-of-the-river hydroelectric development, which is located in ‘Namgis traditional territory. The hydro facility is designed to generate enough electricity to power 13,000 homes.
The ‘Namgis First Nation is dipping into B.C.’s First Nations Clean Energy The Environmental Business Fund for dollars to support an equity Assessment Certificate
The Nations of the Naut’sa Mawt Tribal Council will develop community energy plans to manage energy consumption and develop strategies for future clean energy projects. The tribal council provides services to 11
First Nations in the areas of the Strait of Georgia and Strait of Juan de Fuca, and will receive $80,000 through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to develop the plans. It’s hoped the plans will raise awareness about current energy consumption patterns, energy resources and infrastructure, as well as future energy needs. “Our member nations are keenly interested in exploring opportunities to conserve resources and produce clean energy,” said Gary Reith, chief administrative officer of the Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council.
The Kwolwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation on Vancouver Island is also creating a community energy plan to find ways to improve energy efficiency and identify clean energy opportunities and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The nation will receive $30,000 through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund. The remote community is “off-grid” and not connected to the BC Hydro system. Its location increases the cost of food and fuel and the community currently relies on propane gas for electricity and heat. The high cost of powering the community’s infrastructure also limits opportunities for economic development.
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Thousands march for jobs, justice and the climate Days after more than 10,000 people marched through Toronto, in part, to mark a need for action on climate, Ontario and 21 other states and regions signed the first-ever PanAmerican action statement on climate change. The Climate Action Statement highlights the urgency of combatting climate change, affirms that state, provincial and municipal governments are leaders in achieving impactful global climate action, and acknowledges the need to work together to continue reducing greenhouse gas pollution. On July 5, on the eve of the Pan American Climate and Economic Summits, marchers called on the country’s leaders to embrace an economic agenda that prioritized jobs, justice, and the climate. Four different contingents in the march— First Nations, students, workers from national labour unions, and migrants— visually depicted what Canada’s new economy should look like. “I am coming to Toronto to stand with First Nations, workers, and the powerful movement building solutions to the climate crisis. Indigenous people have been defending the land for centuries. They are on the front lines of climate change and fossil fuel extraction, but they’re also showing us that real solutions are within our grasp if we have the courage to reach for them,” said Jane Fonda, one of many celebrities to join the cause. “When the workers in the oil and gas industry themselves are calling on their government to help them find
cleaner jobs that don’t burn the planet, you know we’re ready for change.”
the report to the community in Grassy Narrows on June 12.
New political accord to guide Mercury levels at high relationship with province The Chiefs of Ontario and threshold A newly-released government-commissioned report says mercury levels in the sediment of Grassy Narrows’ Wabigoon River remain up to 20 times above natural levels, while fish are up to 15 times above consumption guideline levels. These findings place the river above the frequent adverse effects level— the highest risk threshold used by Environment Canada to trigger remediation in the St. Lawrence environmental risk assessment. The cause for environmental health concern was the result of 9,000 kg of mercury being dumped by a paper mill upstream in the 1960s. “When we shared our land and water we expected it to be kept pristine, but they have failed and destroyed our culture as a result,” said Chief Roger Fobister Sr. “We want that mercury cleaned up. There is no way around it because it is a sacred trust to take care of our land.” The report finds that in Ball Lake, close to Grassy Narrows, the mercury concentration in the surface sediment is higher in mercury now than it was in the 1970s. The report warns that all other downstream basins have the potential to increase over time to a level above which adverse biological effects are expected and an in depth analysis of remediation options is needed. The report was completed in December 2014, but kept confidential until its author, Patricia Sellers, could present
the Government of Ontario have agreed to a political accord that will guide the relationship between First Nations and the province. The accord recognizes First Nations have an inherent right to selfgovernment and commits the province and the Chiefs of Ontario to work together on shared priorities that improve the lives of First Nations people. The accord states, in part, that “the First Nations and Ontario recognize the importance of strong First Nations governments in achieving a better quality of life for First Nations and creating a better future for First Nations children and youth.” It commits leadership on both sides to meet twice annually and address agenda items that have been developed collaboratively. The political accord will be signed at a later date by First Nations leaders and Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Day elected new AFN Regional Chief Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day beat out two others to become the new Regional Chief for Ontario for the Assembly of First Nations. Day defeated Kettle and Stony Point First Nation Chief Tom Bressette, and Randall Phillips of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. Day didn’t wait long before taking action. He called on Canada and Ontario to work with First Nation leaders to implement the Water
Declaration of the Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, and Onkwehone to protect the Great Lakes. The declaration, written in 2008, provides a framework to support First Nations environmental aspirations through collaboration, Indigenous leadership, and First Nations ceremonies. AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Day had been a “strong voice for First Nations rights and traditions.” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne congratulated Day on his new position, stating, “The Ontario government is committed to continuing to build positive relationships with First Nations and to work in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.” Day replaces Stan Beardy who became regional chief in June 2012.
CCAB studies Aboriginal economic development corporations The latest Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business research report, Community & Commerce Ontario, finds that community-owned corporations are a growing trend within Aboriginal economic development, increasingly creating wealth for both their communities and their nonAboriginal neighbours. The strengths of AEDCs, which are community-owned businesses set up as corporations at arm’s length from chief and council, are their ability to adapt to community needs. They get First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to articulate their economic goals, as well as sending a clear signal to business Canada that an
Aboriginal community is open to development that reflects their values and needs. Aboriginal community members are generally the shareholders and ultimate beneficiaries of the AEDCs success. The report confirms the importance of sustainability recognizing the three pillars: the land, the people and the economy.
Filmmaker engaged in crowdfunding to save institute Filmmaker, actor, and director Shirley Cheechoo has turned to online fundraising to keep her Weengushk Film Institute afloat after being turned down by band offices and government. Cheechoo, known for her films Johnny Tootall and Moose River Crossing, says she has seen many troubled youth turn their lives around after studying at the non-profit training institute on Manitoulin Island. “While they are making a film, they are learning how to read, write, do math, leadership, how to do their resumes, and how to work as a team,” said Cheechoo. “So they can move from where they are to a better life, and a better future.” In an effort to save the school, Cheechoo sent 600 letters to band councils across the country asking for $250 each annually and only got three responses. She says bands don’t want to fund the Weegushk Film Institute because it doesn’t give out official certification. She is currently crowdfunding to help cover the costs of rent, electricity and internet at the institute.
Compiled by Shari Narine
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Australian Indigenous leaders of a constitutional challenge that for awards for Métis students. related career opportunities, as co- Samson Cree Nation, aims to Dickson has filed. Dickson was Funding from the Métis Education ordinated by CAREERS: The prevent the use of tobacco among learn from tar sands battle Delegates from two Indigenous tribes fighting the development of the world’s second-largest coal mine on ancestral lands in Australia recently met with northern First Nations’ leaders in Alberta to discuss similar struggles against oil sands development. The $16.5-billion Carmichael coal mine, proposed by Indian conglomerate Adani, would bring roads; a new town with coal-fired electricity; a fly-in, fly-out workforce; and a rail line to the ancestral lands of the Wangan and Jagalingou people in central Queensland in northeast Australia. The company’s offer of compensation for loss of property has been turned down by the tribes. “We’re fighting the same issues, fighting the same people, fighting the same companies, fighting the fossil fuel industry, fighting our governments to say this is not ok. We will not consent. We have not consented. And our right to either give or withhold consent is being oppressed,” Australian Indigenous leader Murrawah Johnson, who represented the youth of the Wangan and Jagalingou tribes, told APTN News.
charged in 2011 after the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and the RCMP seized almost 16 million cigarettes from a warehouse on the reserve. The Alberta government said at the time that it would lose $3 million in tax revenue if the “contraband” cigarettes were sold. Court documents say the cigarettes were produced by Rainbow Tobacco on the Kahnawake reserve in Quebec and shipped to the Montana First Nation. Charges against Carolyn Buffalo, Chief of the Montana First Nation in 2011, were stayed. A lawsuit filed in 2011 by Rainbow Tobacco and the Montana First Nation against the AGLC sought damages and the return of the seized cigarettes, but the claim was dismissed. Rainbow Tobacco is located on Kahnawake Mohawk territory in Quebec.
Foundation of $130,000 in bursaries and awards will allow for the distribution each year of two to four awards worth between $2,500 and $3,500. To qualify for the awards, students must be of Métis heritage, Canadian citizens, and have a specified grade point average. The funding will help students who have to deal with student loans or have to work parttime jobs in order to cover the cost of their education. The agreement will go into effect for the upcoming academic year and is expected to last for the next 15 years. Of the 1,900 students that were at Lakeland College last year, 130 were self-declared and studied in various fields such as firefighting, ag business, environmental sciences, and practical nurse programming.
Next Generation and TransAlta, Paul Band students in Grades 10 through 12 will have a chance for employment starting in July with TransAlta. In this program, students will go through an application and interview process for a six-week employment period. At the end of the summer, students will have the chance to continue on as a TransAlta employee, enrolled in the province-wide RAP program, earning high school credits, hours towards an apprenticeship and an hourly wage. “Our goal is to have a positive impact on the communities around us,” said Darren McCrank, TransAlta’s director of Alberta coal services. Employment in other departments, including human resources, finance and communications, will be considered.
Opportunity for trades New funding for Métis employment for Paul Nation Smoking cessation program students at Lakeland College youth kicks off Lakeland College has established a special purpose fund
Through an Aboriginal Youth Career Initiative in Trades and
Ekaya Pihtwaw, a tobacco cessation project launched by the
young people and adults; protect from exposure to second hand tobacco smoke; promote cessation among smokers; and provide education and support to those who smoke to help them quit. Ekaya Pihtwaw is working with the First Nation communities of Samson, Montana, Louis Bull, Ermineskin and Pigeon Lake. Between February and April of 2015, a survey conducted by the project of 839 adults and 52 youth determined that 45 per cent of the adult population smoked daily and 28 per cent smoked occasionally while 13 per cent of the youth (under 18) smoked daily and 22 per cent smoked occasionally. As well, 55 per cent of the current adult smokers started smoking when they were between the ages of 13 and 16 years, so a priority of the project is to focus on prevention activities for children and youth. Ekaya Pihtwaw is funded by the First Nation and Inuit Health, Federal Tobacco Control Strategy.
Canadian government aware of oil sands environmental issues A document obtained under Canada’s access-to-information law shows that the Canadian government was aware that contaminant levels exceeded guidelines, higher-than-expected atmospheric concentrations of chemicals, and a lack of regional species such as marten and fisher, in the Alberta oil sands. The January 2015 briefing note, prepared for Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, discussed findings from a tar sands monitoring report published in December 2014. While highlighting issues with contaminants and species at risk, the briefing note did not directly link environmental impacts to the oil sands, saying that “oil-sandsrelated pollutants in the environment are generally not at concentrations that give cause for concern.” First Nations and environmentalists have raised concerns for years and have criticized oil-sands projects for seepage and leakage of chemicals from tailings ponds, affecting communities downstream.
Dickson not guilty of importing cigarettes to Montana First Nation In June, a provincial court found Robbie Dickson, president of Rainbow Tobacco G.P., not guilty of importing millions of cigarettes without a licence for resale on the Montana First Nation. However, he was convicted of two other charges under the Tobacco Tax Act for possessing tobacco not marked for tax sale and for having more than 1,000 cigarettes. Whether he will be sentenced on those two charges will depend on the results
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Manitoba Pipestone: Special Section providing news from Manitoba Evacuated Red Sucker Lake residents return home Red Sucker Lake residents were flown home on June 30 following three nights at a Winnipeg hotel after being evacuated on the weekend of June 27 for safety reasons due to the proximity of fires to their community. Fire crews from Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship successfully battled a blaze that came within one kilometre of the residences. Most of the community of about 800 remained in their homes. The 232 individuals evacuated were mainly children, elderly people and those with medical conditions, ranked by priority according to information from health authorities and the community itself. Lodging for the group was paid for by the federal government while expenses for basics like food, clothing, diapers, laundry facilities and medical care were covered in partnership by the Red Cross, Health Canada and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
Lawsuit filed against oil company, province Gamblers First Nation is suing Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership and the Province of Manitoba, which licensed the company’s drilling on land next to the First Nation reserve. Gamblers is asking Court of Queen’s Bench for an order to quash the licences for the oil wells and provide
compensation for oil that was extracted from the ground near the reserve. Gamblers Chief David LeDoux said he invited the company to Gamblers’ land to do exploration work with the belief the company would share its findings with the First Nation people and make them partners in oil wells with Tundra. But that didn’t happen. In its statement of claim, Gamblers First Nation said Tundra drilled on land outside of the First Nation, which is considered traditional territory by the reserve, and that its people continue to hold Aboriginal title to that land. The claim alleges that when Tundra began extracting oil in 2014 from the adjacent land, it diminished the oil available under the reserve lands without providing compensation to the Gambler people. Gamblers’ lawsuit alleges the province had an obligation to consult with Gamblers before granting licences to Tundra, but did not do so. Tundra CEO Ken Neufeld said his company followed all provincial regulations in locating its wells and the province said no oil underlying Gamblers reserve land has been depleted by offsetting oil wells, all of which have been licensed according to Manitoba’s Oil and Gas Act.
Beaudin receives Order of Manitoba Karen Beaudin, 56, has been awarded the Order of Manitoba. Beaudin, a community resource co-
ordinator for the City of Winnipeg, received her award for increasing support, understanding, and respect for Indigenous people in the workforce. Holding three degrees and two certificates, Beaudin has been employed as a community development worker in Winnipeg’s inner city and as an outreach worker in the Aboriginal community in respect to employment. “Being Métis, you just want to get people more involved and see the opportunities that are out there and encourage them to stay in school and go on to postsecondary. There are opportunities out there,” she said. Beaudin has also sat on the Métis Child, Family and Community Services Board; cochaired the Seven Oaks Parents in Support of Aboriginal Education initiative for Seven Oaks School Board, which provides after-school programming for youth; currently sits as vice-chair of the Ikwe Widdjiitwin Inc., an Aboriginal women and children’s crisis shelter; and is a foster parent.
Mayor announces membership to MIAC Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman has created a Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle to advise on policies the City of Winnipeg can implement to continue to build awareness, bridges and understanding between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community. The 20-member advisory circle
includes former Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Murray Sinclair; Cindy Blackstock, executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; and Wab Kinew, associate vice-president for Indigenous relations at the University of Winnipeg. The advisory circle is to meet quarterly, with the first date set for Sept. 17. “The circle is a symbol of unity and … to create unity and equality, we must build understanding. Through MIAC, much of the important work building strong bridges in our community will continue,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.
Manitoba moves on Aboriginal history, culture in schools Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger says his government is moving forward with recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for teaching Aboriginal history and culture in schools. The NDP government announced a new four-point plan to ensure students in Manitoba learn the legacy of residential schools as well as the ‘60s Scoop. Legislation is to be introduced this fall for a new First Nation, Metis and Inuit education policy for teaching the history and culture of Aboriginals, as well as the significance of treaties. “Educating students about historical wrongs is a step toward mutual respect, reconciliation, and
understanding how we as a society can move forward together,” said Selinger in a news release. The government also promised to work with post-secondary institutions to develop a strategy for introducing more Indigenous content into bachelor of education courses to support teachers. It says the promised legislation will include a provision that will require the education framework to be reviewed every three years.
Pop collective records song to fight suicide A social media campaign around the single “One Day,” recorded by a local Indigenous pop collective, is hoping to connect to those struggling with suicide. “It’s such a pressing, serious issue that exists in the Indigenous community and lots of communities. We’re stepping up to the plate and lending our voice,” said bandleader and lead guitarist Vince Fontaine. Fontaine co-wrote the song for the Southern Chiefs Organization. The hashtag #live4tomorrow was pulled from the lyrics as part of a suicide awareness campaign. According to Health Canada, suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading cause of death for First Nations youth and adults up to 44 years of age. The song debuted lived in Toronto on July 12 as part of the Pan Am Games cultural festival Panamania.
Compiled by Shari Narine
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[ health ]
Carvers represent cultural safety at Island hospital
Health Watch Compiled by Shari Narine Study shows suicide numbers high in cluster of Ontario First Nations There were 31 suicides by Aboriginal people in Ontario in 2013, more than double the number in 1991, according to research conducted by Gerald McKinley, a postdoctoral fellow at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. However, McKinley said the deaths are occurring in clusters in seven northern First Nations. His soon to be released study shows that in northern Ontario, most of the suicide deaths are children and teens. The way suicide clusters in some First Nations†means that it should be viewed as a contagion, he said. The fact that northern Ontario is the only place outside of rural China where more women than men commit suicide also needs to be explored.
Organizations join to create Thunderbird Partnership Foundation
PHOTO: DEBORA STEEL
A great granddaughter is prepared before the unveiling ceremony at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. By Debora Steel Windspeaker Contributor
SAANICH, B.C. Four 15-foot totem poles are now at home at the entrance to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital telling all who enter the facility that this is the territory of the WSÁNEC First Nations communities and that the hospital is committed to culturally safe care. An unveiling ceremony was held July 7. The poles were created from a log felled in Huuay-aht territory on West Coast of Vancouver Island and blessed there before it traveled to the East Coast of the Island, where carvers from each of the four WSÁNEC nations went to work. Master carvers and young apprentice carvers worked together on the project. Organizers gave tokens to four witnesses as in appreciation of their job to remember and talk about the event. Skip and May Sam and their greatgranddaughter lit candles and May sang a hauntingly beautiful prayer song. She said it was a blessing for healing, a blessing for all the hard work that went into the poles. It was a blessing for each and every one in the hospital, and a special prayer for the nurses and doctors that toiled there. While the event was not part of the 39th annual Elders Gathering held at the nearby Panorama Centre in North Saanich, many from that event were bused to the hospital to witness the poles unveiling. Said carver Charles Elliott “to have our pole raising and unveiling ceremony during the time of the Elders Gathering makes it very special.” He said
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that before the totems—“our silent ambassadors”—there wasn’t anything on the hospital site to indicate that it was on First Nations’ territory. He said the carvers put their hearts and souls into the project. Carver James Jimmy thanked Elliott for being “a really great teacher.” Carver Mark Henry said he was always amazed at how the Coast Salish people always come together. “I am very grateful for what is taking place.” He said he hoped the people gathered were filled with joy and happiness at what our carvers have brought out in their work. Doug LaFortune, and his son Bear, carved the Tsawout pole. He said it was a real pleasure to work with all the carvers. “To do a totem like this was a real honor” and became more so as he realized how important it was to the people in the community. Chief Don Tom of the local Tsartlip Nation thanked the Saanich Hospital’s nurse liaison Jane Fox for her dedication and commitment. He said she was modest and humble, but was the catalyst to make the work a team effort. She had asked, what would make the hospital a more welcoming place, and this was the answer to that question. He said the welcome figures will help foster good relations. “Where you nurture a good relationship, healing will happen that much faster.” Western Forest Products was acknowledged for donating the log, as well as the partners that contributed to the project were thanked. “We are grateful for the contributions from [First Nations Health Authority]… the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation, Peninsula Co-op, Island Health,”
said Tsawout Chief Harvey Underwood. And he acknowledged the carvers “who expressed our people’s hearts and culture and identity of the land through carving.” “This is reconciliation,” said Chief Vern Jacks of Tseycum First Nations. He said to the nonNatives in the audience, “It’s about learning. You learn about us, and we learn about you.” He said everyone had the same color blood, just different color skin. The carvers, he said, “are good medicine.” Chief Rebecca Harris of Pauquachin First Nation said the poles gave a representation of the four communities in the stories that they tell. Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad said “These cultural creations are symbolic of the shared commitment to culturally safe care for all.” He said the poles were fitting sentinels to stand watch over the entrance to the hospital. “I know the work of these highly skilled and respected Aboriginal artists will speak to all who enter here of the lasting culture, and presence of the WS¡NE First Nation people.” Lydia Hwitsum, board chair of the First Nations Health Authority, said the totems honor the ancestors and represent the peoples who have always been in this territory, and share a message of how we can work better together as neighbors and partners. “They are also a way to honor and recognize the service providers and caregivers, supporting them to reflect on cultural humility and how to best offer culturally safe services in a health care setting.”
The Native Mental Health Association of Canada has joined with the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation to form the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. “The new Thunderbird Partnership Foundation reflects the coming together of substance use and wellness issues in a vision for a continuum of care that is grounded in First Nations culture,” said Dr. Brenda Restoule of the mental health association. The new partnership is also the launch of the Native Wellness Assessment, which will provide culturallybased information to guide treatment services. Health for First Nations is broadly envisioned as wellness and is understood to exist where there is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual harmony. The Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, along with its partners, the University of Saskatchewan, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, will continue to advocate for and support the implementation of the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum and the Honouring our Strengths Renewal Framework. The association also marked the new collaboration by renaming its organization the First Peoples Wellness Circle.
Foster care program boasts high success rate Community Led Organizations United Together, an Aboriginal-based child welfare program in Winnipeg, has experienced significant success with a 70 per cent reunification rate in the last three years. The CLOUT program began over 10 years ago as part of the community-mandated Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. Key to its success is the oneon-one approach taken by employees in working with foster parents, birth parents†and Child and Family Services case workers to build individualized case plans for each family and ensure everyone is taking the right steps to reach reunification. Families are brought into CLOUT on a referral basis. According to CLOUT, 40 families were reunited in 2014.
New UBC nursing curriculum teaches respect, history Retired nurse Jessie Nyberg and Professor Donna Kurtz, at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan School of Nursing, will be teaching students about delivering culturallyrespectful treatment to First Nations patients in new curriculum for 2015. Nyberg, a Shuswap Elder, said it is important for people to understand how residential schools, the Sixties Scoop, and the Indian Act affected First Nations, and resulted in intergenerational trauma. Requiring medical and nursing students to learn about Aboriginal health issues, the history and legacy of residential schools, and Indigenous teachings and practices are among the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The TRC also recommended†that medical and nursing students train†in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism; the new curriculum endeavors to reflect that.
First Nations women at greater risk for stillbirths First Nations women in Alberta are 70 per cent more likely to have a stillbirth, according to statistics collected by University of Alberta researchers studying diabetes. Preexisting diabetes is among the factors contributing to the higher rate of stillbirths, along with illicit drug dependence, alcohol use and smoking. Stillbirths were also more common for First Nations women over 35 years of age, those with more than three babies, and those with a history of abortion, previous stillbirth or neo-natal death. Richard Oster and partner Dr. Ellen Toth examined close to 470,000 births between 2000 and 2009. The rate of stillbirths for First Nations women over that 10-year period remained steady. The study was published in the February edition of Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. Presently the U of A is collaborating with an unidentified First Nation community in Alberta in an effort to reduce stillbirths and increase overall healthy pregnancies.
Sports Briefs Compiled by Sam Laskaris Thompson Named Spitfires’ Head Coach After spending the past five seasons coaching in the professional ranks, Rocky Thompson is heading back to the junior level. Thompson, a 37-year-old Cree, was named as the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires, who competed in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), in early July. Thompson, who was born in Calgary, had spent the past year serving as an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers. And prior to that he had spent four seasons working as an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League. Though he will be a newcomer to the OHL, Thompson, a former pro player himself, does have some previous coaching experience at the junior level. He had worked as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings, members of the Western Hockey League (WHL), for three seasons, from 2007 through 2010. As a pro, Thompson, who had been drafted by his hometown Calgary Flames in the third round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, ended up playing for nine different squads. He appeared in 25 NHL games, 15 with Calgary and 10 others with the Florida Panthers.
NHL Clubs Draft Bear And Pilon A pair of Aboriginal teenagers were among those who were selected at the recent NHL Entry Draft held in Florida. Ethan Bear, from the Ochapowace First Nation in Saskatchewan, was selected in the fifth round, 124th overall, by the Edmonton Oilers. And Ryan Pilon, who grew up in Duck Lake, Sask., home to the Beardy’s and Okemasis Willow Cree First Nation, was also chosen in the fifth round, 147th over-all, by the New York Islanders. The seven-round draft was staged June 26 and June 27 in Sunrise, Fla. Bear, a defenceman, had spent the past two seasons toiling in the WHL with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Despite being a blueliner, this past year he finished in a threeway tie for fourth place in club scoring, collecting 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 69 regular season contests. Bear managed to double the 19 points he had earned during his rookie campaign with the Thunderbirds. As for Pilon, who also plays defence, he has spent the past three seasons in the WHL. This past year he was a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Pilon racked up 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 68 games. He had joined the Wheat Kings the previous year, following an early season trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the club Pilon had kicked off his junior career with during the 2012-13 season. Pilon is the nephew of former defenceman Rich Pilon who appeared in 646 NHL matches, primarily with the Islanders, before retiring in 2003.
[ sports ]
Young competitor takes a balanced approach to sport and school By Sam Laskaris
WALPOLE ISLAND, Ont.
Jewelian Blackbird is hoping to continue representing Canada in taekwondo events right up to the highest levels of the sport. And the 16-year-old, who lives in Walpole Island, Ont., is proving she just might have what it takes to get there. Blackbird, who has Mohawk/ Ojibwe ancestry, has already made one national team. In 2013 she was a member of the Canadian cadet (12-14) squad. That year she competed at an international event in Mexico and returned home with a bronze medal in the heavyweight (over 59 kilogram) category. Blackbird, who took up the sport when she was eight, is now in her second of three years in the Junior (15-17) age grouping. She placed second in her under-63 kilogram division at the national championships held in June in Montreal. Though she was not chosen for the national team this year since she did not win her category at the Canadian meet, Blackbird might still compete in a pair of international events this summer. The Pan American
Taekwondo Youth Open is scheduled for Aug. 7 to Aug. 9 in Chicago. And then the Pan American Open World Taekwondo Federation event is set for Sept. 11 to Sept. 13 in Aguascalientes, Mexico. It remains to be seen, however, whether Blackbird will indeed participate at the Chicago event. That’s because her coach Ryan Formosa is only interested in taking his athletes to that event if it gets sanctioned by the World Taekwondo Federation. “I’ll go if I can,” Blackbird said of the Chicago competition. “If not, I’ll just stay back to train.” Blackbird trains under Formosa at the Chatham-based Cobra’s Taekwondo Training Centre. “The cost for the Chicago event is rather high,” Formosa said, adding a hotel room alone costs about $200 (US) per night. “But if it gets sanctioned, we’re going to go. There is no registration deadline. We can wait until the first week of August before deciding whether to go.” Three others athletes from the Chatham club will also compete at the Mexico meet in September. “Now that I’m going there with my teammates I’ll be more comfortable,” said Blackbird,
Winnipeg Hosts Nationals Winnipeg will be hosting this year’s Canadian Native Fastball Championships. The national tournament will be held at the Buhler Recreation Park. Games will begin on July 31 and continue until Aug. 2. Teams will be competing in top honours in five categories. This will include the senior men’s and senior women’s categories, which will offer $13,000 and $10,000, respectively, to the winning clubs. There will also be a 21-and-under men’s grouping, as well as male and female masters divisions.
Discover why Windspeaker is the most respected Aboriginal publication in Canada. Every month Windspeaker features award-winning coverage of the news and events important to Canada's Aboriginal people. Read news, editorials, columns, and features on topics ranging from politics to arts and entertainment – it's all in every issue of Windspeaker.
Jacobs To Enter Lacrosse Hall Of Fame Duane Jacobs has certainly racked up his share of coaching and managerial accolades in the past dozen years. But Jacobs, who is Cayuga and grew up in Ohsweken, Ont., will become a hall of famer later this year for his playing abilities. Jacobs, 49, is one of six individuals who will be inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame. The class of 2015 was announced on July 3. Induction ceremonies will be held Nov. 7 in Niagara Falls. The Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum is located in nearby St. Catharines. Jacobs played professionally in the National Lacrosse League (previously known as the Major Indoor Lacrosse League) from 1992 through 2003. He played for the Detroit Turbos, Rochester Knighthawks and Buffalo Bandits. He won the NLL title with Rochester in 1997 and also appeared in three other league finals with the Knighthawks. As a player Jacobs also won the Mann Cup, the Canadian Senior Men’s championship, three consecutive years, 1994-96, with the Six Nations Chiefs. He also won the President Cup, awarded to the top Senior B men’s team in Canada, twice, with the Owen Sound North Stars in 1989 and the Kitchener Kodiaks in 2003. Since ’04 Jacobs has been a coach and/or GM of the Chiefs, the two-time defending Mann Cup champs. He also coached in the NLL with Buffalo and the Minnesota Swarm.
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adding she did not know any of her fellow Canadian competitors when she took part at the Mexico event two years ago. Formosa believes Blackbird can fare well at the Mexican meet as well as the Chicago event if she does indeed attend. “I think she can do very well there,” he said. “She’s in her second year of junior now. But everything is a building block for next year. The main goal is focusing on next year which will be her last year of junior.” While in her final season of junior competition, Blackbird, who is heading into her Grade 10 studies at Wallaceburg District Secondary School, can also start entering some senior (18 and over events). “My goal is to try and make the (Canadian) senior team,” she said. “And I want to compete in Grand Prix events.” The Grand Prix competitions, held in various countries around the world, are part of the highest series for the sport. Blackbird is also hoping to one day represent Canada in the Summer Olympics. “It is so hard to get there, but it’s a longer term goal,” she said. “I still want to get there, but there’s other things I want to make first.” Formosa believes how far Blackbird gets in taekwondo is up to her. He has seen his share of athletes leave the sport after graduating from high school in order to concentrate on their post-secondary school pursuits. Blackbird, who is hoping to become a social worker, is keen to continue both her athletic and academic endeavours. “I will try to balance both,” she said. “Taekwondo has always been a big part of my life.” Blackbird currently trains four times a week at the Chatham gym, located about 40 minutes from her home. One of seven children in her family she relies on rides from others to get her to her training. When she is not able to come to the gym, Formosa said Blackbird will call in and receive cardio and muscle conditioning advice. “She can do that stuff at home,” he said. Formosa believes one of the reasons Blackbird has been successful in the sport is because she can adapt to different situations during matches. “She’s very responsive in the ring,” he said. “I can make comments to her and what she should be doing and she can do it.” So far it seems Blackbird is making plenty of right moves in her career.
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[ education ]
Long-time Windspeaker contributor heading to Wilfred Laurier By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor
Very few writers in Canada can actually make a living from their writing. Writer Drew Hayden Taylor is one of those writers. A member of Curve Lake First Nation near Peterborough, Ont., Taylor is a novelist, playwright, short story writer, and television script writer. In a recent interview, the handsome, blue-eyed writer said, “I don’t have a day job. Writing is my full-time job and I’m very flattered that I’m able to do that.” Taylor’s diversified writing portfolio recently earned him the appointment of the Edna Staebler Laurier Writer in Residence at Wilfred Laurier University, a four-month position he starts in January 2016. Taylor was chosen from a group of 20 applicants. It’s a fulltime position that comes with an office and a house. Forty per cent of his time, he’ll be engaged with the university and local communities, doing lectures, public readings, and offering advice to the aspiring writers among the students and faculty. The remainder of his time will be devoted to a writing project and, “right now, I’m juggling two or three ideas on books I want to write while I’m there,” said Taylor. “I might work on the second draft of a novel called Chasing Painted Horses. Or
PHOTO: BARB NAHWEGAHBOW
Writer Drew Hayden Taylor, 2016 Edna Staebler Laurier Writer in Residence, Wilfred Laurier University.
maybe I’ll work on another project.” Taylor isn’t even close to running out of story ideas. The key to being a writer, he said, is having the ability “to observe, the ability to sit there and soak in the world, the ability to watch, to listen, to understand and to just appreciate what an
interesting world we live in.” The Native community “is always providing lots and lots of interesting material to explore,” he said. Coming from an oral culture taught him about dialogue, he said. Growing up in the community, sitting around the kitchen table, drinking tea and
telling funny stories were his tutorials for writing dialogue. “It provided me with a real advantage,” he said. Taylor’s greatest fear is that people might not want to laugh anymore, a fear he’s not likely to confront any time soon. “I think I became successful,” he said, “because I incorporate a lot of humor into my work, or a slightly tongue-in-cheek perspective on the world. That has always been my forte, my contribution to the genre of Native literature.” In August, Taylor celebrates the launch of his 27th book. He’s come a long way from the five-year-old kid growing up on the reserve, sitting with a bunch of comic books, anxious to start school so he could learn to read. “I developed a fondness for all those tales, all these stories from exotic places that found their way to the lap of this little kid on the reserve in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “I remember thinking, wouldn’t it be cool, wouldn’t it be interesting if I could take stories from my community and then send them around the world?” In his teens he announced his decision to be a writer. Both his mother and his English teacher discouraged him. “Being a writer’s too difficult,” they told him, “Find something else to do!” Taylor took their advice and put his dream on hold for 10 years. A series of fortunate accidents got him back to writing in the 1980s. “Out of nowhere,” he
recalled, “I got the opportunity to write an episode for The Beachcombers.” That qualifies as one of the most exciting things in his writing career, although there are many, he said. “I sold the script and it was produced and I remember watching it, this show I’d watched as a kid and it had, written by Drew Hayden Taylor. That was pretty exciting!” There isn’t just one thing that’s been a defining moment or a special moment, Taylor said. “It’s been a whole series of surprises and excitement scattered throughout 30 years of writing.” The publication and production of his first play, Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock, his first novel, and the overwhelming success of Funny You Don’t Look Like One, a collection of his articles, have all been pretty special. He doesn’t have a favorite project either. “It’s like saying ‘who’s your favourite child’ when you have a bunch of children,” he said. “Each one came from a different place in my life at a different time, and each one has been especially fun and interesting at the time I worked on them.” Dr. Tanis MacDonald, chair of the selection committee at Wilfred Laurier University, said she hopes Taylor’s appointment will heighten the visibility of Aboriginal culture and deepen the discussion about the Aboriginal presence on campus. “I think Drew will be a really good ambassador for that,” said MacDonald.
Projects trains and houses people in Flying Dust
A housing project for the Elders of Flying Dust First Nation in Saskatchewan has created opportunities for Flying Dust First Nation youth to obtain training and skills in
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building and ensures the homes are both adequately built and meets the needs of the community. Flying Dust First Nation, located 300 km northwest of
Saskatoon, and Habitat for Humanity Canada hosted an All Chiefs Build of a 10-unit Elders’ lodge. It was the start of a partnership between Chief Richard Gladue, his council and
Habitat for Humanity Lloydminster. “We are very proud to partner with Habitat to find sustainable and affordable housing solutions for our community,” said Chief
Gladue. “This project will enable us to provide suitable housing for our Elders and assist young families in realizing their own dreams of homeownership.” (Continued on page 25.)
[ careers ] Discover why Windspeaker is the most respected Aboriginal publication in Canada. Every month Windspeaker features awardwinning coverage of the news and events important to Canada's Aboriginal people. Read news, editorials, columns, and features on topics ranging from politics to arts and entertainment – it's all in every issue of Windspeaker.
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The lodge is named Kikinaw, the Cree word for Our Home. Over the past eight years, Habitat’s Aboriginal Housing Program has built more than 100 homes for First Nation families. The lodge broke ground in May and once built, the homes currently occupied by Elders can be retrofitted for other families in the community, helping to improve living conditions through good housing and enabling access to a significant asset that would be otherwise out of reach, reads a press statement. The project also creates opportunities for youth to obtain skills. Since its inception in 2007, Habitat’s Aboriginal Housing Program has worked to address housing affordability issues faced by Aboriginal families in Canada. In 2011, Habitat signed an agreement with the Assembly of First Nations with the ultimate goal of increasing First Nations’ involvement in Habitat projects and enhancing opportunities for First Nations people to further their knowledge and skills applicable to all dimensions of housing, while adding to the housing stock.
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footprints ] Julie C. Bull
Comedienne was more than just a bunch of laughs By Dianne Meili
When Jodi Taylynn Belcourt attended a healing group led by Julie Collette Bull, her life was in shambles and she had a large chip on her shoulder. “I wanted to leave, but Julie told me I would smile one day and be happy,” Belcourt wrote in a Facebook tribute to Julie. “She asked me to trust her. I went home that night and decided to stay. I stayed for one year straight. She believed in me when no one else would, and in group she made me laugh until my belly and cheeks hurt.” The Alberta comedienne’s use of wise counsel and humour endeared many more like Belcourt to Bull. “Julie was naturally talented in a number of ways,” said Edmonton’s Louis Buff Parry, a close friend who gave the eulogy at her funeral on Alberta’s Goodfish Lake First Nation. The much-loved performer, educator and counsellor died of complications due to diabetes on May 23, 2015. She was 42 years old. Parry explained to Windspeaker that it was after he showed Julie a video clip of his ex-wife performing stand-up comedy as an opener for comedian Howie Mandel that Bull first considered using humour to make a living. “After she saw that performance, it sent her to a place where she’d always kind of been because she is by nature a very funny person. She took lessons in comedy and before we knew it she was going on tour.” The final exam Julie had to pass from the course she took at Yuk Yuk’s International Comedy Clubs in 2001 consisted of giving a live performance onstage at a Yuk Yuk’s stand-up comedy night. “She was nervous but she did great,” said her younger sister Crystal. “Students were given other opportunities to perform at Yuk Yuk’s, and my sister
always took them. She gave out a lot of complimentary tickets so she always had support from family and friends. That really helped her build confidence and she just kept going.” She ended up doing comedy for more than 10 years, making audiences of up to 2,500 people laugh. She performed in Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto, and also travelled to the United States and Australia with her show. Julie often relied on her body weight to make audiences laugh. She was a large woman who had often been referred to as “that fat chick” in school, said Crystal. “She had self-esteem issues, as we all do, but I think she was in her late 20’s when she finally accepted the way she was and decided to just live. “She was my role model. I loved the way she dressed. There was even an article written about her fashion sense in a Big, Beautiful Women magazine about 10 years ago. “She loved the 80’s and the clothing of that time – those leopard and zebra prints. It was all about big hair, too, and I remember there’s a picture of her in high school with her hair spiked sky high – about half a foot off her head. She said if she was going to be known as “that fat chick” she might as well be known as “that fat chick with the hair.” Born in Goodfish Lake on June 26, 1972, Julie’s close-knit family moved to Sherwood Park, just outside of Edmonton, when she was still young, and then spent three years in Victoria while her father, Sam Bull, attended law school. The family returned to Alberta when Sam started the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, of which he became the executive director. Julie also worked there for almost seven years, beginning in 1994, as the Education Coordinator,
Julie C. Bull
working with Aboriginal organizations and mainstream agencies while participating in the political process at First Nations’ local and provincial levels. In 2005 she began working as a facilitator for Native Counselling Services of Alberta. With a partner, she developed a parenting and life skills program, delivering it and evaluating it regularly by keeping statistics related to her clients’ lives. She also researched, developed and led workshops in self-esteem,
effects of colonization, humour in the workplace and an especially well-attended session entitled ‘Play Is Not Just For Kids.’ Her teaching style revolved around humour and made her a popular facilitator, Master of Ceremonies for private and public events, and professional public speaker. “My sister made friends everywhere she went,” recalled Crystal. “She was the most outgoing person I ever knew. She was a spiritual person, too, and was taking courses to
become a minister at Edmonton’s Centre for Spiritual Living.” In his eulogy, Parry touched funeral goers by reading poems Julie had written and explained why he called her “Jules” instead of “Julie.” “She was always correcting me and telling me I should call her Jules. So I did, and here’s why: because she was a diamond – sometimes in the rough – with a big, ruby heart. Her struggles created the great pearl that she became.”
Every single Windspeaker article ever published (well, almost) is now available on our online archives at www.ammsa.com The archives are free to search and read. P a g e [ 26 ]
Photo: Bert Crowfoot
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Photo: Bert Crowfoot
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