Page 1

Volume 34 No. 18 • December 2016

Inform. Impact. Inspire. Independent. Indigenous. Missing and murdered women’s commission will probe police behaviour Page 4

Pipeline Approval: Watershed moment and an act of betrayal Page 6


plus GST /HST where applicable

Brutality leads to hopeful positive change Page 2 /

Alb Swee erta tgras s Insid e ! Pag

Photo: Cara McKenna

Windspeaker • Established 1983

ISSN 0834 - 177X •

Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA)

es 12 –17!

Prophecies of old coming to fruition in fight for Mother Earth Several thousand people marched in Vancouver in opposition to Kinder Morgan on Saturday, Nov. 19, as many prepare to face arrest if the pipeline project is approved. See story on page 7.

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[ news ]

Brutality leads to hopeful positive change


Chevi Rabbit speaks at The Hate to Hope gathering at the Alberta Legislature in 2015. By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor

EDMONTON Editor’s note: We have been asked by Chevi Rabbit to use gender neutral pronouns for this story, and, to be respectful, we have done that.

Chevi Rabbit moved from hate to hope four years ago, after being attacked on the streets of Edmonton. The crime was a crime of hate. Rabbit was targeted for being gay. But instead of becoming embittered by the violence, Rabbit started an annual event, called Hate to Hope, which is now just one of many projects Rabbit is involved in, to rally support for the LGBTQ community. “I think it was more like, world shattering… growing up in a loving home and community, I was very traumatized by it,” said Rabbit of zir experience after the assault. (“Zir” and “ze” are gender neutral pronouns Rabbit advocates for the use of in reference to members of the LGBTQ community. They’re just one way people and organizations can be more gender inclusive in their workplace practices and in their daily lives. It’s something Rabbit talks about openly during public speeches at schools and universities. “It put me in a shell for about a year, but I think the public speaking helped. It gave me a sense of power that a voice can make a difference,” ze said. Rabbit, who was raised outside of the small town of Ponoka in central Alberta, is a member of the Montana Band on the Maskwacis First Nation. Ze was born to a supportive family, and raised in the

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countryside, which ze admits left zir kind of sheltered, not having experienced any real discrimination until the moment of the assault. And even though ze was constantly experimenting with gender, exhibiting non-genderconforming behaviors even as a small child, ze’s mother was never concerned about it. “I grew up in Ponoka, and I just always thought, ‘I want my own worldview. I want the Chevi worldview…’ I’ve known who I am for a very long time. It was always more of a question, ‘Is society going to accept me? Am I going to live in a world that will accept me?’” said Rabbit. Rabbit was actually enrolled in Indigenous studies at the time ze was attacked in Edmonton, and was just starting to learn about many of the social issues plaguing First Nations in Canada, with the intention of helping the cause. After experiencing zir own trauma due to the assault, and the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that came afterward, Rabbit’s motive shifted to helping victims experiencing similar pain. And having been through all that ze has, Rabbit is particularly focused on helping young people, because ze believes zir path would have been easier if ze had known sooner about the many options that exist for someone like zir. “I would have had an easier life because it would have been easier to identify as a woman faster. Now I have to do costly surgery to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I looked androgynous for a long time… then, as I got older, I looked more masculine. The testosterone really set in around age 24,” said Rabbit, adding that zir’s mother would have liked to have known about options like hormone therapy—

which Rabbit is on now—when Rabbit was younger, to help with the transition then. Along with the hormone therapy, Rabbit will also be undergoing a facial feminization surgery—which involves narrowing the forehead, sexual reassignment surgery—which will change Rabbit’s sexual organs, and breast implants. All

of which Rabbit says will help zir feel more comfortable in zir own skin. When asked if the election of Donald Trump—a man known for his bigotry against both people of color and people in the LGBTQ community—made zir feel less safe with the possibility that Trump’s attitudes may unleash a backlash against the

LGBTQ community? Zir answer is, no. “Anybody who’s intelligent knows hate exists in human nature, but we don’t have to highlight it. In the USA, it’s on the surface. They’re a divided country, they need Hate to Hope,” said Rabbit, with a laugh.

Continued on page 8.

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[ contents ]

Features Publisher Bert Crowfoot Editorial 1-780-455-2700 E-mail:

Contributing News Editor Debora Steel Advertising Sales 1-800-661-5469 E-mail:

Director of Marketing Paul Macedo

National Sales Shirley Olsen Accounts Carol Russ • Tanis Jacob Circulation Tanis Jacob AMMSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Leona Shandruk Vice President Rose Marie Willier Treasurer Dr. Chester Cunningham Secretary Noel McNaughton

Directors Elmer Ghostkeeper Rhonda Lizotte Jennie Cardinal Windspeaker subscriptions: Individual – 12 issues $20.00 +GST Individual – 24 issues $30.00 +GST Institutional/Corporate – 24 issues: $50.00+GST Published since 1983, Windspeaker is politically and financially independent. COPY RIGHTS Advertisements designed, set and produced by Windspeaker as well as pictures, news, cartoons, editorial content and other printed material are the property of Windspeaker and may not be used without the express written permission of Windspeaker. Letters to the editor can be sent to: Windspeaker 13245 - 146 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta T5L 4S8 General Enquiries: Rants and Raves: Twitter: @windspeakernews Facebook: /windspeakernews MEMBERSHIPS

Alberta Magazine Publishers Association

Award-winning book opens young eyes to difficult realities


“It’s a love story between three generations of women,” said Melanie Florence of her picture book Missing Nimâmâ, which recently won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. But it’s dark: that middle generation is a mother who has gone missing. She represents the hundreds of Indigenous mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts who have been murdered or are missing.

Even after 15 years, HIV education still lacking on reserve


It all started on March 25, 1992. At the time Rodney Little Mustache was tested, he was only 26 years old and living in Calgary. The diagnosis shocked him. At the time Rodney Little Mustache was tested, he was only 26 years old and living in Calgary.


Indspire Award lifts recipient’s spirits during a low time in life 22 It’s remarkable how something like a simple phone call can lift one’s spirits and alter a life. For Heather Kashman, a 23-year-old Métis from Edmonton, that phone call came last month.

Arena Lacrosse League fills a void


A Native community that is a lacrosse hotbed will have a team to support in its own backyard this winter after all. It appeared Six Nations would be without a squad when the six-squad professional Canadian Lacrosse League, more commonly known as CLAX, ceased operations this summer after five seasons of action.



[ alberta sweetgrass ] 12 - 17 [ health ] 18 [ education ] 19 - 21 [ sports ] 22 & 23


[ footprints ] Annie Pootoogook 24 The sudden passing of Annie Pootoogook, 47, in Ottawa this past Sept. 19 brought two waves of emotion. There was initial grief amongst those who knew her as a friend and influential artist, and a flood of national anger as discrimination within law enforcement surfaced. Police initially refused to investigate suspicious conditions surrounding Pootoogook’s death, even though her body had washed up on the shore of the Rideau River. An Ottawa police officer then wrote on social media that the artist’s death “could be a suicide, accidental, she got drunk and drowned” and in a second post he wrote “much of the Aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers.”

ADVERTISING The advertising deadline for the January I 2017 issue of Windspeaker is December 9, 2016. Call toll free at: 1-800-661-5469 for more information. We acknowledge the 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:

Alberta Sweetgrass — The Aboriginal Newspaper of Alberta Saskatchewan Sage — The Aboriginal Newspaper of Saskatchewan Raven's Eye — The Aboriginal Newspaper of British Columbia Ontario Birchbark — The Aboriginal Newspaper of Ontario

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[ news ]

Missing and murdered women’s commission will probe police behaviour

Muriel Stanley Venne, president for Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Edmonton By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor

VAL-D’OR, Que.

The commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have committed to examining police behavior. In a statement issued Nov. 18, the commission said, “The situation in Val-d’Or is exactly the type of situation that the national inquiry will look at. Policing is a crucial government service that certainly falls under the inquiry’s mandate.” When the terms of reference were released in August, they did not specifically include police interaction with Indigenous women and their families. “The institute was part of a

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number of groups that was very unhappy about that,” said Muriel Stanley Venne, president for Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in Edmonton. “I don’t see how you can do a proper investigation without the input of the police’s actions anywhere in Canada.” Stanley Venne is pleased that the examination of police behaviour is no longer a grey area. “I’m absolutely supportive of their initiative (to include policing) because it’s part of the entire scene of the difficulties that Indigenous women have in being believed,” said Stanley Venne. Michael Hutchinson, former APTN News anchor, newly hired as the commission’s director of communications, said policing clearly falls under

the commission’s purview to examine systemic issues that lead to murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. “The systems the inquiry is going to be looking at in a large part is going to be government systems and so certainly policing falls under that as a major component of government systems,” he said. Hutchinson said that the commission clarifying that point is only coincidental following the decision by Crown persecutors not to charge six Quebec provincial police officers following an investigation into the alleged abuse of Indigenous women in Val-d’Or. “We were asked to make a statement specifically on Val d’Or, but that doesn’t mean we came up with the idea that policing fell under our mandate

at that particular time,” he said. “One doesn’t follow the other.” What happened in Val d’Or is not unique, said Stanley Venne. Police are mistreating Indigenous women right across the country. Last week in Edmonton, a city police officer pleaded guilty to one charge of neglect of duty at a disciplinary hearing following an incident in April 2014, when he wrongfully arrested a First Nations woman for impaired driving. Arlene Sams, who at the time was going through a traumatic experience, has requested that arresting officer Const. David Olsson participate with her in a reconciliation process. “It’s a real interesting case right here and it relates to the statements that were made by the Indigenous women in Quebec because they’re not


being believed,” said Stanley Venne. “The vital part of the whole issue is the relationship with the police,” she said. The allegations that came forward in Val d’Or stemmed from a discussion at the Vald’Or Native Friendship Centre. Women claimed that they had suffered abuse at the hands of on-duty Quebec police officers decades ago, having been physically or sexually abused, or dropped off at the outskirts of a community and forced to walk back. The friendship centre, along with Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, have renewed their calls for the Quebec government to set up an independent commission to examine relations between police and First Nations.

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[ news in brief ]

Our struggle continues Bert Crowfoot, the publisher of Windspeaker and CEO of the Aboriginal MultiMedia Society of Alberta (AMMSA), has headed off to Ottawa to address the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. On Nov. 17 he’ll be speaking to the committee about the importance of Indigenous media in Canada and how media concentration impacts our publications and operations. The Standing Committee is attempting to ascertain how communities are “informed about local and regional experiences through news, broadcasting, digital and print media.” This is a wide-ranging discussion that has included information on the impacts of digital media on traditional media, the reality of diminished advertising revenues, which hits small publications like ours particularly hard, and the issue of unfair advantage. On Nov. 15, for example, heavy hitters, including the Globe and Mail and Google, argued that CBC should not be provided Canadian taxpayer dollars to deliver its services. They want to level out the playing field, making CBC compete with other media organizations for advertising revenues. They say CBC is attempting to be all things to all people. That’s easy to do when you have an established revenue stream. Large media corporations don’t, and neither does AMMSA. In the event you don’t know very much about Windspeaker or the Aboriginal MultiMedia Society, let us catch you up. The Society was established 34 years ago in 1983. In those early days, the multi-media comprised of a radio show, and a single newspaper—Windspeaker. At that time, Windspeaker was devoted to media coverage of the Indigenous populations of Alberta, and it was a mightily successful publication. So much so, that it evolved into a national news publication. AMMSA evolved too and developed a new publication to fill the void that was left in Alberta when Windspeaker went national. That publication is called Sweetgrass. Two publications under the AMMSA banner led to four—Saskatchewan Sage and Ontario Birchbark—and then five—Raven’s Eye for British Columbia, with other specialty publications filling in the gaps of reader interest and need—Buffalo Spirit, a guide to Indigenous Spirituality and Culture, and Windspeaker Business Quarterly. Radio went from a show to a station— CFWE—to a network with websites, YouTube channels and a mobile phone app. People can now listen to AMMSA’s multiple radio channels from a smartphone almost anywhere in the world. If you’re interested check out http:// The pace of change experienced by all news organizations since those days has been dramatic. But for the last 10 years the sands have shifted under our feet like never before. For Indigenous media, it has always been a struggle to find the funds to do what we do. There is no government funding for this. We

don’t get a percentage from every cable subscriber across Canada, as does APTN, for example. (Not complaining. We support APTN and their news staff, and we’re glad they provide the service that they do.) But we’re out here swimming with the sharks. We have been for a very long time. It’s made us strong and resilient and we’ll carry on, because what we do is important; the Indigenous perspective is important, because what has remained consist over 34 years is the desire of our readers and listeners to have their own selves reflected fairly in news coverage. They want their issues and concerns discussed from the position of their own worldview. They want value placed on their histories, their cultures and traditions. While AMMSA has helped bridge the gap of understanding between Indigenous peoples and Canadian society, it has, even more importantly, helped Indigenous peoples learn about and understand themselves, through an Indigenous lens. The worldview, cultures and traditions of Indigenous peoples are rarely accurately portrayed by mainstream media—yes, even now—and reports often take a pan-Indigenous view of Aboriginal people in Canada. They make no distinction between nations and this further skews understanding of Indigenous communities by Canadian society from coast to coast to coast. News of Indigenous peoples by mainstream publishers is, generally, focused on the activities of Indigenous peoples that run contrary to the initiatives, values and perspectives of Canadian populations. There is no coverage of potlatches or powwows, coming of age ceremonies, Indian rodeo, activities like fishing or beading or weaving. No coverage of what fills out our knowledge and understanding of family-based Indigenous communities. So, AMMSA will remain. We are committed to upholding the highest journalistic standards of balance and objective coverage of Indigenous issues from the Indigenous perspective. We will continue to build trusting relationships with our readers and listeners. AMMSA will continue to provide opportunities for Indigenous journalists, writers, photographers, artists and musicians, having already trained countless numbers of talented Indigenous people over 34 years. However, without a consistent revenue stream, Indigenous media, including AMMSA, will struggle, and readers and listeners will suffer, and become more isolated and misunderstood in Canadian society than they already are. All media, including Indigenous media, face significant challenges going forward. AMMSA has faced difficult times in the past, but remains optimistic. We must, however, be nimble. Financial resources will help make that happen and allow us to continue our important work.

Do you have a rant or a rave? Criticism or praise? E-mail us at: twitter: @windspeakernews facebook: /windspeakernews December II 2016

‘Comply Canada’ on orders from Human Rights Tribunal A motion has been filed with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) to push Canada to take action on the January 2016 ruling that Ottawa is discriminating against First Nations children in care. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde filed the motion which calls for the tribunal to issue yet another compliance order to the government and set the stage for further orders and other actions should the government continue to ignore the Tribunal’s ruling. “The Trudeau Government has repeatedly said that the most important relationship for Canada to rebuild is the one with Indigenous peoples,” said Bellegarde. “It’s time to move beyond words, end this impasse and implement the Tribunal’s decision and provide fairness and justice for First Nations children. “We will not wait idly while another generation is subjected to discriminatory funding. Our children cannot wait. We need immediate remedies and a long-term approach to ensure our children are safe and raised in healthy, caring environments.” The AFN motion was only one of a number of motions filed on Nov. 22, reads a press release. Other parties filing motions include the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Chiefs of Ontario and Nishnawbe Aski Nation. The AFN’s motion specifically focuses on the need for a process to address mid-term and long-term relief to support and reform First Nations child and family services. Other motions filed address the need for action in other areas, including immediate relief. “We recognize that it will take a lot of effort and collaboration to reform the child welfare system in Canada,” said Bellegarde. “We don’t want to dismiss what is necessary to address medium to long-term needs to protect First Nations children and to ensure the system is reflective of our goals of restoring First Nations jurisdiction and responsibility for our own children. But the resources that we are talking about are needed now in our family services agencies.”

Misconduct found in judge’s comments A committee of the Canadian Judicial Council has unanimously recommended that Justice Robin Camp be removed from the bench. Camp is the judge who asked a woman in a rape trial why she didn’t just keep her knees together to thwart the alleged sexual assault. Camp faced an inquiry into his comments, made in Alberta in 2014. He Justice Robin Camp told the committee, made up of five Superior Court judges and senior lawyers, that he was “very sorry that, on reflection and rereading what I said, that I intimidated her, using facetious words.” He said his comments came from a “deep-rooted” bias. The committee found that Camp committed “misconduct” as a provincial court judge at the trial. He has since been promoted to the Federal Court. Camp’s council now has the opportunity to review the committee’s report and respond. After the committee reviews that response, the committee will decide whether to make recommendation to the Justice Minister to have the judge removed from the bench.

Brutality leads to positive change Continued from page 2. “With Canada, I don’t think it’s in our social fabric DNA. We really just drilled it into each other to respect one another. I think in most of Canada (LGBTQ) is accepted, and the rest of Canada is going to have to accept it,” ze said. As for Rabbit’s future plans, ze is planning on expanding zir reach. Rabbit recently got into work with a social housing agency, and is learning about homelessness and ways to alleviate it. Already a top makeup artist in Alberta, Rabbit will also continue with this work. But an even bigger aspiration comes in 2017, when Rabbit will try zir hand at politics, running for city council in Edmonton, and trying to make positive change while at it. “My mom’s side of the family is in chief and council in Maskwacis. I come from a long legacy of leaders… So I think it would be a natural progression to move into provincial politics,” ze said. “Basically in my own way, I’m being a pioneer educating people. I don’t think a lot of people can put up with the hate… There’s a lot of hate directed at people who make change. But I’ve built a tough skin because of it,” said Rabbit.

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[ news ]

Pipeline Approval: Watershed moment and an act of betrayal By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


“We are not about to stand down and go quietly into the night. That’s not going to happen,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. Phillip was speaking an hour after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced approval for Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3. Trudeau rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project and promised to pass legislation for a moratorium on oil tanker traffic off the British Columbia north coast. Rueben George with the Tsleil–Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative went a step further saying what’s happening in Standing Rock, North Dakota could happen in Canada. “I think it’s inevitable. People have a right to express themselves,” he said, noting that over 100 First Nations spanning from Quebec to BC have signed a treaty alliance against tar sands expansion. “We talked today about having a mass action together. Trudeau is uniting the Indigenous people.” George said Indigenous representatives met with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr on Monday to present scientific information as to why the Trans Mountain pipeline project was unsafe both for people and the environment. He said six worldrenowned scientists wrote the 1,200 page document. He also said the meeting with Carr did not constitute either a protocol document being drawn up, nor consultation. Carr offered no hint to the decision that was to come down on Nov. 29 despite being asked, said George. George said the meeting was a waste of their time. “We’re always hopeful, always, but I’m not surprised,” he said. “I don’t think we can rule out anything. These things have a life of their own and certainly today represents a watershed moment in this battle. It represents another chapter of betrayal on the part of the Canadian government,” said Phillip. He said that the UBCIC have an online pledge that has attracted 5,000 signatures to date. The pledge commits signatories to do “whatever’s necessary” to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Phillip said the groups that oppose the project will be

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discussing all their options, including a “more intense” legal strategy and political strategy. Phillip accused Trudeau of going back on campaign promises to revamp the Canadian Environmental Assessment and the National Energy Board processes before any major resource development project got the go ahead. “I’m deeply disappointed but not surprised. We anticipated this decision was going to be made in terms of approving the project despite enormous opposition,” said Phillip. He said Trudeau had sold out British Columbians interests – noting that the mayors of Burnaby, Victoria and Vancouver all oppose the project – in favour of Albertans. Phillip said it isn’t good enough that Indigenous people are promised a spot on a committee to oversee the 157 conditions outlined by the NEB before Trans Mountain can go ahead. He also said that the rejection of the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project and the promised legislation for a moratorium on oil tanker traffic off the BC northern coast are not concessions. “The Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal has been dead in the water now for a very long time. That was no genuine offering or effort to balance. That was a cheap political public relations ploy to suggest there was some sort of balancing in the decision making,” said Phillip. George said that the rejection of Northern Gateway proves that Indigenous rights are strong. Trudeau said Northern Gateway was rejected because the Great Bear Rainforest was no place for a pipeline. He said the approvals were made based on scientific proof and not politics and that moving oil by pipeline was safer than moving it by rail. He also said the pipeline approvals were made possible by the climate leadership plan put in place by Alberta. Enbridge’s Line 3 is a $7.5 billion replacement and expansion that runs 1,073 kilometres from Hardisty, Alberta, across Saskatchewan adjacent to Regina and through Brandon and Gretna in Manitoba running from Neche, North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin. NEB has attached 37 binding conditions to the project’s approval. Kinder Morgan’s $6.8 billion Trans Mountain pipeline will triple the capacity of its northern Alberta-to-Burnaby pipeline system to 895,000 barrels a day.

Vancouver protest against Northern Gateway pipeline in 2014.


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[ news ]

Prophecies of old coming to fruition in fight for Mother Earth By Cara McKenna Windspeaker Contributor


Several thousand people marched in Vancouver in opposition to Kinder Morgan on Saturday, Nov. 19, as many prepare to face arrest if the pipeline project is approved. The unprecedentedly huge rally drew Indigenous people from diverse nations across Western Canada who spoke, sang and drummed alongside politicians on all levels who oppose the pipeline. The display of opposition came just weeks before the federal government’s deadline of Dec. 19 to make a final decision on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The project would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline that carries crude oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., and increase tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet by sevenfold. Amy George, an Elder from Tsleil-Waututh nation on the Burrard Inlet, told the crowd that a tanker spill would devastate her territory’s already ravaged shoreline. “We’re the people of the inlet. We’ve been there for 30,000 years,” she said. “I hope [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] is sitting down and watching this because there’s too many of us saying no. We are the people, and we are the ones this is going to affect.” After George spoke at Vancouver City Hall, people marched en masse to Library Square, walking over the Cambie Bridge and closing roads. Later, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs launched a campaign that encourages people to pledge to do “whatever it takes” to stop the pipeline if it’s approved. Anyone who signs up at will be added to a list that will join together to create strategies and stand on the front lines to stop the project. By Monday afternoon, nearly 3,000 people had signed on. At the rally, several prominent politicians vowed to risk arrest if construction on the Kinder Morgan expansion begins, including Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. Corrigan has been a prominent opponent of the project in the courts and at National Energy Board hearings, and he said he will continue to fight in any way he can. “If Trudeau pushes this pipeline through and this pipeline begins going through Burnaby Mountain, through our

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A mass rally against Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion begins at Vancouver City Hall on Nov. 19.

Audrey Siegl of Musqueam First Nation holds up a drum among a crowd of protesters on Vancouver’s Cambie Bridge.

conservation area, through our park, I’ll be standing in front of the bulldozers,” he vowed. “I want to know how many of you will be standing there with me.” UBCIC president, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, told the crowd that he believes that mass displays of opposition of big oil being seen now, from B.C. to Standing Rock, were prophesized centuries ago by Indigenous leaders. “What we’re witnessing here today is the beginning of something incredibly powerful,” he said. “Hundreds of years ago it was prophesized that the day would come that all the races of mankind would come together for a common purpose and that common purpose would be to defend Mother Earth. “I believe that those times are upon us now.”

Jody Leon of Secwepemc First Nation dances as she leads the crowd of protesters through downtown Vancouver on Nov. 19.

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[ news ]

Standing Rock is sitting in peace, says spiritual leader Arvol Looking Horse

Chief Arvol Looking Horse with Lisa Edgar who presented him with a $10,000 cheque on behalf of Scugog Island First Nation.

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Organizer Suzanne Smoke (left) and Elder Jackie Lavalley offering a prayer for the water. By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor


Chief Arvol Looking Horse, 19th generation keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and the spiritual leader of Standing Rock, brought a message of unity through the power of prayer to Toronto on Nov. 28. “I am Lakota. I come from Standing Rock,” Chief Looking Horse said. “We have over 300 flags. We have more flags than the United Nations,” he said of the nations represented who stand with the water protectors in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline. More than 15,000 people are in the camp and it continues to grow, he said. “Today, it’s the people that are uniting. We have recognized all ages, all nations. We must unite through these times,” he said. Chief Looking Horse was speaking at a fundraising event for Standing Rock at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). The event was organized by Suzanne Smoke and a team of volunteers. With less than two weeks of lead time, the word went out on social media and the auditorium at OISE was filled to capacity with about 500 people, many of them travelling from out of town. When Smoke addressed the crowd, she said she was humbled by the response from the community as drummers, artists, a caterer and several volunteers stepped forward. Volunteers found the venue, set up a Facebook events page and handled ticketing and security. “This was a community effort,” said Smoke. A buzz of excitement went through the crowd when Smoke announced that Chief Looking Horse was coming in. He received a welcome befitting a

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spiritual leader of his stature and people rose to their feet and applauded as he entered the auditorium accompanied by two young women in white buckskin dresses. He was introduced by Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day who presented Chief Looking Horse with a copper vessel. In his introduction, Day said that Chief Looking Horse was given the responsibility of being the keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe at the age of 12, a responsibility that overwhelmed him. Chief Looking Horse has worked for religious freedom, cultural survival and revival and protection of sacred sites. He has travelled all over the world with his message of peace and prayer, meeting other spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama, making connections between Tibet and the Lakota people. We are telling the world that Mother Earth is sick and has a fever, Chief Looking Horse said, and he recounted meeting a scientist who talked about global warming and that the world is at the point of no return. “We, as Indigenous people, we are saying the same thing,” he said. “That what we are faced with in the world today, the direction that we’re going in is not good, that what has happened in the last hundred years, what we have witnessed, it’s not good.” “In our tradition, the Elders said, a leader must have a good mind. A leader must think about the future, must think about the children and everything that is…We know from the time on the earth here that it’s a spiritual life. In our sacred teachings, the law says to respect the water. We don’t have to put that in black and white.” “The four seasons that we live, we do the ceremonies to maintain that cycle of life, the sacred hoop. The sacred hoop is also, we sit in a circle. There’s no

one person higher than the other. But in order to step into that circle, you have to put aside all your bad feelings, your anger, jealousy, and be kind to your body and have a good mind... “In our sacred teachings of the law of nature, that we are part of this environment, that even the trees have that circle…those are the sacred teachings that came about this environment, knowing that those trees have a spirit. Knowing that the water has a spirit…and that is why the Native American people pray with that water. And today that’s what we want to do is share our teachings. We’re asking all people to come and be a voice, be a prayer for that water.” Chief Looking Horse said that it was the youth who started the camp at Standing Rock. “They said, ‘enough is enough’.” They came to stand up for the water of life, to protect the water and they are doing it with prayer. The Elders have told them “no guns, no violence, you stand there in peace and prayer and, so far, we are standing like that today. Mni Winconi. Water is life.” It was a full evening, with performances by world champion hoop dancer Lisa Odjig from Wikwemikong First Nation and the Manitou Mukwa Singers from Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation. Elder Jackie Lavallee who did the opening prayer, later led the women in offering a song for the water. Phillip Cote was the eagle staff carrier and conducted a pipe ceremony at the end of the evening. Eagle Heart Singers and All Nations Jrs. provided opening songs and the honor songs for Chief Looking Horse and his family. Catering was by Nish Dish and owner Johl Ringuette donated all the proceeds from sales to Standing Rock. Several artists donated pieces to the silent and live auctions.

Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day at fundraising event for Standing Rock in Toronto.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of Standing Rock

The event raised $15,675 for Standing Rock, which included a cheque for $10,000 presented to Chief Looking Horse by Lisa Edgar on behalf of Scugog Island

First Nation. More than 100 people lined up after the event to take selfies or have their photo taken with Chief Looking Horse.

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Above: About 50 people gathered outside the Alberta Legislature Nov. 21 for a candlelight vigil to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to British Columbia. The protest was one of about 45 held across the country. Left: Taz Bouchier (red coat) at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton and in Standing Rock, North Dakota, speaking out for Mother Earth.

Vigil protests Kinder Morgan expansion, supports Standing Rock community By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor


About 50 people gathered outside the Alberta Legislature late Monday afternoon carrying placards and candles protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to British Columbia. The federal government is to make a decision by Dec. 19 on the project. “When (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley) sat with Indigenous leaders my understanding is they were not going to put in pipelines. So they’re backing off on their words. And I know that many people are onboard around

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making them accountable for their promises prior to the election,” said Elder Taz Bouchier. For Bouchier, her protest in Edmonton is just one more stand in a continuum of work for the protection of Indigenous rights and Mother Earth. “I’m here in solidary also with Standing Rock, to gain some support for them for the atrocities and inhumane treatment they’re going through at this time,” she said. Bouchier was in Standing Rock, North Dakota, last month and will be making a return trip in early December. Over one thousand Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have joined forces to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline,

working to ensure protection of waterways, drinking water sources, wild bison herds, and sacred sites from destruction. Bouchier was invited to the “peaceful prayer” site to help deal with the trauma demonstrators have been experiencing. Clashes with police have resulted in high pressured water hoses being turned on demonstrators in below zero weather, rubber bullets, mace, and tear gas. There have been hospitalizations and arrests. “A lot of horrible things are going on 17 hours away from Edmonton,” said Bouchier. While in Edmonton, Bouchier says she is keeping in touch with people from Standing Rock, providing counselling over the

telephone. “No one is planning on leaving. Many have said they would die for the cause. They know what they’re getting themselves into. They’re making that choice to go down there. And many of them are not Indigenous to the land. Many of them are Caucasian people from all over the world who said this is an atrocity, it’s inhumane treatment of the First Peoples of the land and it goes against the Constitution,” said Bouchier. “Standing Rock is one of the many illustrations of Indigenous-led actions that are confronting the destruction from fossil fuel infrastructure development and showing us all that there is another way to build a better future,” said

Eriel Deranger, from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, in a statement. Deranger is hosting an educational panel that is taking place Nov. 26 at the University of Alberta. The panel is being presented by UAlberta Native Student Services in partnership with Indigenous Climate Action. The panel, through Skype and in person, will consist of Indigenous land defenders and focus on the significance of Standing Rock and other ongoing and historical Indigenous resistance to extractive industries. There are also a variety of fundraising activities planned throughout next week in Edmonton to support the Standing Rock community.

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Death of child puts focus on need for changes in kinship care By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor

EDMONTON Cree Elder Doreen Spence


Life must be lived in balance, says Indspire winner By Shari Narine Cree Elder Doreen Spence is no stranger to accolades. But winning the Indspire Award is special. “It’s a big honour because it comes from the people themselves, our people. That says a lot about the work that I do,” said Spence, a traditional healer and registered nurse. Spence is one of two recipients of Indspire’s award for culture, heritage and spirituality. The awards represent “the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its own achievers,” according to Indspire. Spence practises her traditional ways through her roles in education, health and ceremony. “It’s bringing that holistic awareness not only to our people but to the non-Natives as well,” she said. The holistic approach is evident in the formal education Spence has received. She studied at Bible school before receiving training as a nurse. She left the nursing profession shortly before full retirement. She enrolled in courses at the University of Calgary, such as women studies, religion, and family and law, that would help her “better serve the people.” Presently Spence is working with Mount Royal University, in Calgary, to Indigenize its nursing program as well as delivering workshops to social work students and intensive training to professors. She says it’s important for students to understand the spiritual ways of the people they are working with. Spence also works at the Healing Space Calgary, where she runs two or three Vision Quests annually, and facilitates healing. “Many of our own people through residential schools and through various processes of colonization … there’s so much that has been lost,” she said.

Continued on page 14.

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The death of a four-year-old girl who had transitioned out of care has prompted the child and youth advocate to push for changes in the way the province handles kinship care. On Tuesday morning, the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate released a report on Marie (not her real name), who died of physical injuries incurred almost one year after Child Intervention Services concluded its involvement. Marie was in a home that started off as kinship care. The kinship caregivers had become her private guardians by the time Marie died. The investigation resulted in Advocate Del Graff identifying the “need for Child Intervention Services to address and support those elements of kinship care that make it unique from foster care.” InVoices for Change: Aboriginal Child Welfare in Alberta a special report from OCYA delivered in July, Graff called for “increasing the use of kinship care for Aboriginal children.” There is no doubt in Don Langford’s mind that kinship care is the preferred method by which to meet the needs of Indigenous children taken into care. Kinship care provides familiarity, cultural, community and language continuity. “I believe it’s the way to go, but it’s hard,” said Langford, who serves as executive director with the Métis Child and Family Services Society.

“Kinship care is far more difficult than foster care because the demands on the family are different.” Kinship care means that a child, who has been apprehended, is placed with a family relation. It also means an existing relationship that adds pressure and often times results in interference from one or both of that child’s parents. The difficulties that kinship caregivers face are not recognized by the province, says Langford, noting that kinship caregivers do not receive the same orientation, training, supports and funding foster care parents do. Another difference, he says, is that kinship caregivers have up until nine months after the child has arrived in the home to complete their home assessment, while foster care parents need to have the home assessment completed – by an outside party - prior to a child’s placement. Home assessment is an area that Graff targets as a recommendation in his report on Marie. Presently, kinship caregivers can undertake selfassessments of their homes and do not require outside professional input. The OCYA is calling for “the collection of collateral information in the completion of the home study from community professionals, who are familiar with the applicant, regarding the demonstrated ability of the kinship applicant.” The OCYA is also recommending that policy be consistent, including mandatory orientation and training for kinship caregivers.

Langford says that how agencies deal with kinship caregivers depends upon each agency. “I like to think we provide good support to our kinship parents and our foster parents and anybody that comes in because we work under a cultural program,” he said. That cultural programming provides an enhanced Aboriginal service delivery element, which means embracing an Indigenous world view. Cultural appropriateness is also another recommendation from Graff, who calls on the ministry to “implement a home study tool specifically for kinship care that is culturally relevant and addresses the unique kinship circumstances” and “provide a continuum of culturally relevant, supportive services for kinship caregivers.” In responding to the OCYA report, Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir said in a statement, “Creating culturally appropriate supports for Indigenous children and families must be done in collaboration with Indigenous partners. We will continue to listen to Indigenous leaders and families to ensure our practices support their needs.” Langford says provincial governments have been promising for decades to work with Indigenous communities. “We have not been involved in the way we should when it comes to setting policy on how service should be delivered,” he said. Marie’s report is the third report from the OCYA that has included recommendations on kinship care. All three reports call for specialized training for kinship caregivers and more supports. “We have already taken action to strengthen a number of areas the advocate highlighted. Work is underway on assessment tools that meet the unique needs of kinship caregivers, a support program to help caregivers and staff better understand how trauma affects child development, and approaches to family reunification that put children first,” said Sabir.

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Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt shakes hands with Denise Simmons (left) and Paris Hazelwanter, who have benefited from Indigenous student supports.

Future Ready education initiative expanded November 16, 2016. Alberta has expanded its Future Ready education initiative to provide $7 million in financial awards for more than 1,500 Indigenous students. Officials with Advanced Education made the announcement Tuesday at Bow Valley College’s Aboriginal Centre, which included a blessing from Elder Florence Kelly of the Ojibwa First Nation in Ontario. Financial awards are available to First Nations, Metis and Inuit students in programs that lead to careers in high-demand fields. Eligible undergrad students may receive up to $4,000 per year, while eligible graduate students may receive up to $15,000. During the 2015-16 pilot program, approximately 940 students received more than $4.3†million in grants for their post-secondary studies through the Indigenous Awards.

EPS warns of release of violent sexual offender The Edmonton Police Service is warning the public that Kenny Beaver is being released. Police consider Beaver to be a violent sexual offender who poses a risk of significant harm to the community. Beaver will be residing in the Edmonton area. EPS is seeking a recognizance order on Beaver and he will be closely monitored by EPS’s Behavioural Assessment Unit. EPS says it has issued this warning “in the belief that it is clearly in the public interest to inform the members of the community.” The warning is to allow the public to take suitable precautionary measures. It is not to encourage vigilante action.

Wood Buffalo fire could reveal prime archeological sites By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor


As on-site archeological work in southern Alberta comes to an end, there is anticipation about possible work in another disaster area in the province. Archeologist Dr. Dan Meyers, with the consulting company Lifeways of Canada, is excited about the possibility of seeing what the wild fires that scorched close to 600,000 hectares this past spring in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo may have revealed about Indigenous life. “If the government had funding available to do some sort of study to see what kind of sites they can find because of the fire, I would absolutely love to be involved in that,” said Meyers. At this point, says Wendy Unfreed, with the Archeological Survey of Alberta, the province has not yet put together a program to examine archeological finds following the northern fire. “At this moment we’re brainstorming about how we might be able to do that but we have no definite plans

at this moment,” she said. Meyers says the fire creates a unique opportunity to discover life thousands of years ago. Unlike the Bow River flooding, where excavations went three metres deep to find 400- to 500-year-old materials, the Fort McMurray fire could reveal 10,000 years of human occupation under only 30 centimetres of ground cover. “The interesting thing up there (is) when you have a really bad fire like that and you burn off all the forest cover, all the moss and that sometimes it’s very easy to find archeological sites,” he said. Otherwise forest excavation is tedious, he says, having to dig “what’s equivalent of a post hole” in the ground every five to 10 metres. The fire, he also notes, provides an excellent opportunity to make discoveries in places that aren’t usually examined. With all the industrial work undertaken in northern Alberta, most archeological finds have been centred around oil and gas development and exploration areas. “So instead of maybe looking at the really best places for (archeological) sites, you’re looking at where they’re developing,” said Meyers. “And sometimes those are very good but sometimes they’re simply not the best.”

“Any kind of catastrophe that creates any kind of large scale new exposure of grounds surfaces is always an opportunity to look for new archeological materials,” agreed Unfreed. “When you can clear away that amount of vegetation and see what’s on the surface then I think there’ s a very good chance there’s probably a number of new archeological sites that have not been recorded that are probably in those areas,” she said. So was the case in southern Alberta. The government hired a number of archeological consultants in 2013 to assess the damage and see what was exposed on the river banks primarily along the systems of the Bow, Highwood and Sheep, and a small portion of the Kananaskis. About 485 linear kilometres of riverbank were covered in the survey resulting in the discovery of 100 new archeological sites and additional information on 87 existing sites. One find, in particular, had Meyers excited. It involved two distinct protohistoric layers that allowed archeologists to assess cultural changes that occurred within a short time period. Archeological finds from southern Alberta will go to the Royal Alberta Museum.

Life must be lived in balance, says Indspire winner Continued from page 12. But change is occurring. “What I’m feeling and seeing and experiencing in my community is more healing and less judgment and less blame and pointing fingers at each other. I feel that we’re moving forward together, we’re learning how to agree and disagree with each other,” she said. Spence is a firm believer in leading by example, something she was taught be her Elders on the Saddle Lake First Nation.

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“You walk the talk, you don’t talk the talk. We’re here to exemplify the teachings and to bring enlightenment and awareness to all peoples,” she said. “It’s important to always be very balanced and strong inside so you can withstand all those forces as they come at you.” That is particularly important right now, Spence adds, as the election of Donald Trump has raised the level of racism both in the United States and in Canada. Spence was the founder and president of the Plains Cultural Survival School Society and the Canadian

Indigenous Women’s Resource Institute. She has also been a senator at the University of Calgary. She has won international awards, having undertaken work in Europe, Africa, the United States and New Zealand. She was also a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for the 1000 Women of Peace Project in 2005 and won an international award at the New Zealand Spiritual Elders Conference in 1992. Spence, 80, will be presented with the award in March. Also winning an Indspire Award from Alberta was Josh Butcher, in the Metis youth category

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Benefit concert in Edmonton for Standing Rock On Sunday, local Edmonton musicians TeeTahs, Marlaena Moore and Beauty Rest will team up with Seattle’s TEETH to perform at Stand with Standing Rock, a benefit concert. The goal of the concert is to raise awareness and money, with a target of $2,500. Activists such as Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation member Eriel Tchekwie Deranger from Indigenous Climate Action will speak, and a silent auction will also be held. Among the items to be auctioned off is a framed print by Cree artist Jane Ash Poitras, which features the words: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” Thousands of protestors are trying to stop construction of the pipeline, which will tunnel under a river next to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Police officers have been trying to block or forcibly remove protestors, including tribal members and activists from across North America who are worried a leak in the pipeline will poison the water supply.

Panel to discuss Standing Rock resistance The University of Alberta Native Student Services in partnership with Indigenous Climate Action is hosting a panel on Saturday afternoon with Indigenous land protectors from Standing Rock and across Turtle Island to discuss land protection, climate change and state sanctioned oppression of rights and destruction of the environment. The panel, through Skype and in person, will consist of Indigenous land defenders and focus on the significance of Standing Rock and other ongoing and historical Indigenous resistance to extractive industries.

GPRC scholarships for Aboriginal students to rise Grande Prairie Regional College will receive $156,000 from the province towards scholarships for Aboriginal students, which will result in scholarships of $2,000 to $4,000 for 39 of the college’s roughly 415 Aboriginal students. More than 10 per cent of GPRC students are Aboriginal, compared to four per cent province-wide. GPRC helps Aboriginal students transition into post-secondary studies in various ways, said Carla Dodd, from the college’s financial aid department. There’s the on-campus friendship centre, the Elder-in-residence program and the circle of Aboriginal students program. The funding to GPRC is part of the $7 million announced by Alberta Advanced Education available to the province’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit students, who are in programs that lead to careers in high-demand fields.

Can Man Dan begins collecting food, money Can Man Dan begins his first winter camp out for Edmonton’s Food Bank on Thursday. He will be at Southgate Centre until Nov. 27. Dan Johnstone, better known as Can Man Dan, will be raising awareness and support for people in need this holiday season with his signature winter campouts. His goal is to do what he can to ensure everyone has a hot meal on their table this holiday season and all year round. Dan is supporting Edmonton’s Food Bank with three events in the next four weeks. In 2015, Can Man Dan’s campouts helped generate over $14,715 and 19,176 kilograms of food for people in need in Edmonton.

National Gallery of Canada presents Janvier’s work The National Gallery of Canada presents the largest retrospective devoted to Alex Janvier, one of Canada’s most respected Indigenous artists. The exhibition opens Nov. 26 and runs until April 17, 2017, and will features a selection of well-known masterpieces from Janvier’s seven decade long career, along with paintings that are on display for the first time. “The Alex Janvier exhibition recounts the story of a life devoted to art and the re-empowerment of Indigenous cultures,” said NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer. Organized chronologically, with some rooms devoted to thematic groupings, the exhibition presents 154 paintings and drawings, including an installation of 34 circular paintings of varied sizes and styles created since the 1970s, titled Janvier in the Round. The works featured in the exhibition are drawn from public and private collections across Canada, including five from the National Gallery of Canada’s national collection. The Alex Janvier exhibition also features a room that pays

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homage to the so-called Indian Group of Seven, officially known as Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., co-founded by Janvier in 1973 to heighten the profile of Indigenous artists. This section of the exhibition comprises paintings that Janvier created in 2011 in tribute to artists Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray, Bill Reid, and Joseph M. Sanchez.

Federal government announces more funding for onreserve housing Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has now allocated $268 million this year for 956 First Nation-led projects that will support the construction, renovation and service of 3,174 homes on reserve. This is part of $829 million in targeted funding for First Nation community infrastructure. These planned allocations are over and above core funding for First Nation communities. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has committed $64 million this fiscal year to renovate and retrofit over 2,800 homes and has committed $3.7 million for skills and capacity development to 324 First Nation communities. These investments are a first step. The government is engaging with First Nations and other partners to develop an effective long-term approach to support onreserve housing, and to contribute to a broader National Housing Strategy. INAC was in Edmonton in early October for a “regional conversation starter” meeting with Alberta Chiefs and technicians. Meetings will be held across the country until March 2017.

Province announces cap on electricity prices The province has capped electricity prices for families, farms and small buisnesses as it reforms the electricity system. The rate ceiling, along with other electricity system reforms to be announce this week, will ensure stable and affordable electricity prices going forward, said Premier Rachel Notley. When fully implemented in June 2017, Albertans will pay no more than 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour – an available longterm contract rate – for electricity over four years. During the period from June 2017 to June 2021 that the rate ceiling is in effect, consumers on the Regulated Rate Option will pay the lower of the market rate or the government’s ceiling rate. This rate ceiling will be automatically applied to the bills of consumers on the regulated rate. Albertans may also choose to continue to take advantage of an offer from any private supplier they believe better suits their needs.

Boucher to be recognized for relationship-building Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher will be honoured for his business leadership by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business in Calgary Wednesday. J.P. Gladu, president and CEO of the CCAB, said Boucher has spent the past 30 years building strong partnerships between Fort McKay, industry and government and that is why the companies Fort McKay works with have reciprocated and the community is such a success story.

Vigil set to protest Kinder Morgan expansion A vigil will be held Monday afternoon at the Alberta Legislature to protest the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline. The Treaty 6 Vigil to Stop Kinder Morgan is a joint effort between Greenpeace and a grassroots group. The goal is to send the message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respect Indigenous rights, keep climate change promises for renewable energies, and reject Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline system. The federal government is set to make a decision on Kinder Morgan on Dec. 19. The proposal would see the current pipeline twinned from Alberta to Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., with three times as much crude oil moving every day.

Gang-related activity results in two shootings Maskwacis RCMP and the Wetaskiwin/Maskwacis General Investigation Section are currently investigating two gang-related shootings that occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 on the Samson Cree Nation. In both instances a person was shot after a suspect or suspects fired a gun indiscriminately towards a residence. Both victims received treatment at the Wetaskiwin hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Due to the indiscriminate nature of the shooting both crimes posed a significant

safety risk to innocent persons. In one instance, a bullet narrowly missed a 15-month-old infant. Police believe that both shootings are the result of increased tension between rival gangs. The RCMP are concerned for the safety of the public and remind people that allowing gang members or gang associates into their residence, whether or not they are family, increases the risk to their safety. The RCMP are requesting the assistance of the community in solving both of these crimes. If you have any information about these shootings please call the Maskwacis Detachment at 780-585-3767 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Wildrose calls for emergency debate on child welfare program The Wildrose Opposition is calling for an emergency debate in the legislature on the state of Alberta’s child welfare program following a report released by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate last week into the death of a child who had previously been in kinship care. A report from the Edmonton Journal further underscored the concerns, releasing information from the medical examiner showing the severity of the abuse the child was subject to. “These shocking details laid out for Albertans require action and a debate in the legislature in order to lift the curtain of secrecy surrounding this case and recognize the demand for justice,” said Brian Jean, Wildrose leader. The OCYA report found a kinship care program that failed to do proper screening, training or inspection in homes, says Wildrose.

Banff named to “must see” list for National Geographic Traveler The National Geographic Traveler lists “the magic … from First Nations community leaders” as one reason why Banff National Park has been named to the magazine’s Best of the World’s 21 must-see places to visit in 2017. “It’s no secret that 2017 marks Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration of cool. But we love Canada for little reasons as much as landmarks and milestones. So our story is about how an outward journey to Banff leads to an inner sense of happiness. The magic comes from person-to-person†interactions with big-hearted Canadians, from First Nations community leaders to horse-packing cowboy guides to park rangers to some of the country’s newer citizens, who hail from foreign lands but find a happy home in Canada. We aimed to honour the inclusive feeling of Canada, a warm embrace that brings a human-scale equivalent to those majestic landscapes,” said George Stone, National Geographic Traveler editor-in-chief. Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda called the naming of Banff a “prestigious honour and we could not be more thrilled with the recognition of our province.”

Provincial funding for restorative justice programs The provincial government is supporting restorative justice programs with $360,000 in grants. The program will provide up to $50,000 annually to eligible First Nations, non-profit organizations, and community groups that practise, promote or develop restorative justice initiatives throughout Alberta. The programs are an alternative or supplement to any sentence and can be initiated at any time during the criminal justice process, with the consent of both the victim and the offender.

Indigenous voices speak in Morocco climate change conference On Friday, in Marrakech at the climate conference, Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change, hosted a high-level panel highlighting the significant leadership and actions of Indigenous peoples to combat and adapt to climate change in Canada. Among those to share their perspectives were Blood Chief Charles Weasel Head; Elder Francois Paulette of the Dene Nation; Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Robert Bertrand, National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; Francyne Joe, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. McKenna reaffirmed that Canada is committed to reconcile with Indigenous peoples and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Compiled by Shari Narine

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Riel recognized in Legislature ceremony By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor

EDMONTON In many ways, Metis settlements are a fulfilment of the work begun by Metis leader Louis Riel, said Howard Shaw, vice-chair of the Metis Settlement General Counsel. “We have land and our own governance,” he said, of the eight settlements that were created in northern Alberta with the MSGC established in the 1990 Metis Settlement Accord. Shaw was joined by Indigenous Affairs Minister Richard Feehan and other government and Metis officials, in the Alberta Legislature in a ceremony to mark Wednesday as Louis Riel Day. On Nov. 16, 1885, Riel was hanged for treason. Today, Riel is recognized for the work he did in shaping Canada. For the first time ever, the Metis flag was raised on Parliament Hill “as a symbol of our commitment to reconciliation with the MÈtis

Nation,” said federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs†Minister Carolyn Bennett. The raising of the flag in Ottawa, said Metis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, is just one more indication of a changing and improving relationship between the Metis Nation and the different levels of government. Poitras noted that frameworks were being negotiated with both the provincial and federal governments that will move a nation-to-nation relationship forward. “These are all positive steps in the right direction,” she said. Feehan said that Riel lived in a “pivotal moment in our country’s history.” “Canada is no longer in its infancy, but we are still in a pivotal moment in our history,” he said noting court rulings and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Feehan said his government remained committed to working with the Metis people. “As we move forward, we


Metis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras commemorated Louis Riel at the Alberta Legislature. need to honour the vision of Riel and work together to create a more just society that respects the rights and hopes of Metis

people,” he said. Tonight the High Level Bridge will be lit in blue and white lights.

On Monday, the cities of Calgary and Edmonton raised MNA flags at their respective city halls.

More work needed to bring closure to families of missing residential school students By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor


It’s heartbreaking work, but families need to know where their children, who died attending Indian residential schools, are buried. “It’s about bringing closure for families,” said Charles Wood, chair of the Remembering the Children Society. “Who knows what the numbers are from the residential schools across the nation, how many children never made it home.” One of the first acts of the society was a ceremony in 2010 at the cemetery attached to the Red Deer industrial school. The school, operated by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Church from 1893-1919, had one of the highest child mortality rates for Indian residential schools. Metis and First Nations students attended from Manitoba and Alberta. They were hit by the Spanish flu epidemic and an outbreak of chickenpox. It is this situation that prompted the United

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Church General Council and Sunnybrook United Church to form the Remembering the Children Society. The cemetery, which now stands on privately-owned land, has 20 grave depressions or outlines although there may be as many as 50 burials at the site. The United Church, and its predecessors the Methodists and Presbyterians, operated up to 16 residential schools. Rev. Cecile Fausak, who serves in the national position as one of two reconciliation and Indigenous justice animators with the United Church, says her research has led her to believe that five of those residential schools had cemeteries attached to them. The Red Deer industrial school is the only one in Alberta. “One of the things I’ve just been overwhelmed by is that when people find out what happened to their children and the strengthening of the family ties through all of that, that the grieving process gets unstuck,” said Fausak, who resides in Athabasca. “People know that ceremony is important but it’s hard to say how that really functions

within us for healing, but I’ve seen a lot of healing happen as we’ve uncovered more names, more sort of stories and information on how children died,” she said. An online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children, as well as “develop(ing) and implement(ing) strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, m a i n t e n a n c e , commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried” are among the six calls to action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in relation to missing children and burial information. “We are continuing to respond to the TRC‘s calls to action, the call for collaboration with all the parties to continue to do the research and commemoration,” said Fausak. The United Church of Canada is one of four church

signatories to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. Also signing the agreement were the Anglican and Presbyterian churches, and the Catholic Entities. Wood holds that of all the apologies that were delivered to Indian residential school survivors – including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology in 2008 – it is the efforts of the United Church he commends. “I think the United Church are the ones that are following up on what they have said in their apologies,” he said. Wood attended Blue Quills residential school, from 19461952, operated by the Catholic church. The Remembering the Children Society does have representation from the Anglican Church. “We’ve had a tougher time getting other churches involved. It’s difficult work and the cemeteries are unmarked Ö somebody really has to have a passion to do the research,” said Fausak. “It’s hard to say what’s more important, but I really see people putting the emphasis on

… how children are living in poverty in Canada (now) and that’s where we want to put our efforts as wellÖ. You’ve only got so much time and resources and where are you going to put them,” she said. The TRC does call upon the churches to play an active role in reconciliation. The Remembering the Children Society are hearing from representatives with Alberta Culture and Tourism about the work that will be undertaken to retrieve information on missing children. Valerie Knaga and Laura Golebiowski will be speaking at the sixth annual general meeting for the society on Nov. 18 about “starting research into the bigger picture,” said Fausak. Also, notes Fausak, work is underway to put a monument in the Red Deer city cemetery, where four First Nations students from the industrial school are buried. They died from the Spanish influenza in 1918. Descendants from only one of the four children have been identified. Fausak is confident that eventually all the descendants will be found.

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Award-winning book opens young eyes to difficult realities

Missing Nimâmâ: a powerful and emotional story which follows an Indigenous child raised by her grandmother after her mother disappears. From her first day of school to her first date and her wedding to first child, the spirit of her mother watches over her. Told in alternating voices of a mother and her child, the book is a free-verse story of love, loss and acceptance. By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


“It’s a love story between three generations of women,” said Melanie Florence of her picture book Missing Nimâmâ, which recently won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. But it’s dark: that middle generation is a mother who has gone missing. She represents the hundreds of Indigenous mothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts who have been murdered or are missing. “I really felt that these women, and families that were left behind, didn’t have a voice. They weren’t being given a voice. Nobody was listening and I kind of felt that I could do that for them,” said Florence. Missing Nimâmâ is described as “a powerful and emotional story (which) follows an orphaned Indigenous child as she experiences important milestones in life after her mother’s disappearance. From her first day of school to her first

date and her wedding to first child, the spirit of her mother watches over her. Told in alternating voices of a mother and her child, the book is a freeverse story of love, loss and acceptance.” Valerie Picher, associate vicepresident for community relations with TD Bank Group, said an independent panel consisting of education and literary representatives, judged the books on quality of text and illustration, and their overall contribution to Canadian children’s literature. “When you look at Missing Nimâmâ there’s a huge education component around the realities of all of these large issues that are being shared today,” said Picher. She reflected on words spoken by Senator Murray Sinclair, previously chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who emphasized the importance of education and talking about topics like this openly. “So if we’re going to make any progress around reconciliation we have to start with education,” said Picher. “It’s a very difficult


TD Bank Group Senior Vice President Alec Morley presents Toronto author Melanie Florence and Quebec-based illustrator François Thisdale with the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and $30,000 prize for their novel Missing Nimâmâ at an award gala in Toronto.

topic and the author, and the illustrator as well, did an amazing job at providing that education in a way that is relatable.” It was a story that Florence felt needed to be told. “I had been reading quite a bit about it. I have some friends on social media who have lost family members, who have gone missing or they haven’t seen justice. And it really struck me that I wasn’t seeing it covered in the news very much,” she said. On a visit to her editor’s office, Florence saw the book The Stamp Collector. Published in 2012 and illustrated by FranÁois Thisdale, who eventually illustrated Missing Nimâmâ, The Stamp Collector is geared towards a young audience and has a darker tone. That spurred Florence into action. Missing Nimâmâ is also geared towards a younger audience. While Florence sees it more readily reaching those 10 years and older, she says in the bookstores it’s included with listings for a younger audience. She says she is aware of the book being discussed in middle grades

and high schools and says it’s a valuable tool in informing kids – who don’t regularly read or watch the news – about what is happening in their world. “It opens the dialogue about something these kids are not being taught, that they’re not really seeing,” she said. Florence is publishing another novel, The Missing. This one is a young adult fiction that also talks about the subject, but from the perspective of a young Indigenous girl in Winnipeg, whose best friend goes missing, after the body of another young girl is found in the Red River. Florence began her writing career working for magazines. Her work now includes both non-fiction and fiction which, she said, she sometimes has difficulty jumping between. “I have, over the course of my career so far, written about issues that affect Indigenous people and Aboriginal characters,” she said. “I really felt drawn to telling more of these stories where I didn’t feel they were represented, especially for younger readers.” Her first book was Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Residential

Schools. She pursued the subject after listening to her grandfather’s account of his time in a residential school. “He was very deeply ashamed of who he was,” she said. He only spoke about being Indigenous and his residential school experience when he was intoxicated. Florence realized she was part Cree when she was in her late teens. Up until that point, growing up in a small Ontario town, predominantly all-white, she only knew of her Scottish heritage. Once Florence found out about her Indigenous background she became drawn to it, she said, and embraced it. The award earned Florence and Thisdale $30,000, which they will split. Florence will use her money to finish a studio on the grounds of her home in north Toronto. She has about four or five books that will be published next year. One of those novels is about a “kid on reserve who is dealing with a suicide epidemic. Which is timely of course, because we’re seeing a lot of that.”

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[ education ]

Janvier’s solo exhibit at National Gallery of Canada to open By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor



Curator Michelle LaVallee: an exhibit earlier this year in Edmonton entitled 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. showcased the work of Alex Janvier.

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An incredible year for Denesuline and Saulteaux artist Alex Janvier culminates with the opening of the largest retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. “Alex Janvier is among the most important figures in the development of modern Indigenous art in Canada and the National Gallery has long envisioned a major solo exhibition dedicated to him,” said NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer. It features a selection of wellknown masterpieces from Janvier’s seven decades-long career, along with paintings that are on display for the first time. It’s been a long road to where he is now, says Janvier, recalling his first attempts partnering with another Indigenous artist, who was breaking in at the same time he was. “Back in ‘55 or ’54, we tried to get to show together and the galleries wouldn’t allow it because it wasn’t high calibre enough for this ordinary pretentious (Edmonton) gallery. They tried to sell to the rich and the mighty, I guess,” he said. The relationship between him and other Indigenous artists with the mainstream art world hasn’t always been an easy one, says Janvier. “There’s still a presence of racial stuff. I don’t worry about that personally. I’ve been honoured in so many ways, just to be alive and to do work. I call that being honoured. If I lived in another country I probably never would have made it, you know. Some of those guys in the United States are trying to still make it, only the odd guy makes it temporarily and then gets sidewinked,” said Janvier. In 1973, Janvier co-founded the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven, which heightened the profile of Indigenous artists. The work of the Indian Group of Seven - Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray, Joseph M. Sanchez and Janvier - was the focus of an exhibit which ran from March until July earlier this year at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton. It was the final stop of 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., which began in 2013. Curator Michelle LaVallee, of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, in Regina, where the show originated, called 7:

Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. exhibition “retroactive” not retrospective. “People like to refer to is as a retrospective exhibition, possibly because of the time period that this art work focuses on but I don’t see it as a retrospective exhibition or a simple look back. I view it as a retroactive exhibition because it is something that could have happened and should have happened 40 years ago,” said LaVallee. The Alex Janvier exhibition at the NGC features a room that pays homage to the Indian Group of Seven. This section of the exhibition comprises paintings that Janvier created in 2011 in tribute to the artists. The†Alex Janvier exhibition is organized chronologically, with some rooms devoted to thematic groupings, the exhibition presents 154 paintings and drawings, including an installation of 34 circular paintings of varied sizes and styles created since the 1970s, titled†Janvier in the Round. The works featured in the exhibition are drawn from public and private collections across Canada, including five from the National Gallery of Canada’s national collection. Known for his brightly coloured murals with their Dene iconography and forms that evoke land, sky, galaxies, microscopic life and calligraphic lines, Janvier has created public art that can be admired in 25 locations across Canada. His largest mural – Morning Star–Gambeh Then’ – , painted on a domed ceiling in the Canadian Museum of History in 1993, has been captured on video and is projected on a giant screen in the first room of the exhibition. Janvier’s most recent public piece was revealed in Edmonton in September. Entitled Tsa Tsa Ke K’e (Iron Foot Place) and located in Ford Hall of Rogers Place, the home of the Edmonton Oilers, it is the largest mosaic ever created by Janvier. It is 1,600 square feet, took one year to make, six weeks to install and is one of four public art commissions in the downtown arena area, worth a total of $1.6 million. Nov. 24 is the official opening of the Alex Janvier exhibition in the Scotiabank Great Hall in Ottawa. An Honouring Ceremony will be followed by remarks from Janvier, Mayer and the exhibition curator†Greg Hill, who is the Gallery’s Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art. The Alex Janvier exhibition runs from Nov. 26 until April 17, 2017.

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[ education ]

Even after 15 years, HIV education still lacking on reserve By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor

It all started on March 25, 1992. At the time Rodney Little Mustache was tested, he was only 26 years old and living in Calgary. The diagnosis shocked him. “The day I tested positive in Calgary, I was brought into a room and the nurse and the doctor gave me the news… They told me I was HIV positive and I said ‘Oh my God’. Then they left me in the room alone for 20 minutes, so I could deal with it on my own.” His experience began with feelings of isolation and that’s how it often still does. “One of the things I say is people need to start talking about this on reserve, because if they don’t, we’re going to continue living in this isolation we have been in for so many years,” said Little Mustache. Not long after he was diagnosed, he moved to Vancouver. He’d heard about the services and organizations in the city, dedicated to helping

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Rodney Little Mustache

Aboriginal people, specifically, living with HIV/AIDS. He felt his quality of life would be better there as a result. Little Mustache is from the Piikani First Nation in Alberta, and he found his fellow community members were less than accepting of his disease. Practical supports, like medical

treatments and financial aid, were also lacking there. “Families turn on their family when they’re HIV-positive. Then the community sees the family doing it, so it’s alright too. And then the chief and council do it,” said Little Mustache, adding he recently attended a powwow where an Elder said ‘HIV/AIDS

December II 2016

[ education ] education had no place at that ceremony’, further fueling Little Mustache’s conviction that more education is needed. This is one of the reasons Little Moustache joined the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) 15 years ago. After leaving Alberta, he found the support he needed with CAAN, and he was able to become an advocate for others living with the disease. CAAN will hold its annual Aboriginal AIDS Awareness week Dec. 1 to Dec. 6 this year. Events kick off with a meeting in Ottawa, between CAAN, Aboriginal leaders from across the country, and supporters of First Nations health initiatives, like the Canadian Global-Health

December II 2016

All-Parliamentary Caucus on HIV, TB, and Malaria. During the week after, a series of workshops will be held in different major cities across the country, so the conversation can continue. “The week is about not only supporting people who live with HIV/AIDS, but also making sure that our people are aware of HIV, and a call to action to decrease the stigma and discrimination against our people who live with HIV… That’s the primary goal this year. And to bring about the whole notion of access to what’s available to our people,” said Ken Clement, CEO of the Canadian Aborignal AIDS Network. First Nations people are, in fact, 2.7 times more likely to test positive for HIV. National

estimates shared by CAAN state that there are 18.2 new HIV infections for every 100,000 First Nations people, compared to only 6.7 new infections for every 100,000 people of other groups in Canada. Clement attributes the higher rates of HIV infection for First Nations people to the marginalization they still experience. And having lost friends to the disease, he is sensitive to the issue on a personal level. “We can look at the whole history of colonization on our people. We know about the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. We know the impact of the government on our people. We know we lack adequate housing… many of our people

are poorly educated… the child welfare system has been a part of many people’s lives… and we know we have higher rates of our people, both men and women, in the prison system,” said Clement. “So we become more vulnerable in being at risk for HIV because those are health determinants that don’t help us in fighting it off,” he said. As for Little Mustache, he has advocated for multiple solutions in his work with CAAN. Little Moustache would like to see entire gatherings held for people living with HIV, to come together with a united voice, because there’s strength in numbers. He’d also like to see that voice be taken more seriously on First

Nations reserves, so HIV-positive people coming from those communities are able to find the support they need within the community, and so they can find acceptance from the people around them there, which sadly was not the case for him when his journey with the disease first began. “Bring us home… bring us home to educate, to share, to love. Bring us back to that circle. Chief and councilsÖ they’re elected officials. They should understand that need,” he said. For more information on the events happening across Canada during CAAN’s Aids Awareness week, go to: h t t p : / /

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[ sports ]

Indspire Award lifts recipient’s spirits during a low time in life


Heather Kashman By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor


It’s remarkable how something like a simple phone call can lift one’s spirits and alter a life. For Heather Kashman, a 23-year-old Métis from Edmonton, that phone call came last month. Kashman, a star hockey player, received a mid-October call telling her she was one of 14 recipients for the 2017 Indspire Awards. The awards honour outstanding Indigenous Canadians in a number of fields. Kashman is being honoured via the Sports category. She will be recognized along with the 13 other winners at a ceremony in Ottawa on March 24. Kashman, who was born and raised in Edmonton, completed her hockey collegiate career earlier this year with the University of New Hampshire women’s squad. Though she had aspirations to play pro, Kashman has been forced to retire, primarily due to a serious back injury she suffered in the fall of

2015 but also because of a longtime nagging hip injury. “I’m kind of too broken to play now,” she said. “So yes, I would say I’m retired. Maybe one day I’ll come out of retirement. But who knows.” Earlier this fall Kashman admits she was in a funk and not just because she wasn’t able to play hockey any longer. Being a recent university graduate, she was getting tons of job interviews but was becoming increasingly disappointed at not landing employment. She only had a limited amount of time remaining to find a job or she would be forced to return to Canada. Needless to say, Kashman was getting increasingly despondent about her job prospects. Then came the call from Indspire Award officials. “It completely turned my emotions around,” she said. “It gave me that boost to keep job hunting.” Shortly thereafter she successfully landed a job. Earlier this month she began working for a non-profit organization that helps homeless families find

permanent housing in Brockton, Massachusetts. Kashman’s undergraduate degree from the University of New Hampshire was in Business. She then completed her Master’s degree in Community Development and Public Housing from the university, graduating on Sept. 1. Kashman plans to be in the nation’s capital next March to accept her Indspire Award in person. “This is amazing,” she said. “It’s the most prestigious award an Indigenous person can get. I’m so humbled just to have been nominated. To have won just blew me away.” Jesse Scott, who had coached Kashman at various Alberta Native Hockey provincial championships while she was growing up, nominated her for the award. Kashman started to do a bit of research on the award when she found out her former coach was keen to nominate her. She discovered the 2016 Indspire Award winner for Sports was Montreal Canadiens’ star goalie Carey Price.

“During the application process my mom was in touch with Jesse,” Kashman said. “I was telling my mom to tell Jesse not to bother with it because I’m nowhere near what Carey Price does.” Scott not only went ahead with the application, but Kashman ended up being declared the winner for the Sports category. “I just started crying when I found out,” she said. Kashman is still having a tough time comprehending she will receive an award not only that was previously won by Price but by several other outstanding Native athletes. “It’s amazing,” she said. “I recognized all of the names for the early winners of the award for sports. I had kind of a mini freak out. I thought somebody must have lied to have me included with all these names. I didn’t feel I deserved it.” Kashman said she wasn’t sure if she fit into the group of this year’s recipients since some of them had lengthy successful careers in their fields. This year’s recipients include

Senator Murray Sinclair from the St. Peters Indian Reserve in Manitoba. Called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980, Sinclair went on to become the chair of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009. Sinclair will be honored with an Indspire Award through the Lifetime Achievement category. The other categories recipients will be honoured in are Arts, Business and Commerce, Culture, Heritage and Spirituality, Education, Health, Law and Justice, Politics and Public Service. There are also three Youth recipients who will be recognized. Roberta Jamieson, the President and CEO of Indspire, said all of this year’s winners are deserving of their accolade. “The 2017 Indspire Awards recipients personify the successes Indigenous people have achieved and the significant impact we have made in all areas of life in Canada,” she said in a news release.

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[ sports ]

Arena Lacrosse League fills a void By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor


A Native community that is a lacrosse hotbed will have a team to support in its own backyard this winter after all. It appeared Six Nations would be without a squad when the six-squad professional Canadian Lacrosse League, more commonly known as CLAX, ceased operations this summer after five seasons of action. The Ontario-based circuit included the Ohsweken Demons, but plans for a new loop, dubbed the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL), have been announced. And the new league will also feature six entrants, including the Six Nations Snipers. Also taking part in the inaugural ALL season, which begins on Jan. 7, will be the Oshawa Outlaws, Paris River Wolves, Peterborough Timbermen, St. Catharines ShockWave and Toronto Monarchs. Unlike CLAX, which was a pro league, the ALL is considered an amateur one. That’s because instead of players being paid, they will actually have to fork over a $300 registration fee in order to take part. One of the appeals of the ALL is that organizers have been in contact with representatives from the National Lacrosse League (NLL), a pro nine-team league with franchises in Canada and the U.S. The NLL is the world’s top pro box lacrosse loop. ALL officials are hoping its league thrives and becomes not only affiliated but serves as a

feeder system to the NLL. Jake Henhawk, who will serve as the Snipers’ general manager, believes the ALL will still be able to attract some top talent even though players will be forced to dig into their own pockets to take part. “When push comes to shove, the guys just want to play,” he said. Henhawk believes the ALL clubs will primarily be stocked this coming season with athletes who play Senior B and Junior A during the spring and summer months. Many of those who compete in the higher calibre Senior A league in Ontario will be suiting up for NLL squads. ALL teams

will be nabbing their share of players for their rosters this Sunday at a draft to be held in Ajax, Ont. Clubs are allowed to choose eight territorial players from their community and surrounding areas. And then on Sunday, team reps will draft additional players from those who have registered to play in the league. Separate drafts will also be held on Sunday to select former CLAX players, as well as NLL draftees. Henhawk took on the Snipers’ GM role even though he’s already working with a couple of other clubs during the year. He’s heading into his fourth season as the GM of the Six Nations Arrows, a Junior A team.

The Arrows captured the Minto Cup, the Canadian Junior A crown, in 2014 and ’15. And Henhawk is also beginning his second season as a scout for the NLL’s Vancouver Stealth. Henhawk believes NLL officials will be looking to see how the ALL develops before jumping into any sort of affiliation agreement. “They want this league to work out,” Henhawk said of NLL reps. Henhawk said NLL clubs will want players to be able to step into their lineups when they encounter injury problems. “They don’t want to be pulling a guy off a couch who hasn’t been playing,” he said.

Stew Monture, who will be the Snipers’ head coach, agrees players will be keen to suit up for ALL clubs so they can stay in game shape during the winter months. “There’s not really a lot of places for them to go other than a gym,” said Monture, who is also heading into his fifth season as the head coach of the Six Nation Rivermen, a Senior B squad. The Rivermen won the Presidents Cup, the national Senior B crown in 2015. Prior to joining the Rivermen, Monture had won three Canadian Junior B titles, serving as the head coach of the Six Nations Rebels. Monture is hoping to name his assistant coaches in the near future. Ideally, he’d like to add at least an offensive and a defensive coach. “But the more the merrier,” he said of his coaching staff. “Four heads are better than one.” Clubs will play a 14-game schedule. The regular season will run until April 1 and all matches will be staged on Saturdays. Not all clubs, however, will be playing in their home community as the league will be staging numerous doubleheaders and some tripleheaders at the same venue on the same day. The Snipers will play the majority of their matches at home, at their Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. The two other main facilities for ALL games will be the Syl Apps Community Centre in Paris and Oshawa’s Tribute Communities Centre. A few contests will also be held at Peterborough’s Memorial Centre.

Every single Windspeaker article ever published (well, almost) is now available on our online archives at: The archives are free to search and read. December II 2016

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[ news ]

Canada snubs Congress of Aboriginal Peoples excluding group from First Ministers Meeting


Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Robert Bertrand. By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


“A good portion” of First Nations people living off reserve will not be represented when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers meet with Indigenous leaders next week, said a national leader. For the second time this year, neither the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples nor the Native Women’s Association of Canada has been invited to the First Ministers’ Meeting and a meeting with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leaders, which will take place in Ottawa on Dec. 9. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting

will occur with Assembly of First Nations National Chief†Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, and Métis National Council President ClÈment Chartier. “We are extremely disappointed that this has happened again,” said CAP’s National Chief Robert Bertrand, who was elected to the position in late September. “Every time we meet with different ministers or different civil servants we always tell them it is so important, it would be so important to have CAP and NWAC there.” Bertrand is upset particularly in light of the Daniels decision. The Supreme Court said that the federal government had fiduciary responsibility for the

Métis. “We thought this would have been a great opportunity for the federal government to invite CAP and NWAC to participate in these important sessions,” he said. CAP bills itself as “the national voice representing the interests of Métis, status and non-status Indians, and southern Inuit Indigenous people living offreserve.” Bertrand points out that Statistics Canada numbers indicates that 70 per cent of First Nations people live offreserve. “We don’t claim to represent all of those, but those are our main constituents,” he said. Bertrand, who became CAP national chief after serving as President Grand Chief of the

CAP affiliate Alliance Autochtone du Quebec Inc., notes that the Quebec CAP affiliate has 25,000 members. “This is a good group of people that we represent and there will be nobody at these meetings representing these people,” he said. CAP, who has affiliates in every province, with Alberta and British Columbia recently added, was meeting on Nov. 29 when the PMO released the statement about the upcoming meeting. “Everybody from the Atlantic to the Pacific, everybody is very disappointed. We should have been included,” he said. Bertrand said he will be contacting the Prime Minister’s Office to find out why CAP wasn’t invited.

“We will be continuing our lobby efforts to make sure in the future that CAP, and I hate to speak for NWAC, but these two organizations need to be included in all these discussions,” he said. A statement from the PMO says the meeting with the three Indigenous leaders will serve as an opportunity to discuss the framework and Indigenous perspectives in advance of the First Ministers’ Meeting. “The discussion will inform further partnerships with Indigenous peoples as part of ongoing collaboration to protect Canada’s land, air, and water for future generations and to build our clean growth economy. Premiers are invited to take part in the meeting with the Indigenous leaders.”

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Annie Pootoogook [ footprints ] Death of Inuit artist unleashes flood of emotion By Dianne Meili

The sudden passing of Annie Pootoogook, 47, in Ottawa this past Sept. 19 brought two waves of emotion. There was initial grief amongst those who knew her as a friend and influential artist, and a flood of national anger as discrimination within law enforcement surfaced. Police initially refused to investigate suspicious conditions surrounding Pootoogook’s death, even though her body had washed up on the shore of the Rideau River. An Ottawa police officer then wrote on social media that the artist’s death “could be a suicide, accidental, she got drunk and drowned” and in a second post he wrote “much of the Aboriginal population in Canada is just satisfied being alcohol or drug abusers.” The comments were widely condemned as racist and gave rise to an internal investigation of the officer’s conduct. Acclaimed artist, Annie Pootoogook was from Kinngait, the Inuktitut name for Cape Dorset. As the daughter of Napachie and Eegyvudlu Pootoogook, and granddaughter of Pitseolak Ashoona – all acclaimed artists – she was always drawing. Despite the fact southerners at first rejected her art, which depicted real life, modern scenes around Kinngait instead of the preferred visions of traditional life like seal hunting and drum dancing, Pootoogook stuck with her aesthetic. Even though she knew she would have made more money drawing pictures to please buyers, she continued to draw raw, intimate scenes of her life, as harsh as they sometimes seemed. Her independence paid off, and her drawings caught the attention of Toronto art dealer Pat Feheley, who initiated Pootoogook’s trajectory to fame by giving her a solo exhibition in 2003 at Feheley Fine Art. She promoted the young artist’s “honest” artwork to Toronto Power Plant curator Nancy Campbell, who asked Pootoogook to try a large format drawing for a show at her facility. Cape Dorset Freeze– an image of northerners peering through the glass doors of a supermarket freezer–was the highlight of the show and was later purchased by the National Gallery of Canada. Two months after the Power Plant show, Pootoogook won the prestigious $50,000 Sobey Award in November 2006. She travelled to Montreal to accept the award, and then went home to Cape

Dorset to spend some, and give much of it away. Another artistic coup came in 2007 with the inclusion of her work in Germany’s Documenta 12, for which she made national headlines and became the pride of her home community. Pootoogook travelled to Europe for the event, and returned to Kinngait to stay for a while after the trip. Deciding to live in Montreal and then Ottawa, she found a freedom in the city she couldn’t have in her close-knit Kinngait. She began working with oil stick, a more sophisticated medium than pen, ink and crayon. Another large-format drawing emerged called Drawing my Grandmother’s Glasses. It was purchased by the Art Gallery of Ontario. A solo exhibit in The National Museum of the American Indian in New York displayed her artwork from 2009 to 2010. Though her work seemed technically simple, her themes were wide-ranging and often playful, though her heavier themes of domestic violence challenged southern stereotypes of traditional life on the land. Eschewing outdoor pursuits, Pootoogook loved to draw simple domestic scenes of people watching television or even cutting up a seal on the kitchen floor. A more hard-hitting picture illustrates a man advancing toward a woman sitting up in bed, his arms bent backward holding a large stick with which he’s about to hit her. The man is her boyfriend, and she is the woman in bed. She is often quoted as having said she could only draw what she had lived. “I didn’t see any igloos in my life,” Pootoogook says in a 2006 documentary about her art. “Only Skidoo, Honda, the house, things inside the house.” Pootoogook and her cousin Shuvinai Ashoona are credited with altering the predictable stream of traditional artwork coming out of Kinngait which was considered more craft than art. They altered the public’s idea of what Inuit art was and could be, opening doors for younger artists to experiment in their wake. “Many of her drawings touch upon the devastation that alcoholism and suicide have wrought – both of which occur in epic proportions in the north, where communities are still healing from the open wounds of


Annie Pootoogook

artwork by Annie Pootoogook

colonialism and the radical severing of lives once lived in rhythm with the land,” wrote Jasmine Budak in a 2012 blog. Former Kinngait studio manager Bill Ritchie described Pootoogook as “engaging … hip, cool, and smart as a whip.” Jason St-Laurent of Ottawa’s SAW Gallery described her as a shining light, a free spirit who lived life on her own terms. Pootoogook has also been described as humble, kind, vulnerable, and generous to a fault. She struggled with the success that her practice brought and for a period it was as though

everyone wanted a piece of her. At the annual vigil for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, held just days after Potoogook’s death, her second cousin Sytukie Joamie told a huge crowd, which included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Annie was afraid to go near the water, yet she was found in the water. One of our sisters was found under very suspicious circumstances, yet … the police said there was no suspicion. The Inuit community, when we heard about Annie being found, we knew right away that it was suspicious because nobody walks

into the water.” Pootoogook’s boyfriend William Watt also stated she was afraid of water and would only enter it up to her knees. A memorial service for Pootoogook was held in Ottawa, and then her body was flown to Kinngait for burial. The funeral service was held entirely in Inuktitut and was highly emotional. The artist’s youngest daughter, Napachie, 4, was brought to the funeral by her adoptive parents. It was the first time she met her extended Inuit family and her first visit to the north.

Every single Windspeaker article ever published (well, almost) is now available on our online archives at: December II 2016

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Windspeaker Dec-2 2016 vol34 no18  
Windspeaker Dec-2 2016 vol34 no18  

Windspeaker December II Volume 34 Number 18