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33 No. 8 • November 2015

Supreme Court reserves its decision on Daniels case Page 6

Vigil reveals the pain of missing loved ones Page 8


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Election ushers in a hopeful time Expectations are high following the Liberals overwhelming federal election victory Oct. 19. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Prime Minister-Elect Justin Trudeau needs to deliver if Canada is going to “win as a country.” More election photos and stories on pages 9 & 12.

November 2015

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Supreme Court reserves its decision on Daniels case


After close to four hours of submissions on Oct. 8, the Supreme Court of Canada reserved its decision on the Daniels case. But Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Dwight Dorey is optimistic that the highest court in the country will uphold the findings of the federal court which ruled that non-Status Indians and Metis are the responsibility of the federal government.

Congress seeks to rival AFN in influence


Dwight Dorey has big plans for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. His plans are so far-reaching there’s little doubt that he will be looking to turn the one year he was recently elected to serve into a full term.

MMIW march stops traffic in London



Aboriginal women, men and children took to King Street to march together from Atlohsa Native Family Healing Services to Ivey Park on Oct. 4 to bring attention to the national issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Territories ahead of the curve on curriculum 11 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission only recently released their final report calling for Canada-wide education on Indian residential schools, but two Canadian territories have been at it for a few years.

Election ushers in a hopeful time

9 & 12

One of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation commissioners “feels expectant” that the election of a Liberal government in Ottawa will “give birth to new life” in the relationship between government and First Nations. Dr. Marie Wilson, speaking at Aamjiwnaang in Sarnia, Ont., Oct. 20 , said Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau said “very important things” in his election-night speech about dealing with Aboriginal people on a “nationto-nation” basis.


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November 2015

[ rants and raves ]

After-glow: The fight is still before us

Page 5 Chatter The New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing met

Can the rift between Trudeau and Suzuki be mended? Crazy question? Not really. How does the new Prime Minister-elect overcome his comment that the views of renowned environmental activist David Suzuki on climate change are ‘sanctimonious crap’? How does Trudeau put aside Suzuki calling him a ‘twerp’ in return? It was a few weeks ago now that the conversation happened, according to Suzuki, when he and Justin Trudeau were discussing the Liberal’s climate change policy, but it comes back to mind now in light of the victory speech Trudeau gave upon winning the Oct. 19 election. “Sunny ways, my friends. Sunny ways,” Trudeau said, quoting former Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier from 100 years ago, saying politics can be a positive force. “This is what positive politics can do.” A Toronto Star editorial announced “Trudeau’s victory is a triumph for decency,” obviously basking in the glow of a win that ushered out of power the malevolent politics of Harper and his Conservatives. We can’t blame the Star, really. We concede that, for a short time only, we can forget that the road to 24 Sussex Drive was not travelled entirely under sunny skies. But in the coming weeks and months, we, as Indigenous peoples, cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by that glow, or by Canada’s success in achieving ‘change’. Yes, ding-dong, the witch is dead. The Canadian electorate dropped a big Red house upon it. But achieving ‘change’ isn’t a magic wand. Removing Harper and replacing him with Trudeau (or anyone) wasn’t the end goal. It was only part of the over-arching plan to have more and better influence over a government that has ignored our needs and frustrated our efforts for our nations, for self-determination, for wellness, for a hopeful future over the many decades since Confederation. Yes, we should all celebrate ourselves on the incredible effort made in some Indigenous communities to mobilize our vote. It was electric to watch as Indigenous people allowed themselves the opportunity to participate. While we don’t yet have the hard numbers, the anecdotal evidence

suggests that a number of candidates can thank Aboriginal voters for their election wins. Now we must not let them forget that fact. They must listen to us, and take our messages to Ottawa, and a bureaucracy which is often slow to transform. If we are intent to achieve the change we want to see in our communities, casting a ballot is only the first step. We must remember that it’s now our responsibility to hold these newly-elected MPs’ feet to the fire, starting today and into the future. It’s our duty now to be a thorn in the sides of these MPs, reminding them to make our issues their priority. Because if they think our help benefited them in this election, then watch out in the next. We bring up Trudeau’s words to Suzuki as a reminder that the Liberal platform did not fully satisfy our issues. We can count on soon running up against a government that didn’t quite fulfill our expectations heading into power. This is not something that is insurmountable, of course, if Trudeau builds that respectful nation-to-nation, sunny ways, dialogue he promised in his victory speech. And we have growing faith in the AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde to come to the table prepared, well informed and greatly able to articulate the First Nations’ perspective on our common issues when the opportunity arises. We were encouraged by the good showing he made at the AFN election forum held on Oct. 7 in Edmonton. After his initial wobble with Rock The Vote, he has redeemed himself in our eyes by his deepening understanding and persuasive expression of our issues. The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples too has a fresh face at the helm, and with Trudeau’s support so strong in urban areas, and his condemnation of the Conservatives for their continued disrespect for Canada’s highest court, CAP National Chief Dwight Dorey may hold considerable sway with this new government, especially considering the coming decision from the Supreme Court of Canada on the Daniels case. So, rest up Indigenous Peoples. We have secured the battle, but there’s much more of the war ahead. Time to regroup, and get ready, for our day is still to come.

privately with members of the Elsipogtog First Nation who said the risks of shale gas outweigh the benefits and they don’t want the activity in their territory, reports the CBC. “We’re asking that the commission just recommend a permanent moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” said Willi Nolan, spokesperson for the Mi’kmaq group. She had been involved in the 2013 Rexton protests. “We know the risks of shale gas... We know that we got volumes of science on our side. We know that the violations of Indigenous rights is unlawful,” she said. The commission has met with more than 30 groups in the province on the issue of hydraulic fracturing. All submissions will be available to the public on the commission website. “People want New Brunswickers to see what they’ve told us,” said commissioner Marc Leger.

The Teslin Tlingit Council, the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, and the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation have filed a petition in Yukon Supreme Court regarding amendments to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act. They have resisted the amendments saying they violate their land claim agreements. “The amendments through Bill S-6 undermine or weaken Yukon’s development assessment process and our role as Yukon First Nation governments,” said Teslin Tlingit Council Chief Carl Sidney. The amendments dilute the role of First Nations, and the chiefs will not accept that, he continued.

Dr. Danièle Behn Smith has been appointed as British Columbia's new Aboriginal health physician adviser. Smith will work alongside Dr. Perry Kendall and deputy provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to provide independent advice and support to the Ministry of Health on First Nations and Aboriginal health issues. Smith will focus on closing the gap in health outcomes between First Nations and other British Columbians. She started in the role Oct. 13. Smith is Eh Cho Dene of Fort Nelson First Nation with Métis roots in the Red River Valley. Her Doctor of Medicine is from McMaster University with residencies at the universities of Ottawa and Manitoba. She has practiced rural medicine in remote communities across Canada and was most recently a family physician at Tse’wulhtun Health Center in the Cowichan Valley. Smith was the board director for the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, the director of education for the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Health Initiatives Program and the site director of the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Family practice residency.

In the few days leading up to the federal election, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec-Labrador called for a change in the name of the department responsible for Aboriginal people. It wants Aboriginal Affairs to be called the Department of Relations with First Nations. What’s in a name? Well the AFNQL says the newlyelected government needs to “restore the bond of trust with the leaders of First Nations.” Beyond the promises, a press release reads, there is a requirement for a clear commitment “to rebuild relationships, while respecting the unique history of Aboriginal peoples as first inhabitants of this vast land.” AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard says the “fundamental character of our alliance with the Canadian state must be respected” and the next government must “clearly indicate its intention to end this paternalism once and for all, and to commit to foster a respectful, collaborative relationship with our governments, in a spirit of reconciliation.” He calls on the federal government to revisits the role and responsibility of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs by changing its name. He said by doing this it would contribute to rebuilding trust, “which obviously has been missing for a long time now.”


Cora Morgan, Manitoba’s First Nations advocate for children

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in care, has accused the provincial government and child-welfare officials of trying to muzzle her. She held a press conference to discuss how Child and Family Services officials have responded to her criticisms of the system. She said the information she presents is “always” discounted. “They discount the severity of these issues,” she told reporters. By her side was Tory family services critic Ian Wishart who said the NDP government has not been listening to Morgan. She was appointed by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to respond to concerns about the numbers of aboriginal children in CFS care. “They seem to be going out of their way to cast aspersions on what she’s had to say,” Wishart said.

Alaska’s governor and the Anchorage mayor have proclaimed the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day, the federal holiday that is traditionally called Columbus Day. The proclamation came at the opening of the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference. Liz Medicine Crow of the First Alaskans Institute told the Alaska Dispatch News that it was “recognition that Indigenous peoples matter to both the state of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage and it gives us a platform to continue to work on equitable law, policy and relationships.” “It’s about damn time,” said Willie Hensley, a former state legislator and Native leader. “There’s been a lot of repression. It’s time that people are able to feel a lifting of that repression.” The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board was quick to pass a resolution later that day to also name that second Monday Indigenous People’s Day.

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[ news ]

Supreme Court reserves its decision on Daniels case By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


After close to four hours of submissions on Oct. 8, the Supreme Court of Canada reserved its decision on the Daniels case. But Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Dwight Dorey is optimistic that the highest court in the country will uphold the findings of the federal court which ruled that non-Status Indians and Metis are the responsibility of the federal government. The federal government appealed the decision and the federal Court of Appeal upheld that Metis were included under section 91(24) of the Constitution. However, the Court of Appeal said no decision was needed by the court regarding non-Status Indians as the federal government had conceded that non-Status Indians are included in section 91(24). It was Dorey’s organization, under the leadership of Harry Daniels, that brought legal action against the federal government in 1999. But the case did not go to trial until 2011. “I was quite pleased,” said Dorey. “Our legal team, their arguments, and the responses and questions coming from the judges suggested to me that we have a good case.” At the heart of the matter is what the framers of the Constitution intended in section 91(24) of the Constitution Act 1867 when they wrote that the federal government has the legislative jurisdiction for “Indians and lands reserved for the Indians.” Daniels argued that “Indians” at that time included Metis and non-Status Indians the same way it included Inuit. As it stands now, the federal government has fiduciary responsibility for on-reserve


Members of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples at the Daniels v Canada Supreme Court of Canada hearing, Oct. 8: (from left) National Vice Chief Ron Swain, National Chief Dwight Dorey, board members Wendy Wetteland (New Brunswick) and Robert Bertrand (Quebec).

Indians and Inuit. However, the responsibility for both Metis and non-Status Indians falls into a gray area. “Like we say in the cliché, we’re like the ball that gets tossed between federal and provincial jurisdictions and it’s

time for it to be over,” said Dorey. Mark Kindrachuk, counsel for the federal government, argued that the court had no jurisdiction at this point because the plaintiffs were coming forward with an abstract concept

and not challenging specific legislation in a concrete case. “It’s a sin of omission and not a sin of comission. Isn’t that the problem?” asked one Chief Justice. “The argument is that the federal government denies its jurisdiction and we suffer as

a result.... If the government is denying something, as you phrased it, there’s never a legislative context. It’s that the government has refrained from legislating because it denies jurisdiction.” Christopher Rupar, also counsel for the federal government, noted that inclusion of Metis in section 91(24) did not amount to waving a “magical constitutional wand…. (It) does not resolve the many issues that they’ve raised in this litigation … it provides a false hope that something more, something different can be done. It’s our position that that’s not the case.” Another Chief Justice stated it was only “false hope” if future elected officials chose not to act on their jurisdiction. “At least the system would be working in a democratic way because people would know where the responsibility is,” she said. As a means to battle that “false hope,” Joe Magnet, counsel for CAP, said a declaration that made it clear that the Crown and Metis were in a fiduciary relationship would be necessary as would a declaration that the Crown needed to consult and negotiate with the Metis. “Having the right to be consulted and negotiated gives us the basic ammunition to go on a political grounds and to say to the federal government, ‘You have to deal with us,’” said Dorey. The Supreme Court could render a decision in three months to year, he says. But a favourable decision doesn’t mean the end of the battle. “We have had senior officials in justice tell us years ago, even if you do win this case (that) doesn’t mean we have to do anything. Our argument is that, ‘Yes you do have to do something.’ It will still be a lot of work and some uphill struggling,” said Dorey.

Interveners concerned definitions could restrain identity By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor

OTTAWA Interveners in the Daniels case believe that the Supreme Court of Canada does not need to define Métis or non-Status Indian. And if the court does decide a definition is necessary for Métis, it should not use the Powley definition to determine jurisdictional responsibility. The issue of definition of Métis was raised when the Federal Court accepted the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples’ definition of a “mixed Aboriginal ancestry.” At the Federal Court of Appeal, the Metis National Council argued

against that definition of Métis and the Court of Appeal narrowed the definition to the historic Métis community. How to define Métis has long been a point of contention between CAP and MNC. In his submission to the Supreme Court on Oct. 8, Métis National Council counsel Jason Madden argued that in 1939 the court included Eskimos as part of section 91(24) without providing a definition. He said the same practise should apply with the Métis. “What we say in this case is that you don’t need to answer that question because it’s not before this court in order to resolve the Metis declaration,” said Madden.

If the court is to answer that question, Métis Settlements General Council says the Supreme Court cannot use the Powley definition as was used by the lower court. Settlements’ counsel Garry Appelt said Powley defined Metis in reference to Section 35 of the Constitution Act in order to establish site specific rights in regards to harvesting. “Section 91(24) is not limited by geography. It’s a head of power much broader in scope than that. So in our submission the page is still relatively blank, or should be, for definition of Métis for jurisdictional purposes,” said Appelt. He noted the concern of eight

Métis settlements in northern Alberta that a strict Powley application would mean the settlements would fall under provincial jurisdiction as many Métis, who now call the settlements home, are not historically from that settlement region. “So we are asking the court to pull back from the lower court statement that provides reference to Powley and provide guidance that is more suitable to the present day legal and political landscape,” said Appelt. The Assembly of First Nations also took issue with the court offering a definition of Indian. “The renewed commitment to reconciliation means that the term

“Indian” can no longer be defined unilaterally by the federal Crown…. It is for the First Nations to decide,” said AFN counsel Guy Regimbald. He said non-Status Indians are part of the term “Indian.” “When ethnicity is being formulated the idea of selfdetermination is to allow a community to define itself,” said Christopher Devlin, counsel for the Métis Federation of Canada. Mark Kindrachuk, counsel for the federal government, also maintains that the Supreme Court did not need to offer a definition of Indian for the purpose of section 91(24). The Supreme Court reserved its decision.

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November 2015

[ news ]

Congress seeks to rival AFN in influence By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


Dwight Dorey has big plans for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. His plans are so farreaching there’s little doubt that he will be looking to turn the one year he was recently elected to serve into a full term. “There’s certainly a distinct possibility of that. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it, but for the time being I want to focus on what I can get done now, in this year and at least get things rolling,” he said. Dorey defeated Kim Beaudin, president of the Aboriginal Affairs Coalition of Saskatchewan, a CAP provincial affiliate, and Chigal Wightman Daniels, daughter of former CAP leader Harry Daniels, in an election held at the end of September. The vote was forced when Betty Ann Lavallee resigned with one year left in her four-year term. She had held the position of national chief since 2009. Dorey, a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia, is no stranger to the role. He led the organization from 2000 to 2006. Since that time, he says, CAP has seen its profile as a key national Aboriginal organization decline. He maintains that a combination of factors have played into that loss. First is the lack of focus on the political agenda, and second, is the loss of funding.


Dwight Dorey returned as national chief for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples after almost 10 years out of top job.

“Human resources diminish and you’re not in the best position to be doing the political work-up,” he said Under Lavallee’s leadership, CAP has been left in a strong financial position administratively, despite federal funding cuts. Now, Dorey intends to focus on strengthening CAP’s profile. His first step will be to rebuild the organization by adding more

provincial and territorial affiliates. To that end, he will be travelling out West to drum up interest. CAP has no affiliates from either British Columbia or Alberta. At this last general assembly, an affiliate from Manitoba was brought in. Considering Manitoba has the highest urban Aboriginal population in Winnipeg, that province’s lack of affiliation in CAP was glaring. Edmonton has the second highest

urban Aboriginal population and is set to eclipse Winnipeg. “I want to fill those gaps. This is something I started doing three years ago when I was vice-chief,” said Dorey. Lack of western affiliation, he says, is partially due to lack of federal funding, which makes it difficult for organizations to hold meetings, get interest started, and do the necessary work to become a CAP affiliate Dorey sees the addition of affiliates as an important move forward for CAP to rival the Assembly of First Nations as a strong Aboriginal voice. “I certainly see the potential is there, provided we can do justice to coming up with a structure at the community or provincial urban areas that is going to be accommodating to the people, that they’re going to feel comfortable associating with and getting involved and that we’ll be able to accommodate them under the national structure,” said Dorey. Under the current structure and bylaws, CAP can only have one affiliate organization per province or territory, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador because of the geographic split. Other current affiliates are located in Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. “I think we need to look at how we can have any number of organizations affiliated with the Congress, as opposed to only one

purported to represent all offreserve people in a particular province,” said Dorey. But, he admits, that could be a struggle with current affiliates, who may be worried that their vote won’t carry the same weight. “There’s got to be ways of addressing those concerns in such a way that everybody can have effective participation without taking any power (away),” he said. But Dorey believes that CAP’s struggle to attract membership is not unique. “We’ve been hearing it all across the country, often that people don’t feel that any of the organizations represent them, whether it’s the AFN, the (Metis National Council) or the Congress. So it’s our job to try to respond to those kinds of feelings and hopefully be able to come up with the ways and means so people do feel that they belong,” he said Dorey said that if the Supreme Court upholds the ruling in the Daniels case that sees both Metis and non-Status Indians as federal responsibility that will also help to put CAP on a more level playing field with the AFN and give the organization a “stronger base for arguing and advocating our issues.” As it stands right now, he says, the federal government is focused on addressing the issues of First Nations people on-reserve, which not only gives the AFN more funding but more access to the federal government.

New lecture series planned for Indigenous peoples By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor


A new Indigenous speaker series is hitting the Canadian market. The creators of REDx Talks held their inaugural event in October at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and have many more planned for the future. The purpose behind the talks is to be a platform for Indigenous speakers who want to open up about issues experienced by Indigenous people, and educate the public about them. “We’re hoping to share stories of resilience… and empower our youth, our Elders and our communities. We want to break down stereotypes, dispel myths, and smash solidarity bubbles… We want truth,” said Cowboy Smithx, a filmmaker, and the official REDx Talks curator. Smithx is working with a number of people on the project, including creative producer for REDx Talks, Rio Mitchell, and Dr. Leroy Little Bear who runs the board for the Iiniistsi Arts Society—the organization that

November 2015

hosts REDx Talks. But he actually came up with the idea seven years ago while running a youth arts program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “I created Vital Knowledge, which was a film series where we hosted a screening and had talkback sessions with the film makers. They were so popular… I started building a platform I wanted to call REDx Talks that was inspired by TED Talks,” he said. Unfortunately, funding was then cut for his original program, and Smithx was laid off. But the idea stayed with him, and the talks were revived again this past year. Smithx and his team now have REDx Talks planned for Banff, Calgary, and Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2016, and they are actively searching for partners to assist with them with everything from funding, to hosting a REDx Talk in their communities. Smithx and Professor Liam Haggarty from Mount Royal University, who was also speaker at the REDx inaugural event, will visit Chile in just three weeks

to talk with Indigenous people there, and broadcast a satellite version of a REDx Talk. “Of course with TED Talks, it’s always about sharing one idea. REDx Talks is always going to be about sharing multiple perspectives on various issues, important to Indigenous people,” he said. Over the next few years, Smithx and his team plan to visit even more Indigenous communities across the globe, taking REDx Talks to a larger audience, and spreading even more awareness about key issues affecting people. And in terms of how it’s been going so far, Smithx said it’s been a huge success, despite being a grassroots project, with no major source of funding as of yet. An audience of 400 turned out to the Mount Royal University event, and heard speakers Mrs. Universe Ashley Burnham, actress Roseanne Supernault, and language activist Khelsilem, share words of wisdom on missing and murdered Indigenous women, stereotypes of Indigenous people present within the media, and the importance of teaching Indigenous languages to youth to

save them from becoming extinct. The speakers were available to audience members for question and answer sessions after their talks, he said. “We’ve got nothing but good feedback. The videos should be released sometime in the New Year. They’re currently in postproduction... It’ll take some time to pull that together and get it ready for the website launch,” he said. Friend of Smithx, fellow filmmaker and technical producer for Redx Talks, Chris Hsiung shares Smithx’s enthusiasm. He is currently editing the videos for the recent REDx Talk, but was also a guest speaker there. Smithx called on him to share insight he gained while creating a documentary called “Elder in the Making.” “He kind of put me under the gun… I’m what (Smithx) calls a RedX ally. The idea is that there is diversity with the speakers, so it’s typically Indigenous speakers but they don’t have to be. I’m not Indigenous, but I’m engaged in Indigenous stories and issues,” said Hsiung. Hsiung, who learned a lot

during the making of his documentary, got his first taste of the social issues faced by Canada’s Aboriginal people five years ago while running film workshops on the StoneyNakoda Nation outside Calgary. That experience was eyeopening for him, in that he’d been driving past the area for years, but hadn’t thought much about the conditions of people living there, something he believes most Calgarians do. For Hsiung, the REDx Talks is an effective way to draw attention to such a cause. “It’s both traditional and modern. It’s a form of storytelling, but storytelling on a platform… like a performance with lights, with cameras, and it’s being recorded. And these stories will spread throughout the internet,” he said. “In the film ‘Elder in the Making,’ there is this idea of transferring knowledge bundles. That’s partly what REDx Talks is doing… transferring knowledge bundles to an audience,” he said. More information on REDx Talks and upcoming dates can be found at

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[ news ]

MMIW march stops traffic in London By Yenatli:yo Shirley Honyust Windspeaker Contributor


Aboriginal women, men and children took to King Street to march together from Atlohsa Native Family Healing Services to Ivey Park on Oct. 4 to bring attention to the national issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Purple Spirit was the men’s host drum, led by Jason George of Kettle Point, and Liz Akwienzie led the women singers from Oneida in the Strong Women’s Song. Denise Stonefish was one of the spokespersons at the event at Ivey Park where a sacred fire burned and the Giveaway Ceremony was held. Passionate speeches were made by orators such as Darlene Ritchie who related the teachings of the Creation Story and Skywoman, and the steps we can take in our communities today to protect women and girls. Mary Lou Smoke talked about her sister, Debbie Sloss Clarke, who was found dead and abandoned in an apartment in Toronto, and how her murder remains unsolved. Chief Leslee Whiteye of Chippewas of the Thames shared her work with the urban Indigenous population and her desire that her girls would not be among the MMIW. Atlohsa’s Earring Blanket was adorned with earrings from community members in commemoration of the lives of people they knew were affected, or to just show they cared. It was displayed proudly next to the work of guest artist Maxine

Noel. Joanne Jackson, residential healer was on hand from Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre to share resources from her program, and she brought Noel to the event to take part. Noel shared a print of the painting that she created for Native Women’s Association of Canada, entitled “Not Forgotten.” This is the image of a tall, beautiful Indigenous woman dressed in flowing colours of the waters, earth and sky and it is dedicated to the mission of MMIW. The original painting is being used by Native Women Association of Canada and has been commissioned for printing cards, mugs, scarves and such for support in creating change. Spoken Word artists included Coco/ Corrie George and Jessica Hay, a student at Western University’s Social Justice and Peace Studies. Hay’s poem, Pissed Period, hit the mark with an appreciative audience who responded with whistles and applause. George’s poem was entitled Sisters, and based on a real-life experience. It was the first time she had read it in public. She said she went missing herself at the age of 17 and after two months she escaped from her phone/ chat line abductor. Asked how she felt by the day’s event, she said “I’m overwhelmed by the unity, the messages of love and that everyone is so open to these.” “I can’t believe the number of different ethnic groups that were represented here today,” said Stonefish, “plus the OPP, the men and the boys, and the young women singers—I’m inspired.”


Jessica Hay reads her poem entitled “Pissed Period”

Maxine Noel with her print entitled “Not Forgotten”.

Vigil reveals the pain of missing loved ones By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor


Two hundred people gathered in Toronto’s Allan Gardens on Oct. 4 for a somber ceremony to remember the country’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The Sisters in Spirit vigil was organized by the Native Women’s Resource Centre. A prayer offered by grandmother Dorothy Peters, drumming by Red Spirit Singers and a healing dance by nine jingle dress dancers opened the evening. Denise Booth, the evening’s emcee, said participants attended for Indigenous daughters and granddaughters, because we want their lives to matter. “Our government doesn’t seem to care and our police force, who says they’re here to protect us, doesn’t seem to care. But we care and we are here and that is the most important thing. We are here to honour our sisters.” Dr. Cyndy Baskin, Mi’kmaq

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and Celtic descent, associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Social Work at Ryerson University, called on the men to help end the violence against Indigenous women. “They too have lost sisters, mothers, partners and daughters. These women have been stolen from them too,” said Baskin. “This is not an Indigenous women’s fight,” she said. “Any violence towards us is everybody’s fight.” Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day spoke about the recently launched campaign – Who is She – by the Chiefs of Ontario to educate and raise funds for an inquiry. He commended the Native Women’s Resource Centre and other community organizations for the work they do on behalf of the people. Denise Aquash of Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario spoke for the first time publicly about the 2005 murder of her niece, Katrina Kiyoshk. She spoke about making moccasin vamps for the Walking With Our


Denise Booth with Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day preparing for (Sisters in Spirit Vigil in Toronto.

Denise Aquash from Walpole Island First Nation.

Tonight there’s so many other families in our country that share the same pain,” Aquash said. In a later interview, Aquash talked about her niece and the impact of her violent death. “Katrina was a happy, loving

girl,” she said. “She was vivacious and she had a smile for everybody. She was so happy to see you, she’d come running, she’d jump up on you and just hug you.” See Vigil on page 10.

Sisters (WWOS) project, and said it was much harder than she thought it would be. “Images of my niece went through my mind…It was bittersweet and sad and healing for me at the same time. I cried.

November 2015

Election ushers in a hopeful time

[ news ]

Windspeaker News Briefs The Innu First Nations Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John celebrated the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision Oct. 15 to refuse to hear an appeal by Rio Tinto (IOC) in a $900 million lawsuit against the company. Rio Tinto (IOC) attempted to have the case dismissed before trial. “Rio Tinto and its subsidiary IOC have been seeking to delay the judicial process in the hopes that they would exhaust us and that we would back down,” reads a press release from the Innu nations. “We are all familiar with this strategy by large, wealthy corporations. But this decision by the Supreme Court of Canada means that Rio Tinto (IOC) will no longer be able to evade our lawsuit. We are more determined than ever to see it through to the end, and, sooner or later, the company will have to answer for what it has done, including its systematic violation of our rights since the 1950s,” said Mike McKenzie, chief of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam. The conflict is outlined on the website “It’s Time to Pay the Rent” at which contends that the “Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) has been illegally operating a mining megaproject in our traditional territory (Nitassinan) for decades, in blatant violation of our rights, without our consent, and without having paid a single penny of compensation to us, the true owners of the land. IOC’s megaproject has devastated parts of our land and continues to do so today, all the while preventing us from practising our unique way of life and traditional activities in these areas.” The legal proceedings against Rio Tinto (IOC) will move forward and the Innu have declared the decision by the Supreme Court “a great victory for all First Nations in Canada that are seeking to force companies to respect their rights.”

Lawyers, academins and students attending the


TRC Commissioner Dr. Marie Wilson By Colin Graf Windspeaker Contributor


One of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation commissioners “feels expectant” that the election of a Liberal government in Ottawa will “give birth to new life” in the relationship between government and First Nations. Dr. Marie Wilson, speaking at Aamjiwnaang in Sarnia, Ont., Oct. 20 , said Prime Ministerdesignate Justin Trudeau said “very important things” in his election-night speech about dealing with Aboriginal people on a “nation-to-nation” basis. “We will need to hold him to account” for what he has promised, she told around 300 people at a meeting in the band’s community centre. One concrete pledge Trudeau made during the campaign was an increase of $2.6 billion for First Nations education. Trudeau has also promised to implement all 94 of the TRC’s Calls to Action from its report on residential schools, including the creation of an inquiry into murdered or missing Indigenous women, she said. The commissioners are hoping to arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister-elect soon, Wilson said in an

November 2015

interview. She hopes Trudeau will pay special attention to another recommendation that calls on the government to create a National Council for Reconciliation. The council would make an annual report on whether the gap in quality of life between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Canadians is improving. Wilson called on the audience to ask their MPs to support creation of this body. First Nations people and Canadians are “the real two solitudes”, and the two can no longer afford to be strangers, Wilson told the crowd of both Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia city residents. Canadians need to make events like the Sarnia meeting, bringing Indigenous and non-Native people together “an ordinary thing,” she said. During six years as commissioner, Wilson said she has learned that most Canadians have a “genuine desire” to set a new course in relations, and most Indigenous people want to believe the rest of Canada is listening to their concerns and wants to help. Education is key to helping reconciliation for future generations, Wilson told the meeting, partly sponsored by the United Church of Canada. Growing up in the small town

of Petrolia, near Sarnia, Wilson remembers putting pennies in the collection plate at Sunday school ‘for the Indian children up north.” “Never did it occur to me,” she remembers, “that they weren’t with their own families in their own homes.” The story of Indian residential schools needs to be taught in all Canadian schools from now on, she said. “This is Canadian history, not just Aboriginal history,” Wilson added. Residential school survivors have shown “a huge capacity for resiliency,” she told the group. “It’s nothing short of miraculous” that some could speak about their experiences at the schools. Reconciliation will take time, she cautioned the audience. “We’re in for the long haul, but all Canadians will benefit” in the long run, Wilson said. The Commission still has work to do before its mandate expires at the end of December, including the establishment of a National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, with on-line portals at other Canadian campuses, allowing students and scholars access to original documentation about residential schools, Wilson told the audience.

Indigenous Bar Association meeting in Toronto have embraced their responsibility to help implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The focus of the IBA’s 27th annual fall conference is the commission’s Calls to Action and it heard from commissioners Justice Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild. Workshops were held that considered the Calls to Action in the contexts of legal education, judicial training, child welfare, film and media, and missing women and girls. “Based on direction from the members of the IBA and the fact that there are specific Calls to Action that requires our leadership, we will be seeking partnerships and cooperative approaches with various legal institutions such as law societies, law schools and judicial training bodies to implement specific Calls to Action,” said IBA Board member Scott Robertson. Among the Calls to Action is the identification of the importance of knowledge and education regarding the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, treaties, Aboriginal rights, Indigenous laws, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. According to President Koren Lightning-Earle, the information will help the effectiveness of the legal profession to serve Indigenous clients and for the Administration of Justice to deliver justice to Indigenous peoples.

The University of Regina has received $150,000 from Scotiabank to establish the Scotiabank Aboriginal Entrance Award. It will be available to first-year, undergraduate Aboriginal students in the Fall of 2016. Students in good academic standing with demonstrated community involvement are eligible. Nearly 12 per cent of the total student population has self-declared Aboriginal descent; an increase of 63 per cent over the last five years. “We believe in investing in young people to ensure they have the tools and skills needed to succeed in both their academic lives and beyond. Everyone at Scotiabank looks forward to hearing about the future successes and contributions of the award winners,” said Karen Birss, District Vice-President, Saskatchewan South District at Scotiabank. The university is expanding the Aboriginal Student Centre and has established an Indigenous Advisory Circle; basefunded an Executive Lead on Indigenization; and designated scholarships for those who choose to self-declare Aboriginal descent. For more information about scholarship for Aboriginal students, visit: aboriginal-safa.ezc.

The JUNO Awards is now accepting submissions for Aboriginal Album of the Year, a press release from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced. The early bird submission deadline was 5 p.m. EST on Oct. 23, but a final submission deadline is set for 5 p.m. EST on Nov. 13. “Winning the Aboriginal Album of the Year at the JUNOS was a long standing dream of mine,” said 2015 category winner Tanya Tagaq. “Being nominated among my peers gives a sense of warmth, celebration, and team work that is rarely found in a competition based system.” (The category is open to albums released by Canadians between Sept. 1, 2014 and Nov. 13, 2015. A project that is 20 minutes or six unique songs is now considered a full album and is eligible in the category. Submissions can be made online at Nominees will be announced on Feb. 2, 2016.

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[ news ]

New charter helps vulnerable adults By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor


The Ktunaxa Nation Council has formed an historic alliance with the provincial Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation in British Columbia. The two bodies have come together to better assess and develop programs for vulnerable Aboriginal adults in the First Nation. While the Ktunaxa Nation already runs programs for its vulnerable people—as well as other Aboriginal individuals in their area—the goal of this partnership is to use what’s currently available to find gaps, then remedy them. “We do offer programs, but we’re entering into a relationship with MARR to extend

programs,” said Shannon Gerling-Hebert, quality assurance administrator and service integration for the Ktunaxa Nation Council. “To my understanding, funding is not secured, but we signed a charter to work together… It was a joint effort between the Ktunaxa social services sector and MARR,” she said. Gerling-Hebert, who wrote the proposal for the charter, said the Ktunaxa Nation Council has been working on securing the relationship with MARR for the past six months. And while the charter has only recently been granted, the realization of the need to take a closer look at programming has been a long time in the making. One issue Gerling-Hebert sees in particular is of young people who have spent years involved

Vigil reveals the pain of missing loved ones (Continued from page 8.) Her niece went missing in August 2005, just a few days after celebrating her 17th birthday. About a month later, her body was found in a swampy area of the reserve. “Her birthday is on the 4th of August and mine is on the 1st,” Aquash said, “and for the eight years after it happened, I could not celebrate my birthday. I just couldn’t.” For those eight years, she and her daughter visited Katrina’s grave, “to wish her happy birthday and tell her we miss her and love her.” It was difficult talking at the vigil, she said, because she still has so much pain. “There’s so many layers of pain and I just kept it to myself. But talking about it openly like that was really instrumental for me to begin healing too.” Aquash and her sister, her niece’s mother, have never talked about Katrina’s death. “I don’t even know how my sister is feeling,” she said. “This is all the unresolved pain.” Similarly, Aquash cannot talk about the two men who were convicted in

with child welfare, who then reach adulthood and “have no place to go.” “Our proposal was to develop this relationship because we have so many young people aging out of the foster care system without any resources or plans for their future,” she said. Programming gaps exist— province-wide—in relation to issues specifically affecting Aboriginal people, and Melanie Gould, regional governance coordinator for the Ktunaxa Nation Council, links many of these issues to social problems like cultural genocide, racism, and the Indian residential school system; all issues experienced collectively by the Aboriginal population. “Aboriginal people need to be tied to their culture… that piece is missing. And if you look at residential school history, it’s horrific. They were stripped of so much, and there’s so much racism… It’s not as simple as “let’s find housing,” she said. Furthermore, issues that have arisen out of problems with

racism, and residential schools, have spawned secondary issues—like fetal alcohol syndrome, for example, which now affects a portion of the Aboriginal population. Despite how common FASD is, many social services, including the public education system, fall short of being able to properly address these cases, said Gould. “If you look back at residential schools, alcoholism rates skyrocketed when kids were taken from their parents. With everything from sex abuse to being hit if you spoke your language… Alcohol rates became very high and kids were born with FASD,” she said, adding that these children may then have children, but not have the capacity to be parents, causing inter-generational social issues. In terms of the research to be done on social programs, Gould and the Ktunaxa Nation Council will be using a series of “wellbeing indicators,” such as ancestry, use of traditions,

culture, health, and educational data. The model is less focused on hard data, like morbidity rates, and instead was developed after posing the question to Ktunaxa Nation members, “What does a Healthy Ktunaxa citizen look like?” and incorporating their answers into a holistic idea of health, said Gould. The next step for the Ktunaxa Nation is to take over 20 individual cases of persons in need within the next year, from Community Living BC—an organization already working with the government to care for citizens with disabilities—and deliver services to those people while tracking the outcomes. “It’s just a first step for us in looking at what it would look like to better serve Aboriginal people. We’re using CLBC because we’re already working with them. But our ultimate goal is to ensure that Aboriginal adults who are vulnerable are served in the best possible way... In ways that are meaningful to them, and culturally relevant,” she said.

Katrina’s death. “They treated her like garbage,” she said. “So many of these women, that’s how they’re treated,” she said, “like they’re nobodies. They’re not nobody. Somebody loves them.” For many years, Aquash hid the pain. “It just sat there inside me. I’d be going through life, smiling. I didn’t want anyone to see it.” A couple of years ago, she looked to the culture for healing, going to sweatlodge and circles with women she trusted. On the moccasin vamp she made for WWOS, Aquash beaded a broken heart to represent the pain suffered by all who loved Katrina, and a pipe and turtle to represent the healing that needs to happen across Turtle Island for all the women lost. “A lot of times, it’s people who knew these women who are the perps”, Aquash said. “I think our communities need to start looking at themselves and start being accountable for their own inner turmoil that causes them to hurt others. That silence – that’s keeping our communities sick.”

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November 2015

[ news ]

Territories ahead of the curve on curriculum By Andrea Smith Windspeaker Contributor



Minister of Education, Culture, and Employment in the Northwest Territories, Jackson Lafferty, presents teenage slippers (as opposed to baby slippers) at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission conference, symbolizing growth made in universal education around residential schools in the territory.

November 2015

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission only recently released their final report calling for Canada-wide education on Indian residential schools, but two Canadian territories have been at it for a few years. Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are the first in Canada to make the material mandatory for high school graduation, and the Northwest Territories has taken it a step further this year by mandating that all educators receive residential schools training before they can be certified to teach in the territory. “We found the in-service helped teachers not just in teaching the residential school module, but in teaching all their other students because it changed their relationships, and their understanding of the community,” said Mindy Willett, social studies and northern studies coordinator for the N.W.T. As of last February, all teachers in the province had received some form of training, but because the province sees a 10 per cent turnover in teachers yearly, newcomers posed a problem, said Willett. Minister of Education, Culture, and Employment Jackson Lafferty announced in the summer that training would be mandatory, so a special “New to the N.W.T.” training was held after new teachers arrived in the fall. “With our new in-service, it’s critical they hear from former residential school students. We’ve adopted the Chiros blanket exercise. It’s a role play, narrated by an Indigenous person, and it helps teachers understand where residential schools came from... It’s a dramatic experience of colonization,” she said. While the teacher training on residential schools is still a workin progress, the N.W.T. is now in its second year of the material being mandatory for students, though it was piloted two years prior to that. It’s embedded within a larger course, and taught only at the Grade 10 level. “In the Northwest Territories, we wanted to make sure it wasn’t in a course that kids chose. We wanted to call it Northern Studies, so that everyone was included because, you’ve heard many times, this isn’t an Aboriginal problem, it’s a Canadian problem,” said Willet. When the N.W.T. first started looking into creating a residential school curriculum, the TRC was just getting fired up, said Willett. Elders, cultural leaders, language leaders, and political leaders from across the territory came together to act as a source of guidance for the

development of the curriculum, she said. At the same time, Nunavut was working with the Legacy of Hope Foundation—a nonprofit committed to educating the public about the history of residential schools. The two territories and Legacy of Hope then banded together to form a three-way partnership, said Willett. “As we developed the resources, we did interviews with former residential school students, so what you get is lots of audio and video of their experiences. That also advised us on who and what should be included in the process. By the time we did the second edition, we felt confident it was meeting the goals we set for ourselves,” she said. Nunavut has gone a slightly different route, placing their residential schools lessons within Social Studies 10 rather than having a separate class like N.W.T.’s Northern Studies, said Ken Beardsall, curriculum coordinator for the Department of Education. But like the N.W.T., the topic fills an entire 25-hour module within a 125hour course. “It’s actually pretty big, the teachers would say it’s more than 25 hours of instruction... But it really goes well. In fact, one teacher was saying her attendance goes up for social studies because the kids enjoyed it,” he said. Nunavut used most of the materials put out by Legacy of Hope, but adapted them to a northern context. Not only that, they’re also in the process of translating the entire course— including the module on residential schools—into Inuktitut, one of the territories main Indigenous languages, said Beardsall. “When you translate something from English to Inuktitut, a lot of the culture from English is embedded in that language, and the terminology. So when you lead with Inuktitut… you’re embedding the culture of Inuit. We realized that’s a really good way to incorporate culture into the curriculum, and that’s one of the techniques we’ve practiced,” he said. Though digging up the past can have its negative effects, and Beardsall is aware that some parents might be triggered by talking about some of their buried trauma with children who have just learned about it in school, that’s not the point, he said. “In the end, the focus is not to leave people unhappy. The focus is on hope… The fact that we’re actually doing this and talking about it is going to make a better future, for all Canadians, really,” said Beardsall.

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[ election 2015 ]

Wilson-Raybould ready for change Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs also released a statement commending Wilson-Raybould, saying she “won the respect of many with her strong resolve and we look forward to working with her as a likely and essential member of Cabinet.” Jody Wilson-Raybould (Puglaas) By Cara McKenna Windspeaker Contributor


For years Jody WilsonRaybould (Puglaas) felt Indigenous people were being ignored by Canada — so she became part of the federal government. The former B.C. Assembly of First Nations regional chief was elected on Oct. 19 as a Liberal Member of Parliament under Justin Trudeau, who handpicked her as a candidate in the new Vancouver-Granville riding. She is B.C.’s first First Nations woman MP, according to Grand Chief Edward John, and one of a record 10 Indigenous MPs elected across the country. She is also part of the Liberal wave that swept across Canada, handily outnumbering the Conservatives and defeating longtime Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Wilson-Raybould won approximately 44 per cent of her riding’s vote despite a Leadnow strategic voting campaign encouraged left-leaning voters to opt for her NDP competitor Mira Oreck. After her win, WilsonRaybould told a room of cheering Liberal supporters that she believes real change can happen. “We did something amazing right across this country,” she said. “We can and must do better.” Wilson-Raybould’s campaign involved promises to focus on housing affordability, transit, healthcare and balancing environmental protection with economic growth. Three days before she was elected, she stood on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery with current B.C. AFN Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson at a Rock the Indigenous Vote rally, promising that the Liberals would “fundamentally transform this country.” Gottfriedson later released a statement congratulating his predecessor. “I congratulate the Liberal party and former B.C. regional chief Jody Wilson-Raybould on their stunning victory,” he said.

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Winnipeg Centre, Manitoba Robert-Falcon Ouellette (Cree) - Liberal Community Advocate Program Director, Aboriginal Focus Programs, UofM Defeats NDP Incumbent Pat Martin Preliminary Results 18,471 Votes; 54.5% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 60.91% “We have something to prove, that your trust in us was wellplaced.”


Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik— Eeyou, Quebec


Romeo Saganash (Cree) Incumbent - NDP

Hunter Tootoo (Inuit) - Liberal Former MLA for Iqaluit Centre 1999-2013

Challenger: Pierre Dufour, Liberal Preliminary Results 12,788 Votes; 37% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 54.63%

Defeats Conservative Incumbent Leona Aglukkaq Preliminary Results 5,618 Votes; 47.2% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 61.96%

“I made sure the Aboriginal participation was there for me.”

“Tonight I’m very proud of our country.” Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, Saskatchewan Georgina Jolibois (Dene) -NDP Served as Mayor of La Loche Pending possible recount Won by 70 votes An issue: Long lines due to lack of ballots Defeated: Incumbent MP Rob Clarke, Conservative Preliminary Results 10,300 Votes; 34.1% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 68.12% “Together, we can build a bright future for our children and grandchildren” ~ Facebook

Niagara Centre, Ontario

Northwest Territories Michael McLeod (Métis) Liberal Tourism Development Officer Former member of Legislative Assembly Next closest: Dennis Fraser Bevington, NDP Preliminary Results 9,166 Votes; 48.3% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 64.42% “We needed to see a change.” Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, Manitoba

Vance Badawey (Métis) Liberal Business Owner Former Mayor Of Port Colborne

Dan Vandal (Métis) - Liberal Winnipeg City Councillor Challenger: FranÁois Catellier, Conservative

Defeats NDP Incumbent Malcolm Allen

Preliminary Results 28,530 Votes; 58.4% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 74.4%

Preliminary Results 19,432 Votes; 35.7% Share Voter Turnout: 66.1% *Source: Elections Canada

“How many seats have we won in Winnipeg?”

“Let’s roll up the sleeves and get to it.” Labrador Yvonne Jones (Inuit) - Liberal Incumbent Former journalist, Small Business Owner

Thunder Bay-Rainy River, Ontario

Challenger: Peter Penashue, Conservative

Defeats NDP Incumbent John Rafferty, NDP

Preliminary Results 8,878 Votes; 71.8% Share Voter Turnout: 62.12% *Source: Elections Canada

Preliminary Results 18,523 Votes; 44.1% Share: *Source: Elections Canada Voter Turnout: 66.97%

“We did it, guys. We did it.”

“I always thought Thunder Bay was a Liberal stronghold.” ~

Don Rusnak (Anishinaabe) Lawyer - Liberal

November 2015

A land transfer agreement British Columbia has through an incremental responded to the failures of treaty with British Columbia the Ministry of Children and supports cultural, social and Family Development economic opportunities for the Haisla Nation. Under the agreement, about 120 hectares of Crown land will be transferred to the Haisla. The land lies in the heart of Haisla territory between Kitamaat Village and Walth reserve on the Douglas Channel, and will connect the two reserves. The transfer will allow the expansion of housing, as well as commercial and public spaces. The Haisla agreement is the 18th incremental treaty agreement in B.C. The province introduced incremental treaty to speed up the treaty process. They provide increased certainty on the land base with natural resources development. “This agreement will resolve a longstanding claim to a key part of the Haisla Nation territory,” said Chief Councillor Ellis Ross. “These lands have great historical and cultural value to our people, and we’ve worked to re-acquire them for 60 years.”

as outlined in the report Paige’s Story from the Representative for Children and Youth. Paige was a 19-year-old Aboriginal girl living in Vancouver ’s Downtown Eastside when a drug overdose caused her death. “But it was actually years of abuse and neglect, persistent inaction from frontline professionals and an indifferent social care system that led to this young woman’s demise,” reads the preamble to the report. B.C. has now announced it will initiate a new Rapid Response Team, a review of all MCFDinvolved young people living on the Downtown Eastside and a service-provider awareness campaign as part of government’s operational response. “The Paige report talks about systemic issues in the Downtown Eastside, which is why a fulsome response requires engagement from partners across the health, education, justice, Aboriginal

and child and family-serving service sectors,” said Minister Stephanie Cadieux. “There is a collective responsibility that needs to be reinvigorated, and the first and most important step is to bring together decision-makers who can collaborate to create solutions that might not yet exist within our system. That’s part of what we are doing with our rapid response team.” B.C. says “real and meaningful change on a systemic scale” will be an “ongoing process” with the need to examine the province’s support for vulnerable young people “from the ground up.” A Rapid Response Team will allow service providers to reach out and directly address the needs and safety of the highest-risk youth in the Downtown Eastside. “I am buoyed to see that MCFD and government have begun to grapple with these important issues and that progress will be improved outcomes for these youth,” said Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, “far too many of whom are Aboriginal children who have endured incredible journeys of hardship and who deserve our full attention.”

The 22-year-old male who died after he injured 11 people at the office of Bridge River Indian Band was overwhelmed by his life and lashed out, said Chief Susan James. She said band staff were working to find stable housing and a way to pay his rent. He walked into the band office and began attacking people with a weapon, and was subdued. Two victims were sent to hospital where they were in critical conditions, and two others with serious injuries. He had been restrained before police arrived at the scene, but had stopped breathing. CPR was attempted, but he could not be revived. The Independent Investigations Office, which looks into policeinvolved deaths and serious injuries, is investigating. The suspect, David James (no relation to the chief), “had complex social and health needs that our staff did not have the resources or training to adequately respond to,” the chief said. Assembly of First Nations-BC Regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson noted that the intergenerational trauma of residential schools contributed to the incident. “We, as First Nations, continue to face unbearable social conditions

which directly impact community safety. We are the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged,” he said in a press release.

Esquimalt First Nations Chief Andrew Thomas and his wife, Mary Anne, have been charged with animal cruelty. It is alleged by the BC SPCA that the couple failed to provide veterinary care for their dog Chewy, a Shih tzu, causing pain, suffering or injury to an animal and neglecting or failing to provide necessities. In July, the BC SPCA responded to a call about a dog tethered outside a home, though the organization was unable to contact the owners. The next day, someone took the dog to the vet, and while the injuries were treatable, the owners chose to have Chewy euthanized. It was badly matted, filthy and suffering with an infection in his eye that had been left untreated, causing a rupture, they report. If convicted, the maximum jail sentence is five years. A maximum fine of $10,000 could be levied, as well as a ban on owning animals for as long as a lifetime. Currently, the couple is not allowed to possess animals.

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New chief for FSIN to be elected Three people are battling for the position of chief for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations including Second Vice Chief Bobby Cameron. Also seeking the position are Helen Ben of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation and Leo Omani of Wahpeton Dakota First Nation. With Cameron throwing his name into the race, a byelection for the position of Second Vice Chief will be held. Three candidates have also declared for that race, including former FSIN Chief Guy Lonechild of White Bear First Nation, who was forced out of his position in 2011. Challenging Lonechild are Rod Atcheynum of Sweetgrass First Nation and Robert Merasty of Flying Dust First Nation. The elections are scheduled to take place from Oct. 28 to Oct. 29 in Saskatoon. Kimberly Jonathan, who is the current interim FSIN chief, will be acclaimed as First Vice Chief, while incumbent Dutch Lerat will be acclaimed as Third Vice Chief at that time as well.

Ballot box tampering at Poundmaker RCMP say charges are pending after a ballot box was tampered with during a band by-election on the Poundmaker Cree Nation. Cut Knife RCMP

received a complaint that two men had entered the building where voting was taking place on Sept. 30, took the ballot boxes outside, and threw them into a fire. One 34-year-old male from Poundmaker First Nation was arrested by police shortly after the incident. He was released but charges are pending. Police were also seeking at 35-year-old male from Poundmaker First Nation in relation to this incident. CBC News says it’s unclear what the consequences are for tampering with votes in an election on a First Nation. According to Elections Canada, hampering or delaying the electoral process in a federal election is an offence punishable by a fine, prison time or both.

Red Earth Cree ban drugs, alcohol Red Earth Cree Nation has banned drugs and alcohol in an effort to prevent substancerelated deaths in the community. The decision was made Sept. 21 after a general assembly at Mamawe Community Hall. “The law came to be because people love their children. They love their community and they want it safe,” said Charlene Head, a Red Earth Cree Nation councillor. However, not all members are in favour of the ban. Council is still working on

enforcing the law. At a recent Justice Council, members discussed options of creating peace keepers, constables, and healing circles.

Student draws attention to racial stereotyping in standardized test A standardized test administered to Grade 10 students will be changed after a student complained to his parents about two questions that gave multiple choice answers which negatively stereotyped Aboriginal people. The exam is a Level 19 test book of the Canadian Achievement Tests, fourth edition, which was published in 2008 and was field tested in Canadian classrooms. The test has been used by Saskatoon Public School since 2012. “I was surprised and disappointed to see that our internal review of test items during the development … did not identify these two items and replace them before publication,” said David Galati, director of operations for the Canadian Test Centre. Galati said it was the first time the issue had been brought to his attention, noting that this particular test is not as widely used as other tests.

MN-S may get funding to maintain office Metis Nation-Saskatchewan

President Robert Doucette and Vice President Gerald Morin met with federal officials in late September to talk about funding for the organization. In October 2014, the federal government stopped funding the organization due to infighting that made it impossible for the MN-S to meet its constitutional obligations to hold two assemblies each year. Even numerous court proceedings have not resolved the issues. Doucette and Morin are key players in the two disputing factions. Doucette is hoping to get at least enough funding to keep the office open. At the general assembly held Sept. 28, attended by 68 signatories, Dec. 11 and 12 were set as the tentative dates for a Metis Nation Legislative Assembly.

Crowdfunding to build, repair homes Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam has taken on the “One House, Many Nations” Indiegogo campaign. She launched the campaign Oct. 7 after seeing the state of housing while running for chief in Big River First Nation. The target is US$15,000 to build a single log cabin with a wood stove, garden, solar panels and a composting toilet. Once that home is built, it will seek a further $15,000 to build or repair another home. Then

another. And another. “We are hoping to build or repair one house at a time,” the Indiegogo site says. “In time, we hope to grow so that we can reach all Nations.” About one week into the campaign, “One House, Many Nations” had raised US$5,447, with funds committed by 94 people.

SNTC changes name to honor Tootoosis The Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company is now known as the Gordon Tootoosis N+kn+win Theatre. The name change was made to honour the late actor, who co-founded the theatre company along with fellow actors Tantoo Cardinal and Kennetch Charlette, in 1999. N+kn+win is a Plains Cree expression for “leadership.” The theatre company says Tootoosis was the driving force behind the creation of its “Circle of Voices” program, where youth are mentored in theatre and cultural teachings. The mentorship program is now in its 13th year and more than 100 youth have been trained. Tootoosis, from the Poundmaker Cree Nation, was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2005 for his services to performing arts in the country.

Compiled by Shari Narine

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November 2015


Cindy Blackstock shows a drum gifted to her from Vincent Steinhauer. The little turtles are following the big turtles. Said Blackstock, “These kids are looking at us and seeing what we’re doing and they’re going to follow our example wondering what we are doing.”

TRC calls to action cross faculty lines By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor


Advancing reconciliation in the sphere of post-secondary education will take more than a faculty of Native studies, a tipi on university property, and an Aboriginal students’ centre. It will also take more than a poster recruiting Aboriginal students, says Cindy Blackstock, an associate professor at the University of Alberta. She says it starts in the classroom on reserves, where First Nations children receive one-third less funding for education than their off-reserve counterparts. Universities need to take a stand against this. “Take down those (Aboriginal recruitment) posters and get out the prime minister’s address and don’t leave there until he or she does it right. That will make this a welcoming place for First Nations students,” Blackstock said to a packed lecture theatre full of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students and

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faculty at the U of A, other postsecondary institutions, and the general public. Blackstock, who is also executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, is leading, along with the Assembly of First Nations, a human rights challenge against the federal government claiming that children on reserve are discriminated against because they are funded at a lower rate than what similar provincial programs receive from the provinces. Blackstock’s address was part of the comments made by three academics who discussed implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action at and by postsecondary institutions. Dr. Eber Hampton, an academic Elder and special advisor to continuing education at the U of A, says that “conservatively” 37 of the 94 calls to actions outlined by the TRC in June pertain to postsecondary institutions. “There’s no excuse for not putting some weight behind those calls for action. We’ve got

our blueprint,” said Hampton, who is also past president of the First Nations University of Canada. “Universities either reproduce the status quo or they transform it.” Those calls to action are wide-ranging and deal with research, teaching, service and certification and, Hampton says, they need to be implemented across every faculty. Charlene Bearhead, newly appointed education coordinator for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, agrees with Hampton’s assessment that Aboriginal knowledge and issues must transcend faculty lines. She says there is no reconciliation without relationship. “Those calls to action focus on health, they focus on the law, they focus on justice, on social work, on education, on business. This is not a subject we study. This is who we are. Indigenous and nonIndigenous Canadians living and working together in a respectful manner. That doesn’t have a department or faculty,”

she said. Bearhead, who received her degree at the U of A, says she was never educated about residential schools. She adds that at the time she pursued post-secondary education nobody learned about residential schools. But things are changing. Bearhead says student teachers are in the classroom, teaching students and the classroom teacher about the impacts of residential schools. Bearhead has been traveling the country, talking to postsecondary institutions, most recently along the east coast, hosting similar sessions as the one at the U of A. “Universities across the country are really taking a look at what this looks like and what needs to happen,” she said. “They’re looking across the faculties and within the grounds and within the architecture and within the ways of being and operating and knowing one another. It’s a good start.” Every region will implement the calls to action differently,

she says. “Primarily, first and foremost, the universities across the country are located in different traditional territories. From my perspective if people are doing things well and doing things right, which is doing things respectfully based on protocol, those discussions and those actions will reflect the traditional people whose territories those universities are on,” she said. Bearhead says there is much work ahead. “For the most part, universities are colonial institutions Ö so I think there are big changes to be done no matter what university you’re at,” she said. For Blackstock, successful implementation of the calls to action will have a concrete impact. “My goal with reconciliation is to raise a generation of First Nations, Metis and Inuit kids, who don’t have to recover from their childhoods and a generation of non-Aboriginal children, who never have to say they are sorry,” she said.

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National Foster Family Week: October 18 – 24


Premier Rachel Notley met receintly with Treaty 7 Chiefs. Said Grand Chief Charles Weaselhead, “A relationship must be built on a foundation of trust recognition, respect and reconciliation to develop better relationships regarding meaningful dialogue and participation in the Alberta economy.”

Improving relationships province visiting First Nations between province, Treaty communities. areas Changes to come to NSD Premier Rachel Notley has met with the Chiefs of Treaty 6 governance and 7 to discuss working together in a new spirit of respect and reconciliation. She met with Treaty 7 Chiefs on Oct. 16 and Treaty 6 Chiefs on Oct. 7 The meetings were held on a “government-to-government basis,” stated Notley in a news release. She said, “We are committed to establishing a more respectful and constructive relationship between Alberta First Nations and the province.” She also stated that implementing the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a priority. Also at the meeting was minister of Aborginal relations Kathleen Ganley, who has traveled throughout the

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Alberta education minister David Eggen says it is not acceptable that Northland School Division has been operating under a governmentappointed trustee for five years. “The result has been very disappointing,” Eggen said, speaking at a First Nations, Metis and Inuit education symposium in Edmonton. “It is my intention to work hard that our government will put in place and have proper elections for real trustees to put Northland School Division back on its feet where it belongs.” Eggen didn’t offer details on how this would be accomplished. In 2010, Progressive Conservative education minister David Hancock dismissed the 23-

member NSD board and appointed Colin Kelly as trustee. Hancock stated poor student performance, low high school graduation rates, and high turnover among staff and administration as reasons for his decision. Hancock also appointed an inquiry team to come up with recommendations. The report was tabled, community meetings held, but elections for new trustees never took place.

Mulcair headlines AFN open forum NDP leader Thomas Mulcair highlighted the Assembly of First Nation’s open forum held at the River Cree on Enoch Cree Nation on Oct. 7. The NDP unveiled its billions of dollars’ worth of promises for its Aboriginal agenda, which included removing the two per cent funding cap; increase in

funding and committed annual funding for education; funding to revitalize Indigenous languages; and funding to improve health care. Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett also spoke as did Brenda Sayers, Indigenous candidate in the riding of North Island-Powell River for the Green Party.

NRDC says pending water crisis needs action In the face of concerning studies predicting an impending water crisis in the Athabasca River Basin, the Natural Resources Defense Council is calling for the Alberta government to re-evaluate the water use licenses granted to the tar sands industry. As the government examines how best to do this, several initial steps are necessary, say NRDC staff Joshua Axelrod and

Roxane Régis in a blog. At the outset, outreach to First Nations to share traditional knowledge about changes witnessed in the Athabasca basin will help Alberta not only understand the extent of the issue, but also ensure that future actions by government and industry honour the rights of First Nations to use and access the resources they have relied on for millennia. Further, long-range modeling that accounts for climate changedriven drought conditions should be used to set minimum flow rates while tar sands operators who enjoyed no prohibition on withdrawals this summer are brought into an updated system where such prohibitions would apply. In the end, if the tar sands industry hopes to continue operating— even at current levels—it must work with First Nations and the province to strive to achieve water use levels that will preserve the health of the Athabasca River for future generations.

Primco Dene expands again Primco Dene Group of Companies, wholly own by Cold Lake First Nations, is expanding again. Primco Commercial LP purchased its second Jiffylube franchise, which is located in Bonnyville. Primco is currently in the process of completing construction of a third Jiffylube franchise and carwash in the City of Cold Lake, which will open in November 2015. The award-winning company provides camp catering, janitorial, courier, security, emergency medical services, Internet and IT services to the oil and gas industry. “Cold Lake First Nations is proud of our Primco Group of Companies and how they have continued

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to build capacity despite the economy in Alberta and Canada. This speaks to their success under the current leadership,” said Chief Bernice Martial. Primco has also entered into a joint venture partnership with Northern Crane SG Ventures Ltd and Cold Lake/NCSG Crane and Heavy Haul Ltd. to partner in the heavy haul and crane industry servicing to the oil industry throughout Cold Lake First Nations traditional lands and the surrounding area. Primo Dene is also expanding in the equipment rental industry having just formed PD Rentals. Recently, Primco Dene accepted the Aboriginal Engagement Award at the Global Petroleum Show.

Mohawk tobacco company looks to manufacture cigarettes in Alberta Four Winds Tobacco Products Inc., a company registered on Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve in Quebec, appeared before Newell County council last month to discuss setting up a cigarette manufacturing plant in Brooks. Tom O’Connell, a company consultant, said Four Winds wants to produce cigarettes for export and for three wholesalers in Ontario. The company is looking at Alberta because Quebec has put a moratorium on new tobacco manufacturing, Most tobacco is

grown in Ontario but the company would encourage Alberta farmers to grow tobacco. Gary Grant, spokesperson with the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, said he is concerned the company will make cigarettes that won’t be taxed and is urging the government to not allow Four Winds into Alberta. O’Connell says if cigarettes are sold on First Nation reserves in Alberta, it will only be to registered wholesalers with the Canadian government.

Ban should still be in place on Athabasca River The Keepers of the Athabasca are calling into question the province’s decision to lift a water ban that had been temporarily put in place on the Athabasca River. Due to low water levels, on July 24, the province restricted all restricted all tar sands operators on the Athabasca River from withdrawing water, except for Shell, Suncor and Syncrude. That ban was lifted Sept. 16. Jesse Cardinal, coordinator with the keepers, said giving companies the first rights to access the river water over long standing Indigenous treaties or any other recognized water licences holders is “clearly a human rights issue.”

Aaron Paquette’s Lightfinder is one of three books to make the cut for this year’s Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Paquette’s placement in the top three will be announced on Oct. 22 at an awards ceremony hosted in partnership with the University of British Columbia. Prizes are $12,000 for first, $8,000 for second and $5,000 for third. Other contenders are Frank Christopher Busch for Grey Eyes and Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley for Skraeling. In addition, publishers of these titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of a minimum of 2,500 copies, which will ensure that First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada will have access to the books through their schools, libraries, as well as friendship centres. Last year ’s winning titles were distributed to almost 900 locations reaching every province and territory. Lightfinder is published by Kegedonce Press. The Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature aims to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across Canada by recognizing excellence in English-language literary works for Young Adults by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors. This is the third year for the award.

Paquette’s book in top three for Burt award Compiled by Shari Narine


Continuing the call for national inquiry Ashley Callingbull-Burnham was one of a number of guest speakers at the Sisters in Spirit Gathering held in Edmonton Sept. 28-30. The gathering continued the ongoing dialogue for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. The vision behind the gathering was to bring families of victims, resource and service leaders, experts in various criminology and violence prevention fields, government departments, Indigenous leaders, and individuals together to raise awareness.

EPS works at supporting families of missing, murdered The Edmonton Police Service hosted a three-day conference on exploring the challenges and finding the solutions on how to interact with and help families, who have loved ones that are murdered or missing. A number of sessions targeted working with Indigenous communities and the families of murdered and missing Indigenous women. “This is an issue that touches communities across Canada, so it’s important that regardless of what jurisdiction the crime takes place, we provide the best ongoing and consistent support to victims and their families,” said EPS Insp. Dan Jones. The discussion supports

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the current research undertaken by the Alberta justice and solicitor general and other provincial initiatives in Canada. The conference took place Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

New numbers show positive change The annual Vital Signs report, conducted by Edmonton’s Community Foundation and Social Planning council, shows significant changes within the Aboriginal community. The report identifies a number of new strengths. The graduation rate from high school saw an increase of 27 per cent in 2013 from 22 per cent 2009 in Edmonton Public schools and 50 per cent from 26 per cent in Edmonton Catholic schools, and 10.7 per cent more Aboriginal people achieved a bachelor degree or higher in 2011. In the employment field, 40,300 Aboriginals are part of the work force, a growth of 152 per cent compared to 2001. Edmonton’s Aboriginal population paid more in incomes taxes (15 per cent) than received in transfer payments (12 per cent). But not all the figures are positive. Aboriginal people in Edmonton are nine times more likely to experience homelessness and of the 2,307 homeless in Edmonton, 1,065 are Aboriginal. Twenty-two per cent

(Continued on page 18.)

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(Continued from page 17.) of Aboriginal people lived in low income. More than 70 per cent of Edmontonians believed that Aboriginal people are often subjected to discrimination and more than 50 per cent of Edmontonians believed their city could provide more support for the Aboriginal population.

Telling the story of Aboriginal people, settlers over time Reconciling Edmonton is an archival project that will be unveiled at City Hall on Nov. 25. The project uses three different media of art to tell the story of how Aboriginal peoples and settlers lived together. It is the combined work of Edmonton’s historian laureate Danielle Metcalfe-Chanail, former poet laureate Anna-Marie Soule, artist in residence Jen Yvette and Miranda Jimmy, Aboriginal relations project coordinator for the city of Edmonton. “Reconciliation is not a new fad, or buzzword but it’s a process that precedes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and will continue after,” Jimmy said. “We wanted to find images from the signing of treaty to present day. By choosing seven images over that time, it showed the

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relationship between Aboriginal people and settlers in Edmonton developing.”

Blackstone to end successful run Blackstone, produced by the Edmonton-based company Prairie Dog Film + Television, is entering its fifth and final season. “We’ve had an incredible run with Blackstone on APTN, and together we have taken the show to places where we could have only dreamed of when we started,” said Ron E. Scott, executive producer, writer, and director. “The series’ final season is once again filled with intense,†hard-hitting issues that have†challenged viewers’ perception of socially conscious storytelling on television.” The award-winning predominately Aboriginal cast has roots across Canada, and includes Ashley CallingbullBurnham and Michelle Thrush. In the new season of Blackstone, there is hope in the midst of adversity as the Blackstone First Nation strives toward a better life by building a stronger community. The show airs Nov. 3 on APTN, with the final episode slated for Dec. 22.


A traffic stop in Standoff by members of the Blood Tribe Police Service Crime Reduction Unit and Community Policing Division took $60,000 worth of drugs off the streets and seized $12,000 in cash.

Two charged in major drug bust in Standoff Two women have been charged in an investigation by the Blood Tribe Police Service which netted over $60,000 in street value of Oxy 80s and crack cocaine along with close to $12,000 in cash. Facing a variety of possession of drugs, trafficking, and possession of weapon charges are Brooke Shadow Creighton, 22, of Standoff, and Kayla Marie

Kirton, 24, of no fixed address. Netted from a search of a late model vehicle were 1,003 tablets of suspected fentanyl (with a street value of $50 per tablet in Standoff) and 100 grams of crack cocaine (valued at $10,000), 19 illicit prescription tablets, 6.4 grams of marihuana, brass knuckles (prohibited weapon), pepper spray (offensive weapon) and three cell phones. A number of items believed to be stolen were also seized and the investigation into ownership of those items continues.

tool to help in emergencies. The Vulnerable Person SelfRegistry allows people with a physical, mental or medical condition that may require special attention in an emergency to voluntarily submit personal information, including name, date of birth, physical description, contact information, methods of approach or communication, photo and description of any threatening medical conditions. First responders can access the data through the city’s 9-1-1 centre, when a vulnerable person is in danger or distress. The information must be updated by the person or their caretaker at least once a year or it will be removed from the database. Police say the information will not be used as part of criminal investigations. The database is an initiative by the Diversity Resource Team to better serve citizens with disabilities, and was implemented following consultations with various community organizations and units within the police service.

New registry to help Kennedy proposes allvulnerable people in Calgary inclusive model to mental The Calgary City Police health board Service has launched a new

Former NHL player and sexual abuse victim Sheldon

November 2015

Kennedy recently met with Alberta’s new mental health review board to promote the allinclusive approach used in the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary. It has allowed 85 workers from various disciplines to discuss each child and family case, bringing waiting times for care down to one month from eight months, and saving the system an estimated $500,000 per year, Kennedy said. His centre investigates 125 cases of child abuse each month. Liberal interim leader Dr. David Swann, co-chair of Alberta’s mental health review board, said some legislative changes may be

November 2015

required to allow more integration and communication. Kennedy is one of 21 people who have had one-on-one meetings with Alberta’s mental health review board since it was launched in the spring. The board has had three meetings in First Nations communities, drawing 90 participants. Tyler White, CEO for Siksika Health Serves, is also on the mental health review board.

Stiffarm crowned new Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Jingle dress dancer Vanessa Stiffarm,25, from Kainai Nation,

has been crowned Calgary Stampede Treaty 7 2016 Indian Princess. She beat out Alicia Maguire and Savanna Sparvier of Siksika Nation; Jasmine Crowchief from Siksika and Piikani Nations; and Shay-Lynn Strikes With A Gun from Piikani Nation. The competitors were judged in a number of categories, including speaking, horsemanship, dancing and presentation. Stiffarm will attend numerous local, national and international events as ambassador and educator of First Nations culture during her one year reign.

Aboriginal oral tradition to be gathered on Energy East pipeline The National Energy Board will hear oral traditional evidence from Aboriginal intervenors for the Energy East Project in Calgary on Nov. 12 and 13. There are six sessions (as well as remote participation sessions) currently scheduled to gather Aboriginal oral traditional evidence between Nov. 9 and Dec. 15. Aboriginal intervenors, who are not currently scheduled, will have an opportunity in 2016 to provide their oral traditional evidence. The NEB will hear

oral traditional evidence from 30 Aboriginal intervenors in 2015 across four provinces and six locations in addition to those participating remotely. Energy East is a proposal for a 4,600kilometre pipeline that will carry 1.1-million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada. The NEB is an independent federal regulator with its purpose to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest and the protection of the environment.

Compiled by Shari Narine

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Long-awaited inquest hears first evidence By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


A jury has begun hearing the details surrounding the deaths of seven First Nations youth spanning an 11 year period. The youth came to Thunder Bay from their remote northern communities to continue their secondary education. Dr. David Eden, the coroner who is presiding over the inquest, thanked the jury “for the commitment and personal sacrifices involved in your involvement in an inquest of this length and of this much importance to the community.” The inquest will be a sixmonth, three-phase affair that promises to be disturbing and emotionally draining if the first two days are an indication of what is to come. The jurors heard that all seven youth, six of whom were under the legal drinking age, had been consuming alcohol. Forensic pathologist Dr. Toby Rose and forensic toxicologist Karen Woodall testified that one death was directly attributed to “acute ethanol toxicity” while four others had alcohol as a contributing factor. The two deaths ruled not alcohol-related were that of Paul Panachese, 21, who was found passed out on the floor in his home Nov. 12, 2006; and Jordan Wabasse, 15 years old, who was missing for three months before his body was

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found in the MacIntyre River in May 2011. There was no known toxicological or anatomical cause for Panachese’s death. Rose said it was likely his death was due to a genetic heart condition and she suggested that his close family members be tested. In reference to Wabasse, Rose said she found “relatively low” concentration of alcohol in his blood and said he drowned. The cause of Robyn Harper’s death in January 2007 was determined to be “acute ethanol toxicity.” She had a blood alcohol concentration of 338mg/100mL. Harper, 18, died two days after coming to Thunder Bay. Rose and Woodall said that the alcohol level in the blood and urine were indications that alcohol was a contributing factor in the deaths of the other four youths: Curran Strang, 18, who died in 2005; : Reggie Bushie,15, who died in 2007; Jethro Anderson, 14, who died in 2008; and Kyle Morrisseau, 17, who died in 2009. Christa Big Canoe, counsel for six of the families, said getting to the truth was important. “And so it’s been a long wait. And the families’ priority and the mandate is to ensure one thing all families share (and that) is the prevention of future deaths of any youth coming from remote First Nations communities,” she said. But making

recommendations to prevent further deaths occurring in similar circumstances is “optional,” said Eden, as set out by the Coroner’s Act. He also said that the jury could make no legal findings. Recommendations could be forthcoming in a number of areas, considering the breadth of testimony the jurors will hear. Areas of evidence include how students from remote areas become eligible for school in Thunder Bay; how boarding homes operate; how first responders and others respond to reports of missing children; programs that are available to prevent the deaths of First Nations children; and what obstacles and challenges faced the students who died, both in Thunder Bay and in their home communities. Status to take part in the inquest has been granted to the

Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, which operates the Dennis Franklin Cromarty high school, which six of the seven students attended; Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which comprises 49 communities, including the communities from which the students came; Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council of the Chiefs of Ontario, which has youth representatives from all First Nations in the province; Attorney General of Canada and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada; the province of Ontario; the provincial advocate for children and youth; Thunder Bay police service board and Thunder Bay police service; and the City of Thunder Bay. The inquest will be divided into three phases. The first phase includes evidence about the seven deaths, which took place from

2000 to 2011. The jury will be tasked with determining the circumstances surrounding each death. The second phase will provide broader evidence looking at policy and context, including operation of the schools and boarding home. The third phase will provide information that will speak to potential recommendations. “Like any institution here…. (NAN) recognizes that it has to improve itself and it looks forward to the guidance it can receive from you as a jury in terms of how future deaths can be prevented,” said NAN counsel Julian Falconer. The long awaited inquest got underway on Oct. 5, in less than favourable conditions as the smallest courtroom was employed. The inquest moved to the largest courtroom the following day.

November 2015

Campaign for First Nations war hero


Sculptor Tyler Fauvelle’s maquette of the bronze and granite monument that will commemorate Francis Pegahmagabow.

The Department of Canadian Heritage will contribute $80,000 in funding through its World War Commemorations Community Fund for a project to honour Francis Pegahmagabow, the most highly-decorated First Nations soldier in Canadian history. The money represents about half the cost of the project, which is being spearheaded by the Ontario Native Education Counselling Association. The Royal Canadian Regiment Trust Fund has also donated $10,000.†The bronze and granite monument will be located at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts in Parry Sound, overlooking Wasauksing First Nation (Parry Island).†It will be unveiled June 21, 2016. The monument will be undertaken by Tyler Fauvelle, a professional sculptor based in Sudbury.

Wind farm begins operation

Batchewana First Nation’s Bow Lake wind farm began operating late last month. The joint operation between Batchewana, and BluEarth Renewables Inc. represents one of the largest economic partnerships between a First Nation and a wind energy developer in Canada. Located about 80 km northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, the Bow Lake wind farm features 36 wind turbines capable of generating 60 megawatts – enough clean, renewable energy to power 15,000 homes across Ontario. The plant is selling its output under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator. “Economy building is critical to the future of our Nations, and this is a great example of how our communities can become leaders in resource development and clean energy,” said Grand Chief Gordon Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians in a statement.

Effort to provide legal guidance to tackle discrimination The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and the Human Rights Legal Support Centre have partnered to deliver training to friendship centre staff across the province to promote access to legal services for Indigenous people experiencing discrimination. The training kicked off at N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre in Sudbury. “This is a powerful opportunity to empower Aboriginal communities to tackle discrimination in a strategic, concerted and province-wide effort,” said†Lori Mishibinijima, legal counsel and coordinator of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre’s Aboriginal services and outreach. The effort is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.

Consultations underway for culture strategy The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has launched a province-wide consultation to develop the first†Culture Strategy for Ontario. The province is working with an expert advisory group, members of which have expertise and diverse perspectives on the role of culture in Ontario. They will provide advice to the government on the culture strategy. Shirley Cheechoo is among the members on the expert advisory group. Cheechoo is an award-winning actress, writer, producer, director and visual artist. She first gained national attention with her play, Path With No Moccasins. Her film directorial debut is the acclaimed short film, Silent Tears, which won Best Dramatic Short at film

November 2015

festivals in San Francisco, Edmonton, Sante Fe and Nebraska. It was screened at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Telefilm Canada/Television Northern Canada Award for Best Canadian Aboriginal Language Television Program. She was recently named Chancellor of Brock University. Community consultations will continue through to December.

New scholarship architectural school


Toronto-based LGA Architectural Partners, which designed the new School of Architecture at Laurentian University in Sudbury, has established an annual scholarship with a $10,000 endowment. Starting in 2016, the Rya and Eric Levitt Memorial Award will benefit an Aboriginal student entering first year at the architecture school. The award has been named in honour of founding principal Janna Levitt’s late parents, who both had a deep connection to Ontario’s Northern and Aboriginal arts communities. LGA says it shares the couple’s spirit of engagement, as the practice aims to create regionally specific, socially relevant architecture. The School of Architecture will help revitalize its downtown locale. It was designed in consultation with local citizens, including the area’s English, French and Aboriginal groups, to ensure cultural inclusivity. It will also offer a much-needed hub, with its mix of new and adaptive reuse buildings as well as an allseason public courtyard.

Cardinal wins Schellenberg award Métis actress and Indigenous film legend Tantoo Cardinal is the newest recipient of the annual†August Schellenberg Award of Excellence. The prize recognizes significant professional and personal achievement by an Indigenous actor of all genders from Turtle Island. Cardinal†has worked in film and television for over 40 years, appearing in more than 100 projects including Blackstone, Dances with Wolves, Mohawk Girls, Blood River, North of 60, Strange Empire, Legends of the Fall, Arctic Air, Every Emotion Costs and Loyalties. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, and a passionate activist on behalf of Aboriginal people and culture. The August Schellenberg Award of Excellence†was designed in partnership with Joan Karasevich Schellenberg to honour her late husband, actor August Schellenberg, and the spirit of his work.

Compiled by Shari Narine

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[ health ]

Water issues are a quiet health crisis

Health Watch Compiled by Shari Narine Day pledges to bring attention to national health concerns Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day, who recently assumed responsibility for the Assembly of First Nations national health portfolio, has issued a call to action. He says health for First Nations people in Canada is deplorable and unconscionable and he will make a determined effort to raise the awareness on the crisis of First Nation health. He says following the election he and the national executive will work to secure sufficient health funding from the next federal government, which means revisiting the failed 2005 Kelowna Accord commitment of a $1.3 billion investment over five years to reduce infant mortality, youth suicide, diabetes, and obesity by 50 per cent within 10 years. The next federal government must fast-track this investment over two years, says Day, and also look at the lack of movement over the last decade and make-up for that level of investment. Also on the health priority list is addressing the current health disparities in the number of community health clinics, doctors and nurses, and addressing the increase in chronic diseases. “Not dealing with this crisis is only going to cause greater strain on Canada’s health care system, potentially pushing this matter toward more drastic measures of seeking resolve, such as litigation,” said Day in a statement.

Report condemns Aboriginal child protective services in BC


Neskantaga First Nation Chief Wayne Moonias - saying community has had a boil water advisory for more than 20 years. By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor


Neskantaga First Nation has had a boil water advisory for more than 20 years. “It is one of the longest ones in Canada,” said Chief Wayne Moonias. “Canada is a country that’s rich in resources and our First Nation is still struggling to have safe drinking water in their homes.” Neskantaga First Nation is a remote community located 400 kms north of Thunder Bay. Chief Moonias was in Toronto for a press conference on Oct. 5 to generate public support for concrete action to resolve the water crisis in their community. “We’re only 350 people,” he said, “but we’re still human beings. We’re still people that require safe drinking water.” “Imagine if you had to walk in minus 25 degree weather, imagine if you had to walk a km or two just to get your two litres or four litres of water,” said Moonias. “Something is not right when our Elders have to walk maybe a kilometer or two to get clean drinking water from the reverse osmosis unit.” The unit was installed by the federal government as a ‘Band-Aid’ solution, said Moonias. It’s not just safe water for drinking that the community needs. It’s also water for bathing. “Our people are not able to

bathe or care for their kids without having to deal with sores or rashes from exposure to the water,” the Chief said. “This long-standing issue has really put a strain on our people and we’re calling on the public to call on the government.” Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day joined Chief Moonias at the podium. Recently appointed as the health portfolio holder at the AFN, Day said the Chiefs of Ontario supports Neskantaga’s call for action. “Access to clean drinking water is a human right enjoyed by everyone in Canada except First Nations,” he said. The lack of clean drinking water in First Nations communities contributes to “a quiet health crisis that is destroying our communities and making our people sick,” said Day. “In fact, this quiet health crisis is killing our people.” The water crisis is caused entirely by a lack of political will in Ottawa, he said, and both Ottawa and Ontario need to work with First Nations to address the issue. First Nations get caught in the middle of the ping-pong match between Ontario and Canada regarding who has jurisdictional responsibility. Chief Day said the government needs to invest about $4.7 billion to upgrade water systems in First Nations communities across Canada. Chief Moonias said his 20-

year-old son has never been able just to turn on the tap in their home to get a glass of drinking water. Nor has he been able to enjoy a shower. This has become a normal situation for the children and young people, he said, they’ve never known anything different. Our people are getting frustrated, Moonias said, and they want action. “Water is the essence of life,” Moonias said, “our Elders have told us that all along. Today, my people are not able to enjoy that.” Moonias said they are starting to develop alliances. A documentary crew recently completed a film about the water crisis and may be viewed on-line at In the meantime, the chief said, mining companies are anxious to extract the abundance of resources that sit on the traditional lands of Neskantaga First Nation. The community sits in the centre of the Ring of Fire. In an interview following the press conference, Chief Day said they are investigating the possibility of legal action against the Crown. “When you see a situation like Walkerton happen with such a fast response of, let’s fix all the water systems in Ontario because people are dying,” he said, “the same response should be afforded, and should have been afforded to First Nations a long time ago.”

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The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union has released a report that says the province’s protection services for Aboriginal children are culturally inappropriate and inadequately funded. Closing the Circle: A Case for Reinvesting in Aboriginal Child, Youth and Family Services in British Columbia was based on feedback from child protection workers represented by the union. The report comes at a time when multiple agencies are investigating the Sept. 18 death of Alex Gervais, 18. He fell or jumped from the fourth floor window of an Abbotsford hotel where he was living for months in violation of child welfare rules. Aboriginal children represent half of those in care in B.C., even though Aboriginal people account for only five per cent of the population. “As we all know too well, the existing system is broken, and desperately needs to be fixed,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, in the foreword to this report. “Our social services system is overly complex and under resourced. It completely ignores our culture and history. It needs greater transparency and accountability.” In response to the report, Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux issued a statement saying her department would review the recommendations “in the context of the other work currently underway.”

CSC told to stop using standard psychological assessment Federal Court Justice Michael L. Phelan has ordered Correctional Services of Canada to stop using its standard psychological risk assessment on violent Aboriginal offenders. Phelan said in his ruling written Sept. 18 that Canada is lagging behind other countries in its efforts to eliminate bias. Five tests have been challenged: Hare Psychopathy Checklist Revised, Violence Risk Appraisal Guide, Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide, Static 99, Violence Risk Scale – Sex Offender. Simon Fraser University professor Dr. Stephen Hart testified the tests were developed without considering Aboriginal cultures or perspectives. He also said there are ways psychiatrists can analyze the tests to rule out cross-cultural bias but CSC has not done that work. It is anticipated that the decision will impact provincial jails as well as the federal system.

Unique art approach increased dialogue about cervical cancer A pilot project that used art to open lines of communication between researchers and women about cervical cancer has seen success. Dr. Ingeborg Zehbe, who leads the Anishinaabek Cervical Cancer Screening Study, consulted with Dr. Pauline Sameshima, the Canada research chair in arts integrated studies at Lakehead University, to find innovative educational tools to promote screening for cervical cancer. Studies show that First Nations women endure notably higher rates of diagnosis and mortality due to cervical cancer as they are less likely to seek out medical care until it’s absolutely necessary. They have less access to education on health issues, and have to travel significant distances off reserve to get even limited access to health care. Sameshima integrated art into the education part of the project in an attempt to increase dialogue and communication.

Aboriginal wellness centre being considered for Yellowknife Within days of announcing plans to build a new hospital in Yellowknife, the health minister tabled a document which suggests the territory is moving toward a separate, standalone wellness centre. The undated document says the department is “working with Stanton Territorial Health Authority to define the needs for the development of a Territorial Aboriginal Wellness Centre.” The need for the wellness centre has been identified because traditional activities can be better accommodated there than in an acute care setting. In February, the Elders’ Council at Stanton Hospital called for the development of an Aboriginal wellness centre in the city. Health minister Glen Abernethy said a wellness

November 2015

Sports Briefs By Sam Laskaris Headrick joins university squad As it turned out, Owen Headrick was indeed ready to make the jump up to the NCAA ranks. (The 18-year-old defenceman from the Garden River First Nation in northern Ontario is a rookie with the Lake Superior State Lakers, a Division 1 hockey squad based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. (Headrick had spent the past two seasons playing for another Sault Ste. Marie club, but on the Canadian side of the border. He starred with the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds, members of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. (During his rookie season with the Thunderbirds, Headrick collected 31 points in 56 regular season matches and was selected as the league’s top rookie. (As for last season, Headrick appeared in just 13 regular season contests as he missed the majority of the campaign recovering from shoulder surgery last October. (Headrick though certainly made his presence felt in the post-season. He earned 20 points, including 12 goals in 14 games. Besides leading the Thunderbirds to a league championship, Headrick was also named as the MVP of the NOJHL playoffs. (Since he had a couple of years of junior eligibility remaining, coupled with the fact he missed most of last season, there was some speculation whether Headrick would join the Lakers for the 2015-16 campaign. (The Lake Superior State coaching staff, however, obviously felt Headrick could contribute to its program right away. (After a pair of exhibition games and a tournament in Maine, Headrick and his Lakers’ teammates kicked off their regular season on Oct. 16 with a non-conference contest against Northern Michigan. (Headrick, a 5-foot-11, 186-pounder, accepted a full scholarship offer from the Lakers. He is planning to major in Criminal Justice while at Lake Superior State. The university is the closest Division 1 school to his home.

Pats sign Many Guns The Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats have signed a player this season with a name almost as imposing as his size. Trygve Many Guns, a 6-foot-4, 239-pound forward, is now toiling with the Pats. (Many Guns, who is from Alberta’s Siksika Nation, already has considerable size. And chances are he’s not done growing yet as he does not turn 17 until this December. (This past season Many Guns was a member of the UFA Bisons, a Midget AAA club in Strathmore, Alta. He helped the Bisons win the Alberta Midget Hockey League championship. (Many Guns had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 34 regular season contests with the Bisons. And in the playoffs he earned four points, including three goals, in 13 matches.

Iroquois Nationals win silver The Iroquois Nationals once again had to settle for silver medals at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships (WILC). (Canada defeated the Iroquois Nationals 12-8 in the gold-medal match of this year’s tournament, which concluded Sept. 27 in Syracuse. (This marked the fourth time the world men’s tournament, which is held every four years, has been staged. (Canada has won the gold medal at all four tournaments. And the Iroquois Nationals have been the silver medallists each time. (Also, the United States has finished third at this event every time. The Americans convincingly beat Israel 15-4 in this year’s bronze-medal battle. (Both of the WILC medal games were staged at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University. (This year’s global tournament, which attracted 13 squads, was a historic one. That’s because it was the first world championship to be staged on Haudenosaunee land. (The majority of the round-robin and playoff contests were held at a pair of venues on the Onondaga Nation, the Village Pavilion and the Onondaga Arena. (Other countries that participated at the tournament were England, Ireland, Czech Republic, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Germany, Serbia and Switzerland.

Water Polo Program introduced in Winnipeg The Win City Royals Water Polo organization is providing an introduction to the sport. The program is geared towards children aged five to 12 who live in the northern sections of Winnipeg. These areas include numerous Aboriginal families. (The program kicked off with a 10-week session on Sept. 19, which will continue until Nov. 21. Weekly sessions will be held. And there’s a chance teams will be formed to compete at a tournament in November. (A second session, lasting 15 weeks, will then run from Jan. 17 through April 20. Depending on the number of youth who sign up, teams might also be formed to participate in a winter league for the second session.

November 2015

[ sports ]

Aboriginal players toil in the NHL


Carey Price poses with his four awards he received at the NHL awards on June 24.

By Sam Laskaris Windspeaker Contributor MONTREAL It remains to be seen what Carey Price will do for an encore. Though he is in the prime of his career, only time will tell if Price, the 28-year-old star goaltender with the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens, can improve upon his performances of a year ago. (Price, a member of British Columbia’s Ulkatcho First Nation, certainly became a household name during the 2014/15 season – if he wasn’t already. Besides winning the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, Price also captured the Vezina Trophy as he was named the NHL’s top goaltender and the Ted Lindsay Award, presented to the league’s most outstanding player as voted on by all the other players in the NHL. Price also shared the William M. Jennings Trophy, which goes to the goalie(s) who allowed the fewest goals during the season. Price became the first player to win all four of these awards in one season. Glancing at his stats of a year ago, it’s pretty easy to see why Price garnered all the hardware that he did. He appeared in 66 games with the Canadiens and posted a 4416-6 record. He also had a dazzling 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. While Price is undoubtedly the best Aboriginal player in the NHL these days, he is certainly not the only one. A list of others who were on opening-day rosters for the 2015/16 campaign which kicked off in early October follows. Kyle Chipchura Chipchura, a 29-year-old Metis centre, is now in his fourth

season with the Arizona Coyotes. Chipchura, who is from Westlock, Alta., is in his 10th pro season. During his NHL days he’s also played for the Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens. He had 14 points in 70 games with the Coyotes last season. Jordan Nolan Nolan, a 26-year-old Ojibwe/ Maliseet forward, is a fifth-year pro. He’s a member of the Los Angeles Kings. He’s been fortunate enough to have been on both the Kings’ 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championship squads. Nolan, who is from the Garden River First Nation in northern Ontario, is the youngest son of former NHL player/coach Ted Nolan. Dwight King Like Nolan, King, a 26-yearold Metis forward, was on the Kings’ two Stanley Cup winning clubs this decade. But King, who is from Meadow Lake, Sask., began this season on the sidelines. That’s because King broke a bone in his foot during Los Angeles’ final exhibition game in early October. King, a seven-year pro, might not return to the LA lineup until midDecember. Michael Ferland Ferland, a 23-year-old Cree from Swan River, Man., appeared in 26 regular season games and nine playoff matches with the Calgary Flames last season. The Flames obviously have high hopes for Ferland, who spent half of last year in the minors (American Hockey League), as they signed him to a two-year, one-way contract during the off-season. Jordin Tootoo Tootoo, a 32-year-old forward, is in his 13th pro season but just his second with the New Jersey Devils. Tootoo, who grew up in Nunavut and became the first Inuk to play in the NHL, earned

15 points, including 10 goals, in 68 games with the Devils last season. During his career, Tootoo also suited up for the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. Rene Bourque Bourque, a 33-year-old Metis forward with the Columbus Blue Jackets, bounced around between three NHL organizations last season. Besides Columbus, Bourque, who is from Lac La Biche, Alta., also toiled for Montreal and Anaheim last year. Now in his 12th pro season, Bourque has also had NHL stops in Chicago and Calgary. T. J. Oshie Oshie, a 28-year-old Ojibwe forward, is getting used to life in a new NHL city this season. After spending the first seven years of his pro career with the St. Louis Blues, Oshie was traded to the Washington Capitals this past July. Oshie, who is from Mount Vernon, Washington, had 55 points in 72 games last year. Cody McCormick McCormick, a 33-year-old forward who has Oneida/ Ojibwe/Chippewa ancestry, is still listed as a member of the Buffalo Sabres’ roster. But he hasn’t played in the NHL since this past January as he is dealing with blood clot issues. It’s unclear when the McCormick, a native of London, Ont., will return to the lineup. Vern Fiddler The 35-year-old Metis has enjoyed a rather lengthy pro career. He’s now into his 15th pro season and fifth in a row with the Dallas Stars. Fiddler, known primarily for his defensive play, had a career (NHL) high of 13 goals in 80 games with the Stars last season. He’s also had NHL stops in Nashville and with the then Phoenix Coyotes.

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[ education ]

Seneca College welcomes ceremonial tipi to campus


Seneca College celebrated the installation of a ceremonial tipi with traditional songs and prayers on Oct. 15. By Lisa Pires Windspeaker Contributor

TORONTO Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer helped celebrate the installation of a traditional tipi at Seneca College’s Newnham Campus in Toronto on Oct. 15. The tipi was designated a sacred space where teachings will be provided and traditional ceremonies performed. While thanking Seneca for its

role as a leading Ontario college, Zimmer also acknowledged the campus as the ancestral territory of the Mississauga New Credit First Nation. During the event, Seneca President David Agnew stressed the significance of Seneca’s connection to Canada’s First Nations people. “Tipis have evolved from being homes to becoming a sacred cultural space that’s both symbolic and practical,” said Agnew. “At Seneca we’re doing our best to build trusting

relationships and build bridges.” As part of Seneca’s ongoing commitment to Aboriginal issues, Agnew signed the National Indigenous Education Protocol, which is a document that highlights the importance of structures and approaches required to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs. It supports the self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities.

In an opening prayer, Blu Waters, Seneca’s Elder on campus and a Cree and Métis Elder of the Micmac Wolf Clan, thanked the college for its support in continuing to move its positive relationship with First Nations people forward. “This tipi is an extension of the college and an opportunity for non-Indigenous people to learn about Indigenous culture,” said Waters.

She added that the tipi will be a comforting site for Seneca’s more than 700 Aboriginal students. “For many First Nations students, the tipi will help them feel welcome and safe,” she said. The ceremony also included traditional songs and prayers, as well as a sage and tobacco ritual inside the tipi. (Please see another photo from this event on page 28.)

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November 2015

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footprints ]

Itee Pootoogook Artist depicted contemporary life in Nunavut By Dianne Meili

A pencil-crayon drawing on black paper looks stark beside framed scenes of vivid blue lakes and shimmering mountains on the walls of an Oakville, Ont. art gallery. Yet this simple depiction–a kitchen window revealing flat land beyond–holds its own. The perspective of this studied domestic scene, with its clean, meticulous lines draws you in and invites you to stand before the window to gaze through it and see what the artist saw. The work belongs to Itee Pootoogook, a master of drawing, who was mostly ignored in his career except for the few years before his death from cancer on March 18, 2014. From 2010 on, his work caused a “serious feeding frenzy” amongst southern buyers, according to Pat Feheley, of Toronto’s Feheley Fine Arts. His first solo show in 2007 at her gallery sold out on the first day of opening. She can only imagine the heights to which he would have risen had he lived longer. Like his father, Pootoogook started out carving in the 1970s, but he was restless. Into the 1980s he exchanged art for a career in carpentry, but when the work dried up in 1985 he returned to art, this time choosing to draw. He was keen to use photographs of his surroundings and depict Inuit life as it was, a world as much about power tools, rifles and snow machines, as was walrus meat, harpoons and igloos, according to a Globe and Mail article. Unfortunately, Pootoogook’s work – and that of others who had similar ideas about depicting the authentic, modern north – was frowned upon by the thenauthenticity-conscious Kingait Studios of Cape Dorset. “Best to follow the footsteps of the legendary Kenojuak Ashevak, he was told, and her myth-inflected presentations of birds, fish, whales and foxes,” wrote James Adams in the Globe and Mail article. Other Inuit artists like Padlo Pudlat, who was born in 1916, put cars, buses, steamers and helicopters in several drawings, but it wasn’t until Itee’s cousin

Annie Pootoogook took first place in 2006 at the Sobey Art Awards that southerners finally got the message about contemporary art in the north. With her portrayals of sexual abuse, drug, and alcohol issues, art buyers accepted the fact there was much more to Inuit artists than walrus and bear carvings. Finally, the management of the drawing studio in Cape Dorset approved of modernism and accepted anything the artists drew. But it would be years before Pootoogook’s work would be recognized. It wasn’t until 2007 that Feheley included his drawing with the work of other artists in the Toronto International Art Fair. His star rose a little higher when, in 2008, his lithograph print of a pair of kamiks (Inuit boots) appeared in the famous Cape Dorset print collection. And then came 2010 when his famous solo exhibition at Feheley Fine Arts caused a commotion amongst southern buyers. They snapped up 49 of the 50 drawings in the show and “people were begging to get into the gallery to see his work”, Feheley recalled. Another smaller solo show in Vancouver the next year, organized by Robert Kardosh, director/curator of the Marion Scott Gallery, proved similarly successful, prompting follow-up solo excursions in 2012 and 2013. “Pootoogook’s work is very accessible, there’s something very Canadian about it,” said Ellis Quinn in a memorial podcast about Pootoogook on her Eye on the Arctic website. “It’s true,” agreed Robert Kardosh in the same podcast. “A lot of people can relate to his type of imagery – life lived in a cold climate, fishing and hunting. “His work was also so good it blew me away,” Kardosh continued. “It was so original and he got better and better at what he was doing, which isn’t the case with all artists. He was a wonderful man and so dedicated to what he was doing.” Pootoogook’s work schedule was extraordinary, according to the Globe and Mail article. He’d leave his small house at 8:50 a.m.

Itee Pootoogook plays guitar at the opening of his art show in 2011 at Toronto’s Feheley Fine Arts in 2011.

every day to make the 10-minute downhill walk to the drawing and lithography studios. Once there, he would remove his coat and arrange his tools – pencil crayons from the Derwent factory in England, sheets of textured paper, graphite pencils, and photographs. Then he would get to work, drawing with great intensity and focus, always stopping to take his coffee breaks and lunch at precisely the same times, until day’s end at 5 p.m. If his drawing was still in progress, the studio manager would give him a chit for $100. Once it was finished or near completion – some drawings took almost a week to finish – he would negotiate for his final payment, usually $2,000 to $3,000, minus the total advance chits. Whatever the amount, Pootoogook would almost invariably do two things before walking home: send a money order to his estranged wife living in Ottawa, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, and he’d buy a bag of groceries. With this self-imposed

discipline, his drawings became more complex, his perspectives more unusual. Curator Ingo Hessel described Po o t o o g o o k’s work as “radiating timeless calm a n d contentment.” Early in his c a r e e r , Pootoogook eked One of Itee Pootoogook’s drawings out a living as he bucked the system and made art that pleased ignored, he knew he was on to him. Every now and then a something. These lifelong drawing would sell for $15 or skills were finally paying off $20 and he made do with that. and now they were being taken Wanting to sharpen his skills, he away from him.” Pootoogook, who was born enrolled in the drawing and print-making program at in Lake Harbour, N.W.T. Nunavut Arctic College in 2000 (now Kimmirut, Nunavut) was born on Feb. 7, 1951. He and 2001. Said William Ritchie, manager was six or seven when his of Kinngait Studios since 2009 father, Paulassie, moved the and long-time champion of family to Cape Dorset on the Pootoogook: “What really gets southern tip of Baffin Island. He was 63 when he died in me is how, just in the last few years of Itee’s life, after being an Iqualuit hospital last year.

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November 2015

AFN watching for Trudeau’s first steps forward By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


Expectations are high following the Liberals overwhelming federal election victory Oct. 19. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Prime Minister-Elect Justin Trudeau needs to deliver if Canada is going to “win as a country.” “If we can start closing the gap and make those investment – and that’s how it should be looked upon, as investments – … that’s in the best interest of the country. That high socio-

economic gap that exists will come down, and the high cost attributed to that gap in maintaining the status quo will come down, and that’s what it’s all about, and that’s what our hope and plan is, to see that happen,” said Bellegarde. The AFN isn’t the only Aboriginal organization counting on Trudeau to deliver. Metis National Council President Clément Chartier said in a statement that he was “full of hope … the Metis Nation now has an opportunity to engage with the new government on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government, distinctions-based approach in

the pursuit of Metis rights, recognition and selfdetermination.” Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit political executive in British Columbia, called upon Trudeau to “work with Aboriginal communities and citizens across Canada to ensure our issues are given the top priority they deserve.” While no numbers are in yet, Bellegarde believes that Indigenous people made their priorities an issue by turning out to vote in large numbers. He knows of chiefs who shut down band offices in order to bus voters to the polls. Across the

country, there were a handful of First Nations that ran out of ballots because the turnout was higher than Elections Canada had anticipated. In 2011, only 44 per cent of voters marked ballots. “I believe it’s gone up but we’re going to have to wait to do the assessment,” said Bellegarde. The AFN had also targeted 51 ridings in which the Indigenous vote could make a difference. Of those ridings, the Conservatives lost 12 seats and the Liberals went up by 24. Once more, no numbers are available to determine if Indigenous voters made those changes possible. This election saw a record number of Indigenous candidates at 54, with the Liberal party running 18 and the New Democratic Party with 22. The 10 Indigenous MPs elected also sets a record. With eight of them members of the Liberal government, Bellegarde is hopeful they “can influence change from inside.” Bellegarde singles out former AFN BC regional chief and lawyer Jody Wilson-Raybould, who won in the riding of Vancouver Granville, as an appropriate fit for Trudeau’s smaller, gender-equal Cabinet. “She’d be a logical choice, but again that’s not my decision. But I could recommend to the Prime Minister to consider those things,” he said. The two other successful Indigenous candidates are NDP. However, the Liberals are considering a recount in the riding of Desnethé-MissinippiChurchill River (Manitoba), where NDP candidate Georgina Jolibois defeated Liberal Lawrence Joseph by only 70 votes. Bellegarde said he and Trudeau are working on a date when they can meet “to begin the whole process of dialogue and partnership and developing an action plan.” A day after his election victory, Trudeau was still emphasizing rebuilding and renewing Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. He has also reiterated his call to hold a public national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women. Trudeau has even adopted the term “closing the gap,” said Bellegarde, which is the name of

the report issued by the AFN during the federal election. The report outlined AFN priorities and the issues that needed to be addressed in order to put First Nations people on equal footing with the rest of Canada. The AFN asked the political parties to respond to the report. In scoring responses, the Liberal party finished just below the NDP, whose response hit all of the AFN’s issues. But Bellegarde isn’t concerned. “I think on the surface the party platforms are really comparable,” he said. “(The Liberals) have a very robust plan in terms of responding to closing the gap. In fact the Prime Minister referred to that in his comments everywhere that he was going to work with Indigenous people to close the gap.” In post-election comments, Trudeau also referred to respecting Supreme Court of Canada decisions. “Which I can infer (from that) makes reference to the Williams case, the Tsilhqot’in case, which is a first time again that Aboriginal right and title were recognized and affirmed. Those are very strong statements,” said Bellegarde. At this point, he says, there are two issues that will make it clear fairly soon whether or not the Trudeau government is delivering on its promises. The first is convening a national inquiry on murdered and missing women. NDP leader Tom Mulcair had committed to delivering on that promise within his first 100 days in office if he formed the government. The second will come in the delivery of the federal budget on April 1. “Removal of the two per cent funding cap. That will be a major, major movement in terms of closing the gap and holding their feet to the fire,” said Bellegarde. The Liberals formed a majority government with 184 seats. The Conservatives are now the Official Opposition with 99 seats and in the process of selecting an interim leader as Stephen Harper stepped down. The NDP dropped to 44 seats. The Bloc Quebecois took 10 seats and Green Party leader Elizabeth May retained her seat.

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Seneca College welcomes ceremonial tipi to campus


Seneca College invited community members to take part in a sage and tobacco ceremony inside its newly installed tipi on Oct. 15.

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November 2015

Windspeaker November 2015 final  

Windspeaker Volume 33 Number 8

Windspeaker November 2015 final  

Windspeaker Volume 33 Number 8