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Volume 33 No. 7 • October 2015

Inform. Impact. Inspire. Independent. Indigenous. Man engulfed in flames as bands celebrate lands deal Page 8


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Provinces need to step up on child welfare Page 7

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Day of celebration turned to scene of confrontation Members of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point in Ontario take part in a community walk along four kms of highway to celebrate the band’s ratification of an agreement 73 years in the making. More photos and stories on pages 8 & 9.

October 2015

Photo: Colin Graf

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October 2015

[ contents ]

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

Contributing News Editor Debora Steel Staff Writers Dianne Meili Production Judy Anonson Advertising Sales 1-800-661-5469 E-mail:

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National Sales Shirley Olsen Accounts Carol Russ • Tanis Jacob Circulation Tanis Jacob

Health issues cause another delay for decision from tribunal 6 Eleven months after closing arguments were delivered in a case that has the potential to change the way child services are funded on reserve, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has yet to rule.

Provinces need to step up on child welfare


The Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates are urging the provinces to take action to improve child welfare instead of waiting for the go-ahead from the federal government.


Man engulfed in flames as bands celebrate lands deal 8 A day of celebration 73 years in the making for the people of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point in Ontario turned into a scene of confrontation and suffering Sept. 20 at the gates of the former army camp slated to be returned to Aboriginal control by the federal government.


President Jennie Cardinal Vice President Rose Marie Willier Treasurer Dr. Chester Cunningham

Directors Leon Shandruk Noel McNaughton Monthly Circulation: 20,000 Windspeaker 1-year subscription: $55.00+GST Published since 1983, Windspeaker is politically and financially independent. COPY RIGHTS Advertisements designed, set and produced by Windspeaker as well as pictures, news, cartoons, editorial content and other printed material are the property of Windspeaker and may not be used without the express written permission of Windspeaker. Letters to the editor and all undeliverable Canadian addressed copies can be sent to:

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Who is She? campaign about mobilizing people for inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls 11 We will no longer wait for the federal government or a national organization to start an inquiry into missing and murdered women (MMIW) and girls, said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day at a media conference in Toronto on Sept. 9.

Knee-jerk solutions will hurt the children


Children and youth running away from Child and Family Services facilities accounted for 82.6 per cent of the missing persons files the Winnipeg Police dealt with from April to June.


Departments [ rants and raves ] 5 [ windspeaker briefs ] 9 [ provincial news ] 14 - 21 [ alberta sweetgrass ] 16 - 19 [ health ] 22 [ sports ] 23 [ education ] 24 & 25 [ footprints ] Basil Johnston 26 In an era when few Aboriginal books were written by First Nations, Métis or Inuit authors, publishers almost rejected Basil Johnston’s first manuscripts. Editors who read the Anishinaabe author and scholar’s early writings agreed his work was authentic, but feared it had no potential market.

ADVERTISING The advertising deadline for the November 2015 issue of Windspeaker is November 12, 2015. Call toll free at: 1-800-661-5469 for more information. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.


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Windspeaker is published by the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA) Canada's largest publisher of Aboriginal news and information. AMMSA's other publications include:

Alberta Sweetgrass — The Aboriginal Newspaper of Alberta Saskatchewan Sage — The Aboriginal Newspaper of Saskatchewan Business Quarterly — Canada's Aboriginal Business Magazine

October 2015

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October 2015

[ rants and raves ]

What's plan B? A recent comment from Conservative Party leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, about Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde’s supposed flip-flop over the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, highlights the need for a strong strategy, post-election, if the Conservatives do manage to retain power. If you are watching the polls it’s like being at the track, with the federal Cons, Liberals and New Democratic parties jockeying for position as we head round a turn, and we haven’t even made it to the stretch. With the election in a dead heat, there is a likelihood—if Aboriginal voters stay home in droves, as is the usual practise—that another Conservative government is in our future. And then we get the same as what we’ve had before, only worse; a governing party, which is unwilling to see our perspective or respect our world view, with a renewed mandate. The comment, if you missed it, came in a report from Jorge Barrera of APTN National News. Barrera reported that Harper accused the First Nations leader of changing his position on the education bill and wasn’t sure if Bellegarde would be willing to work with the Conservatives after a Con win. Let’s put aside the fact that it’s beyond the pale that Harper should suggest the First Nations leader may not want to work with the government when it has been the Harper Conservatives that has been shutting out First Nations people over the last year and more. Bend to our will, or a.) we will ignore you, or b.) we will cut your funding and ignore you, seems the unwritten policy of Aboriginal Affairs. It’s the government that said it would not release additional moneys in education funds unless the AFN agreed to the bill. It’s the government that has not come back to the table. And let’s even put aside the fact that Harper may have been correct in saying that Bellegarde waffled when it came to the education act. If you remember, that sudden resignation of national chief Shawn Atleo was prompted when rival Bellegarde announced his opposition to the education legislation in a letter from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, of which he was grand chief at the time. It was a member of the Atleo team, Sto:lo Grand Chief Doug Kelly, who told a reporter that Atleo felt betrayed by Bellegarde after what

had been a “powerful demonstration of unity and support” from AFN chiefs and delegates for the resolution that endorsed the legislation that met their five conditions, which some argued the education bill did. It is not unusual for politicians to step on each other’s necks to climb to the next rung of power. The knives get particularly sharp and pointed when you have your sights set on the top. Let’s look at how Harper himself found his way to the top of the Conservative Party of Canada, with help from Peter MacKay, a leadership hopeful in the 2003 Progressive Conservative Party race to replace Joe Clark. MacKay had signed an agreement with rival David Orchard to get elected. Orchard would step out of the race as long as MacKay promised not to merge the party with the Canadian Alliance, a promise that MacKay quickly and controversially ignored. In December of that year, the Conservative Party of Canada was born from the Alliance-Progressive union, and in March of 2004 Stephen Harper was elected as that party’s leader. And with the right united, was able to take power in 2006. With the Liberal Party now leaning left under the, really not so young, Justin Trudeau, and an astounding surge of popularity of the usually left leaning NDP under first, Jack Layton, who led the party to Opposition in 2011, and the powerful performance of Tom Mulcair over the time after Layton’s death, bringing the party to centre, now 60 per cent of Canada’s nonConservative voters are splitting the vote enough to usher in another Conservative government. So, what’s the AFN’s plan? Bellegarde himself has said the status quo is not acceptable. If the winds of change don’t blow on Oct. 19, the AFN will have to have something else up their sleeve. Bellegarde has made much of being non-partisan. That embarrassment of a “Rock the Vote news conference where he encouraged First Nations people to cast a ballot in this election only to admit he wouldn’t vote himself was proof alone of that. But non-partisanship does not mean you roll over. The AFN has been stagnating, and it needs a plan to breathe new life into it. Right now, it’s doubling down on having a new ruling party with election promises in their back pocket to improve the government/First Nations relationship. But what if that’s not the outcome on election night. What’s the plan Oct. 20? Windspeaker

Do you have a rant or a rave? Criticism or praise? E-mail us at: twitter: @windspeakernews facebook: /windspeakernews October 2015

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Buffy Sainte-Marie

The iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie, Academy Award winner, Golden Globe winner, multiple-Juno award winner, with a Gemini also under her belt, has added a Polaris Music Prize—which comes with $50,000—to her list of accolades. Sainte-Marie has created 20 albums, but her newest, Power in the Blood, is garnering her critical acclaim. “74-year-old Buffy Sainte-Marie reasserts herself as the vital and thrilling musician she is, a Canadian icon we can believe in and a powerhouse provocateur. She’s a voice of reason, as ready with the rallying cries as she is with the pointed indictments of social injustice, racism and corporate greed,” reads a review of the album by CBC Music. Last year, Inuk Tanya Tagaq, a throat singer from Nunavut, won the prize for her album Animism. The Polaris Music Prize is given to the artist who creates the best Canadian album of the year, regardless of genre, label or record sales. The winner is decided by an 11-member jury.

The article about John Furlong, the former Vancouver Olympics CEO, were an attack on his reputation, a judge has ruled. Journalist Laura Robinson had reported that eight First Nations people had been abused by Furlong more than 40 years ago. The matter went to court and the judge ruled that Robinson didn’t verify her sources’ stories or ensure they weren’t contaminating each others’ memories. Robinson had accused Furlong of trying to discredit her work, published in the Georgia Straight newspaper in 2012, portraying her as unethical and cruel, but Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge said Robinson’s article was an attack on Furlong’s character, conduct and credibility.

Half of all First Nations children live in poverty, reads a headline on the Behind the Numbers blog, a commentary on social, economic and environmental issues from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a non-partisan progressive voice on public policy. It goes on to then give four other reasons why politicians should be paying attention to Indigenous families and children in this election, if that first one alone wasn’t enough. When you head into the centre of the country, the blog reads, in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the number of Indigenous children living in poverty jumps to 60 per cent, and it suggests that efforts to combat these “appalling” rates need to be focused in the Prairie provinces. Number 3 reason is that Indigenous children trail with every measurement taken, in educational attainments, water quality, infant mortality and homelessness, among other things. And then the blog tells us that there has been no increase in funding for social program on reserve since 1996. That’s 20 years without considering need or population—20 years. Finally the writer, David Macdonald, senior economist, says a $1 billion investment will solve all these problems. Find it through providing families work, or inject it in other ways, he writes, and then all Indigenous children will be lifted out of poverty with the additional income. Issues solved. By the way, 12 per cent of non-Indigenous children in Canada also live in poverty, more than double of children who live in poverty in Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden, where the rates are five per cent.

There has been a major shift on the pipeline landscape, when Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she is opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. She said she doesn’t believe it’s what the U.S. needs in the battle against climate change. That’s going to be a big disappointment to the Conservatives in Canada, whose leader, Stephen Harper, has said this country wouldn’t take no for an answer from the States on Keystone XL. The pipeline would carry a full one-quarter of Canadian oil exports to the U.S. each day. Clinton is not president yet, however. The Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, says the pipeline would have no impact on the environment, and he would approve the project immediately. First Nations groups have committed to fighting pipelines, including Keystone XL and the Northern Gateway.

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[ news ]

Seeking the aboriginal experience in Germany It’s not often you will find approximately 4,000 people showing up to see a play about a fictional Native character written by a 19th century German writer named Karl May, who reportedly had never been to North America. But there they, and I, were in late July, nestled in a humongous amphitheatre that had once been a large quarry. In fact, at this very performance of the play “Im Tal Des Todes,” which translates as “The Valley of Death” or, more accurately, “Death Valley”, one of the producers took center stage to announce to the crowd the production we were about to see had just welcomed its 100,000th patron. Not bad for a play that had been running for about four weeks. As an Aboriginal playwright and former artistic director of a Native theatre company, I wept silently. Welcome to Bat Segeberg in northern Germany, home of the annual Karl May Festival, which dramatizes a series of novels highlighting the adventures of an Apache warrior named Winnetou, and his faithful German companion, Shatterhand. Highly romanticized and somewhat clichéd, these highly popular novels, followed in the 60s and 70s by movies and a television series, have long been mainstays of the German people. In fact, May was believed to have been Hitler’s and Einstein’s favourite author. That is what you call a broad fan base. A frequent visitor to the country, I had long heard of this man and the popularity of both the novels and the character. In


Drew Hayden Taylor

fact, I owe this fellow writer a certain amount of gratitude for he and his highly popular creation are responsible for the fascination many Germans have with North American Aboriginal culture and, indirectly, is no doubt also responsible for my numerous lecture tours of the country, 15 to date. Attending the production had long eluded me because I had never been in the right region at the right time of year to witness this fabled festival. Think of it as Tuetonic/faux Indigenous passion play, produced every year going on sixty years, or, an Aboriginal Stratford concept with only one play a season. Picture it, one lone Ojibway playwright nestled in a sea of German enthusiasts of ersatz Aboriginal culture, or indianthusiasts as they are sometimes referred to. As an audience member I was amazed on two levels. First, as a playwright, the scope and production values I saw were amazing. A cast of approximately 50 (including six professional stunt people), riding a fleet of horses in and out of the amphitheatre, explosions, huge

intricate sets, massive fight sequences, an actual bald eagle flying in and out of the quarry to Winnetou’s arm. Twice. That alone truly took your breath away. Add to that a falling flag pole with a man on top. A zip line spanning the length of the theatre space where the hero comes flying over the audience’s head to the rescue…. Absolutely amazing. Who knew zip lines were a part of the Apache culture? And all that’s just off the top of my head. Once again, I found myself weeping gently at the possibilities and execution. From the Aboriginal perspective, it was a different ‘story’, metaphorically speaking. Winnetou, the good Indian, wore white buckskin, while the Native villains wore black buckskin. Though I obviously could not speak German, following the plot was quite simple. There was a mercury mine involved, an evil Mexican woman who played both sides, bad White guy who was manipulating the bad Apaches by giving them ‘firewater’. Somewhere at the center was this half-Native girl who was about to get married but was

kidnapped because she had certain psychic abilities. Throw in a kid that kept getting into trouble, and two white guys that provided comic relief and essentially that’s the play. Characterization was pretty black and white…. Or red and white as the case might be. Still, the play was quite amusing, though perhaps not for the reasons the producers had anticipated. There were several moderately successful ‘traditional’ dance sequences by the ‘Indians’, including one healing dance that perked the girl right up. Additionally, the hero Winnetou, always spoke in third person. Like the famous Tonto, its seemed Native people from the American southwest have personal pronoun problems. Somebody should look into that. After half a dozen mob fights, the hero manages to convince the bad chief of the Apaches – a man named Iron Arrow who literally was swigging a bottle of something between every sentence of dialogue— to give up alcohol and join Winnetou in defeating the bad White people, and save the girl and the boy, while at the same time providing redemption to everybody. The audience cheered uproariously, and at the end, rushed the stage to shake hands with the several dozen cast members, and hopefully, touch the pseudoleathered arm of the man playing Winnetou himself. The worship and reverence was palpable. But for me, it was that same audience which I found to be the most interesting aspect of my visit. Scattered through the thousands of enthralled people I could easily see a multitude of

cheap headdresses with a single chicken feather sticking up from the back. Mostly children, but with a surprisingly good number of adults too. Strewn amongst the crowd could be seen more kids (and some adults again) also wearing imitation buckskin and fringe clothing, or further variations on the headband or headdress motif. Add to this the impressive yet ominous marketing of toy bows and arrows, plastic rifles, actual bullwhips (which I saw young boys practicing during the intermission), and at the food booth, something called a burger Manitou. Inside the so called Trading Post itself I saw people eyeing something that was called a Squaw starter kit. Others were having their pictures taken next to two large cigar store Indians, near a row of what appeared to be tenement tipis, across the walkway from some poorly executed totem poles. Ironically, I was wearing a t-shirt that said “Anishnawbe”, what we Ojibway call ourselves, also spelled out in Oji-Cree syllabics. I think that tshirt was the only truly Indigenous object in the entire theatre, other than yours truly. I wanted to weep again, but for a completely different reason. I should point out that the man who was the 100,000th audience member was brought on stage and presented with a prize. He announced to the crowd his dream was to attend the two other Karl May- Winnetou festivals that exist in other parts of Germany. Maybe I started my Indigenous theatre career in the wrong country.

Health issues cause another delay for decision from tribunal By Shari Narine

Windspeaker Contributor

OTTAWA Eleven months after closing arguments were delivered in a case that has the potential to change the way child services are funded on reserve, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has yet to rule. That delay falls well beyond the four to six months guideline under which the CHRT usually makes decisions. But the absence of a ruling has nothing to do with the upcoming federal election or potential embarrassment to the Conservative government, says Amal Picard, acting executive director and registrar for CHRT. “The tribunal is an independent entity…. I can categorically say no. We’re an independent, impartial tribunal. There’s no influence whatsoever of any other organization on the decision of the members of the panel,” said Picard.


Cindy Blackstock, executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, surrounded by children on their way to plant hearts at Rideau Hall during the closing ceremony for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa in June. “Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams” gardens appeared throughout the country in remembrance of children who lost their lives at residential schools.

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October 2015

[ news ]

Provinces need to step up on child welfare By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


The Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates are urging the provinces to take action to improve child welfare instead of waiting for the goahead from the federal government. The 2011 National Household Survey indicated that 48 per cent of the 30,000 children and youth in government care across the country are Aboriginal, according to a report prepared for the premiers by a working group consisting of Cabinet ministers from the provinces and territories. Indigenous peoples account for 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population. “Wherever we land on the power structure in society, we all have responsibilities. At the local community level we all have a responsibility to make sure that children feel safe and noticed and cared for in community all the way up to the people who have the power to make legislation and make changes at policy level,” said Ashley Krone, spokesperson for Manitoba’s Office of the Children’s Advocate. Manitoba’s child advocate

Darlene MacDonald was a signatory to a news release issued by the CCCYA following the premiers’ meeting in late July. While the advocate organization “welcomed the premiers’ interest in the well-being of Indigenous children,” the organization also condemned the premiers for having “not found a way to address concerns for which they have jurisdiction and on which they must and should act.” Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff, who also serves as vice-president of the CCCYA, says the provinces need to start working toward meeting the first five calls to action laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the report released in June. The TRC put welfare of children at the beginning of its 94 calls to action. “The provinces could start taking action and action could be about bringing together leaders in provincial government and leaders in the First Nations communities to say, ‘How do we get started on a path toward reconciliation, on a path toward moving these TRC calls to action moving forward?’ Many of them are actions that are provincially driven,” said Graff. British Columbia has taken a step. In September, the province appointed Grand Chief Edward John to the six-month position

of senior advisor on Aboriginal child welfare to the Minister of Children and Family Development. John is to work with First Nations leaders to help more children and youth secure permanent family outside of government care. MCFD has prioritized adoptions and other forms of permanency for children in long-term care. Statistics indicate that one in seven Aboriginal children in BC will be in government care at some point during their childhood. The BC Government and Service Employees’ Union sees John’s appointment as encouraging, but says more is needed to bring about the “urgent, systemic change” required for Aboriginal child welfare services. “Now is the time for the BC government to prioritize responsive, culturally appropriate and properly funded Aboriginal child welfare services, including child protection, fostering and adoptions, and for support services such as mental health and special needs,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. John’s appointment follows the MCFD’s decision to appeal a BC Supreme Court decision that found ministry staff had disregarded the safety of children from a Vancouver family, which resulted in at least one child being

sexually abused by their father. “First Nations children and youth are disproportionately represented within all aspects of the MCFD system and therefore we have extreme concerns with how the government has chosen to deal with this case rather than taking immediate steps to look at real on the ground solutions to mitigate any similar occurrences in the future,” said Cheryl Casimer, of the First Nations Summit political executive. In early September, Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart urged the provincial government to work directly with First Nations to support and strengthen First Nation families and drastically reduce the numbers of children in care in that province. Of the 11,000 children in care in Manitoba, 87 per cent are Aboriginal. “Working directly with First Nations communities is absolutely critical,” said Krone. Cora Morgan, appointed in June by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs as the First Nations family advocate, says there is already provincial legislation in place that calls for support mechanisms for families in need. “Apprehension is supposed to be the absolute last resort, but we know there isn’t preventative

programs being brought in because the funding isn’t there,” said Morgan. While the plight of Aboriginal children in care remains dire, Graff says some hope can be taken from the fact that these horror stories are hitting mainstream media. “I think there’s more attention. I think those processes like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, like the Idle No More movement, like the human rights complaint that Cindy Blackstock and the Assembly of First Nations have brought forward, those kinds of events are bringing to public attention the real concerns of Aboriginal people in this country and in this province,” said Graff. The AFN is also making the welfare of First Nations children an election issue. In response to the federal election, the AFN released a document entitled “Closing the Gap,” in which strengthening First Nations, families and communities is one of six stated priorities. The AFN calls for the government, within two years of its new mandate, to “commit to increased investments to ensure equality in child welfare services and programs for First Nations children, families, and develop with First Nations an equitable funding formula and escalator.”

Health issues cause another delay for decision Cindy Blackstock, executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, whose organization initiated the human rights complaint, says there should be a “firewall between politicians and the courts/tribunals. I have no indication that the election is an issue with this delay.” However, delays have marred the process, which began in 2007, when Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint against the federal government, alleging that Canada’s failure to provide equitable and culturally based child welfare services to First Nations children onreserve amounted to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin. Many of those delays were, arguably, caused by Shirish

Chotalia, who was appointed as new tribunal chair by the Conservative government in 2009. Chotalia dismissed the case in 2011. Her decision was appealed to the federal court in 2012, which set aside Chotalia’s decision and returned the case to the CHRT. Chotalia left her position as chair in late 2012. The Conservatives also initiated numerous technical challenges to stall the hearing. Picard says there are two reasons for the delay. “The panel encountered unexpected delays due to unforeseen circumstances involving health issues. Review of the voluminous evidence and deliberations are ongoing and the panel is hopeful to have a decision released in a few months,” she said in an email to Windspeaker.

Blackstock says her organization received a letter from the CHRT in early September explaining that health issues were a factor in the delay. That letter followed one the Caring Society received in the spring saying the “complexity of the case” meant a decision would take longer to render. “We surveyed the case decision times in other cases of this magnitude and 11 to12 months appeared to be the norm,” said Blackstock. She admits she is disappointed by the delays but understands the concern for health. “I was always hoping it would come down soon, but I also want the tribunal to take the time to render a good decision for the kids,” she said. The Canadian Council for Child and Youth Advocates was

also hoping for a timely decision. CCCYA adjusted its meetings so it could attend the closing arguments last October. “At that time there was an optimism about the fact that the (tribunal) had heard the information and was going to, and we thought, and I think the consensus in the room was, that there was going to be a speedy response, but obviously that hasn’t happened,” said Del Graff, vice president of CCCYA and Alberta’s child and youth advocate. Graff says this is one more delay in a “series of delays.” “The federal government’s multiple attempts to delay and derail the trial have tragically prolonged this long wait for justice for the kids,” said Blackstock. A hearing on the complaint began in February 2013 at the

CHRT and was completed on Oct. 24, 2014. Blackstock points out that the federal government could bring an end to the wait as it could “remedy the inequities at any time.” Blackstock says she would like to see the care of First Nations children become a campaign election issue. “The fact that the federal government has racially discriminated against 163,000 kids and fought vigorously to continue this wrongdoing should be a top election issue regardless of the decision. The evidence is overwhelming. A decision, however, would†no doubt give these arguments even more weight.†The key is holding whichever party gets into power accountable for making change. The kids deserve a proper childhood,” said Blackstock.

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[ news ]

Man engulfed in flames as bands celebrate lands deal By Colin Graf Windspeaker Contributor


A day of celebration 73 years in the making for the people of the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point in Ontario turned into a scene of confrontation and suffering Sept. 20 at the gates of the former army camp slated to be returned to Aboriginal control by the federal government. Band member Pierre George, brother of Dudley George, who was killed by police near the former Camp Ipperwash in 1995, was briefly engulfed in flames during a confrontation between band members. They were arguing about an agreement with Ottawa that will hand over the 1,000 ha of land, known as Stoney Point locally. He was taken to hospital in the nearby city of Sarnia. Friends said later he was being treated for second degree burns to his neck, hands, and ears. Members of the community had been invited by the chief and council to take part in a community walk along four kms of highway between the two land bases to celebrate the band’s ratification of an agreement worth over $90 million between the band and the federal government. The deal was supposed to return the army camp lands, taken by Ottawa during the Second World War, to Aboriginal control and bring resolution to a long-simmering dispute between band members who have been living in the camp buildings since 1993 and supporters of the established chief and council. Instead, as the marchers, carrying signs remembering their Stoney Point ancestors and wearing t-shirts with photos of deceased family printed on them, approached the camp gates, they saw smoke rising from a small protest fire set by Pierre George and another Stoney Pointer, Jesse Oliver, in front of the former army gatehouse. He and George hoped to show that some of the band members don’t support the deal, and are “tired of Kettle Point making decisions for a separate reserve,” Oliver said. The Stoney Pointers claim they were once a separate band and want to be recognized as such again. When other band members, led by gatehouse attendant Mike Cloud, tried to extinguish the fire with small water containers, Pierre George emptied a portable gas can on the fire to re-ignite it. The can fell and flames rushed up his arms and across his neck. Some on-lookers said he caught fire when the can was kicked back at him. Quickly removing his shirt, Pierre was walking and talking to supporters while an

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Members of the community had been invited by the chief and council to take part in a community walk along four kms of highway between the two land bases to celebrate the band’s ratification of an agreement ambulance was called. He was taken to the ambulance on a stretcher. A shouting match ensued, led by Pierre and Dudley George’s sister Carolyn, who tried to prevent band manager Lorraine George from bringing the marchers and Elders in wheelchairs from passing the gatehouse. The occupiers had not been told the Kettle Point members wanted to come on to the army camp lands. “As soon as you get all that money you come here disrupting our community,” Carolyn told the manager. The agreement hands control of the land, plus the money, to the Kettle Point council, while the Stoney Pointers argue the land should be returned solely to the Elders who lived there and their descendants. As the marchers entered the Band member Pierre George, brother of Dudley George, was briefly engulfed in flames after camp, a buoyant mood was pouring gasoline on a bonfire. evident at the prospect of Elders their removal in 1942 to the seeing their old lands again. Barbara George-Johnson, 83, nearby Kettle Point lands. Chief was smiling even though she Bressette has promised payments recalled the sad day in 1942 her to all band members, with larger family left Stoney Point, along amounts to the Stoney Point. The vote, held almost 20 years the southern shore of Lake Huron near the resort town after Dudley George’s shooting Grand Bend. “Our home was death by an OPP sniper, passed uprooted. When I came home “overwhelmingly” Sept. 18, from school that day, it (the according to a news release from house) was up on a moving Kettle Point. The walk was truck.” Many members of the 16 supposed to echo a similar walk families removed from the land in May 1993 when Elders moved to the nearby Kettle walked into the army camp, still in use at the time, and began an Point. After the fire incident, Kettle occupation there. Two years later Dudley George Point Chief Tom Bressette blamed Ottawa for the dispute was killed by a member of an between the groups that led to Ontario provincial police tactical team after the police marched on Pierre George’s injury. “Go ask the federal First Nation’s occupiers who had Pierre George receives medical attention before going to the government to come down here moved from the army camp hospital suffering from second degree burns. and straighten this mess out. lands into the adjacent Don’t ask us. We didn’t create it,” Ipperwash Provincial Park. of this county,” he said, healers to help those traumatized In spite of his support for the describing it as “bittersweet” for by the original removal and he said in an interview. The occupiers oppose the new agreement, Chief Bressette told his people. events surrounding the death of agreement as it returns control reporters the deal is inadequate. The deal is unfair because it Dudley George in 1995. That “If people analyzed this deal… does not include money for a kind of help would also help heal of the land to the entire band. they would see how badly we’ve “healing package,” that would the divisions in the community, They want it returned to the been treated by the government pay for therapists and traditional he explained. families who lived there prior to

October 2015

Land will need to be cleared of munitions

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Windspeaker News Briefs Native earth Performing Arts presents HUFF at the Aki Studio Theatre inside the Daniels Spectrum in Toronto from Oct. 10 to Oct. 25. The production launches an eight-city national tour in 2016, including Montreal, Quebec City, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria. HUFF was written and is performed by Cree playwright Cliff Cardinal. It explores the lives of Indigenous youth battling addiction and systemic injustices while in search of a better life. An email sent to Windspeaker reports that when Cliff was 15 years old his mother, actor and activist Tantoo Cardinal, allowed him to miss a semester of school in order to sit in on rehearsals of Michael Hollingsworth’s Canadian history plays at VideoCabaret. “Cliff’s youth was spent surrounded and supported by pillars of Canadian theatre shaping him into the artist he is today.” HUFF, it said, is the story of First Nations youth “grappling with inherent hardship as told through a mixture of reality and a gas-induced fantasy. Cliff’s solo performance gives life to an entire cast of characters in this spellbinding and poignant play,” reads the press statement. Cliff Cardinal says “HUFF began, like all my stories do, as a creative exploration of the pain of those living outside the mainstream: the weirdos, the addicts and the romantics. To take the characters to their lowest, where they hurt the most, and to find them there with love.” For more information visit

Georges Erasmus, Chief Negotiator for the Dehcho First Nations in the N.W.T., is retiring. The 67-year-old released a statement saying it had been a “very challenging year” for the Dehcho negotiation process, which he has been involved with for the last 12 years, so he’s stepping down for personal and family reasons. Talks have been stalled and the federal election has interrupted the process, so Erasmus feels it’s a good time to step aside. Erasmus was co-chair of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and formerly held the positions of president of the Dene Nation and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Memorial to Dudley George on former provincial park.

The Ministry of Transportation in B.C. has worked with the Tsilhqot’in Government to create 29 mileage signs in the Tsilhqot’in language. “These signs are symbols of the fact we are working with the government on our title lands,” said Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah) Chief Roger William. It’s a sign of progress, said Esdilagh Chief Bernie Mack. “The signs are also about rules, destination and culture,” Mack said. “We welcome everybody into this area and we also live with other people in our backyards.”

The Tsartlip First Nation“strongly opposes the process

Carolyn George (left) , sister of Pierre and Dudley, confronts band manager Lorraine George (right—in white with turtle on back) at gates as marchers arrive at gatehouse just after ambulance leaves with Pierre. By Colin Graf Windspeaker Contributor


The problem of unexploded munitions (UXOs) on the Camp Ipperwash army lands may keep the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point from developing the land for up to 20 years, according to the Department of National Defence (DND). If people expect to build new homes or businesses there soon they are “sadly mistaken,” according to Mike Cloud, former band negotiator and witness to UXO demolitions, speaking Sept. 20 before the community celebrated a $90-million land deal† which returns 1,000 ha of land to the band. “We can’t just get our land back like that. There’s all kinds of live munitions all over it; the army bombed it for 60 years,” he said. Demolition experts, including Cloud’s brother and daughter-inlaw, have blown up UXOs several times, including an explosion

October 2015

that “shook all the buildings on the base” when workers detonated rockets uncovered by a backhoe in the unoccupied bush area, Cloud said. As recently as this summer, a white phosphorus grenade was detonated in a safe zone that’s been established, Cloud added. The grenade detonation was confirmed DND. The cleanup will be paid for by Ottawa, according to the 145page Final Settlement Agreement.The federal government has already spent abouty $29.4 million on the UXO, environmental and cultural investigation of the Former Camp Ipperwash, according to an email from DND. Costs for the rest of the work will be determined in 2016. Former Camp Ipperwash was a military training facility with active training ranges from 1942 to 1994, and military training on the site, included firing munitions such as grenades, rockets, mortars and pyrotechnics, as well as small arms training, DND said.

Military explosive response teams have responded to more than 100 UXO calls to the site since the 1980s. Since site investigation work began in 2007, contractors have identified and disposed of 13 UXO items, including rocket components, grenade components, and pyrotechnics, according to a DND spokesperson. There is still risk that more UXOs will be found, DND confirmed. When the decommissioning begins, Kettle and Stony Point members may well be among those doing the work, as the agreement states First Nation members and Aboriginal businesses will be given special consideration for employment during the cleanup to promote social and economic benefits for the First Nation. When the land is returned, the band will use some of the new money to build roads, homes, and infrastructure, said Kettle Point Councilor Marshall George in an earlier interview.

chosen by Malahat First Nation and [its corporate partner] Steelhead LNG for its plant at Bamberton in British Columbia. “We oppose the aggressive approach taken by Steelhead LNG and their board of directors by publicly announcing the project prior to any discussions with the Tsartlip community,” said Chief Don Tom. Tsartlip is across the water from Bamberton on Saanich Inlet. “We intend on making it clear that Tsartlip First Nation’s approval will be required for any LNG project to proceed.” So far the process is characterized as disrespectful and insulting, said Tom. Steelhead LNG is also causing consternation on the other side of Vancouver Island around Bamfield, where the company has been working with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation to build an LNG terminal. Responding to an editorial in the Times Colonist, the regional director of area A in the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District let loose on the paper and Steelhead’s plan. Keith Wyton writes, the editorial described Bamfield as beautiful, unspoiled and remote, and therefore a better location for liquefied natural gas processing than Saanich Inlet. “It is hard for me to understand those statements as other than an outright provocation. Reading the editorial was a kick in the gut. It’s the same old colonial calculus that has laid waste to the landscapes and cultures of others everywhere. You just can’t imagine a world where everyone does not want to be you. We are a beautiful, unspoiled and remote community in the bosom of Barkley Sound. We live in an environment where nature is bigger. We are not waiting to be saved. We are the pagan post-industrials. We are already in paradise.”

The Japan Times pickedup a Reuters report from Winnipeg this September about the very real possibility that the Aboriginal vote could decide the outcome of the 2015 federal election. “Spurred by anger over disproportionately high rates of violence against Indigenous women and poor living standards as well as resource development and environmental issues, Aboriginal voters are being urged by their national chief to vote,” the report reads. “Clearly, there is an awakening happening,” pollster Bruce Cameron said. “If either the Liberals or (New Democrats) can tap into that, that will be a really interesting factor in this election.” The Assembly of First Nations has identified 51 of 338 ridings as Aboriginal swing ridings, and according to a poll by, the New Democrats stand to gain the most. But historically, less than half of the Aboriginal population votes in federal elections, many because of sovereignty issues. Barriers to voting also challenges participation, and, this year, under the Fair Elections Act, those barriers may have been fortified.

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2016 Indspire Award winners announced in Toronto By Cara McKenna Windspeaker Contributor


The 2016 winners of the Indspire Awards range from an award-winning author, to a reconciliation expert to an NHL athlete. The 14 honorees were announced by Indspire CEO Roberta Jamieson in a sun-filled top-floor room of a downtown Toronto office building on Sept. 15. Jamieson said the recipients of this year’s awardS—considered Canada’s top honor by and for indigenous people—are expanding minds and blazing trails for future generations. “These award recipients … let Canadians know about the incredible and valuable contributions our people have made, are making and will make to this country in the future,” Jamieson said.

“And likely the Indspire Awards are one of the few times that Canadians get to see those wonderful stereo-busting barrier-breaking role models that our people are.” Chief Robert Joseph from B.C.’s Gwawaaenuk First Nation won the lifetime achievement award for work that has included helping to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and founding Reconciliation Canada. Joseph was emotional as Jamieson recounted the struggles he has overcome to give residential school survivors a voice, including being taken from his family at age six and beaten by his teachers until he lost much of his hearing. “For me I see the future with a lot more hope (that) some of us never had the chance to even dream about,” he said. “We’re not just adrift and lost; we have vision, we have resilience, and we have courage.”

Christian Kowalchuk from the Big Stone Cree Nation in Alberta is one of three youth winners and is being honored for excelling in both baseball and academics. Kowalchuk said he wants to be a positive influence on aboriginal kids. “I want to be an example to them that they can go out and do things that maybe they don’t think they can,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.” Ojibwa/Saulteaux Elder Mae Louise Campbell is being honored in the culture, heritage and spirituality category for decades of work helping other women. She has taught and supported everyone from students to health workers to women leaving prisons and addictions. “So much history was written by non-Aboriginals,” she said. “And now we can speak our history from our own hearts.” Other winners include Métis author Joseph Boyden, Ulkatcho

NHL goalie Carey Price and Inuk Aboriginal banking specialist Clint Davis. The Indspire Awards gala will be held in Vancouver on Feb. 12. Full list of winners: Lifetime Achievement: Chief Robert Joseph – Gwawaaenuk First Nation – BC Arts: Joseph Boyden – Métis – Ontario Business and Commerce: Clint Davis – Inuit – Nunatsiavut Culture, Heritage, & Spirituality: Elder Mae Louise Campbell – Ojibwa/Saulteaux – Manitoba

Health: Pat Mandy – Mississaugas of the New Credit – Ontario Law and Justice: Mark Stevenson – Métis – British Columbia Politics: Michael Kanentankeron Mitchell – Mohawk – Ontario Public Service: Leonard George – Tsleil-waututh Nation – British Columbia Sports: Carey Price – Ulkatcho First Nation – British Columbia Youth – First Nation: Christian Kowalchuk – Big Stone Cree Nation – Alberta

Culture, Heritage, & Spirituality: Chief Jim Ochiese – Foothills Ojibway First Nation – Alberta

Youth – Inuit: Laura Arngna’naaq – Baker Lake, Nunavut

Education: Jo-Ann Episkenew – Métis – Saskatchewan

Youth – Métis: Zondra Roy – Saskatchewan

Getting out the Indigenous vote biggest battle in election By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


International Chief and former MP Wilton Littlechild understands why some First Nations members don’t vote in federal elections. But with at least six Aboriginal candidates in Alberta, Littlechild thinks it’s time to get out the Aboriginal vote – all of it. “In terms of trying to seek change and make a better Canada, I think it’s a good opportunity,” said Littlechild, who served as Conservative MP for the riding of Wetaskiwin from 1988 to 1993. Former Regional Chief for the Assembly of First Nations Cameron Alexis agrees with Littlechild. Alexis is one of five New Democratic Party candidates. “In the past 10 years, Mr. Harper, by introducing numerous bills in the House, has whittled away at our treaty rights. At some point we all have

to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we either participate in the decisionmaking in this country … or we sit back.’ So I chose to step it up for all my people and for the interest of all Canadians,” said Alexis, who is one of six candidates in the newly redrawn riding of Peace River-Westlock. What swayed Alexis to run for the NDP was former leader Jack Layton’s practise to sit with Aboriginal people in the House of Commons gallery. Mulcair has not only kept that channel of communication open, says Alexis, but he has been the most vocal leader in pushing Indigenous issues, reiterating his commitment to call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and unveiling a policy that aims to curb violence against Aboriginal women. For Melody Lepine, who recently got the NDP nod for the riding of Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, the NDP’s consistent stand against C-51, the anti-terrorism law, which “is weakening our fundamental rights and freedoms and that should be a very big concern for First Nations as we

often like to be vocal about our issues” is one factor that drew her to the party. She also appreciates the NDP’s commitment to affordable housing and protecting the environment. To date, Garry Parenteau is the only Aboriginal candidate to run under the Liberal banner. It was Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who first waded into Indigenous issues during this election campaign when he pledged $2.6 billion in new funding for First Nations education. Parenteau, who is Metis, is taking on another Metis candidate, Duane Zaraska, who is running for the NDP, in Lakeland. It is the only riding to have two Aboriginal candidates. Lepine isn’t concerned that the NDP and Liberals will split the left-leaning vote and allow the Conservatives to remain in power. “No, I see a distinction between the Liberals and NDP on issues,” she said. “The NDP definitely has a strong platform addressing a lot of issues and matters that are definitely a concern to not only First Nations and Aboriginal people but

Canadians in general.” The AFN has selected 51 ridings across the country in which Aboriginal voters can make a difference. In Alberta, the AFN has tagged the newlydrawn Edmonton-Griesbach, which includes Edmonton’s inner city with its high concentration of Aboriginal people. There is no Aboriginal candidate in that riding. Alexis is not surprised that the AFN has chosen only one riding in Alberta. “Our Aboriginal people do not come out in force to vote in a federal election,” he said. Lepine is disappointed that her riding, with approximately 17 per cent of eligible voters of Aboriginal descent including her home First Nation of the Mikisew Cree, was not noted by the AFN. “They want to see Stephen Harper gone and … I think they’re starting to realize now how important and urgent their vote really is. They’re going to make a difference,” said Lepine, who has been helping First Nation voters on reserves and the homeless in urban centres get the

necessary documentation to be counted at the polls. Lepine is up against Conservative incumbent David Yurdiga. Getting out the Aboriginal vote will be a challenge, says Littlechild. “There’s still a division of opinion on that in the sense that there are some people who say this is not our government so we have no business participating in it or voting in a federal election. And others who say this is really the way we can make change, to go into the arena and participate directly in that particular arena, to try and promote change,” he said. Other Aboriginal candidates seeking seats for the NDP are Aaron Paquette in EdmontonManning and Fritz Kathryn Bitz in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin. In the 2011 federal election, Alberta had five Aboriginal candidates – three NDP, one Liberal and one Green - running in 28 electoral districts. None were successful. The redrawing of boundaries increased Alberta’s ridings to 34. Voters go to the polls on Oct. 19.

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October 2015

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Who is She? campaign about mobilizing people


Caption: Launch of Chiefs of Ontario campaign Who is She? with (l to r) Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and Six Nations Chief Ava Hill, Sept. 9, Toronto By Barb Nahwegahbow Windspeaker Contributor


We will no longer wait for the federal government or a national organization to start an inquiry into missing and murdered women (MMIW) and girls, said Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day at a media conference in Toronto on Sept. 9. On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario Chief Day announced the launch of an online campaign to create awareness about the issue of MMIW and to start the process of raising funds to hold an inquiry. Through the campaign “Who is She?”, Ontario First Nations hope to engage Canadians in a dialogue about the critical issue facing First Nations communities. The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and secretariat for Ontario’s 133 First Nations. Denise Stonefish, deputy

grand chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, said First Nations women and girls have no sense of safety or security in this country. “We are in a situation where our women are devalued and that we’re tossed away, a disposable item,” said Stonefish. “We can’t hold them back,” she said. “We want them to go off to school and get educated.” Who is She?, explained Day, is the first step towards launching a First Nationsdriven inquiry. He agreed that the timing, in the middle of a federal election campaign, is strategic. “It’s a wonderful time to get our message across,” he said. “People are wondering what the issues are.” This is happening in their own backyard, he said, “and if we were to wait until the election campaign is over, we would be remiss. We would have missed a huge opportunity… for Canadians to get a good handle on what the

issue is right across the country.” In June 2014, the Ontario Chiefs in Assembly passed a resolution calling for an Ontario provincial inquiry independent of government interference or funding. Who is She? is a follow up, not only on that Resolution, said Day, but also follows up on a meeting held by Ontario chiefs in February this year with families of MMIW and girls. The February meeting between First Nations leaders and 15 families of MMIW was to get advice and direction from the families on the design of the inquiry based on Indigenous values, protocols and realities, said Stonefish. The message from the families was very clear, she said. “The loss of these women and girls affects our communities greatly. Each and every one of them left behind loved ones and, in many cases, children…the Who is She? campaign recognizes and upholds

Indigenous women and girls as the givers of life,” she said. “First Nations families cannot wait for Ottawa to stop Indigenous women and girls from disappearing,” continued Stonefish. “First Nations leadership understands it must take action to address the violence, and the most effective way of addressing this systemic issue is to engage in a First Nations-driven process; a First Nations-driven inquiry to examine the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls.” Several groups have expressed support, but the type and extent of that support needs further discussion, said Day. The Ontario Provincial Police, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections have all expressed an interest in the campaign. The Political Accord signed in August between the Chiefs of Ontario and the Ontario

government pledges a working relationship, said Day, “that we are going to go arm in arm and face these difficult issues together.” Although he was not at liberty to give specific details, Day said all the MMIW cold cases in Ontario will be investigated. The website for the campaign,, will feature a short video that will be aired on TV, said Day. It will also include video stories from families of MMIW and a place for people to donate to the campaign. A dollar figure has not been determined for the Ontario inquiry. “The inquiry isn’t just about the expenditure,” said Day. “It really is about mobilizing people, getting the message out there, creating the dialogue. What we’re proposing here is to do whatever we can within our might, with the goodwill of our partners to establish the beginning phases of that inquiry.”

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Knee-jerk solutions will hurt the children By Shari Narine Windspeaker Contributor


Children and youth running away from Child and Family Services facilities accounted for 82.6 per cent of the missing persons files the Winnipeg Police dealt with from April to June. That is only one figure to raise alarm bells, said Cora Morgan, Manitoba’s First Nations family advocate. Statistics shared with her from the Health Sciences Centre, a hospital in Winnipeg, are just as startling. Morgan says she has been told that 66 per cent of the patients in the psychiatric ward are First Nations youth in care. She has also been told that 30 to 40 babies each month are apprehended from the hospital. And on Sept. 8, she knows personally that five babies were taken, all of them First Nations. Morgan says hospital staff told her that if it weren’t for children taken into care from Northern Manitoba there would be no need for a children’s hospital in Winnipeg. Children who come from the north, who are either born with special needs or present with special needs, must be placed in Child and Family Services care in order to receive treatment. And foster parents are trained to care for these children at the exclusion of the birth parents.

“The hospital reached out to us. People working in the system are saying changes need to happen. Somehow they feel that our office may be able to help support that in some way,” said Morgan. Morgan’s position was one of 10 recommendations that came from the document “Bringing Our Children Home,” which was the result of community consultations held by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in Winnipeg and Northern Manitoba. Of the nearly 11,000 children in provincial care, 87 per cent are Aboriginal. In the nearly four months the First Nations family advocate office has been in operation, Morgan has opened more than 90 files representing close to 300 children whose parents are trying to get them back. The work is urgent, she says, as parents are given 15 to 18 months to make the changes necessary before their children become permanent wards of the court. And many of these parents don’t have case plans in place in order to tackle the issues. Ainsley Krone, spokesperson for the province’s Office of the Children’s Advocate, says 90 per cent of the young people her office advocates for are Aboriginal. Krone says she is not surprised that nearly 83 per cent of missing people are children in care. They run away for a variety

of reasons, including the need to reconnect with family and friends, problems with their placements, which include not feeling safe or comfortable there, and not understanding why they have been apprehended. “We would expect and anticipate from an advocate’s perspective that young people (in care) are being reported more quickly to various resources in order to help locate them,” Krone said. Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross says the high number of missing children in care addresses the complexities of those children’s needs and not the care they receive. Statistics indicate that more than 3,000 children in care have complex needs. But Krone says it’s a combination of the two and something her office has addressed in numerous reports over the last 15 years. One of the issues raised in those reports is the number of children

housed in hotels. Those children were the ones with complex needs. Earlier this year, IrvinRoss announced that by June 1, no more children would be kept in hotels in Winnipeg, and the rest of Manitoba had until Dec. 1 to comply to that new rule. While Krone says she was pleased with the directive – and as far as her office knows there have been no children in Winnipeg hotels for the past several weeks–she was surprised by the timeline. “The need is far outpacing what the resources are available to the system,” said Krone, who notes that her office has consistently said that the system is “in a chronic state of emergency.” Krone says her office is still unclear as to the alternatives that will be put in place to care for these children. What she does know, though, is that quick decisions mean scrambling to find options and, in the end, it’s the children that suffer with poorly thought-out solutions.

“In the scheme of all of it, there’s a lack of love for these children,” said Morgan as solutions become business opportunities. She points to Marymound, which offers a variety of managed care, including secured units, for troubled youth. The government is proposing the creation of a sixbed unit at $2 million per year. “The issue for me isn’t that they’re being housed in hotel rooms because our people historically lived in tiny homes and tipos, and it isn’t the surroundings, it’s the connections that they’re deprived of. Everybody needs to feel loved and that they’re cared forÖ. So no one seems to think about this disconnect and that it’s causing and motivating these complex needs. We know that the children have complex needs, but as long as parents can’t get their children back, they’re developing complex needs and they’re giving up hope,” said Morgan.

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October 2015

October 2015

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As British Columbia plans to increase the number of wolves it culls to save endangered caribou, a pop singer has come out to criticize the strategy. Miley Cyrus of “Wrecking Ball” fame travelled to B.C. in September to discuss the wolf cull with members of Klemtu. And earlier that month she took to Instagram with a petition from Pacific Wild to stop the wolf kill. In response, Premier Christy Clark said Cyrus didn’t know enough about the province’s environmental plan to be a source of good information in the debate. “If we need help on our twerking policy in the future, perhaps we can go and seek her advice,” said Clark.

was glad, in a way, that the charges are behind him, but hoped to have a judgement to clear his name. “They knew that they were being called upon to explain all of these misgivings in their investigation and everything, and that’s why they said they’re staying the charges,” Abbott told Global News. “There is defamation of character without question, so I would expect compensation in that sense, and also a public apology from the conservation service and possibly the attorney general as well.” He is also asking for the return of all regalia confiscated.

liquefied natural gas. Lax Kw’alaams believes Aboriginal title, if proven in court, will save the territory, providing them a veto over development. Flora Bank is habitat for juvenile salmon in the Skeena River estuary. “We want to protect crucial salmon habitat, protect our food security and ensure that governments and industry are obligated to seek our consent,” said a spokesperson for the Lax Kw’alaams. “If we obtain title, we will own Lelu Island and Flora Bank.” The legal action was expected to proceed in late September. In May, Lax Kw’alaams rejected a $1-billion offer over 40 years made by Pacific NorthWest LNG to allow the project to go forward.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has rejected Prophet River and West Ten years have gone by since Moberly First Nations An archeologist who has 50 eagles were found dead in attempt to quash the studied the Coast Salish environmental certificate issued Vancouver, village site at Dionisio Point on and while the investigation for the $8.8-billion Site C project Galiano Island on the Peace River. “I am concluded with more than 100 charges against 11 First Nations men, the Crown has now chosen to drop the charges against Gary Abbott and Ralph Leon in mid-September. They were the last of the men expecting to have their day in court. “The lead investigator was senior conservation officer Rick Grindrod,” reads a report by Global News. “For years, defence argued the charges should have been dropped because Grindrod, the main witness, was convicted for fraud in 2010 while the eagle investigation was underway. Grindrod was eventually fired from the BC Conservation Officer Service.” Abbott said he

satisfied that the petitioners were provided a meaningful opportunity to participate in the environmental assessment process,” Justice Robert Sewell wrote in his decision. Sewell ruled against a claim by the Peace Valley Landowners Association in July, with very much the same reasoning. That claim also hoped to halt the project. Sewell’s ruling is under appeal, reports the Globe and Mail.

Lax Kw’alaams is claiming Aboriginal title of Lelu Island and Flora Bank, the sites of a planned $11.4 billion terminal to export

has dispelled the belief that First Nation people travelled great distances for the volcanic rock they used for tools. The study instead says the people just used the rock that washed up on their shores. Colin Grier, associate professor at Washington State University, said his team picked up some dark rock on the beach at Dionisio Point and began questioning the theory of travelling for the rock. They tested the rock from Mount Garibaldi, which is more than 100 km away from Dionisio Point on the mainland, and the rock found on the village beach, and the chemical fingerprint matched. “It was picked right off

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the local beach, brought there by glaciers, conveniently, 12,000 years ago,” he said. The Dionisio Point village, accessible only by boat, is part of a provincial park and is the best preserved village site on the B.C. coast.

National Geographic’s explorer-in-residence Wade Davis said First Nations taking part in the tourism industry could revolutionize the sector by promoting a more substantial appreciation of cultural diversity. Davis gave the keynote address at the second annual Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism and Trade Conference midSeptember, which brings together groups of the Pacific Ocean to strategize on

promoting the industry. He said efforts in the sector have to be about more than just increasing the numbers of First Nations in the industry. Aboriginal tourism in the province reached $50 million in revenues this year and is expected to reach $68 million by 2017. B.C.’s Aboriginal tourism industry has some of the most diverse and best developed operators in the world, particularly in Indigenous cultural tourism. “When people say they want an authentic travel experience, there’s nothing truer than those of Indigenous origin, said Kate Rogers, who works with Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia. “They are the original guides; they know the land better than anyone else.”

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October 2015

FSIN calls for consultations on proposed water diversion project The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is calling on the Water Security Agency to put on hold the proposed development of the Kutwawagan Creek water diversion project. FSIN wants a full study of any potential impacts to First Nations communities completed and the province to undertake proper consultation and accommodation. There are 16 First Nations within the region of the Quill Lakes, Last Mountain Lake and Lower Qu’Appelle Valley, whose treaty and inherent hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights could be directly impacted by the project. “The Saskatchewan government should not proceed without having the proper information and a plan to mitigate any impacts this project would have on the rights of these First Nations,” said FSIN ViceChief Bobby Cameron. The proposed Kutawagan Creek diversion project includes construction of a berm isolating Big Quill Lake from the area to the southwest. The

project also proposes to construct a channel and outlet structure by the natural spill point. The project is designed to divert water from entering Big Quill by isolating the Kutawagan Creek region from Big Quill Lake and providing an outlet towards Last Mountain Lake. Water flowing south from the project would be from the Kutawagan Creek area, which has lower salinity than that of Big Quill Lake. The FSIN will be requesting a meeting between the WSA and the affected First Nations to discuss the issues.

Garrett Lawless said in a statement. “Understandably, this is very difficult emotionally and financially, and this is why so few in the north achieve this.” Transwest Air decided to celebrate its anniversary by donating flights to Fond Du Lac First Nation because of the strength of the relationship between them, according to Transwest Air. The airline company operates 35 aircraft of different types flying routes across the province. The airline is known for charter flights and service to northern communities and mines.

Transwest Air donates flights to Fond Du Lac Métis leaders propose Denesuline First Nation solution to impasse Some Métis Nationstudents In recognition of its 15th anniversary, Transwest Air has donated 53 flights to Prince Albert to post-secondary students and their families from Fond Du Lac Denesuline First Nation. “One clear struggle that northerners face is that to attend postsecondary education, they must leave their homes and community for significant periods of time,” Transwest Air executive vice-president

Saskatchewan officials are hoping many of the estimated 46,000 people, who selfidentified as Métis in the last census, will come to Saskatoon for a general assembly meeting to express their support for the resumption of the organization’s governance process, which has been on hold for five years, and pressure politicians – particularly president Robert

Doucette and vice-president Gerald Morin – to stop the infighting. It is hoped that this meeting will lead to setting a date for a Métis Nation Legislative Assembly. The push to take action follows a ruling in early September by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Brian Scherman that MNS president Robert Doucette failed to prove that other members of the council, including Morin, ignored a court order to call a Métis Legislative Assembly. MNS local presidents Bryan Lee and Kelvin Roy, who are spearheading the September meeting, said they would also like to see the creation of a Métis court to adjudicate disputes. Lee estimated roughly $500,000 has been spent fighting about governance in various provincial courts. MNS has lost its federal funding, as its constitution states two legislative assembles are to be held annually.

Women recognized in special awards The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations hosted its first Strength of Our Women awards in Saskatoon

on Sept. 10, honouring 12 women in categories that include arts and entertainment, business, culture and spirituality, education, environment, health/wellness, law/justice, leadership/advocacy, lifetime achievement, matriarch, sports, and youth. More than 50 women were nominated. The awards were a way to showcase the contributions Indigenous women make to their communities while continuing to foster a sense of pride within themselves. “Our First Nations leadership has been looking for ways to celebrate our women,” said FSIN interim Chief Kimberly Jonathan. “We are always thinking of ways to uphold our women and I think this is one of the best ways to bring people together and organizations together and to lift the women up.” The funds raised from the awards gala are to be used for initiatives that support the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and other related Saskatchewan First Nations Women Council strategies.

Compiled by Shari Narine

Find even more career opportunities online exclusively at: October 2015

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First Nations, Métis and Inuit teachings and culture were showcased during NAIT’s annual Aboriginal Culture Day on Sept. 21, 2015. The day began with a traditional tipi raising ceremony, led by Cree Elders-in-Residence Walter Bonaise and Alsena White. Activities continued throughout the day, including a stew and bannock feast.

Littlechild felt survivors’ stories deeply By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor


For the past six years, Chief Wilton Littlechild has crossed the country from coast-tocoast-to-coast listening to residential school survivors and their descendants. The result of those hearings, both private and public, was 94 calls to action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as its final act in early June. Three months after the conclusion of the TRC, the words of survivors stay with Littlechild. Littlechild was one of three members of the TRC, the second commission struck in 2009 when the initial TRC crumbled. He was joined on the commission by Dr. Marie Wilson, whose husband attended residential school, and chair Justice Murray Sinclair, whose grandparents and parents attended residential school. For Littlechild residential school was firsthand lived experience. He attended three

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over the course of 14 years but even that didn’t prepare him for the horror stories he heard. “I knew about the abuse because I lived it, but I didn’t know about the serious depth of abuse across the country. I saw it, I felt it, but when we went across the country with the hearings, it really opened up my eyes as to the seriousness of the situation, because of the seriousness of the depth of the abuse on children,” he said. What also surprised Littlechild was the depth of the consequences of the abuse. He says he expected his time on the TRC to be solely a “historical review.” But soon he came to realize that the impact of the abuse suffered by residential school survivors permeated every aspect of Indigenous society. “The more we heard from the wider audience, the more the focus kind of grew to look at thematically on health, thematically on education, leadership, treaties, justice system, on other areas,” he said. The result was 94 calls to action that took a holistic approach to the needs. “We framed our report to

address those themes. It grew beyond my expectations for sure, but in a good way. I think we heard from some very sound, solid advice from not only survivors but ordinary citizens on how to improve our relationships,” said Littlechild. The TRC released its 360page executive summary in early June to much public attention. Littlechild admits he is concerned about the future of the work. But he is hopeful that the unique approach the TRC took to the situation will mean not leaving the report on a shelf. “One of the reasons I think previous commissions suffered that fate in a way, is because they had too many recommendations or they were too costly or they were called recommendations. And sometimes in terms of assess and follow up, the easiest thing to set aside is a recommendation. That’s why we called it a call to actionÖcall to action for all of us to work together. It’s a different approach,” he said. Already, Littlechild says he is seeing response to those calls to action. A growing number of provincial and territorial

governments are implementing curriculum changes in the schools. Universities have begun to take steps to decolonize post-secondary education. Many municipal governments have focused on the calls to action that directly impact their work. Churches and faith groups, and not only the ones who were signatories to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, have taken steps toward reconciliation. “I’m more encouraged by what I see already, the commitments of different segments of society, and leadership particularly, making commitments publicly that they’re going to Ö take these (calls to action) and implement them,” said Littlechild. With the TRC now concluded, Littlechild has returned to his home community of Maskwacis to practise law. But what he has learned through the TRC will stay with him and he pledges to continue to move his community towards implementing the calls to action. And he takes away something

much deeper with him from his time on the TRC. “The rich blessing I received from it was to begin my own healing, my own personal healing, because I think it starts with me, it starts with us individually and that’s a really big healing I received from being a commissioner, a personal impact in a good way on me. I’ve grown from it richly. I’ve healed from a large extent by sharing the pain and the stories but also celebrated the positive outcomes of residential school. Because it’s not all bad. I think we need to ensure that the information is the truth, the whole truth, not just the negative truth but the positive truth. And when I was listening to fellow survivors talk about the good things, about the good days they had in school, it lifted me up because, yes, I was there, too. The positive experience really encouraged me to continue in my own healing journey. So it was a very positive, painful at times, very difficult emotionally, shed a lot of tears but had a lot of laughs, too, in terms of uplifting spirits. I’m thankful for that,” said Littlechild.

October 2015

Tanya Tagaq: Nanook of the Body identified as missing North woman In a live concert with film, Polaris prize-winning Tanya Tagaq fuses her voice with other musical talents to create a mesmerizing and original soundscape for the controversial 1922 silent film Nanook of the North in order to portray Inuit culture in a contemporary new light. Tagaq’s powerful throat singing combines with violinist Jesse Zubot, percussionist Jean Martin, and composer Derek Charke’s original score. The production takes place Oct. 9 and 10 at the Margaret Greenham Theatre at the Banff Centre.

A body of a woman found by a fisherman along the shore of the Oldman River Reservoir at the Windy Point campground on Sept. 13 has been identified as Victoria Joanne Crow Shoe, 43. Crow Shoe, a resident of Lethbridge, was reported missing to Lethbridge Regional Police Service on Sept.15. She was last seen by her family on Aug. 26. An autopsy confirmed her identity and her next-of-kin was notified by the RCMP. The RCMP is seeking help from the public in the investigation into her whereabouts from Aug. 26 to Sept. 13.

CPS, divers search pond for Seven Indigenous candidates clues in Crowshoe homicide in federal election Over a year after Colton


Six ridings will offer voters Indigenous candidates to choose from. The only riding with two Aboriginal candidates on the ballot is the northern riding of Lakeland where NDP candidate Duane Zaraska will face off against Liberal candidate Garry Parenteau. Both men are Métis and active in local Métis politics. Parenteau is the only Indigenous candidate the Liberals are running in Alberta. Joining Zaraska on the NDP slate are Katherine Swampy (Battle RiverCrowfoot), Aaron Paquette (Edmonton Manning), Melody Lepine (Fort McMurray-Cold Lake), Fritz Bitz (EdmontonWetaskiwin), and Cameron Alexis (Peace River-Westlock). The Assembly of First Nations has identified 51 ridings across the country in which First Nations voters can make a difference. In Alberta, the AFN has singled out EdmontonGriesbach.

James Crowshoe’s body was found floating in the retention pond off Stoney Trail in Calgary, city police have yet to lay charges in the homicide. On Sept. 14, Calgary Police Service and the Calgary Fire Department aquatics team returned to the pond to search for additional evidence. Crowshoe, 18, was located in the pond on July 24, 2014, after a passerby called 911 reporting a body in the water. Crowshoe had been reported missing after being last seen by friends in the Abbeydale area of northeast Calgary, sometime between 2:30 a.m. and 4 a.m., on July 4, 2014. Two days before, Crowshoe had been arrested and charged with trespassing and break and enter. Family members reported him missing a few days after he was last seen. A missing person’s news release was not issued until July 22. Two days later his body was found. Crowshoe’s family charged racism against CPS in its handling of the matter. Alberta (Continued on h page 19.)

October 2015

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Helper works with inner city ministry to reach Aboriginal population


Michelle Nieviadomy is an oskapew (helper) to Pastor Rick Chapman at Inner City Pastoral Ministry By Paula E. Kirman Sweetgrass Writer


A newly created position at the Inner City Pastoral Ministry is reaching out to the Aboriginal population. “As a Cree woman, I see myself and my role in the

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ICPM as an oskapew to Pastor Rick (Chapman) as well as the inner city community,” said Michelle Nieviadomy. ICPM is an interdenominational Christian outreach that meets in the Bissell Centre in downtown Edmonton. The position of oskapew, meaning “helper” in Cree, “was

created in response to the need to develop more fully Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations with in the inner city and wider faith community of Edmonton,” said Chapman, director of ICPM. As nearly half of the people ICPM is in contact with are Aboriginal, the ICPM felt the position would be a fitting

response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to forward relations between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal within the community, says Chapman. Nieviadomy was involved with ICPM prior to taking up her new position. “In my own desire to find a faith community, I was drawn to the Sunday service at the Bissell. Quite simply, I started to attend church which then turned into some volunteering. From that, dialogue between Pastor Rick and myself about the possibility of having a role specifically focusing on the Indigenous community which completely aligns with my own faith,” she said. Nieviadomy duties as an oskapew include being present at ICPM’s Sunday services and helping in a number of capacities, including writing and presenting sermons. Once a month, Nieviadomy also leads the Standing Stones service, which is stepped in Aboriginal traditions. “It is a beautiful service done in the Four Directions. Standing Stones honours the Indigenous way of expressing one’s faith,” she said. The service always begins with smudging and Nieviadomy sings some drum songs, as well as and sharing stories and teachings. “I also have the opportunity to build bridges of understanding around Indigenous justice issues with the wider church communities,” she said. “I

believe our Indigenous way of life, teachings, and voice is a gift to the wider community, not just to the Indigenous community.” Nieviadomy has had a positive reception from the inner city Aboriginal population. “The Aboriginal community is delighted with Michelle’s presence, with many coming forward to offering to share something of their story and spiritual life. The wider community is also very much desirous of Michelle’s presence as there is a strong desire within the faith community to learn, reconcile, and heal. Michelle is able to move freely in both communities with comfort,” said Chapman. The oskapew position has been contracted until the end of 2015, with the possibility of further growth being explored. It is not a full-time position for Nieviadomy, who graduated with the BA in Social Sciences at Kings University College and is the assistant director of the Edmonton Native Healing Centre. She also has her own business, Iskwew Health and Wellness, through which she teaches fitness classes. However, ICPM holds a special place for her. “It is an absolute honour. To be able to work with Pastor Rick who is truly for the community and the people, has been inspiring! The team also exemplifies such love and care for the inner city community they are the true heroes!” she said.

October 2015

(Continued from page 17.) Serious Incident Response Team launched an investigation which has yet to conclude. “Our investigators continue to maintain close contact with the family and the First Nations community oversight individual, who was appointed to monitor the ASIRT investigation,” said ASIRT spokesperson Lynn Neufeld in an email to Sweetgrass.

Missing, murdered Indigenous people highlight of two gatherings Edmonton will be host to two gatherings focusing on murdered and missing Indigenous people. The Spirits of our Sisters Gathering takes place Sept. 28 to 30, co-hosted by Alexander First Nation and Onion Lake Cree Nation. Presentations will include examination of Indigenous history including colonialism, the sixties scoop, and child welfare, and educating delegates about intergenerational trauma. “A lot of people don’t understand why Indigenous people are the way they are today,” said Karen McCarthy, event organizer. Then, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, Edmonton Police Service, along with a handful of other organizations, is hosting “Exploring Challenges/Creating Solutions: supporting families of murdered and missing persons.” Keynote speaker is Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Native’s Women’s Association of Canada. She will present on the challenges Aboriginal

women and girls face, from poverty and predators to systemic oppression and racism. The conference explores and discusses the promising practices/available resources; program/policy innovations; and protocols and strategies for supporting families of missing or murdered persons, with special emphasis on providing culturally safe services to Indigenous communities. The intent for sessions is to support the outcomes of the current research undertaken by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and other provincial initiatives in Canada. These provincial initiatives provide a framework for developing consistent quality responses delivered in a culturally safe manner to Indigenous families who have lost loves ones.

Grand Chiefs concerned about carding on Edmonton streets Police carding will be on the agenda when Grand Chiefs meet in October, says Treaty 8 Grand Chief Steve Courtoreille, and Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht will be invited to address concerns. Both Courtoreille and Treaty 6 Grand Chief Tony Alexis say they are concerned by a CBC story that indicates police are singling out Aboriginals and other racial groups for carding on the streets. Courtoreille said random street checks in Edmonton erode trust. He is encouraging people to know their rights, which include not having to answer questions or show identification. He also says

they should take down the badge number of the officer and, if they are mistreated, to lodge a complaint with the grand chiefs. Courtoreille says a balance must be struck that keeps the public safe while not alienating disenfranchised people.

Blue Quills honours ancestors through name change The Blue Quills First Nations College has a new name and designation: University nuhelot’i(ne thaiyots’i( nistameyim‚kanak Blue Quills. Direction came at the annual general meeting last December to change the school from college to university, and through a community-based process a name that honoured the ancestors, languages, and history was arrived at. Since 1971, Blue Quills governing board has committed to advancing educational opportunities in the region by developing certificate, diploma and degree programs supported by research excellence in the areas of indigenous knowledge and language. Blue Quills has demonstrated responsible academic leadership through its accreditation with the National Indigenous Accreditation Board and a reciprocal relationship with the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium, as well as the development of its own bachelor, master and doctoral degrees and several initiatives with public institutions. The name change will be celebrated with a round dance in December.

U of A, CFAR launch certificate program The University of Alberta’s faculty of extension has partnered with the Circle for Aboriginal Relations to launch its Aboriginal communityindustry relations certificate program. Through land-based courses taught by Indigenous scholars and Elders, the program will provide learners with the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous worldviews and the ways in which differing views may impact relationship-building and engagement, establishing the foundation for successful negotiations that benefit all parties. The first course of the certificate, “History and Worldview,” begins on Oct. 4 in

Jasper, and introduces participants to essential protocols to open good relationships, avoid inappropriate conduct, analyze historical impacts, and understand the roles of male and female Elders. Three of the four remaining core courses will also be held in Jasper, between November 2015 and April 2016. The need to develop healthy and respectful relationships between industry/government stakeholders and Indigenous peoples has been highlighted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. “We all share the responsibility of bringing the TRC recommendations to fruition,” said Debra Pozega Osburn, vice-president of university relations.

Compiled by Shari Narine

Alberta Sweetgrass... now a regular section in Windspeaker! Subscribe today! 1-800-661-5469 • Email: October 2015

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Manitoba Pipestone: Special Section providing news from Manitoba Protest for flood compensation holds up traffic Traffic was held up on Highway 6 near Fairford on the afternoon of Sept. 15 by chiefs, community members and students. They gathered to protest the Manitoba government’s commitment of $495 million to flood mitigation in the area but its failure to secure permanent homes for the about 1,900 people who remain displaced by flooding four years ago. In July, the province announced plans to build a second outlet channel from Lake Manitoba to Lake St. Martin and for the current channel to be enlarged. The group wants flood claims and compensation for the evacuees sorted out before construction on the flood channel begins. “Before half a billion dollars is spent on a diversion in the Interlake, every man, woman and Elder needs to be brought home to a safe community,” said Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak. A statement released by Manitoba on Sept. 15, says in part, “The province has set aside $100 million as part of a comprehensive settlement package and resettlement agreements have been signed with the four affected First Nations. Part of the resettlement process is mitigating the effects of possible future floods.” The statement said that discussions with First Nations for solutions are ongoing.

First Nations family advocate says children, families need to be election priorities

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Cora Morgan, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ First Nations family advocate, says families and children will be pushed as a priority leading up to next month’s federal election and the upcoming provincial election in spring. “We’re going to be doing a campaign where we ask people to vote for children and to have the political parties have the issue of children welfare in their province at the forefront of their minds when they’re going to polls and we’re hoping that will be part of the platforms for the three parities we have provincially,” said Morgan. Of 11,000 children in care in the province, 87 per cent are Aboriginal. To put that figure another way, says Morgan, Manitoba, with a population of 1.2 million, saw 388 newborn babies taken into care last year, while Alberta with a population of 4.4 million, had 155 newborns taken. Said Morgan, “Somehow we’re a quarter the size but we have more than double the amount of newborn children apprehended.”

UWinnipeg increases Indigenous numbers For the fall 2015 semester, the proportion of self-identifying Indigenous students enrolled at the University of Winnipeg rose to 12 per cent, up from 10 per cent the previous year. The total number of students enrolled at the university stands at 9,487 and the UWinnipeg is claiming one of the highest proportions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit students in Canada. The Opportunity Fund, which offers a range of

financial incentives to Indigenous students, as well as to†new Canadians and refugees, including tuition credits and bursaries, is believed to be a contributing factor to higher numbers.

Members appointed to new board to advise city policy The Indigenous Council on Policing and Crime Prevention, which was established by resolution last December by the Winnipeg Police Board, has finally had members appointed. The council’s mandate is to provide information, knowledge and advice to the board related to Indigenous people’s safety concerns and the priorities, objectives and policies the board sets for the Winnipeg Police Service. Consultation with the Indigenous community and nominations led to the appointment of 15 members and two alternates. Among those on the council are Bernadette Smith, a spokesperson locally, nationally and internationally on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the co-founder of Drag the Red initiative; Damon Johnston, president of the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg; Shauna Fontaine, violence prevention and safety coordinator for the Southern Chiefs Organization; and, Cora Morgan, the new Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ First Nations family advocate.

Manto Sipi Cree Nation begins legal action against province The Manto Sipi Cree Nation filed a statement of claim Sept.

9 in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench against the province of Manitoba. The claim centres on the failure of the province to resolve outstanding mining claims that encumber ancestral lands selected by the First Nation and that should be acquired and converted to reserve land. Manto Sipi Cree Nation alleges that Manitoba failed to uphold the honour of the Crown and to properly implement the First Nation’s outstanding treaty land entitlement under Treaty No. 5. “We have tried to resolve this dispute with Manitoba by other means but we have been forced to now file this claim. The honour of the Crown requires the province to implement our agreement in a fair and equitable way. If we need the courts to remind the province, then so be it,” said Chief Michael Yellowback.

residential schools,” said Sinclair. “It is my great hope that the work I have been a part of will continue as we move forward towards a shared future that acknowledges the culture and the rights of all peoples in Canada.” As a tribute to Sinclair, the work of the TRC, and the many participants who shared their experiences, the 2015 Duff Roblin Award Dinner will be centred on the themes of “This reconciliation matters to me” and “What can I do?” The inaugural Duff Roblin Award was named in honor of and presented to businessman and politician Duff Roblin in 2007. This award recognizes a recipient’s qualities as an outstanding Manitoban, a patron of education, and someone who demonstrates exemplary citizenship and lifelong commitment to community.

Sinclair recognized for North Wilson new MKO grand leading work with TRC Justice Murray Sinclair is chief the recipient of the†University of Winnipeg’s 2015 Duff Roblin Award. Sinclair was awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws from UWinnipeg in 2011 recognizing his distinguished career and life devoted to public service. Sinclair was appointed chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009, and in this groundbreaking role, created the first comprehensive report on the Indian residential school system in Canada. “I am very honored to receive this recognition, but I share this honor with all those who had the courage and conviction to share their stories about the

Former television reporter Sheila North Wilson is the new grand chief for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. North Wilson, of Bunibonibee Cree Nation, beat William Elvis Thomas of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, in a second ballot after Tyler Duncan of Norway House Cree Nation withdrew. The vote was held Sept. 2 in Nelson House. Incumbent David Harper, who was seeking his third term, finished last after a first ballot of voting. The 30 sovereign MKO First Nations are signatory to Treaties 4, 5, 6 and 10.

Compiled by Shari Narine

October 2015

October 2015

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[ health ]

Members of remote Ontario First Nation appeal for cancer facility By Cara McKenna Windspeaker Contributor


Members of a northwestern Ontario First Nation have made a plea to the province’s cancer care elite for help to remote communities that consider the disease a death sentence. Cat Lake First Nation Chief Russell Wesley said his community northwest of Sioux Lookout has seen 11 cancerrelated deaths in recent years and members are unable to get proper screening and treatment. Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day introduced the Cat Lake members at an event at a Toronto hotel on Sept. 10 launching the third tier of Cancer Care Ontario’s Aboriginal cancer strategy. Community member Joyce Wesley told the crowd of leaders

from medical and Indigenous communities that there is a desperate need for a cancer facility in Sioux Lookout to benefit 26 communities that must currently travel to Hamilton or Toronto for healthcare. “In Ontario there are two different worlds: drive-in reserves and remote communities,” she said. “(In remote communities), once you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s a death sentence for you.” Wesley said she believes people are getting sick in part because of chemicals in the environment from forestry work. Alethea Kewayosh, Cancer Care Ontario’s director of Aboriginal cancer control, said fixing cancer care in remote communities is a process, and that a separate plan is being customized for the province’s

northwest. She said the agency is working with other cancer care agencies and trying to improve screening, education, prevention and palliative and supportive care. Kewayosh said environmental concerns are rampant in Ontario’s remote communities, which is why Cancer Care Ontario plans to put more of a focus on research. “We’re very much aware of the unique needs of our communities up north,” she said. “I’m very committed to seeing what we can do to address those gaps but it’s not going to happen overnight.” Chief Day said it scares him that northwestern communities consider cancer a death sentence and is hopeful the problem can start being resolved. “We all have a part in this,” he said.

MMIW conference to provide way forward By Andrea D. Smith Windspeaker Contributor


When Josh Alexis got the opportunity to help Karen McCarthy plan an upcoming three-day conference on murdered and missing Indigenous women, he jumped on board. Alexis felt McCarthy was “going about it the right way,” and after his community of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation recently had two women go missing—including a family member of his—he can relate to the cause. But he reminds people not to stereotype, as not all murdered and missing Aboriginal women have addictions issues or live on the street. “Misty (Potts Sanderson) was a smart woman… a highly educated woman, and active in cultural ways. When you want to have drum practice, she’s not there… when you want to ask for environmental advice, she’s not there,” he said of how the loss affected him. “There’s grief in everything about your life… because the dynamics are different in First Nations communities. Everybody is intertwined.” The Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has teamed up with Onion Lake Cree Nation to cohost The Spirit of our Sisters Gathering on murdered and missing Indigenous women.

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The event will take place Sept. 28-30 in Edmonton. “I had to go through my own issues, growing up with addicted family members and poverty, and I managed to go to school, and raise my kid without addictions,” said McCarthy, a coordinator for the event. “I’ve found myself in situations where I could have ended up as a missing and murdered Indigenous woman, so these issues are really close to home and that’s why I think if we work together we can understand them.” McCarthy first realized the need for the event after hearing last spring that Canada had sent aid to Nigeria for kidnapped school children. She found it disturbing that Harper would send aid overseas while showing little concern for the missing and murdered Indigenous women issue in his own country. She then gained the support of notables like former Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Ovide Mercredi, Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, former Chief of Driftpile First Nation and activist Rose Laboucan, and AFN Alberta Regional Chief Craig Mackinaw, establishing two steering committees, an advisory council, and a panel of First Nations Elders. “It’s open to anybody as long as they register and pay the fee. But the families (of victims) don’t pay, they are sponsored and invited to come. It’s not just

targeted to Aboriginal people because the issue needs to be supported and worked on from all areas,” said McCarthy. While some politicians have registered, the intention is not political, said McCarthy. The three-day event is organized into a variety of themes that will open up discussion about how and why Indigenous women have gone missing, and determine what can be done about it. “We’re looking at presentations that go back into our history like colonialism, the sixties scoop, and child welfare, and educating delegates about intergenerational trauma,” she said. “A lot of people don’t understand why Indigenous people are the way they are today.” Speakers include Dr. Gabor Mate, a Vancouver-based doctor and author of popular addictions psychology book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. He will follow presentations on residential schools, and relating eyeopening information about the link between childhood trauma and addictions in adulthood, said McCarthy. At the end of the conference, McCarthy hopes to write a final report based on the findings. “We’ll be dialoguing solutions and action planning… If we can take information from this gathering and move forward, we can bring it to another region and continue gathering,” she said.

Health Watch Compiled by Shari Narine New textbook gives Indigenous perspectives on health Post-secondary students across Canada will benefit from a ground-breaking new textbook on Indigenous health created in part by two University of Northern British Columbia professors. Doctors Margo Greenwood and Sarah de Leeuw, co-editors, have gathered perspectives and experiences of Indigenous people around the country to provide an in-depth look at the realities of health and healthcare in Aboriginal communities. The new textbook, Determinants of Indigenous Peoples’ Health in Canada: Beyond the Social, published this summer, seeks to move academic discussion beyond established social health determinants, such as income and education, to help explore impacts of other factors, including colonization and colonialism, environment, geography, and culture. “(This textbook) fills a huge gap of information in the Canadian health education landscape, offering students a greatly expanded opportunity to critically think about Indigenous patient care and hopefully apply this knowledge to their future practice,” said Greenwood, a professor of education and First Nations studies at UNBC and vice-president of Aboriginal health at the Northern Health Authority. The book features contributions from First Nations, Inuit, and Métis writers, with chapters ranging from scholarly papers by Aboriginal Health research experts to reflective essays by Indigenous leaders and insights on well-being shared through community members.

Inner city living can result in cardiovascular risks A paper recently published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology suggests that inner-city living may affect an individual’s risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease. Some residents of inner-city neighbourhoods have adopted sedentary lifestyles and poor diets due to a lack of grocery stores, limited green space and transportation options, fewer recreation centres and high rates of violent crime. These factors can contribute to heart disease, heart failure, stroke and cardiac death. Inner-city neighbourhoods are characterized by an above-average concentration of residents who are unemployed, sick or disabled, living in poor-quality housing, working full-time on low pay, or single parents. “You can try to develop programs that target marginalized individuals, but the challenge is that you also have to also think about the environment and consider the social world that the person lives in that also has an effect on them,” said the paper’s author Dr. Stephen Hwang, director for the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Mobile clinics, health coaching and case management approaches have demonstrated some success in improving cardiovascular outcomes in individuals, but Hwang said further research into community-wide interventions in disadvantaged neighbourhoods is needed.

Chinese traditional medicine delivered to reserve Doctors who practise traditional Chinese medicine were in Sumas First Nation in Abbotsford on Sept. 19 to provide community health consultations. Tzu Chi Canada, the local branch of the Buddhist non-profit based in Taiwan, opened the first clinic focusing on the First Nations community about two years ago in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since then, two more clinics have opened in the Downtown Eastside. Doctors hold eight-hour sessions once a week at the three First Nation clinics, spending about 45 minutes with each patient. Tzu Chi Canada is a donor to the Aboriginal Mother Centre in Vancouver.

Historical sterilization of Indigenous women more widespread than previously believed A recently released report gleaned from archival research indicates that the coercive sterilization of Indigenous women in Canadian health centres during the 1970s was more widespread than previously believed. Karen Stote, a women’s studies professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, says impoverished communities in the north were disproportionately targeted. Nearly 1,200 sterilization cases—including more than 550 at federally operated “Indian” hospitals between 1971 and 1974—were undertaken by force or fraud. Stote’s research indicates that coerced sterilizations of Indigenous people in parts of Canada continued until at least 1974, despite claims by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights that most provinces ended the practise in 1972. Stote said Indigenous people were targeted for a number of reasons: eugenics, the idea of racial superiority, the need to reduce certain traits from the population, and the federal government’s desire to reduce their population to lessen the state’s responsibilities under treaties it had signed with Indigenous groups. Stote’s findings have been published in “An Act of Genocide: Colonialism and Sterilization of Aboriginal Women.” Only Alberta has apologized and paid compensation for past sterilization campaigns on people considered mentally challenged and other disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous people. Forced or coercive sterilization has been deemed a form of discrimination, violence against women, and a violation of basic human rights by the United Nations.

October 2015

Sports Briefs Compiled by Sam Laskaris NHL Draft Pick Leaves Game It remains to be seen whether Rylan Pilon’s hockey career is over. Earlier this summer, it appeared the 18-year-old Metis, who is from Duck Lake, Sask., had a bright hockey future ahead of him, including a possible pro career. Pilon, a defenceman who spent the past three seasons in the Western Hockey League, was selected in the fifth round, 147th over-all, by the New York Islanders in the National Hockey League Entry Draft, held in late June. But then in early September it was announced that Pilon had left his WHL squad, the Brandon Wheat Kings, for personal reasons. Wheat Kings’ coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon said Pilon left the organization as he had lost his passion to play hockey. Brandon had been counting on Pilon, who has two seasons of junior eligibility remaining, to play a key role with the squad this season. Last year he collected 52 points (11 goals and 41 assists) in 68 regular season contests with the Wheat Kings. He finished seventh in team scoring but had the second most points among defencemen. Pilon joined Brandon during the 2013-14 campaign, following a mid-season trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

[ sports ]

NAIG host waits for election results for federal financing

Flames Sign Ferland Michael Ferland’s minor league days appear to be over. The Calgary Flames signed the 23-year-old Cree to a two-year contract in early September. The deal was significant for Ferland as it was a one-way contract, meaning the club expects him to play in the NHL. For Ferland, who appeared in 35 regular season and playoff contests with Calgary last season, is gearing up for what will be his first full NHL season.

Six Nations Teams Win Nationals For the third consecutive year at least two Six Nations lacrosse teams managed to win national championships. In 2013 the Six Nations Chiefs captured the Mann Cup, awarded annually to the top Canadian senior men’s team. And the Six Nations Rebels won the Founders Cup, presented to the national Junior B champs. Both the Chiefs and Rebels were able to defend their national titles last year. And another club, the Six Nations Arrows, a Junior A club, also managed to win its Canadian title, the Minto Cup. As for this year, the Arrows were able to add another national title to their list of accomplishments. And the Six Nations Rivermen, a Senior B squad, won its first national crown, the Presidents Cup. The Arrows were able to win their Minto Cup this year at home. The team defeated British Columbia’s Coquitlam Adanacs 4-2 in a best-of-seven series that was staged at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Ohsweken. The Arrows wrapped up the series with a convincing 9-4 victory in Game 6 on Aug. 29. As for the Rivermen, they were one of eight entrants in the Presidents Cup, which was staged in St. Catharines, Ont. The Rivermen downed the Ottawa-area Capital Region Axemen 14-11 in the gold-medal contest, held on Sept. 5.

Price Among Indspire Recipients Montreal Canadiens’ star goaltender Carey Price is one of 14 recipients for the 2016 Indspire Awards. Price, a member of British Columbia’s Ulkatcho First Nation, was chosen as an award recipient through the Sports category. The Indspire Awards, which have been handed out for the past 23 years, are the highest honour bestowed by Indigenous people on their own achievers. Each year a jury selects 10 career achievement award winners, as well as three youth award recipients (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) and one lifetime achievement winner. Though this year’s award recipients were announced on Sept. 15, they will be honoured at the 2016 Indspire Awards gala, scheduled for Feb. 16 in Vancouver. Price and his Montreal teammates will be in the midst of a three-game road trip then. It remains to be seen whether Price will attend the gala. The Canadiens play in Arizona the night before and have a game in Colorado the following night. Price, 28, has certainly won his share of awards this year as he had a spectacular 201415 campaign with the Canadiens. He led the all NHL goaltenders in three statistical categories: wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933). For these efforts Price scooped up four trophies at the NHL Awards, held in Las Vegas in June. His hardware included the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, the Vezina Trophy as best goaltender and the Ted Lindsay Award for being the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted on by the players. Price also shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. This award is presented to the goalies on the team that allowed the fewest goals in regular season action.

October 2015


(left to right) Mekwan Tulpin, Rob Lackie, Marcia Trudeau, Marc Laliberte, Chief M. Bryan LaForme, Scott McRoberts By Sam Laskaris Windsperaker Contributor


The summer of 2017 may seem far away, but not for officials from the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) who needs to prepare numerous details in order to host the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) that year. This past June, the NAIG Board of Directors awarded the 2017 Games to Toronto, in a bid that was led by ASWCO and the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation. ASWCO president Marc Laliberte said there is still plenty of work to do, even now, to prepare for the Games. The Number 1 priority for organizers is to firm up some funding. Organizers believe it will cost $10 million to properly run the Games. So far the Ontario government has offered $3.5 million in funding, but that’s only if this amount will be matched, preferably, by the federal government. ASWCO officials find themselves in a holding position in their attempt to secure funding from the Canadian government. “We’re in the middle of a federal election year so we don’t know who we will be dealing with (after the Oct. 19 election),” Laliberte said. The Canadian government had provided $3.5 million in funding for both the 2008 and 2014 NAIG, which were held in Cowichan, B.C. and Regina, respectively. This funding was matched by the B.C. and Saskatchewan governments when the games were in their

province. The NAIG are supposed to rotate between Canada and the U.S. every three years. But since an American bid was not submitted, AWSCO decided to step up and submit a bid for 2017. There is a funding framework in place which sees the federal government matching provincial figures for NAIG. But since the next Canadian games were originally supposed to be staged in 2020, ASWCO officials have made a special request seeking federal funding earlier than anticipated. “We can’t afford not to have these Games,” Laliberte said. “If we don’t host it, nobody else will step up to do it.” ASWCO officials are hoping to have some answers soon after the federal election. “We do have 22 months (before the Games are held) but we need to show that we have our funding in place by the new year,” Laliberte said. The Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation will also be providing some funding for the Games. But the amount has yet to be finalized. One of the most positive things going for those running the 2017 NAIG is that the Pan American and Parapan American Games were held in Toronto and surrounding communities this summer. Several new facilities were built for those Games. And the plan is to utilize a number of these venues for the NAIG. “These will be some of the best facilities these young athletes will ever be exposed to,” Laliberte said. Scott McRoberts, who is part of the NAIG planning committee and is spearheading the logistics and operations

components, agrees. “They’re going to be treated like world-class athletes,” he said. “And they deserve to be treated like that.” The 2017 NAIG will mark the first time the event has been staged in an eastern Canadian city. Numerous regional qualifiers are expected to be held throughout 2016 and in the early portions of 2017 to determine the participants. “They know the Games are coming,” McRoberts said of Canadian and American athletes who are eligible to take part. “But I don’t think they know the spectacular facilities we’ll have here.” Toronto was the only city looking to host the 2017 NAIG. “It was not a rubberstamp,” Laliberte said of Toronto’s bid presentation, which was held in front of NAIG Council members in June in Vancouver. “We needed to present our plan.” Besides lining up some additional funding, organizers must also soon start hiring some people. To start off with, three key individuals need to be brought on board. Positions that must be filled include an executive director for the Games. An executive assistant and a chief of operations must also be hired. “We hope to have them in place by this winter,” Laliberte said. “We’re not formally posting yet but we’re looking at some names.” There will eventually be between 30 to 40 people who will be on staff for the 2017 NAIG. Some of these jobs will be filled in closer to the start of the Games. But it’s never too early to start thinking ahead. “Twenty-two months is not that far away,” Laliberte said.

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[ education ]

Mohawk causing trouble at Utah grade school Imagine having to get a note from your tribal council grand chief so your son can wear a simple Mohawk haircut to school. Ridiculous, right? Well, that’s what one family had to do in Santa Clara, Utah when their seven-year-old son, Jakobe, was pulled from his second-grade classroom when his ‘do’ violated the dress code at the, ironically, named Arrowhead Elementary School. (Gary Sanden, the father of the boy, said he was advised to get “a letter from tribal leaders to explain the

Native American tradition of wearing Mohawks” if he wanted his son to be allowed back to class, reported the Washington Post. “That’s like calling up the governor of our state,” Sanden said. “But I called and got the letter. My wife did too.” (The dress code reads: “Students have the responsibility to avoid grooming that causes a distraction or disruption, interrupting school decorum and adversely affecting the educational process. Extremes in body piercings, hair styles and hair colors may be considered a

distraction or disruption.” And because the boy’s classmates were not used to the hairstyle—cropped short on the sides with a couple of inches left from forehead to nape of neck— a distraction was caused and Jakobe was pulled from class. His parents were told to cut his hair to “reflect the norms of the community.” (But dad said that was just not going to happen. “I told [the school district’s superintendent] I was in no means going to cut his hair because it’s a symbol of who we

are,” Sanden said. The school needed proof, and advised the family to get leadership to pen a letter. (Seneca Nation Tribal Councillor William Canella wrote: “From past centuries to the modern era, Native boys have worn their hair in various lengths and styles to demonstrate their pride in their heritage. It is common for Seneca boys to wear a Mohawk because, after years of discrimination and oppression, they are proud to share who they are. It’s disappointing that your school does not view diversity in

a positive manner, and it is our hope that Jakobe does not suffer from any discrimination by the school administration or faculty as a result of his hair cut.” (Arrowhead principal said she was surprised the incident had garnered national attention. “It took about a half hour of my time,” she said. “There’s a protocol that we go through, and I felt like it was handled efficiently and that we respected their culture.” The school is located about 10 miles from a Paiutes reservation.

An engineering professor at the University of Saskatchewan

prairies, they’re all excellent examples of engineering design.” He said the designs change dramatically depending on water conditions and what the boats were used for and what resources were available.

career and life goals,” said Warren Spitz, president and CEO, UCS Forest Group. “Our aim is to provide the support recipients need to invest fully in their studies and become leaders at Sauder and beyond.” The program provides up to two Spitz Family Awards for Aboriginal Women annually, with each recipient eligible to receive $10,000 per academic year during a bachelor of commerce program and additional funds as necessary. Spitz Fellows will be invited to play an active role at Sauder in the Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education initiative, a program focused on promoting business education in Aboriginal communities.”

An assistant professor at the University of Manitoba’s law school

the residential school story. Craft is of Métis-Anishinaabe background, and is a 2004 graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.

is using concepts from kayaks, tipis and the longhouse in his courses this year. “It’s long overdue, I think, that we bring in some excellent examples of First Nations history into engineering,” he told the CBC. Sean Maw said there’s a lot from First Nations design that engineers could learn from. “The design of watercraft across Canada by Canada’s Indigenous peoples is a wonderful example of design. You look at the canoes in Ontario and Quebec, the kayaks in northern Canada, the dugouts on the west coast and even the bull boats on the

P a g e [ 24 ]

Aboriginal women pursuing business studies at UBC’s Sauder School of Business will benefit from a $1-million gift from the family of Warren and Maureen Spitz. The Spitz Fellows Program was created in collaboration with the family and accepted its first student this month. “Our hope is that the Spitz Fellows Program will create opportunities for women to empower themselves and succeed in their educational,

has been appointed director of research for the new National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The establishment of the new centre, Craft explains, flows from the settlement agreement arrived at from the residential school class actions. “Our work here will be centered around policy changes resulting from the TRC, said the new director Aimée Craft, research into the legacy impact on residential school survivors and their families, and larger societal relations in terms of reconciliation. The centre aims to create a complete picture of

Premier Christy Clark announced $2 million to encourage more Aboriginal students to pursue masters and doctoral level degrees at public universities in British Columbia. “Aboriginal people are a vital part of British Columbia’s future and contribute to our diverse, growing and strong economy,” said Premier Clark, who made the announcement during closing remarks at the B.C. Cabinet-First Nations Leaders Gathering in Vancouver. “These

October 2015

[ careers ] awards of up to $5,000 each per year will help open doors for more Aboriginal masters and doctoral students.” Aboriginal Masters and Doctoral Student Awards are available to Aboriginal students studying at public universities in British Columbia. The awards are granted through the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society.

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October 2015

P a g e [ 25 ]


footprints ]

Basil Johnston Editor wrote ‘Indians are passé’ on author’s manuscript By Dianne Meili

In an era when few Aboriginal books were written by First Nations, Métis or Inuit authors, publishers almost rejected Basil Johnston’s first manuscripts. Editors who read the Anishinaabe author and scholar’s early writings agreed his work was authentic, but feared it had no potential market. Fortunately, Johnston struck a friendship with Jack McClelland and Anna Porter of McClelland and Stewart; they supported the 1976 printing of his early classic Ojibway Heritage. A commitment from the federal government’s Department of Indian Affairs (as it was then titled) to purchase 931 copies of the book – $5,000 worth – sealed the deal. A similar lukewarm reception met Johnston’s 1978 offering – a collection of humorous stories called Moose Meat and Wild Rice. One of McClelland and Stewart’s editors recommended the rejection of it partly on the grounds that Indians were “currently passÈ.” But Anna Porter fought for the title to be published, according to the Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing website. Thus began the long and distinguished career of one of Canada’s most successful and widely read contemporary Aboriginal authors. In total, the Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) First Nation writer produced 15 books in English and five in Anishinaabe, including the popular Indian School Days, which recounts his experience in St. Claver’s (residential) School in northern Ontario. Johnston was so prolific, it was his store of manuscripts that helped publisher Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, also of †Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation, to keep going when her Kegedonce Press was struggling “He was like an adopted uncle who helped us keep going during some dark days when the publishing industry on the whole was suffering, and as a publisher of Indigenous literature we were struggling,” she explained. “Then we realized Basil had quite a few unpublished

manuscripts and we knew it was our role to ensure that as many as possible were published. He allowed us to publish at least one or two of his books each year. Doing this gave us renewed purpose and we felt a strong sense of responsibility to do what we could to get his work out. We’ll miss Basil terribly.” Johnston once said his favorite book was Crazy Dave because it is about his family and his reserve. Through his masterful storytelling, he reveals his people’s history via the equally hilarious and heartbreaking antics of his handicapped Uncle David during the early years of the 20th century in Cape Croker. In a 2006 review of Crazy Dave, David Cox on wrote “like Roberto Benigni in the movie Life is Beautiful, Johnston gets you to laugh before you weep. One hilarious scene turns bitter as Uncle David – astoundingly mistaken for a Japanese soldier-spy – gets beaten up and jailed by ignorant white people in the tiny town of Wiarton, Ont. “Johnston uses bitter irony (in the book), especially when discussing European history through the eyes of his Anishinaabe characters, one of whom observes ‘the civilized nations could not let bygones be bygones in a civilized manner. They had never settled their misunderstandings except by war.” When Johnston’s grandmother hears about the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, Cox writes that she wryly remarks in the book “the Americans did the same to our people. It was alright for them to do it, but when others do the same thing to them it’s a crime, an atrocity.” Through the comical antics of Uncle David, readers appreciate he was a man who didn’t fit in. “As long as Uncle David stayed where he belonged and didn’t bother anyone … neighbours could put up with him; as long as North American Indians kept the peace and didn’t rock the boat, society could tolerate them,” Johnston wrote. As a tireless promoter of the

Basil Johnson (right)

Anishinaabe language, Johnston believed the key to understanding culture is language, and he was tireless in his efforts to preserve it. His meticulous work resulted in an Anishinaabe lexicon and thesaurus, as well as language audio programs on cassette and CD. Johnston said it was a Grade 5 student who prompted him to begin writing and reintroduce his people to traditions they had abandoned or never learned about. In an interview in Brandon, Manitoba’s Westman Journal, Johnston said he was a guest in the boys’ classroom in 1968. “I spoke to a young boy who said he was bored. The teacher put him in a little group to research Indians. That’s what he and his group did for five weeks. When he finished his complaint (to me) he said, ‘is that all there is to Indians?’ Then I looked at the books that were available to him and his teachers. There was no depth.” Johnston “dove a little deeper” and began to find out about his

people, learning there was much more to their story than hunting and fishing, food preparation, clothing, and dwellings. For his work he received the Order of Ontario, the Queen’s Jubilee medal, and h o n o r a r y doctorates from the University of Toronto and Laurentian University. In 2004 he received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award (now called Indspire) for Heritage and Spirituality. Johnston was born in 1929 on the Parry Island Indian Reserve in Ontario. He graduated from Loyola College in Montreal and in 1959 married his sweetheart, Lucie Desroches. He taught history at Earl Haig Secondary School in North York until 1970 and lectured at various colleges and universities. From 1970 until his retirement

in 1994, he worked as an ethnologist at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). In 2009 and 2010, he was a Brandon University visiting professor. In an obituary, his family revealed his passions beyond writing, storytelling and lecturing, were “fiddle music and baked beans.” At 86 years of age, Johnston passed away in Wiarton on Sept. 8, 2015. He leaves behind his children Miriam, Tibby and Geoffery, as well as grandsons Joel, Jason, David and Aaron.

Every single Windspeaker article ever published (well, almost) is now available on our online archives at The archives are free to search and read. P a g e [ 26 ]

October 2015

An emerging Métis voice on the music scene


Ella Coyes made her debut at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. By Paula E. Kirman Windspeaker Writer


Playing at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is a dream for many local musicians and is one that came true for singer/ songwriter Ella Coyes this past August. Coyes, 18, performed as part of the School of Song, a group of young musicians under the mentorship of Rhea March. “I’ve attended for a few years, and my mum was the first to remember me telling her that I would perform on that stage one day, mostly in jest. It was a huge learning experience and I was so humbled by the performers, stage managers, tech crews, and the volunteer power,” said Coyes, who lives in Sturgeon County. Coyes has been writing songs for a couple of years and has come a long way in a short period of time. Her Folk Festival performance was impressive for someone who took a music class in high school and found the experience of singing in front of the entire class at the beginning of the term to be “absolutely terrifying.” At the same time, she says that first performance made her realize that “I loved the rush, as well as the conversation that performing creates.”

October 2015

Meeting Rhea March was a huge turning point in Coyes’ emerging career. They met at Cha Island, a coffee shop just off of Whyte Avenue in Edmonton, where March hosts a Sunday song stage. “Having a connection with Rhea has not only been valuable professionally, but personally as well. She’s provided guidance and wisdom in regards to what I call ‘the grind’ - the parts of being a musician that no one really tells you about until you experience it firsthand. As a young performer and person that has been so incredible helpful,” said Coyes. Coyes’ Metis background, as well as traditional Canadian folk, have been strong influences on her music. “The Red River Jig was one of my favourite tunes, and continues to be to this day,” she said. “Besides that, I think that growing up with traditional Canadian folk music was critical to my way of thinking. The song writing process is very personal to me, but once a person hears the music I’ve written I no longer consider it mine in a sense, and I think that came from growing up with Metis music.” Coyes would like to put out a full length album within the next couple of years and do the festival circuit next summer.

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October 2015

Windspeaker October 2015 final  

Windspeaker Volume 33 Number 7

Windspeaker October 2015 final  

Windspeaker Volume 33 Number 7