Transitional Justice Plan Urgently Needed to End Genocide in Canada

(Pam Palmater, Shelagh Day and Sharon McIvor testifying before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC - fall 2019).
For decades, the families of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and their communities; together with Indigenous women leaders and experts and allied human rights organizations, advocated for government action to end the crisis. Many families had called for a national inquiry, which was supported by various international human rights treaty bodies. After a tumultuous start and numerous set-backs, the National Inquiry concluded its work and released its final report at a ceremony on June 3, 2019, before hundreds of Indigenous family members, leaders and advocates. They found Canada guilty of both historic and ongoing genocide.
Throughout the National Inquiry’s proceedings, Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett committed that Canada would not sit idly by while the inquiry proceeded. They committed to take action to end the viole…

Template Letter to Send to Federal Government re Prisoner Safety During Covid-19

(picture from United Nations 2020)

Dear social justice allies,

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article for APTN News about the need for all levels of government to work with Indigenous governments and prison justice experts to develop a decarceration plan for Indigenous peoples to avoid a massive covid19 outbreak in prisons which would disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples.

I then did a Youtube video providing more context on this issue and why a strategic, decarceration plan is needed for Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous women who are the most over-represented prison population. Indigenous peoples are already in a  high risk category for covid19 health issues and prisons would only make the matter worse.

The Canadian Association for Elizabeth Fry Societies is also callin…

A Modern Treaty to Save Our Peoples and The Planet

(Left to Right: Stephen Lewis, Pam Palmater, David Suzuki, photo by Ian Mauro Climate Tour 2019)

This blog is an excerpt of the speech that I gave at the Climate Tour with David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis, on October 4, 2019 in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the University of Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory. (Check against delivery).

Kwe n’in telusi Pam Palmater. It is an honour to be here on Indigenous territory covered by Treaty one. Thanks to the elder for opening & to UofW for hosting us. Oct.4th important day to remember lives lost due to murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.

We have a hard truth to face. We are in the middle of two major crises: Canada is killing our people and the planet and we are here to stop it!

The first crisis is that the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls found that Canada has and continues to commit genocide against Indigenous peoples – specifically targeting Indigenous Women and Girls.

The second crisis is that Ind…

Check your White Male Privilege Andrew Scheer

(still image from video of RCMP aiming gun at Wet'suwet'en people from Gidimten Camp Facebook)

Today, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer made the shocking statement that protestors and activists need to “check their privilege” and let people whose jobs depend on the railway systems get to work. In this case, it is Scheer who needs to check his own privilege. His comments appear to be racially motivated as the people occupying the rails in Ontario are very obviously Indigenous peoples. Scheer’s comments reflect worn out stereotypes about Indigenous peoples that are not worth repeating, but are not based on facts. These kinds of comments serve only to promote societal division and manufacture hatred towards a specific group - Indigenous peoples. Scheer’s white male privilege as a top 1% income earner (according to Statistics Canada) stand in stark contrast to the staggering socio-economic conditions of the majority of First Nations peoples in Canada. First Nations have the highest…

RCMP Invasion of Wet'suwet'en Nation territory breaches Canada's "rule of law"

RCMP invades Wet’suwet’en territory. Photo by Amber Bracken; Jan. 7, 2019 While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes flowery public speeches about respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and reassures the international community that there is no relationship more important that the one with Indigenous peoples, Canada invaded sovereign Wet’suwet’en Nation territory. When questioned about this aggressive move at a Liberal fundraiser in Kamloops, British Columbia, he responded: “No, obviously, it’s not an ideal situation… But at the same time, we’re also a country of the rule of law.” Canada’s invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory through its national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), is an example of the blatant violation of the rule of law in favour of corporate interests. Canada has consistently failed to follow the rule of law when it comes to Indigenous peoples, and the violent arrests of the Wet’suwet’en people at the Gidimt’en checkpoint, set up in support of…

Overincarceration of Indigenous peoples nothing short of genocide

(Public domain image)
Canada’s colonial objectives have always been to clear the lands for settlement and development by whatever means necessary.
After signing peace treaties in the 1700s, clearing the lands meant laws offering bounties on the heads of Mi’kmaw men, women and children. In the 1800s, clearing the lands meant ethnic cleansing on the Prairies - laws, policies and practices that confined native peoples to reserves and gave them insufficient rations to survive. In the 1900s, clearing the lands meant the theft of thousands of native children to be forced into residential schools where thousands died from abuse, torture and starvation. In the 2000s clearing the lands means the mass incarceration of Indigenous peoples in prisons paving the way for the extractive industry.
The overincarceration of Indigenous peoples in federal, provincial and territorial prisons in Canada today is nothing short of …

Buy Native and Give Native All Year Long

(Treaty Truckhouse fundraiser [top left], Rez Famous Clothing [top right], Warrior Life Clothing [bottom left], Unist'ot'en fundraiser [bottom right])
If you are anything like me, I need multiple lists to keep myself organized this time of year. With the holidays speeding towards us faster than we can keep up, I need a list for tasks to complete at work before we break for the holidays; a grocery list to prepare for multiple family feasts; and, of course, the holiday gift-giving list. Without these lists, I would certainly be doomed to rely on my brain, which is already overloaded with the 2019 work I have to complete and the giant to-do list for 2020. I find lists extremely helpful, as they keep me from impulse shopping and overspending. I also have another list, which is my giving list – a list that reminds me to share my privilege with others. The one thing these lists all have in common is that they are all focused on buying native and giving native all year long.