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Showing posts from 2010

Bill C-3: Senate Considerations More About Blood "Purity" and "Benefits" than Equality

This blog will serve as an update as to the current status of Bill C-3 - Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act. It will also serve to highlight the disturbing considerations that are being made by Senators and the Minister of INAC in passing this bill.

Here is the quick and dirty of the Bill's treatment to date:

(1) Bill C-3 passed first and second reading in the House;

(2) It was studied by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (AAON) where numerous Aboriginal witnesses testified that it did not address all gender discrimination or even that found in McIvor's case;

(3) I appeared as a witness and gave oral and written testimony against the Bill;

(4) The AAON voted on amendments to make the Bill more inclusive (at this point the Liberals, NDP and Bloc were all supporting the Aboriginal witnesses);

(5) These amendments were ruled out of scope;

(6) The House passed a new amendment to include back in the bill, section 9 which tries to insulate Canada f…

The Canadian Tax Payers Federation's Chief-Bashing Campaign

Ok, so my last blog was a slight departure from my usual serious commentary, but I needed the humour to help insulate my soul from all the negativity. While it was intended as a spoof of the issue, I also wanted readers to see the issue from our perspective. My spoof may have sounded ridiculous, but that reflects the insanity of the situation, not the blog.

Since the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and others have released various media statements accusing Chiefs of being paid exorbitant salaries while their people suffer in misery, I have been fielding questions from students, the public, media, and others to answer for this alleged injustice. In answering these questions from mostly non-Indigenous people, I have heard endless stereotypes about Indigenous peoples, faced pent-up anger about "special" rights and been asked to accept ludicrous solutions like "doing away with s.35" of the Constitution Act, relocating all reserve residents to the cities, and told th…

NEWSFLASH - Bill T-666 to Deal with Exorbitant Municipal Salaries

NEWSFLASH from P.A.M. News:

Today, our official news correspondent for the Official Opposition of the Third Order of Government (OOTOG), Pamela Palmater, has brought to light the extreme abuses being made of First Nation taxpayers and land-holders money. Palmater's informative, yet disturbing report calls into question whether Canadian peoples who sit in positions on municipalities across Canada are accountable for the taxes and income they receive from our traditional lands.

As readers know, the lands in Canada are the traditional territories of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. Our Nations have lived here since time immemorial with their own cultures, languages, practices, traditions and customs. Just as important, our Nations had their own governments, laws, dispute resolution mechanisms, systems of trade and treaty-making with other Indigenous Nations. We were then and remain now, the ultimate governing authority of our territories often referred to as Turtle Island.

The p…

The Silent War - Government Control of Indigenous Identity

This blog represents excerpts from the talk that I gave last week on the issue of Indigenous Identity. I realize, however, that many of Indigenous peoples can't access public lectures, conferences, and other similar forums for information and debate. I therefore decided to include this information in my blog, knowing that there are still many of us who do not have access to computers or the Internet.

Canada's cutting off the water supply at Constance Lake First Nation so that the community has barely enough to drink but not bathe, despite Canada's "endorsement" of UNDRIP, is but one example of how many of us are forced to manage our extreme poverty and do not have computers, Ipads or TVs. Thus, many do not have the ability to access the kinds of information found on the Internet which many of us get to take for granted - like blogs.

So, here are some excerpts from my discussion about Indigenous identity:

I wear my Indigenous identity proudly, but have to carry on m…

The Illusion of Justice in Canada - The Conservatives Conditional Support of UNDRIP

I was having a hard time deciding between several important issues that I wanted to write about in my blog this week. I was really struggling between the injustices against our Indigenous peoples noted in Howard Saper's Corrections report, the fact that Sharon McIvor is forced to take the plight of Indigenous women to the United Nations or Canada's hollow endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). All of these issues are important and deserve far more critical attention than they are getting.

That is when I realized that these issues are part of a shameful pattern on the part of the Conservatives. The Conservatives have created an illusion that they are addressing justice issues faced by Indigenous peoples here in Canada by promoting their pretend platform on human rights and equality. Some readers might think this is an overly critical assessment of what seems to be a very progressive agenda - but I would ask those readers to lo…

Neanderthal Politics: Shame on Conservatives for Trying to Disempower Indigenous Women AGAIN

The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) has done an incredible job of both raising the profile of the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and maintaining that profile, both on a domestic and international level. This was work done by passionate, dedicated Indigenous women all over Canada on behalf of those without a voice. There are few in this country who do not know what the Sisters in Spirit (SIS) campaign is all about and even fewer who are not awed by the accomplishments of those who worked on it.

NWAC has shown the families and communities of those murdered and missing Indigenous women that those women were (and in some cases still are) an integral part of our Indigenous peoples and Nations. Without our women, our communities and Nations can't move forward on our collective goals of nation-building and cultural revitalization. NWAC has proved that despite all the assimilatory policies, discriminatory laws, and racist attitudes of police and governments …

The Slow, Painful Death of CAP: Can it be Saved?

THIS BLOG DOES NOT REPRESENT LEGAL ADVICE AND IS SOLELY MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is a national Aboriginal organization that once claimed to represent the interests of status and non-status Indians living off-reserve in Canada. The current national President is Betty-Ann Lavallee who used to be the President of one of CAP's affiliates - the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council (NBAPC).

CAP has recently changed its website and in so doing, has changed the focus of who it claims to represent being "the interests of its provincial and territorial affiliate organizations". The provincial and territorial affiliates of CAP located in the East receive core funding for their operations, whereas those in the west have struggled without much success in obtaining funding. CAP's board of directors are comprised of the Presidents of each of the affiliate organizations - most of whom, including CAP, prefer to be referred to as "Chief…

Funding for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A Let Down by ALL Parties

This blog is a very difficult one to write. While I will be dealing with a current political issue, it is about more than that. It does not give me any sense of pride or accomplishment to bring to light serious problems within our Indigenous Nations. I consider myself an advocate for Indigenous peoples and Nations in North America. Their struggles for cultural revitalization, strong identities, the healing and empowerment of our peoples, and our collective goal to re-assert our sovereignty are absolutely fundamental to our survival and success as Indigenous Nations. Part of this means recognizing where we are going wrong and having the courage to shift paths.

In this battle that must be waged between our peoples and our colonizers (Canada and the provinces), there can no deal-making, settling, or backroom political deals for less than what is necessary to ensure the well-being of our peoples now AND into the future. There is no job, grant, contract, position, or level of public fame th…