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Showing posts from October, 2010

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…

An Update to Bill C-3 - October 28, 2010

I have noticed over the last several weeks that there have been a large number of hits on one of my earlier blogs entitled "Updated - Bill C-3 Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act". I was wondering why so many people were reading that post all of a sudden and then I realized that it is likely because readers are looking for an actual update.

Anyone who wants to read about any of this can go online to the "Parliament of Canada" website and click on "Government Bills", then "C-3", then "Legislative Summary" which will provide a good overview of the bill. To the right hand side, if you click on "Status of the bill" it will provide all of these dates that I am giving you. By clicking on "Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development" you can see when the committee met and obtain the minutes of the meeting as well as the transcripts of what was said.

For those of you who'd prefer a brief overview, here it is:

The bil…

Racism on a native reserve? Try Racism in Our Media!

I am always torn whenever I read low quality, uninformed, and unresearched editorials, commentaries, and/or special columns written in print media that promote negative stereotypes about First Nations. My first instinct is to write a reply, but that would become a full-time job in and of itself. Then I wonder whether giving any attention to such blatant racism is helping or hurting the goal of helping to educate the public. Amongst my peers, there seems to be a difference of opinion on that issue.

However, at the end of the day, given that so many Canadians obtain their "information" about Aboriginal peoples from the media, I as an educator, simply cannot sit by while media outlets, like the National Post, misinform readers and malign First Nations. Yet, despite my attempts to address the misinformation, I still have a serious issue of exposure. Similar to gossip rags like the National Enquirer, the National Post has a loyal following that includes those of the right-wing pe…

Bill C-575 - First Nations Financial Transparency Act - or is it the - All Chiefs Are Crooked Act? (updated)

Well, the witch hunt has officially begun. If conservatives scream loud enough and persistently enough that all First Nations Chiefs are corrupt, then eventually people will start to believe that. Add to this the right-wing voices of academics like Flanagan, Gibson, Widdowson, and Helin; organizations like the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and Canadian Taxpayers Federation; and the strategic media use of isolated examples, and the anti-First Nation movement is reborn complete with its own Aboriginal spokesperson - Senator Brazeau.

Now, the focus on alleged corruption and lack of accountability of First Nations which Bill C-575 is meant to combat, helps to deflect the real issue - Canada's shameful neglect and inequitable funding of basic social programs for First Nations like child and family services, post-secondary education, housing, and water. It also helps focus attention away from the other paternalistic legislative reforms which are being advanced against the will of Fi…

Conservative Flip Flop or True Stripes?

This blog is somewhat related to my last one in that it involves another look at Conservative Party mentality and specifically that of Minister Duncan, Parliamentary Secretary Glover, and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo, held a press conference explaining that the current gap in educational and employment rates between First Nations and other Canadians is not only unfair, but could be addressed by proper funding in education. He argued that a more equitable level of education funding, if invested now, would lead to $179 billion in return to Canada in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Liberal and NDP leaders added that it was a matter of fundamental justice.

Atleo later appeared on Parliament Hill as part of the national week of action of First Nations education. His call for reconciliation and proper investment in First Nations education was cheered on by various First Nation participants. …