Showing posts from 2012

Eyes Wide Shut: Chasing Section 35 and Ignoring the War

Ok, so it's been four months since the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) election for National Chief and the honeymoon period is officially over. I simply can't stay silent any longer about where we are and where we are headed as First Nations. If we don't take action now, even if that means speaking out and risking unity, then it is our First Nations citizens on the ground who will be the ones who continue to suffer from our political inaction. Harper's aggressive actions since the election more than proves Harper's real agenda - to once and for all eliminate the "Indian problem" - and it's do or die time for us. With respect, I take serious issue with any claim that there was "momentum" between Harper and First Nations prior to the Crown-First Nation Gathering (CFNG) that has suddenly withered since the AFN election. There was no momentum on any key

Bill S-2 - Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Rights or Interests Act

Harper's Conservatives have given the signal that they may, once again, refocus their legislative eye on Bill S-2 Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act (otherwise known as the MRP bill). To this end, the parties have been preparing to study the bill and hear from witnesses on possible amendments.   Most of Canada's legislative initiatives go largely unexplained to grassroots Indigenous peoples - community members and leaders alike. This Harper government, in particular, has done everything it can to mislead, misinform, distract, confuse and outright lie to First Nations about its intentions with regards to the Indian Act. More so, they have done very little to explain the implications of bills to those who will be impacted - First Nations community members.   Most will recall Prime Minister Harper's infamous words at the so-called Crown-First Nation Gathering this past January: "To be sure, our Government has no grand scheme to unilate

Urgent Situation Report on Humanitarian Crisis in Canada

This blog post is not an official report, but is modeled off situation reports from international groups and organizations about specific crises in other countries. Canada portrays itself as a model nation but always hides the darker side of the historic genocide perpetrated on Indigenous peoples and the aggressive assimilatory actions it is taking currently -- which only serve to make poverty in First Nations much worse I. Highlights - Children in care crisis - 40% of children in care in Canada (30,000) are Indigenous children; - Over-incarceration crisis - 25-30% of prison populations are Indigenous and increasing; - Water crisis - 116+ First Nations do not have clean water, 75% of water systems med-high risk; - Housing crisis - 40% of First Nations home in need of major repair, 85,000 home backlog; - Indigenous women safety crisis - over 600 murdered and missing Indigenous women; - Health crisis - Life expectancy is 8-20 years less for Indigenous peoples due to extrem

National Chief Manny Jules: Shared Priorities, Self-Sufficiency & Other Policy Myths

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's (INAC's) recent round of cuts to national Aboriginal organizations, regional First Nation organizations and tribal councils are very telling about the policy direction in which we are headed. This policy direction is most definitely backwards in time - say 50 to 100 years or so. Canada has come nearly full circle in its treatment of Indigenous peoples. Canada went from (1) creating a mythic "race" of Indians to be divided, controlled and assimilated, (2) to recognizing (at least somewhat) that First Nations are diverse, have the inherent right to be self-determining (although limited) and that Aboriginal and treaty rights must be addressed (even though we didn't agree on how), (3) back to treating all "Indians" as one big problem that needs to be eliminated. The two major policy objectives of this Harper government have been

Harper's Indigenous Manifesto: Erasing Indigenous Peoples from Canada

Early Indian policy was designed to accomplish two main policy objectives: (1) acquire Indigenous lands and resources, and (2) reduce financial responsibility to Indigenous peoples. The primary way in which these two objectives were to be achieved was through the physical, legal, social and spiritual elimination of Indigenous peoples. I say "elimination" because that is the word which best describes government intentions. Most people today use the term "assimilation" but to my mind, this word is much too soft to describe the design and impact of government policies on Indigenous peoples in Canada. To some readers, the term "elimination" may seem a little harsh, somewhat of an exaggeration, or perhaps rhetoric blown out of proportion which forgets the good intentions governments, churches and traders had for Indigenous peoples. I beg to differ - not because I fall into any externally imposed category of left-wing, liberal, radical or "nutbar". I

Mitt Romney's World Domination Plot...errr Platform

As I watched the Republican convention last night, for just a moment, I thought I was watching an episode of Pinky and The Brain. Remember that kids show, two genetically-altered lab mice who plot to take over the world each night and ultimately fail? Mitt Romney's speech, although more empassioned than his usual robotic-millionaire self, was just a tad frightening. Mitt Romney (aka The Brain) and his running mate, Paul Ryan (aka Pinky), are hoping that Americans buy into their bid for the top job as leaders of the United States of America (i.e., take over the world). Their plan is eerily familiar somehow.... can't quite place it, but sounds an awful lot like a modern version of terra nullius and imperialism 101. First of all, Romney opens his speech with a very telling line: "We're a nation of immigrants." True, they are all immigrants. However, they are not a nation - they

Harder Politics When No Skin in the Game: Time to Address Racism

Is it just me, or is there something about this unusually hot summer that has scrambled the brains of business owners, community groups and politicians? It seems to me that in the last few weeks, I have received no end of e-mails and messages on social media from concerned Indigenous peoples from all over Canada. What is their concern? It's the fact that in the year 2012, we STILL have Canadians who believe it is acceptable to profit from or completely ignore the blatant racism being perpetrated against Indigenous peoples. Eska Water: Perhaps it is just the heat because last year around this time, I wrote a blog about the discriminatory advertising being used by Eska Water. Their commercial for "pure" water included three men who were a mish-mash of stereotypes depicting Indigenous peoples. When confronted with the racist commercial, a spokesperson defended the company by saying "the depiction was a generic one of native people and not meant to represent any spe