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A Different Point of View....: The tale of two communities in crisis: Fort McMurray and Attawapiskat

Crisis situations are shaking two Canadian communities to their very core – the terrifying wildfires that destroyed Fort McMurray, and the epidemic of attempted youth suicides on the Attawapiskat First Nations reserve.The question arises: Why are bil… . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: The tale of two communities in crisis: Fort McMurray and Attawapiskat

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.- Scott Vrooman rightly makes the point that increased wealth at the top tends to splash outside a country’s borders rather than trickling down. And CBC News reports on how that process has been facilitated by KPM… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- The Ontario Association of Food Banks discusses the long-term damage done by childhood poverty and deprivation:When facing a very tight budget, food is often the budget line that gets cut in order to a… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Montreal Simon: The Emergency Debate and the Children of Attawapiskat

I watched the emergency debate in the Commons on the crisis in Attawapiskat, and I heard some fine speeches.Especially the one from Charlie Angus. No one can understand "how a country as rich as Canada can leave so many young children and young p… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Emergency Debate and the Children of Attawapiskat

Montreal Simon: Why Canadians Need to Rush to the Rescue of Attawapiskat

Attawapiskat, the small First Nation's community on the edge of James Bay, is a place well known to many Canadians.And sadly for all the wrong reasons.Five years ago it had to declare a state of emergency to deal with a severe housing crisis.Now … . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Why Canadians Need to Rush to the Rescue of Attawapiskat

Politics, Re-Spun: No, BC Actually Mentored Saskatchewan’s Poor-Bashing

Despite being Metro News, Emily Jackson’s great piece yesterday [below] about how brutally cruel the Saskatchewan government is should make us mindful of a number of issues. Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies. That makes the BC … Continue reading No, BC Actually Mentored Saskatchewan’s Poor-Bashing

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Politics, Re-Spun: What I Am Thankful For

This weekend, I am thankful for folks in Seattle who know how to transform the imperialist Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

May we all learn this for next year!

“We are all citizens in a democracy, we are all here to work with each other, and by making this Indigenous People’s Day, we are adding something, we are not taking something away. We can both recognize our strengths.”

“We are not reveling in the pain of our past, but rejoicing in the celebration of a triumph—the voice of the indigenous people who are saying ‘we are still (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Just How Lazy ARE Indigenous People, Anyway?

It’s a trick question.

And let’s not forget how many of us are told we are inherently lazy because we are native. Hard to shake that.

via Twitter / apihtawikosisan: And let’s not forget how many ….

And if you want to read one person’s analysis of destructive, racist stereotypes, try this on, from Frank Assu, also known as Tlakwatsi, a member of the We Wai Kai First Nation of Quadra Island.

December 4, 2013 Are We Good Allies to First Nations? (0) July 25, 2013 Why We Must #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors [#INM] (1) December 17, 2013 (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Fried Squirrels

It’s a crisp, foggy November Saturday morning in the south side of the city. Seventeen people sit in the large open area at the back end of an organic fair trade coffee shop run by a workers’ co-op inspired by the Mondragon movement in Spain. Meet-ups like this are quite common in this shop.

The male and female co-facilitators move briskly through the agenda with the help of the nodding volunteer maintaining the speakers list. There are sporadic jazz-hand gestures, common from the Occupy Movement, as well as a strict yet comfortable group norm of only one person speaking at (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Are We Good Allies to First Nations?

This is what solidarity looks like; make sure it’s authentic!

Lots of us care about deepening relationships with and social/economic/political justice for first peoples. It’s hard to come in, though, sometimes as a person from an oppressor or settler class. But there is a good checklist to make sure we’re actually contributing effectively.

It’s hard to know how to live humility, sincerity and really really good listening to make sure we are not a hindrance, but this Ally Bill of Responsibilities does a good job of helping us be mindful of humility, and maintaining a sincere focus on assisting those (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Is Harper’s Canada a “Genocide”-Free Zone?

The CMHR: a “genocide”-free zone.

Genocide is a pretty serious word. It invokes the Holocaust, Pol Pot, Rwanda and some other high profile human eradication attempts.

But Canada, being Canada these days, is loathe to admit that it had any part in any kind of genocide. No. Not us. We’re so nice.

But the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will not be using the word when it comes to our historical “treatment” of the first peoples. Since the museum is part of the federal government’s propaganda wing, I can understand why it is avoiding the word. While a museum spokesperson (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Why We Must #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors [#INM]

I don’t know why we still have to do this kind of thing, but here goes. The federal government “apologized” to survivors of residential schools 5 years ago. It is clearly quite empty, considering how much neglect, abuse, victimization and racism has spewed forth from Stephen Harper’s government since then.

So. We actually need to insist that the grown ups who run our country, with less and less democracy every day, need to treat their apology with some sincerity. Honestly, it’s not like we’re talking to a 4 year old who is just learning why apologies happen.

So, here’s (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research And Human Biomedical Experimentation In Aboriginal Communities And Residential Schools, 1942–1952

The full-text of the paper that everyone is talking about can be found here.  The researchers do not come off as being quite as reprehensible as they seem in media reports.  For example, there appears to have been some effort to use their research to refute common stereotypes:

It is not unlikely that many characteristics, such as shiftlessness, indolence, improvidence and inertia, so long regarded as inherent or hereditary traits in the Indian race may, at the root, be really the manifestations of malnutrition. Furthermore, it is highly probable that their great susceptibility to many diseases, paramount amongst which is (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada Day +1, Our Quiet Genocide

A banner drop during last night’s Canada Day celebration in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square. (Photo: IdleNoMore.ca)

Canadians are so nice. We have such a happy, positive self-concept. This makes it quite hard to address the quiet genocide of first peoples that our nation has conducted for centuries.

What is genocide? The UN’s Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide includes this [I've bolded a few that stand out for me]:

…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan Unexpectedly Resigns, Says He Lobbied A Tax Court Judge

by Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive, Feb. 15, 2013: Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan resigned from Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s cabinet Friday after admitting that he lobbied a tax court judge on behalf of an unnamed constituent. Duncan, the Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North, issued a statement in which he said he wrote “a character reference letter to READ MORE

350 or bust: Idle No More: A Response By People Who Feel Like Hostages In Their Own Country

If you’re looking for some more information on the IdleNoMore campaign, MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) gives a good summary in this video. He is discussing the NDP Opposition Day motion on dealing with First Nation economic development and treaty rights. The response from the CPC MP, Cheryl Gallant, who represents a more southerly Ontario [...]

The Canadian Progressive: Chief Theresa Spence Ends 43-Day Hunger Strike With Declaration “Towards Fundamental Change”

by Guest Blogger | The Canadian Progressive, Jan 25, 2013 Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence signed the First Nations declaration that ended her 43-day hunger strike at Ottawa’s Victoria Island . The 13-point declaration, entitled “First Nations: Working Towards Fundamental Change”, was signed jointly with First Nations leaders and Canada’s federal opposition parties. As The Canadian Progressive publisher, READ MORE

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Erika Shaker rightly tears into the special brand of FAIPOF demanding that First Nations protesters focus solely on their own community leaders rather than recognizing broader and more systematic inequality: Much is being made of Chief Spence’s Escalade (although I’m unsure if she actually owns one or if it’s urban legend) to try and mock the principled stand she has taken to call attention to the shameful conditions in which so many Indigenous peoples live. Because apparently if she had figured out how to stretch those shamefully inadequate federal transfers instead of engaging

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Art Threat: The People of the Kattawapiskak River: watch for free until January 18

With Attawapiskat and its band chief, Theresa Spence, remaining in the headlines, the NFB has made Alanis Obamsawin’s new documentary on life in the First Nation community available for free.

The People of the Kattawapiskak River can be streamed online at NFB.ca until Friday, January 18. Or just click the play button above and watch it right here.

From NFB.ca:

Alanis Obomsawin’s documentary The People of the Kattawapiskak River exposes the housing crisis faced by 1,700 Cree in Northern Ontario, a situation that led Attawapiskat’s band chief, Theresa Spence, to ask the Canadian Red Cross for help. With (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Daniel Wilson takes a look at how far too many in the media went along with the Harper Cons’ hatchet job against First Nations: (C)ompare the generalized outrage last week to the shrug elicited by the non-indigenous mayors around the country who have resigned after corruption allegations, are currently being investigated for fraud or sued for conflict of interest. 

By the standard applied to First Nations, the situations in Montreal, Laval, Mascouche, London, Toronto, Mississauga and Winnipeg are proof that all non-indigenous governments are corrupt and mismanaged and should have their funding

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The Canadian Progressive: Chief Spence decries Harper’s “paternalistic relationship” with Aboriginals

For Immediate Release: January 11, 2013, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples: Chief Theresa Spence is standing firm on her request that both Prime Minster and Governor General of Canada need to be present and participate at the meeting with First Nation leaders. This statement comes on the heels of the Governor General READ MORE

Politics, Re-Spun: Attawapiskat Audit is Merely a Distraction

Green Party leader Elizabeth May published a well-thought out and clear article on Wednesday, breaking down the reasons why the ongoing media banter about Attiwapiskat fund mismanagement and Chief Theresa Spence are merely distractions from an ongoing legacy of government failure to protect indigenous people and the environment. Twitter and Facebook have become virtual battlegrounds for both government supporters and those who are involved with the Idle No More uprising. Racism, sexism and classism are rampant, and tension arising from finger pointing and blame displacement are escalating. The crux of it all is that the Canadian government, and the majority

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Attawapiskat Audit is Merely a Distraction

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Daniel Wilson discusses how Stephen Harper’s antipathy toward First Nations is making a failure of his time in office: On the global stage, he stood almost alone in opposition to 144 other countries in voting against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Domestically, he has tabled bills that diminish First Nations jurisdiction to that of administrative agencies of the federal government.  His party has consistently claimed that First Nation governments are corrupt or mismanaged.  He killed the Kelowna Accord. His steadfast refusal to fund First Nation child

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BigCityLib Strikes Back: Some Numbers

Government spending per capita, Toronto: $24,000.Government spending per capita,  Attawapiskat: 11,355.

That is all.