Canadian Dimension: Indigenous nations lead opposition to pipeline development

Photo by John Heminger With the plans for an Enbridge pipeline linking the tar sands in Alberta to the West Coast temporarily blocked, activists are mobilizing against TransCanada’s proposed 4,600-kilometre Energy East pipeline. If built, the pipeline would be the largest in North America and would see 1.1. million barrels of tar sands oil shipped ...

Canadian Dimension: How do we heal trauma suffered by Native communities?

Photo by Renegade98 It is not enough that the Attawapiskat First Nation has declared a state of emergency over the epidemic of suicides and suicide attempts among its youth. Our entire country should declare a state of emergency about the appalling health status, physical and mental, of First Nations and Inuit communities. Would we not ...

Canadian Dimension: Nunavut is still a colony.

In January 2014, The Globe and Mail published an op-ed by James Bell, editor of Nunatsiaq News and winner of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his journalistic contribution to Northern politics. The piece was entitled “Nunavut is no longer Canada’s colony. It needs to end its own deprivation.” In the article Mr. Bell argues, ...

Canadian Dimension: On the 12th Anniversary of the Grassy Narrows Blockade

Photo from FreeGrassy.net We, the women of Grassy Narrows, make a statement on behalf of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren on resource extraction on our traditional harvesting lands since time immemorial. We will continue to stand strong for our children grandchildren and great grandchildren as we celebrate the 12thanniversary of the Grassy Narrows blockade. ...

Canadian Dimension: Harper v. First Nations: The assimilation agenda

Photo from Public Domain Last week, in response to this summer’s Supreme Court decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, the Harper government quietly put forward an aggressive revision of Canada’s Indian policy. It is the first major revision of Canada’s comprehensive land claims and Aboriginal self-government policies since 1986. Under the Orwellian rubric of ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Canada is Not the Arbiter of What is Genocide

Any policy or law that denies people their culture is genocide. No adjective of “cultural” is required; genocide is genocide. In the Anishinaabeg tradition, the place where rivers intersect is an important location of truth. It is where rivers intersected that nations renewed relationships with one another as well as exchanged ideas and items. The ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Struggles against gold-mine on Indigenous land

FISH LAKE, Teztan Biny in the Tsilhqot’in language, is a pristine lake with an abundant rainbow trout population. Located on the Chilcotin Plateau, 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, British Columbia, Teztan Biny is a place where the Tsilhqot’in people have deep ancestral connections. The area is an active hunting, trapping and gathering site that ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Genocide on Trial

People began lining up even before the sun rose over the mountain ridge, quietly waiting their turn at a makeshift desk outside a home of wood and earth. One by one, relatives of the dead come forward. Brother. Uncle. Father. Nephew. Grandfather. Cousin. Son. Do you know where their bodies are? Estrella Polar. North Star. ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: Persons Day: The Indigenous Famous Five Contingent

Persons Day, October 18th, is a day when many women’s groups celebrate the efforts of The Famous Five for their role in gaining women’s rights in Canada. In 1927, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, and Henrietta Muir Edwards challenged section 24 of the British North American (BNA) Act’s definition of person. They ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: What was Former Prime Minister Paul Martin Thinking?

As an Indigenous woman I have been exposed to the atrocities of genocide through sex-discrimination and through the denial of land and resources. I continue to live with these genocidal policies and laws today and I work on the issues daily in the work I do with my section 15 Charter challenge and the work ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: The Dissociative State of Nunavut

Dissociation can be an involuntary coping mechanism to help with an overwhelming experience such as trauma or loss. Dissociative behaviour is usually a diagnosis given to an individual, but an analysis of the state of Nunavut today suggests that it is a concept that may assist in understanding the character of the territory’s political system. ...

Canadian Dimension | Articles: The Dissociative State of Nunavut

Dissociation can be an involuntary coping mechanism to help with an overwhelming experience such as trauma or loss. Dissociative behaviour is usually a diagnosis given to an individual, but an analysis of the state of Nunavut today suggests that it is a concept that may assist in understanding the character of the territory’s political system. ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: The Rise of the Native Rights-Based Strategic Framework

Years ago I was working for a well-known Indigenous environmental and economic justice organization known as the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). During my time with this organization I had the privilege of working with hundreds of Indigenous communities across the planet who had seen a sharp increase in the targeting of Native lands for mega-extractive ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Brazeau, Harper and Idle No More

The Brazeau affair — sad, repugnant and bizarre all at the same time — shines a light on two aspects of Canadian politics that desperately need some exposure. One is what it reveals about the state of “official” Aboriginal politics and its relationship to the Canadian state. The other, the almost exclusive focus of the ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: The High Stakes of Native Resistance

The blossoming of the Idle No More movement signals the return of native resistance to the political and social landscape of Canada and Quebec. With its origins in Saskatchewan in October 2012, this mass movement has taken on the federal government and more specifically the adoption of Bill C-45.[1] Its origins lay not in the ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Harper & Co.‘s failing math

Of course, we’re all familiar with the sometimes fawning, sometimes begrudging accolades for Harper & Co.’s tactical strategies: its PR manouevres, its playing of images, its essential ‘gaming’ of our political system. By attempting to jump on certain issues, policies and files with their own spin and aggressive marketing stance, they’ve tried to corner the ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Idle No More Visits The Sun

You have to give Ezra Levant full marks for chutzpah. A week or so ago he met a hundred Idle No More protestors at the door of the Toronto Sun. It was an interesting scene. The Sun had taken down its big logo from the front of its offices and police stood at the entrance. ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: The Power of Idle No More’s Resurgent Radicalism

The remarkable Idle No More movement is the biggest and most important national outpouring of grassroots aboriginal anger ever seen in Canada. Not since the late 1960s when Indians (as they then referred to themselves) and Métis confronted governments with demands for justice has such a dramatic and passionate expression of resistance been seen. As ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: More Idle No More

Canadians are hardly living up to their reputation for complacency. Coming hard on the heels of the ‘maple spring’ in Québec and the earlier Occupy movements across the country, and building on a longstanding grass roots opposition to the Enbridge Pipeline proposal, Idle No More has captured our attention and support as a promising moment ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Mr Harper’s End Game

It is telling that the Idle No More movement started with four First Nations women—Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean who gave the first “Idle No More” teach-in. Sylvia McAdam is a lawyer, as is Tanya Kappo, who first tweeted #idlenomore. Perhaps they are of the “New People” of the Anishinaabek Seventh ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Idle No More: Journalists on the Wrong Side of History

One of the great hazards of journalism is that a writer may come down commandingly on the wrong side of history. The Idle No More movement provides just such an opportunity, for the risk is most pronounced when a marginalized group undertakes to struggle against some social or political orthodoxy. Thankfully, some writers possess a ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: What if Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada?

There is a prevailing myth that Canada’s more than 600 First Nations and native communities live off of money — subsidies — from the Canadian government. This myth, though it is loudly proclaimed and widely believed, is remarkable for its boldness; widely accessible, verifiable facts show that the opposite is true. Indigenous people have been ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: #IdleNoMore: A Longer View

“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” —Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth Apparently decolonization happens when you are busy taking other stands. As activists in Canada this fall struggled to defeat a tuition hike in Quebec, to defy anti-union legislation in Ontario, and to block ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Infernal Wind, Eternal Nodin

An early winter nodin swishes the spruce, pine, bare aspen. Eternal, as a season turning, a planet spinning, natural as breathing. Nearby, an infernal wind charges across treeless ground, rutted with feller buncher tracks, the oxygen supply there growing more and more scarce. The blockade at Grassy Narrows began 10 years ago, December 2, 2002. ...

Canadian Dimension Feed: Nueva Esperanza

In a hut with dirt floors on the verge of becoming mud, Rosli Oded and her husband Aroldo Morales López swung their baby in a hammock. The rain that pounded the sheet metal roofs and tarps overnight had finally died down, ushering in a cool, grey morning. The new family offered us hot, sweet coffee, ...