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  • Six Nations/ Brantford Every Child Matters Walk marks Canada Day
    by Lynda Powless on July 1, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    BRANTFORD- Hundreds wearing bright orange shirts emblazoned with the message Every Child Matters walked from Brantford’s civic centre to the site of the former Mohawk Institute Residential school on Canada Day, Friday July 1 in remembrance of Indigenous children who did not return home from residential schools. At the Mohawk Institute site speakers spoke of the abuses and what happened to children who had attended the schools. The walk was organized by the Brantford Region Indigenous Support Centre. It’s the second year for the walk.   The post Six Nations/ Brantford Every Child Matters Walk marks Canada Day appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • Court rejects bid by AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to overturn suspension
    by Lynda Powless on July 1, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    OTTAWA-The Assembly of First Nations says an Ontario court has rejected a bid by National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to overturn her recent suspension. The organization issued a statement Thursday saying an Ontario Superior Court judge declined to take action on Archibald’s request for a hearing prior to the start of the assembly’s annual general meeting next week in Vancouver. Archibald argued her suspension was unlawful because the executive committee does not have the power to suspend a national chief. The assembly’s executive committee argued that the potential court action raised issues that should be handled through an internal dispute-resolution process and the upcoming meeting. “This decision … does not support the claims that our actions were illegal or outside our authority,” Regional Chief Paul Prosper said in the statement. “We The post Court rejects bid by AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to overturn suspension appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • Six Nations Police investigate arson, employees avert serious damage
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 9:38 pm

     Employees quickly averted a potential explosion after man set fire to a gas pump at the Highway 54 business (KT GAS VIDEO PHOTO) By Bree Duwyn Writer Six Nations Police are investigating an attempted arson after KT Gas & Convenience & Tobacco employees averted a potential explosion Tuesday (June 28) when an intruder entered the business and set fire to its gas pumps. Six Nations Police responded to the fire at the business on 54 Highway, just east of Painter Road at about 10:30 p.m. to find night personnel said they had quickly extinguished a fire set at the gas pump after a dark coloured truck had pulled into the driveway of the business. A man exited the truck and crawled under a gate, that blocks the driveway afterhours, while a The post Six Nations Police investigate arson, employees avert serious damage appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • First Nations in Manitoba file lawsuit against Canada over 25 year old land agreement
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    WINNIPEG-First Nations in Manitoba are suing the federal government for what they say is a failure to live up to a 25-year-old land debt agreement. The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee of Manitoba has filed a statement of claim in Federal Court arguing Canada is liable for losses resulting from its failure to honour treaty land entitlements in a timely manner. The committee, which represents more than a dozen First Nations, signed an agreement with the provincial and federal governments in 1997 to address outstanding land agreements from when the Crown originally signed several treaties. In the agreement, roughly 405,000 hectares were supposed to be reserved for member First Nations, but the committee says they’ve received about half that. The statement of claim says the committee wants compensation for financial, cultural The post First Nations in Manitoba file lawsuit against Canada over 25 year old land agreement appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • 1st Native American treasurer to push economic development 
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    By Fatima Hussein THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON (AP)-Mohegan Chief Marilynn “Lynn” Malerba, the nation’s first Native American U.S. treasurer, comes from a line of chiefs who instilled in her the need to keep her tribe healthy and to survive. “It’s our job to leave footprints on the path for those who come behind us, so they may find their way easily,” she said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. Now Malerba, 68, will bring that mindset to two new jobs in Washington: Last week President Joe Biden appointed her U.S. treasurer and overseer of a new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department. As part of the first role, her name will appear on all new U.S. currency. “I hope to sign the currency either Chief Lynn The post 1st Native American treasurer to push economic development  appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • ‘Expansive’ range of Indigenous art, music highlighted during showcase
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    By Calvi Leon  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Indigenous solidarity is not just for one day. That’s the message behind an Indigenous artists showcase being held in Old East Village last week. “Everybody is always saying, what are you doing for (National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21)? It’s a holiday,” said Mikaila Stevens, a Mi’kmaq beadwork artist and designer with Rezonance Printing, an Indigenous-led print shop and education space in London. “But what are you doing the day before and the day after?” she asked. “Indigenous solidarity doesn’t just start on the day that had been given to it. It’s year-round.” Rezonance highlights the work of more than 10 Indigenous artists from London and surrounding First Nations at its shop at 629 Dundas St. The Solidarity Showcase, launched June 20, The post ‘Expansive’ range of Indigenous art, music highlighted during showcase appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • Star people reunite over and over through history in new play by Metis actor/writer
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    By Crystal St.Pierre  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tai Amy Grauman is excited to bring her highly anticipated play You used to call me Marie to stages and fields across western Canada starting on July 16. “The love story is about two star people who have come back to earth to their bodies at multiple different points in history and all the stories are about them remembering each other,” and sometimes not, said Grauman. The character Marie is based on one of her ancestors. For the past five years Grauman has been working on the play, which she said encompasses several different love stories all from her own family’s history. “All the stories came from my body. I didn’t ask anyone for a love story,” she explained, adding some of the The post Star people reunite over and over through history in new play by Metis actor/writer appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • ‘Forward together:’ Manitoba Metis graphic designer creates logo for papal visit
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    By Kelly Geraldine Malone THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG- Shaun Vincent points to his computer monitor at soaring eagles, salmon and a caribou herd that appear as if they are moving together in a brilliant blue circle. The Winnipeg-based Metis graphic designer knows the weight the image in front of him holds _ it is the logo for the Pope’s upcoming visit to Canada. No other papal visit has had a logo like the swirling blue image that Vincent designed. Each line and curve hold meaning for Indigenous Peoples across the country, materializing as a great circular tide moving in tandem with peace doves and a set of keys to represent the Roman Catholic Church. Vincent, 45, is an accomplished designer who has partnered with Indigenous communities and organizations for years. The post ‘Forward together:’ Manitoba Metis graphic designer creates logo for papal visit appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • Motorcycle ride raises funds for residential school justice 
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    By Evan Saunders  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter A long line of motorcycles descended on the Niagara Regional Native Centre on Sunday for the second annual Residential School Children’s Ride for Justice. “It’s been a long day. But it’s been an amazing day,” Ride organizer and Haudenosaunee Wanda Griffin said during an interview at the centre. Griffin said the goal of the ride is “to raise awareness of residential schools.” The ride saw hundreds of motorcyclists from across the province ride in solidarity with Indigenous people in Canada to offer support and raise money. Money raised from the ride will be donated to several organizations that work to help Indigenous people deal with residential school trauma. Some of it will go to the Niagara Regional Native Centre, which hosted the event The post Motorcycle ride raises funds for residential school justice  appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

  • For some, the Canadian flag has taken on new meaning this year
    by Lynda Powless on June 30, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    By Erika Ibrahim THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA-Puneet Luthra has always taken advantage of the Canadian flags his local MP’s office gives away so he can raise one at his Toronto home. “I just think it looks great. I think it’s beautiful,” he said. But this year, he said, it feels different. “The sad part is sometimes I wonder what people are going to think if I put the flag up,” said Luthra. “People could think that I’m someone with fringe ideas, like anti-vaxxers and things like that.” The country is typically awash in red and white on the national holiday, but this year people across Canada are reflecting on their relationship with the Maple Leaf. The “Freedom Convoy” demonstrations that gridlocked the streets of Ottawa in February may seem a The post For some, the Canadian flag has taken on new meaning this year appeared first on The Turtle Island News.

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  • National Assembly of Remote Communities holds first meeting
    by chrisk on June 20, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse speaks about severe gaps in services for children, youth and families in remote First Nation communities during the National Assembly of Remote Communities, held May 31-June 2 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (Screenshot) Nishnawbe Aski Nation leaders highlighted the importance of working with leaders from other remote communities on northern remote issues during the initial meeting of the National Assembly of Remote Communities, which was formed in 2021. The May 31-June 2 meeting was co-hosted by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) First Vice Chief David Pratt and Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “I’m very excited about this endeavour with FSIN and the many other regions that are getting together for the sake of our remote communities,” says Grand Chief Derek Fox via the Zoom virtual platform. “For those who don’t know what it’s like to live in the remote north … they endure the high cost of living, the cost of fuel, delivering any kind of services to say Neskantaga or Bearskin Lake. These are things that are often not taken into account when it comes to announcements of funding and ensuring that First Nations get the resources they need.” Narcisse says the leaders want to bring more attention to the plight of remote communities and to identify the severe gaps in services that are prevalent amongst children, youth and families. “Many of our communities within the remote north sit on very rich resource lands,” Narcisse says. “Our children, youth and families should be enjoying a quality of life that is exceeding what they (have) right now.” Deputy Grand Chief Victor Linklater says it is important to keep speaking up because “our children are precious.” “We want them educated, we want them strong, we want them powerful, we want them healthy, so we need to work together,” Linklater says. “It’s nice to see a good mixture of Elders, knowledge keepers, youth, leadership, technical people — together we can do great things.” Mushkegowuk Council Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday says it is important to fight for the children, noting that the current generation of children is facing a loss of their language. “The grandparents can’t understand their … great great grandchildren — it’s sad to see that because we need to speak in our language,” Friday says. “That’s why I spoke (Mushkegomowin) in my opening remarks. I’m trying my best to speak my language the way I was taught. All of my kids speak (Mushkegomowin), but my grandchildren don’t.” Theresa Sutherland, member of the NAN Women’s Council and Fort Albany citizen, says she has seen how the lack of mental health resources and services impacts First Nations women and by extension their communities. “While there are a handful of community-based treatment or land-based detox programs scattered throughout the NAN territory, they are underfunded and under resourced,” Sutherland says. “We need holistically comprehensive addictions treatment programs in every community. Women are the heart of our families, the heart of our communities, they can’t be expected to leave for the extended time needed to detox, then enter treatment and then move into an aftercare plan.” Ashley Bach, member of the NAN Oshkaatisak Council and Mishkeegogamang citizen, says she didn’t have an opportunity to grow up in her community due to funding inequities in rural and remote communities, noting she was apprehended at birth and adopted by a non-Native family in B.C. when she was five-years-old. “We feel at this present time there is no possible means of providing the special needs required by this child and there is simply no resources or facilities in our community that would enable this child to receive the best care possible,” Bach says, quoting a letter written by current Mishkeegogamang Chief David Masakeyash, who was a councillor at the time. “In that letter, that’s where they had to sign away saying that a family outside that wasn’t First Nation could adopt me and take care of me because they didn’t have those resources to do it themselves.” The National Assembly of Remote Communities was scheduled to focus on three major themes: the Journeys of Remote Communities; the Science of Measuring Remoteness; and Community Vulnerabilities Respecting Settlement Payouts. “Canada has failed our youth and families for decades, but I am encouraged that we now have a healing path forward,” Narcisse says. “The launch of the National Assembly of Remote Communities is an important step on our journey of long-term reform that will be First Nations led, as treaty and Indigenous rights holders, and based on our inherent authority to care for our children. I look forward to taking this historic step with our brothers and sisters from many nations.” Pratt says the National Assembly of Remote Communities was created by First Nations for First Nations. “This assembly will address the serious funding issues our northern and remote nations face daily and address those areas where investments are critically needed,” Pratt says. “Our First Nations children are our future, and we need to create a better path forward for them. This is the first step in that process.” Featured In Slider: noAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 01:44

  • NAN commemorates Orange Shirt Day
    by chrisk on September 30, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Executive Council will honour Indian Residential School Survivors, their families, and all the children who didn’t return home during Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events in Thunder Bay and Ottawa today. “Many people will come together today to acknowledge the truth behind the Indian Residential School experience. We will grieve for the youth who never made it home and honour the healing journeys of Survivors and their families as more unmarked gravesites are discovered across the country,” said Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum. “We will do everything possible to support our communities and ensure that any approach developed for the identification and recovery of our children will be led by Survivors and their families. We are committed to supporting Survivors, their families, and all NAN First Nations throughout the difficult work to come.” The discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School ignited calls for action and full-scale investigations and searches of former Residential School sites. Within the NAN territory, there were nine Residential Schools attended by First Nations children. Deputy Grand Chief Achneepineskum will join with Survivors, their families, and members of the public for NAN’s Orange Shirt Day commemoration on the grounds of Pope John Paul II Senior Elementary School in Thunder Bay at 11 a.m. NAN’s interactive community-building display will be on display while a Sacred Fire burns. This 16-panel display highlights Treaty relationships and dispels common myths and misconceptions about Indigenous Peoples. In Ottawa, Deputy Grand Chief Victor Linklater and Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse will attend National Day of Remembrance events on Parliament Hill and a Spirt Walk to Confederation Park. They will join with Residential School Survivors from across NAN territory, including members of the St. Anne’s Residential School Survivor’s Peetabeck Keway Keykaywin Association, who are organizing a teepee and pipe ceremony. Deputy Grand Chiefs Linklater and Narcisse will also visit the Beechwood National Memorial Center’s Sacred Space for the first public display of 57,000 tiles made by youth from across Canada to honour those who attended residential schools as part of the Project of Heart education program. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Wawatay NewsDate Published: Friday, October 1, 2021 - 02:28

  • Liberals re-elected as minority government
    by chrisk on September 21, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party were re-elected to form another minority government on September 20. "Thank you, Canada — for casting your vote, for putting your trust in the Liberal team, for choosing a brighter future. We're going to finish the fight against COVID. And we're going to move Canada forward. For everyone," the re-elected Prime Minister twitted out early Tuesday morning. This will be Trudeau's third term as Prime Minister of Canada. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Wawatay NewsDate Published: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 22:25

  • Derek Fox elected as NAN Grand Chief
    by chrisk on August 11, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Derek Fox was elected with 30 votes by Chiefs and proxies on Aug. 11 at the virtual 39th Keewaywin Conference. Former Attawapiskat Chief Bruce Shisheesh also ran for Grand Chief during the election — he received 11 votes. Deputy Grand Chiefs Anna Betty Achneepineskum and Bobby Narcisse were elected with Achneepineskum receiving 26 votes and Narcisse receiving 25 votes on the first round of voting. Deputy Grand Chief Victor H. Linklater was elected with 24 votes in the second round of voting after he and former Fort Albany Chief Andrew Solomon both received 22 votes in the first of voting for the three Deputy Grand Chiefs. Solomon received 15 votes in the second round. Deer Lake’s Randall Crowe, Muskrat Dam’s Joseph Duncan, Moose Cree’s Lawrence Jefferies and Aroland’s Howard Meshake also ran for the three Deputy Grand Chief positions. The official election campaign ran from June 12-Aug. 9. The election is being livestreamed and information about the election is posted at: Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Thursday, August 12, 2021 - 00:19

  • Walk Of Sorrow continuing journey to Ottawa
    by chrisk on August 6, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Walk Of Sorrow arrived in Kirkland Lake with the support of Beaverhouse FN and Matachewan FN leadership. Pictured is Walk of Sorrow leader Patricia Ballantyne (far right), a First Nation Cree from Saskatchewan with Chief Wayne Wabie, Beaverhouse FN and his grandson Dawson Moore as they arrive in Kirkland Lake. (Photo by Xavier Kataquapit). The Walk of Sorrow participants arrived in Kirkland Lake, Ontario on Wednesday August 4 to create awareness of the residential school era and to acknowledge the support of local First Nations. The walk was led by Patricia Ballantyne, a First Nation Cree from the Deshchambault Lake community of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. This June she felt a need to do something in light of the discovery of multiple unmarked grave sites near former residential schools across the country. As a residential school survivor herself, she wanted others to learn more about the terrible history of government sanctioned residential schools that affected generations of people and led to the deaths of thousands of Indigenous children. “I wanted to do something because of all the pain and emotion that I felt and from everyone around me. We need to talk about this history so that everyone, both Native and non-Native, can understand what happened behind closed doors. Then we can start healing as a nation,” said Ballantyne. She started her walk with her niece Sasha Michel from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and supporters have been joining on the way. They have have stopped in many Indigenous communities, cities and towns on the walk where they have been warmly greeted and supported. The group has the goal of arriving in Ottawa and the hope of meeting with government officials to address the residential school era and current issues dealing Indigenous child and family services. “This is a spiritual healing journey for us. It is not a protest of any kind. We just want to be heard. We want everyone to know what the residential school era was about and what it has done to our people, our culture, our languages and our communities. It is also our hope that at the end of our journey, we can start making changes to government programs and policies that continue to affect our families and our children in negative ways,” explained Ballantyne. On the 63rd day of their cross country walk, Ballantyne was grateful to Chief Wayne Wabie of Beaverhouse First Nation for inviting the group to visit the Town of Kirkland Lake. Chief Wabie, joined Ballantyne and her group as they walked through the downtown core to the Beaverhouse FN office. “We were honoured to have Patricia and her group in the community and we were happy to see everyone that came out to show their support. The recent awareness that has occurred across the country with residential schools is part of Canada’s history and it is knowledge that everyone should understand. What Patricia and her group is doing to raise awareness is spreading an important message that needs to be communicated to our government and to the public so that there is a true understanding of the history that Indigenous populations have identified for generations,” said Chief Wabie. During a small gathering at the Beaverhouse FN administration building, Ballantyne and her group were also greeted by Chief Alex (Sonny) Batisse of Matachewan FN. A special presentation of monetary support was also conducted by Councillor Stan Fox of Matachewan FN. Other gifts and donations were also presented. “We were honoured to visit with Patricia and her group and to see everyone gathered to acknowledge the sad history that all our communities live with. We wish her the best on her journey,” said Chief Batisse. Mayor Pat Kiely was also on hand to lend his support, to meet with Ballantyne and to acknowledge the history of the residential school era. “This is a significant time as it is bringing to light all the issues that have taken place in our northern communities. I think for Canada, it serves as a wake up call for everyone and a time for reconciliation. We always think of Canada as being a free country with all its freedoms that we have but there is a dark side of our history and we have to do our best to reconcile with our all neighbours,” commented Mayor Kiely. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Xavier KataquapitDate Published: Saturday, August 7, 2021 - 01:44

  • More than 2000 people evacuated due to forest fires
    by chrisk on July 20, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    A Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry online map shows the new forest fires in orange, active forest fires in red and current restricted fire zones in cross-hatched lines on July 18. Screenshot. About 2,000 people were evacuated from Poplar Hill, Deer Lake and Pikangikum as of July 16 due to smoke from forest fires near their communities. About 560 people were evacuated from Poplar Hill, about 630 from Deer Lake and about 865 from Pikangikum as of July 16. “There’s almost 300 (Poplar Hill evacuees) in Thunder Bay and there’s some other people who went to Cochrane, there’s 100 there, and there’s another (group of evacuees in) Kapuskasing,” says Poplar Hill Deputy Chief Alvin Owen on July 14. “Chief (Howard Comber) is still in the community and one of the councillors. I think there’s about 160 left over in our community — they don’t want to go out.” Owen says Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry officials told the community that there would be “a lot of smoke” from the forest fire. “For our community, that’s the first time — we haven’t had an evacuation before,” Owen says. “We were flown out by the (Canadian Armed Forces C-130) Hercules and the Dash 8 and a Caravan. I think there were 70 or 80 people on (the Hercules) and on the Dash 8 over 30.” As of July 17, Red Lake 65, sized at 12,325 hectares, was located about 7 kilometres northwest of Poplar Hill. Three FireRanger crews were assigned to protect the community and critical infrastructure. The fire behaviour was too aggressive to safely put out ground crews and smoke and visibility posed challenges for using firefighting aircraft in the area as of July 17. Fire officials were looking for opportunities to bring the fire to natural boundaries. Red Lake 51, sized at 45,776 hectares, was located about 24 kilometres west of Deer Lake as of July 17. The fire behaviour was too aggressive to safely put out ground crews and fire officials were looking for opportunities to bring the eastern edge of the fire closest to the community to natural boundaries as of July 17. Red Lake 77, rated as not under control at 17,120 hectares, was located about 36 kilometres west of Red Lake as of July 17. FireRanger crews were working alongside municipal firefighters to protect the community and critical infrastructure. Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler called for the provincial government to declare a State of Emergency on July 12 to trigger an immediate response to assist remote First Nation communities threatened by forest fires. “Three of our communities have been forced to evacuate, and if fire conditions and behaviour continue on current course the potential for full scale evacuations of several communities is a reality,” Fiddler says. “This is quickly becoming a NAN-wide emergency and requires an immediate, coordinated response. The City of Thunder Bay took quick action declaring a State of Emergency over the weekend that has allowed them to accommodate some of the evacuees from our communities, and we are grateful. It is time for the province to do the same so the appropriate personnel, equipment and supports can be mobilized before this situation becomes worse. Lives are at stake, there is no time to waste.” The provincial government issued an Emergency Area Order for all of northwestern Ontario due to the extreme fire hazard and increased forest fire activity on July 14. “I am monitoring the situation closely and the government is doing everything it can to protect communities and property in the area,” says Greg Rickford, minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry. “Public safety is our first priority, and we will continue to provide all support necessary to protect the health and well-being of those impacted by wildfires.” The provincial government also announced on July 16 that more than 100 firefighters and support staff from Mexico were scheduled to arrive in Toronto on July 17 to help fight against several large forest fires in northwestern Ontario. “We are thankful for the brave efforts of Ontario’s forest firefighters and all the people that support their efforts to keep our northern communities safe,” Rickford says. “Keeping people safe and protecting property is our top priority.” Thunder Bay Fire Rescue Fire Chief Greg Hankkio says about 174 people from Deer Lake and about 357 people from Poplar Hill were evacuated to Thunder Bay as of July 14 due to smoke and fire conditions. “Our role is to provide them a home away from home while they are dealing with a very stressful situation in their community,” Hankkio says. “They began arriving on Sunday (July 11), the rest of the people arrived on Monday and some into Tuesday and now we’re getting them settled and trying to take care of any medical needs they have as best we can.” In addition to Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, the local coordinating team in Thunder Bay included representatives from the City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Police Service, Superior North EMS, Emergency Management Ontario, Canadian Red Cross and Thunder Bay District Health Unit. As of July 17 there were 102 active fires in the northwest region, including 34 fires not under control, seven fires being held, 18 fires under control and 43 fires being observed. A total of 13 fires were called out on July 17. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 23:06

  • RoseAnne Archibald becomes first woman elected as National Chief
    by chrisk on July 9, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    National Chief RoseAnne Archibald was elected on July 8 as the first woman to hold the post after candidate Reginald Bellerose withdrew from the election after losing 32 votes on the fifth ballot. A sixth ballot had been announced before Bellerose withdrew because the winning candidate needed at least 60 per cent of votes to be declared as national chief. Archibald had 205 votes, which was 50.5 per cent of the 406 registered representatives for the national chief election, while Bellerose had 144 votes and 35.5 per cent. There were 350 votes cast on the fifth ballot, including one abstained vote. “My election as the first woman is a victory for all women, First Nations, Indigenous and women everywhere,” Archibald says during a July 9 press conference. “We saw a historic win with Kahs (Kahsennenhawe) Sky-Deer in Kahnawake as the first woman grand chief, Mary Simon was appointed as the first Governor General Indigenous woman and the AFN (Assembly of First Nation) chiefs have joined in this her-storical change. It’s absolutely essential that women and girls everywhere can see themselves represented at the Assembly of First Nations in a leadership role.” Archibald says her gender was not the reason she was elected as national chief. She previously served as regional chief, two terms as deputy grand chief, two terms as chief of Taykwa Tagamou Nation and as grand chief of Mushkegowuk Council. “It is the 31 years of experiences at every political level that has gotten me here,” Archibald says. “Women are worthy, women are capable, women are highly skilled. Our colonial and patriarchal systems need to be deconstructed and dismantled so that women and gender-diverse people can find a space in the leadership positions. The systems must be able to recognize women based on our ability to hold positions of authority and influence. Taking on this role gives women hope everywhere, not only that they can strive to be the national chief but they will also know that they can pursue their own dreams and create their own her-story.” Archibald says her “positive vision for the future” encompasses a healthy AFN organization that strengthens First Nation communities. “Further, First Nations sovereignty, jurisdiction and inherent rights are at the centre of my work, that those inherent and treaty rights will be recognized, honoured and implemented,” Archibald says. “We do have a 100-day plan, which includes a number of items, but there are some key issues facing First Nations that I want to tell you that are in some way going to be a part of my 100-day plan. The recovery of our children at former residential schools is a priority. There must be truth before reconciliation. I will support and advocate for resources for ongoing healing from intergenerational trauma, from colonization, particularly residential schools.” Archibald says she will be calling on the government partners as the new national chief to advance “true reconciliation” and to build an action plan to implement all 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. “With the recent recovery of our little ones, there is a healing path forward and we can only get there by working together,” Archibald says. “Other issues that face our people are the implementation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls action plan — this is a priority.” Archibald says they also have to address systemic racism within the health and justice systems. “We have to face the climate change crisis we are in,” Archibald says. “We’re seeing wildfires in B.C. that are razing whole communities to the ground — we have to take action.” Archibald had 206 votes and 50.7 per cent on the fourth ballot while Bellerose had 176 votes and 43.3 per cent. There was one abstained vote the fourth ballot. Former grand chief Alvin Fiddler withdrew from the election after the third ballot, where he had 64 votes and 17.9 per cent. Archibald had 129 votes and 36.1 per cent while Bellerose had 144 votes and 40.3 per cent. Candidate Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse was eliminated after the third ballot where she had the lowest votes, with 20 votes and 5.6 per cent. Candidate Kevin T. Hart was eliminated from the election after the second ballot where he had the lowest votes, with 25 votes and 7.1 per cent. Candidates Cathy Martin and Chief Lee Crowchild were eliminated from the election after the first ballot, where Martin had 15 votes and 4.1 per cent and Crowchild had seven votes and 1.9 per cent. Bellerose led the election for the first three ballots, with a one-vote lead on the first ballot, a three-vote lead on the second ballot and a 15-vote lead on the third ballot. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Friday, July 9, 2021 - 20:55

  • March honours found children
    by chrisk on July 2, 2021 at 1:19 pm

    Elder Ma-Nee Chacaby leads the No Pride in Genocide marchers beginning at 2:15 on July 1 from Waverley Park to Thunder Bay’s waterfront to honour the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian residential school. Photo by Rick Garrick. Thunder Bay’s No Pride in Genocide march began at 2:15 on July 1 to honour the 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian residential school. “It’s a grieving time for us (with) what they found and what they’re going to continue finding,” says Elder Ma-Nee Chacaby, whose memoir, A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder, was published in 2016. “There’s going to be more.” Chacaby says the turnout was “pretty good” for the walk from Waverley Park to the Thunder Bay waterfront. “It was a beautiful walk,” Chacaby says. “The line was so beautiful, you saw the orange coming all the way around the corner.” Chacaby says the signs were created by a group of youth a couple of days before the march. “I work with a lot of young people and they did the art,” Chacaby says. “We were fixing all this up at the Waverley Park, so a lot of it has to do with these young kids.” Cynthia Nault, one of the organizers of the march, says it was hard for her to see people celebrating and having picnics and fireworks for Canada Day when so many people are grieving due to the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential schools. “It’s really important for people to come out and do some listening and some learning and see what’s really going on in their own backyard,” Nault says. “I think Canada as a nation and Canadians have to do some serious work and decide going forward how they want to live with First Nations people. First Nations people have been here longer than Canada and our relationship between peoples used to be a lot better as was shown by the Two Row Wampum Belt, so I’d like to see us getting back to that type of relationship where we live together.” Lac Seul’s Ann Magiskan wore a special skirt that her partner saw in a vision about a week before the march. “So I commissioned my daughter Mary Magiskan to make this skirt,” Magiskan says. “There are so many messages in this skirt — every ribbon that is tied on here represents the first grave that was unearthed, 215 children. So I was honoured to be able to tie 215 ribbons while my daughter made the skirt.” Magiskan says the red colour in the skirt represents the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “It also has the water, Nibi, which is so important to life,” Magiskan says. “We are raised in water so it is a very important message to keep that message of caring for water as Anishinabekwe. We’re the keepers of the water, we need to start to honour that and share those messages.” Magiskan says the strawberries on the skirt represent new life. “And the last one is the children on the bottom, which represent the children that were taken forcibly,” Magiskan says. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Friday, July 2, 2021 - 20:17

  • Ontario Supporting the Identification and Commemoration of Indian Residential School Burial Sites
    by chrisk on June 16, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    The Ontario government is providing $10 million to help support the identification, investigation, protection and commemoration of Indian Residential School burial sites across the province. The funding will also ensure that culturally appropriate, trauma-informed mental health supports are available for Indian Residential School survivors, their families and Indigenous communities. “Like all Ontarians, I was heartbroken by the news of a burial site containing the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia,” said Premier Doug Ford. “That is why our government is partnering with Indigenous communities to address the loss of generations who are no longer with us, and the continued loss experienced by residential school survivors and their families. As we advance meaningful reconciliation, it is important that all of us continue to deepen our collective understanding of the legacy of the Indian Residential School system.” Across Canada, over 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and communities and sent to Indian Residential Schools between 1870 and 1996. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, there were 18 Indian Residential Schools in Ontario; the last of these closed in 1991, with some sites since repurposed, abandoned or destroyed. “We know that the tragic findings at a former Indian Residential School site in British Columbia are sadly not an anomaly,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Indigenous leaders and Ontarians are looking to governments to commit to the work of investigating Indigenous Residential School burial sites on a priority basis and our government is taking action to support this process through to completion.” Ontario is working in collaboration with Indigenous leaders to establish processes that will guide the work related to Indian Residential School site identification, investigation, protection and commemoration. Initial site identification will be the first step in a much more extensive process, pending the wishes of the affected families and communities. The province will identify technical experts, including archaeologists, forensic specialists and historians, available to lead the related research, analysis and technical field work required and ensure it is conducted to the highest standard. Indigenous communities will have the option to work in conjunction with Ontario specialists, such as those provided by the province’s Centre of Forensic Sciences and the Office of the Chief Coroner/Ontario Forensic Pathology Service. As Ontario continues to advance meaningful reconciliation, the province will also work with Indigenous partners to explore opportunities to deepen Ontarians’ collective awareness and understanding of the legacy of the Indian Residential School system. Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Wawatay NewsDate Published: Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 02:50

  • Brayden Bushby sentenced
    by chrisk on June 8, 2021 at 6:32 pm

    Brayden Bushby was sentenced to eight years less one month for time served in pretrial custody in the death of Barbara Kentner on June 7 at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Kentner, 34, died five months after Bushby, then 18, struck her with a trailer hitch that he threw at her from a moving vehicle while she was walking with her sister on a street in Thunder Bay in 2017. Bushby was convicted of manslaughter in her death in 2020. “What you did, Mr. Bushby, was not brave. It was not manly; it was not impressive. It did not make our community a better place,” states Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Pierce in her Reasons for Sentence. “Something happens when you attack the dignity of another person: you lose your own in the process. That is what happened here. With your trailer hitch, you targeted a vulnerable woman on the street when she could not protect herself. You did it from the safety of a vehicle, so that you could just drive away.” Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox says Kentner, a Wabigoon Lake citizen who had lived in Thunder Bay, was much loved and is very much missed. “Barbara was taken from us far too soon, and no sentence can relieve the anguish her family and friends have experienced,” Fox says. “It is encouraging that Justice Pierce acknowledged the powerful victim impact statements while delivering this sentence, and that she recognized the need to send a strong message of deterrence.” Fox adds that Pierce highlighted how Bushby targeted a vulnerable, defenceless woman, and that his actions have perpetuated feelings of distrust and insecurity for Indigenous people in Thunder Bay. “This brutal and senseless attack demonstrates the racism and violence that Indigenous peoples continue to face, not only in Thunder Bay but across the country,” Fox says. “We stand today in solidarity with Barbara’s family and all those who seek to end systemic racism and support equality and justice.” Coralee McGuire-Cyrette, executive director at Ontario Native Women’s Association, says there can be no true justice for Kentner’s family as her life has been lost. “No sentencing can ever address the grief from her family and her community and the community as a whole,” McGuire-Cyrette says. “We also have to remember Brayden Bushby was participating in the normalization of violence against Indigenous women, particularly in Thunder Bay. The practice of throwing objects at Indigenous people and Indigenous women here in Thunder Bay is normalized, it’s been acceptable. We have to look at calling for transformational change to address this violence.” McGuire-Cyrette notes that Bushby appealed his conviction and requested bail within hours of being sentenced by Pierce. “We are so pleased that the Court of Appeal denied his request for bail,” McGuire-Cyrette says. “We are definitely very happy and pleased that the court denied the bail while he goes through the appeal process.” Pierce stated in her Reasons for Sentence that Bushby treated the Kentner women like they were disposable and their lives and dignity were not worth his concern. “When you threw that trailer hitch, the impact was both immediate and far-reaching,” Pierce states. “At the centre of the circle was Barbara Kentner. She was seriously injured. The complications from her injury caused her pain and hastened her death.” Pierce adds that she concluded that Bushby knew he was throwing the trailer hitch at women and had minimized women, disrespected them and made them feel unsafe. “Your actions are an affront to all women,” Pierce stated. “The court has also been told that it is a common experience for Indigenous people in Thunder Bay to have objects thrown at them from passing cars: eggs, drinks, bottles, bricks, garbage. You have joined in this disgusting activity. Now we can add trailer hitches to that list. You perpetuated the feeling of distrust and insecurity that Indigenous citizens in the community feel when they are on the streets. You have confirmed that these assaults continue.” Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, NDP critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, and Toronto Centre MPP Suze Morrison, NDP critic for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Response, stated that the justice system has consistently failed Indigenous people in a press statement. “This long-standing pattern has normalized violence against Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people,” Mamakwa and Morrison stated. “This pattern must be broken. The sentence today is just one part of the long healing process for Barbara Kentner’s family, who are still without their mother and sister. The Kentner family has asked for justice for Barbara, and for Thunder Bay to be safer for Indigenous people. The government of Ontario has a role to play to ensure that call is honoured.” Mamakwa and Morrison also stated that the provincial government’s Pathways to Safety plan and the federal action plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ findings cannot just sit on the shelf. “The province must actively work to increase safety for Indigenous women and girls,” they stated. “A sentence for one man is a start, but not an end to Indigenous women and girls being the targets of an epidemic of violence, abuse, taking and killing.” Featured In Slider: yesAuthor: Rick GarrickDate Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 01:31