Topic: Today’s News

JOB POSTING – MN–S COMMISSIONER FOR REVIEW OF LOCALS

January 20, 2022 – Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) is looking for a talented professional to serve as Commissioner for Review of MN–S Locals in the province.

In response to the growth of the MN–S government in Saskatchewan, delegates to the Fall 2021 Métis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) had extensive discussions about the need to establish standardized practices to ensure the eligibility of Locals in Saskatchewan. Resolutions directing the appointment of the Commissioner for Review of MN–S Locals were passed at the MNLA on November 27 and 28, 2021.

The qualified individual must be non-partisan with strong comprehension and working knowledge of Métis political structures, culture and history. Travel will be necessary to facilitate province-wide consultations to examine the status of Locals, membership requirements and geographical boundaries.

The successful candidate will work independently to undertake a thorough review of the current structure of MN–S Locals. A final report, including organizational recommendations, will be presented back to citizens and the MNLA. The outcomes of this review will be used during the Constitutional reform process.

Interested individuals can submit a resume with cover letter and references to hr@mns.work before 11:59 pm February 18, 2022. Applicants of Métis ancestry will be prioritized.

This is a full-time, one-year contract position. A complete job description is here.

Nuu-chah-nulth Mourn with Williams Lake First Nations on 93 Potential Graves

Nuu-chah-nulth Territories: Nuu-chah-nulth peoples and many other First Nations people across  this country have been bracing themselves for the news that would come out today by the  Williams Lake First Nation regarding more potential graves found around the former grounds of  the St. Joseph Mission Residential School that was in operation within their territory for 90  years. 

We all knew there would be more numbers of children who had been buried in unmarked graves than what has already been uncovered and shared through the unearthing of truths we have  witnessed thus far. Since the T’kemlups Indian Residential School discovery of 215 unmarked  graves, the numbers of children who didn’t make it home has increased at other residential  school sites across the country. A reality and truth that has been oppressed and hidden for far  too long and a reality and truth that many survivors and families have had to live with throughout  their lives without appropriate care and supports.  

Our hearts are broken thinking of such a dark end to the lives of 93 beautiful children who could  have had good, meaningful lives and contributed to our communities.  

The results announced today are preliminary and may not reflect the entire immensity of bodies  yet to be found.  

“The practice of burying children and not notifying families and not sending them home is  reprehensible and only condemnation can be found toward the Catholic Oblates. Only guilt at  wrongdoing can be taken from this practice. Nuu-chah-nulth send our love, strength and prayers  to the peoples of the Williams Lake First Nation, all those families whose precious ones did not  go home and grieve with you for such atrocities,” says President Judith Sayers 

Mariah Charleson, Vice-President, adds, “I cried listening to today’s announcement. I cried for  the children who didn’t have the opportunity to live a life they so desperately deserved. I cried  for the children who suffered and those who continue to suffer the effects of these federally  funded and church-administered institutions created solely to ‘rid the Indian of the child’ and to  commit genocide. Today we heard the abuses that took place at St. Joseph Mission Residential  school, the rapes, the beatings, the burning of babies, the countless inhumane acts of genocide  inflicted on our people. I, yet again, feel sick to my stomach but this unearthing of truth is vital to  move forward.”  

We urge those who are traumatized and negatively impacted by this news to seek help at one of  the many services available.

We all must work together to ensure this never happens again to our children. We must also  work together to reveal the truths of how our people were harmed and support each other along  the way through this critical and extremely difficult journey.  

As more truths about residential schools are revealed, the immensity of achieving reconciliation  creates a great gap between governments, churches and First Nations. We call on all parties to  find resolutions for these insidious practices and set aside the dark history, but to always  remember so they do not ever happen again. We call on governments to provide all the  supports needed to First Nations as they go through these processes. 

UNITED STATES POET LAUREATE JOY HARJO NAMED FIRST ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE AT TULSA’S BOB DYLAN CENTER® IN ADVANCE OF GRAND OPENING ON MAY 10

United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo has been named the first Artist-In-Residence at the Bob Dylan Center (BDC), in advance of its much-anticipated grand opening on May 10.  Throughout the course of her six-year appointment, the Tulsa native and member of the Muscogee Nation will present educational programs and live performances, as well as curate special exhibitions, at the BDC.

According to Steve Higgins, Managing Director of the American Song Archives which oversees the BDC, Harjo’s tenure as Artist-In-Residence is integral to furthering the Center’s mission.  “As a poet, musician, playwright and author, Joy Harjo exemplifies artistry and brings light to the world through her work,” Higgins said.  “The BDC’s programs and exhibits will explore the creative process and inspire the next generations of artists, and we couldn’t be more honored that Joy is playing such an important role in helping us to fulfill our mission and establish our future legacy.”

In response to her appointment, Harjo said, “When Bob Dylan stepped forward and made his path of song making, poetry, and storytelling, a path that lit a generation, he opened a creative door for others to find their way to fresh invention and imagining. I am one of those who followed. My residency will allow this legacy to be extended to the community, to encourage and share creativity. I am honored to be part of this new venture.”

Images of Joy Harjo can be downloaded here:
https://bobdylancenter.box.com/s/kxck3hz5hmea299fv4rhtyiyrhwtsf0t

About Joy Harjo
Appointed in 2020 to a rare third term as 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee Nation. She is the author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and two memoirs. Her honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Harjo has produced seven award-winning music albums. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and chair of the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation. Her signature project as U.S. Poet Laureate, “Living Nations, Living Words,” features an interactive story map developed in conjunction with the Library of Congress that maps 47 contemporary Native American poets across the country and connects to an online audio collection developed by Harjo and housed in the Library’s American Folklife Center.
https://www.joyharjo.com

About the Bob Dylan Center®
To be anchored by a permanent exhibit on the life and work of Bob Dylan, the Bob Dylan Center is committed to exploring the myriad forms of creativity that enrich the world around us. When it opens in the Tulsa Arts District in May 2022, the center will serve to educate, motivate and inspire visitors to engage their own capacity as creators. Through exhibits, public programs, performances, lectures, and publications, the center aims to foster a conversation about the role of creativity in our lives.

As the primary public venue for the Bob Dylan Archive® collection, the center will curate and exhibit a priceless collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks, and correspondence; films, videos, photographs, and artwork; memorabilia and ephemera; personal documents and effects; unreleased studio and concert recordings; musical instruments, and many other elements. More information at bobdylancenter.com.

The Government of Canada and the Epekwitk Mi’kmaq sign agreement toward establishing a new national park reserve in P.E.I.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, along with Chief Darlene Bernard and Chief Junior Gould, co-chairs of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formally work towards the establishment of a new national park reserve in the Pituamkek area (Hog Island Sandhills) in Prince Edward Island.

The sand dunes of Pituamkek (pronounced Bee-doo-um-gek) form one of the most ecologically significant coastal dune ecosystems in Eastern Canada. The Epekwitk Mi’kmaq have been stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial, and the signing of this agreement affirms the Government of Canada’s conservation goals in the cultural and historic significance of these islands.

This MOU agreement helps fulfill Government of Canada’s commitment to true and lasting Reconciliation with indigenous peoples and a renewed government-to-government relationship with the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq (the Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island).

The signing of the MOU follows a public engagement process that took place between June 4, 2021, and July 23, 2021, to seek input from individuals and organizations on the proposed national park reserve. A data analysis and summary of results of the public engagement process demonstrate strong public support for the creation of a national park reserve in the Pituamkek area  (“What we Heard” report).

The MOU outlines next steps and provides a framework for collaboration as negotiations begin for an establishment agreement for the creation of the new national park reserve. Working together, the Government of Canada and the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq are taking action to protect this iconic natural and cultural landscape for future generations.

A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding can be found on the Pituamkek website. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/cnpn-cnnp/pituamkek

Women’s organizations denounce VPD spin on arrest outside women’s center; renew calls for real safety in face of increasing gender-based violence

(Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C – Women’s organizations in the Downtown Eastside renew calls  for community-led safety following an arrest made outside the Downtown Eastside Women’s  Center.  

The calls for action come after the Vancouver Police Department sent a press release on  January 17, sharing details of an arrest made near the Women’s Center where a man  wielding a knife attempted to enter. 

“It was our staff’s quick actions, experience, and training, not police action, that kept women safe from any potential harm, and we reject the VPD attempting to turn this into a media  opportunity to look like heroes” said Executive Director of the Downtown Eastside Women’s  Center, Alice Kendall. “In their own press release, the VPD acknowledge that the man had  already dropped the knife and walked away”. 

Women’s organizations in the DTES continue to see sexualized and gender-based violence  daily. Women and front-line staff respond and deal with, aggressive and violent predators and  incidents that often remain unreported. When police say, “many violent crimes go unreported in the Downtown Eastside,” this is a painfully long-standing and well-known fact to women and women’s organizations. Fear of further retaliation, or of repercussion due to engagement  in criminalized and stigmatized activities such as sex work or drug use, is real and extremely  harmful.  

The VPD’s press release is particularly egregious given that every day we witness how  current policing practices, such as coordinated street sweeps, do not contribute to women’s  safety and just waste municipal resources. “We also witness how ongoing disappearances  and reports of missing women, particularly Indigenous women and girls, muster grossly  inadequate responses from the VPD and RCMP. Despite a provincial inquiry and a national  inquiry into the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans and two-spirit people, there is no recognizable change in policing practices nor adequate supports for  communities and families who are searching for their loved ones.” further states Kendall. 

The Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, along with the WISH Drop-In Centre Society,  Battered Women’s Support Services, and Atira Women’s Resource Society, are renewing  calls for a community-led coordinated response. One year after expressing outrage of the 

ongoing sexualized and gender-based violence in the neighbourhood and no discernible  outcome, we are once again calling on all levels of government for an action plan. 

Access to safe spaces has been significantly reduced during the pandemic, with many spaces remaining closed or operating at reduced capacity. This is exacerbating the already existing,  overlapping crises of homelessness, a deadly drug supply, worsening health conditions, lack  of access to basic needs, and increased gender-based violence.  

While there are multiple reports and recommendations, what continues to be absent is a  coordinated and robust response to a shadow pandemic that pre-existed COVID: gender based violence in the Downtown Eastside. 

Cree Musician, Artist, Author Eden Fine Day Ready to Rock as The Vancouver Public Library 2022 Indigenous Storyteller in Residence

Vancougar frontwoman returns to songwriting, optimistic on Reconciliation and youth

Eden Fine Day is the VPL Indigenous Storyteller in Residence

Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Public Library is pleased to announce author, musician and visual artist Eden Fine Day as the Indigenous Storyteller in Residence for 2022. Starting in February, Fine Day will share her experience as an East Vancouver artist connected with her Cree culture using multidisciplinary storytelling techniques. During this residency, Fine Day will engage with the community through workshops, programs and events while also working on several creative projects.

Raised in East Vancouver, Fine Day was 14 when she first met her father and was reconnected to her family and community in the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan. “My father took me to the place where I was born and together we picked sweetgrass. He taught me the laws of giving and receiving from the earth and, for the first time, I realized there were people who held the same values I held, even though I had never met them,” said Fine Day.

The world is changing and Canadians are starting to realize that the very culture they tried to beat out of us is the one thing that will help us survive the global crisis. I’m ready to share what I know with the people of Vancouver, and the rest of Canada, so that we may move forward together.

During her time at VPL, Fine Day plans to write and record a new album of original music, which she will share through an online listening party at the end of her residency. She also has the early work on a YA graphic novel series, virtual classroom visits, development of a reading series and more projects for adults and youth to fill out her residency. “I especially feel called to share our worldview with children – all children – because in them I see a light that has not yet been doused,” explained Fine Day.

“VPL is honoured that Eden Fine Day has chosen to share her knowledge and creative work through the Indigenous Storyteller in Residence program,” said Christina de Castell, the Library’s Chief Librarian. “She brings a powerful voice and important perspectives that will enrich the community’s understanding of Indigenous experiences and the long road we are all on towards Truth and Reconciliation.”

Fine Day’s musical career spans more than 25 years as a songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. She has made six albums with three different projects, including three with the Vancouver-based rock band Vancougar. In addition to song, Fine Day expresses herself in fiction, nonfiction and occasionally through visual art. Fine Day has studied music, linguistics, literature and history in schools in the U.S. and France, and earned a BA in language studies from University of California, Santa Cruz.

The VPL Indigenous Storyteller in Residence has played a unique and valuable role at the Library since the program’s inception in 2008, using storytelling or other narrative tools as a way to highlight and share Indigenous traditions and contemporary culture. The program seeks to honour Indigenous cultures and to promote intercultural understanding and communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. More information about the program can be found at vpl.ca/storyteller.

LES CHEFS DE L’APNQL DÉNONCENT LE MANQUE DE SENSIBILITÉ DU GOUVERNEMENT DE LA CAQ À L’ENDROIT DE LEURS TERRITOIRES

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l’APNQL apprenait, par la voie des  médias, la tenue d’un Sommet québécois sur l’aménagement du territoire qui se tiendra  virtuellement le 27 janvier prochain. Non seulement, la programmation qui a été dévoilée  fait complètement fi des préoccupations, des droits et des revendications des Premières  Nations, mais aussi, cette annonce va complètement à l’encontre des propos tenus par la  Ministre Laforest lors de son passage à la Table des Chefs de l’APNQL, à la fin novembre  dernier, dans le cadre du Grand Cercle économique des Premières Nations et du Québec.  Rappelons qu’en cette occasion, alors qu’elle était questionnée par les chefs de l’APNQL  au sujet de la Stratégie nationale d’urbanisme et d’aménagement des territoires (SNUAT),  la ministre des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation s’était engagée à tenir des  discussions à un niveau politique spécifiquement avec les Premières Nations sur le sujet  considérant l’inconfort de plusieurs communautés autochtones à l’endroit de cette politique  développée de façon unilatérale par le Québec.  

Les chefs de l’APNQL s’opposent à toute forme de politique gouvernementale ou de  chantier d’aménagement concernant leurs territoires sans qu’ils ne soient activement  impliqués prioritairement dans les discussions. « Cette annonce en est une de plus qui  illustre le manque de sensibilité, voire le mépris du gouvernement de la CAQ à l’endroit  de nos territoires » a mentionné le Chef régional par intérim, Lance Haymond. C’est  d’ailleurs dans ce contexte que les Chefs de l’APNQL en assemblée ont adopté l’automne  dernier une déclaration territoriale afin d’aviser officiellement le gouvernement du Québec  que les élus des Premières Nations n’hésiteront pas à recourir à tous les moyens à leur  disposition pour protéger leurs territoires et leurs droits inhérents, ancestraux et issus de  traités de toute action ou politique préjudiciable envers leurs peuples mise de l’avant par la  province.  

FNQL CHIEFS DENOUNCE THE CAQ GOVERNMENT’S LACK OF SENSITIVITY TOWARDS THEIR TERRITORIES

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The Assembly of First Nations  Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) learned, through the media, that a Quebec Summit on Land  Use Planning would be held virtually on January 27th. Not only does the program that has  been unveiled completely ignore the concerns, rights, and claims of First Nations, but this  announcement also goes against what Minister Laforest stated to AFNQL Chiefs during  her participation in the First Nations and Quebec Grand Economic Circle, last November,  in Montreal. On that occasion, when questioned by AFNQL Chiefs on the “National  Strategy on Urbanism and Land Planning” (Stratégie nationale d’urbanisme et  d’aménagement des territoires), the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing committed  to holding political level discussions with First Nations on this specific subject matter,  considering the level of discontent expressed by several Indigenous communities with  regard to this Strategy which was developed unilaterally, by Quebec.  

AFNQL Chiefs are opposed to any form of government strategy, policy, or development  project impacting their territories without, as a priority, being actively involved in  discussions. “This announcement is yet another announcement that illustrates the lack of  sensitivity, even contempt of the CAQ government towards our territories,” said Interim  Regional Chief Lance Haymond. It is, moreover, in this context that last Fall, the AFNQL  Chiefs in Assembly adopted a Territorial Declaration to officially advise the Quebec  government that First Nations’ elected officials would not hesitate to use all means at their  disposal to protect their territories and their inherent, ancestral and treaty rights from any  action or policy put forward by the province that is prejudicial to their peoples.  

About the AFNQL 

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization that brings  together 43 First Nations Chiefs in Quebec and Labrador. 

Anishinabek Nation saddened by loss of First Nations rights champion Tom Bressette

It is with profound sadness that Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Reg Niganobe announces the passing of former Chief and Councillor of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, Tom Bressette.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Tom Bressette-baa,” expresses Grand Council Chief Niganobe. “He has been a strong activist and voice for First Nation rights which has spanned decades. Throughout a remarkable life of leadership, he advocated and lobbied governments in a common vision of equality and unity to advocate for a better future for First Nations people. While he was best known for his strong voice, his actions also resonate throughout the Anishinabek Nation territory and beyond; we will certainly benefit from his hard work and dedication for years to come.”

Tom-baa served in the US Army for a period of time, travelling as far as Germany and other locations. Colleagues have remarked that it is through this service that he became disciplined in his roles. He began his career in First Nations as an addictions counsellor and was always an advocate on healthcare-related issues and that carried into every aspect of his work. He chaired the Anishinabek Police Service for several years, with a strong voice in ensuring parity of adequate safety equipment, the implementation of effective community safety practices, and establishing a high level of professionalism was consistent in the force. He also held the positions of former Ontario Regional Chief and Anishinabek Nation Regional Chief where he led many successful initiatives and was instrumental in the establishment of Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA). This was done in order to promote fiscal relationships and to provide training and certification for professional public service workers. Additionally, he was the former Southwest Region Anishinabek Nation Leadership Council Representative where he shared his wealth of knowledge and provided guidance.  

When he was Chief in his community of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, he worked alongside then-Grand Chief of Manitoba Phil Fontaine in honouring Elijah Harper for his work on the Meech Lake Accord. Along with Manny Jules and Southwest Regional Deputy Grand Council Chief Joe Miskokomon, Tom-baa spearheaded theStatistical and Land Management Act and pushed for a statistical institution for First Nation care and control of First Nation data and information. This was done to ensure a mechanism would be in place to challenge governments to include the science of relevant and accurate data behind programs and funding allocations. It has resulted in improved financial management capabilities in First Nations, as well as an avenue with which to challenge governments through the empowerment of accurate data.  Tom-baa also worked to help settle the Ipperwash Inquiry. The Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry came out in 2007 and Tom-baa was an advocate for the implementation of those recommendations that set the stage for resolving issues across the country.  

Tom-baa was also heavily involved in governance work and is well-known and respected for having a strong presence in assemblies. In his own community, he championed many notable actions in the areas of adequate housing, water and wastewater treatment, infrastructure, and the building of a health centre in his community, among many other things. He was also a strong supporter of Anishinabek Nation Health Transformation and spoke strongly about the need for a system to be created by Anishinabek, for Anishinabek. His dedication, achievements, and contributions were boundless and his voice and presence will be deeply missed. Tom-baa and his continuous efforts were honoured through distinction, including an Anishinabek Lifetime Achievement Award and a Distinguished Heroes in Health Award.

“On behalf of all Anishinabek Nation citizens and leadership, I offer our deepest condolences to Tom-baa’s family, friends, and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. His unwavering advocacy, passion, and dedication to First Nation rights, governance, health, community safety, along with his boundless love for his community, will continue to inspire us all,” states Grand Council Chief Niganobe.

The Anishinabek Nation flag will be lowered to half-mast at the head office in Nipissing First Nation.

*The term ‘baa’ in Anishinaabemowin means that the person has already passed into the Spirit World.

The Anishinabek Nation is a political advocate for 39 member First Nations across Ontario, representing approximately 65,000 citizens.  The Anishinabek Nation is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact. 

Indigenous Leaders Launch Groundbreaking Peace and Unity Summit

Wet’suwet’en Territory — Indigenous Chiefs from across British Columbia are meeting this weekend, on Saturday January 15, in a groundbreaking event calling for the immediate cessation of publicly funded police violence against Wet’suwet’en and other land defenders.

Endorsed by the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, the Wet’suwet’en Peace and Unity Gathering also aims to call governments and industry to account for their disrespect for Indigenous governance and authority over resource decision-making in their traditional territories.

In attendance virtually and in Smithers, BC, will be Hereditary Chiefs, Indigenous leaders, supporters and professionals who are like minded and like hearted.

“It is time. Pressures and violence must cease. Governments and industries must realize the Wet’suwet’en will never agree to having such violent methods used in order to force devastating projects on our lands and waters,” said Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks, John Ridsdale.

To date, the RCMP has spent more than $20 million policing Wet’suwet’en territory, $6 million of which was spent in 2021 alone. 75 people have been arrested on the territory, many at gunpoint. Two journalists were detained for three days, and there are continued reports of oppressive or violent RCMP enforcement of industry’s access to Indigenous territories.

“Although there were meaningful discussions happening with the RCMP—in particular the Gold Commander, and government officials who had hired an interlocutor—21 hours later the Gold Commander of the RCMP broke his word and led an attack on our people,” stated Chief Woos, Frank Alec, of the Gitdumden Clan. The hereditary chiefs and the RCMP have been at an impasse ever since.

Saturday’s gathering takes place days after the passing of Chief Delgamuukw, Earl Muldoe, whose hereditary name is tied to the landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling of 1997—Delgamuukw v British Columbia—which granted the right to exclusive use and occupation of Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en land by and for Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en nations.

“If you take a bucket of water out of the Skeena, the river keeps on flowing. Our rights still flow and they will flow forever,” Earl Muldoe said when Canada’s highest court ruled in their favour.

But 24 years later, Muldoe’s nephew, Hup-Wil-Lax-A Kirby Muldoe, is helping to organize this weekend’s summit because governments and industry continue to trample his peoples’ rights.

“Our rights have been choked. Having governments ram through the Coastal GasLink project at gunpoint is a grave insult to the spirit of Delgamuukw, and makes a mockery of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s and Premier John Horgan’s talk of upholding the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They are latter-day colonizers, not leaders, and just like their forebears they speak with forked tongues.” 

Support for Wet’suwet’en land defenders continues to grow well beyond their territories. More than 1,400 NDP members have signed a statement expressing frustration at the BC NDP government’s treatment of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, and at the federal NDP’s response. It is expected that a number of Indigenous leaders will endorse a declaration of Peace and Unity that will be presented at the summit on Saturday.

The event occurs at Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers, British Columbia, from 10am to 6pm PST by invitation. Members of the public can watch the gathering in full via LiveStream via Vimeo and Facebook