Memories of G20

>> Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Interesting.... CTV news is on and I happened to catch a bit re: what Canadians will remember about the G20 debacle earlier this year....

According to CTV, apparently, all we are (supposed to?) remember is the ridiculous spending on silliness such as the fake lake and glow sticks.

Really? Huh!

I must be doing it wrong.... because when I think of the G20, the amount of money spent is pretty far down on my list.

Me, I'm inclined to remember the things that absolutely disgusted and appalled me:
innocent people abused, imprisoned - beaten, for God's sake, for the crime of being too slow to get up from the ground when the bullies cops ordered him to. How DARE he have an artificial leg? And there was Mr. Nobody - yes, that is his name - and for that, our fine bullies cops laid a beating on him. To serve and protect, my ass!

I also happened to catch entirely too many of Chief Blair's media conferences to ever make the mistake of thinking that man has any credibility at all. I do not understand why he is still there! First he made a big deal of showing all the weapons the bullies cops had confiscated from the protestors... oops... wait a sec there... yeah... no... most of those had absolutely nothing to do with G20 protestors... oops, my bad. Tee hee.

And THEN we have the whole line of BS about how they couldn't POSSIBLY identify any of the bullies cops that were video-taped behaving badly, cuz, you know.... they weren't wearing their right badges and like NO-ONE could POSSIBLY expect a cop to recognize another cop they work with every damn day without a name tag now could they? Oh dear... oopsie again... the TO Star was able to ... yeah...we're co-operating with all investigations... or not. Heard that interview on CBC radio .... I'm sure people in cars all around me were wondering who the crazy woman screeching in fury was.

Anyway....I could go on and on and on about the whole thing.... Canada did not acquit itself at all well, if y'ask me.... and every single Canadian should be concerned about what that means for our right to have opinions and to voice them without the Canadian state responding with brutality, BS and outright lies - but the point of this particular post was CTV's suggestion that it is the cost that Canadian's remember.


And a clear indication, I think, that one must pay attention to the media and think critically about what they are feeding us - or trying to.

Do they think if they tell us often enough that its the fake lake we care about, we'll forget about the rest? Actually, they quite likely do... it has worked before, and it will, no doubt, work again.... *sigh*

We must pay attention!


Theft of Indian land ... simply not true

>> Saturday, December 18, 2010

...or is it? It all depends on whose version of events you want to go with. This week, a guest editorial in the Midnorth Monitor shared his particular (white, Eurocentric, male) version of the Robinson treaties. I won't post it here, because I'm not too interested in giving that sort of thinking a boost, but here's the link.

And here is my response, which I today submitted to the Midnorth Monitor.

I was interested to read Mr. Best’s perceptions of the Robinson Huron and Robinson Superior treaties; there are many other perceptions and interpretations available, of course, including, even, those on the Canadian government’s own Indian and Northern Affairs site, which offer entirely different depictions of the process and of the violence and hostilities that preceded it. Rather than offering a study of the many different viewpoints of the history of these events, however, I thought I might draw attention to a few key facts.

First of all, if the Natives involved truly, as Mr. Best himself writes “felt they had no other option,” how is it possible that they also “freely” signed the treaty, as he claims? These two claims, obviously, are in complete opposition to each other. Also, he argues that “it was territory that the Indians had never, in any real sense, effectively possessed in the first place.” And here we have a lovely demonstration of the sort of white-guy colonialism that we here in enlightened Canada have supposedly moved beyond in these supposedly post-colonial times.

It is true, of course, that Aboriginal people in Canada and elsewhere around the world, had – and have – different principles when it comes to the ownership of land and resources. In keeping with those principles, land is not subject to ownership but rather to collective and co-operative use. So no, the Aboriginal peoples of this land did not write up deeds, or build fences and put up “No Trespassing” signs. They did not, by colonial standards, “effectively” possess the land. But when are we going to wrap our (white, Eurocentric, male) heads around the fact that our (white, Eurocentric, male) ways are not the only ways? Aboriginal law was centred around principles of collective collaboration and cooperation; we (white, Eurocentric, male) societies favour individualism and adversarial and punitive systems. Mr. Best, apparently, is rather too fond of his (white, Eurocentric, male) principles and systems to consider that perhaps there might be other ways of interpreting history – and even more importantly – other ways of doing and being.

When I look at the horrendous damage our (white, Eurocentric, male) ways cause not only Aboriginal peoples in Canada, but also women, the poor, and many, many others, and the environment as well, I often wonder why we even bother to cling so desperately to our (white, Eurocentric, male) ways. It is time, I think, to consider unclenching our fingers and challenging our (white, Eurocentric, male) ways ....because they are simply not true.

Don't know if they'll print it, but hey...what can it hurt?


Federal Government Approves MacKenzie Pipeline

>> Thursday, December 16, 2010

Money, money, money....always money... in a neoliberal world :(

I stopped by Google news this evening and was distressed to read that Canada's Federal government has approved the MacKenzie pipeline - in spite of the fact that it is no secret that to go ahead with the project is likely to have major negative ramifications for both the people and the environment.

But hey, who cares? It's all about the money, n'est-ce pas?

I was particularly distressed to see that, according to the article in the Vancouver Sun,

Absent but in discussions are the DehCho which hold 40 per cent of the lands the pipeline will go through in southwest NWT, and the only one of the group to yet resolve its land claims with the feds.
I read about the DehCho last year when I did a unit on the Berger Commission (1977) .... it wasn't required, but I was interested in finding out where the whole pipeline project was at that point.

Then, the DehCho were not jumping on board with the whole thing. They had not joined the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, and were standing up to the considerable pressure being applied. In an April 2010 report by the CBC:

Dehcho Grand Chief Sam Gargan said the pipeline should not go ahead until the First Nations resolve two outstanding issues with Ottawa: the unsettled land claim and a land-use and resource management plan for Dehcho territory.

Gargan accused the federal government of punishing the Dehcho by holding up progress on those issues.

"Over the last decade, the Dehcho people have repeatedly been subject to direct and veiled threats of false deadlines, as well as attempts to undermine and intimidate our leadership — all in an effort to get the Dehcho to take an ownership stake in the Aboriginal Pipeline Group," he told the board on Thursday.

The Dehcho First Nations claim traditional territory in the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories that would be part of the right of way for the pipeline.

The claim covers about 40 per cent of the pipeline's projected route. The Dehcho are the only remaining First Nations along the route that haven't expressed support for it.
So - I wondered if they had given up and joined the APG or if they had resolved their land claims. It seems clear from the Vancouver Sun article that they have not - but that the federal government has decided to just disregard that and steamroll on their way.

But hey .... Harper has agreed to meet with Aboriginal leaders..... and he's going to make Aboriginal education a priority....

So ... it's all good now, right?

I just visited the DehCho site... I feel sick. How dare we?

I am Canadian.... and I am sorry.


Canadian Outrage

>> Monday, December 13, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, in one of my classes, we watched a film called American Outrage, about the Dann sisters, elderly Shoshone women whose animals got in the way of a gold mine. The US government subjected them to repeated harassment, charging them with trespassing (on SHOSHONE land as per the Treaty of Ruby Valley) and rounding up and stealing their stock, and spending millions of dollars in their campaign against them. The Dann sisters fought back - took it all the way to the Supreme Court and the United Nations....and even though they won - over and over again - nothing much has changed. Almost 30 years of fighting for what is RIGHT. Ludicrous.

I wish I could say that such things don't happen in Canada. After all, we Canadians have apologized to our native peoples, eh? So we must be ever so much better than the U.S. right?


We apologized...but that doesn't mean that we have stopped behaving badly.

How long before we apologize for depriving the Algonquins of Barriere Lake of the money the Canadian government has been withholding since 2001? For once again imposing our will on them and engaging in deliberate attempts to undermine them at every turn?

When are we going to apologize to our missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada? We cut the funding for the Sisters in Spirit Initiative research - do you know why? I do. The same reason we are ending the long form census in Canada.

The Canadian government does not want us to know how many Aboriginal women go missing, or how many children live in poverty, or how many Canadian women work without wages or....

If we don't know about any of the problems they do not exist. The Harper government strategy for everything. Vanish the statistics. Ta dah! Problem solved. Magic!!!!

We can point to the apology that Harper made to our Aboriginal peoples all we want - it means NOTHING if the abuse does not stop.

It is not enough to close the residential schools and apologize if we turn around and find other ways to abuse our Aboriginal peoples. Five new prisons! And Aboriginal peoples are the fastest growing population in our prisons - a trend that we EXPECT to continue according to everything I have read.

Why do we expect it to continue? Why is it so acceptable that even the Human Rights Commission, in their 2005 report "A Matter of Rights", just presents it as fact, without even questioning it, or, gee, I don't know - maybe suggesting that THIS IS A PROBLEM?

Aboriginal people are already over-represented in our prison populations - and now we're planning to build new prisons to lock up more of them and that's okay cuz hey, we only promised to end residential schools.

We can talk about decolonization all we want - it is only talk. And it is an outrage.

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