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Genocide, racism and Canada Day: An Algonquin-Anishinaabekwe love letter

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The Indian Act, legislative silence and ongoing sex discrimination in Canada

Sharon McIvor at protest on Parliament Hill, May 2010.

Legislative change must be more than about a government using it as an opportunity to create, and mask, new forms of sex discrimination through legislative silence. This is exactly what Canada has done.

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A mother's love unknown

As most Canadians know Stompin' Tom Connors (1936-2013) recently passed away into the spirit world. Although I was not familiar with his music, I was familiar with his name. As a younger person I remember moments when it was stated that my biological father had a friendship with Stompin' Tom. I assumed this relationship emerged through the bar rooms of Toronto and throughout Ontario, yet at other times I wondered what my father and Stompin' Tom held in common.

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The heart break of Algonquin genocide

In the process of building Canada, the British imposed different languages (French and English), religions (Catholic and Protestant), and legal systems (French Civil Law and British Common Law) on the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation and consequently divided us into two entities.

 While what is Canada today consists of several provinces and two territories, in its early stages Canada consisted of Upper and Lower Canada, which are now the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. During the early stages of European exploration the main mode of transportation into the land mass we know as Turtle Island was what is now known as the Ottawa River.

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The turtle must lead, anything else is false solidarity

Photo by Nancy Smith-Blackwell / http://www.occupynewmexico.org/

Bill C-45 ignited Idle No More, both the moment in time and movement afterward. The moment that Idle No More signifies, though, represents a point or blip in a very long history of Indigenous people struggling to get Canada to respect Indigenous people's rights to land and water, live up to their treaty responsibilities and find their true humanity. Think about it, Pontiac’s rebellion took place in the 1700s. My ancestors have been doing their work for a long long time. Enough said on this.

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Canada's unstated paternity policy amounts to genocide against Indigenous children

Canada commits genocide of 25,000 Indigenous children through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's (AANDC) unstated paternity practice, yet relies on language -- unstated paternity -- that blames their mothers.

In 1943, Raphael Lemkin first coined the term "genocide" and proceeded to define the term. Interestingly, what many people do not know is that Lemkin defined genocide in cultural terms rather than in terms of killing and mass murder. More specifically, Lemkin defined genocide as having two stages. The first involves the denial of an oppressed group's national pattern; and the second stage involves the imposition of the oppressor's national pattern. 

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Canada's Court system: A hostile place for Indigenous people

I am appreciative of the public interest that people have in my section 15 Charter court case, where I am challenging the continued sex discrimination and the denial of Indian status registration due to an unknown paternal grandfather. 

When a father's signature is lacking on a child’s birth registration form, and the mother is registered under section 6(2) of the Indian Act, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s (formerly Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) “paternity trap” denies the child status registration.  Disturbingly this practice of denial also occurs in situations where the child is the result of sexual violence such as rape. 

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