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Equity in Aboriginal education is the only way forward

Canada is celebrated for its contributions to human rights: a beacon of hope for immigrants, a safe haven for refugees, a country of high quality of life. Yet when it comes to the experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, we are hard pressed to deal with a blind spot that has been with us throughout our history.

Canada was a leading force in the 1948 UN Declaration on Human Rights, but denied status Indians the right to vote in federal elections until 1960. Today, Canada is in the top 10 countries on the UN Human Development Index, but First Nations communities ranked 68th, reflecting structural inequities in access to education, housing and clean water.

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Miigwech to our Elders

Thanks to Elders of Turtle Island: Shirley Horton-Kampa and Agnes Grover, of the Rainy River First Nations. Photo: Robert Animikii Horton

This is a sincere and humble message of appreciation and acknowledgement to the Elders who have made a difference in my life as teachers, counsellors and mentors.

To all those who have brought their strong and resilient voices forward in the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

And, respectfully, this piece is dedicated to ALL our Elders across Turtle Island.

This is for all the Elders who we told how much they were appreciated; and all the Elders who we didn't remind, or who we don't remind enough.

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Billy Diamond tells his own story

Chief Dr. Billy Diamond. Photo: Ian Diamond/www.rezmutt.ca
The former grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, a passionate defender of his people, died on September 30. This is a speech from earlier this year.

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Majority of residential school survivors decline to give statements

Ruth Scalplock, a 66-year-old residential school survivor, came from Alberta's Siksika Nation to Winnipeg to attend the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings. 'I want to support the survivors,' she says.  Photo: Kaj Hasselriis.
Many travelled hundreds of miles to take part in the five-day Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Winnipeg, but only about 10 per cent made official statements about the abuse they suffered.

Related rabble.ca story:

Majority of residential school survivors decline to give statements

Freda Bear to her mother Gertrude Walker. Photo: Kaj Hasselriis

Ruth Scalplock, a 66-year-old residential school survivor, came from Alberta's Siksika Nation to Winnipeg to attend the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Hearings into residential school abuse. 

Not to make a statement to the commission, though. "I want to support the survivors," she said. The process of speaking out herself is too "painful."

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Funding cuts a catastrophe for residential school survivors

Executive Director of the NWSM, Nakuset, at a Women's Policy meeting with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, on March 14 in Montreal. Photo: Maya Rolbin-Ghanie
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation lost its budget less than two years after Stephen Harper's apology for the IRS system, and 134 healing programs are now unable to continue. Some will close today.

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Funding cuts a catastrophe for residential school survivors

Executive Director of the NWSM, Nakuset, at a Women's Policy meeting with Liberal Leader Micahel Ignatieff, on March 14 in Montreal. Photo: Maya Rolbin-Ghanie

The purpose of Canada's Indian Residential Schools (IRS) schools, which separated native children from their families for over 150 years, has been described by many commentators as "killing the Indian in the child. " It is estimated that nearly half of the children originally enlisted in the schools died of malnutrition and disease.

The last remaining residential school closed in 1996.

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF) was established in 1998, and given a mandate "to encourage and support, through research and funding contributions, community-based Aboriginal-directed healing initiatives which address the legacy of physical and sexual abuse suffered in Canada's IRS System, including intergenerational impacts."

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Protesters arrested at MP Chuck Strahl's office

The six women who were arrested while staging a sit-in action at  the the Ottawa office of Indian and Northern Affairs minister Chuck Strahl. Photo: Greg Macdougall
The six women who were arrested while staging a sit-in action at the the Ottawa office of Indian and Northern Affairs minister Chuck Strahl. Photo: Greg Macdougall

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Columnists

Poland in the torture hot seat: Is Canada next?

Photo: European Court of Human Rights. Credit: marcella bona/flickr

A little-noticed European Court of Human Rights decision regarding Polish complicity in torture may well have ripple effects on this side of the Atlantic and, hopefully, produce some accountability in the Ottawa bunkers of CSIS, the RCMP, and the foreign affairs and justice bureaucracies. In addition, its precedent would be most useful in hauling some high-profile Liberals out of their comfortable retirement to inquire about their role in the CIA-led global kidnap and disappearance-to-torture regime that has marked much of the 21st century.

June 13, 2014 |
Activists gathered to sign and mail letters to Stephen Harper and MPs demanding justice be restored to First Nations Children by providing them culturally based equity.
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