'Nation to Nation'? Indigenous people and the Trudeau government

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The Liberals have continued on with the colonial attitude towards indigenous people. Trudeau speaks with a forked tongue.


The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has refused funding from the federal government because it doesn’t accept donations from funders that harm children.

Canada didn’t pass the society’s “ethical screen” and it has declined $149,000 in funding from Indigenous Affairs said executive director Cindy Blackstock.

“We don’t accept funds from groups that are harming children or who are violating Indigenous rights,” Blackstock told APTN National News Thursday. “Their conduct falls outside of our ethical screen to receive funds from donors.”

Blackstock’s comments come on the one year anniversary of a historical ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that found Canada guilty of discriminating against First Nations children by chronically underfunding programs and services compared to non-Indigenous children.

Since that ruling, the tribunal has issued two non-compliance orders against Indigenous Affairs for failing to meet standards set by the tribunal said Blackstock, who first launched the human rights complaint nearly 10 years ago, along with the Assembly of First Nations.

The tribunal has called for a compliance hearing to be heard in March.

“I am extremely disappointed in this government,” said Blackstock. “They’ve read the decision, so they know the answers are there. They’ve seen a half billion dollars announced for the birthday party (Canada’s 150th birthday). So they know there’s money out there somewhere. There just seems to be a lack of political and bureaucratic will to get the job done.”

The government has responded in affidavits filed Wednesday to the tribunal it’s provided nearly three quarters of the $71 million earmarked for 2016 for the First Nations Child and Family Services program (FNCFSP). It’s part of $634.8 million funding over five years announced in last year’s budget for FNCFSP. That funding was decided upon before the tribunal made its ruling said Blackstock.

She also said at least $10 million of that stayed in Indigenous Affairs for various costs associated with providing the funding to groups across the country.




Canadian governments of all stripes have failed in their relationship with indigenous peoples in this country. Trudeau says nice things and plays dress-up as an Indian while he implements the same inadequate strategy as Harper before him.


Article 1 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Some days, I wake up and I put on my T-shirt that says ROGUE across the front in bright NDP-orange letters because I wake up in a society where I am expected to remain quiet, obedient and, most of all, grateful to a colonial government that even in the 21st century paternalistically denies Indigenous Peoples our rights under the premise that they know best. I am expected to be thankful for temporary, piecemeal measures to remedy crimes that the Canadian government has, and continues to, commit against my people. I am expected to wait patiently for meaningful legislative changes that will end the colonial occupancy of our Indigenous legal, economic and social systems.  This society expects me to happily accept the mere pennies that they invest in funding our social services. Welcome to our dystopian present.



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Shacks, bullying and unemployment: Why isn’t #Article23 working for Nunavummiut?

Article 23 was written into the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement for one reason, to ensure that Nunavummiut had a chance at jobs in the territory.

The goal is to have 85 per cent of the jobs held by Inuit.

But somewhere, something went wrong.

APTN Investigates.

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Indigenous water solutions: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Cleaning up drinking water in Indigenous communities appears to be a case of two steps forward, one step back, according to new government numbers.

There are 71 long-term drinking water advisories — in existence for a year or more — in First Nations communities across Canada.

Since November 2015, 18 such warnings have been lifted, allowing the communities to drink their tap water.

But 12 advisories have been added, according to figures provided by the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. 

It's an example of the complex, tough task facing the Trudeau government, which has pledged to have all long-term drinking water advisories lifted within five years.


Federal bureaucracy

Many First Nations communities complain that it takes too long — from five to 10 years — to solve drinking water problems. They blame a cumbersome federal bureaucracy.

Bennett admits that one of her tasks is to simplify the process.

As the opposition critic, she heard from many communities that thought they were about to get a new water treatment system, only to find out the government had decided to order another feasibility study, delaying everything.

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Millions promised for Indigenous kids is subsidizing mining companies, internal documents show

Carolyn Bennett's story isn't adding up.

Despite sunny rhetoric suggesting they're taking a different approach towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the Trudeau government is having a hard time backing up its word.

In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett boasted that the federal government was spending "almost $200 million" on the well-being of Indigenous children.

Not only is there no evidence​ Canada is spending $200 million, but internal documents obtained through Access to Information by York University's Anna Stanley and reviewed by PressProgress suggest money Bennett claims to be earmarked for the well-being of Indigenous children is being spent to "attract mining investment" instead....

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Evidence of good faith lacking in Trudeau’s Indigenous agenda


The much-referenced nation-to-nation relationship has also failed to materialize. Trudeau’s government instead focuses all their discussions with three national Aboriginal organizations and not First Nations — the actual rights holders. We no longer hear discussion about Aboriginal, treaty and title rights except in court. Trudeau rejected the AFN’s call to have constitutional talks to better define First Nation rights and the nation-to-nation relationship — calling such discussions “squabbles.”

While Trudeau did ensure that work on the national inquiry began early on in his term, the actual creation of the inquiry was delayed, Indigenous peoples were excluded from drafting the terms of reference or choosing the commissioners. While a big flashy announcement was made in the fall of 2016 to start the inquiry, it still hasn’t started and likley won’t until spring 2017. With a limited two year mandate, the loss of six months could significantly impact the effectiveness of such an important inquiry.

We gave Trudeau’s government more than a year to put some good faith on the table. Instead, we see a lot of talk but very little substantive action on the matters that matter most to us. If our right to free, informed and prior consent before development on our lands is not respected, that is the equivalent of breaching our Aboriginal, treaty and title rights. If he can ignore multiple court orders to stop discriminating against our children in care, how does that make him any different from Harper?

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There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

By Anglican Church of Canada


There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.

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The New Threat Threshold

It was early November 2016 when Russell Diabo received a phone call from an APTN reporter, who told him that his was the only name that hadn’t been redacted from a recently released RCMP intelligence document. The document, outlining Project SITKA – a police operation tracking Indigenous activists “who pose a threat to the maintenance of peace and order” – was acquired through an Access to Information request filed by Carleton University researcher Jeffrey Monaghan. It revealed that the police were following 89 activists who met “the criteria for criminality associated to public order events.”

Project SITKA tracks activists organizing around natural resource development (fighting oil pipelines and shale gas expansion), anti-capitalism (G20 and Occupy activists), the missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry, Idle No More, and land claims. The report concludes that the protesters “pose a criminal threat to Aboriginal public order events,” though it concedes that “there is no known evidence that these individuals pose a direct threat to critical infrastructure.” This proof of surveillance sent a chill through the activist community....

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Starve or submit: How one First Nation remains in servitude to a private accounting firm

A team of accountants in Quebec City manages the finances of the impoverished Algonquin of Barriere Lake, a First Nation located 600 kilometres away. These third-party managers pay themselves $550,000 a year for this service out of the budget the community relies on for health care and housing. Of the band’s meager annual budget, 10 per cent now pays for this dubious service, and every year deep cuts to community programs are required in return.

More troubling questions surround this arrangement. Why is this First Nation not privy to financial statements supposedly done on their behalf? How can the federal government, responsible for forcing this external control on the community, justify the costly imposition? How is it possible that for 11 years, despite multiple regimes of supervision by highly paid private accounting firms, these financial managers have yet to resolve the initial debt?.....

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Sen. Murray Sinclair blasts Globe and Mail for propagating ‘racist fallacy’

Senator Murray Sinclair blasted a major newspaper in Canada over an editorial he said propagated “the racist fallacy” that Canada was a “thinly populated” territory before European contact.

Sinclair, the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, posted a scathing critique of the The Globe and Mail editorial published online Monday. The editorial was written in response to a speech delivered by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould during a trip to South Africa. Wilson-Raybould said South Africa’s struggle with apartheid offered reconciliation lessons for Canada where Indigenous peoples have lived through over “150 years of colonialism.”

The editorial argued South Africa’s experience with apartheid and reconciliation offered few lessons for Canada because of its different history and dynamics.

“(Wilson-Raybould’s) contention in her speech that the post-apartheid era in South Africa offers ‘many important insights’ and ‘parallels’ for Canada should be approached with caution,” said the editorial. “It’s difficult to assess the population of what is now Canada when Europeans first arrived in the 15th century. But most of the Indigenous population were hunters and gatherers, so most of the land was quite thinly populated. The Europeans came to trade and gradually began to settle and colonize as farmers and later, manufacturers—and eventually became the majority. In contrast, black South Africans were the majority when Europeans arrived in their country, and are still the majority by far. This is a critical difference.”

Sinclair, in a Facebook post published Tuesday, called the unsigned The Globe and Mail opinion piece, which generally represents the position of the newspaper, a “colonizer’s editorial.” Sinclair took particular aim at the editorial’s claim that Canada was a thinly populated territory before contact.

“That argument of low numbers is essential to maintain the mythological doctrines of ‘terra nullius’ and ‘discovery.’ There are several expert reports which say that the population of the Americas was higher than the population of Europe at the time of contact, and there are experts who assert, with considerable evidence, that Columbus and his conquistadors (conquerors) were responsible for the genocide of more than 20 million Indigenous people within a very short period of time. Some estimate that number as high as 90 million,” wrote Sinclair. “There is no doubt that such a genocide did happen, and there can be no doubt that it was done solely for the purpose of wiping out the larger numbers of Indigenous people (thinning the population) in order to sustain the fallacy of terra nullius.”

Sinclair also criticized the thrust of the editorial’s argument the majority black population in South Africa versus the minority Indigenous population in Canada made it difficult to transpose the experiences of both countries.

“Excuse me, but apartheid is exactly what happened here. Canada’s apartheid era didn’t start until Confederation, when the population of Indigenous people outside of the original confederating colonies far outnumbered Europeans. Through chicanery, lies, and duplicity (i.e. the Treaties) the government lulled the Indigenous leaders in the West into a false sense of security, and after asserting the extension of Canada’s legal jurisdiction, enacted apartheid laws over them,” wrote Sinclair. “Only after such laws were enacted was Canada able to increase the population of Europeans in the West in order to overcome the much higher Indigenous population. That apartheid system still exists, and it is what we, who are working for reconciliation, are all working to dismantle.”....

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..from the above


“And so, colonizer editorialist, next time do your homework. We do have a lot to learn from the South African experience:

  1. Never trust the colonizer’s history.
  2.  Racism is hard to overcome
  3. Tribalism after colonization ends can become the new ‘problem.’
  4. Apartheid is economic as well as political and legal.
  5. Even with a supportive government, reconciliation will take a long time.
  6. Without immediate economic and social reform, the legacies of racism easily live on.”
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Archeologists confirm Heiltsuk village site three times older than Great Pyramids

Researchers with the Hakai Institute are backing up Heiltsuk oral history with western science during a relatively new archeological dig on the remote Triquet Island on B.C.'s Central Coast.

“Heiltsuk oral history talks of a strip of land in that area where the excavation took place. It was a place that never froze during the ice age and it was a place where our ancestors flocked to for survival,” said William Housty, a member of Heiltsuk Nation.

Archeologists working on site have dated it to at least 14,000 years ago, when much of the continent was covered by glacial ice save a relatively small strip of coastland.

“This find is very important because it reaffirms a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years,” Housty said.


The findings also have significant implications for First Nations when it comes to negotiating land claims and rights and title.

Housty, who sits on the board of directors for the Heiltsuk Resource Management Department, says the scientific validation will help in future negotiations.

“When we do go into negotiations, our oral history is what we go to the table with,” Housty said. “So now we don't just have oral history, we have this archeological information. It's not just arbitrary thing that anyone's making up ... We have a history supported from Western science and archaeology.”

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Millions promised for Indigenous kids is subsidizing mining companies, internal documents show

Carolyn Bennett's story isn't adding up.

Despite sunny rhetoric suggesting they're taking a different approach towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the Trudeau government is having a hard time backing up its word.

In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett boasted that the federal government was spending "almost $200 million" on the well-being of Indigenous children.

Not only is there no evidence​ Canada is spending $200 million, but internal documents obtained through Access to Information by York University's Anna Stanley and reviewed by PressProgress suggest money Bennett claims to be earmarked for the well-being of Indigenous children is being spent to "attract mining investment" instead....

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Indigenous law banishes a giant B.C. mine

The moment you step onto Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc land in southern British Columbia, according to Chief Ron Ignace, you are a beggar.

As an outsider, you have no rights and you've strayed away from your home and family. You are considered a poor person, he tells National Observer, and you are beholden to the First Nations on whose territory you stand.

His message takes aim at anyone who wants to do business or travel on his nation's land, be they tourists, government, companies, fishers, or boaters.

“The days of colonial authoritarianism are over,” he says. “It’s time for Canada to recognize that we are nations, as nations we have rights to our land, and if we are approached honourably, we can sit down and come to a fair and just conclusion.”

It’s precisely what his community has done, he explains, with KGHM Ajax Mining Inc.’s proposal to build a gaping open pit gold and copper mine on their territory, near a sacred cultural site called Pípsell....

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How Canada set up Aboriginal treaties to keep First Nations down

The following is excerpted from "Canada’s Colonial Constitution," an essay by John Borrows, published in The Right Relationship: Reimagining the Implementation of Historical Treaties. The book, from University of Toronto press, comprises scholarly essays on the history of First Nations treaties with Canada and on the challenges they present today.

There are many stories about how Canada was formed. One of those stories focuses on the dispossession and displacement of the land’s first inhabitants through force. Doctrines of discovery, adverse possession, and conquest figure prominently in these accounts. These doctrines imply that Canada was legally empty when Europeans arrived. “Discovering” nations claimed Indigenous peoples’ lands by the sheer power of their words; through the force of “law” alone. As the Supreme Court of Canada wrote in its seminal Aboriginal rights case, “from the outset never any doubt that sovereignty and legislative power, and indeed the underlying title, to such lands vested in the Crown." The Court concluded that the Crown had sovereignty and underlying titled in Canada because Indigenous peoples have inferior legal status.

There are many problems with this story. It founds Canada on racist assumptions. It presumes there was a conquest when there was never any war. It assumes Indigenous peoples had imperfect claims to sovereignty and title when Europeans arrived. Indigenous peoples are pushed aside in this story because their legal status is subordinate to European power. If Canadian law flows from this view, it revolves around a loathsome core. Discrimination, coercion, and inequality lie at the roots of Canada’s legal system under this view. All subsequent acts are tainted by an original sin. This story tells Canadians that our deepest political values are ultimately traceable to a denial of fairness, equality, and mutual respect. This builds Canada on a dishonourable foundation. In this view, subsequent appeals to raw force have a degree of political legitimacy because they are consistent with Canada’s first principles. This story, in its unvarnished state, happens to be a lie. It does not accord with the facts. It is a legal fiction that does not take account of the complexities of Canada’s formation.....


I guess the federal Liberals will soon learn the tricks that their Ontario and BC counterparts all seem to know. In BC we call it the triple delete.  Imagine an e-mail trail that shows the government has no intention of using UNDRIP as a guideline even let alone a statement of actual rights.

Two months after Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett declared to the world that Canada was fully embracing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the most senior official in her department told underlings the international document would not be guiding planned consultations with First Nations, Inuit and Metis, according to an internal email.

Indigenous Affairs deputy minister Helene Laurendeau told her senior adviser that the government “may not consult specifically on UNDRIP” during consultations with Indigenous groups and the provinces, according to the email obtained through the Access to Information Act by NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s office.

Saganash said the email reveals the Liberal government is playing a double game with UNDRIP, saying one thing publicly, but planning something differently internally. He said it shows the Liberals have no plans to implement UNDRIP.


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10 Tragedies That Destroyed The Canadian Inuit Way Of Life

Life for the Inuit, the natives of Canada’s Arctic, has never been easy. They have built up their lives in a frozen part of the world where permafrost keeps most life from growing from under the earth.

Things didn’t get any better when they made contact with the outside world. From the moment they first met the Europeans, the Inuit have gone through tragedy after tragedy. They have been taken from their homes. Their culture has been crushed, and countless lives have been ruined—all in ways that still affect them today....

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Interview with Beatrice Hunter inside HMP

CBC's Ted Blades interviews Beatrice Hunter who is imprisoned in Her Majesty's Penitentiary for refusing to obey a court order against protesting on the site of the Muskrat Falls Hydro development.

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..follow up

Beatrice Hunter released from jail, allowed to protest outside Muskrat Falls gate

After 10 days of incarceration in a men's prison, Muskrat Falls protester Beatrice Hunter has been released from custody.

Hunter appeared before the Supreme Court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Friday where a judge agreed to modify the conditions of her undertaking — a promise given in court — allowing the Inuk woman to come within a kilometre of the Muskrat Falls site.

Hunter, 48, was jailed last week after refusing to promise to stay a kilometre away from the Labrador construction site, violating an undertaking she signed last fall.

Friends and family of Hunter's cheered both inside and outside the courtroom Friday, as they waited for her release.

"It [shows] how fearless we are, how resilient we are and that there's nothing we can't do," Hunter told CBC News upon release.

"I obviously don't want to go back to jail, but at least I can protest with my people."....

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Ottawa seeks 'clarity' in court on tribunal findings on First Nations health

The Liberal government said Friday it is going to Federal Court to seek "clarity" on two aspects of a compliance order issued in May by a quasi-judicial human rights tribunal on the delivery of First Nations child health care.

In a joint statement, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the government's plan to seek clarification in court is informed by their "experience and expertise as doctors."

The federal government takes issue with the fact the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal said last month that requests for health services for First Nations children must be processed within 12 to 48 hours.


First Nations child advocate Cindy Blackstock, who has spent the last 10 years fighting the federal government on First Nations child welfare services, said Friday she is disappointed but not surprised by Ottawa's decision to go to court.

She said the neither the tribunal, nor her organization — the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society —has ever argued against case conferencing for medical purposes.

"It is crazy," Blackstock said in an interview. "Why wouldn't they just ask us to consent to that?"

Rather, she said, there should be no case conferencing related to payment of services for First Nations kids, noting the federal government remains out of compliance with orders from the tribunal.

"They are trying to find these little loopholes,"she said, pledging to meet Ottawa in court. "I don't see anything compelling here."

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UNsettling Canada 150

In honour of Art Manuel and the integrity with which he always began with the land and honoured the grassroots people, the #Unsettling150 crew are proud to launch this video filled with Art's words, read by his daughter Kanahus Manuel, to launch the final lead-up to the national day of action, education, and reflection. Respect to Michael Toledano for his work on this video


Here is a good YouTube video about what 1867 really represents.


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Transfer payments impose permanent austerity on Indigenous communities

In January 2017, two young girls took their lives in a suicide pact at Wapekeka First Nation. Desperate for mental health workers, the First Nation — a fly-in community 600 kilometers north of Thunder Bay — requested $376,706 in emergency funding from Health Canada. According to Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, they were told it was an “awkward time” to be considered for funding approval.

Financial restraints on Indigenous economies

In the aftermath of loss, community spokesperson Joshua Frogg laid bare Ottawa’s fiscal power over their children: “It was awkward to break ground in permafrost so that we can bury these children. It was awkward for our youth to cry at the funeral.”

A few years earlier, the federal government chose a curious time to send the Canada Revenue Agency and Aboriginal Affairs into Elsipogtog to collect overdue bills. They came knocking at the height of the community’s anti-fracking protest against SWN Resources that shut down highways in New Brunswick — years after the debt was incurred.

“They are really pulling the financial strings hard,” stated band councilor Scott Sanipass to APTN News. Aboriginal Affairs threatened to hold back tuition payments and almost a million dollars owed to the band, in addition to 15 per cent of the band’s annual funding until the amount was paid back in full.

What ties these cases together, and so many others like them, is a document that all First Nation bands and organizations must negotiate with the federal government to release core funding.....

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Canada Spends $385 Million on Anniversary as 153 Communities Without Potable Water

Cold irony has outdone Canada's 150 year anniversary. While the nation guts out some US$385 million to commemorate its birthday, more than a hundred communities continue with drinking water advisories in place.

Metro News reports that, as of June 29, a total of 153 water advisories, the overwhelming majority of which are located in First Nation communities, are listed on Canada's federal government and British Columbia's First Nations Health Authority websites.

Neskatanga First Nation is home to the oldest boil water advisory in Canada. It's been in place for 8,184 days (since February 1, 1995).

Also celebrating an anniversary this year is the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation. It's been 20 long years since boil water advisories have been in place in their indigenous community.

Chief Erwin Redsky, a community leader, lamented, “It's mind-boggling, it's not right. Every Canadian should enjoy clean drinking water.”.....

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The Truth About Treaties

When Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence declared that she would begin a hunger strike in early December of 2012, one of the largest Indigenous-led social movements was already roaring across the country. At the heart of Idle No More was a call for an honest treaty relationship. The Harper government had advanced a series of legislative measures amending the Indian Act, Fisheries Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, and seven other laws directly affecting First Nations, all without consultation. These measures would dramatically erode treaty rights by paving the way for industrial development on Indigenous lands.

Idle No More galvanized mass demonstrations of Indigenous people, which included a variety of protest actions throughout Canada, the U.S., and beyond. Describing the movement as “bacteria,” the RCMP monitored 941 events associated with Idle No More – rallies and infrastructure blockades – between December 2012 and May 2013. In addition to the demonstrations descending on Parliament Hill, Spence went on a six-week hunger strike on nearby Victoria Island while demanding a nation-to-nation meeting with the Crown to discuss the treaty relationship.

Spence’s demands directly challenged the existing asymmetrical relationship based on settler domination and control over Indigenous peoples, lands, and resources. In response, government officials sought to delegitimize Chief Spence and Idle No More. Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada (AANDC, now called Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada [INAC]) leaked an audit report, in a move that was widely viewed as a smear tactic to discredit Spence in the lead-up to the anticipated meeting, organized for January 11. The government also referred to oppositional chiefs as “dissident chiefs” – “those chiefs that reject the AFN [Assembly of First Nations] direction and favour the use of more aggressive, possibly more radical, means of motivating the Canadian government.”

How do we know? Internal government files I obtained through the Access to Information Act (ATIA) reveal how the Canadian leadership and bureaucracy interpret Idle No More, and treaty obligations more broadly....

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..according to this piece blackmail was used to force the chief to sign. the environmental approval is also fraught with problems.

Maliseet grandmothers set up camp to stop open pit mine project

Maliseet grandmothers have set up camp on the site of a proposed open pit mine.

The Sisson project has received environmental approvals.

The Maliseet Chiefs signed a deal with the province to receive royalties and other accommodations.

But the grandmothers are determined to stop the project.

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Trudeau is putting the ‘con’ in reconciliation

Extinguishment disguised as decolonization - Opinion by Russ Diabo

At the centre of these is a recent Liberal government memorandum with the Assembly of First Nations which has received little attention. Far from supporting an ambitious reconciliation agenda based on Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights, the agreement could in fact accelerate far-reaching threats. It needs to be understood and resisted....

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Six practices that are a clear indication that Canada is not interested in reconciliation or a nation-to-nation relationship

Six practices that are a clear indication that Canada is not interested in reconciliation or a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Nations:

1. Cultural Genocide of Sacred Places: Little is more important than a people’s beliefs and assumptions that they govern through. The further desecration of Chaudière Falls and the adjacent Islands best known as Akikodjiwan, is cultural genocide. This is the place where Creator placed the First Sacred Pipe, the ultimate symbol and ritual of reconciliation. This is just moments from Canada’s Parliament Buildings best known as Algonquin territory.

2. Canada’s Termination of their Treaty Responsibilities through the Land Claims and Self-Government Process: Indigenous Nations will never achieve self-government without land, water, and resource rights. Despite several court victories Canada continues to establish policies that forces Indigenous Nation to relinquish their land and resource rights. The Algonquin in Ontario have been offered only 1.3% of their territory in their land claim and self-government package.

3. Canada Forces First Nations to Borrow Funding Dollars from the State Treasury when Negotiating Land Claim and Self-Government Packages: As these processes unfold over 30 years Canada holds the large debts incurred over First Nations and forces them to pay it back, yet Canada has taken all the wealth from our lands and waterways for centuries. While Canada spent $500 million to celebrate one day, Canada day 150, the Algonquin have been offered only $300 million in their land claim and self-government package.

4. Canada’s Termination of their Treaty Responsibilities through Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act: Despite several court victories Canada continues to engage in sex discrimination as one of their ways of eliminating registered status Indians and as a result their treaty responsibilities. Canada refuses to accept “6(1)a All the Way” which the Senate put forward and that will eliminate all the sex discrimination in the Indian Act.

5. Canada Continues to Rely on the Reserve System of Dependent First Nations when Making Meaningless Announcements and Change: Dependent First Nations are forced to be complicit in these patronizing ceremonies because all funding dollars are dependent on the oppressive and abusive relationship they have with Canada.

6. Canada Continues to Rely on National Indigenous Organizations when Making Meaningless Announcements and Change: Dependent organizations are forced to be complicit in these patronizing ceremonies because all funding dollars are dependent on the oppressive and abusive relationship they have with Canada.

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Defenders of the Land & Idle No More Networks


(AUGUST 11, 2017)

 After working to unsettle Canada at home, Indigenous Nations are in Geneva, Switzerland to provide information to the Expert members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on the racism experienced on a daily basis by Indigenous Peoples. The representatives from various Indigenous Nations, the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More and their European allies are in Geneva, for the CERD meetings on August 14 and 15th, 2017 when CERD will review Canada. The international delegation is part of several months of activities to protest Canadian colonialism that have been built around Canada “celebrating”  150 years of colonization of Indigenous territories. Arthur Manuel, an Indigenous leader who passed away in January 2017 had called on Indigenous Nations and Peoples to use Canada’s  150th anniversary to tell Canadians and the world that the time had come to decolonize Canada.

Indigenous Nations have been on our Great Turtle Island (North America) for thousands of years, yet Canada assumes that they own the Indigenous lands and resources. In its report to CERD and the recently released 10 principles Canada keeps relying on the colonial doctrines of discovery, claiming that they obtained underlying title to the land at the declaration of British Crown sovereignty. The Peace and Friendship Treaties nor any other document ever give any title to the British Crown is a core message  being delivered by the delegations and that all Indigenous Nations across Canada maintain their inherent land rights and underlying title to the land.

Russell Diabo, a representative of Defenders of the Land and an organizer of the summer’s  #Unsettle150 activities, is among those who will be appearing before CERD in Geneva. “Canada has signed all of the important international decolonizing treaties,”  says Diabo, “but  it has held on to its colonial relations with Indigenous Peoples within Canada....

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Cindy Blackstock & Pam Palmater during informal session with CERD members.

..read russ diabo tweets from geneva

Canada taken to task on racial discrimination in Geneva

Indigenous nations and other groups took Canada to task Monday over its record on racial discrimination, as well as recognizing lands and resources in Geneva, Switzerland Monday during the United Nation’s Committee on Ending Racial Discrimination (CERD).

“We also raised the Government of Canada’s failure to implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision to end racial discrimination against First Nations children and to fully implement Jordan’s Principle,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

Blackstock, who is attending the United Nations meetings, said issues relating to missing and murdered Indigenous women, incarcerated persons, gender discrimination, hate crimes and inequities in education were addressed.

“The interventions by Indigenous peoples and NGOs were good – really informed the CERD committee members about the hard facts of brutal racism in Canada which for Indigenous peoples is often lethal,” Pam Palmater, professor of Indigenous governance at Ryerson University.

“Canada’s presentation was as expected – lots of fluffy words about great relations, partnerships, reconciliation and its pride as a multi-cultural, dual language country.


After the presentations, CERD then put questions to Canada.

“The Special Rapporteur has asked that Canada provide details on whether it will comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders and has also raised a number of questions relating to free, prior and informed consent, and the implementation status of recommendations made to Canada by James Anaya, former Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Blackstock.

Palmater said she was pleased with the questions from the committee.

“We hope they will see through Canada’s very weak report and relies on the documented facts and research versus Canada’s propaganda for their recommendations,” she said.

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..read cindy blackstock's tweets

  Aug 15


UN notes concluding observations - will be released in about 2 weeks. Thank you all for tuning into the live Tweets! Canada done!

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On Thursday August 24th, 2017. The Musgamagw Dzwada'enuxw asserted their jurisdiction by boarding Cermaq's Burdwood farm. This farm was served an eviction notice last year and most recently had a major diesel spill. The action was planned to showcase that our fight to ride our territory from fish farms is far from over.


..from their facebook page

Kingcome Village recently finished this mural!!!

Within it is a glimpse into our history of struggle, our resistance & our connection to our homelands..

This mural is only the beginning, We won't back down..

We will cleanse our waters of fish farms..

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Outbreak of deformed salmon in BC Fish Farms

David Suzuki's grandson Tamo Campos has helped shed light on the Indigenous led fight against Pipelines, Dams, Mines, and Fish Farms.


Disturbing New Footage Shows Diseased, Deformed Salmon in B.C. Fish Farms


‘It’s a Mess Every Way You Look at It’

“When I say there is disease in these farmed salmon, this is not a guess,” Morton said. “Over 80 per cent of farmed salmon are infected with piscine reovirus.”

Morton is currently fighting the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Dominique Leblanc in court to prevent more Atlantic salmon infected with the virus from being placed in B.C. waters.

Morton said the fish pens are a highly concentrated source of waste and disease that threaten other species.

“From a biological point of view this footage gives you an idea of the scale of the pathogens coming out of these farms and we know that a single particle in this ocean can travel 10 kilometres in a short amount of time.”

It’s been a tough week for wild salmon.

While major salmon fisheries in the Fraser and Skeena rivers are closed due to low returns, a new study released this week revealed the federal government has failed to monitor the majority of struggling stocks on B.C.’s north and central coast.

Meantime, fishermen are being called on to catch as many of the escaped Atlantic farmed salmon as possible.

Morton expressed concern that fishermen will be mixed up with struggling Fraser sockeye salmon that may be caught as bycatch.

“It’s a mess every way you look at it.”


Yes, not much to add. How do we get rid of the damned "fish farms". Bravo to First Nations fighting them.

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At the very least, take iodine with anything caught in the Pacific. The spill from Fukushima is probably much worse than the Japanese government wishes to admit. Add to this the abovementioned poisoning and one might wonder whether one should eat anything caught in the Pacific at all.

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Collapsed fish farm that released thousands of Atlantic salmon had structural problems last month (with video)

The Washington state fish farm that collapsed allowing many thousands of Atlantic salmon to escape into the Pacific showed signs of trouble last month, and was slated for upgrades.

In late July, the Cooke Aquaculture-owned operation near Cypress Island required emergency work to stabilize the net pens after crews saw them moving in currents.

Then last weekend, the same pens, containing 300,000 Atlantic salmon, began showing damage on Saturday before collapsing on Sunday, releasing an unknown number of fish....

Fish farm collapse 1


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lagatta4 wrote:

Bravo to First Nations fighting them.

..yes many bravo. 

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B.C. fish farms hit by occupations following release of footage showing sickly, blind salmon

Indigenous leaders are calling on Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc to immediately halt fish farming along British Columbia’s coastal region following the release of video footage showing diseased farmed Atlantic salmon –some blind, others with swollen gills and blisters—swimming through pens thick with fish feces.

The calls came as a small, First Nation-led group occupied a Marine Harvest salmon farm on Swanson Island, about 17 km from Alert Bay, B.C., with a promise to remain until the provincial government revoked the operation’s license of occupation. This followed a brief occupation on Wednesday which targeted the Cermaq-owned farm on nearby Burdwood Island.

Hereditary Chief Ernest Alfred, from the Nagmis, Lawit’sis and Mamalilikala Nations, was involved in the Swanson Island occupation which triggered a response from local RCMP who are also at the site.

“This place is ours and we’re not moving,” said Alfred, in a Facebook post published shortly after the occupation began. “We must stop open-net fish farms in our waters…. It’s time to stand up and take a stand.”

In an interview with APTN National News earlier in the day, Alfred said he planned to “step it up” against the fish farms.

“You can’t ignore the issue of rights and title, which are clearly being violated here,” said Alfred. “You have politicians traveling the country talking about reconciliation. How can we have reconciliation when we have this disease running through our territory?”

A spokesperson for B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, said the fish farm legally obtained its license and there were no plans to rescind it.

“While we respect the right of people to engage in peaceful protests, we also expect them to follow the law,” said spokesperson Vivian Thomas, in an emailed statement. “The license of occupation was legally issued.”

Thomas said the provincial government is not issuing any more licenses to fish farms.....

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After a net failure led to the escape of thousands of Atlantic salmon at a fish farm on the Pacific coast, members of local First Nations have started an occupation demanding the operations be shut down. Filmmaker Lindsey Mae Willie reports on their reasons for taking action.


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..from an email

On August 25, 2017, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) condemned Canada for its ongoing violation of Indigenous land rights. In a report on Canada’s periodic review, CERD echoed Indigenous Nations who made submissions to the committee on the racism and rights violations they experience as a result of more than 150 years of colonial policy and law in Canada.

The Concluding Observations on the Twenty-first to Twenty-third Periodic Reports of Canada, by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on August 25, 2017 is available to download here:


Or you can view the report via Dropbox here: 


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First Nations leaders rally in support of B.C. salmon farm occupation

Dozens of Indigenous leaders and protestors rallied outside the Vancouver Convention Centre today urging the province to dismantle salmon farms along the B.C. coast.

The calls came as environmentalists and members of the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw and the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwamis First Nations occupy two Marine Harvest Canada salmon farms in their territorial waters off the north end of Vancouver Island.

They say the salmon farms pose a threat to wild fish populations.

Chief Willie Moon was among the many leaders who spoke at the rally. He says frustrations have mounted as repeated calls directed at the provincial and federal governments to revoke fish farm licensing in traditional Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw territory have gone unheard.

"We've demonstrated peacefully for over 30 years, and we're occupying now," he said. "It's unlimited as to what we will do to get those fish farms out of our territory."


Documents addressed to province

The World Salmon Alliance has issued a document signed by Indigenous leaders from more than half of B.C.'s First Nations, calling on the provincial government to dismantle open-pen fish farming in favour of land-based, closed containment farms.

The document also calls on the government to embrace recommendations made in the Cohen Commission, which was mandated to look into the state of salmon stocks in B.C.'s Fraser River.

"The vast majority of First Nations in British Columbia are absolutely opposed to open pen fish farms," said Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs vice-president Bob Chamberlin.

Chamberlin says he will present the document to premier John Horgan at the B.C. Cabinet and First Nations Leaders' Gathering, a two-day summit being held in Vancouver.

"What you're witnessing with the occupation with the fish farms is what happens when the previous governments have turned a deaf ear, when they relied upon consultation and accommodation that never met the needs of our people," said Chamberlin.

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Chiefs Block Norwegian Fish Farm Vessel

Tamo Campos

Published on Sep 7, 2017

Yesterday MD hereditary chiefs, women and supporters took a stand against a Norwegian packing boat.....

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Canada’s Impossible Acknowledgment

Every morning, at the start of the school day in Toronto, my children hear the following inelegant little paragraph read aloud, just before the singing of “O Canada”:

I would like to acknowledge that this school is situated upon traditional territories. The territories include the Wendat, Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, and the Métis Nation. The treaty that was signed for this particular parcel of land is collectively referred to as the Toronto Purchase and applies to lands east of Brown’s Line to Woodbine Avenue and north towards Newmarket. I also recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land.


In the autumn after the principal started reading the acknowledgments at my children’s school, leaders of the Inuit, the Nunatsiavut, and the NunatuKavut near Muskrat Falls, in Labrador, went on hunger strikes to protest the construction of a hydroelectric dam on their traditional territories. The rising mercury levels in the water because of the dam meant that the food supply of the territory, and the cultural practices that relied on fish and seal, would be disrupted.

To me, Muskrat Falls re-created the whole of the Canadian colonial project, with all of its evils, in miniature. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report of 2015 described Canadian colonization as a conquest with two major thrusts: the starvation of indigenous groups, and the attempt to erase indigenous languages and religious practices. In Muskrat Falls, it was happening all over again—disrupting food and culture. And after Trudeau, with his cool Haida tattoo, had been elected. After the Truth and Reconciliation report had been released. After a former regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations had been named Justice Minister. The hypocrisy of the country can be so startling exactly because we repeat our good intentions so insistently. We say, over and over, that we want desperately to atone for a crime while we’re still in the middle of committing it.

In Canada, hypocrisy is a uniquely potent force. Saying sorry and not meaning it is what we are best at. The great mid-century novelist Margaret Laurence once wrote, “In some families, ‘please’ is described as the magic word. In our house, however, it was ‘sorry.’ ” No one will ever have trouble convincing English Canadians that they need to improve their manners. Speech is easy. Speech is free, unlike, say, paying for the education of First Nation schoolchildren, who still receive thirty per cent less funding than children in non-indigenous Canada.


This week marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples...


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Pam Palmater: The National Inquiry into MMIWG and where it went wrong

She has become a familiar face, often called on to comment on Indigenous issues and with that notoriety also comes criticism but Pam Palmater has become accustomed to it. She’s been speaking out for Indigenous rights since she was in grade school and has no plans to stop.

Palmater joins host Dennis Ward on the season premiere of Face to Face to discuss a range of issues including the MMIWG National Inquiry, the 10th anniversary of UNDRIP, promises made by the Trudeau government and more.

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..good to see your again swallow!

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The history of constitutional talks and federal policy tells us that even when Canada talks about eliminating the Indian Act, Indigenous rights are at risk.

In 1980, I was at the Skyline Hotel in Ottawa (now the Delta) and witnessed Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau come to a National Indian Brotherhood meeting of Chiefs. He asked the Chiefs to “treat Canada better than Canada has treated you,” as he revealed his intention to patriate Canada’s constitution from Britain — a bombshell that raised the question of whether Aboriginal and treaty rights would be part of the document.

From that salvo of Trudeau Senior to the initiatives of current prime minister Justin Trudeau, there has been an unyielding policy war of attrition toward Indigenous people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis). The current Liberal government might be raising the notion of getting rid of the Indian Act and restoring a nation-to-nation relationship, but history tells us the real objective is to hollow out and ultimately nullify any rights that Indigenous peoples have to meaningful self-determination.


The current Trudeau government

Since the federal election of 2015, the Trudeau government has embarked on a top-down, nontransparent approach to federal Indigenous policy. There are reportedly 40 to 50 “exploratory tables” with Indigenous groups. We don’t know the topics or with whom the federal government is holding discussions, but these discussions are supposed to feed into an equally opaque Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples.

The discussion results are to be presented to a “bilateral mechanism” — federal cabinet committees based on political agreements with three national Indigenous organizations representing the Inuit, Métis and the Assembly of First Nations, a Chiefs’ organization. This stealth approach to change policy and law bypasses the legitimate rights holders: the Indigenous peoples. They are the ones who have a right to self-determination, not the national Indigenous leadership groups.

Meanwhile, the federal Minister of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, has issued 10 principles respecting the government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples to guide her federal policy and law review. But the 10 principles, and Canada’s Indigenous policy writ large, continue to be based on the Constitution Act, 1867. The Constitution enshrined the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments, leaving no room for recognition of equal Indigenous jurisdiction and power. The Crown’s assertion of sovereignty is at its core based on the “doctrine of discovery” — essentially, that the lands were vacant when Europeans arrived in the Americas and were there for the taking.

Talks and negotiations based on these principles run counter to the right of Indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent over matters concerning their lands and resources, as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).