Former dictator Efrain Rios Montt’s conviction of genocide is a historic moment in a country still healing from a brutal, three-decade civil war and his trial offered Guatemala’s oppressed indigenous communities their first chance to be heard, human rights activists said.(...more)
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The four founders ofdidn’t start out famous. Until flash-mob round dances, prayer circles, and blockades spread across Canada, few people knew Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean, and Nina Wilson…
YES! Magazine Executive Editor Sarah van Gelder spoke with two of the founders on January 13: Sylvia McAdam, an author and educator from the Nehiyaw (Cree) Nation, and Sheelah McLean, an instructor at the University of Saskatchewan whose ancestors were European settlers.y 6 Territory!”(...more)
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
The scandal of aboriginal incarceration in Canada is getting worse. The Correctional Investigator has advised that the aboriginal prison population has increased 43 per cent in the past five years. Métis, Inuit and First Nations people make up 23 per cent of the prison population, although they comprise just 4 per cent of the population of the country.
The reasons for this disparity are undoubtedly complex, and worthy of serious study. But the startling fact remains. Levels of imprisonment in Canada’s aboriginal communities are higher than the overall incarceration rate in the United States — a nation that famously has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world and probably in history. There are 2.3 million people in American jails and prisons, with another 4 million under some form of community-based correctional control. No other country matches that, not by a long shot.
The U.S. rate is seven times higher than Europe, and six times higher than Canada. According to the metric that criminologists use to make comparisons, the U.S. imprisonment rate is 730 per 100,000 people. Canada remains at a safe distance: 140 per 100,000, with about 38,000 people in custody on any given day last year. When that number is broken down, however, the intensity of the impact of incarceration on aboriginal communities is revealed. Astonishingly, aboriginals are imprisoned at a rate in excess of 910 per 100,000 people.(...more)
Monday, 4 February 2013
Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians don’t trust each other but almost everyone agrees the relationship is important, Reconciliation Australia says.
The organisation’s Barometer 2012 report, which surveys the relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people, says there has been little significant change in attitudes nationally.
The survey found we don’t trust each other and only about half of those surveyed felt proud of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma says.
“Most people surveyed did not believe the relationship was very good and only half of those believe it was improving,” Dr Calma said.
However, it was a different story in a second survey, which found vast improvements in attitudes among indigenous and non-indigenous people working in organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).(...more)
When the Wabanaki tribes and the State of Maine signed an agreement in the spring of 2011 to create a Maine/Wabanaki Truth and Reconciliation Process to heal the past abuses of Indian children in the state child welfare system, they envisioned a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as part of the process. Now the TRC members are calling for a day of prayer to help prepare them for the difficult work ahead.
The Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission announced in a press release that A Day of Reflection, Meditation and Prayer will take place on February 11 when people all over the state will be asked to pause at 11 a.m. to think about the importance of the TRC process and how everyone can support its three-part objective to uncover the truth, promote healing, and make recommendations for the best child welfare practices.(...more)
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Ryan McMahon is hunkered over his laptop in his home office in Winnipeg, a self-proclaimed “chubby Ojibway comic” with a soft spot for bacon — and a hunger for some sort of indigenous resurgence.
He tests his microphone levels, ready to record the latest show for his podcast “Red Man Laughing.”
Of course, the day’s subject is Idle No More. He’s got jokes all lined up, including a top 10 list entitled “Things you might have heard a mall Santa say during the round-dance revolution over Christmas.”
His trademark humour, though, quickly shifts to more serious discussion when he brings on two guests: a pair of university students involved in Idle No More, the aboriginal protest movement that has swept across Canada and is now popping up in the U.S. and elsewhere.(...more)
Saturday, 5 January 2013
The banner heading of the Idle No More web page reads:
“Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water. Colonization continues through attacks to Indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work toward justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.”
Samuel de Champlain would have understood.(...more)
Thursday, 3 January 2013
January 1 was the anniversary of the public appearance of the EZLN, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, in 1994. From early in the morning on December 31, 2012, thousands of families arrived carrying food, blankets and supplies in the town of “Caracol” de Oventic, located about 40 miles from San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. In Oventic, where the Zapatista Council of Good Governance is located, thousands celebrated 19 years of struggle and resistance during a political-cultural festival that lasted until dawn. Two days before, the EZLN published a communiqué explaining its next steps, following the recent massive mobilization on December 21.
What the Zapatistas achieved in Chiapas could only have been achieved with dignity, organization and discipline. On the day that the Mayans predicted the end of one calendar cycle and the beginning of another, at least 50,000 Mayan Zapatistas came out of their autonomous zones to march in silence in five Chiapas cities: Ocosingo, Palenque, Altamirano, Las Margaritas and San Cristóbal de las Casas.
This action was the largest nonviolent mobilization in the history of the Zapatista movement…(...more)
Saturday, 29 December 2012
A decision by the Yukon Court of Appeal will have huge implications for the mineral exploration industry in the Yukon, says Whitehorse lawyer Stephen Walsh.
The Court of Appeal ruled the Yukon government has a legal obligation to consult with the Ross River Dena Council before mineral claims are staked in the Ross River area.
Notifying the First Nation after a claim has been staked does not satisfy the duty to consult as defined by the Supreme Court of Canada, the three judges of the appeal court agreed in the 15-page decision released Thursday.(...more)
The Idle No More movement, which has swept the country over the holidays, took most Canadians, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, by surprise…
In order to understand what this movement is about, it is necessary to understand how our history is connected to the present-day situation of First Nations.(...more)
Can Canadians have an adult conversation about aboriginal issues?
Since Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike more than two weeks ago in Ottawa, in an attempt to get the attention of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with polarizing commentary over the Idle No More protests now taking place nationwide in her name.(...more)
Friday, 28 December 2012
On Friday, Dec. 21, Prince Albert held its Idle No More rally to raise awareness for Bill C-45. My husband, Kevin Joseph, helped organize it, along with Kirsten Scansen, Tammy St. Denis and Gabriella Lee.
The day of the rally things were still undecided. There were obstacles. We weren’t sure if the mayor was OK with the rally. We were unsure if police escorts were on board. People objected to use of their buildings, in fear of jeopardizing government funding. Still we prayed and moved forward in faith that things would work out. We aimed for peace.
When we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see police involvement.
We walked slowly to the beat of the drum, stopping at each intersection for a short round dance. The police escorts were incredible — very welcoming and jovial. People shook their hands in gratitude.(...more)
What is “Idle No More”?
It is a loosely knit political movement encompassing rallies drawing thousands of people across dozens of cities, road blocks, a shoving match on Parliament Hill between chiefs and mounties and one high profile hunger strike.
It is also a meme tweeted and shared about thousands of times a day, for messages about indigenous rights, indigenous culture and cheap indigenous jokes (“Turn off your ignition #idlenomore”).
The name Idle No More comes from a recent meeting in Saskatchewan. Sylvia McAdam and three others were mad about Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill. Their biggest frustration was that nobody seemed to be talking about it. Two provisions in particular upset them: the reduction in the amount of federally protected waterways and a fast tracked process to surrender reserve lands. In McAdam’s view, if Aboriginal people did not speak out it would mean they “comply with [their] silence.” So she and her friends decided to speak out. They would be “Idle No More.” They held an information session under the same name. Co-organizer Tanya Kappo fired off a tweet with the hashtag “#IdleNoMore.”
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
The wakeup call: Corporate interests need to accept what the courts already have — that First Nations now hold the balance of power in deciding the fate of Canada’s resource projects because they have rights that others don’t
Canada is orchestrating a big push to accelerate development of its natural resources, but behind the hype there is a shifting and tense legal landscape. First Nations are on a big winning streak in the courts that has empowered them to have a say on projects in big parts of the country.
The tension is pushing corporations to spend huge dollars to keep the peace and move projects along in areas First Nations claim as their traditional lands.
But the approach is piecemeal and there have been few consistently successful strategies. Tension, frustration and confrontation abound. Lawyers, consultants and vested interests fuel and feed off the tension, making it hard to come up with solutions.
Many projects worth billions of dollars have been delayed or sunk altogether.
They include scores of mining, forestry and pipeline projects such as the now-shelved Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline in the Northwest Territories. The Northern Gateway pipeline could be next unless accommodation is found with opposed First Nations in the B.C. interior and on the coast.
Bill Gallagher, a former federal government regulator, oil and gas lawyer, treaty negotiator, and author of a new book, Resource Rulers, Fortune And Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources, argues there is a better way.
“The current situation in terms of access to resources, with the overarching tensions, has become unsustainable,” Mr. Gallagher said in an interview. “That is the key to the whole thing. Recognizing that Plan A has not worked; let’s put a Plan B together.”
The good news: Canadian First Nations are not opposed to development.(...more)
Monday, 24 December 2012
I have been watching with interest the groundswell movement known as Idle No More and the events going on around the country. Some believe its a short term response to recent legislation, but, while such may have been a trigger, I think there is much more to it than that. Its about pride.
In order for any society to function properly and to its full capacity, it must raise and educate its children so that they can answer what philosophers such as Socrates, and Plato, and our Elders, call ‘the great questions of life’. Those questions are…(...more)
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Thursday, 15 November 2012 to Friday, 16 November 2012
Indigenous Legal Orders and the Common Law
Thursday & Friday, November 15 & 16, 2012
Time: 9:00 am – 4:15 pm BOTH DAYS
Pan Pacific Hotel, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Who should attend: All who focus on Aboriginal law issues, including lawyers in private practice, industry, and government; First Nations leaders, employees of First Nations or First Nations organizations, in-house counsel, and law students.
Learning level: All levels
Weaving the “Golden Thread of Continuity” into the legal landscape
This historic conference will be of interest to anyone involved in issues respecting Aboriginal people, and to everyone interested in building partnership in society. Featured keynote speakers will include: The Right Honourable Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, PC, The Honourable Chief Justice Lance Finch of the Court of Appeal for BC, The Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of BC, Professor John Borrows, and Robina Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Minnesota.
As a participant, you will learn from scholars of Indigenous law about the inherent principles and concepts underlying Indigenous legal orders. You will hear of existing applications of Indigenous law and join in exploration of what it means to establish a more pluralistic approach to legal problem-solving in Canada. You are invited to join this conversation, both theoretical and practical, about how Indigenous legal traditions and the Common Law might co-exist. Developing the idea of “the golden thread of continuity of the common law” offers both hope and a pathway to a future of peaceful and respectful co-existence. How can we, as practitioners and as a society, make space within the legal landscape for Indigenous legal orders?
Law Society of BC CPD Hours: 14.5 hours (a minimum of 2 hours will involve aspects of professional responsibility and ethics, client care and relations, and/or practice management)
M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Ardith A. (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack
Sally S. Campbell — S. Campbell Mediation Services, Hornby Island
M. Louise Mandell, QC, LLD (hon) — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Ardith A. (Walpetko We’dalx) Walkem — Walkem & Associates, Chilliwack
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C. — Chief Justice of Canada, Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa
The Honourable Chief Justice Lance S. G. Finch — Court of Appeal for British Columbia, Vancouver
The Honourable Steven Point — Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Victoria
Dr. John Borrows — Robina Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis
Friday, 19 October 2012
Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is preparing to speak out against pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic at an upcoming demonstration in Victoria…
George is among the First Nations leaders, union officials, and activists scheduled to speak at the demonstration outside the provincial legislature in Victoria on October 22.(...more)
Monday, 15 October 2012
The Philippine government has reached a framework peace agreement with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The deal, which was reached after talks in Malaysia, marks a major breakthrough in efforts to end decades of conflict that has cost more than 120,000 lives.
There have been a number of peace accords that have failed in the past but the Philippine government says this deal has a far wider base of support than previous ones.(...more)
Thursday, 27 September 2012
Today in the lead up to World Habitat Day on October 1st we’re proud to announce a new video People Before Profit – bringing communities across the world together to tell the global story of forced evictions. WITNESS has supported forced evictions campaigns for more than 10 years. During this time, these projects have amplified the voices of communities across the world. For World Habitat Day we are bringing many of these voices together for the first time to tell another story.
The video is also available in a multilingual version here in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish. In order to access the various languages, click the “cc” button at the bottom of the video frame.(...more)
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
University of Victoria, Canada | Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Download the September 13 Victoria Event Poster (pdf)
Series: FIRST NATIONS’ RIGHTS: THE GAP BETWEEN LAW AND PRACTICE
Indigenous Rights in the UN System
Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Thursday, Sept. 13, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Room 159, Fraser Building
University of Victoria (3800 Finnerty Rd, Victoria, BC)
Admission is free. Seating is limited.
To mark the 5th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples, Kenneth Deer will discuss (via videotape) the development of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its 25-year passage through the UN system. Deer’s talk will be followed by an address by Robert Morales on recent Canadian developments & issues relating to the UNDRIP.
Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group, Vancouver Island
Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Social Justice Studies, University of Victoria