Peacemakers Trust posts news, reports or announcements of interest to people studying or working in the field of dispute resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Inclusion of an item on the media watch blog does not imply endorsement or agreement of Peacemakers Trust with views expressed by authors of posted items.
Earlier this month Michael spoke to Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, about the impact of residential schools on 150,000 Aboriginal children. He spent five years spent listening to the testimony of survivors from all over Canada after which he said, “Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts”
The Canadian government formally apologized to survivors in 2008. The Commission was established after the government settled the largest class-action suit in Canadian history. But, according to some First Nations intellectuals and activists, it is all too little too late, and hardly a serious gesture of reconciliation.
Taiaiake Alfred, the founding Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, does not mince words – the issue is not reconciliation but rather “how to use restitution as the first step toward creating justice and a moral society.”
The writer, Lee Maracle, is equally blunt. She says that post-apology, Aboriginal people were expected to forgive the government and blend in with the rest of Canada. Ms. Maracle is one of Canada’s most prolific First Nations’ writers. Her novels include Ravensong, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel and Daughters Are Forever.
A new museum in Winnipeg has become a flashpoint for how we interpret this country’s treatment of First Nations
By Larry Krotz
There is something inherently perverse about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the as-yet-unfinished landmark rising from the plain between a parking lot and a baseball stadium at Winnipeg’s Forks. When you get right down to it, this $351-million dream of the late media mogul Izzy Asper is being built to document evil…
The museum, which opens in September and is one of only two national museums located outside Ottawa-Hull, has been taking shape for more than a decade. In that time, disputes have almost constantly overshadowed what its promoters would prefer to highlight…
The Ukrainian community, for example, lamented that exhibits on the Holodomor (the 1932-33 starvation engineered by Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin) were going to be too close to the washrooms; Palestinians objected to being left out entirely; even Jews — whom Asper envisioned as central to the museum — were reportedly upset that the founding of the state of Israel was not going to be commemorated.
But the nascent museum’s most heated controversy is the growing insistence that exhibits depicting the story of First Nations peoples carry the word “genocide” in their titles. So far, the museum has resisted doing that…
VICTORIA — On a warm, cloudless September afternoon in 1967, premier W.A.C. Bennett clambered into the cab of a 90-ton belly dump truck to spread the last load of fill on what was, at the time, one of the most ambitious and controversial projects undertaken in Canada…
On Dec. 9, public hearings will open in Fort St. John for an environmental review to consider another dam on the Peace River, Site C. However, this project will not proceed at full speed. Even though Premier Christy Clark wants it built and her government has exempted the project from a full public review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, Site C faces a slow path to approval…
As the Crown corporation [B.C. Hydro] makes one more attempt to build this dam, it faces widespread community opposition and sharp questions from the joint review panel – not only on environmental matters, but on geo-technical, economic and treaty issues.
This work is a continuation of an earlier work, Militarism in Latin America. This new report deals with the other violence in Latin America, that is the violence, both armed and political that arises from social struggles that conflict resolution studies centers do not usually evaluate.
Sunday, 15 September 2013 to Sunday, 22 September 2013
Join Simon Fraser University and the Centre for Dialogue for the Walk for Reconciliation on Sunday, September 22 to express support for reconciliation with Canada’s aboriginal peoples. This 4km walk is hosted by Reconciliation Canada and will bring 50,000 Vancouver residents from diverse backgrounds to mark the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Vancouver summit. We expect hundreds of students, fellows, associates and staff from the Centre for Dialogue and the Semester in Dialogue to join us. Reconciliation will be the theme of a major upcoming programming initiative at the Centre for Dialogue, and we look forward to working with the dialogue community on this important issue.
Grassy Narrows’ Judy Da Silva has been honoured with a German peace prize for her grassroots activism…
The German Mennonite Peace Committee presented Da Silva with the Michael Sattler Peace Prize for her leadership on Grassy Narrows’ decade-long blockade against unwanted logging during a May 20 ceremony at the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter’s in the Black Forest near Freiburg, Germany.
“We want to award the prize to Judy Da Silva in order to honour the nonviolent resistance of the Grassy Narrows First Nation against the destruction of nature and for the preservation of their Indigenous culture,” said Lorens Theissen van Esch, a member of the German Mennonite Peace Committee.
OTTAWA — Five years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic apology for the Indian residential school system, the words ring hollow for some who hoped they would represent a new relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has just released Sechelt Indian Band v. British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 262. The decision addresses constitutional jurisdiction over real property owned outright by a First Nation pursuant to modern self-government legislation. The Court concluded that, in the circumstances of this case, the provincial regime governing landlord-tenant disputes was constitutionally inapplicable to leases of such land.
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.
The four founders of Idle No More didn’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!”
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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…