RSS

Tag Archives: First Nations

Before we start saying “That doesn’t happen here”


A lot of Canadians right now are looking at Ferguson and saying “thank God that doesn’t happen here”.  Stop saying that right now.  Because, in this country, we’ve got a history that may not involve African Canadians, but there is another group which does have a history of such conflicts.  And it dates back to before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

In more recent history, First Nations people in Canada have had clashes with the police as they protest to demand the same rights that every other Canadian has.

The Oka Crisis

Beginning July 11, 1990, a 78 day armed standoff took place near the town of Oka, Quebec.  Between Mohawk residents of Kanesatake, the Quebec provincial police, and the Canadian Armed Forces, Mohawk leaders demanded that developers stop a planned expansion of a golf course on land that had been disputed for over 300 years.  Deemed a sacred burial ground, Mohawk people began with peaceful barricades which were met with armed police and soldiers.

The Innu occupation and blockade of the Canadian Air Force/NATO base at Goose Bay, Labrador

Largely started by Innu women to challenge the further dispossession of their territories and the destruction of their land-based way of life by the military industrial complex’s encroachment onto the Innu peoples’ homeland of Nitassinan.

The Lubicon Cree struggle against oil and gas development on their traditional territories in present day Alberta

The Lubicon Cree have been struggling to protect a way of life threatened by intensified capitalist development on their homelands since at least 1939. Over the years, the community has engaged in a number of very public protests to get their message across, including a well-publicized boycott of the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics and the associated Glenbow Museum exhibit, The Spirit Sings.

First Nations blockades in British Columbia

Throughout the 1980s, First Nations in B.C. grew extremely frustrated with the painfully slow pace of the federal government’s comprehensive land claims process and the province’s racist refusal to recognize Aboriginal title within its its borders.  The result was a decade’s worth of very disruptive blockades, which at its height in 1990 were such a common occurrence that Vancouver newspapers felt the need to publish traffic advisories identifying delays caused by First Nation roadblocks in the province’s interior. Many of the blockades were able to halt resource extraction on Native land for protracted periods of time.

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake

By 1989, the Algonquins of Barrier Lake were embroiled in a struggle to stop clear-cut logging within their traditional territories in present day Quebec because these practices threatened their land and way of life. Under the leadership of customary chief, Jean-Maurice Matchewan, the community used blockades to successfully impede clear-cutting activities affecting their community.

The Temagami First Nation blockades of 1988 and 1989 in present-day Ontario.

The Temagami blockades were set up to protect their nation’s homeland from further encroachment by non-Native development. The blockades of 1988-89 were the most recent assertions of Temagami sovereignty in over a century-long struggle to protect the community’s right to land and freedom from colonial settlement and development.

To the more recent activities of the Idle No More protests, First Nations people in Canada have been met by armed police and military walls.  Go back further to 1885 when Louis Riel organized First Nation and Metis people against the federal government when land settled and farmed by Metis settlers was being taken away for the more European settlers the federal government was trying to get in the territory which would eventually become the Province of Saskatchewan.  Or years earlier, when Riel began his organized protests that helped usher in the Province of Manitoba.

We live in a country where Aboriginal women don’t grow up with the fear of if they are ever raped but when they are.  Aboriginal women suffer and massively disproportionate amount of violence, with the largest perpetrator of that violence being white men.  Called a silent genocide, Aboriginal women suffer the most of any violence that is inflicted against First Nation people.

Don’t get me wrong, we have a problem with an anti-black attitude in Canada as well.  Alberta has a high number of organized KKK.  In 1991, Leo Lachance was shot and killed by Carly Nerland outside a pawn shop in Prince Albert.  Nerland, a member of the KKK and lead of the Saskatchewan branch of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian Aryan Nation.  There have been white supremest groups in Canada identified with names like Heritage Front and Final Solution.

Almost one hundred years ago, in 1919 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Halifax Race Riots began as a group of drunk men with nothing better to do, and ended up with a two day charge of destruction.  The targets were mostly Chinese, Jewish, and black owned businesses.  Decades later in 1991, a similar event would happen as young black men believed they were targeted by a white bouncer who would not allow them to enter a night club in Halifax.

So we have this problem in Canada.  The main difference being it doesn’t happen as often.  But it does happen.  It may not be as extensive as what is going on in Ferguson right now, but it does happen.  We’re on the cusp of something like Ferguson happening in this country with First Nation people.  They have been frustrated ever since the Meeche Lake Accords excluded Aboriginal people.  They have been frustrated with the lack of protection and the lack of interest in solving the disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women.  There is also the racially charged attacks against those people who are identified as being of Middle Eastern ancestry.  Ever since 911, these attacks, whether considered verbal or physical, have happened in this country.

So do not look at Ferguson and say “thank God that doesn’t happen here”, because we’re not without blame for our own misgivings.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2014 in Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A quotable Friday


A few quotes I’ve found that have been quite interesting and thought I’d share.

“If you have cancer, you get flowers, visitors and compassion. If you have a mental illness, you get plastic utensils, isolation and fear. If you survive cancer, most people consider you a hero and inspiration, and they tell you so. If you survive a mental illness, most people consider you a feeble-minded degenerate and an embarrassment, and they wouldn’t dare tell you so.” -Haldol and Hyacinths, by Melody Moezzi – page 216

“I love bookshelves, and stacks of books, spines, typography, and the feel of pages between my fingertips. I love bookmarks, and old bindings, and stars in margins next to beautiful passages. I love exuberant underlinings that recall to me a swoon of language-love from a long-ago reading, something I hoped to remember. I love book plates, and inscriptions in gifts from loved ones, I love author signatures, and I love books sitting around reminding me of them, being present in my life, being. I love books.” -Laini Taylor (author of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight)

“First…. Many Indigenous Nations have calendars which have been counting the years for a very long time. I am aware that the calendar of the Mohawk Indian Nation has been counting the winters for over 33,120 years. This pre-dates the so-called ‘land-bridge’ of the Bering Strait theory, unless, of course, the Bering Strait scientists decide to move their interestingly illusive time period for “early migration” of Indians back to 40,000 years! Many American Indian early histories tell of events that took place on this Turtle continent (North America) long before any so-called ice age. But, for political reasons, these histories have been mostly ignored. You see, the Bering Strait, in truth, is a theory that was born of the politics and propaganda of early America. In the midst of the American ‘Manifest Destiny’ social climate, the Bering Strait theory provided a ‘scientific’ means to justify the taking of ancestral Indian lands. In short, the mythical theory eased the conscience, as it was a way for land hungry immigrants to believe that, because Indian people were only ‘recent inhabitants’ of this land , it was not really their ‘homeland’. Therefore Indians were, in their minds, not any more the ‘original people’ of this land than they were. This was, and still is, the political power of the infamous ‘Bering Strait theory’.” -The B.S. (Bering Strait) Myth, By John Two-Hawks

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Fun, randomness

 

Tags: , , , ,

Can Canada overcome its ‘Katrina moment’?


Can Canada overcome its ‘Katrina moment’? – Inside Story Americas – Al Jazeera English.

Very interesting report from Al Jazeera about the Crow First Nations gathering, where they begged the question if it would actually do any for Aboriginal people or if it was just a great photo op for the Harper Government.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Life, randomness

 

Tags: , ,

SAY ‘NO’ TO NUCLEAR WASTE IN SASKATCHEWAN!


First light over the Legislative Building, Reg...

Image via Wikipedia

On July 27th, the Walk Against Nuclear Waste set out from Pinehouse, SK, to bring attention to the underhanded attempts by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to coerce First Nations communities in northern Saskatchewan into agreeing to storing nuclear waste on their territories.

Organized by the Committee for Future Generations, the walkers are currently on track to cover a total of 820 km over the course of three weeks. They will arrive in Regina on August 15th to deliver petitions to the Saskatchewan Legislature demanding a province-wide ban on nuclear waste storage and transportation.

Please join Mother Earth Justice Advocates and other supporters at Victoria Park on the evening of Monday, August 15 to greet the walkerswith a warm welcome and to show your support for a ban on nuclear waste storage in Saskatchewan. You are invited to join the walkers on the final leg of their journey – down the Green Mile to the Legislative Building on Tuesday, August 16, beginning at 11th Ave. and Albert St. at 11am.

For more information, please email:  motherearthjusticeadvocates@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/158222590888992/

Please consider supporting the Walk Against Nuclear Waste by donating toward the expenses of food and lodging. Cheques can be made payable to “The Solidarity Committee for the Peruvian Amazon”.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 718 other followers

%d bloggers like this: