Posts Tagged ‘First Nations’

Jeremy Meawasige sits with his mother Maurina Beadle at home in Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia. Meawasige, who has autism, cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, is unable to care for himself and authorities want to send him to an institution out of province. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)


First Nations children still taken from parents
A CBC News story reported some disturbing news out of Canada last week: There are more First Nations children in care right now than at the height of the residential school system.

The report, put together by a First Nations leader, suggests more than 30,000 First Nations children could be in care in places other than their home.

One, 16-year-old Jeremy Meawasige (Mi’kmaq) has cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and autism. His mother suffered a double stroke and is now fighting to remain his main caregiver.

    “They did an assessment on us, and say Jeremy is at the level where he should be institutionalized. I told them, over my dead body,” said mother Maurina Beadle.

Spiritual Run for Sobriety slows traffic
A four day run through Minnesota is giving runners from the Red Lake Reservation a chance to stand up for sobriety.

As ICTMN reports, the Spiritual Run in Celebration of Sobriety is helping celebrate sobriety and awareness by weaving through Minnesota from Bemidji to the Fond du Lac Reservation.

    More than a dozen runners, including several youth, began their run down Highway 89, on a warm August day with the temperature approaching the low 80s. The runners were accompanied by a near equal number of support staff, who would use five or six vans and cars to shuttle the runners and provide water and any other service the runners might need.

LGBTQ Native American youth: It Gets Better
A new PSA sending a message of strength and hope to Native lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth is speading the message: You aren’t alone.

“Our tradition is acceptance,” says one women during the moving 7-minute video posted on Care 2.com.

The National Native American AIDS Prevention Center and the Trevor Project sponsored the video.

    This is for all the LGBTQ Native youth throughout the country. From the villages in Alaska, to the Islands in Hawaii, to every corner of Indian Reservations across America… It Gets Better…we are living proof!! If you or someone you know is feeling alone… call the Trevor Project… they can help! 1-866-4U-TREVOR.


Jenna Cederberg

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A two-month-old girl is dead, despite a brave attempt to save her from a burning home on a northern Manitoba reserve. (Photo Credit: Island Lake RCMP Detachment)

A two-month-old girl is dead, despite a brave attempt to save her from a burning home on a northern Manitoba reserve. (Photo Credit: Island Lake RCMP Detachment)


Another tragic headline, just the latest in a string of disturbing fire deaths, telling of the loss of a two-month-old baby girl in Manitoba has First Nation leaders there calling for better fire fighting equipment.

The girl’s death was the second of babies in the region in just months. The Global Toronto reports that the fire killing the little girl had to be put out with snow. Now, tribal leaders want the federal governments help in securing better fire fighting equipment.

    Manitoba Grand Chief Ron Evan wants to know “how many more children have to die” before Indian and Northern Affairs Canada improve emergency response equipment in northern communities.

    Evans says that in the last five years, 29 people have been killed in fires on Manitoba reserves and 11 of them were children.

    INAC began a review of firefighting on Manitoba First Nations in May after a two-year-old boy died on the Long Plain First Nation.

    Federal government officials say there is no short-term fix for the problem and they’re still working on a long-term solution.

Jenna Cederberg

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Cherokee, Apple partner to put language on iPhones
iPhones that help keep Native languages alive? If the new app created by a Apple/Cherokee Nation collaboration catches on, it’s not such an outrageous statement.
As Indian Country Today reports, the app that was introduced late in 2010 is geared toward “tech-savvy” youth who are using the iPods, iPads and iPhones en masse.

    Tribal officials first contacted Apple about getting Cherokee on the iPhone three years ago. It seemed like a long shot, as the devices support only 50 of the thousands of languages worldwide, and none were American Indian tongues. But Apple’s reputation for innovation gave the tribe hope.

    After many discussions and a visit from Smith, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company surprised the tribe by coming through this fall.

Brian Smith, a member of the Glooscap First Nation and operations director of the Centre for First Nations Governance poses for photos in Kentville, Nova Scotia on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.  (Sándor Fizli, For Postmedia News)

Brian Smith, a member of the Glooscap First Nation and operations director of the Centre for First Nations Governance poses for photos in Kentville, Nova Scotia on Wednesday, December 15, 2010. (Sándor Fizli, For Postmedia News)


Native communities struggle with governance, accountability
As the headline suggests, this strong piece from Post Media News’ Richard Foot details how First Nations in Canada often fight for sovereignty amidst headlines of scandals within already established tribal governments.

The article details the how Brian Smith, of the Mi’kmaq reserve in Nova Scotia, fought against the outrageous news that leaders of the 87 person reserve were earning nearly $200,000 salaries.

You’ll get a sense of the frustration from people like Smith as the article goes through arguments about two main points:

    First, ordinary aboriginal people care deeply about the chronic lack of good government on Canada’s First Nations — a shortcoming illustrated this fall not just by the salaries at Glooscap, but at dozens of First Nations across the country.

    Second, the messages showed that many aboriginals don’t want the federal government to step in to fix such problems, whatever the outcry for intervention from non-native taxpayers. And they aren’t eager for passage of a Conservative private members’ bill, now before Parliament, that would require First Nation politicians to publicly disclose their salaries on a government website.

FSU’s Seminole imagery still frustrates Russell Means

    “It would be in the best interest of Florida State to become human. We’re not asking them to become politically correct. Keep the Seminole nickname, but get rid of the savagery.”
    Russell Means

Although the Chik-Fil-A bowl has come and gone, the match up was preempted by The State columnist Ron Morris’ piece after his interview with Russel Means, former American Indian Movement leader who now teaches language on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Morris makes a strong argument leading up to his final paragraphs:

    Yet in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. and Andrew Young fought for civil rights in the 1960s, there will be Florida State fans with painted faces doing the “Tomahawk Chop” and singing “war chants” hours before the calendar flips to 2011.

    There exists some irony in that. It is disgusting enough to make Russell Means turn off his television set in South Dakota.

See if you agree.

Jenna Cederberg

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The canoe will be on display in Falmouth from the end of January until September. (Courtesy of BBA business wire)

The canoe will be on display in Falmouth from the end of January until September. (Courtesy of BBA business wire)


What historians believe is the oldest birch bark canoe in existence was found in the barn of an English estate this year, having rested there for decades after traveling from Canada to Europe in the late 1700s.


BBC Cornwell
reports that the “unique survival from the 18th Century” is thought to have been brought from Canada by Lt John Enys, who fought in Quebec during the American War of Independence. The BBC reports that Enys discovered the canoe sometime during his personal travels in Canada.

It goes on display at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth early next year.

The canoe will then be returned to Canada. Exactly where the canoe originated and by which Canadian tribe it was crafted will then be investigated by the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Jenna Cederberg

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Indigenous Environmental Network posted a news release today about its protest of tar sands and fossil fuel pollution at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico:

    Over twenty people with color-coded T-shirts that spelled out the words “Shut Down the Tar Sands” in both English and Spanish gathered in front of the Maya building to directly deliver their message to UNFCCC delegates. Participants included Indigenous community representatives from fossil fuel impacted community across Canada and the U.S., many carrying personal banners linking tar sands with the destruction of their territories.

    Melina Laboucan-Massimo of the Lubicon Cree comes from a community impacted by tar sands. “We have seen the destruction of our lands happen right before our eyes. Our water is being contaminated and we are seeing droughts throughout the region. My family used to be able to drink from our watershed, and now within my lifetime we can no longer do so.

    Young and old people alike have developed respiratory illnesses as neighboring plants emit noxious gases into the air. First Nations and farming communities have reported health effects to the wildlife and livestock. The area is drastically changing – I fear for the future of my homeland.”

    The tar sands are the fastest growing source of GHG emissions in Canada. Unless Canada changes track emissions from the tar sands industry are set to triple to over 120 millions tones. Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network said, “Our communities demand real solutions to address the climate crisis and that means shutting down the tar sands and a moratorium on new fossil fuel development.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

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The leader of a group representing First Nations communities in Manitoba say many are dangerous short of fire services, the CBC reports.

David Harper heads the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, representing northern chiefs. He says he’s gotten no response to his efforts for more services, despite the dire need:

    A toddler died in a fire earlier this year in this house on the Long Plain First Nation. (CBC photo)

    A toddler died in a fire earlier this year in this house on the Long Plain First Nation. (CBC photo)

    In January, a CBC News investigation found seven out of 10 First Nations communities couldn’t provide help in a fire. Trucks and equipment are often in poor working condition and volunteer firefighters can be difficult to recruit.

    According to statistics from fire officials, nearly a quarter of fire fatalities in Manitoba occur in First Nations communities.

    The investigation followed the death of an 11-year-old boy whose remains were found in the rubble of a house that burned down on Shamattawa First Nation.

“It’s just like we’re forgotten,” says Nancy Powderhorn, director of operations in Tadoule Lake – which has no fire service at all.

Gwen Florio

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A lawyer for a First Nations woodcarver says the man apparently wasn’t facing Seattle police when an officer shot him to death in August, Steve Miletich of the Seattle Times reports:

    John T. Williams (CTV photo)

    John T. Williams (CTV photo)

    John T. Williams, the woodcarver fatally shot by a Seattle police officer Aug. 30, was struck by four bullets on the right side of his body, indicating he was not facing the officer at the time the shots were fired, the attorney representing the Williams family said Tuesday.

    “There’s nothing looking like he was facing toward him,” Seattle attorney Tim Ford said of Williams’ position as the officer fired. “It was all right side.”

John T. Williams, a member of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Dititdaht First Nation in British Columbia, was carrying a small carving knife when he was shot. Williams, who was partially deaf, was known for his miniature totem poles.

The story includes a copy of the autopsy report from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Gwen Florio

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Ron Evans, the Grand Chief of Manitoba, will meet soon with First Nations leaders in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta to discuss reforming the way aboriginal people elect their officials, according to Jen Skerritt of the Winnipeg Free Press:

Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, centre, beams, as he, John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Atlantic Policy Congress co-chair Chief Morley Googoo of Nova Scotia confer Friday following an announcement in support of a better electoral system for First Nations.  (Canadian Press/Tim Krochak)

Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, centre, beams, as he, John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Atlantic Policy Congress co-chair Chief Morley Googoo of Nova Scotia confer Friday on elections. (Canadian Press/Tim Krochak)

    Evans said current rules under the Indian Act cause problems since chief and councils are elected for two-year terms, which he said is too short for the leadership to see any project through to completion. He said frequent elections limit progress, and unstable leadership can scare off potential investors and business development.

    The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs last year began consulting the 37 Manitoba bands that follow electoral rules laid out under the Indian Act, and Evans said there’s been overwhelming support for new reforms.

The movement has the support of aboriginal chiefs in Atlantic Canada and also the federal government.

Gwen Florio

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Whisper Camel, a wildlife biologist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, stands on top of the wildlife overpass over U.S. Highway 93 near Evaro last week. Camel has been gathering data on wildlife crossing the highway since before its reconstruction through the Flathead Reservation, and it appears that animals are learning to use the safe crossings. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Whisper Camel, a wildlife biologist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, stands on top of the wildlife overpass over U.S. Highway 93 near Evaro last week. Camel has been gathering data on wildlife crossing the highway since before its reconstruction through the Flathead Reservation, and it appears that animals are learning to use the safe crossings. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian


Praise for wildlife crossings onFlathead Indian Reservation
Bear crossing underneath U.S. Highway 93. Photo courtesy CSKT, MDT and WTI-MSU

Bear crossing underneath U.S. Highway 93. Photo courtesy CSKT, MDT and WTI-MSU


The part of U.S. Highway 93 North that goes through the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana is known there as the Peoples Way. But as Vince Devlin of the Missoulian writes, it caters to critters, too. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, in conjunction with other agencies, have constructed a number of highway overpasses and tunnels to protect wildlife that otherwise would have to cross the highway. There are 41 crossings on the 56-mile stretch, says Whisper Camel, a wildlife biologist for the tribes.

The Montana Department of Transportation calls it “one of the most extensive wildlife-sensitive highway designs to occur in the continental United States.”

South Dakota takes Indian education in a new direction
From Cheat Brokaw of the Associated Press: The state Education Department is collaborating with teachers, school administrators and others to take a new approach to improving academic achievement and graduation rates among American Indian students, who as a group lag behind South Dakota’s non-Indian students. Five-year goals and plans to improve American Indian students’ performance will be put together by the Indian Education Advisory Council, a group of educators from across the state who have a lot of experience in teaching those students, said LuAnn Werdel, director of Indian education for the state Education Department.

Tribes to bury Native American skull used as college mascot
KGW-TV in Albany, Ore., reports that members the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde plan a ceremony to bury a human skull that once served as a college mascot. The case began with a man who’d taken the skull to Sweet Home grade school for show-and-tell in 1984, when he was a boy. It ended up at Albany College – now Lewis and Clark College – whose mascot is a pirate with a skull and crossbones. University of Oregon anthropologists say the skull is that of a Native American woman.

Bill would require First Nations financial reporting

A conservative Saskatchewan lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require First Nations chiefs and council members to report salaries and expenses, CBC reports. Although there’s already a process for such reporting, Kelly Block says the bill would make disclosure automatic.

Gwen Florio

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The Toronto Globe & Mail has Q&A with “Avatar” director James Cameron, who toured the oil sands in Alberta for three days this week and then joined First Nations leaders to ask Canada to protect the area from development.

The aboriginal community of Fort Chipewyan is downstream from the oil sands. The Lubicon Cree First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Duncan Lake First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation are among those directly affecged by development there.

Cameron’s actions weren’t universally welcomed. As the Globe & Mail points out, the Edmonton Sun ran Cameron’s photo under the headline “Dipstick!” and also wrote an editorial calling him a hypocrite.

And Montana’s governor, Brian Schweitzer, took a poke at Cameron, accusing him of “blowing smoke,” according to the Associated Press.

“Any of these people who say they don’t like the oil sands, you ought to ask them if they’ll invite you to their house, and unless they’re living naked in a cave and eating nuts, they are totally dependent on petrol,” Schweitzer said.

Gwen Florio

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