Posts Tagged ‘Manitoba’

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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Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, uses Native American flute music to help others reconnect with the natural world. (Courtesy of OnMilwaukee.com)

Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, uses Native American flute music to help others reconnect with the natural world. (Courtesy of OnMilwaukee.com)


New holiday zen: Native traditions and yoga
Driving around the icy streets of Missoula today, my car low on oil, late for work and in search of one last Christmas gift I didn’t find, I really could have used Dennis Hawk.

You see, as OnMilwaukee.com reports, Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, combines the healing practices of yoga with Native American teachings as a way to help promote an overall sense of well-being and connection to the natural world.
Hawk holds regular conferences that combine yoga and a combination of music and Native American spiritualism. Music plays a large role as well.

Sounds so sweet.

    Last week’s workshops also featured simultaneous Reiki practice, a spiritual technique that seeks to transfer energy through the palms of practitioners’ hands.

    “It’s very interactive,” says Hawk. “It’s almost inducing a dream state to raise conscious awareness of the season changes and winter. Being indoors, we never really experience winter. My teachings ceremonially welcome in the winter in a process of rest and renewal.”

Final TNS10 recap
As a final note to last week’s Tribal Nations Conference in Washington D.C., here’s a video from NAPT’s Gemma Givens cataloging the issues touched on at the summit. Givens has some great footage and original interviews, including the thoughts of Jefferson Keel on positive steps he believes were take for Indian Country in 2010. See NAPT for blogs and more news.

Suicide workshops taking place across the country
You can’t get much braver than Natasha Singh. An Alaska Native, she suffers from depression. And she fought it. The Associated Press’ story last week chronicled Singh’s story of fighting taboos and getting help, as well as highlighted federal listening sessions being held during the next several months to address the problem of Native suicide.

    Singh, who suffers from anxiety, wants to remove the stigma of seeking help in Alaska Native communities. That’s why she decided to speak at one of 10 “listening sessions” being held nationwide by federal agencies through February.

    Federal officials say the sessions aim to explore ways to better address the disproportionate rate of suicides in Alaska Native and American Indian communities, most notably among the young.

Nicole Mason, 14, and her brother haul water to their trailer at St. Theresa Point last winter. (HELEN.FALLDING@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)

Nicole Mason, 14, and her brother haul water to their trailer at St. Theresa Point last winter. (HELEN.FALLDING@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)


Northern Manitoba aboriginal leaders want clean running water

More than 1,400 homes on northern Manitoba reserves have no running water. Native leaders are demanding the number be zero by 2012, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. The chiefs took their concerns to Parliament Hill in Ottawa last week – wondering why the money can’t be spent to bring the basic need of clean water to all on the reserve.

    The lack of running water has been blamed for health issues including skin problems and the easy spread of infections like flu. Without running water, even basic hygiene like handwashing is difficult.

    Last year, Manitoba’s Island Lake region, where half the homes have no running water, was hit hard by the H1N1 flu virus and this year two people have died there after getting seasonal flu, Harper said.

    Bringing running water to 1,448 northern Manitoba homes would require adding kitchen sinks, toilets and bathtubs to houses built without plumbing. In many cases, holding tanks would need to be installed for water delivered by truck. Most reserves have water-treatment plants capable of supplying water for the holding tanks.

Jenna Cederberg

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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 resident of Manitoba’s largest First Nations community says he believes his home was torched because he’s gay.

“I would say it’s the same thing as when I was a child. It’s homophobia. It’s alive and living here just as I left it,” Raymond Michell of the Peguis First Nation tells the CBC, here.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the $150,000 house fire that occurred about three weeks ago as arson:

    Raymond Mitchell stands amid the rubble of his home. (CBC photo)

    Raymond Mitchell stands amid the rubble of his home. (CBC photo)

    (Mitchell) and his late boyfriend built the home on the reserve of about 7,200 people, located north of Winnipeg, two years ago.

    Michell said he returned to Peguis despite leaving there as a boy because he was bullied due to his homosexuality.

    Despite losing everything in the blaze, what hurts the most is the belief the fire was set because he is gay, Michell said.

And he says that even “in this day and age with the way things are with rights and same-sex marriages in Canada, I just really don’t feel safe here.”

But Glenn Hudson, the community’s chief, says the Peguis First Nation “traditionally, historically, (has_ been very accepting of all colours and walks of life.” And he says Michell is eligible to receive $1,500 in assistance from the band council.

Gwen Florio

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The white bison donated to the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. (CBC photo)

The white bison donated to the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. (CBC photo)

Members of Manitoba’s Sioux Valley Dakota Nation say the gift of a white bison calf from the city of Winnipeg signifies “a new beginning.”

“I think that’s the easiest way to put it,” Chief Donna Elk tells the CBC, here, “to have this day to look back on and to remember, to say to our children that the white buffalo has come home.” (There’s a the video embedded in the link.)

The city donated two calves – one white and one brown from its Assiniboine Park Zoo, where they were sired by Blizzard, a white bison bull.

The white bison is considered a strong spiritual symbol denoting renewal.

As the CBC reported:

    Dozens of First Nations people from across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and South Dakota attended the ceremony. One of them was Arvol Looking Horse from Green Grass, S.D., the 19th generation carrier of the sacred bundle and pipe believed to have been given to the Dakota people many centuries ago by the White Buffalo Calf Woman.


Gwen Florio

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Too many aboriginal people are being treated poorly, according to First Nations leaders in Canada’s Manitoba Province.

Case in point? Brian Sinclair, a double amputee found dead in his wheelchair after spending 34 hours waiting in a hospital emergency room in 2008. A Manitoba judge ruled today that the province must pay for his family’s legal counsel at an inquest.

But within hours, First Nations chiefs held a news conference to demand an inquiry into health care for aboriginal people overall, the CBC reports here (Story has videos.)

Brian Sinclair

Brian Sinclair

    The Southern Chiefs Organization has heard 49 recent complaints about quality of health care in the past nine months, Grand Chief Morris Swan-Shannacappo told a news conference Tuesday.

    Some who spoke up complained of inadequate care, he said. Others said they were sent away from clinics or hospitals without being allowed to see a doctor or nurse….

    Swan-Shannacappo said the inquest will be toothless because there will be no findings of fault by the presiding judge. Under provincial law, an inquest can only make recommendations about how to prevent similar deaths.

Swan-Shannacappo says that investigation should be like the aboriginal justice inquirery called after the 1988 murder of an aboriginal woman and a police-involved shooting of an aboriginal man. That probe resulted in recommendations on how to improve the ways aboriginal people are treated within the justice system.

The inquiry “didn’t say, ‘let’s fix things for these aboriginal people overnight.’ he says. “What they said is, ‘let’s go around to each community and we will start collecting all the data — all the horrific stories, and from there we can see how we can work together.”

Gwen Florio

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