Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa’

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

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

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 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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Highway blockades will go up Monday in Ontario unless First Nations can work out an agreement with the federal and provincial government in Canada over whether a sales tax will apply to tribes. The tax has been the subject of months of protests by First Nations communities (See video above.)

On the table, Karen Howlett of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes here, is a plan to award aboriginal communities a major break from the “harmonized sales tax,” or HST:

    The deal will save residents of Native communities between $85-million and $120-million in the first year of the HST, according to a new study done by Fred Lazar, an associate economics professor at York University. However, it will also avert a series of protests just as world leaders descend on Ontario for next week’s G8 and G20 summits.

    The protests are set to kick off Monday morning with a blockade of the railway in Batchewana First Nation, a community of 2,400 near Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Residents of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, a fly-in community 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, are also planning to participate in the blockade.

Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse says he expects the agreement to be signed tomorrow.

“We’re not quite there yet, but we are making progress,” he tells Howlett. “We’re hoping to have some conclusion to this in the next couple of days.”

First Nations argue that applying the provincial sales tax to them – something that has not been done for 30 years – violates their sovereignty.

Gwen Florio

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