Day: March 17, 2015

Sarah Harmer concert to raise funds for First Nations’ fight against Enbridge

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Sarah Harmer concert to raise funds for First Nations’ fight against Enbridge

Juno award-nominated singer and songwriter Sarah Harmer joins Chris Brown for a concert at the York Theatre in Vancouver to raise funds for First Nations’ legal defence against Enbridge and the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Sarah Harmer will be performing for Pull Together in Vancouver on March 24, 2015. Photo courtesy Sarah Harmer.

Juno-nominated singer/songwriter and activist Sarah Harmer will join Chris Brown of the Citizens Band on March, 24, for a performance at the York Theatre in Vancouver to benefit the Pull Together campaign. Also performing will be the Git Hayetsk Dancers and Kristi Lane Sinclair.

The Pull Together campaign, launched by Sierra Club BC and RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) raises funds to support First Nations in their legal fight against the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Phase one of the campaign raised $350,000, and the second phase has just started.

“It’s very important,” says Harmer of the need to raise funds to do case prep and research for the court battles against the federal government and Enbridge.

“We’re on the deciding point for a lot of important long range visions for our future, economically, and obviously environmentally,” she says.

Harmer toured the Northern Gateway pipeline route and the various communities affected from the Athabasca tar sands, to Fort Chipewyan through to Kitimat. Read More…

First Nations vow legal challenge of anti-terror bill

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First Nations vow legal challenge of anti-terror bill

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: 'This is not an abstract argument for our people.'
AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: ‘This is not an abstract argument for our people.’The Canadian Press

Canada’s First Nations will challenge the constitutionality of Bill C-51 unless the Conservatives withdraw the divisive security legislation and consult aboriginals before drafting any new bill, the head of the Assembly of First Nations vowed Thursday.

“We want the whole bill gone,” AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde told reporters after testifying at a turbulent House of Commons committee on the proposed omnibus bill, which would give extraordinary powers to federal spies, government departments and the RCMP to thwart national security threats.

The authorization to launch a Supreme Court challenge would first need the permission of AFN chiefs.

Bellegarde said the government has created grounds for a court action by not meeting its so-called “duty to consult” when its actions could adversely affect potential or established aboriginal or treaty rights enshrined in the Constitution. The common-law duty was upheld in Supreme Court decisions in 2004 and 2005.

“Unfortunately, the process for developing this legislation did not meet the federal government’s duty to consult and accommodate and on that point alone is subject to challenge in the courts if the government tries to impose it on us,” said Bellegarde, elected national chief in December. “We had no input at all.” Read More…

Manitoba elders say 2011 flood devastated lives, communities

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Manitoba elders say 2011 flood devastated lives, communities

First Nation evacuees continue to face mental health issues and suicide

CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2015 2:13 PM CT

Elders, families still suffering from 2011 flood. CBC’s Meagan Fiddler reports.

It’s been four years since a devastating flood hit Manitoba, but those who lost their homes and communities are still suffering, their families say.

Feelings of isolation, mental health issues and increased suicide rates are only some aspects of reality for those who were forced out of the life they knew, elders from four Manitoba First Nations said Tuesday at a gathering held to share their stories.

Marshall Ross says he misses being able to take care of his home.

“I’m getting sick of it now; nothing to do, just sleep and eat where I’m staying. I had my own house, I had a few things to do outside, cleaning up my yard,” he said.

Sharon Pruden

Sharon Pruden looks on as elders share stories at gathering about the effects of flooding. (CBC)

​Sharon Pruden was at the event to speak for her mother.

“She always talked about not wanting to leave her home,” she said. “And she always talked about not wanting to go home in a coffin. … That is how we had to take her home when she passed away on January 30th.”

The gathering, which was organized by the health directors of Lake St. Martin, Little Saskatchewan, Pinaymootang and Dauphin River, is first of its kind: Elders came specifically to talk about the effects flooding has on their lives.

“I always feel like the evacuees aren’t being heard and I always refer to them as the forgotten people,” said Gwen Traverse, health director for Pinaymootang.

Traverse says she hears of crises from evacuees on a daily basis. Read More

Ireland Pays Tribute to Choctaw Nation’s Kindness

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Ireland Pays Tribute to Choctaw Nation’s Kindness

By Toyacoyah Brown on March 15, 2015

Joe McCarthy, East Cork’s municipal district officer, explained the reason for the project to the Irish Examiner: “These people were still recovering from their own injustice. They put their hands in their pockets and they helped strangers. It’s rare to see such generosity. It had to be acknowledged.”

each feather is unique.jpg

Of course the acknowledgement could not be small in stature. Officials chose a unique idea from sculptor Alex Pentek to pay homage to the Choctaw. See the artist’s rendering below of the Kindred Spirits sculpture.

Alex Pentek. Kindred Spirits. 2013. Memorial to the Choctaw Nation’s aid to Ireland during the the great Famine. from Alex Pentek on Vimeo.

On his Vimeo page Alex Pentek writes this:

By creating an empty bowl symbolic of the Great Irish Famine formed from the seemingly fragile and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in Choctaw ceremonial dress, it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were still recovering from their own tragic recent past.

I have also chosen feathers to reflect the local bird life along the nearby water’s edge with a fusion of ideas that aims to visually communicate this act of humanity and mercy, and also the notion that the Choctaw and Irish Nations are forever more kindred spirits.

I would love to see this in person! I am sure a representative from the Choctaw Nation will be on hand later this year to witness the unveiling of the statue. We will keep you posted if so!

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