Good Read-Fracking protest leads to bigger debate over indigenous rights in Canada

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Fracking protest leads to bigger debate over indigenous rights in Canada

by Benjamin Shingler @benshingler December 10, 2013 5:00AM ET

A single campaign in the country’s smallest province is now a flashpoint for land rights of First Nations communities

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MONTREAL — It’s a single shale gas exploration project in one of Canada’s smallest provinces, but it has become a flashpoint in the debate over indigenous land rights in the country.

What began this summer in a small encampment near the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick has triggered a broader movement with a groundswell of support across the country.

After protesters in New Brunswick set up another blockade last week on a highway near a seismic testing site, demonstrations were held in solidarity in cities across the country. Activists contend this is only the beginning of a lengthy battle in New Brunswick – and part of a larger fight over the stewardship of the country’s natural resources.

Elsipogtog — along with the Mi’kmaq indigenous who are part of that nation — has come to represent the struggle for indigenous self-determination, land rights and environmental protection, said Clayton Thomas-Muller, an activist and organizer of the aboriginal movement Idle No More, which took hold last year in Canada.

“It very quickly could set off a firestorm given the current political climate in Canada with Idle No More,” Thomas-Muller said

For now, protesters in Elsipogtog expect a period of quiet, at least over the holiday season.

SWN Resources, a shale gas testing company based in Texas, announced last Friday it had completed its initial round of testing.

Protesters report the company’s high-powered, specialized trucks have left the area and its workers have gone home

But no one is under the impression the company is gone for good.

Read Complete Story here

UNGA 3rd committee resolution on the rights of indigenous peoples adopted

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3rd committee res 2013

The attached 3rd committee resolution was adopted by consensus today, with three oral amendments.

Amendments introduced by Bolivia:


Add the following text to the end of the paragraph: …”and that the Alta outcome document as well as other proposals by indigenous peoples be taken into account when preparing the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples”


Delete the following from the end of the paragraph: “and notes the opportunity to further discuss this matter within the framework of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples”. This change makes the paragraph identical to OP11 from last year’s 3rd committee resolution.


Delete the word “and” in line 6 and replace with a comma between the worlds “organizations” and “institutions”.

After the resolution was adopted the following Member States made statements.

UK and France reiterated their position regarding collective rights.

Canada said that UNDRIP was an aspirational, non-legally binding document that imposes no obligations on Canadian law.

The United States emphasized that the Alta document is but one of many proposals of indigenous peoples that may be taken into account for the WCIP. Further, the US looks forward to working with Member States and the PGA to ensure the adequate participation of elected and traditional representatives of tribal governments at the WCIP.

The following countries were added to the list of co-sponsors: Cuba, Austria, Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Ecuador, USA, Lithuania, Estonia, Italy, Iceland, Montenegro, Poland, Slovenia.


Native Roots and Seeds of Change (livestream)

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this event has passed now, but names and resources may be useful


article of interest

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Philippines: Philippines’ Isolated Indigenous Peoples Shut Off From Haiyan Relief

Far from cities and supplies, remote communities struggle to survive after losing lives, homes and boats to typhoon
In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed an untold number of people, displaced 630,000 and devastated central Philippines, the country’s indigenous peoples—most of whom are located in isolated, forested communities, far away from cities and supplies—are emerging as among the worst hit.
As they struggle to survive and assess damage to the natural resources they preserve and maintain for their incomes and food, an estimated 1,600 indigenous families are struggling to secure basic supplies that could help them to survive–and rebuild their lives.
The indigenous Tagbanua communities, spread out across the Calamianes, a group of islands in the southwest province of Palawan, were severely impacted when the typhoon made its sixth landfall….   (read more)


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Dear Friends,

As you may all know, the Philippines is now under a state of calamity with the massive and widescale destruction of lives and properties  by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the strongest typhoon recorded in history early this month. The coverage from various media outfits show part of the damage wrought by the typhoon in the Visayas region. What is not yet being publicized is also the situation of many indigenous communities who live in far flung communities and are now isolated because of the massive damage in their areas and the lack of communication facilities. Many of them have lost their homes and their sources of livelihood. The poor state of infrastructures and adaptation measures as well as their poor socio-economic conditions made them most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of typhoon Yolanda.

An initial estimate of 11,627 families coming from various indigenous groups in Luzon and Visayas are currently in need of support. We expect more are needing support and our members and networks are gathering more information on the affected indigenous communities.

To tie up the appeal letters from our members and networks in the Philippines coordinating relief support for the indigenous communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), attached is our general appeal letter which includes the contact and bank account details of the organizations facilitating donations for the affected indigenous communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

For practical reasons, the best form shall be financial contributions which will be used for the much needed relief –food, blankets, medicines etc. Our members and network in the Philippines shall be delivering directly the support and this shall be properly recorded and acknowledged by them.


For friends in Chiang Mai willing to donate the details are below:

Drop off for donations in kind from 13 November to 6 December:

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

Contact Person: Ms. Marion Cabrera


Mobile #: +66913019843

Address: 189/ Changklan Road, A. Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand 50100

Considering the length of time and cost for in kind donations to be sent to the Philippines, we only welcome the following:

§  Medicines

§  Water purifiers

For cash donations, please contact the following:

  1. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Contact Person: Mr. Richard Gadit


Mobile #: +66897001749

2.   Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)

Contact Person: Ms. Marion


Mobile #: +66913019843

3.   Diakonia

Contact Person: Ms. Niza Concepcion


Mobile #: +66(0) 8 199303710

Organizations coordinating relief support for the affected indigenous communities

  1. For the affected Tagbanua communities in Coron, Palawan

Koalisyon ng mga Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI)

Contact Person: Mr. Giovanni Reyes


Mobile #s: +639162447297; +639494996095

For the affected indigenous communities in Panay, Iloilo, Capiz and other areas in the Southern Tagalog region

  1. Kalipunan ng mga Katutubo sa Pilipinas/ National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines (KAMP)

Contact Person: Kakay Tolentino


Telephone and Fax – (02) 412-5340

For the affected indigenous communities in the Visayas and Mindanao

  1.      BALSA Mindanao/Help Mindanao

Contact Person: Sr. Noemi or Cecil

Email: or contact

     Tel. +63 082 2973610

     Mobile Numbers

     Sr. Noemi +639294463684/Cecil +639122178625


   2.    Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao

Kalinaw Lanao Center for Interfaith Resources

0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde

9200 Iligan City


T/F: +63 (63) 223 5179



A CONCEPT OF NATIVE TITLE by Leroy Littlebear (1982)

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by Leroy Littlebear (1982)

This ritual, i.e. the coming ashore and the planting of a flag and the claiming of the land for the Monarch, is sometimes referred to as “Discovery”. The Doctrine of Discovery is one justification for claiming fee simple title to lands in North America.  But the doctrine has been abused, misconstrued, and misinterpreted by the white man.  Chief Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court, and one of the first to use the Concept or Discovery in his decisions, said in the Johnson and Graham’s lessee v. Mc’Intosh case[7] that discovery was a doctrine meant to apply to the European powers for their own orderly conduct in dealing with the aboriginal people of North America.  Hence, discovery was not meant to apply to the Indians.  It was not meant to mean fee simple ownership.  To the contrary discovery can be analogized to a ‘business franchise’.  Just as a business franchise gives exclusive rights to the owner of the franchise to enter into business relations with people, within the geographic area of the franchise, discovery was meant to give a European power which came to the shores of North America the exclusive right to deal with the Indians whose territory covered or included the particular area discovered by a European power.  A right to deal with people certainly does not give ownership to their property.


Note: This article is presently being circulated at the V Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala, taking place November 10-16, 2013 at La Maria Piendamo, Cauca [Colombia].  The Declaration Abya Yala, presented at the DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery International Conference in Arizona in April, is also in discussion at the Summit.  Action on the DISMANTLING of the Doctrine of Discovery as called for by the Abya Yala Declaration is on the agenda in Colombia.

Also, critical discussions on the UN HLP/WCIP 2014 are taking place, from the grass roots indigenous movements. The II Continental Indigenous Women Summit, and Indigenous Youth Summit also taking place.  Extractive mining issues, including the REDDS+ are being addressed within a context of the continental indigenous movements.

Certificate Program in Aboriginal Language Revitalization

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Certificate Program in Aboriginal Language Revitalization -

LING 180A: Dynamics of Indigenous Language offered at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton, BC.

A Metaphoric Mind: Selected Writings of Joseph Couture

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Joseph Couture was a key member of the Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. We are pleased to announce the published of his collected essays.

A Metaphoric Mind: Selected Writings of Joseph Couture is a collection of essays by Joe Couture, the educational psychologist and expert in Aboriginal healing who spearheaded the formation of the first native studies department at Trent University. Edited by Ruth Couture and Virginia McGowan, the essays touch on the growth of Aboriginal activism in the 1960s and 1970s as well as topics germane to the movement: spirituality and ancestral ways of knowing, Elders and their teachings, justice and the restorative process, and the role of education in self-determination and social change.

Information on the book can be found here:

Athabasca University Press is an open-access press, which means that PDF copies of the book are available on our website for anybody to download.

The Healthy Aboriginal Network – Non-profit promotion of health, literacy & wellness

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The Healthy Aboriginal Network is excited to release a new resource today. And for those of you that were on vacation this summer, or just weren’t able to check out our other near-release resources, two re-releases:

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) poster series

We were tremendously lucky to receive funding this spring to create a UNCRC poster series, with an Aboriginal youth focus. There are 42 posters in all – one for each Right. Please check out to see a preview. We are selling the posters in sets of 42 (no individual poster sales) for around $228, which includes shipping and taxes. If you are interested in buying a set please send an email to with your address and we will send you an invoice. If you are having trouble seeing the new pages, refresh your browser (that swirly icon to the far right of the website you’re visiting).

Financial literacy comic book

We all think we know what happens to our money – how much we make and where we spend it. And if we’re asked whether impulse buys and payday loans are a good idea, we all likely know that the answer is ‘no’. But making the right decision at the right time can be hard to do. In The Game Plan, check out how money all finally makes sense to Jake once he relates it to his lacrosse aspirations. There is a preview and pricing at and the book can be ordered by sending an email with your address to

Residential school comic book and augmented reality rear cover

With so much attention on the Reconciliation Canada event in Vancouver this September, we thought it prudent to remind people that we released a residential school book this spring. The story is similar to testimony heard at the Truth and Reconciliation events, so it can be a tough story to read. But if you’re looking to educate youth on what happened to us as Native people, you’ll have a hard time finding a better resource. There is a preview and pricing at Please send an email to with your address if you’d like to order.

There is also a bonus on the rear outside cover. To see it, download the free Layar App from the store on your Android or iPhone. Open the App and point the camera at our cover (also available here – to trigger a survivor’s story. You won’t be disappointed.

We hope you continue to find us relevant to youth’s needs,

Sean Muir

Executive Director

3240 Comox Road    Courtenay , BC   V9N 3P8

Phone 250-941-8881

A BC incorporated non-profit Society