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politics

White Earth Descendant Selected for Minnesota Supreme Court

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Turtle Talk

Congratulations Judge Anne McKeig

Link to full article here

From the article:

Gov. Mark Dayton has selected Fourth Judicial District Judge Anne McKeig as the next Supreme Court justice, giving the state’s highest court its first American Indian jurist, as well as the first female majority since 1991.

McKeig, 49, a descendant of White Earth Nation, has specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues. She was first appointed to the bench in 2008 by GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. She will replace retiring Justice Christopher Dietzen, also a Pawlenty appointee.

The selection means that Dayton has made a majority of appointments on the 7-member court, likely ensuring his legacy on the bench long after he leaves office. He has now appointed five justices, though former Justice Wilhelmina Wright joined the federal bench earlier this year.

In his two terms, Dayton has made diversifying the state’s courts a priority. He praised…

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Nooksack Tribe fires judge handling disenrollment case

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Judge says she was told to take a drug test, then fired ‘without cause’

Chairman says judge waived tribe’s sovereign immunity without hearing

Temporary judge approved, search to start for someone to fill position

Successful Applicants for the 2016 Summer Sessional Lectureships

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The First Nations and Indigenous Studies program would like to congratulate June Scudeler and Lindsay Lachance as the successful applicants for the 2016 Summer Sessional Lectureships in the teaching of the following FNIS courses:

FNIS 210 003 (3) Indigenous Politics and Self-Determination
Term 1 (May – June, 2016)

FNIS 220 003 (3) Representation and Indigenous Cultural Politics
Term 2 (July – August, 2016)

Original Post at First Nations & Indigenous Studies (Facebook Page)

Presentation by the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. 10 – 11 am, March 5, 2016

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Presentation by the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

All students and community members are invited to attend a presentation by the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould, Canada’s newest Attorney General, and a graduate of the UBC Allard School of Law, who will be discussing her vision and role as the Minister of Justice.

Saturday, March 5, 10:00-11:00 AM
Jack Poole Hall, The Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

Please RSVP for this event as seating is limited. Light refreshments will be served.

Melanie Mark, NDP MLA, Is 1st First Nations Woman Elected To B.C. Legislature

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Posted: 02/03/2016 8:55 am EST Updated: 02/03/2016 9:59 am EST
MELANIE MARK

Melanie Mark grew up in one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods, bouncing around the social housing system while her mother struggled with addiction and her siblings lived in foster care.

Decades later, she’s about to become the first indigenous woman to be elected to B.C.’s legislature in the province’s history.

Mark, a New Democrat, snagged a seat in her party’s stronghold of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant in a byelection Monday. She handily defeated Liberal Gavin Dew and Green candidate Pete Fry with over 60 per cent of the vote.

The mother of two will be replacing Jenny Kwan, who moved into federal politics as NDP MP for Vancouver-East last October.

melanie mark
Mark at a campaign launch event in April 2015. (Photo: Facebook)

Mark was a frontrunner throughout the campaign, which was an experience that provided a stark contrast from a childhood marked with hardship.

Now 40, the politician grew up in social housing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — an impoverished neighbourhood known for high levels of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness.

Mark’s mother — now 10 years sober — was an alcoholic. Her father was also an addict and died from an overdose when she was in her 20s, the MLA wrote in a letter published by the Georgia Straight last week.

Mark, who is of Cree, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, and Ojibway descent, also had several siblings living in foster care. The future politician said she was left to support them for 16 years, working with “relentless passion” while her mother struggled with addiction.

melanie mark
Mark at a campaign event before winning the byelection in her riding of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant on Feb. 2, 2016. (Photo: Melanie Mark’s Campaign/Flickr)

Mark was shuffled into “over 30” different homes growing up in the neighbourhood, she told the Straight.

But her takeaway from it all, according to her website, wasn’t frailty.

It was “warrior strength.”

Youth advocacy and provincial politics

Mark, who studied political science at B.C.’s Simon Fraser University, spent years advocating for children and youth in the province and across Canada. She worked with organizations such as Covenant House Vancouver, Save the Children, the RCMP, and co-founded Vancouver’s Aboriginal Policing Community Centre.

She also volunteered as president of the city’s Urban Native Youth Association, which helps indigenous youth settle into city life.

Before her foray into politics, Mark worked with B.C. children’s watchdog Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond for nearly a decade.

The politician announced her bid for B.C. legislature in April.

“There was no chance in hell I was going to stand on the sidelines.”

Throughout her campaign, Mark focused on youth advocacy, affordable housing, poverty reduction, and education.

“I’ve never worked so hard to get a job,” the candidate told the Vancouver Courier last year.

Mark’s First Nations heritage was also at the forefront — a part of her identity that shows how far the MLA-elect has come.

“My early days weren’t easy. There was a lot of struggle, and there certainly wasn’t a lot of pride. I faced so much racism in school, and bullies, and really had to fight — whether that [was against] the experiences that my family confronted [or] how my brothers were treated in care,” Mark said at a campaign event on Sunday.

“There was no chance in hell I was going to stand on the sidelines.”

Justin Trudeau signals new approach to relationship with Indigenous people

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Justin Trudeau signals new approach to relationship with Indigenous people

Ceremony included recognition of traditional Algonquin territory and performances from Indigenous children

By Connie Walker, CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2015 4:34 PM ETLast Updated: Nov 04, 2015 5:51 PM ET

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The first sign that this government is taking a new approach to its relationship with indigenous people came when Theland Kicknosway, a 12-year-old Cree drummer, led the way into Rideau Hall today for the swearing-in of Justin Trudeau and his cabinet.

There has been indigenous participation in the past, but today’s ceremony was clearly meant to symbolize a new relationship with indigenous people and the government of Canada.

The Cree boy’s song ended and was quickly followed with an acknowledgement the gathering was on traditional Algonquin territory.

The ceremony also featured giggling Inuit throat singers who stole the show and wrapped up with three Métis jiggers.

Two indigenous ministers were sworn into Trudeau’s cabinet: Jody Wilson-Raybould (Kwakwaka’wakw) was named minister of justice; and Hunter Tootoo (Inuit) is the new minister of fisheries and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett Nov 4 2015

Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett is sworn-in during the ceremony at Rideau Hall. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

But perhaps the most symbolic change was the renaming of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs to Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

The new minister is longtime aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett, who held an eagle feather and a braid of sweetgrass as she was sworn in.

Hayden King, professor of Indigenous governance at Ryerson University, says the name change will be welcome in the indigenous community.

cree drummer cabinet

Cree drummer Theland Kicknosway, 12, leads the procession into Rideau Hall before Justin Trudeau is sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

“Obviously Trudeau wants to be sensitive to indigenous people and the name change reflects a change in approach — it’s adopting our language. In that sense it’s hard to critique the change.”

King said the term indigenous has become preferred over aboriginal.

“I think indigenous is a term that actual native people, indigenous peoples, originated themselves. It comes from us as a people, so I think that’s one reason that people prefer it.”

“Aboriginal is kind of a status, legal, domestication of indigenous concerns, whereas indigenous or indigeneity is kind of sovereigntist, more authentic term used by indigenous people themselves.”

A video of Theland’s drumming posted on Facebook  quickly gained thousands of views and shares.


And many of the comments contain the word hope.

But King is not convinced the symbolism will result in the “real change” that Trudeau has promised indigenous Canadians.

“Everybody wants to be hopeful. I want to be hopeful, I want to be optimistic, but I am a student of history and my reservoir of cynicism is deep. There do seem to be some positive signs, but at the same time, we know what is going to happen.”

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Inuit throat singers at swearing-in ceremony 0:54

CBC News Aboriginal: http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/justin-trudeau-signals-new-approach-to-relationship-with-indigenous-people-1.3304234?cmp=abfb

US Education Secretary, Arne Duncan redirects state funding intended for correctional programs to pay teachers in most underprivileged communities

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The Atlantic: Education

Teachers vs. Prisons

Arne Duncan may be on his way out, but he’s determined to draw attention to the role of schools in perpetuating—and eradicating—inequality.

WASHINGTON — Outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in a speech before an audience last week at the National Press Club, announced a new policy to reallocate state correctional-funding dollars to raises for teachers in the nation’s most underprivileged districts.

In what were perhaps his most intentional comments to date on race, Duncan addressed the disparities in educational access and correctional patterns within a decidedly racial framework.

The secretary challenged educators and those to whom they answer to take “an unsparing look at our own attitudes and our own decisions and the ways that they are tied to both race and class.”

“In the wake of Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, this has become a central discussion for many in America, and rightly so,” said Duncan, who on Friday—days after the National Press Club speech—announced that he’ll be resigning at the end of the year. “Those of us in education simply cannot afford to stay on the sidelines. Let’s recognize upfront that this is one of the hardest conversations that we can have in education.

“Suspensions, expulsions, and expectations for learning track far too closely to race and class,” Duncan continued. “Sometimes the facts must force a tough look inward. This is not just about explicit, obvious bias. Indeed, sometimes when a genuinely transparent moment of bias arises, the whole country stops and takes a breath. A child holds a clock and we see a bomb. But more often, it’s far subtler stuff buried in invisible privileges and expectations that we’re not even aware that we hold.”

“It’s painful to admit to one’s own actions. It’s painful to admit that one’s own actions might be causing harm, particularly for us as educators who come to this work from such an altruistic place,” said Duncan. “It’s difficult work challenging centuries of institutionalized racism and class inequality, but I firmly believe a hard look at ourselves is a critical part of becoming the nation we strive to be — one of liberty and opportunity regardless of circumstances of your birth.”

Duncan proposed a reallocation of funding from the correctional system to the poorest schools in each state “to get great teachers in front of our neediest kids.”

Acknowledging a need for salary increases for all teachers, Duncan suggested that particularly those working in schools in the bottom 20 percent of each state in the most impoverished areas “doing the hard but incredibly important work in those schools” need a boost of up to 50 percent. Teaching is hard work everywhere, he said, but it is particularly harder for teachers at under-resourced schools.

“Everyone here knows it can be challenging to recruit and keep fantastic teachers in the schools where the needs are the greatest,” said Duncan.

“The fact of the matter is, because we’re so property tax-based throughout the nation—not everywhere, there are some important exceptions—but in far too many places the children of the wealthy get dramatically more spent on them than the children of the poor,” he said. “And until we become uncomfortable with that truth, until we really start to believe that black and brown children and poor children actually can contribute to society, we’re going to continue to have huge disparities.”

Acknowledging the “decades of neglect and abuse and mistreatment and non-investment” in communities like Baltimore; Ferguson, Missouri; his native Chicago; and other majority-minority cities and school districts across the country, Duncan said the historically inequitable funding of the public education system in states is doing a disservice to the nation.

“As long as children in Ferguson are getting less than half the money spent on them as children in other communities, we’re going to have real challenges; we’re going to leave a lot of talent on the sidelines and we’re going to lock up far too many young people.”

“The bottom line is that we must do more to ensure that more strong teachers go to our toughest schools and stay for the long haul. Right now, in far too many places, glaring and unconscionable funding gaps create all the wrong incentives,” said Duncan.

But even in states that are said to be doing well, students are still largely underprepared for college, Duncan said. Citing Massachusetts, which boasts the highest performance rates in the country as an example, Duncan revealed that, even in the top education state, roughly one-third of students still require remedial classes once they get to college. If that’s the story in the No. 1 state, Duncan asked, what does that say about two through 50?

“What’s the cumulative impact of such a massive disparity of opportunity over 13 years of a child’s education?” he asked. “The linkage between education, or a lack thereof, and incarceration is powerful.”

Duncan said it is imperative that correctional funds be redirected to ensure that “all students, including and especially students those in low-income communities of color, have access to high standards that align to expectations of the real world, challenging coursework that prepares them for college without having to lose time with remediation.”

The ultimate goal is to “make opportunity real for those who have grown up without advantages,” said the secretary.

“It’s a fight to increase social mobility; it’s a fight for social justice,” he said. “And the stakes could not be higher. For far too many of our children today, this fight could literally mean the difference between life and death.”


This article appears courtesy of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/10/arne-duncan-prison-funding/408745/