A recording of the historic apology this morning in the Ontario Legislature.
Let me get this straight!?!
The Trudeau government commits $8.4 billion in the federal budget towards indigenous communities, infrastructure and social programs.
They’ve restored the full Kelowna Accord fiscal commitment of $5 billion plus over $3 billion dollars more!! The Kelowna Accord was brokered by First Nations leadership themselves.
That’s somewhere north of 21 times of any commitment made by the previous Harper government.
Is Kelowna your benchmark? Or is Stephen Harper your benchmark? Take your pick.
Even if you factor in the criticism that much of these commitments will be pushed out beyond the next election, that’s still way more funding ever allocated in the federal budget in the history of Canada.
Yet, for some of our leaders, it’s still not enough. Some have even criticized Justin Trudeau over it.
Surely, there must be some way that First Nations leaders can work with this puny morsel of funding? Maybe we can’t all give Prime Minister Trudeau a headdress, but maybe, just maybe, he earned one this week.
How about a pat on the back? A handshake of thanks? Any semblance of appreciation for going above and beyond any other Prime Minister has ever gone towards helping and working with our communities?
No way. That’s not our style.
“Please, Sir. I want some more.”
I’m sorry, readers and movie goers. I really don’t like to rain on anyone’s parade. But The Revenant is just not very endearing to indigenous peoples.
Like many indigenous people, I was so excited to go see The Revenant. Recently, my wife and I had a chance to spend some time with Duane Howard, the hard working Nuu-chah-nulth actor and stuntman who stars in the Oscar-winning film. He spoke about his experiences acting in the movie, and his interactions with mega-star Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio befriended a few First Nations people during it’s filming.
DiCaprio’s shout-out during the Golden Globes was heart-felt and honourable. He said: “I want to share this award with all the First Nations people represented in this film and all the indigenous communities around the world. It is time that we recognized your history and that we protect your indigenous lands from corporate interests and people that are out there to exploit them. It is time that we heard your voice and protected this planet for future generations.”
Finally, we found ourselves an outspoken hero in Hollywood! Someone who can replace the voice and noble action of the Late Marlon Brando, another superstar who was a friend to First Nations people.
The Revenant stars a whole bunch of indigenous actors, including Melaw Nakehk’o, Grace Dove, Isaiah Tootoosis and Forrest Goodluck. In a year where the Academy Awards was being criticized for it’s lack of inclusion, an indigenous cast like this one was to my liking.
Not to mention, Leo is one of my favourite actors, playing the lead in my favourite movie of all time, Titanic. Needless to say, I had a lot of great expectations and was so excited to see this movie.
The Revenant is beautifully shot. It had incredible acting. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Actor Oscar was well earned. As was Tom Hardy’s Oscar nomination. It is a gripping, yet dark story.
But did The Revenant showcase indigenous people and accurately portray our culture? Did it make me proud to be Anishinaabe? I’m afraid not.
The first thing it did was showcase the stereotypical period violence doled out by indigenous people. It showed how eager our people were to wage war against non-native interlopers. There were plenty of arrows, brutal beatings and even some scalping. All in the first ten minutes of the film.
Leo’s character, Hugh Glass, is portrayed as a tortured and weathered guide who brings along his half-Pawnee son on the doomed fur trade adventure. The son, played by Forrest Goodluck, had the best potential for a good role in the film. That is until he is killed in the first third of the movie. But not before Leo’s character slaps the boy around making sure he knows where his place is among the filth around him.
Hugh and his son do speak Pawnee in the film. But not enough for the audience to embrace and appreciate any actual indigenous culture.
I was anxiously awaiting to see the part of Elk Dog, portrayed by Duane Howard. Surely, he would redeem the slow start of this indigenous anthology I was expecting.
Elk Dog is the leader of the band of warriors. Occasionally, he rides up on horseback overseeing the plundering and violence. But I can’t recall if he had any worthwhile dialogue. Apparently, the motivation for his vengeance is the kidnapping of his daughter by another group of fur traders. Alas, these Indians are on the warpath, just like other Indians in many a historical western. There is nothing really for First Nations people to latch onto or be proud of from Elk Dog and his men.
Ironically, my second favourite movie of all time is Dances With Wolves. Costner’s story is also guilty of furthering violent stereotypes. Sure, it’s ripe with the noble, white saviour theme. But it also shows, quite eloquently, the beauty and compassion of Lakota family and culture.
Such is not the case with The Revenant. In fact, there is nothing appreciably redeeming about the motivation of these characters nor their story. This movie is about vengeance and violence, plain and simple.
Between The Revenant, and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, there are 5 hours and 43 minutes of spilling blood and guts. But at least Quentin chose not to portray the spilling of any First Nations blood in his movie.
From: Bob Goulais <email@example.com>
Date: Monday, October 5, 2015 at 5:19 PM
To: OFSAA Executive Council
Cc: OFSAA Football Advisor; OFSAA Transfer Advisor
Subject: Appeal of Mr. Drake Morin, North Bay, ON
Dear OFSAA Executive Council:
I am writing to express my support to Drake Morin, a Grade 11 student of St. Joseph-Scollard Hall in North Bay, Ontario. He and his family are appealing a ruling that makes him ineligible to play senior football in the Nipissing District Association (NDA) this school year.
Having been raised in a small First Nation community in northern Ontario, I know and appreciate the challenges faced by students in the north and in rural areas. There isn’t always the same opportunities and programs afforded students in more prosperous areas of Ontario. Our students are faced with difficult choices and sacrifices. Sadly, this often limits their potential.
In this case, Drake has made a choice to change schools that meets his academic need while also allowing him to pursue opportunities in school sports, to become a better football player and student athlete. His former school, Chippewa Secondary School, did not offer a comparable academic program nor did it have a senior football program.
This rule, that prevents students from playing following a school transfer, may be appropriate in larger centres where nearly every school has diverse academic and athletic programs. Such transfers may very well create issues of competitiveness. But in northern and rural Ontario, such a rule is unfair and punitive given that there are really few, if any, alternative choices for a student to pursue their goals academically and athletically.
Further, this issue has created a growing movement across our region, as parents and the general public are showing enthusiastic support for such a dedicated student athlete. Drake Morin is an knowledgable volunteer coach and mentor to many in our local youth football program. Over the years, my sons Griffin and Miigwans have learned much from their camaraderie as teammates with Drake. In my estimation, Drake exemplifies the kind of student athlete that OFSAA was established to develop and support.
I offer my support and encourage OFSAA executive council members to allow the appeal for Drake to play senior football this season. Further, I recommend that this rule be evaluated to take into account circumstances such as these that may unfairly exclude students from First Nations, rural and northern Ontario.
170 Gerald Crescent
Nipissing First Nation
Garden Village, Ontario P2B3J8
My dear Nbisiing Anishinaabeg:
Please take a few minutes to consider this call to action. It’s such an important time where we all need to do our part, to work together, to get rid of Stephen Harper and his insensitive, reckless and irresponsible government that has absolutely no care or concern for Anishinaabe families.
Several prominent community members and myself have been working to help our good friend Anthony Rota to take back the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding from Harper back-bencher Jay Aspin.
Harper, Aspin and the Conservative government have refused to work with First Nation on a nation-to-nation basis, choosing unilateral and arbitrary means to further their agenda. An agenda that has seen them kill the $5 billion Kelowna Accord, a blind refusal to call an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, stripping environmental laws meant to protect fresh water, and cutting millions of dollars from First Nations organizations across the country.
Here’s what we need to know about the October 19, 2015 federal election:
- We need to take action. Stephen Harper has to go. So we must all do our part to help make that happen. What can you do?
- We need to vote strategically. In our riding, the last election was decided by only 18 votes. If we are to use “strategic voting” we can take a seat away from the Harper government. In our riding, strategic voting means that we all need to vote Liberal. In our riding, if you vote NDP or Green, you are helping re-elect the Conservatives. See http://www.strategicvoting.ca/districts.html.
- We need to help our friends. As a community, we should support our friend and our biggest supporter. No MP or local candidate has been a better friend, supporter and stuck with us through thick and thin than Anthony Rota. He’s really been there for our First Nation as an MP and a community leader. Even during the past four, hard years, Anthony’s been here and we can count on him. Anybody remember Rona Eckhert, Dave Fluri, Dianna Allen, Art Campbell, Wendy Young or Dawson Pratt??? Me neither. But Anthony will be here for our community, doing what he does best, regardless of the election result.
Do you want to know what you can do to help get rid of Stephen Harper? Please consider volunteering a few hours of your time with the Anthony Rota campaign.
We need some Nbisiing Anishinaabeg to help out with the following:
- Making phone calls to potential supporters.
- Canvassing our community door-to-door.
- Delivering lawn signs to homes in our community.
- Acting as election day volunteers.
- Being a scrutineer or poll agent on behalf of the campaign.
No experience is necessary. It does help if you have a car or a ride to the Campaign office in North Bay. You’ll receive a little bit of training then you’ll be set to work with a lot of good, friendly and like-minded people.
If you can help out, please call Bob Goulais at (705) 805-9242 or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miigwetch. Thank you in advance for your time and effort.
Now that a solution to the Lake Nipissing fishery is in motion, it’s time to turn our collective efforts towards addressing the other, more significant issue that came about during the Lake Nipissing fisheries crisis.
On a regular basis, First Nation people in Nipissing First Nation have faced blatant, hard-hitting criticism and racism arising from the fisheries debate. Racism has manifest itself by becoming socially acceptable in everyday dialogue and among users of social media.
The health of Lake Nipissing is a serious issue and addressing the fishery needs to happen. But this issue pales in comparison to the issue of racism, discrimination and hatred. This has far greater negative impact on our society and on our people.
Racism in any of its forms is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with. There is an urgent need for a focussed anti-racism initiative in North Bay to address the fall-out from the fisheries issue and bridge the gap between the Anishinaabe community and our neighbours.
We need to build on the good work that has already taken place and address this heinous monster that has reared it’s ugly head.
Don Curry, Executive Director of the North Bay Multi-Cultural Centre and Maurice Switzer, a renowned Mississauga public educator, have done a commendable job in exploring the topic a few years back. I was proud to be a part of the important work that was done to analyze the issue of racism targeting Anishinaabe people. However, specific and comprehensive follow-up to their study has not taken place, mainly due to funding constraints.
I feel that a new, and focussed anti-racism initiative should encompass Treaty education, Canadian-Aboriginal history, a cultural exchange and focussed and wide-spread Anishinaabe awareness training. It should be integrated in the schools, as well as with businesses and community organizations. It should focus on healing and fostering understanding between our communities. It should also involve feasting and celebrating – and the best parts of Anishinaabe culture.
The youth and Elders should be a part of such an initiative. The initiative should be based in the culture and values of our people – so that we may share the beauty or our ways of life to all people in our area.
We aren’t just spears and gill nets. We don’t let our fish rot and we don’t waste fish. We are a kind, generous and hospitable people, wanting to share with our neighbours.
We have a lot to share, including the realities and facts about Aboriginal law and our perspectives on our rights.
Aboriginal and Treaty rights are as inalienable as the right to free speech, the right to religion and the right to liberty and freedom. They’re rights that come from the Creator and are very sacred to us.
But on a regular basis during this fisheries crisis, we’ve seen finger pointing. We’ve seen people calling for the arbitrary elimination of our rights. We’ve seen our neighbours generalize about our people using contemporary stereotypes and highly racialized commentary.
The sad reality is that many of these people don’t understand or don’t care that Aboriginal and Treaty rights are legal rights. They are a part of Canadian law, defended in the Supreme Court and protected by the Constitution.
The subject of eliminating the legal rights of another, by arbitrary act of an oppressor, is not and should not be acceptable commentary.
I’m very concerned that such commentary and unchecked racism is becoming wider spread, socially acceptable and is reinforcing intolerant attitudes in the community.
If you hear something, no matter how heinous, over and over again, it starts to seem okay. It seems acceptable to use disparaging comments on a public Facebook page, or in the online comments section. Everyone else is doing it, so others feel they can vent their vitriol, ignorance and hostility of First Nations. I find this unacceptable, offensive and hurtful. It is wrong.
Anishinaabe children hear that they are the cause of “a slaughter” on the Lake. They open Facebook and read that they are “raping” the Lake.
These are words from the very people organizing on social media. These are also the people on stage, at the front of the crowd, inciting action from dozens of angry residents. If this were the south, fifty years ago, they would conclude their rally by marching into Duchesnay Village looking for someone to make a example of.
All Canadians and all local residents, need to stand up and say something about such racist commentary and attitudes. People shouldn’t sit idly by and be complacent when seeing and reading this kind of racism.
We need to learn from history.
For a generation, people on the outskirts of Brantford watched, day-after-day, First Nations children marched into the Mush Hole (a residential school) and didn’t say anything.
During the war, people in eastern Europe seen trainloads of Jewish people, being shipped off in railway cars bound for extermination camp, and didn’t do anything.
Today, thousands of social media users, right here in our area, see and read these comments, week after week. And didn’t say anything about it.
It’s not right. It can’t be right. But it’s happening right here, right now, in our area, by our neighbours. We all have to do something about it.
I wish to say a heartfelt ‘chi-miigwetch’ (big thank) to those social media users and good neighbours who stand up for what is right and say something about racism. There are still a lot of good people out there.
When it comes to the fisheries issues, we are all on the same side. We want to find out who is responsible for these offenses and bring them to justice. We want to see our Lake flourish and see the walleye restored to abundance and health. There are many of us are happy to see our First Nation ban gill nets and see the commercial fishery curbed. But none of this should come at the expense of our rights or the dignity of Nbisiing Anishinaabeg people.
No longer does Nish humour have to be niche humour.
Today, these young indigenous comics are entertaining diverse audiences from Winnipeg to Montreal… and all locales in between, including North Bay.
Slynish Productions is organizing North Bay’s first Comedy Festival taking place August 12-15, 2015. The headliner will be Winnipeg’s very own Ryan McMahon who will be at Moose’s Cook House in North Bay on the evening of August 12. Clint Couchie will also be performing as well as fellow comics Gavan Stephens, Phil Luzi, Sandra Battaglini and Gilson Lubin.
All local comedy fans, please support the North Bay Comedy Festival.
If you are planning to visit the North Bay area, check out some good gut-bustin’ comedy. The wings are pretty good too!
For tickets and for more information visit: http://slynish.wix.com/northbaycomedyfest
Be there or be… somewhere else. Ayyyy! Just kidding!! Dew!!! Baw!!!!
Scott McLeod proposes to establish a forum for Women, Elders and Youth
The women of Nipissing First Nation will be a strong voice to hear from in this week’s election for Chief and Council. Scott McLeod, the leading candidate for Chief, has heard from a number of Nbisiing kwewag over the course of his campaign and through a survey sent out recently.
“It’s clear to me that women in Nipissing First Nation are expecting to be heard on a great number of issues facing our community,” said Scott McLeod, Crane Clan and a direct descendant of Chief Shabogesic. “I think it’s important that we establish and support a specific forum for the women to participate and show their concerns to Chief and Council.”
Scott expressed a few kind words for the role of women in his life and the life of the community.
“We depend so much on their advice, direction and in how they care for and nurture our community. They are also our life givers – caretakers for the Lake, the water and Mother Earth. We have to honour them in their role as leaders in the community,” said Scott.
Scott McLeod has also voiced his support for an Elder’s Forum and a Youth Forum that will provide a voice directly to Chief and Council, and when required, the community, and governance functions.
“To me, this is a logical direction in self-government and grass-roots representation. This is what the community is asking for and expecting of their government.”
Scott was happy to share some of the interim results of the Nipissing First Nation Women’s Survey as well as some of the comments that struck a chord with him.
“As we establish and continue with an ongoing Women’s Forum, we’ll hear from more and more from Nipissing First Nation women, their perspectives and their issues,” concluded Scott.
- Election Day, Friday, July 10 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. in Garden Village and Duchesnay.
For more information:
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: (705) 498-3990
INTERIM RESULTS OF THE NIPISSING FIRST NATION WOMEN’S SURVEY
The following results of the survey and shared comments may not represent the views of all Nipissing First Nation women nor are they an exhaustive list of issues important to Nbisiing kwewag. If you are a Nipissing First Nation woman and are interested in providing your views, you are invited to fill out the survey.
Ranking of Women’s Issues in Nipissing First Nation
|Education of our children, taking care of the youth.||100||1|
|As women & caretakers of the water & the Lake, being more involved in the fisheries discussions from a women’s perspective.||81||2|
|Safety, addressing family violence & missing and murdered Aboriginal women.||76||3|
|Our Nbisiing culture & Ojibwemowin language||60||4|
|Being coming more involved in NFN business & having a forum to discuss women’s issues||58||5|
Comments from the Women’s Survey
- “Creation of a Women’s Council where our opinions on critical decisions are included and acted upon.”
- “Job creation or training should be one of the highest priorities. You can’t create a job for everyone here but if they were trained themselves, they would have a better chance of getting a job somewhere.”
- “I would say the highest priority are our waters and lakes. Without them we cannot take care of our children, families or any issues of any kind. Our culture is so important. We must do everything we can to preserve it.”
- “For me it is being treated fairly. It shouldn’t matter what your name is or what family your belong to. Treat all people with respect no matter what area or side of the Nipissing First Nation you were raised and grew up in.”
- “Discussions regarding Elders/Long-Term Care facilities would be an important issue.”
- “Membership, passing status to our children and grandchildren and the one parent rule.”
- “I find that the most important issue I have is being able to have a roof over my children’s heads and food on the table and knowing that my children are safe in their environment. I would move back to Nipissing if there were more affordable housing and jobs that I would be qualified for so I can support my family while living in the community.”
- “I feel that substance abuse is huge with NFN women! We have so many women who are losing their children to foster cares outside of NFN due to drug use. We need more help with woman for substance abuse, more involvement with parenting and we need a women’s shelter in the Garden Village area.”
- “For me, the most important issue is my children having an education that is rich in our culture and teachings, provided in Anishinaabemowin. They need to grow and learn in safe, culturally oriented environments, where we can teach them to be safe and respectful, and instill pride in who they are as Anishinaabe.”
- “Expanding upon Nbisiing Secondary school to include all grades and provide language immersion.
Ahniin-Boozhoo Nbisiing Anishinaabeg, niin dwaymaaginidoog minwaa niikaanisidoog. Mno Canada-giizhgad.
(Ed. Note: This post turned out a little longer than I wanted in a Canada Day message because the message is so important. Please make sure you read and respond to the “Call To Action” below.)
Canada Day is a good time to reflect on our own Nationhood as Anishinaabe people. And not just because we may be taking the holiday off.
Whether you are a citizen of Nipissing First Nation, another First Nation community, the Anishinabek Nation or one of the many indigenous nations from sea to shining sea – all indigenous people should give serious thought to our own survival in the face of continued attempts at assimilation, racism and challenges to our sovereignty.
We also have to give careful thought to the selection of our leaders. Our leaders, our Gimaag and Gimaakwewag, are the people that we entrust with defending our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, facilitating change and determining a course of action for our communities as we move towards Anishinaabe self-government.
On July 10, Nipissing First Nation has an election. For the first time in nine years we are electing a new Chief to lead us through one the most difficult times that our community has faced. These include serious challenges to our inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Outsiders are calling for an end to our legal rights. We are facing blatant racism from our neighbours. Those attitudes are being perpetuated by social media, the mainstream media and so-called stakeholder organizations. There is a serious issue to deal with in restoring the health of Lake Nipissing, building our economy and finding alternative and well-paying jobs to the commercial fishery. This is a serious time for us in Nipissing. We have to get this right!
My fellow Nbisiing men and women:
- We need a Chief that has the strength and competency to lead us through this important period of change.
- We need someone that will listen and care for our people.
- We need someone who has the energy, resilience and youthfulness to keep up with the grinding days, weeks, months and years ahead.
- Most importantly, we need someone who hasn’t been beleaguered and gun-shy by the inaction of their counterparts.
Electing an incumbent Councillor as our Chief is NOT change. It’s the same old, same old. We need someone who can confidently facilitate real change. Period. Full stop!!
For heaven’s sake, please don’t mark an ‘X’ next to a name just because you’ve been doing it for years or because you’ve been comfortable with them for years as a Councillor. Don’t vote for anyone just because they are a nice guy. They’re all nice guys. And don’t just vote for someone because they are your cousin. An election shouldn’t be a popularity contest. This is a serious time for us in Nipissing. We have to get this right!
To me, given what I’ve said in a previous post, Scott McLeod is the only choice for Chief of Nipissing First Nation.
A CALL TO ACTION
Please join me, as we launch the slogan: “I’m For Scott”.
- Please share this post, create your own Facebook status update, a Twitter tweet or social media post saying “I’m For Scott”. Let people know that you support real change by electing Scott McLeod.
- In your Facebook and social media posts, please use the hashtag: #ImforScott
- Please post or share the I’m For Scott image (above). Use it as your Profile Pic until July 10 at 8 p.m.
- Go to Scott’s Facebook page and hit “Like”.
- Share this post via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Show your support for Scott McLeod. Be vocal and speak up, let your friends know that: “I’m For Scott”.
These little actions can go a long way in ensuring that the right decision is made at the ballot box.
Mi iw. Gchi Miigwetch, Anishinaabeg.
IMPORTANT ELECTION INFORMATION
- Advance Poll, Saturday, July 4 9-2 p.m. in Garden Village
- Election Day Friday July 10 9-8 p.m. in Duchesnay and Garden Village
- Living off-reserve? Please send in your mail-in ballots.
- Need more information, contact the Electoral Officer (705) 303-6868