January – March 2004 (archive)



Mar. 30, 04


Robert Munsch helps launch
Ojibwa translation of Mmm… Cookies

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. (CP) – The Ojibwa translation of Robert Munsch’s book “Mmm Cookies” or “Mmm Pkwezhgaanhsak“ was launched with a “clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang” at Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology.
It’s the first of three published and seven unpublished works by the children’s author that the community college was given permission to translate at no cost.
Giving away the rights for the translation helps preserve a First Nations language, Munsch said Wednesday as he helped get the book’s launch underway.
Two of his books have already been published in Mohawk, but Munsch said it can be an uphill battle when children are surrounded by a “sea of English.”
“When a language starts to die, one of the first things that dies are kids’ stories, because people think they’re trivial,” Munsch said.
Students from Sault Ste. Marie’s three school boards were invited to fill the gym as Munsch and retired Sault College aboriginal counselor Barb Nolan read from the newly translated story in both English and Ojibwa.
The children went from listening raptly, as an animated Munsch told a few of his tales, to shouting along with the popular refrain from Mortimer, the Guelph, Ont.-based writer’s first story about a boy who refuses to go to sleep.
“I grew up reading his books and they’re so engaging, they’re so great for children’s development,” said Deanne Balgue, who listened to Munsch with her two-year-old son, Joseph Hocevar.
An audio tape of the first Ojibwa translation should follow soon, said Carolyn Hepburn, Ojibwa language initiatives co-ordinator at the college. “So for language learners they can follow along.”
Josephine Pelletier, of Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation on Manitoulin Island, provided the translation for Mmm Pkwezhgaanhsak, and has already finished translations of two more books: We Share Everything and Andrew’s Loose Tooth.
The translated books will be used for Sault College’s new Ojibwa immersion program, and could be shipped out to other Ontario schools which run similar immersion programs.



Mar. 23, 04 First Nations, Ontario to form
new Child Welfare roundtable


NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, March 23 /CNW/ – Grand Council Chief Earl
Commanda announced today that the Anishinabek Nation will create a new Child
Welfare Roundtable with the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
Last week, Grand Council Chief Commanda met with Minister Dr. Marie
Bountrogianni and asked her to establish a partnership that will create a new
roundtable to discuss the many aboriginal child welfare issues dealing with
First Nations across Ontario. Minister Bountrogianni agreed to the Anishinabek
Nation roundtable.
“We are pleased we can continue our productive relationship with the
Government of Ontario, and we look forward to a new way of doing business with
the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services,” said Grand Council Chief
Commanda. “I congratulate Minister Bountrogianni and her vision to begin to
pro-actively deal with these issues through this new process.”
Yesterday, Grand Council Chief Commanda and representatives from First
Nation Child Welfare prevention agencies from across Anishinabek territory met
with officials from the Ministry to discuss implementation of the new
roundtable.
“This roundtable will be established along the same lines as the
government’s new thinking and the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
It will bring all child welfare and youth issues under one roof,” said Grand
Council Chief Commanda. Premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister Bountrogianni
announced the creation of the new Ministry of Children and Youth Services last
week.
First Nations are hoping the roundtable will evolve into an ongoing,
working roundtable. The Anishinabek Nation has previously developed two other
working roundtables with the Province of Ontario, including the Anishinabek-
Ontario Resource Management Council and the Anishinabek-Ontario Fisheries
Resource Centre.
Both initiatives are partnerships with the Ministry of Natural Resources,
and according to Grand Council Chief Commanda, they are “really quite
innovative and are examples of a new way of productive dialogue between First
Nations and government.”
There are many issues being dealt with by First Nations with respect to
Child Welfare including: customary care, foster care, consultation and
protocols for interventions on First Nation lands, adherence to the Native
provisions of the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), and additional
resources for First Nations child welfare agencies. Officials also talked
about re-establishment of Band Representation funding for First Nations to be
represented at Family Court hearings, and the possibility of First Nations
child welfare agencies becoming mandated protection agencies under the CFSA.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 43 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of
Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.



Mar. 11, 04 Barrie Tactical Response Unit
deface First Nation symbols


CHIPPEWA OF THE THAMES FIRST NATION, ON, March 11 /CNW/ – In January of
this year, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) assisted Chippewa Police in
defusing a tense situation on the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation. A
Chippewa Band member was contained inside a home, and after negotiation, the
individual surrendered to police.
Members of the OPP Barrie Tactical Response Unit (TRU) team entered the
residence and after a period of time vacated the residence.
Approximately one week later, the Band member complained to First Nation
Chief Kelly Riley that the police had defaced a First Nations flag and a
photograph while occupying the home. Chief Riley conveyed the complaint to the
local OPP detachment.
An internal OPP investigation occurred by the professional standards
branch. The results of that investigation were transmitted to the Crown.
The OPP has since charged eight members of the Barrie TRU team under the
Police Services Act. The remaining five members of the Barrie TRU team are
facing internal discipline. The Crown decided not to press Criminal code
charges.
The accused have been charged with drawing large X’s across what has been
described as a First Nation “warrior” flag and the well-known photograph of a
Canadian Armed Forces soldier and one of the individuals at Kahnasatake (OKA)
staring each other down. A large X was drawn through the image of the Native
protester.
“There appear to be two standards with the Crown. If you or I were to
deface a Canadian flag, we most certainly would face criminal code charges —
we wouldn’t be charged under the Police Services Act,” said Chief Riley.
“However, what is most disturbing is that while the members of the Barrie
TRU team were aware of the mischief conducted by one of their own — not one
single officer came forward to report the incident — I understand there are
thirteen members of the TRU team,” continued the Chief. “This code of silence
is chillingly similar to the attitudes and beliefs of the OPP at Ipperwash who
were exposed on tape making racist and derogatory remarks about Aboriginals.
Does this reflect a wide-spread anti First Nation sentiment among OPP
officers?”
Chief Riley, commented further: “Because of the unresolved situation that
occurred in 1995 at Camp Ipperwash — the OPP have not been allowed within
Chippewa First Nation territory.”
“Despite that position, Chippewa Council has developed relatively
positive working arrangement with the local Ontario Provincial Police on
various matters,” added Chief Riley.
While the laying of charges either through Criminal Code or Police
Services Act is punitive in nature, it does not address deeper issues
concerning manner or method of training undertaken by specialized units within
the OPP.
Chief Riley noted, “While specialized units are needed in policing — it
is disgraceful that there seems to be an ingrained lack of respect for an
important symbol of First Nations culture.”
When asked what should be done, Chief Riley added, “We are prepared to
assist the OPP to develop training programs in cultural sensitivity but what
is really needed is increased resourcing of the Chippewa of the Thames Police
force. We are perfectly capable of policing our own people with our own
officers if given the opportunity and sufficient resources.”
The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation is located in Southwestern
Ontario, approximately 36 kilometres southwest of London, Ontario.



Mar. 8, 04 Corporate law trumps Aboriginal rights
First Nations denounce Court decision


WASAUKSING, ON, March 8 /CNW/ – The Anishinabek Nation has denounced last
weeks Appeals Court decision that upheld control over a First Nation’s lands
and holdings to a Corporation, rather than the First Nation.
Wasauksing Land Incorporated (WLI) was created by Wasauksing First Nation
to manage and control the band’s land holdings, including dozens of
surrendered cottage lots and leases used to generate revenues for the benefit
of the First Nation. However, since the late 1990s, Wasauksing First Nation
has lost control over WLI and turned to the courts to regain control of the
land holdings on behalf of its citizens.
On March 4, 2004, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released its judgement
in the case, upholding the arguments of the Wasauksing Land Incorporated and
the decision of a lower court on January 18, 2002.
“In effect, the court has found that the Ontario Corporations Act
supercedes the aboriginal and treaty rights of the First Peoples of this
country,” said Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda. “This decision raises a lot
of questions of whether First Nations can trust the corporate environment of
business and governance, Canadian law and indeed the justice system as a
whole.”
Chief John Beaucage and the Wasauking First Nation Chief and Council has
sought and received the full support of the Anishinabek Nation, and its
membership.
“We give our full support to the Wasauksing First Nation, Chief and
Council and their citizens, in their every effort to reach a resolution to
this matter, and their right to have a full and complete say in the management
of their land and resources for the benefit of their citizens,” said the Grand
Council Chief.
Chief John Beaucage has also provided his reaction to the court decision.
“As a Chief and Council, we were devastated by the Appeals Court
decision, which is in line with a recent article in a law review entitled
Corporate Law trumps Aboriginal Rights. And that’s exactly what this is,” said
Chief Beaucage.
Wasauksing lost control of WLI when a past-Chief and Council reorganized
the corporation in 1994-95, and retained control of the corporation when a new
Band Council was elected in 1997.
“In effect, the court did say that as soon as we surrendered the land, we
lost control of the land. And as soon as we lost control of the corporation –
we lost it all,” said Chief Beaucage.
Chief Beaucage and Council are contemplating their next steps, which will
begin with a community feast and community discussion on this recent decision.
“The First Nation may appeal the case further to the Supreme Court of Canada,
or choose to seek a political solution to this matter.”
“We met with Minister (of Indian Affairs Andy Mitchell) on the weekend,
and he seems to be understanding of our problem,” said Beaucage. “He seems
committed to finding a solution.”
Wasauksing First Nation is located on Georgian Bay just west of Parry
Sound, and is in the home constituency of The Honourable Andy Mitchell, MP for
Parry Sound-Muskoka.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 43 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of
Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.



Mar. 4, 04 Anishinabek, Raptors host “First Nations Day”
Native students travel to Air Canada Centre


TORONTO, March 4 /CNW/ – Over 300 First Nation students and parents will
be the guests of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Toronto Raptors
for First Nations Day. This special game night will take place Friday, March
5, 2004 as the Toronto Raptors play host to the New York Knicks at the Air
Canada Centre (ACC).
Students from the 43 member First Nations of the Anishinabek Nation will
be coming from all four directions to take part in this annual event, which
stems from a unique partnership between the Anishinabek Nation, the Toronto
Raptors organization and Scotiabank.
“First Nations Day is for the kids of our communities. It rewards them
for their success and accomplishments they have achieved throughout the school
year,” said Dave Shawana, youth development officer with the Union of Ontario
Indians. “This night out in Toronto and NBA basketball game is something that
our youth are not accustomed to. This is a very special evening for them.”
“It is great to be able to see the kids’ excitement, to have such an
opportunity to get on court and see the players up close,” said Michelle
Baptiste, national manager of Aboriginal Relations for Scotiabank.
The concept of First Nations Day began as a stay-in-school initiative, in
partnership with the Toronto Raptors. Now in its fourth year, First Nations
Day is now an annual event and has seen close to 1400 students, parents and
teachers take part in the pilgrimage to the ACC.
In addition to attending the NBA game, twelve children between the ages
of 8 and 10 are pre-selected to take part in “Tunnel Kids”. The Tunnel Kids
greet and slap high-fives to the Toronto Raptors prior to their pre-game warm
up on the court at Air Canada Centre. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is
something that the children will never forget.
First Nations Day is hosted by the Anishinabek Nation and the Toronto
Raptors, through the generous financial support of Scotiabank.
“We are pleased to once again be involved in First Nations Day with the
Toronto Raptors,” said Shawana. “The partnership commitment demonstrated by
the Raptors management, and the ongoing support of Scotiabank is what makes
this possible.”
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 43 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of
Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.



Feb. 29, 04

Anishinabek Nation announces
Youth Council election results


LONDON, ON, Feb. 29 /CNW/ – First Nations youth from across Ontario have
elected a new youth council who will provide a voice for young people for the
whole of the Anishinabek Nation territory, from Thunder Bay (to the west),
Ottawa Valley (to the east), the north shore of Lake Huron (to the north); and
Sarnia (to the south). The Anishinabek Nation represents 43 First Nation
communities in Ontario.
The youth delegates took part in a three day conference entitled
“Empowering the voice of our future leaders of Tomorrow”, and will focus on
supporting and empowering First Nations youth to provide advice and direction
to First Nation leadership.
Today, conference delegates assembled in their respective regions
corresponding to the Anishinabek Nation structure (Lake Huron, Southeast,
Southwest, and Northern Superior). At these caucuses, each region conducted
nominations, and elected one male and one female representative that will
become part of a new eight-person Anishinabek Nation Youth Council.
The results of the youth council elections are:

Southwest Region
– Sandra Albert, Chippewas of the Thames
– Arnold Yellowman, Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang

Southeast Region
– Katie Beaver, Alderville First Nation
– Hank Monague, Beausoleil First Nation

Lake Huron Region
– Leah Boissoneau, Ojibways of Garden River First Nation
– Travis Boissoneau, Ojibways of Garden River First Nation

Northern Superior Region
– Bess Legarde, Fort William First Nation
– Derek Yellowhead, Namaygoosisagagun First Nation

“I want to congratulate the youth of the Anishinabek Nation for coming
together this weekend to participate in a well organized forum,” said Grand
Council Chief Earl Commanda. “I congratulate the elected youth leaders from
the four regions. I make my commitment to working with the youth political
representatives to ensure they are involved in the decision making of the
Anishinabek Nation at all levels.”
“I take their issues seriously, and commit the resources within the
organization, to follow up the youth representatives and their specific
issues,” he added.
Over 70 delegates from over 30 First Nations are registered for the
conference.
The conference is sponsored in part by the Government of Canada, FedNor,
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the Waubetek
Business Development Corporation.



Mar. 1, 04 A Day in the Life of the Minister of Indian Affairs

First Nations meet new Minister
Andy Mitchell tours Manitoulin and Dokis

By Bob Goulais

DOKIS – Friday afternoon in Dokis is reminiscent of a ghost town.
Of the nearly two-hundred band members that live in the semi-remote community on the French River, most are either banking, shopping or simply out for the afternoon.
However there are a few anxious Dokiszens (Ojibway for “Dokis Citizens”) who eagerly await in the new community centre for the arrival of somebody important. Only about twenty Elders, Band Staff, and a handful of youngsters from the elementary school are present, chomping on Tim Horton donuts as they await the arrival of their special guest.
Without much fanfare or ceremony, a vertically-challenge (Ojibway for “short”), quick-paced gentleman in a moustache enters the building. He walks in behind the ominous stature of Indian Affairs’ Ontario boss Bob Howsam – a giant by contrast to the man in the moustache.
He darts to the bathroom. After all, the bush road from Monetville to Dokis is about 35 kilometres.
Upon his second entry to the room, the brand-new Minister of Indian Affairs Andy Mitchell, the man in the moustache, is greeted by Chief Bill Restoule, and Councillors Lisa Restoule, Richard Restoule and ‘Bud’ Restoule. The leaders shake hands and exchange pleasantries.
This is Mitchell’s first visit to Dokis First Nation, which is one of seven First Nations in his riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.
“It really pleased to be in the community today. I’ve been spending a great deal of time over the past few weeks going across Canada and meeting a lot of First Nation Chiefs, Council and First Nations members and coming to learn of the issues that face First Nations across Canada,” said Mitchell.
Earlier that day, Minister Mitchell held a closed meeting with a number of Chiefs on Manitoulin Island.
The Minister has spend most of January and a good portion of February travelling to First Nation across the country meeting various leaders on a great variety of issues.
“The challenges and circumstances across the country are all a little bit different, and they vary in what the priorities are, as Minister I felt it was really important for me to have that kind of understanding right from British Columbia to the Atlantic,” he said.
Following a presentation of gifts and singing of O’Canada by the elementary school students, Chief Bill Restoule and the Minister boarded a Jeep Grand Cherokee to embark on a tour of the community. Chief Restoule skilfully piloted through the narrow snow-banked roads through the reserve, occasionally stopping to let dogs cross.
He and the Minister exchanged a few general questions and answers about the First Nation, road construction and local history. Notably, the Minister listened attentively as Chief Restoule talked about their elementary school project, recycling project and a major hydroelectric project that is underway.
Chief Restoule drove through a bush road and into the French River basin, site of the proposed dam that could be built as early as 2005.
Mitchell’s riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka is located within the Anishinabek Nation territory, and five of his seven local First Nations are Anishinabek Nation communities. This has helped prepare him in his new role as Minister.
“Certainly, having seven First Nations in my constituency, have kept me abreast of having to deal with issues as they come up, We had last year, the Governance issue, we had all the Chiefs together and we had discussion on some of the legislation was there. We dealt on some of the economic development projects with different communities.”
It also seems the new Minister has a sense of humour.
“There has been a number of issues that I have dealt with local First Nation in my role as Member of Parliament. The role is a little reversed, because most times I needed to go to the Minister. I find now that the Member of Parliament and the Minister of Indian Affairs, when they have a conversation, they come to an agreement far more easier.”
Upon returning to the Dokis Community Centre, the Minister spent most of his visit listening to community members and leadership. He took the time to personally greet, and shake hands with all those in attendance, pausing for the occasional photograph. Arguably, the Minister of Indian Affairs has the most person-to-person interaction than any other portfolio in the federal Cabinet.
“When I took over the Ministry back in December, I said I intended to try to do my job in a collaborative way, one that represented partnerships with First Nations communities, with their leadership, and with their people,” said Minister Mitchell. “A partner built on a shared vision of where we want to go – built on respect – and built in understanding the importance of build a relationship that will have trust in it as well.
“I understand quite clearly that this isn’t something that is simple asked for,” he added. “It is something that needs to be earned over time.”
Thus far, Anishinabek Nation Chiefs are impressed and happy with the effort and new approach to the new Minister.
“I think he’s a really good man to have in that position,” said Chief Restoule. “I’d back him 100 per cent if it came down to it.”
“We all like him and be made a really good impression with us.”
Andy Mitchell was sworn in as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on December 12, taking on his first Cabinet post as part of Paul Martin’s new Liberal government.



Dokis moving forward
on hydro development

By Bob Goulais

DOKIS – Chief Bill Restoule, and the Minister of Indian Affairs Andy Mitchell toured the Chaudiere Falls area of the French River, which will soon be the site of a new hydroelectric generation project being developed by the Dokis First Nation.
Chief Restoule and the Minister travelled the two bailey bridges spanning the falls, in view of the present control dam structure operated by Public Works and Government Services Canada. The dam, constructed in the 1940s, is up for replacement in 2006.
“One of my main reasons for wanting to be here this afternoon is to learn about some of the specific issues that the community is working on, some of the projects that the community is working on,” said Minister Mitchell, prior to his tour of the community. “I have a little bit different opportunity now, in my new role as Minister, to deal with some of these.”
“The project has advanced quite a bit. The backers are there,” said Chief Restoule, citing his work with Greer Consulting, and Day Construction in Sudbury. Together, the project team will be meeting throughout March, making a trip to Ottawa to work on the environmental assessment process, and other regulatory matters. According to Chief Restoule, all environmental factors are being studied and there should be no adverse environmental damage caused by the proposed dam.
“This will create additional revenue, employment for the community, and hopefully a cut in hydro,” said Restoule. “This could be a huge benefit to the reserve.”
However, Ontario Parks is against the development of the new dam citing concerns over the French River Provincial Park, which is located on the other side of the river at Chaudiere Falls. Although Chief Restoule has been able to meet with park officials, frustration over the dispute continues.
“We are getting boxed in by Ontario Parks,” said Restoule. “If you look at maps of First Nations, they are always surrounded by parks.”
Chief Restoule and Council have agreed to work together with Ontario Parks, and continue to sit down and work together to alleviate their concerns over the project.
Dokis First Nation has just completed a rock crushing project for PWGSC this fall, which cleared an area of rock around a smaller control dam structure. The material will be used for retrofitting, and future construction projects that will take place over the next few years.
“The picture looks pretty good, we’ve done a lot here,” said Chief Restoule. In addition to the hydroelectric development project, and the rock crushing project, the community has begun to expand and generate revenues on their forestry operations.



Minister, First Nations
get down to business

By Bob Goulais

DOKIS – On Friday, February 13, Minister of Indian Affairs Andy Mitchell was able to meet with a number of First Nations Chiefs from Manitoulin Island and Dokis First Nation on specific issues affecting their First Nations.
Most notably, Minister Mitchell was able to meet with M’Chigeeng First Nation Chief Glen Hare to address the long outstanding issue of their band custom election process. Former-Minister Robert Nault chose not to recognize the elected Chief and Council in M’Chigeeng citing the band custom election process did not meet the criteria established by the Department and the Corbiere decision. As a result, M’Chigeeng’s discretionary funding halted due to the dispute.
“He listened to us and more importantly, he knows were we are coming from,” said Hare who recently signed an agreement with Indian and Northern Affairs on the recognition of the M’Chigeeng Band Custom Election Code. “We can now see this to the end, and begin to work on other things. It avoids us from going to court.”
M’Chigeeng had asked specifically for two things: to recognize their Chief and Council, and put this custom election code in force. A response from the Minister’s office is expected this week.
Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda was also able to discuss two issues with the Minister. It was the first opportunity for the Grand Chief to addressed a Anishinabek-wide housing proposal that would benefit First Nations without the resources to attend to housing co-ordination needs. The Housing portfolio would be established under the Anishinabek Nation Management Group Inc.
Secondly, the Grand Council Chief was able to address an election boundary readjustment that threatens to split Nipissing First Nation into two separate ridings.
“I was glad to be able to address this issue for Chief Goulais,” said Grand Council Chief Commanda. “I am pleased with the reception we received, and the attentiveness given to us by the Minister. He responded to the immediacy of this issue, and the need to deal with it right away.”
Minister Mitchell agreed to facilitate a meeting between Nipissing First Nation and Elections Canada. The Minister stated that this was to be priority, and would assign someone to follow the issue up this week.



Mar. 24, 04 Whitefish River protests
Birch Island development


WHITEFISH RIVER – Whitefish River First Nation is putting up a fight against development at Fisher Harbour, located just south of the community. The development would see considerable increase in industrial activity and a 30 metre high structure built less than 1 kilometre away from the historical site of Dreamer’s Rock.
Recently, the municipality of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands approved the development that will see nickel-rich ore shipped from Voisey’s Bay, Newfoundland to Fisher Harbour which is located just south of the Birch Island. The ore will then be loaded onto trucks and sent to the INCO refinery in Sudbury.
“What is being proposed will shatter the peace of Dreamer’s Rock,” said Chief Franklin Paibomsai. “While we fully appreciate the desirability of economic development, it should not be allowed to take place at this cost.”
“Where today a person fasting atop the rock can hear the wind and the water, the eagle and the raven, if this application is approved, those sounds will be joined by the clanking of conveyors, the shifting of bulky gears, and the groaning of massive equipment, day and night,” said Paibomsai.
The developer, Alexander Centre Industries Ltd. is involved in a bidding process with INCO. Their Fisher Harbour proposal is just one of several bids being looked at by the nickel giant.
Aside from Whitefish River’s concerns over the spiritual and historic use of the land, most of the opposition comes from concerns over the increased road traffic, to and from the Fisher Harbour site, and the environmental impacts of the increased development.
“Your decision affects my community members, but also all the Island residents who use Highway 6,” said Chief Paibomsai.
Mark McGoey, president of ACIL stated to the municipal council that no more than 14 more trucks per day would be expected with the change in operations. Mr. McGoey also responded to the environmental concerns, stating that a full, environmental assessment is required by the MNR and that would be presented in March.
Chief Paibomsai also has concerns over the local fishery.
“The lake trout are near the top of the food chain,” said Chief Paibomsai. “If they are injured, the entire chain is injured as a result. Other parts of the web of life will be hurt.”
In the meantime, a controversy has erupted over the transportation of bulk salt and silica sands through Fisher Harbour. A water lease with the Ministry of Natural Resources does not specifically mention these commodities. Several residents of Little Current have expressed concern over ACIL’s activity, and proposal to include nickel ore in an expanded commodity list.
The issue of shipping bulk salt and silica sand will have to be worked out between the MNR and ACIL before the INCO development can proceed.

ED. Note: As a result of the media attention, INCO announced it will not be developing the Fisher Harbour proposal.



Jan. 29, 04 First Nations, black communities
unite to combat police racism


TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ – Today, the leaders of the First Nations and
African-Canadian communities, in partnership with the Canadian Race Relations
Foundation (CRRF) held a historic joint news conference to release a united
statement and recommendations addressing racism within the Police and broader
Canadian society.
The news conference and joint statement was held in response to the
blatant, racist comments made by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers at
Ipperwash the day before Anthony Dudley George was shot and killed by police.
This statement was supported by the Ontario Federation of Labour and
Canadian Auto Workers – National.
The statement was issued jointly by:
Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda, Anishinabek Nation
Zanana Akande, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Margaret Parsons, African-Canadian Legal Clinic
Dr. Karen Mock, Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Maynard “Sam” George, for the George Family
————————————————————————-
JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE
AFRICAN-CANADIAN and FIRST NATION COMMUNITIES and the CANADIAN
RACE RELATIONS FOUNDATION
ADDRESSING RACISM WITHIN THE POLICE
1. We unequivocally condemn the racist statements made by the two police
officers at Ipperwash the day before Dudley George was shot and
killed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

2. We ask that the OPP and other Police services across the province
provide us with information on the various initiatives they are
undertaking in improving race relations and the present situation.
The activities and programs being offered should be made public,
(i.e. hiring practices, screening, cross-cultural and anti-racism
training.)

3. We contend that there is hidden environment that fosters these racial
attitudes among some police officers. We are appalled by the comfort
in which these comments were made.

4. Cross-cultural, anti-racism training programs should be mandatory
for all members of the police service, rather than being used as a
means of punishment.

5. The specific consequences for people not behaving within the accepted
protocol and behaviour should be clearly defined.

6. We call upon the Government of Ontario, and the OPP to begin
assessing this problem, and take clear measures to prevent people
with these attitudes from entering the police force.

7. We call upon the Government to intervene, or create specific measures
and legislations to address racism and racial profiling by police and
other areas of enforcement.

8. We would like to be involved in this process, to work together in
finding a solution to improve race relations within the OPP, police,
enforcement and security services in general.

9. We would like the opportunity to raise these issues at the Public
Inquiry into the Ipperwash matter. These hearings should be open and
accessible to the aboriginal community and other racial minority
groups, and race relations advocacy groups.

10. We need to go further to address race relations in the formative
years and formally within the public education system. We are asking
for a review of the texts, curriculum. We need to effectively address
the omissions that are made within schools about First Nations and
other racial minorities.

11. We are calling for the development of a national strategy to address
racism and race relations.



Jan. 27, 2004


I usually ignore “forwards”, or friend-solicited, social junk mail – but I really enjoyed this one. I hope you enjoy it too:
The scene took place on a British Airways flight between Johannesburg and London. A white woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a black man. Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air hostess. “Madam, what is the matter?” the hostess asked . “You obviously do not see it then?” she responded. “You placed me next to a black man. I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group. Give me an alternative seat.”
“Be calm please,” the hostess replied. “Almost all the places on this flight are taken. I will go to see if another place is available.” The Hostess went away and then came back a few minutes later. “Madam, just as I thought, there are no other available seats in the economy class. I spoke to the Captain and he informed me that there is also no seat in the business class. All the same, we still have one place in the first class.”
Before the woman could say anything, the hostess continued.
“It is not usual for our company to permit someone from the economy class to sit in the first class, however, given the circumstances, the Captain feels that it would be scandalous to make someone sit next to someone sooooo disgusting.”
She turned to the black guy, and said, “Therefore, Sir, if you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat awaits you in first class.”
At that moment, the other passengers who were shocked by what they had just witnessed stood up and applauded.



Jan. 26, 2004

I’ve been enjoying the pictures that have been released by the Mars Exploration Rover on the NASA Mars2K4 website over the past few weeks. Each full-color image that is added to the site is intriguing to me. Night after night, I’ve seen Mars pass by dozens of times throughout my life. As an amateur astronomer, just the fact that these photos are shedding light on the surface features of the red planet is an amazing thing. The images are so crisp and so detailed. It’s truly fascinating.

Spirit Drives to a Rock Called ‘Adirondack’ for Close Inspection.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Last night, I went to see Along Came Polly, starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. Stiller is excellent playing a straight-ahead, play-it-safe risk analyst who begins to date a high school sweetheart, who, on the surface has little in common with him. I laughed out loud on a number of scenes involving Phillip Symour-Hoffman, a former child star actor, who plays a great dim-witted, best friend. I just about pee’d myself seeing Stiller spanking Aniston’s rear-end, after receiving bad dating/sex advice from his best friend. Silly, idiotic, refreshing… just a great waste of time and $8 bucks well spent. It’s nice to see a movie like this once in a while.

Ben Stiller and the sweaty, hairy, old guy.



Jan. 24, 2004 First Nations disturbed over OPP comments


NORTH BAY, ON, Jan. 21 /CNW/ – The leader of 43 First Nations in Ontario has expressed the concern and displeasure of First Nations people in light of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) footage aired by the CBC yesterday. The footage contains explicit, racist comments made against First Nations by OPP officers posing as media during the Ipperwash standoff in 1995.
“We are appalled and disturbed over the racist comments made by Ontario Provincial Police personnel,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda. “These statements are disturbing to the family of Dudley George, his community and to all First Nations people.”
Grand Council Chief Commanda acknowledges the apology given by the Ontario Provincial Police, but feels that an apology and discipline falls short of addressing the more apparent issue: racism within the police force.
“These types of statements are indicators of a real problem of racismwithin OPP ranks,” said Commanda. “It raises further questions that certain events at Ipperwash may have been hate-motivated.”
The day after the taped comments were recorded, Dudley George was shotand killed by former OPP officer Kenneth Deane, during the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park in 1995. Subsequently, Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death but has not served any time in jail for his role in the killing. The judge in the case found that Dudley George, and other activists were not armed.
Grand Council Chief hopes that investigation results into these commentsmay be released to First Nations.
“Every Ontarian should be concerned over this type of behaviour by people in a position of authority who have the responsibility to protect us,” said the Grand Council Chief.
Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda has expressed his continued support to Sam George, his family and community of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. A public inquiry into the death of his brother Dudley George is expected to begin this fall.
The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 43 member First Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.

For further information: contact: Bob Goulais, info@anishinabek.ca,
(705) 497-9127, CELL: (705) 498-5250



Jan. 23, 2004

Today, I took the day off after a long week of work and a bit of stress related to so many deadlines in one week. However, it wasn’t anything that I haven’t been used to before. I really enjoy being busy such as I was this week. I was also able to provide a communications proposal to my community of Nipissing First Nation suggesting a few measure to improve communications as a result of the fisheries news yesterday (below). All in all it was a highly productive week.
Today, I worked from home setting up a news conference to address the racism we are alleging is a part of the police culture and within the OPP and other Canadian police forces. A news conference will take place on Thursday with the African-Canadian community in Toronto.



Racist comments by Ontario
police caught on videotape


CBC.CA Tue, 20 Jan 2004 23:49:57

TORONTO – New details are emerging about events surrounding a native protest at Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario, in the late summer of 1995.
About 30 native protesters erected barriers blocking access to the park in a dispute over land. During a confrontation one of the native protesters, Dudley George, was shot and killed.
Now a videotape has emerged that gives some insight into the events leading up to the incident. A handful of Ontario Provincial Police officers posing as a media crew, were caught on tape having a shocking conversation.

“Is there still a lot of press down there,” one officer is says.
“No, there’s no one down there. Just a great big fat fuck Indian,” replies another.
The camera’s rolling, eh?”
“Yeah.”
“We had this planned, you know. We thought if we could get five or six cases of Labatts 50, we could bait them.”
“Yeah.”
“Then we’d have this big net at a pit.”
“Creative thinking.”
Works in the (U.S.) South with watermelon.”

It’s a conversation rife with racist remarks, recorded just a day before the land dispute ended in gunfire. It was only released after an access to information request by a producer with The Fifth Estate.
The request was for police surveillance material taken during the standoff, to provide insight into why it ended in the shooting death of Dudley George.
The OPP says it doesn’t condone the remarks and that the two officers in question have already been disciplined.
One underwent native sensitivity training. The other was working on a contract that was not renewed.
“The words were shameful and offensive and they should never have been said, and I can tell you our position with regards to this is pretty clear. It’s just not acceptable behaviour,” said OPP Superintendent Bill Crate.
But the George family says the conversation points a damning figure at the OPP. “I think once they start to think like that then they start to downgrade a person to a certain extent. Then they start to feel that that person’s not worth nothing. Then maybe it’s all right to shoot them,” said Sam George, Dudley George’s brother.
OPP Sgt. Kenneth Deane was convicted of criminal negligence causing death in 1997 shooting. A judge also determined that George and two other protesters were unarmed during the incident, in spite of police allegations to the contrary. Those allegations have added to persistent and lingering charges that police were under political pressure by then premier Mike Harris to take action.
George family lawyer Murray Klippenstein has spent nearly a decade researching events at Ipperwash and pushing for a public inquiry – something the new Liberal government in Ontario finally announced last fall.
But Klippenstein calls the conversation toxic and poisonous and says it adds a whole new dimension to the case.
“This kind of attitude … makes it pretty easy to shoot an Indian, and if an Indian has legitimate grievances about burial grounds you can joke about them and demean them. Shooting them not such big deal,” he said.
Klippenstein says this conversation will play a large part in the public inquiry into the death of Dudley George, which is likely to begin this September.



Jan. 22, 2004 Walleye recovery set back


MNR calls for limits on First Nation commercial fishery

Gord Young
North Bay Nugget
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Local News – The Ministry of Natural Resources says a dramatic depletion of Lake Nipissing’s walleye population is linked to a massive harvest last year by a small number of native commercial fishers.
But Dave Payne, the ministry’s district manager, said he could not reveal details of that information or how it was obtained.
“The MNR has a number of ways of collecting information. Some are more obvious than others,” he said.
A report presented Wednesday to the Lake Nipissing Stewardship Council says the fishery is again in a stressed condition and requires management action to assure sustainability.
The ministry is calling for limits on the First Nation commercial fishery to be in place this spring and a proposal for a winter slot size will likely be brought forward for public consultation as part the lake’s new five-year management plan to be completed by January 1, 2005.
“Basically we’re back to where we were in 1998,” said ministry biologist Richard Rowe, explaining signs of recovery in the lake’s walleye fishery over the past five years have reversed in the matter of a year. “Everything changed in 2003.”
The report says the estimated walleye harvest of 10 per cent of commercial fishers increased to 35,028 kilograms last year from an estimated 1,373 kilograms in 2001.
“This dramatic and unexpected increase caused a total harvest increase to 101,000 kilograms, which exceeds sustainability and explains adult walleye depletion observed in 2003,” states the report.
‘This can’t happen again’
Rowe said total walleye harvest should never exceed 92,000 kilograms a year and just approaching that number could jeopardize the fishery.
“The commercial fishery has to be managed . . . This can’t happen again,” he said, suggesting another such harvest would put the fishery on the verge of collapse.
Rowe said about 90 per cent of commercial fishers report their harvests. He said the ministry gathered information on the remaining 10 per cent, which accounts for the depletion in population marked by its latest assessment of the fishery.
Payne said the ministry plans to bring forward a management proposal to Nipissing First Nation within four weeks in an effort to reach an agreement before spring.
He said a series of meetings has been held and that the chief and council are willing to work toward a co-operative solution.
The ministry and Nipissing First Nation have been discussing regulations for the commercial fishery for about a decade, but Payne said there is now an urgency both sides recognize.
Scott McLeod, a Nipissing First Nation councillor, said the native community isn’t interested in scrutinizing the ministry’s numbers and is more concerned about data which shows a decline in the walleye population and a sharp increase in adult mortality. He said Nipissing First Nation has been developing its own plan to manage the fishery and wants to reach an agreement with the ministry.
McLeod said the community has seen an increase in pressure on the commercial fishery, attributed to the economy and a shortage of jobs.
For more on this story, plus sidebars with reaction from Nipissing First Nation Chief Phil Goulais, see Thursday’s exclusive coverage in The Nugget.

Jan. 20, 2004 This morning, I provide a traditional opening and prayer for a group from Trans-Canada Ltd. The group was given a prayer and a song to start their day, in much the same way some Anishinabe people start any traditional activity.
I am always honoured to be given the opportunity to provide my little bit of knowledge to a group seeking some knowledge from our people. I was able to speak to the group of thirty about our history, our opening ceremony and the Anishinabek Nation bundle.
Our bundle is a very sacred part of our Nation and I’m very proud to be able to carry these items and look after them on behalf of our Nation. Former-Grand Council Chief Vernon Roote was the first to offer me tobacco to care for these items. The tobacco was offered requesting me to be a helper for the bundle. Under Vern I travelled with the bundle, cared for the items and lead several ceremonies. I was able to feast the bundle on two occasions during that time. When Earl Commanda was elected as Grand Council Chief in May I continued that work with the bundle.
The bundle is more that just ceremonial objects. Each and every item has a Spirit, or is intended to have a Spirit. (I say that as the Anishinabek Nation drum has yet to be taken to ceremony to call upon it’s Spirit). These items have life to them, and that is evident each and every time we use them in a way we honour them. These items are the central fixture of the Elder’s Hall. A reverence is paid to them by even the most unbeknownst visitor. When the Eagle Staff is danced in at various pow-wows or meetings, they bring about a great pride in our people. That Spirit fills me in a good way. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy working with the bundle.



Jan. 18, 2004

The dream world is foremost in my thoughts again today. As I woke to a morning of heavy snowfall, I had recalled a very intense dream.
I’ve been told by my Elders, that our Spirits journey during sleep. For the past few weeks, my Spirit has drifted to several different places and visited with many different people. Recently, I’ve recalled a dream of Midewiwin ceremonies being held in Garden Village. However this morning, my Spirit had a brief conversation with – get this: Michael Jackson.
No, don’t laugh. For real! My Spirit actually took the time to seek out and find Michael Jackson last night. And it wasn’t only a dream either. It was one of those very rare occasions where my memory recalled this event in a very spiritual and real way.
But why Michael Jackson??
Well I asked my good friend Perry McLeod-Shabogesic that same question. Do Spirits travel to seek another for no reason? He said to me that our Spirits do travel, but they always have some reason to make those trips. To actively seek out someone else’s Spirit has meaning. Lightheartedly, I asked him if he thought our Spirits could be confused by television personalities and celebrity. Often, we feel we actually “know” a certain celebrity because we know all about their lives and we see them often on television. He acknowledged that our Spirits usually know the difference between “real” people and those who are only part of stories or television.
Nevertheless, this was a bizarre dream that I’m taking very lightly. Perhaps, my Spirit felt it was important to speak to Michael Jackson. Or perhaps it is only a fictional account from my dream world. Here is my description:
My Spirit travelled a long way, which visually can be seen as great flashes of spiritual light. During this travelling, I was able to see many people, not clearly, but just visuals of many different faces. When my Spirit correctly identified Michael Jackson, I seen the essence of his Spirit, which appeared as he did in his early 20s. (“The Jacksons” era.) He was very friendly and cordial, but was intensely shy and guarded. I found this odd, as it is usually not a characteristic of the Spirit World. We sat down together at this table in a room full of other Spirit visitors. He gave me some time to talk with him, although it was very brief. I told him where I was from: “Nipissing First Nation, near North Bay, in Northern Ontario. My Spirit usually speaks in the language, so it was strange to speak in English. He seemed to understand, and said he met somebody from “Nipissing First Nation” once. He mentioned a name, and explained that he e-mailed her in response or two. When she replied to him and told him she “loved him”, at that point he said, he doesn’t like to further any discussion when it involves personal feelings. At that point I told him that I see that his Spirit is hurting over recent allegations of sexual abuse. My Spirit was not judgmental, but offered him support and best wishes. I’m certainly not a supporter of Michael Jackson in any way, and his recent allegations are very serious. But my Spirit felt for his well-being and felt it necessary to offer support. Strangely, he just acknowledged my statement, but did not want to speak about the matter.



Jan. 17, 2004

I’ve been away for the past few days in Sault Ste. Marie. I’m taking part in an Anti-Racism/Diversity Study lead by Communitas Canada that will analyze the state of racism and discrimination in three urban centres across Northeastern Ontario. Part of the project involves media analysis of various newspapers across the area specifically addressing the coverage of aboriginal issues in the media.
The project is called Debwewin, which is the Anishinabemowin (Ojibwe language) word for Truth. Truth is one of our seven grandfather teachings which guide all our relationship we have with each other and the world around us.
The project is lead by community committees and facilitators in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins. This project that will give us a better idea of how Anishinabe and other visible minorities are treated by the media and understood by average Canadians.
Maurice Switzer and I had the opportunity the meet the Algoma University-College class that will be analyzing the Sault Star, Wawa, Elliot Lake Standard, Manitoulin Expositor and the Toronto Star. The students will meet each week, or every second week and analyze news stories dealing with aboriginal people. They will score the article for its accuracy and how it describes aboriginal people.
One key area is how aboriginal people are identified. It is proper to identify us as Nations, as Anishinabe, as Ojibway or as First Nations. It is improper to use the terms Indian or aboriginal. The word Indian is simply not historically, or politically-correct. The word aboriginal is a catch-all phrase that includes First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Most newspaper articles use ‘aboriginal’.
I’m looking forward to starting this project. This Sault Ste. Marie class looks keen and will do well in this project.



Racism in North Bay under the microscope


NORTH BAY – North Bay’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Committee and The Union of Ontario Indians are leading a Northeastern Ontario project that will examine racism in three cities and monitor newspapers’ coverage of Aboriginal issues.

Funded by the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the research project will continue through May 2004. Questionnaires will be distributed in North Bay, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie, followed by interviews.

Advisory committees and facilitators in each city will help direct the project. Anyone interested in joining the North Bay project advisory committee should contact Susan Church at 476-0874, extension 211.

Church, co-chair of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Human Rights Hall of Fame committee for many years, is chairing the North Bay advisory committee. Members of the International Day committee include senior representatives from every school board, Canadore College and Nipissing University. The committee will be expanded for this project.

“We have anecdotal evidence about racism in North Bay, but no hard data,” Church said. “This project will help us determine if our efforts over the past 15 years have had the desired effect, or if we have to do more.”

Questionnaires will be distributed to groups, schools and agencies across the city, and will be available in The Nugget for the general public to complete and return.

Don Curry, the other co-chair, is the three-city project director and Maurice Switzer, director of communications for the Union of Ontario Indians and editor of The Anishinabek News, is leading the newspaper-monitoring component. They have named the project Debwewin, the Ojibway word for truth.

College or university students will monitor daily and community newspapers in and near the three cities for a three-month period.

“This is not a ‘gotcha’ exercise, but an opportunity to let newspapers know how they’re doing and how they can do better,” Switzer said.

The project results will be made public in June.

For further information please contact Susan Church at 476-0874 ext. 211; Don Curry at 495-8887; or Maurice Switzer at 497-9127.



Jan. 13, 2004

I’m teaching a course at Canadore College called Introduction to Anishinabe Society. In this class, I provide an overview of our people, our history and our culture. Tonight, I will be teaching the second class for the Winter Semester. In doing some research for this class, and for training we are providing to MCTV tomorrow, I came across a number of references to the Robinson Huron treaty.
This treaty is OUR treaty. Treaties are very sacred to our people, and has been since treaty making took place during the mid-1800s and early 1900s. But that gives some weight to the discussion of the rights of sovereign a nation.
It occurred to me that in signing a treaty, even though most treaties ceded huge tracts of land to the Crown, the representatives of the Crown acknowledged the sovereignty, ownership and governance of the territory was inherent to the First Nations. Thus, the recognition of the inherent right to self-government. But it goes much further than that. At that time, the British believed in and practiced the concept known as Terra Nullius. This refers to land that is devoid of organized habitation, or land belonging to no one. Australia was claimed under that concept. We were given the opportunity to negotiate in good faith, on a Nation-to-Nation basis. The government of the day felt this was a priority. Unfortunately, the honour of the Crown in tending to the rights and obligations under the treaty have never been given the same priority.

A section of the actual Robinson-Huron treaty showing the ‘mark’ of several Chiefs including SHINGUACOUSE NEBENAIGOCHING, KEOKOUSE, MISHEQUONGA, TAGAWININI, SHABOKISHICK, DOKIS, and PONEKEOSH. Chief Shabokishick was the Chief of the Nipissing people. Under the treaty, we recieved £200 dollars per year, as did all the other Bands. Nipissing received an additional £160. The annual annity payment to individuals under the treaty was £1. This was increased in the 1890s to $4.00 per year, that amount we still receive today. In exchange, the government received the entire expanse of land from the “Eastern and Northern Shores of Lake Huron, from Penetanguishine to Sault Ste. Maire, and thence to Batchewanaung Bay, on the Northern Shore of Lake Superior; together with the Islands in the said Lakes, opposite to the Shores thereof, and inland to the Height of land which separates the Territory covered by the charter of the Honorable Hudson Bay Company from Canada.”



Jan. 11-12, 2004

For the third straight year, I am once again disappointed that the Green Bay Packers could not advance further in the NFL playoffs. But it was quite a ride this year. Under the continued leadership of quarterback Brett Favre, this team surpassed all expectations and made it to the NFC semi-finals.
I conceded the Philadelphia Eagles were the better team from the start. However, I was confident that the team play and spirit exhibited by Green Bay for the past two games would prevail and the Pack would move onto the NFC Championship.
Ahman Green was outstanding for a second straight playoff game for 156 yards on 25 carries . Amazing! However, it wasn’t meant to be.
In overtime, the Pack defense easily defended the first series from Philadelphia. But I don’t know where Brett Favre’s head was at?? In a rush, Favre opted to get rid of the football but threw a high, light pass toward a received that was easily picked off by the Eagles. A few plays later, David Akers put through a a 31 yard field goal for the victory.
I honestly thought the game was over. Late in the fourth quarter, on 4th and 26 I actually called my brother to celebrate. I mistakenly thought the 4th down had already been played. To my dismay, the Eagles overcame the odds as Donovan McNabb completed a huge pass to set up the tying field goal. Oh, the drama was too much.
The Packers are one of the two official NFL teams of the Three Fires Lodge.



Jan. 10, 2004

Today, I attended a Renewal Ceremony at my uncle Merle Pegamahgabow and Mary Wabano’s home in North Bay. The ceremony was a feast of our sacred bundles. Merle explained to us about the origin of what is now known as “Little Christmas” in our First Nation communities. It was explained that this ceremony has always been held, but it had to be disguised in a “Christian context” to avoid religious persecution.
This ceremony was a New Year’s renewal ceremony, mean to renew our lives and the sacred bundles that we carry. We had the chance to smudge and feast our pipes, feathers, Midewiwin bundles, drums and shakers. I had the chance to speak with my Midewiwin relatives about my dream of ceremonies in Garden Village. I also had the chance to state that I would like to see more ceremonies being held in our small Midewiwin community. It was quite a sight to see all the sacred bundles put before us.
The actual ceremony involved an opening song, a pipe ceremony, two other songs, an opportunity to speak about the bundles that we brought, smudging of our items, and a feast song and feast. The day ended with a giveaway from my Uncle Merle and Mary.



Jan. 9, 2004

I was browsing the CP Photo Archive today, searching for a photo to use in the January-February issue of the Anishinabek News. I stumbled upon this photo, that brought back a recent memory for me. This is a pic of then-Premier Ernie Eves during the provincial election campaign, being ushered past Native protesters in North Bay. It was September 5, 2003 and the eight anniversary of the killing of Dudley George. And then-Premier Ernie Eves was visiting our riding of Nipissing. With the help of Maurice Switzer, we put together an impromptu protest to “greet” Eves when he arrived at the campaign headquarters of local MPP Al MacDonald. About a half-a-dozen people took part in our little protest. Although you can’t see my face, you can clearly see the placard I was holding up. It states: “On this day in 1995 This Government killed my Brother.” You can also see the Anishinabek Nation flag in the background.

A lot of changes have been made since then. No more Ernie Eves, no more Progressive Conservative government, and although I don’t have anything against the man, no more Al MacDonald. Perhaps the biggest, most positive change is that after eight years, a public inquiry will be held into the shooting death of Dudley George.

CP Photo

First Nations greet Premier Eves
on anniversary of George’s death
8th anniversary of the shooting death of Dudley George
NORTH BAY, September 6, 2003 – “On this day in 1995, this Government killed my brother.”

That was the message from a handful of First Nations protesters, who were on hand to greet Ontario Premier Ernie Eves as he opened MPP Al MacDonald’s campaign office in North Bay today. The protesters were commemorating the Sept. 6, 1995 shooting death of Anthony “Dudley” George, an Anishinabe from Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation.

North Bay is the heart of former Mike Harris’ Nipissing riding. Harris resigned 2 years ago, citing it as a personal decision. However, there has always been widespread speculation that Harris resigned because of his role in the Ipperwash crisis, and the death of Dudley George.

“We want all people to remember Dudley, and never to forget what happened to him,” said Bob Goulais, a warrior from Nipissing First Nation who organized the protest. “It could have been any one of us. If you are Anishinabe, and you stand up to fight against this Government, you could be targeted.”

The North Bay group was one of several groups commemorating the anniversary of George’s death. Vigils and events took place all across Ontario. Yesterday, Dudley’s brother Maynard “Sam” George addressed a delegation at the Great Hall of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

“Our message is clear. We, the First Nations people, demand that the Government of Ontario call a public inquiry into the death of Anthony “Dudley” George,” said Goulais. “We want to see justice, and see that Mike Harris, Kenneth Deane, and the Progressive Conservative government are held accountable to the killing of our Brother.”

“We want Ontario voters to remember these people: Anthony “Dudley” George, The citizens of Walkerton, and Kimberly Rogers,” concluded Goulais. “They were the ultimate victims from the fall-out of this Progressive Conservative government.”



Jan. 8, 2004
Women honour the water
through traditional roles

By Bob Goulais
It’s January on the northern shores of Lake Nipissing. Although the weather is unusually temperate, the spirit of the lake has already long begun to sleep.

The Elders of Nipissing First Nation have also prepared for the winter, and the freeze-up of the Lake. This is a special time to reflect on the meaning and significance of N’bi – water.

Lorraine Liberty, who is now recognized as a Grandmother by her traditional peers, has taken that role head on – educating women about their responsibility to care for the water.

“Water is so important and it’s the responsibility for women to find out more about that role,” said Liberty. “This comes from our teachings, but it is also a part of us.”

Anishinabe teachings tell us of the Original Instructions given to the people by the Creator. These instructions include the woman’s responsibility to care for, and protect the water – which is instrumental in support of life. Women are the life-givers of the people.

Liberty is part of a committee that was formed to bring the traditional knowledge of womens roles back to the community in the North Bay area. The first activity of that committee was a water walk which took place last spring.

Almost 30 women took part in the walk, from Highway 17 along Jocko Point Road to the Nipissing First Nation Traditional Lands.

“We wanted to do this for quite a while,” said Liberty, who explained that the idea came from the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge.

This past spring, Josephine Mandamin, along with a core group of seven women from the Three Fires Lodge completed a 1,300-mile walk around Lake Superior. Incredibly, Mandamin, an Elder in her 60s carried a 30 pound copper pail of water for most of the journey. Mandamin hopes to walk around each of the Great Lakes.

“Josephine showed she can do it. We can do certainly do something in our own community,” said Liberty.

With the support of the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, the group of about 30 women completed the 8-km walk. Each participant carried a little jar of water from their respective communities, including water from Trout Lake, Dokis Bay, French River, Lake Nipigon, Ottawa River, Mattawa River, Lake Temagami, Lake Nipissing, and Lake Temiskaming, to name a few.

The day went full-circle when Three Fires drum-carrier Faith Pegamahgabow was offered asaamaa (tobacco) to bring the Little Boy Water Drum to the ceremony. Pegamahgabow, of Wasauksing provided part of the water teaching and gave two water songs, which were sung by the women who attended the walk.

Liberty was pleased with the response they received and was happy that it was successful.

“I think the goal was to bring that teaching to the Anishinabe-kwe – to make them more aware of the teachings and to begin to take responsibility for that water,” said Liberty. Liberty also said this is a time for women to “stand-up, and speak out”. To take their role of protecting the water, and run with it – just as Josephine Mandamin has done.

“Now Anishinabe-kwe are trying to stand up and talk. When you know who you are, you become H3 and you can stand up,” said Liberty, who is also reminiscent of the time when the women were told to sit down and be quiet. Today, the women’s voices need to be heard, and they will be heard.

“Some Anishinabe-kwe will be very assertive in what they are trying to say.”

Liberty also hopes to raise an awareness of what is happening to the water supply.

“What is happening to our creeks and rivers? What are we dumping into our water? What are our future generations going to drink?,” ask Liberty rhetorically. “The Earth can only clean up so much, but we have to help clean up to. In our own way, we can do something in our lives to take care of the water.”

There are certain things that both women, and men can do to honour the water.

“As Anishinabe-kwe, the first thing we can do is take that first drink of water in the morning. Hold it up and say ‘miigwetch’ and take your first drink,” said Liberty. “I believe if the men honour the water, and take care of it – you are honoring and supporting the women an the work we have to do.

Liberty hope to do the walk again in the spring, when the water of Lake Nipissing is just breaking up.

“These are very important times when the water is freezing-up in the winter and breaking-up in the spring,” said Liberty. “The water should be honoured during those special times.”



Jan. 7, 2004

Being at work again, after having two weeks off for Christmas holidays sure makes you appreciate the time off. There was a time when work was the most essential thing in life. Tasks had to get done, and a lunch break, home-time or even holidays didn’t seem that important. However, working at that pace has its effects on your health and overall enjoyment of life. This is only the second such Christmas break that I have really “enjoyed”. Admittedly, I slept until 10 am (most mornings) and wasn’t really that productive. However, the rest, relaxation and time with my children was all worth the time-off.
This week, I’m back into the grind preparing for upcoming public education, and cross cultural training initiatives with MCTV and the Ministry of Natural Resources. I am very much a task-oriented person. I assign myself a number of tasks, write them down, and check them off as they are completed in sequence. It’s good to be at work once again.



Jan. 6, 2004

Once again, our people are being subject to the whims of the non-native government.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been corresponding with Susan Church, candidate for the local Liberal nomination, Maurice Switzer, Chief Phillip Goulais and the Anishinabek Nation political office over the adjustments to the federal electoral boundaries. The new legislation, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act will change the electoral boundaries in order to improve political representation in Canada. Locally, this means the Town of West Nipissing will now be a part of the Nickel Belt riding, as opposed to the new Nipissing-Temiskaming riding. However, an issue has arisen about Nipissing First Nation’s place in this new readjustment. The adjustment boundary lies mid-way between our First Nation, north of the highway. Unfortunately, the maps being distributed by Elections Canada show the boundary slices through our First Nation.
As a result, I have sent this e-mail recommending a course of action to deal with this issue.

—–Original Message—–

From: Goulais, Bob
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2004 10:13 AM
To: Chief Phillip Goulais; Grand Council Chief Earl Commanda; Susan Church; Bob Wood, MP (Constituency Office); Bob Wood, MP; Joan McLeod; Dwayne Nashkawa
Cc: Goulais, Priscilla; Switzer, Maurice; Freda Martel; George, Irvin
Subject: RE: Proposed Nipissing-Timiskaming Riding issue
Importance: High

Good morning everybody:

Nothing seems to be easy in dealing with this issue. I’ve poked and prodded on this issue for several years, through three previous elections – I guess it’s time to put some muscle behind this in getting these issues resolved.

Here are my recommendations, issues and key messages on this elections boundary issue. I’m sure Joan McLeod, our Lands Manager, can back me up on facts on this issue:

ACTION: We should demand a meeting with Elections Canada, and the Minister responsible for this initiative to straighten out this matter.
ACTION: In the meantime, Nipissing First Nation should refuse to participate in any further election-related activities, including registration, voting, and hosting any polling station until this issue is clarified. (Council will have to pass a resolution to address this. Besides, as First Nations people, the Federal and Provincial General Elections are not our political process to begin with.)
ACTION: We need to rectify our past election registration problems. Some of our people continue are registered in Temiscaming-Cochrane, others in Nipissing.
ACTION: We need to hire our own elections workers to register, and administer polling stations during elections.
ACTION: We should develop a media advisory, host a high profile news conference, and send out a news release, ASAP.
KEY MESSAGE: We contend that this is a mapping error that exists at Elections Canada.
SECONDARY MESSAGE: Everybody is assuming, including the Elections Canada map, that we are a part of West Nipissing – we are definitely not.
FACT: There is a small < 600 metre section from the Pedley-Beaucage-Highway 17 boundary, south, to Lake Nipissing. Elections Canada, and several other agencies over the years has previously made the mistake of “drawing” that boundary, south, past the highway, right through the Jocko Point Road, and down to the Lake. FACT: The maps provided by Natural Resources Canada, clearly show “The Town of West Nipissing” includes up to the Township of Pedley, north of the highway ONLY. FACT: The Natural Resources maps do not split the jurisdiction of the Nipissing Reserve #10. FACT: Both the legislative descriptions of the new ridings of “Nickel Belt”, and “Nipissing-Temiscaming” (what is read into the Legislative record) does not split our First Nation. FACT: We remain in the “Territorial District of Nipissing”, and are not excepted in the legislation. I would appreciate some feedback on this course of action, however, it will be up to Chief and Council to determine and approve this suggested course of action. Respectfully, Bob Goulais Communications Officer



Jan. 5, 2004

For Anishinabe people, the “dream world” is our way to communicate with our own Spirit and the Spirit World. It isn’t often that I have a very deep, spiritual dream so it’s very good when this happens. Early this morning, I had a dream about Midewiwin ceremonies. It must have been a mid-summer ceremony, or a fall ceremony but it’s the location that was really vivid to me. The site of the ceremonies was a clearing just behind my parents home in Garden Village.

The dream was extremely vivid. The Midewiwin were all in my parents backyard, in a fresh, newly constructed Lodge of maple saplings. The Lodge was long and very grand. It was covered by a special permanent gazebo that looked to be the work of either my Dad, and Marty Restoule from Dokis. This gazebo kept everything comfortable, warm and organized. It sheltered us from the rain, and perhaps even the snow.

Inside the Lodge, we were all having a discussion about a certain song. One man, who was sitting to my right, didn’t remember one of the more “regular” songs that we sing in the Lodge. I sang the songs to him, and within a few minutes, the Lodge as a whole was listening. By the time it was over, everybody was looking to me for these songs. They were all listening to me. Eddie Benton-Banai, Jim Dumont, Nick Deleary and all our local Midewiwin were there. Nipissing/Dokis was hosting it’s first Midewiwin ceremonies!

Later on, I recall my Uncle Eddie in my parents house and being quite comfortable in there. I walked into the living room and all the Lodge singers were there, just shootin’ the breeze. It was all very surreal.

I have always thought Garden Village was a sacred place. But it wasn’t until last year, that I found just how sacred this little village really is. There is a large burial ground in the heart of the village near the shore. The burial grounds consists of over a hundred burial sites dating back to before contact. Based on my dream, I have the feeling that the Midewiwin who are buried there need attention and this dream was telling me to be aware of that, and work towards having Midewiwin ceremonies here. This place is called K’tiganing, and it is time to honour this place, and all our ancestors that are buried here.

In the next few weeks, I will work on a proposal to host a Three Fires Midewiwin gathering here. I love to be inspired, and I give great thanks to the Spirits for moving me and speaking with me.



Jan. 4, 2004
‘Samurai’ offers message
to assimilated cultures

Image by Warner Bros.

By Bob Goulais

I went to see “The Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise. I’m not much of a Tom Cruise fan, in fact I think his acting is second rate. So I was anxious about whether or not I would enjoy this movie. It turns out the film is an enjoyable spectacle unto itself. The beautiful scenery and atmosphere of 19th century rural Japan is stunning. The battlefield scenes are amazing, albeit brutal. I found it difficult to take my eyes off the screen. Often, I found myself looking past the lead actors and taking in everything about the little village overseen by Katsumoto’s (Ken Watanabe) brother Hirohito. The Japanese culture is beautiful. There is a stark contrast between the stereotypical, brutal Samurai warrior and the reality of their respectful, spiritual, and disciplined way of life. The issue of stereotyping, intolerance and assimilation is brought up again and again during the movie.

I have to say, as a First Nation person, I wasn’t impressed with the first few minutes of the film. The “hero”, Capt. Woodrow Algren, is a battle-scarred US civil war soldier who is best known for fighting the “savage” Indians of the mid-west. The descriptions and attitudes toward the First Nations combatants are sadly stereotypical. Personally, I was hurt by a number of references. At first, Capt. Algren seems to be the nasty, slimeball, alcoholic veteran that he portrays to be. He hates the world and all those he has fought for and against. However, as we get to know this soldier, we find that he is haunted by his experiences fighting Indian people. It turns out he fought under Lt. Col. Custer at the massacre of Wounded Knee. At Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on December 29, 1890, 130 Lakota men, and 230 Lakota women and children were brutally killed by newly-developed machine gun. These images replay in Capt. Algren’s nightmares. Capt. Algren has a hidden respect for the Indian people, that is evident in his journal entries.

As a captive of Katsumoto, Capt. Algren grows to respect the Samurai culture and begins training in their ways. He gives up drinking and finds a new way of life. At one point, he saves the life of his foster family and the life of Katsumoto. In the end, he joins with the Samurai Rebellion and rises up against the Emperor’s “westernized” army.

The greatest message in the movie is well-known to all indigenous cultures. It is important to protect what is inherently theirs… knowing “who they are, and where they come from” (quoting the Emperor.) The film is set against the modernization of Japan. The Emperor hires hundreds of Western advisors to bring Japanese life, economy and military into the modern age. Japanese men are depicted sporting English tail suits and white gloves, once again, in stark contrast to the scenes of traditional life set in rural Japan. Westernized culture quickly takes over military and urban life. Soon the Samurai ways are outlawed. One very sad scene shows a young Samurai warrior being tormented in the streets of Tokyo by Japanese soldiers. His sword is taken, and his traditional long hair ponytail is cut off. I can’t help but draw comparisons to what our First Nations people were subject to in residential schools. In The Last Samurai, traditional and contemporary meet on the battlefield one last time, unfortunately with disastrous results. The Emperor learns the error of his ways, one battle too late.

The traditional Samurai show their spiritual and dutiful service to their people. They show their tradition of honour and their deep respect for all things, especially their way of life. They pay homage to their ancestors and their culture in everything that they do. And they do this to their last dying breath.

This movie has a lot to say about culture, spirituality, stereotypes, intolerance, and above all, the need to preserve indigenous cultures. Unfortunately, as in many cultures around the world, the dominant European -American culture is overwhelmingly H3 and isn’t easily challenged. Assimilated cultures either discover the problem too late, or in many cases, not at all.

Bob Goulais, is a journalist, activist and Anishinabe warrior from Nipissing First Nation. He works as the Communications Officer for the Union of Ontario Indians. By no means does he feel that the Anishinabe people are “assimilated”. E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca.



Jan. 3, 2004


I was amused to see an article from my friend Bill Curry of the CanWest News Service, on Warren Kinsella’s prediction about a Liberal minority government in the next election.

First of all, I don’t give much weight to Mr. Kinsella’s opinion. Paul Martin’s decisive ascent to the Prime Minister’s Office and sweeping Cabinet change will make him all but unbeatable in the next federal election. Further, he has radically dispensed with any in-party dissent, a mistake that Jean Chretien made in the years leading up to his retirement. Allen Rock, John Manley, and Sheila Copps will all live to fight another day, but not anytime soon.
However, as a left-wing Liberal, I am pleased to see the New Democratic Party (NDP) beginning their comeback wave. I would be open to see a higher profile NDP in the House of Commons. My hope is that such sentiment may lead to a broader social agenda in improving such areas as poverty, family and aboriginal issues. Certainly, Jack Layton is a capable leader, and with Ed Broadbent back in the fold, I think the “United Right” has met it’s match (for second place).

It will take years for the new Conservative Party of Canada to eliminate its stigma as a radical, right-wing party. Voters cannot easily forget the Reform Party movement that consisted of nearly 12 years of public intolerance, intense and public squabbling, a coup d’etat of a party leader, and an agenda of western regionalization. Nor will hard-core Tories ever forget how the founding party of Canada was easily dismantled over a period of eight weeks this fall.

That continues to leave Prime Minister Paul Martin in the driver seat — to implement his agenda for democratic change, and fiscal accountability.



Jan. 1-2, 2004


Happy New Year! Of course, with a new year comes a fresh outlook on life. My outlook is always positive, and that will continue in 2004. However, as most people do, I have a few new years resolutions.
1. Spend more time with my boys, and my little girl.
2. Pay my rent on-time.
3. Become a more involved Mide person. Get to more ceremonies, help with fundraising.
4. Take my pills for diabetes, watch what I eat.
5. Lose some weight… setting a goal of 20 lbs.

I hope that by publishing my new year’s resolutions, I’d be more inclined to stick with them. I’ve added the weight resolution as per the past five years. I do have to eat better.

My boys are here for their New Years visit and they are enjoying all their Christmas stuff to the max. We can learn a lot from our children and youth. They have a lot of knowledge in that they remain closely connected to their Spirit. They do what feels good, and deal with what’s right in front of them. They play, they get hungry, they eat, they get tired, and they sleep. We may say to ourselves “this is all simple stuff” — but in reality, what else is there??? We have a lot to be thankful for, in the food that we eat, the roof over our heads, and the pleasure we derive from raising our children

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