Friday, August 25, 2006

One Flaw In Native Women

Native Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.

Native Women come in all shapes, and sizes
They'll walk, run or ride on horse back far just to be with you,
that is how much they care about you.
The heart of a Native woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.
Native Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.
However, if there is one flaw in Native Women,
It is that they forget their Worth.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Excerpts from Will Fergusons "Why I hate Canadians"

“At first, the Native groups were allowed to choose their own reserve lands, but that promise was quickly broken. Good farmland was excluded for the most part, and – devastating to tribal custom – large tracks were disallowed. Instead, Indian bands were splintered among small, unconnected plots of land. When they resisted, the government simply withheld food that was promised under the Famine Clause of treaties. Thus it w as that we coerced, shoved and blackmailed nomadic people into subdivisions and sub—subdivisions.
The result of this self-cancelling, dehumanizing process? In Canada, one of the wealthiest most prosperous countries in the world, we have created an entire, racially segregated subclass, our very own Third World.” Pg 118

“We keep wishing the problem away. This pattern was well established as far back as 1876, when the Indian Act was first drafted. Reserves were designed to be temporary holding cells, where, it was confidently assumed, Indians would be fully assimilated within three generations. They would be kept segregated and accounted for until they were deemed morally worthy of Canadian citizenship.

This is not editorializing on my part, these were the explicit objectives of the Indian Act. If you were good, if you were very good, you could graduate from being and Indian. All you had to do was give up your identity, move into the mainstream, lose your language, forswear you culture, and you too would be allowed to vote and own your own land. This was called “enfranchisement.”

To be enfranchised, you had to (A) abandon all tribal customs, (B) be judged of good character, (C) be fluent in either French or English, and (D) have passed a three-year probation (just to make sure you didn’t lapse back into savage custom or language). Only then would you be allowed the privilege of not being an Indian. In Canada, the only Good Indian was an Assimilated Indian, and as very few of them accepted assimilations, we had very few Good Indians.

Enfranchisement remained policy until – when? 1900? 1910? 1920? No. The government did not concede defeat and remove enfranchisement from the Indian Act until 11985. Ancient history, that.


You see, a funny thing happened on the way to assimilation. The two goals of Indian policy, separation and assimilation, were contradictory: they cancelled each other out. The reserves that were meant to segregate Native Canadians gave them a land base that now acts both as a focal point of political activism and a refuge – however shaken, however poverty-stricken. The resurgent Native culture and explosive Native pride comes directly from the reserves, and it is from the reserves that Native Canadians are leading a full-scale counterattack. Apartheid has backfired.”

Excerpts from Will Ferguson’s “Why I Hate Canadians” chapter “Our home on Native Land”

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Maori Queen, dies in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand after a forty-year reign.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu ONZ, DBE, (23 July 1931 – 15 August 2006) was the Māori Queen for 40 years, the longest reign of any Māori monarch. Her full name and title was Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Her title Te Arikinui (meaning Great Chief) and name Te Atairangikaahu (also her mother's name) were bestowed when she became monarch; previously she was known as Princess Piki Mahuta.

She was the only birth child of Koroki Mahuta and Te Atairangikaahu Herangi; her father had an older daughter, Tuura, by an earlier relationship. Dame Te Atairangikaahu had adopted siblings including Sir Robert Mahuta, whose daughter Nanaia Mahuta is a member of Parliament. Dame Te Atairangikaahu was a descendant of the first Māori King, Pōtatau te Wherowhero, and succeeded her father, King Koroki, becoming Queen the day Koroki was buried.[1] She married Whatumoana Paki and they had seven children.

The office of Māori Queen holds no constitutional function, but Te Atairangikaahu was an avid supporter of cultural and sporting events and commonly appeared in a figurehead role at locally held, international political events involving indigenous issues. Her official residence was Turongo House in Turangawaewae.

In 1970, she became the first Māori to be made a Dame, specifically a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[2] She was one of the first inductees of the Order of New Zealand when it was established in 1987. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sacred Tree Code of Ethics

Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, for the good things the Creator has given you and others and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit everyone.

Respect. Respect means “to feel or show honour or esteem for someone, or something; to consider the well-being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy”. Showing respect is a basic law of life.

· Treat every person, from the tiniest child to the oldest elder with respect at all times.
· Special respect should be given to elders, parents, teachers and community leaders.
· No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.
· Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially sacred objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.
· Respect the privacy of every person. Never intrude on a person’s quiet moments or personal space.
· Never walk between people that are conversing.
· Never interrupt people who are conversing.
· Speaking in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of elders, strangers or others whom special respect is due.
· Do no speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where elders are present (except to ask what is expected of you, should you be in doubt).
· Never speak about others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.
· Treat the earth and all of her aspects as your mother. Show deep respect for the mineral world, the plant world, and the animal world. Do nothing to pollute the air or the soil. If others would destroy our mother, rise up with wisdom to defend her.
· Show deep respect for the beliefs and religions of others.
· Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.

Respect the wisdom of the people in council. Once you give an idea to a council or a meeting it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to the people. Respect demands that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail. Indeed you should freely support the ideas of others if they are true and good, even if those ideas are quite different from the ones you have contributed. The clash of ideas brings forth the spark of truth.

Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.

Always great your guests with honour and consideration. Give your best food, your best blankets, the best part of your house, and your best service to your guests.

The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honour of one is the honour of all.

Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family.

All the races and tribes in the world are like the different coloured flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected.

To serve others, to be of some use to family, community nation or the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important task. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

Observe moderation and balance in all things.

Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude and in the words and deeds of wise elders and friends.

From “The Sacred Tree”
Four Worlds International Institute

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Last night

I have these groups of friends, each group so different then the other.
Last night was a hard night for me, harder then I orginally thought it would be, and I had been pretty sure it would be horrid.

I drifted off to sleep sometime before the haze of dawn started appearing through my window.

I have this friend that I called last night, he is the only one I thought might understand what I needed. See some of my other friends, while they are good friends, and we can hang out lots, they are not the type of friends that offer to help hold you up when you feel like falling down. Some of my friends just really suck in the care and comfort area, and I guess that is why most people have different groups of friends, so that we have people to be there for each area of our life.

Today I wake up thinking that I might have finally turned a corner, or at least I am able to look ahead and see a corner that I know I will be turning. A year of grief, guilt, anger, and last night I took it all on. I miss the people that have gone off ahead of me, last night I sat and spoke with some. Nothing like a conversation with ghosts and shadows to straighten you out. Maybe it is jsut that I finally started to grieve at all. This month has always been a hard month for me, but now, it doesn't feel quite as bleak as it did before.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Low aboriginal graduation rates a concern for all Canadians: report

An alarming number of First Nations students living on reserves are not graduating from high school, a recently released report says.

According to the report of the Ottawa-based Caledon Institute of Public Policy — titled Aboriginal Peoples and Post-secondary Education in Canada — high school graduation rates of aboriginal people are far below those of people in the rest of Canada, and the situation is particularly bad on reserves.

The report, which is based on census data, found that 58 per cent of on-reserve aboriginal people between the ages of 20 and 24 had not graduated from high school. Among all people across Canada, the comparable 2001 rate was 16 per cent.
CBC News
I know, crazy idea, but what happens if teachers stop telling us that we are 'dumb and to not worry about graduating anyways as we won't make it that far' Or how about teachers trying to .. .hmm.. teach?! I know, crazy thought there, and maybe even teach truth! I grew up listening to the teepee people on the coast (what the #$*(@#) and when I suggested that maybe that information was wrong, I was kicked out of class. The system is set up for us to fail, so maybe instead of figuring out where we went wrong, figure out how to fix the system first.

And then for those of us that do make it and graduate, God forbid if we actually try to go to post secondary school! What the heck, don't we know our place? According to most academic institutions it sure isn't at University. When I first went to university, they took me out of the classes I signed up for, and put me in 'learning skills', 'introduction to university life', 'introduction to the university library', and a low level into to english class. When I went to complain, the nice registrar clerk, patted my arm and said "It's not your fault hon, your whole race is slow"..... ..... ...... (calm breathe), lets say simply there aren't enough bad words to express how that made me feel.

Some institutions are changing, the University of Victoria in BC, Canada has started a great project to support undergrad aboriginal students at University, so we have 1 out of how many universities trying to make a change?

Its slow, but as a people, we have to keep fighting, go to school, piss off every teacher you have if that is what it takes for you to graduate, prove them wrong, get school, get trained, get jobs as thier supervisors, and fire them :-)

... on death and dying...

Tonight is the one year anniversary of my Grandmothers death.
You would think that one sentance couldn't cause so much pain and guilt, but there you have it.

My question today is, if you do nothing but stand by while someone dies, is that the same as activily participating in/contributing to their death?
Where is that line?

"Oh how we cried, the day you left us
Gathered round, your grave to grieve
Wish I could see those angels faces
When they heard, your sweet voice sing"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

Article 1 Indigenous peoples have the right to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Article 2 Indigenous individuals and peoples are free and equal to all other individuals and peoples in dignity and rights, and have the right to be free from any kind of adverse discrimination, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3 Indigenous peoples have the right of self- determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, economic, social and cultural characteristics, as well as their legal systems, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 5 Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Australia - Stop the Land Grab-Land Rights Act in jeopardy

Kia Ora, Hello to all,

This was forwarded to me from a friend in Australia, please read what is happening down there. Indigneous RIghts are a global issues, and we have to start having a global voice.

Subject: URGENT before Tuesday Land Rights Act in jeopardy

Dear friends,

Something dangerous is about to happen to the very heartland of Aboriginal Australia - and neither the traditional owners, nor you, have been warned.

Under the guise of promoting economic development for indigenous Australians, the Federal Government wants to ram through new legislation this Tuesday that actually jeopardises future generations of Aboriginal livelihoods. It's quite possibly the most important law you've never heard of.

The law will amend the iconic Land Rights Act, stripping away power from one of the only true representative bodies, the Land Councils, while pressuring Aboriginal communities to hand over control of their lands for 99 years. With profound disrespect, many of those who this new law affects most have not even been told.

Only your senators can put the brakes on this legislation, to allow time for real debate and understanding. Tell them now these seismic policy changes are too important to rush through.

While the government claims the 99-year leases are voluntary, traditional owners are being cajoled into signing away their rights to their land just to secure basic services that we all deserve, like houses and schools.

The original Land Rights Act was an iconic piece of bipartisan legislation. This is a rush job - scarcely understood and widely contested. A scant one-day Parliamentary inquiry should not be permitted to rubber stamp a policy that will leave four generations without land or leadership. Even Government senators expressed 'alarm and concern' at this totally inadequate debate.

The Northern Territory is flourishing with indigenous culture and living languages. Yet, all Australians know there are also many deeply confronting problems - and all parties agree we must urgently find new ways forward in partnership.

Land is the best asset that Aboriginal people have for economic development. Not one Australian economist has argued that taking land or leadership away will deliver positive economic results - even the conservative Minerals Council of Australia thinks the Government is on the wrong track with its attack on Land Councils.

The economic case has not been made. The social consequences are untested. And traditional owners have been excluded from this decision that will deeply affect them for generations. Please help stop this before it's too late.

Resolution at Caledonia is federal government's responsibility

By George Sorger, HamiltonThe Hamilton Spectator(Aug 3, 2006)
Re: 'Onus on judge to rule' (The Spectator, July 25)

Many demanding "law and order" in Caledonia, along with this article about Justice Marshall's deliberations concerning the Six Nations occupation of their land at Caledonia, seem to ignore the fact that the disputed land is part of a formal treaty between the Crown, now the responsibility of the federal government, and the Six Nations.

The fact the land was sold to a developer, and then bought from the developer by the province of Ontario, does not change the fact that it is treaty land and cannot be sold or bought by anyone without Six Nations consent, which neither of the above sales had.

If the OPP are sent in once again to "clear" the Six Nations occupants from the site, we will be back where we started months ago, when the barricades went up and there were violent confrontations.

The courts and the OPP should not be expected to settle aboriginal land claims. This land claim must be settled by negotiations between the federal government and the Six Nations Confederacy. They are the authorities which inherited the responsibility for the treaties, describing who owns the above land and what the relationship between the two nations is to be.
Justice Marshall and the lawyers opposing the Six Nations describe the occupation of native land as an act of contempt of court, which carries a stiff penalty. I think there should be something called contempt of treaties, which should carry an equally stiff penalty, so that the formal treaties governing relations between Canada and the First Nations will be obeyed and the law prevails.

First Nation's treaty deal historic first for B.C

Wow, 13 years for one treaty, yeah, lets party at the fast rate they treat treaties!
Maybe instead of celebrating we should be asking why it takes over a decade to conclude one set of talks!!!
Peter O'Neil, CanWest News Service; Vancouver SunPublished: Wednesday, August 02, 2006

OTTAWA - Federal, provincial and aboriginal negotiators have concluded what would be the first final agreement under the costly 13-year B.C. treaty process.

"It's quite historic," said Mark Stevenson, chief negotiator for the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, a 312-person community living in and around Prince George, B.C.

If the deal is formally endorsed by the governments of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, the community will get $27 million up front, $400,000 a year over 50 years, 4,330 hectares of land, fishing and logging rights, and a constitutionally protected system of self-government, according to the B.C. Treaty Commission.

Jody Wilson, acting chief of the treaty commission, said the $47-million deal marks a ''new chapter'' in the relationship between governments and B.C. First Nations.
''This agreement is an important milestone in our B.C. treaty process, one that we have been struggling towards for 13 years,'' she said in a prepared statement.

The Lheidli T'enneh First Nation struck an agreement-in-principle (AIP) with the federal and B.C. governments in 2003, and is one of six in the province with completed AIPs.
The 2003 deal called for $12.8 million in cash for the band, far less than the final tally.
The only modern comprehensive treaty involving B.C. bands was the 1999 Nisga'a accord, though that deal was negotiated outside the B.C. treaty process.

The old Reform party, which Harper helped create in the late 1980s with Preston Manning, vehemently opposed the Nisga'a deal in Parliament. MPs argued at the time that the deal gave First Nations special rights that violated the principle that all Canadians are equal.
The Harper government has been harshly criticized by Campbell, other premiers, and federal opposition MPs for killing the $5 billion 2005 Kelowna accord that was intended to dramatically improve the lives of aboriginal Canadians.

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has stressed the government is looking for practical measures to improve the social and economic standing of First Nation communities. However, Harper rattled native leaders recently by saying he would end so-called ''race-based'' commercial fishing rights, since fishing agreements are a key component of many treaty talks.
The Lheidli T'enneh fish deal allocates up to 10,000 sockeye annually to the band for ''food, social and ceremonial'' purposes and another 6,000 for commercial sale. Stevenson stressed that the fishing agreement is a side deal outside the treaty and isn't constitutionally protected.
He added that the band's commercial fishery won't take place unless there is a concurrent commercial opening for other fishermen.

The band, according to the treaty commission, will also get 107,000 cubic metres of ''long-term wood supply.''
Stevenson said Campbell played a critical leadership role.

''This would not have been achieved if it weren't for premier Campbell.''
Roughly one-third of band members live on the Fort George reserve near Shelley, about 20 kilometres northeast of Prince George. The rest live in Prince George, where the band will own 1,000 hectares of unoccupied Crown land.

The self-government accord will give the band control of a variety of social services and education up to Grade 12, Stevenson said.

Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A little background

I am currently living on Salish Territory, but am Wei Wai Kai from Cape Mudge.

I have that there is a lack of space for an Indigenous woman to say what she thinks, feels and sees in the world. This blog is meant to be a space where I can comment on what I see around me, and hopefully hear comments back on what I write.

More information about my home:

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Today, August 9th, is World Indigenous People's Day. And while I would like to say that this day is being acknowledge, that we are making great strides toward reconciliation, that would be garbage, and garbage does nothing but cause clutter. This site is meant to be a place to clear my mind, and share some thoughts about Indigenous Rights (or lack there of), Political statements, news, pretty much anything that I feel the urge to comment on. Some of it will be funny, some upsetting, but everything I right will be as honest as I can manage. If at any time you find errors in the news that I bring up, let me know.

<-- Picture taken at Nk'Mip Cultural Centre