Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fostering Native Children - Boardrooms & Big houses

I hope soon to be fostering children of native ancestory. Whether they are mixed blood like me, or full blooded, I look forward to the opportunity to help raise the next generation. Some friends asked of me what my goal was, what type of child I hope to raise. This is my reply:


If I have daughters I want them to be comfortable at the Potlatch and at the Ballet, I want them to be girly and strong, honouring and outspoken. If i have sons I want them to be strong, and know that it has nothing to do with muscles. I want them to be comfortable drumming their drums, and drumming their own paths. I want my kids no matter their sex to be happy being florists, firefighters, physicists, and everything in between.

I believe we as new parents have a different path then the parents that came before. We are the mixed blood kids, having mixed world kids and the generations before us were able to pick a world and live in it, but we need to be able to live, and each our kids to live, in all the worlds out there right now. Boardrooms & Big houses.

Boardrooms & Big houses these are the worlds we need to be strong in now. My kids, whomever they may be, I will teach you what I know, and I will be honoured to learn from you and with you, all we do not yet know.

We will dance when our laws command us to dance

“We want to know whether you have come to stop our dances and feasts, as the missionaries and agents who live among our neighbors try to do. We do not want to have anyone here who will interfere with our customs. We were told that a man-of-war would come if we should continue to do as our grandfathers and great-grandfathers have done. But we do not mind such words. Is this the white man’s land? We are told it is the Queen’s land, but no! It is mine.

Where was the Queen when our God gave this land to my grandfather and told him, “This will be thine?” My father owned the land and was a mighty Chief; now it is mine. And when your man-of-war comes, let him destroy our houses. Do you see yon trees? Do you see yon woods? We shall cut them down and build new houses and live as our fathers did.

We will dance when our laws command us to dance, and we will feast when our hearts desire to feast. Do we ask the white man, “Do as the Indian does?” It is a strict law that bids us dance. It is a strict law that bids us distribute our property among our friends and neighbors. It is a good law. Let the white man observe his law; we shall observe ours. And now, if you come to forbid us dance, be gone. If not, you will be welcome to us.

- O’wax̱a̱laga̱lis Chief of the Kwagu'ł “Fort Rupert Tribes”, to Franz Boas, October 7, 1886

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1 in 4 Native kids growing up in Poverty

"Today for the first time in history, the largest group of Americans living in poverty are children. One in five children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, back-breaking, gut-wrenching poverty any of us could imagine. One in five, and they're children. If fidelity to freedom of democracy is the code of our civic religion, then surely the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says we shall give our children better than we ourselves received." - West Wing

I am using this quote as an intro to a story that came out yesterday that says 1 in 10 children in Canada are living in poverty. What is also says that 1 in 4 native children are living in poverty. 1 in 4!

We need to be crying out against this. Writing our government, our band councils, amnesty international, whomever we can that might help fix this. Most importantly, we have to work to fix it ourselves. Our voices count, our vote counts. We are suppose to give our children more then we have. We need to finish school, we need to get jobs that afford us a standard of living that isn't poverty. We need to help our families. We need to expect more of ourselves, we need to be responsible for ourselves, our choices, our people. It isn't all external forces that cause this statistic. External forces are most assuradly a part of it, but not entirely.

How do we change this statistic? How do we ensure our children have better then we ourselves had???

Monday, November 23, 2009

CBC Radio - Native Kids in care - Broken promises

Child Welfare - Native Kids

Two decades ago, Canada signed on to the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child. It acknowledged that all children have the right to be safe and protected from harm, cared for, nurtured, and heard.

It's a commitment to children that critics say Canada has ignored.
Their case in point. One in ten Canadian children live in poverty and a lot of those children live on reserves. And it's being alleged that those kids do not have the same access to health care, education and other services as children living off reserves.

The Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society have filed a human rights complaint, saying this is blatant discrimination.
A tribunal had been scheduled to begin hearings into the complaint last week. But those hearings have now been postponed until January 18th, a delay that further frustrates those making the complaint.

Cindy Blackstock is one of them. She is the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. She is to be awarded the Economic Justice Fellowship today from The Atkinson Charitable Foundation. She was in Montreal. And Carolyn Buffalo is Chief of the Montana Cree Nation in Hobbema, Alberta and mother of Noah.

We invited Chuck Strahl, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Janis Tarchuk, Alberta's Minister of Children and Youth Services to appear on the program. They both declined our invitation.

We also invited federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq but received no response. Ottawa has responded to the Human Rights complaint by arguing the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to hear the matter because the federal government is the funder of the services and not the provider. The government will be in Federal Court in January to try and stop the Tribunal.

- Taken from CBC radio website - all rights belong to CBC