Nathan Phillips Square holds Two-day Indigenous Legacy Gathering to honor residential school survivors
#Toronto, #IndigenousLegacyGathering; #ResidentialSchoolSurvivors; #TCFNCC
Toronto/Canadian-Media: Indigenous Legacy Gathering event undertaken by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre (TCFNCC) in collaboration with the City of Toronto was held on Nov 4 and Nov 5 to acknowledge and honor residential school survivors and those affected intergenerationally, said a news release Nov 4.
Indigenous people. Image credit: Humanitarian.org
TCFNCC is an autonomous, vibrant cultural agency with a mandate to provide counselling, material assistance and other direct services to First Nations people, as well as to encourage and enhance their spiritual and personal growth.
“Council Fire is proud to host this year’s Indigenous Legacy Gathering once again, following a 20-month lockdown...in a setting that celebrates the resilience of residential school survivors,” said Andrea Chrisjohn, Board Designate, TCFNCC.
Both days began with a sunrise ceremony, followed by featured speakers and presentations. Evening programming featured special entertainment each night with family-friendly, safe programming and workshops were free to the public proof of vaccination required as per Provincial regulations
The Indigenous Legacy Gathering showcased and celebrated the diversity of Indigenous Peoples’ cultures, traditions and languages through workshops, presentations, stories, teachings, dance, film and music.
The gathering also promoted the Spirit Garden set to be completed in 2023 as a permanent structure responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Call to Action 82 to honor residential school survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.
Image credit: www.familyfuncanada.com
“The Indigenous Legacy Gathering celebrates and honors the resilience of residential school survivors and their families and is an important form of reconciliation...to honour survivors and their families, while exploring, learning about and participating in Indigenous activities,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.
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#FirstNations, #Ontario; #FortSevern; #solarProject; #GreenHouseGasEmissions;
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Ontario's most northern First Nation, Fort Severn situated on the shores of Hudson Bay has taken a big step toward energy independence by going green with their first solar project, media reports said.
Image: Solar Energy. Image credit: Facebook Page
The community of Fort Severn of about 550 people, located 850 kilometers north of Thunder Bay, Ont. is now being powered by its 300-kilowatt solar system facilitating the First Nation in its transition off diesel fuel and generate money for the community.
As a First Nation that is directly affected by the rapidly changing northern environment, Fort Severn is doing its part to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, Chief Paul Burke told CBC News over the phone and added,
"It's not just my community. I am showing the world, if I can do this here, being so remote, we can do this anywhere."
About 130,000 liters of diesel fuel is expected to be displaced on an annual basis which could save up to 400,000 liters of fuel according to Michael Wrinch, the project manager and president of Hedgehog Technologies, CBC News reported.
"It's a success story for a diesel reduction point of view, and a success story for the community, just showing that they can get things done in remote and difficult locations," Wrinch said.
#Canada; #IndigenousChildren, #Compensation; #CanadianHumanRightsTribunal
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: The federal government of Canada has been given until the end of the day to decide whether a bitter 14-year battle over compensation for discrimination in the Indigenous child welfare system would end or be prolonged.
First Nations Children. Image credit: Twitter handle of @indigenouskids
Discrimination of the federal government against First Nations children by underfunding an on-reserve child welfare system by paying little attention to the result of removing First Nations children from their homes led Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2016 to look into this matter.
Heated debate ensued between critics casting the Trudeau government's commitment to reconciliation as hypocritical and those arguing the tribunal's order was problematic.
The federal government is given the end of the day to decide whether to appeal the order.
#IndigenousPeople; #JeanChrétien; #ResidentialSchools; #UnmarkedGravesDiscovery
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: During an appearance on the popular Radio-Canada talk show, Tout le Monde en Parle on Sunday, Canada's former prime minister Jean Chrétien said during his tenure as minister, he did not hear anything about the occurrence of abuse in residential schools.
Image: Unmarked Graves. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
"This problem was never mentioned when I was a minister. Never," said Chrétien of his time in the department from 1968 to 1974.
In the French interview, Chrétien compared his own experience as a teenager attending a conventional college boarding school to that of Indigenous children who were forced to attend residential schools and said,
Another guest on the talk show Michel Jean, Innu author was angered by Chrétien's comments.
"Respectfully, I don't think Mr. Chrétien knows exactly what residential schools are...The word boarding school makes people think it was a school where we teach people to write, but it wasn't that," said Jean.
Jean added that Chrétien's recalling eating poor-quality food, doesn't compare to the treatment children in residential schools were subjected to and described how members of his own family suffered abuse in residential schools.
"My mother's cousin told me that when there was duck, the nuns would keep the duck meat and cut the feet off, with its toenails still on, boil that in water, and that's what they gave to the kids...There is someone in my family who attended a residential school in Fort George who was sexually assaulted every day for eight years by a nun. It was called a boarding school, but it was not a school," said Jean.
Chrétien said in defense of his record, that he had tried to improve the lives of Canada's Indigenous people both personally and politically.
"I even adopted an Indigenous son, to lead by example...proves my investment in this issue," said Chrétien.
More recent discoveries of unmarked graves on residential school sites have once again brought the issue to the forefront.
#Ontario, #Recommendation; #OntarioCoroners; #IndigeneousFamilies; #RegularCommunication
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Ontario Government's new recommendation calls for Ontario's coroners to improve communication and transparency with families, especially Indigenous people.
Ontario Chief Coroner Office. Image credit: Official logo
The recommendation was motivated by a father's search for answers after the 2017 death of his son in Thunder Bay, Ontario
"Families should have as much information as possible. That's their loved one that they lost and clearly a tragedy for them. And so there is the expectation throughout the organization that coroners are readily available and regularly communicating," Ontario's chief coroner, Dr. Dirk Huyer, told CBC News today.
Dr. Dirk Huyer. Image credit: Screenshot
Huyer also was reported to say that his office is developing tools to improve the clarity of expectations and expects all coroners to communicate regularly with families, not just when there is a change in who is leading a death investigation.
Anna Betty Achneepineskum, deputy grand chief with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation also said that coroners did not regularly communicate with Indigenous families living in remote communities when they are investigating the deaths of loved ones.
Huyer is also working with organizations like the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) to develop an approach to improve death investigations and communication with families.
#CanadaDay2021; #Demonstrations; #IndigenousPeople; #ResidentialSchools
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: During 2021 Canada Day demonstrators donned orange, took to streets, built memorials as part of a national reckoning with the horrific legacy of residential schools on Indigenous peoples.
Demonstrators on Canada Day 2021. Image credit: Screenshot
After the discovery of what appears to be human remains at residential school sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan during the last two months, many of the special events normally associated with Canada Day were either cancelled or scaled back.
In his Canada Day message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the horrific findings at the site of former residential schools have "rightfully pressed us to reflect on our country's historical failures" and injustices that still exist for many.
"While we can't change the past, we must be resolute in confronting these truths in order to chart a new and better path forward. Together, we have a long way to go to make things right with Indigenous Peoples," said Trudeau, who spent his day with his family.
The flag atop the Peace Tower was at half-mast to honor the Indigenous children who died in residential schools.
While marchers in Montreal held banners that read "bring our children home," those in Edmonton and elsewhere had shirts that read "Every Child Matters," and a group of 15 in downtown Halifax, read from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the history and legacy of residential schools, and actions that could move reconciliation forward.
In his Canada Day message, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for transformational change in the lives of Indigenous Peoples, justice for residential school survivors, clean drinking water and healthy homes for Indigenous communities.
"There is an opportunity for all levels of government to act on First Nations' priorities," Bellegarde said in a video message. "There is a strong foundation for continued progress, but there remains much more work ahead of all of us. We cannot lose the momentum."
#BC; #UnmarkedGraves; #FormerIndianResidentialSchools; #FirstNations
Cranbrook, B.C./Canadian-Media: 182 shallow, about a metre deep unmarked gravesites have been discovered by a First Nation in B.C.'s South Interior using ground-penetrating radar technology near the location of a former residential school St. Eugene's Mission School, the Lower Kootenay Band announced Wednesday.
Unmarked graves. Image credit: Wikimedia commons
"It is believed that the remains of these 182 souls are from the member Bands of the Ktunaxa Nation, neighboring First Nations communities and the community of ʔaq'am," read a media release from the band.
Up to 100 of its members were forced to attend the school, the Lower Kootenay Band says.
This discovery adds to the unmarked burial sites discovered near residential schools across Canada in the past month, including 215 in Kamloops and 751 in Saskatchewan.
Operated by the Catholic Church from 1912 until the early 1970s, St. Eugene's Mission School building has since been converted into a resort and casino, with an adjacent golf course.
The band says it is in the early stages of learning about the report's findings and will provide more updates.
#FirstNations; #Saskatchewan; #DiscoveryOfUnmarkedGraves; #IndianResidentialSchool
Saskatchewan/Canadian-Media: Horrific and shocking Discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of a former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, a news release from First Nation in Saskatchewan, Cowessess and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations (FSIN) said Wednesday.
Indian Residential school in Saskatchewan. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Marieval Indian Residential School operated from 1899 to 1997 in Cowessess, about 140 kilometers east of Regina.
The 1970s school's cemetery from the Catholic Church was taken over by the First Nation.
Ground-penetrating radar had been started to be used by Cowessess earlier this month to locate unmarked graves.
According to the predictions of Indigenous leaders and archeologists, there will be more such discoveries with the support of the federal and provincial governments along with private corporations for First Nations to deploy ground-penetrating radar technology to search for gravesites.
The First Nation has been working with experts, knowledge keepers, and survivors who attended the school to identify unmarked graves at the site of the institution’s cemetery.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office declined to issue a statement until the community has had a chance to address the public.
Canadian Association of Journalists and Journalists for Human Rights launch Indigenous Reporters Network
#Canada; #CAJ; #JHR; #IRP; #IRN; #PromoteIndigenousCommunities
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) partners with Journalists For Human Rights (JHR) to launch the Indigenous Reporters Network (IRN), to bring together both emerging and established Indigenous journalists, to build online and offline communities within the CAJ, and to train them at every career stage with opportunities in the development of their skills, participation in CAJ events and professional development, and building new connections with their peers across the country.
Image: CAJ. Image credit: Twitter handle
JHR is Canada’s leading media development organization to foster a more equitable, and representative, Canadian news ecosystem.
Besides creating opportunities for emerging journalists to launch their careers and enabling established Indigenous journalists to hone their skills, this initiative also would compensate for a shortage of Indigenous journalists in the industry, said Karyn Pugliese, past president of the CAJ.
JHR not only trains journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities but also spotlights human rights enabling people to start discussing these issues and demanding change.
The multi-award-winning Indigenous Reporters Program, (IRP) operated by JHR since 2013 to increase the quality and quantity of Indigenous stories and voices in Canadian media has provided training to 2500 people, including Indigenous journalists, non-Indigenous journalists learning best practices of covering Indigenous stories, Indigenous community members and Indigenous youth interested in journalism.
“Events of the past two weeks have demonstrated the urgent need for more Indigenous journalists and voices in Canadian media,” said Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights, CAJ reported.
“In 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) laid bare the critical role media has to play in advancing our country’s long-term goals of reconciliation,” said CAJ president Brent Jolly and added
“The creation of the Indigenous Reporters Network gets us one step closer to achieving those goals because it will help increase access to jobs, professional development opportunities, and leadership positions for Indigenous journalists,” CAJ reported.
As part of the program, the CAJ and JHR will be holding a joint networking and professional development event in the coming months.
JHR and CAJ are grateful for the support of the RBC Foundation’s Future Launch program, which is making this initiative possible.
As a professional organization with over 900 members across Canada, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)'s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.
#TokyoOlympics; #Weightlifter, #Transgender
Tokyo/Canadian-Media: Weightlifters Laurel Hubbard, among five weightlifters confirmed Monday for New Zealand's team for the 2021 Tokyo Games, will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics.
Tokyo Olympics. Image credit. Unsplash
Hubbard, 43, will also be the oldest weightlifter at the Games and will be ranked fourth in the women's heavyweight division.
After winning a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships and gold in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, Hubbard sustained a serious injury that set back her career, while competing at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Competing as Gavin Hubbard, her birth name, Hubbard had set national records in junior competition with a total of 300 kilograms.
Eight years ago at the age of 35, Hubbard transitioned to transgender and has since met all of the requirements of the International Olympic Committee's regulations for transgender athletes and fair competition.
The competition in the women's 87-kilogram-plus category will be held on Aug. 2.