#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.
#FirstNationsCommunities, #Kamloops; #BritishColumbis; #UnmarkedGraves
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: New free online resources have been created by a group of archaeologists and academics to help Indigenous communities with the complex and emotional process of searching for unmarked graves former residential school sites.
Image: Kamloops Indian residential school. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Amidst persisting concerns among the indigenous communities that companies offering to survey land without the proper expertise or technology may take advantage of them, these resources empower communities to make decisions based on information they can trust.
A video and FAQ site have also been posted on the Canadian Archaeological Association's site on June 12 to answer questions they've been getting from Indigenous groups since the discovery of human remains at the site of a former residential school.
Emotional and crisis referral services are being provided by a national Indian Residential School Crisis Line to support former students and those affected.
#LoC; #NationalPoetryMonth; #HispanicReadingRoom; #PALABRAArchive #PALABRAIndigenousVoicesProject
Washington/Canadian-Media: During the celebration of April as the National Poetry Month, the Library of Congress (LoC) celebrated the Hispanic Reading Room and introduced the PALABRA Indigenous Voices Project (PIVP), a subset of the PALABRA Archive focused on poetry and literature written and spoken in Indigenous languages.
Library of Congress. Image credit: Twitter handle
With its aim to highlight contemporary authors from Indigenous communities around Latin America, PIVP is working to preserve their heritage, worldviews, and cultural identities through their craft as well as increase the presence of Indigenous poetry and literature in the historic PALABRA audio archive, which has been curated by our institution for almost eight decades.
Formerly known as the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape (AHLOT), The PALABRA Archive, is a collection of audio recordings of poets and writers from the Luso-Hispanic world reading from their works reflecting the rich linguistic diversity of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. These have recording sessions in more than ten languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Basque, Catalan, Haitian Creole, and several others.
The presence of Indigenous poetry and literature within the archive, until recently, was very small and consisted of only three recordings in Indigenous languages.
With the PALABRA Indigenous Voices Project, curators are working to address this gap by highlighting the great importance of Indigenous poetry and literature in the context of Latin American literature. America is at present vastly populated by Indigenous peoples, many of whom still speak in their native languages and maintain aspects of their traditional cultural practices and are re-claiming their heritage and working to preserve their languages, identities, and cultures through writing and artistic expression by poetry.
Rooted in 2019, Indigenous Voices Project when the Hispanic Reading Room partnered with Dr. Inés Hernández Ávila, professor of Native American Studies, University of California, Davis which resulted in the recordings of twelve Maya poets and writers for our collectionand four authors from the Mapuche community in Araucanía region in Chile.
The Chiapas recordings are now available online through the PALABRA Archive. (The Mapuche recordings are currently being processed.) The recordings are also available via the PALABRA Indigenous Voices website, a newly developed platform that celebrates the Indigenous language content in the PALABRA Archive.
In the spirit of National Poetry Month, LoC introduced the following Maya poets including: Juan Alvarez Pérez, Maria Concepcion Bautista Vásquez, Manuel Bolom Pale, Andrés López Díaz, Adriana del Carmen López Sántiz, and Edgar Federico Martínez, Mikel Ruiz.
#UN; #HumanRights; #IndigenousPeople; #CulturalHeritage; #UNPFII; #SDGs
New York/Canadian-Media: The rights of indigenous people to make decisions about their cultural heritage and traditional way of life is being recognized in a United Nations photo exhibition.
Adults (left to right) from the Omo River, Ethiopia, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala and Taimyr Peninsula, Russia feature in the photo exhibition. Image credit: Alexander Khimushin
The UN estimates there are some 476 million indigenous people in more than 90 countries around the world who have been denied the opportunity to control their own political, social, economic and cultural development.
Adults (left to right) from the Omo River, Ethiopia, Lake Atitlán, Guatemala and Taimyr Peninsula, Russia feature in the photo exhibition. Image credit: Alexander Khimushin
The images collected in the World in Faces exhibition showcase the diversity of indigenous cultures on every continent and have been released to coincide with the 20th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) which is currently underway online and in person at UN Headquarters in New York.
The meeting is bringing together people to discuss the role of indigenous peoples in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16 which is focused on promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
#UN; #IndigenousPeople; #LegalRightsToLands; #SDGs
UN/Canadian-Media: Although the world’s indigenous peoples live in areas that contain around 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity, many still struggle to maintain their legal rights to lands, territories and resources, according to a new UN report published on Friday.
The Wayúu people are indigenous to Colombia. Image credit: WHO/PAHO/Karen González Abril
The latest edition of the State of the World’s Indigenous People report examines challenges communities face in asserting their rights to lands, whether in the context of agribusiness, extractive industries, development, conservation and tourism.
“Ensuring the collective rights of indigenous peoples to lands, territories and resources is not only for their well-being, but also for addressing some of the most pressing global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation”, said Elliott Harris, the UN’s Chief Economist, speaking at the virtual launch in New York.
Custodians of the Earth
Mr. Harris is an Assistant-Secretary-General in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which has issued the report.
Indigenous people are often described as “the custodians of our Earth’s precious resources”, DESA said. Their traditional knowledge of the land, and territorial rights, are gaining wider recognition as countries confront the impacts of climate change.
Just over five years ago, Governments adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which lays out a roadmap to a safer and equitable future for all people and the planet through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Although the 17 SDGs address key indigenous concerns, they still fall short in some respects, Mr. Harris told journalists.
“For example, the 2030 Agenda does not fully recognize collective rights in relation to lands and resources, or to health, education, culture and ways of living”, he said. “And yet, collective rights lie at the very heart of indigenous communities.”
Land conflicts on the rise
Mr. Harris outlined other serious challenges, noting that in many parts of the world, indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources remain limited or unrecognized. Even where there is legal support, implementation is frequently stalled or inconsistent.
Indigenous rights activists have also faced enormous risks and reprisals for defending their lands, ranging from criminalization and harassment, to assault and killings, he added.
Anne Nuorgam, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, reported that there has been a rise in cases of encroachment onto indigenous lands and territories during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
“The sources of conflict are many, from resource extraction, logging, land for renewal energy sources and agribusiness to conflict between indigenous pastoralists, nomadic herders and farmers over shrinking grazing lands due to war, and the effects of climate change as well as the establishment of conservation areas”, she said in a statement read at the launch.
“The lack of respect for the principle and the meaning of free, prior and informed consent by both governments and the private sector continues unabated.”
The role of data
The UN report concludes with several recommendations for national authorities as they strive to meet the SDGs.
The authors advise States to include recognition of customary rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and resources in data on secure land tenure rights.
Governments are also urged to collect better data, disaggregated by ethnicity and indigenous identity, so that challenges faced by specific indigenous communities are more accurately reflected in SDG reporting.
#Saskatchewan; #FirstNation; #TorontoUraniumCompany
Saskatchewan/Canadian-Media: A road was blockaded and a cease and desist order was issued by a northern Saskatchewan First Nation against a Toronto uranium company's Baselode Energy workers started surveying the band's traditional territory without consent, Birch Narrows Dene Nation officials said.
Image: Barricade. Image credit: Pixaby
"It was very disrespectful, totally uncalled for," Birch Narrows Chief Jonathon Sylvester said. "This is not being done properly."
The case raises a host of legal, environmental and economic issues.
Baselode board chair Stephen Stewart said in an interview that he meant no disrespect and added that Birch Narrows was given ample time to voice any concerns.
The lawyer and University of Saskatchewan lecturer Benjamin Ralston said,
"Certain behaviors or ways of doing business that might have worked in the past no longer work, based on a more robust understanding of how treaty rights and aboriginal rights need to be reconciled," CBC News reported.
The area sits on the edge of the Athabasca Basin. It's home to some of the world's richest uranium deposits, but also to endangered woodland caribou, lynx and other wildlife.
"At the end of the day, Aboriginal and treaty rights are constitutionally entrenched. So if the process by which those permits were issued is in breach of the Crown's obligations, then a court could invalidate those," Ralston said,
The blockade is no longer up, but Birch Narrows members are patrolling the area regularly.
Trapper Ron Desjardin said they're still willing to talk, but only if the government and Baselode treat them with respect.
"We were caught off guard, and we don't want that to happen again. We don't want people just moving in without a proper consultation process," Desjardin said.