This Week in Indigenous Rights 2018–04–30
“APTN has discovered another series of racist comments about Indigenous people in a different secret Facebook group for RCMP members only.
News stories on Indigenous issues shared in the group from the summer and fall of 2017, drew a range of comments calling Indigenous people “racists,” “lazy,” with a “sense of entitlement.”
When a Squamish Chief in B.C. suggested tearing down a historic RCMP building to make way for reconciliation, a Mountie wrote, “There comes a time when someone needs to stand up to these spoiled children and tell them to just f — off.”
In response to a story posted about a First Nation in British Columbia that refused to evacuate during the wildfires, a member posted, “what an ignorant bunch of clowns.””
“In an excerpt from the poem entitled The Last Speech of the ‘Red Indian’ to the White Man, the prominent Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish draws an analogy between Palestinians and Native American nations who were forced to live in diaspora in their own land. He addresses the colonizer:
“You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war,
don’t cut down the tree of our names,
don’t gallop your flaming horses across
the open plains
Don’t bury your God
in books that back up your claim of
your land over our land…”
The attachment to the land is a common trait among people. Confiscating the land of a community can be the equivalent of the confiscation of its identity, history and future.
Between the Palestinians and First Nations in Canada and the United States, there is an intrinsic connection as both peoples were colonized and forcefully stripped of their territory and resources.”
“BRASILIA, Brazil — As many as 2,000 of Brazil’s indigenous people marched Thursday through the capital to protest what they say is an unprecedented governmental assault on their rights and lands.
Every April, members of Brazil’s indigenous groups descend on Brasilia to press their concerns in the halls of power. But leaders say their situation has become more precarious since President Michel Temer took office in 2016 and began instituting what they call a systematic rollback of indigenous rights and protections.
During this year’s weeklong “Free Land Encampment,” indigenous groups have focused their ire on a rule adopted in July under which authorities can only designate lands as belonging to indigenous people if they were occupied in 1988, the year Brazil’s Constitution was adopted. Indigenous groups argue that the requirement ignores the history of dispossession in Brazil — which was especially brutal during the 1964–1985 dictatorship.”
“As Ottawa, Alberta and British Columbia draw battle lines over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, First Nations leaders say there’s too much focus on politics — and not enough on the Indigenous rights and people fighting to protect unceded land.
“They’re trying to sweep us under the rug wherever they can,” said Serge Simon, Grand Chief of the Mohawk Nation of Kahnesatake, and head of the Treaty Alliance Against the Tar Sands Expansion who has joined the protest movement in Burnaby, B.C.
“They refuse to acknowledge that it’s the First Nations out west that are prepared to be arrested,” he said. “They’re prepared to go all-out to prevent this from being built.
“It’s all a matter of suppressing Indigenous rights.””
“President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has rejected claims that it opposes the indigenous peoples bill initiated by the House of Representatives.
The government fully supported the bill but would first review parts that could trigger conflict with existing regulations on indigenous people, a Home Ministry official told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
“The claim that we reject the bill is wrong,” said the Home Ministry’s legal bureau head, Widodo Sigit Pudjianto.
Indigenous people activists were upset in mid-April after the government appeared to be of the opinion that there was no urgency for Indonesia to have a special law on indigenous people. They learned it through a document leaked to the media.”
“Both Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia and Stephen Buffalo of the Samson Cree Nation in Alberta are deeply devoted to protecting the lands and cultures of Indigenous people in Canada. But they each have different conclusions on how best to do that.
Manuel is on the front lines of opposition to Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain expansion project. The oil pipeline would cut across Alberta and British Columbia, going through large chunks of First Nations land. Buffalo heads up the Indian Resource Council, an advocacy group that is pro-pipeline if it is done safely, brings about financial returns for First Nations and gives them decision-making power.
“From 23–27 April, 3,000 indigenous people from a hundred groups all across Brazil came together in Brasilia for the 15th annual encampment to demonstrate against government policies and to demand justice. While last year’s event saw police crowd control with teargas, this year’s was peaceful.
This year’s encampment, like last year’s, was among the largest ever, catalysed by rising violence against indigenous leaders and activists, and by what participants see as the repressive and authoritarian policies of the Temer government and Congress, both of which are dominated by the bancada ruralista, the agribusiness lobby.
Among other demands, the demonstrators called for demarcation of ancestral lands, guaranteed under Brazil’s 1988 Constitution, but not yet carried out in many indigenous areas. Protestors also asked the government to obey International Labour Organization Convention 169, which Brazil signed, and assures pre-consultation of groups impacted by large infrastructure projects.”
“A group of Whitehorse volunteers learned to create Wikipedia pages about Yukon First Nations people, events and culture to ensure more Indigenous content was available on one of the most visited websites in the world.
The Indigenize Wikipedia meetup at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre this weekend was the first of its kind in the North, according to organizer Heather Steinhagen.
No Wikipedia experience was required. The event included everything from how to make a Wikipedia account to what information to include.
“The world is in need of this information. It exists elsewhere but the first thing we do is go to Google and search up a name and if that name doesn’t show up on Google, we’re probably going to toss that idea out the window and research someone else,” said Steinhagen.”
“OTTAWA, April 24, 2018 /CNW/ — The United Steelworkers (USW), which represents thousands of workers of Indigenous ancestry, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada, is appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Northern and Indigenous Affairs to support Bill C-262 — an Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“The adoption of Bill C-262 will be a powerful affirmation of Canada’s collective desire to do better and engage in genuine reconciliation with First Peoples,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. “USW has a long history of struggle for social justice and human rights.”
The majority of Indigenous members of USW are employed in resource industries — the heart of the union’s historic roots. These include union members at Cameco’s uranium mines in Saskatchewan, Vale’s nickel mines at Voisey’s Bay, N.L., Glencore’s Raglan mine in northern Quebec, in logging and sawmills from Ontario to B.C., at the Frontier School Division in northern Manitoba and more.
“In 2016, our USW National Policy Conference passed a resolution supporting the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and living up to UNDRIP is fundamental to the commission’s vision of reconciliation,” Neumann said.”