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Pam Palmater

  • Appropriated identities and the new wave of dispossession

    This new wave of dispossession is something completely different. French settlers and indeed other non-Indigenous peoples will quickly be able to undermine our Indigenous efforts to reassert our identities and rights if we allow reconciliation to become the shield under which white supremacists hide. We must confront this threat head-on.

  • True test of reconciliation: Respect the Indigenous right to say No

    The right to say no is the core of any future relationship with the Canadian state and its citizens. It’s a basic right — one which is grounded in our sovereignty as individuals and Nations to decide for ourselves the life we wish to live. Canada has made it clear we have no right to say no, only an obligation to say yes. First Nations leaders and citizens should not wait to see how this plays out in court – they should assert and defend their right to say no now.

  • Resurgence or revelation? White nationalist legacies in Canada

    If we don’t feel uncomfortable, then we are not in reconciliation. Reconciliation was never intended to be a feel-good process. The acknowledgement of historical atrocities, the revelation of Canada’s white nationalist and racist foundations, and the transfer of wealth and power back to Indigenous peoples are going to make lots of people very uncomfortable and maybe even angry. But imagine how Indigenous peoples have felt all these decades, going to schools named after those who tried to kill us off.

  • Trudeau’s forked tongue reconciliation at the UN

    While Trudeau’s speech ignored his actions at home, the most offensive part was holding up First Nation suffering as a prop to bolster his desire for a seat on the UN Security Council. Canada has a great deal to account for and other countries are starting to take note of its hypocrisy. Canada is before no fewer than four UN treaty bodies for “grave,” “alarming” and “crisis-level” human rights violations of Indigenous peoples, including land rights, treaties and self-determination.

  • Social conflict is inevitable in decolonization battle

    If there is to be peace on Turtle Island, Canadian governments will have to go beyond superficial words and gestures and take substantive action to address our rights. Until then, if being Indigenous, protecting our lands and waters and exercising our Aboriginal and treaty rights means we are breaking Canadian laws; then we need to continue to be “criminally Indigenous” for the sake of our future generations.

  • Unravelling the secrets of the National Inquiry

    The inquiry’s secretive process has resulted in a loss in faith by many would-be participants. Several commentators have said that being trauma-informed should not be an excuse for not getting started. Some family members feel that all this secrecy is re-traumatizing them. Even the former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Murray Sinclair, told the Inquiry to just start already.

  • Evidence of good faith lacking in Trudeau’s Indigenous agenda

    We gave Trudeau’s government more than a year to put some good faith on the table. Instead, we see a lot of talk but very little substantive action on the matters that matter most to us. If our right to free, informed and prior consent before development on our lands is not respected, that is the equivalent of breaching our Aboriginal, treaty and title rights. How does that make him any different from Harper?

  • Trudeau’s ‘nation to nation’ relationship disappeared with empty budget promises

    If you are the kind that is ok with endless “first steps” or “its a start” or believe “every dollar counts” or “something is better than nothing” or “we better take what we can get” - then I’m sure the budget works for you. However, I think our children deserve better than this.

  • The ongoing legacies of Canadian genocide

    The question of whether the horrors committed upon Indigenous peoples by colonial and then Canadian officials can be called genocide often attracts a great deal of controversy. Most Canadians cling to the notion that genocide means something that happens to other people, in far away countries. It is far more difficult to accept that one’s own ancestors participated in the genocide of Indigenous peoples right here at home.

  • Stephen Harper and the myth of the crooked Indian

    Can you think of any Prime Minister, President or world leader that would withhold food, water, or health care as a bullying tactic to force its citizens into compliance with a new government law, policy or scheme? Can you ever imagine this happening in Canada? I don’t think most of us could.

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