Articles Indigenous Politics

  • Appropriated identities and the new wave of dispossession

    Canadian Politics

    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 despite the inevitable claims of “lateral violence,” “colonial mentality” or “unsafe space” every time someone questions the appropriated identities of these groups.

  • Child-separation: an ugly Canadian tradition

    Human Rights

    Alternatives to incarceration must be found both for the still relatively small numbers of migrant families detained in Canada and the disproportionately high numbers of Indigenous youths populating Canadian prisons. In the latter case it is well worth investing in and expanding recourse to restorative justice programs, aimed precisely at reintegrating offenders into their communities. Until Canada radically reforms its prison system and ceases to criminalize asylum seekers, our smug responses to the egregious actions of the United States are unwarranted.

  • Settler-colonialism targets youth

    Canadian Politics

    As the world contemplates with horror the United States’ recent policy of separating immigrant and refugee children from their parents and detaining them for attempting to cross the border, it is important to see these disturbing events in a global context and to recognize them for what they are. Although such practices also take place in Canada, the reality is that anti-immigrant sentiment is pure hypocrisy in settler-colonial states like the United States and Canada.

  • The legacy of ‘Oka’ and the future of Indigenous resistance

    Indigenous Politics

    Though many Canadians saw the events of that summer as a “crisis,” to the Mohawks, “Oka” was just the most recent event in an almost 300-year struggle to protect their land from colonial and capitalist development. With the 30th anniversary of Oka on the horizon, and new struggles by Indigenous land defenders making headlines across the country, including in Kanehsatà:ke, I recently had the honour to speak with Ellen about the legacy of Oka and the future of Indigenous resistance.

  • Thrashing Colonialism: Skateboarding, History, and the Power of Education

    Indigenous Politics

    In 2015, Micheal Langan created Colonialism Skateboards, an independent company that makes skateboard decks with Indigenous content, to highlight Indigenous people’s perspectives, history, and culture. He has released nine graphics to date, covering a range of issues from the history of the pass system to residential schooling. I recently had the chance to meet Micheal in Regina to talk about skateboarding, history, and the power of education.

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

    Indigenous Politics

    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.

  • First Nations Leaders Pledge to Block Pipeline Expansion

    Environment

    From the outset, Ottawa has faced opposition to carbon taxes from some provinces, which fear such market-based mechanisms will discourage private business investment. And mass popular opposition accompanied by the global downturn in resource prices has already led to TransCanada’s cancellation of its $15.7-billion Energy East project and Ottawa’s nixing of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline.

  • Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience

    Culture

    It is interesting to note that while Monkman planned Shame and Prejudice in 2014, the exhibit speaks poignantly to recent debates about Canada’s one-sided celebratory history. Monkman’s exhibit thus offers people an opportunity to see history from a different and more truthful perspective. As a result, settlers in particular should make it a priority to witness Shame and Prejudice. The exhibit will be travelling throughout Canada for the next few years.

  • Resurgence or revelation? White nationalist legacies in Canada

    Human Rights

    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

    Canadian Politics

    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.

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