Articles Indigenous Politics

  • Raising Our Voices Against Violence

    Listen. Women are speaking across the land, and around the world. We want to be safe. We want our sisters to be safe. We expect justice in our communities. Will anybody listen?

  • What’s Up at FNUC?

    The day begins with the smell of bacon, sausages and pancakes cooking on the grill outside the new First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) Regina Campus building designed by Douglas Cardinal. The atrium is packed with students, staff and community members participating in the annual Winter Festival. The high spirits and laughter are slowly quelled, however, when news arrives that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) vice-chief, Morley Watson, has taken over the campus.

  • The Wolf Has Begun to Howl

    Ovide has sauntered off to get some ducks. The rest of us sit and chat, idly, nurturing the fire and snacking on bannock. A few jokes are tossed around: Mayor Robbie Buck, a large man with a quick wit, keeps everyone’s spirits high. Although when we hear shots a few comments about whether the Chief has injured himself are tossed around, no one is surprised when he returns with two ducks for two shots. The duck soup I’m eating, it turns out, comes from the Chief’s catch the day before.

  • Struggles of the Tahltan Nation

    On September 16, 2005, the RCMP arrested a dozen members of the Tahltan First Nation, nine of them Elders, for blockading a road into their traditional territory to bar Fortune Minerals from coming in to drill. Members of the Tahltan Nation have been blocking the road to the Mount Klappan coalfields since July 16.

    The protesters are standing against the intensive course of resource development being negotiated by the Tahltan Central Council, the elected body that governs the Tahltan First Nation. The blockaders question the sustainability of development and assert the community and Elders must participate in decision-making. The community is deeply divided on the issue.

  • Personal Dimension: Bush/Life

    Culture

    My life follows the well-worn trail “poor boy makes good,” a cliché so saturated in ideology that to try and disentangle it from the comfort it may offer to those who naively believe ours is a meritorious society remains to this day as much a challenge for me as actually indulging in the narcissism of telling the story.

  • Northern Pipe Dreams, Northern Nightmares

    For a moment in the seventies, the mystical North burst upon the Canadian consciousness, as “Justice Tom’s Flying Magic Circus” (a.k.a. the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry) wound its way across the country. In 1975, at community hearings throughout the Northwest Territories, fiery Dene activists like Frank T’Seleie from Fort Good Hope condemned Bob Blair, president of Foothills Pipelines Ltd.: “You are like the Pentagon, Mr. Blair, planning the slaughter of innocent Vietnamese. Don’t tell me you are not responsible for the destruction of my nation. You are directly responsible. You are the twentieth century General Custer. You have come to destroy the Dene Nation. You are coming with your troops to slaughter us and steal land that is rightfully ours. You are coming to destroy a people that have a history of thirty thousand years. Why? For twenty years of gas? Are you really that insane? The original General Custer was exactly that insane. You still have a chance to learn.”

  • “Education” for Indians: The Colonial Experiment on Piapot’s Kids

    Recently, members of my band, Piapot, occupied the local school in protest against Indian Affairs policies that blatantly ignore the needs of Indian children as human beings within a democratic and equal society. I felt hopeful when the parents on the reserve began to protest the substandard education offered at the band school. But in the end the protest was less successful than I had hoped.

  • The Heart of the Taku

    Today the Taku is best known as a salmon stream, with commercial and sport fisheries in both B.C. and Alaska, and also as an endangered river, popular with eco-tourists and adventurers. But before it was any of these things, the Taku was the traditional hunting grounds of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN).

  • New Cinema from Winnipeg Streets

    I thought I would dislike Stryker, the newest film by acclaimed indie filmmaker Noam Gonick. The story is relatively simple: a struggle between two street gangs, certainly not an overly original story line and one which hollywood trots out on a regular basis. From West Side Story to Boyz ‘N the Hood, we’ve all seen the formula. But this is certainly no West Side Story.

    In the case of Stryker, the protagonists are Native on one side and Filipino on the other, and the struggle is for control of drugs and prostitution in a rundown Winnipeg neighbourhood. Well, that’s kind of new, but…

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