Articles Indigenous Politics

  • 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…

  • No Indians Allowed on Aboriginal Territory at Sun Peaks

    On September 22, 2004, the RCMP raided a First Nation camp on the golf course of the Sun Peaks Resort, near Kamloops, British Columbia, arresting three people and destroying the camp. Members of local Secwepemc (also known in English as Shuswap) communities had established the camp, called the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre in late August to oppose the continued development of Sun Peaks on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc, Neskonlith and Adams Lake bands. In removing the camp and arresting those Skwelkwekwelt defenders who refused to leave, the police were enforcing a provincial court injunction ordering local Aboriginal activists and their supporters off the mountain. These arrests represent just one instance in the ongoing repression of Secwepemc peoples fighting for their land and dignity; during the past six years of the conflict, 54 Skewelkwek’welt defenders have been arrested.

  • CDebates: The Wuskwatim Hydroelectric Deal

    “Manitoba Hydro: How to Build a Legacy of Hatred,” by Peter Kulchyski, was first published in Canadian Dimension and has subsequently been circulated by people opposed to the proposed Wuskwatim hydroelectric project planned to be built in Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation’s Resource Management Area, in northern Manitoba.

  • My Urban Rez

    am part of the massive migration of Aboriginal peoples to the city. I was raised by a single mother who moved us to Edmonton (and many other places) from the Heart Lake First Nation to avoid residential school for my siblings and me. Since then, and I have been on my own since I was 16 years old, I have lived in many sites: small towns, the bush and the highways, but the longest period of my life has been in the Urban Rez, especially Winnipeg and Edmonton.

  • Community Development in Winnipeg’s Inner City

    If you look hard enough in the midst of Winnipeg’s sprawling and decaying inner city, you will see scattered islands of remarkable creativity and collective action: innovative community development (CD) initiatives battling the seemingly relentless spread of urban poverty. Most Winnipeggers are oblivious to this struggle: they choose not to know about it – or to care.

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