Articles Indigenous Politics

  • 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.

  • Breaking with Colonialism

    In February, 2002, the Grand Council of the Crees signed an agreement with the Government of Québec popularly known as the Cree New Relationship Agreement. This is the same organization that rejected and defeated the James Bay Phase II hydroelectric proposal of the early 1990s, and that later held their own referendum against Québec’s plan to separate from Canada while taking the Crees and their territory with it. Shortly after the signing of the new agreement with Québec, Grand Chief Moses issued this statement:

  • Manitoba Hydro

    Northern Manitoba, with some of the oldest “contact” history on the North American continent, owing to its central position in the English fur trade, has over the last century become a Canadian backwater, rarely gaining attention even in alternative news sources. Although a crucial struggle took place in the seventies over hydroelectric development, the entire Aboriginal community of South Indian Lake relocated as a result of planned flooding, the conflict did not in general gain the kind of media attention generated by the James Bay Cree or the Dene of the Northwest Territories. Perhaps that is why Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba feel they can quietly get away with writing another page of colonial history on Cree territory.

  • B.C. Court Ignores Aboriginal Women’s Plea

    According to the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission (AJIC) report of 1999, “Aboriginal women are the victims of racism, of sexism, and of unconscionable levels of domestic violence. The justice system has done little to protect them from any of these assaults.” Nearly five years on, events in Watson Lake, Yukon, lead many to wonder what, if anything, has changed.

  • John Richards’ Howlers on Aboriginal Policy

    As I have had occasion to remark before, “God save me from intellectuals!” especially right-wing Canadian intellectuals, when they take unto themselves the impulse to discourse on Aboriginal policy.

    In recent years, these people have perpetrated some real howlers, whose only use has been to indicate how deep the gap remains between the beliefs and posture of Aboriginal people in Canada, and what could at a pinch be described as the thinking of many influential, fuzzy-minded, well- intentioned, ill-informed Canadians of European background.

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