Teepee erected on Parliament Hill highlights pain of Canada 150, activists say


Teepee erected on Parliament Hill highlights pain of Canada 150, activists say

First they grabbed the spotlight and now they’re moving closer to centre stage.

A group of Indigenous activists, who had a confrontation with police when they set up a teepee on the edge of the Canada Day celebration zone on Parliament Hill Thursday, announced to cheering supporters later in the day that RCMP security agreed to let them move next to the main stage.

Members of the Bawating Water Protectors, who came to the capital from Sault Ste. Marie on Wednesday to set up the teepee, told the Star that the goal of their “reoccupation” of Parliament Hill is to highlight how Canada’s 150th anniversary is a painful reminder of residential schools, the appropriation of land, and decades of government-sponsored assimilation of Indigenous peoples.

The group points out that Parliament, itself is built on land that the Algonquin Anishinabe First Nation says is unceded. It plans to perform Indigenous ceremonies in the teepee all weekend, when 500,000 revellers are expected in downtown Ottawa.1


Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women

Missing, murdered indigenous women inquiry in 'serious trouble': advocates

More than 30 advocates, indigenous leaders and family members issued an open letter Monday to the chief commissioner of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, suggesting the process is in "serious trouble."

The group writes that while it is aware the commission has a difficult challenge, immediate action must be taken to prevent damage and shift the current approach of the inquiry.

The letter, posted on the website of Metis artist Christi Belcourt, says people are "deeply concerned" by a continued lack of communication that's been fostering anxiety, frustration, confusion and disappointment.

The inquiry, which has a mandate to explore systemic causes of violence against indigenous women and girls, has yet to respond directly to the letter.

In May 2014, the RCMP documented 1,181 murdered and missing women between 1980 and 2012.

A year later, the force said 32 additional aboriginal women had been murdered and 11 more had disappeared since it first reported on the issue. It also cited an "unmistakable connection" between homicide and family violence.1

More Resources:
CBC Database: Missing & Murdered: The Unsolved Cases of Indigenous Women and Girls
MMIWG: National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

“Stop stealing our children!”

“Stop stealing our children!”

Innu leaders from Labrador took the fight for their children and families to Toronto Saturday when they confronted Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAC) Carolyn Bennett at a “Canada Day picnic” the MP hosted in her riding of Toronto—St. Paul’s.

Innu Nation Grand Chief Anastasia Qupee, Deputy Grand Chief Simeon Tshakapesh, Sheshatshiu First Nation Chief Eugene Hart, and Natuashish First Nation Chief Mark Nui challenged Bennett on what they say is the federal government’s inaction on providing the necessary resources to address the crisis of Innu children being taken into state custody and, in many cases, shipped to Newfoundland and other provinces.

The Innu leaders met with Bennett the day before to discuss continued funding for their Placement Capacity Project, an initiative developed by the Innu communities “to allow more Innu children to stay in their own communities, within their language and culture,” according to an Innu Nation press release issued Friday afternoon.

“But all we got are words,” Qupee said in the release. “There were no concrete commitments.”

Addiction and suicide continue to ravage the two Labrador Innu communities, whose people are among the last First Nation hunter-gatherer societies in the north to be forced onto reservations, where their quality of life has rapidly deteriorated under imposed federal and provincial government policies and the subsequent burden of assimilation.

A paper published last year in the American Journal of Public Health claimed suicide rates among Innu in Labrador are 14 times higher than the province’s non-Indigenous population.

The Canadian government has its priorities wrong.

Trudeau promised he would end Canadian airstrikes in Syria and Iraq if elected Prime Minister in the 2015 Canadian federal election. He was elected Prime Minister in October of 2015. He didn't end the airstrikes until February 22, 2016. Instead of ending Canada's ill-intentioned military intervention in the Middle East, the "Liberal" Party decided to "[beef] up its military efforts, including the number of special forces deployed on the ground to train Iraqi forces for the next two years." [1]

Canada's military effort under Operation IMPACT will also include maintaining aircrew and support personnel for one CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft. Canada will also send troops to mark targets for the coalition partners.

Canada's new contribution will total more than $1.6 billion over the next three years and include:

·$264 million to extend the military mission in Iraq and Syria for one year until March 31, 2017.
·$145 million over three years in non-military security efforts, such as counter-terrorism initiatives.
·$840 million over three years in humanitarian assistance.
·$270 million over three years to "build local capacity" in Jordan and Lebanon, where there are a large number of refugees.
·$42 million to redeploy staff and equipment to the region over the course of the new military commitment.
·An increased diplomatic presence in the region.

Trudeau was accompanied by National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and the Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau.1

Obviously, the stated diplomatic and humanitarian objectives are just excuses to intervene in the Middle East and further destabilize the region. The British colonization of India, the Atlantic slave-trade, and the US invasion of Iraq all had humanitarian pretexts.

PM sidesteps calls to reboot inquiry into missing, murdered Indigenous women and girls

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is giving no indication he is willing to intervene in the independent inquiry his government launched to examine the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Trudeau faces a call from a coalition of frustrated families who suggest the time has come for him to restart the inquiry and rebuild it "from the ground up."

One of the inquiry's five commissioners quit this week, saying the process was unworkable.

Trudeau's government has earmarked $53.8 million for the two-year study launched last summer.2

The Canadian government is putting its priorities, money, and man-power in the wrong places by continue to engage in foreign intervention while ignoring domestic humanitarian responsibilities.

"We need to look after our own citizens first."


The same people who call for more warfare while attempting to block refugee immigration on account that Western governments must look after their own citizens first also try to impede domestic humanitarian initiatives such as basic income or inquiries into missing and murdered indigenes.