Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY: Sixty years can be four generations of living with toxic chemicals

 

Judy Da Silva presents Glen Murray and David Zimmer with a pipe 

Chrissy Swain was eleven-years-old the first time she participated in an action to bring awareness to Grassy Narrows First Nation. By then the accumulation of ten tons of mercury (waste from Dryden, ON pulp and paper mill) had been contaminating the English-Wabigoon River for three decades. When she walked onto the stage at the Canada Day concert all those years ago, the Ontario government had already been ignoring for one decade a report* advocating for remediation of the river. This report was shelved and filed away for another twenty years—bringing us to 2016.

In June 2016, Grassy Narrows again presented a scientific report describing a technique to remediate the river system, one that would reduce the mercury in the abundant fish and bring health back to the water, the people and their economy. Finally, the politicians seem to have woken up from a willful ignorance that the toxins have not naturally gone away.

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 13, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 13, 2016 

Give thanks that the Mennonite Church Canada has repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery, a philosophical and legal framework dating back to the fifteenth century that gives “Christian governments” the legal right to seize indigenous lands and dominate Indigenous people.  Pray that Mennonites view this as a first step in a restorative process with First Nations in Canada.

*Epixel for Peacemakers  July 17, 2016 
O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt Psalm 15:1-4
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY: Dear Settlers

 

Rezhiar Fakhir

It has not been very long since I visited the land of the Indigenous peoples. I acknowledge that it took me a very long time to write this. That was for two reasons. First, I come from a place where we have suffered from different conflicts, not just over decades but over centuries. I thought it would not be a good idea for me to write a judgment of Canadian society when we are deeply impacted by war in our own region. Second, North American history is very complicated for me even though some have told me it is very simple: the settlers came and destroyed the life of the Indigenous peoples – the story is as simple as that. Even after my first visit to Grassy Narrows, an indigenous reserve, I was not courageous enough to write this reflection. But I made a pledge to my indigenous friends that I would write about their struggle even though I am not Canadian.

My journey in Canada began when I arrived in Nelson in British Colombia to finish my course at Selkirk College in mid April. From the moment of my arrival I felt the generosity of the people of Nelson. They were very kind and welcoming. Nelson portrayed a perfect Canada in my mind. However, I began to hear from my very good friends, classmates and instructors about some problems and difficulties that Canadians faced. I met many people in Nelson who told me stories about the Indigenous peoples’ struggle. They gave me an overview of the history and the challenges of indigenous peoples in North America. One late afternoon, I even saw one of my classmates arguing with the police from Nelson about the history of colonization. Or my instructor who expressed concern about the extinction of some indigenous communities in Nelson.

Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Poem: Grassy Narrows-Asubpeeschoseewagong-one hour north of Kenora

Grassy Narrows-Asubpeeschoseewagong-one hour north of Kenora

Grassy Narrows, where the water narrows and the wild water grasses grow.

Where the fish emerge from their eggs and grow healthy and strong.

Their rich protein feeds the people—Anishinabek

Fishermen come from the world to find the fish and the men of Grassy Narrows guide them to the best spots on the lakes and rivers.

The money buys flour for bannock and fuel for the boats. 

Then one day the community realises something is wrong.

Judy da Silva says, “The fish were acting strange. They were jumping right out of the water-onto the land and then dying there.”

As if they could not bear to stay in their habitat anymore. 

The elders said that this was wrong. Something was wrong with the water.

Mercury-whatever would give a company the right to dump such toxic chemicals into the river?

As if it would dissolve and disappear.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY: “Feels like home to me”--the strength & pride of Indigenous youth


At the youth-organized launch party for the third issue of Red Rising, an Indigenous Winnipeg-based magazine, Winona LaDuke, an Indigenous intellectual and environmental activist from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota made those who attended a promise.   She said that Indigenous communities will continue finding their strength and reclaiming their traditions, and that this will mean great things for Earth and all of us living on it. Then she said, with great conviction: “This will happen.” As I looked around the room, feeling the energy in the space and seeing the large number of energetic youth who were facilitating the event, I believed her.  That party also launched the May 2016 CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity delegation.

Red Rising #3 launch at Thunderbird House. 

Joshua Ward was a CPT delegate to Treaty 3 territory in May 2016. He is in preparation for ministry at the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg, MB.

N'we Jinan Artists - "HOME TO ME" // Grassy Narrows First Nation 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY: #OccupyINAC addresses the decades-old suicide “crisis” in First Nations communities

What is the vision of the Government  of Canada? Does it 
include the wellbeing and rights of Indigenous Nations?
 

Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency on 9 April 2016 after 11 suicide attempts in one day, part of a pattern of over 100 suicide attempts in recent months. Reports began to circulate of suicide pacts between groups of children and youth, and a community unable to access the fundamentals of life.  In response, and to protest the lack of governmental response, Toronto-based Indigenous activists, supported by #BlackLivesMatter activists occupied the offices of Indian & Northern Affairs Canada(INAC), in concert with nationwide occupations and vigils.  

Attawapiskat hit the global news in 2011 when then-Chief Theresa Spence began a sacred fast, calling for a Nation-to-Nation meeting with the Prime Minister and Governor General (representative of the Queen).  The nearby DeBeers diamond mine had dumped sewage into the community, causing flooding and the growth of mold in reserve houses and precipitating a desperate housing crisis as the winter approached.  

 At the time, MP Charlie Angus asked 'what if they declared an emergency and no-one came?' The current spate of suicides are a direct result of the lack of response from the Government of Canada, which fought back by auditing Attawapiskat finances, the same Government of Canada that simply 'lost' $1.3 billion in 2013. The Government's intention to blame Indigenous Nations for their own poverty is part of a refusal to acknowledge the truths of colonialism. 

Prayers for Peacemakers April 27, 2016 Indigenous Peoples' Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers April 27, 2016   Indigenous Peoples' Solidarity

Give thanks for the faithful witness of those who have been involved in the protests with Occupy INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) at INAC offices across Canada set off by the suicide crisis Attawapiskat.  Pray for the encouragement and comfort of those still occupying.

*Epixel for Peacemakers May 1, 2016  Sixth Sunday of Easter
#OCCUPYINAC Winnipeg Office
 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, 
and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming  Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 31, 2016

 

The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team gives thanks for Canadian Churches responding positively to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These denominations are embracing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, repenting of the historic role of Christianity in assimilation efforts, committing to make amends for the impact on Indigenous culture, land and governments.
We pray that the churches will be a prophetic voice that speaks against injustice and any agendas of government and corporation that afflict Indigenous communities around the world.

The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team gives thanks for Canadian Churches responding positively to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These denominations are embracing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, repenting of the historic role of Christianity in assimilation efforts, committing to make amends for the impact on Indigenous culture, land and governments.

We pray that the churches will be a prophetic voice that speaks against injustice and any agendas of government and corporation that afflict Indigenous communities around the world.

Epixil* for April 3, 2016, Second Sunday of Easter
 Canadian church leaders prepare to deliver a statement on Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #48
Canadian church leaders prepare to deliver a statement on Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #48
Photo Credit: KAIROS Canada
"But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than any human authority." "
Acts 5:29
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SOLIDARITY: Supporting the Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt at Short Hills Park


“Hunting lies at the core of Haudenosaunee Culture, just as much as growing gardens,” a 2015 report from the Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority stated. “Our relationship with the animals reminds us of our place within the circle of life. If we are to remain people of the land, protectors of the natural world, we need to maintain our place within that circle: feeding our people by hunting reminds us of our continuing responsibilities.” 

As it did in 2014, CPT provided a team of four to five individuals for all six to support the Haudenosaunee right to hunt in Short Hills Provincial Park (November 14-15, 19-20, 28-29). They joined Supporters of the Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt – which included many Indigenous people, a local women’s drumming group, and the Hamilton Animal Liberation Team (HALT). Together with Supporters of Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt, the team helped organise a ‘Peace Food Table’ (food supplied by Food Not Bombs as well as through financial sponsorship by churches), to shift the supporters’ message from one of opposition to invitation.  

The anti-hunt protest consisted of up to twenty-five people, with seven individuals consistently present in the morning and evening of the hunt. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2016  Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity

Pray for the people of Shoal Lake 40 as they prepare to travel to Geneva, Switzerland, and testify before the United Nations about Canada’s withholding from their Anishinaabe community adequate water, sanitation, healthcare, and education facilities.

February 21, 2016  Second Sunday in Lent
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27: 12-13
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.