Aboriginal Justice

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 10, 2014

Pray that the citizens of Winnipeg, Mantoba repent of their injustice to the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation.  Winnipeg’s access to clean water comes at the expense of the residents of Shoal Lake, who have been under a boiled water advisory for eighteen years.

Epixel for Sunday, December 14, 2014
61:4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall
repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations…
For I the LORD love justice, I hate
 robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense…Isaiah 61:4,8
 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  
Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE REFLECTION: Thoughts on the children of Grassy Narrows First Nation to commemorate Universal Children’s Day

Judy Da Silva, Slant Lake Blockade, 
Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) 
October 2011

Grassy Narrows Clan Mother, and long-time partner of CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team (AJT), Judy Da Silva wrote the following for United Nations Universal Children’s Day ( 20 November 2014.) 

In Grassy Narrows, we have children and youth that outnumber the adults in our total on-reserve population of 800 people. 

These children and youth are true survivors as they inherit the legacy of a land devoured by consumerism, namely from the logging industry.  This industry is also what dumped 9,000 kgs of mercury into the English/Wabigoon river system, effectively poisoning water that is supposed to be life-giving and is now life-taking.  

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable. 

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers November 12, 2014

 Pray for the CPT’s Aboriginal Justice Team who are exploring decolonizing their work by learning Anishinabek and Haudenosaunee languages.

                                              Epixel* for Sunday November 16, 2014
Thanksgiving address in Cayuga language
Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Psalm 123:3

*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, October 1, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 1, 2014

Pray for the members of the CPT Aboriginal Justice Delegation, currently in Grassy Narrows and Kenora.  Give them wide open eyes, minds and hearts as they witness how the criminal justice system plays out in the region, the different ways CPT’s partners in Grassy Narrows are standing up for their rights and dignity and how they are asserting sovereignty over their traditional lands.

Epixel* for Sunday, October 5, 2014
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard
Psalm 19:2-3
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's 
Revised Common 
Lectionary readings.

IRAQI KURDISTAN/ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: “Now is the time we say ‘No More Stolen Sisters’”



 

 

"Stop ISIS Brutalizing Against Yazidi Girls"

Today as I sit in Quito, Ecuador, a participant in the Christian Peacemaker Teams biennial gathering, messages are coming from both of my communities on two sides of the world. The calls have similar themes: sisters are being stolen; governments must investigate their disappearances and their murders; violence against women must stop.

From Suleimani, Iraqi Kurdistan, where my Christian Peacemaker team has been working with partners who have sought to help thousands of displaced minority groups, came a call from the Kurdish women’s group, Jian (Life).  They proclaimed Sunday, 24 August a day for a civil demonstration on behalf of the Yazidi women whom members of the militant group known as IS (Islamic State) have captured and enslaved in the city of Mosul.  Clandestine phone calls from a few of these women described desperate conditions and horrific abusive treatment.  They told of women and girls forced to become wives of fighters and others sold into slavery.

Sixty activists from several women’s organisations and other civil society groups gathered in front of the United Nations office in the capital city of Hawler/Erbil. They demanded that the U.N. do more to help the Yazidi women and girls enslaved by the militant group. At the end of the march, several activists were able to take their message into the U.N. building to ask the representatives and the Kurdish Regional Government to act on this emergency and to take urgent measures to help the vulnerable women.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Anishinabe and allies send clear ‘No Pipeline’ message to TransCanada

n 12 August 2014, Anishinabek women, accompanied by local allies and a CPT delegation, led a community rejection of the planned Energy East pipeline, delivering a clear 'no' to the project, the company TransCanada, and the materialist, extractivist* culture that prioritises wealth generation over clean water, protecting the climate, and future generations. 

Led by children, mothers, and grandmothers holding signs and drumming, the group entered an open house, TransCanada was holding at the Lakeside Inn in Kenora, Ontario.  Speaking directly to the company representatives to make their refusal clear, several spoke of corporation’s failure to engage the women in their role as Anishinabe Waterkeepers.  As well as addressing the crowd, the group also prayed and sang songs to honour the water threatened by the pipeline. 

Anishinabek waterkeepers, prior to entering TransCanada's open house

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 14, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 14, 2014

Give thanks for the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong/Grassy Narrows First Nation, who continue to stay on their land, host delegations, put on events like River Run, and pass on their traditions to their children in spite of legal, social, educational, corporate systems that are stacked against them.

Epixel* for Sunday, August 17, 2014
 Thus says the LORD: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will 
come, and my deliverance be revealed. 
 Isaiah 56.1 

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.


ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Demanding a response to mercury poisoning

135During River Run week, 28-31 July 2014, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation obtained and responded to a 2010 scientific report commissioned by the Mercury Disability Board, which includes representatives from both the provincial and federal governments.  While not yet released to the public nor even initially shared with the community, the report confirms that community members have suffered from mercury-related neurological disorders and notes “[t]he rate of residents reporting  neurological symptoms was very high for such a small population.”

The mercury crisis affecting Grassy Narrows began in 1962, after a nearby paper mill poisoned the Wabigoon-English river system, contaminating local fish and communities.  The Dryden Chemicals pulp and paper mill leaked an estimated 9000 kilograms of mercury into the river system between 1962 and 1970.  By 1970, Grassy Narrows had to stop commercial and sport fishing due to high levels of mercury contamination.  At the time, the Ontario government maintained the fish were safe for consumption.

Neither the Ontario government nor Canada has apologized for a single case of mercury poisoning and has refused to acknowledge mercury poisoning occurred.  Health Canada stopped testing community members for mercury poisoning in the 1990’s citing minimal risk.  The report, however, demonstrates Grassy Narrows mercury survivors are not receiving necessary medical care and that the problem is ongoing due to long term impacts of past exposure and the potential for impact on fetuses and children, even at government-established “low” mercury levels

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Take Action with Grassy Narrows

 



The recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling does not affect the current five-year plan of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) for the Whiskey Jack Forest.  This plan initially made provisions for logging to resume as early as 1 April 2014, within Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory. It does not have the consent of the people of Grassy Narrows.  Following criticism, MNR minister David Orazietti postponed the imposition of clear-cut logging for at least a year.

Clear-cut logging has already destroyed large areas of forest and impacted the traditional hunting and trapping practices of the Grassy Narrows community.  Supporters in the Toronto, Ontario area can directly support Grassy Narrows by participating in ‘River Run’ activities scheduled 28-31 July.  The events will focus on pressuring the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne to correct the continuing perversions of justice that affect the community.

River Run events include a press conference, public speaking events to educate people from southern Ontario about Grassy Narrows’ struggle with mercury poisoning and opposition to the proposed clear-cut logging as well as a march of hundreds to Queen’s Park, to present the demands of the Grassy Narrows community.  The Grassy Narrows Women’s Drum Group will lead the week’s activities.