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INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Building family—an IPS delegation participant reflects on her experience

“When you see injustice happening, say something,” answered Anishinaabe lifelong activist Judy da Silva when asked what we should do to support her community from afar.  â€śWe don’t need people to walk beside us, we need family." Our Christian Peacemaker Teams – Indigenous Peoples Solidarity delegation went to do ally work in Grassy Narrows First Nation, and we learned how great our mandate is.

Nine delegates and two co-leaders arrived in Kenora, Ontario on 14 August and prepared for the Grassy Narrows Powwow the next day.  There, we watched spectacular dancers in regalia battle the 32ËšC heat.  We listened to mother and activist Richelle Scott describe the racism and objectification she’d experienced in Kenora-area hotels.  She brought about accountability by confronting the managers: an example of taking direct action. 

We also took action that week when we attended the Kenora Walk a Mile in Her Shoes— an event where men don women’s heels and walk to raise awareness about sexual violence and women’s rights, supporting Kenora Sexual Assault Centre.  We visited the Women’s Place in Kenora, a gathering place and resource centre for women survivors, whose clientele are 85% indigenous, demonstrating the intersection between racial, gender and economic violence. 

August 29th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 9-15 August 2015



 

Preparation for prayer 

Pictured here: Settlers children are accompanied by Israeli soldiers on their way to Shabat prayer passing by Palestinian houses
(14/08/2015)
 

August 28th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Resistance to KXL Pipeline in Lakota country grows

TransCanada Pipeline’s Ltd. and the state of South Dakota have violated the treaty rights of the Indigenous people of South Dakota in their push to run the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) pipeline through Lakota land.  Thus, on 26-29 July 2015, CPT travelled to Pierre, South Dakota, at the invitation of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). An alliance of local landowners, NGOs, and tribal governments had organized a legal challenge to the KXL during a nine-day series of hearings in which TransCanada Corporation sought re-certification of its construction permit from the public utility commission (PUC) of South Dakota.

The KXL pipeline aims to transport diluted bitumen to the Gulf Coast from the tar sands formation in northern Alberta, a crude oil source so dirty that scientists are predicting that its impact will amount to a "game over" for the climate. Moreover, Indigenous people in the vicinity of the tar sands and other proposed pipelines involved with it have experienced treaty violations, massive pollution of homelands, and violence from temporary work crews.

CPTer Charles Wright, reservist King Grossman, and I arrived in Pierre on Sunday, 26 July, and attended a protest march co-organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Dakota Rural Action. There were around 400 people walking, including many from local reservations, and about twenty on horseback. Lakota and Dakota people from Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Sisseton, and Yankton were represented and led the march across the Missouri River. A water ceremony and prayer time centered the gathering around respect for unci maka (mother earth), honoring the ancestors, and planning for the next seven generations who will inherit the planet we leave behind.

August 27th

IRAQ: As ISIS atrocities denounced, human rights abuses of Iraqi forces underreported

Iraq's civilians are caught between Scylla and Charybdis—between two dire alternatives: on the one side, opposition groups including ISIS; on the other, the US-led coalition and Iran. While human rights violations committed by ISIS are widely condemned, those committed coalition partners, including Iraq, are underreported.

Since the beginning of the conflict, human rights organisations have been implicating coalition members in human rights violations that may constitute war crimes. Major coalition contributors such as the US, Britain and Australia have a poor human rights record in Iraq. The Iraqi Government, in particular, is responsible for widespread abuses, mainly against Iraq's Sunni population.

Harmeet Sooden (second from left) interviewing a displaced Iraqi family in Arbat IDP Camp in May. Iraqi forces 
displaced up to 85 per cent of the camp’s 17,300 residents.

August 26th

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 26, 2015 Europe

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 26, 2015   Europe 

Pray for the refugee children on Lesvos who must walk for hours in the heat, sleep in the port where there are no toilets, showers or dry clothes, and wait with their mothers for long hours for documents.  Pray that hearts will be opened and that they will soon have a place that they can call home.

 *Epixel for Sunday, August 30, 2015 
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father,
is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and
to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing
 with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's 
Revised Common Lectionary 
readings.

August 25th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: “We are here for the water” Anishinaabe Water Walk against EnergyEast

From 2-7 August, over forty members from surrounding Anishinaabe communities walked along 125 km of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East bitumen pipeline route.  Allies, including three members of CPT, came to walk and offer support wherever needed.  This direct action, organized by the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence (GIWD), included children, mothers and grandmothers who all came to protect clean water for the generations to come.

August 24th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: The resilience of Grassy Narrows

The road from Kenora to Grassy Narrows twists and turns. Like the story of this First Nations reserve, it has precarious highs and rock bottom lows. Peter points out the spot where one CPT (Christian Peacemaker Team) delegation car left the road to go for a plunge in the lake.

The path across the rise and fall of pre-Cambrian shield through the boreal Whiskey Jack forest was walked long before the European settlers built roads. It was road building that prompted the relocation of the Grassy Narrows band. Their village, on Grassy Lake, was located where commercial interests indicated a roadway trumped indigenous claims.

The lure that attracted them to the pre-fabricated, side-by-side, 612 square foot houses was the offer of electricity, plumbing, and most of all, a school. An alternative to the Residential school was what sealed the deal.

They hadn’t been there long before people started getting sick. It took years of protest before the Ontario and Federal governments acknowledged the problem. A trip to Minamata Japan in 1974 where industrial mercury poisoning had crippled villagers was what convinced the Grassy Narrows people they were suffering the same effects.

August 21st

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Artwork of ordinary people in IK travels to Winnipeg to tell stories of Kurdish, Yazidi, refugee situations

 

Young Syrian Kurdish refugees depicted life in Syria before they left bombs and collapsed houses to find a bit of peace in Iraqi Kurdistan. A woman from the beautiful valley of Gulan showed what life is like for the subsistence farmers in the mountains.

These were just some of the fifty people currently living in and near Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan who used an opportunity to show the reality of their lives through drawing and painting.  CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team member, Kathy Moorhead Thiessen, collected the artworks and carried them in her suitcase to Winnipeg, Canada for a six-week exhibition in spring 2016.

Ray Dirks, curator at Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, read an article in Canadian Mennonite magazine about Thiessen and the work of CPT Iraqi Kurdistan. He sent her an email. “I see an exhibit which could include 25-50 artworks created by people you interact with—could be children, men, women, whatever works/is appropriate/is culturally and religiously acceptable. I’d not be looking for professionally created artworks but raw interpretations of the local situation, issues, etc.… created by ordinary people.”

August 20th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Anishinaabe Water Walk in in pictures, videos and tweets


Over the course of one week, dozens of Anishinaabe walkers marched 125 km along the Energy East pipeline route to oppose the tar sands project and protect the water.

Organize by the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence, it called attention to the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed, which would cross Treaty 3 territory to carry 1.1 million barrels per day of oil to the east coast of Canada, endangering dozens of waterways. Over two-dozen walkers started at the Eagle Lake Pow-Wow in Northwestern Ontario, and ended at Shoal Lake in Eastern Manitoba, joined by supporters and allies. The Indigenous grassroots resistance to the Energy East pipeline in Treaty 3 is only the beginning of the growing opposition to the project.

CPT Intern Madeleine Sutherland has put together a stirring account of the walk in pictures, recordings, video and tweets. Click here to take a look.

CPTers have walked alongside the Anishinaabe people of Grassy Narrows since 2002 and were on this walk with them as well.  Help them continue walking in solidarity: http://www.cpt.org/participate/donate

August 19th

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 19, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 19, 2015

Pray for those whom armed groups have driven off their land in Colombia. The government says its goal is to return six million hectares of land to people who were violently displaced; but at the current rate that the government is returning land to these people, it will take 500 years to reach its goal.

 *Epixel for Sunday, August 23, 2015 
CPTer with Lilia, displaced from San Pablo
Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may  be able to stand against
  the wiles of the devil. 
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood 
and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the
 cosmic powers of this  present  darkness, against the spiritual forces of 
 evil in the  heavenly places. Ephesians 6:11-12
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text
 from the upcoming Sunday's 
Revised Common Lectionary readings.