IPS Newsletter — Fall 2017

IPS Summer Delegation 


On August 11-21, IPS team led a delegation to introduce participants to our partners, highlight the struggles of the Indigenous communities in Treaty 1 and 3 lands, and share how IPS is working towards a peaceful and just relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.

The delegation visited Grassy Narrows first nation and met with Judy Da Silva, a community leader and long term partner of CPT. Delegates went to see the site of Grassy Narrows standing blockade against logging, and later attended the annual pow wow. They learned about Indigenous nations’ current land-based struggles and ways for peacemakers to support them, as CPT has supported Grassy Narrows and Shoal Lake 40.

The delegation also spent time in Kenora, Ontario, and Manitou Mounds at Rainy River First Nations, where they learned about the heritage of the indigenous nations on that territory. Delegates also had the opportunity to learn about and visit the memorial sites of Cecilia Jeffrey (Presbyterian) and St. Mary’s (Roman Catholic) residential schools near Kenora. The delegation concluded by receiving teachings from a long-time friend and Elder Cathy Lindsay.

Two delegations are scheduled for next year:  May 11-21 and July 20-30, 2018. Apply online at:
Meeting Judy Da Silva and her family at the logging blockade site.
St. Mary Residential School Memorial in Kenora.
Annual Pow Wow at Grassy Narrows
Grassy Narrows Residential School Memorial.
Let’s Walk The Talk of Reconciliation
Since last spring, IPS has taken an active role in the Walk the Talk campaign. This campaign aimed at building public pressure on the Canadian government to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples by passing Bill C-262, a private member’s bill proposed by Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash. The team has co-organized a series of public actions that have succeeded in raising the profile of the bill.
On September 23rd, IPS co-organized a Walk the Talk event  in which around 170 Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters walked 12 kilometers to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, where the event was held. The campaign also included a series of public actions in front of several MP offices in Winnipeg/Treaty 1, including the offices of Doug Eyolfson, Robert Falcon-Ouellette, and Jim Carr, encouraging them to support Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By simultaneously pressuring and engaging with MPs, the campaign was able to secure Robert Falcon-Ouellette’s public commitment to support the Bill.
Recently, Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced the Liberal government’s support for Bill C-262, which was then affirmed on Dec. 5 in the House of Commons. While we celebrate this development, we also recognize the need for concerned Canadians to remain vigilant in ensuring the Bill passes through second reading – which will resume in February 2018 – and proceeds to special committee.
You can view the transcript of Dec. 5 2nd reading of Bill C262 here:
For more information about Bill C262:
Blanket Exercise:
Retelling the History of Colonialism

IPS partners have asked us to “teach our own” – settler Canadians in our churches, schools, and workplaces – about the history of colonialism and the injustice it brought upon the Indigenous nations of Turtle Island. Thus, the team has accepted several requests to deliver the Kairos Blanket Exercise to different institutions and organizations, such as SEED Winnipeg, University of Manitoba law students, Manitoba rural teachers, Sturgeon Creek Church, and Naramata (BC) Community Church.
The exercise is a participatory role-play presenting the timeline of events that have resulted in broken relationships between Indigenous nations and the European settlers. It narrates the history beginning with life on the land before contact with European explorers, through centuries of oppressive policies and practices, ending with the situation today: continuing inequity as well as increasingly powerful Indigenous resistance. The exercise concludes with a sharing circle for the participants facilitated by an Indigenous elder.

Visiting our Partners:
Women’s Gathering in Grassy Narrows

The IPS team, along with CPT’s Program Director, Milena Rincon, attended the 2017 Grassy Narrows Women’s Gathering. Women from all nations were invited to gather at the Slant Lake blockade site for the weekend. Men were also welcome to support the gathering with practical tasks. This was a time of sharing Indigenous knowledge, medicine teaching, preparing animal hides and much more. The gathering was a time of being on the land, listening and learning from each other – ceremony led by women, for women. Next year’s July delegation will be privileged to attend the 2018 Grassy Narrows Women’s Gathering.

Update on Grassy Narrows:
On Oct. 24, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released a scathing report on the government’s handling of mercury contamination in the English/Wabigoon River. She stated: “[T]he Ontario government declined to take action for decades, largely ignoring the suffering of the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong peoples. Over and over, the Ontario government chose to do nothing”. (ECO 2017, p.111). Additionally, the Toronto Star exposed a confidential report earlier this month that reveals that the Ontario government knew decades ago that the mill site was, and likely still is, contaminated with mercury.
Since these revelations, the federal government has met with Grassy Narrows’ leadership and has committed to building a mercury care home and treatment centre, pending a feasibility study. However, supporters are encouraged to continue to advocate for the federal government to back this promise with a binding, written commitment:  

– Bill C-262 will undergo its second reading starting December 5th until its anticipated  vote  in February 2018 which will allow it to go to special committee. Now is the time to keep up the pressure! Let your MP know that reconciliation through Bill C-262 matters to you.  
– Join our upcoming delegations in May 11-21 and July 20-30, 2018.
Apply now:
Christian Peacemaker Teams/ Indigenous People’s Solidarity, 2017.

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