Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: Being wise as serpents amidst the politics of (w)rec(k)onciliation

 

On 30 May, participants of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights sat with anticipation in the classroom of University Blue Quills – a former residential school – as we waited for Members of Parliament to cast their vote for Bill C-262 for the 3rdvote in the House of Commons. Admittedly, my excitement for the passing of Bill C262 in the House was dampened by listening to PM Justin Trudeau defend the controversial plan to purchase the Transmountain Pipeline for $4.5 billion as he vehemently argued that it’s in “Canada’s national interest.” 

Rewind a month. Steve Heinrichs and I traveled to Burnaby Mountain on the invitation of Will George, project leader of Protect the Inlet and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. He extended a call for spiritual leaders and people of faith “to stand with us in our defense of the land and the waters… for the sake of reconciliation and decolonization.” While there, we visited the Protect the Inlet encampment and planned our action with a small group of CPT- and church-affiliated folks to stop vehicles from entering the Kinder Morgan Tanker Terminal on Burnaby Mountain.  

On 20 April, our small group engaged in prayerful civil disobedience and prevented vehicles from entering the terminal for over 6 hours.  I was able to walk away scot-free, but my friend Steve was charged – along with another 170 land protectors previously charged – and he has come under scrutiny from people in the Mennonite Church he faithfully serves (see http://www.canadianmennonite.org/stories/both-ends-pipeline). Unfortunately, not everyone fully appreciates the important role of civil disobedience, the right to free, prior and informed consent, and the threat fossil fuel industry poses to climate, the land, and its peoples. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, 30 May 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers, 30 May 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

 

Pray for the conscience of Canadian Members of Parliament, that they will be moved to support Bill C-262 on 30 May. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is a blueprint for reconciliation.  A majority vote will ensure that Canadian laws are in harmony with UNDRIP.

As we anticipate the vote, the people who walked on the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights one year ago, including two CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team members, are attending Indigenous Cultural Camp at Blue Quills College, Alberta.  They are listening and learning of cultural traditions and spiritual ceremony practices of many Nations, especially those of Treaty 6, Alberta.  In this way, they are broadening their understanding of what solidarity means and increasing their ability to be strong allies with our Indigenous relatives.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT authors contribute to to new book, Unsettling the Word


For generations, the Bible has been employed by settler colonial societies as a weapon to dispossess Indigenous and racialized peoples of their lands, cultures, and spiritualities. Given this devastating legacy, many want nothing to do with it. But is it possible for the exploited and their allies to reclaim the Bible from the dominant powers? Can we make it an instrument for justice in the cause of the oppressed? Even a nonviolent weapon toward decolonization?

In Unsettling the Word, more than 60 Indigenous and Settler authors come together to wrestle with the Scriptures, re-reading and re-imagining the ancient text for the sake of reparative futures.  Among these contributors are  CPTers Steve Heinrichs, who edits the book, Peter Haresnape and Kathy Moorhead Thiessen. Lisa Martens, a CPT alum, also provides a reflection.

Created by Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous-Settler Relations program, Unsettling the Word is intended to nurture courageous conversations with the Bible, our current settler colonial contexts, and the Church’s call to costly peacemaking. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: APPLY NOW for summer Colombia and Indigenous Peoples Solidarity delegations

 

 

 

The Christian Peacemaker Team Colombia and Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Delegations still have openings!  

Get your application in for the June 26-July 6, 2018 Colombia delegation by May 26.

Click here to apply.

Prayers for Peacemakers 25 April 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers 25 April 2018

 
 On Friday April 20, at the terminal of theTrans Mountain pipeline expansion, a small group of faith leaders hold copies of United Nations Declaration on 
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Photo Credit: Christine Boyle.

Pray for religious leaders and all people of faith and spirit who, on 28 April, will join the Coast Salish people on Burnaby Mountain, British Colombia, Canada. The Coast Salish members, spiritual leaders and youth will be on the land continuing to resist the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project. They are witness to the danger of the oil project that is threatening the Coast Salish lands, waters, culture and spirit.

Although this movement has continued for the last seven years, there have been huge marches and actions as the construction is set to begin.   Recently, at the end of March, 176 people were arrested for blocking the Kinder Morgan terminal at the Burnaby Mountain site. Last week, BC Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck has called for them to face criminal prosecution. Amnesty International Canada cautions against this move, saying that criminal charges must be saved for situations where safety, lives or serious concerns about property damage are at stake. People have the right to nonviolent, peaceful protest.

Prayers for Peacemakers 22 March 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers 22 March 2018  Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

On World Water Day (22 March), please hold the people of Grassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong, and  Wabauskang First Nations in your thoughts and prayers as they remember those who have died and continue to suffer the health impacts of mercury poisoning.  CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity and other supporters will be accompanying community members of Grassy Narrows as they hold a vigil in Dryden, Ontario, where a pulp and paper mill dumped ten tonnes of toxic mercury into the Wabigoon River in the 1960s, poisoning the people upstream. May the hearts and minds of the public be open to understanding and justice for the intergenerational environmental harm caused by this industrial activity. 

Youth from Grassy Narrows perform "Home to Me" at Queens Park, Toronto, at June 2016 River Run. Only a month earlier, leading North
 American mercury researchers released a report describing a number of promising possibilities for eliminating mercury in the
 English-Wabigoon river system, which, until then, the Ontario government repeatedly claimed would only make matters worst." 

Prayers for Peacemakers 14 February 2018 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers 14 February 2018  Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

 

Keep Errol Greene's family in your thoughts and prayers, as the inquest investigating his death in custody is taking place in Winnipeg this month.

 

 

 

Errol, 26, a loving father of four, was taken into custody in Winnipeg's Remand center on 29 April 2016. He was epileptic and taking medication to prevent his seizures. Errol asked the prison guards and nurses for his medications several times, but his request was neglected (according to his wife, Rochelle Pranteau).

On 1 May 2016, while on the phone talking to his wife, he had a seizure. The guards used excessive force by handcuffing him from behind, shackling his legs, and dragging him into a cell. They only returned with a nurse after fifteen minutes, by which time his soul had left his body.

His death is an example of not only the unjustified high numbers of Indigenous incarcerations, but also the inhumane way the colonial system treats indigenous people.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Stay vigilant as Canadian government sends Bill C-262 to Committee

CPTnet
8 February 2018
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Stay vigilant as Canadian government sends Bill C-262 to Committee

By Robin Buyers, CPT Ontario Reservist for the IPS Team

On February 7th, 217 Canadian parliamentarians, including the majority Liberals, voted to send New Democrat Romeo Saganash's Private Members Bill C-262: the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) into Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs hearings. 76 opposed the bill.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 10 January 2017 Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

Prayers for Peacemakers, 10 January 2017  Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

 

Pray for the family and other loved ones of Windy Sinclair, a 29-year-old Anishinaabe woman from Winnipeg who froze to death in the bitter cold around Christmas. 

Pray that the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority will be accountable to the circumstances that led to this vulnerable woman slipping out of the emergency room into the -28 C snowy night before being discharged.

 Winnipeg has the highest population of urban Indigenous people in Canada, and IPS often hears stories from indigenous partners about receiving inadequate care in the hospitals of this city. Sinclair’s mother is still looking for answers to her questions as to how her daughter, suffering the effects of a drug addiction, could slip out of the emergency room and stay missing for three days without anyone informing the family or the police.

As she said to the Winnipeg Free Press, "I feel they failed her because she was a native woman. They failed me as a mother because they didn’t notify me when she left on her own. When I called, they tell me she’s treated and discharged. It takes calling back for them to tell me the truth," she said. "Why? Because it’s just another native woman. Just another native woman that passed away. Just another native woman who goes missing.”

 
 Windy Sinclair sits with her four children, photo supplied by her family to the media.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY NEWSLETTER: Fall 2017

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.