Indigenous Peoples Solidarity

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.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' SOLIDARITY: Struggle, promise, despair, repeat--Indigenous rights activism in the age of 'reconciliation'

Last November 2016, CPTers accompanied a women-led, silent, peace procession at Standing Rock (ND).

On 5 December, Cree Member of Parliament (MP) Romeo Saganash “extended his hand…for reconciliation to all Canadians and all Parliamentarians” with a 2nd reading of Bill C-262: the Indigenous Human Rights Act. During the first hour of debate in the House of Commons, the Liberal party affirmed their support for the Bill and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[1]

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 December 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 December 2017

Pray for Shoal Lake 40 First Nation community, who CPT Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team partners with in their struggle for clean drinking water and an all-weather access road to the mainland. Pray for the local and provincial authorities to make the right decisions at their annual meeting on December 19.

Hold the Province of Manitoba and City of Winnipeg party to the 1989 Tripartite Agreement with Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in your thoughts and prayers. At a time of fiscal austerity in Manitoba, may the Province and City enter this annual meeting on December 19 with compassionate hearts and receptive minds. Since the 1989 signing of the Tripartite Agreement, Shoal Lake 40 has suffered under restricted development on the reserve and a 20-year boil water advisory in return for clean drinking water in Winnipeg and the promise of alternate economic opportunity.

"Honou  our agreements" rally during the 2016's tripartite meeting
Photo: “Honour our Agreements” rally during the Tripartite Agreement meeting at Winnipeg City Council Building in December 2016.
(from CPT-Indigenous Peoples Solidarity archive)

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Go back to your country; living reality of settler-colonialism in Canada

CPTnet
12 December 2017
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Go back to your country; living reality of settler-colonialism in Canada

by Rebaz K. Mohammed


“Why don’t you go back to your country?” said the young man to me at the YMCA gym that I attend in Winnipeg/Treaty 1 territory. I naturally tried to defuse the tension, but at the same time I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to point out his position as a white settler on a land taken from the original peoples. I replied calmly, “I can ask you to do the same, you know!” I suspect he understood what I meant, as he gave me an empty stare before walking away quickly.
    
This incident was a good reminder of the consistent racism that non-white people face in Canada. It usually goes unnoticed because Canada is pictured by politicians as a land of inclusiveness, and it still welcomes everyone the same way the first European immigrants were welcomed by the indigenous nations hundreds of years ago. More importantly, this incident was a good reminder of how much work there is to be done in exposing and undoing oppression, the main manifestation of it Canada being settler-colonialism.

Cloth with painted "Freedom from colonization" hangs on the wooden wall

CANADA/TURTLE ISLAND: Members of CPT Canada meet with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations & Northern Affairs on UNDRIP

CPTnet
17 November 2017
CANADA/TURTLE ISLAND: Members of CPT Canada meet with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations & Northern Affairs on UNDRIP

by Robin Buyers

On November 13th, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Canada Coordinator, Rachelle Friesen, and reservists Esther Townshend and Robin Buyers met with Carolyn Bennett, Canada's Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations & Northern Affairs. Following up on CPT's co-sponsorship of this spring's Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights and fall Fast, Friesen, Townsend, and Buyers urged the Minister and her Liberal government to vote yes this December 4th for Bill C-262: An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Minister Bennett and her staff welcomed our delegation graciously. She spoke of her desire to "accelerate steps towards reconcili-action." She noted the importance of responding to UNDRIP with domestic legislation that allows for the work of "reconstituting nations" who then define their own identity and relationship to Canada. She suggested that, for some, Bill C-262 does not go far enough, and anticipated a vigorous House of Commons debate on how to implement UNDRIP on the 4th.

CPTers meet with Carolyn Bennett
Photo (from left to right): Carolyn Bennett, Robin Buyers, Rachelle Friesen, Esther Townshend

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 November 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 8 November 2017

Pray for the important truth-seeking work of the Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Pray for those who lost their loved ones as they share and relive their grief. Pray that the truth might build a path to healing and transformation.

Recently, during one of the sessions of the Winnipeg portion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and LGBTQ2S, the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity team listened to the difficult account from three Indigenous families who had their sister, mother, daughter, aunt taken from them in a brutal way.

In the last 30 years, anywhere from 1,300 to 4,000 Indigenous women, girls and members of the LGBTQ2S community have been taken from their loved ones. The variance in the numbers is because many disappearances are not reported or counted by authorities. This inquiry is to hear the stories and to examine and report the systemic causes of violence. The inquiry commissioners spent five days in Winnipeg and will go to rural and urban communities across this vast land.

This week we would like to ask you to pray:
- For the families as they relive the stories of their loved ones and the days of grief.
- For the inquiry commissioners as they hear so many stories of horrific deeds done to women, girls and LGBTQ2S people - that they will remain strong to support and listen.
- For all people of Canada - that we will find a way forward to protect the women and to eradicate causes of such violence.

And we pray for the inquiry that it will: Find the truth; honour the truth; and give life to the truth as a path to healing.

Public gathering to remember murdered indigenous women
Photo: Several times a year family members, other loved ones and members of the public gather to remember the Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people who have been murdered or who are still missing.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY / IRAQI KURDISTAN: Broken promises -- Indigenous self-governance and Kurdish independence

CPTnet

23 October 2017

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY / IRAQI KURDISTAN: Broken promises -- Indigenous self-governance and Kurdish independence

by Rebaz K. Mohammed / Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Project

Today, while many are celebrating how far we have progressed in upholding human rights, the facts on the grounds offer a much less polished picture of the human-made systems running our world.

Being an indigenous person myself, a Kurd, I was always drawn to understand what has happened to indigenous nations around the world, including my own nation. How come a nation of more than 40 million people does not have a country of its own? As I expanded my horizon I found out we were not alone, many indigenous nations around the world suffer from the same injustice, especially indigenous nations on Turtle Island (North America). I soon realized that the basis of the oppression is the same: unadulterated racism, and the similarities are uncanny. 

Following World War I, the European colonial powers committed to support Kurdish self-determination and self-governance. The treaty of Sèvres promised the establishment of a Kurdish state after the fall of the Ottoman empire. This promise was broken when the Kurds were divided between four countries: Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. European powers then actively backed the quashing of numerous Kurdish revolutions and attempts to establish a state. Most recently, Europe, the U.S., and Canada have come out against Iraqi Kurdistan’s Sept. 25 independence referendum. 

referendum

Photo from NRT TV.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 October 2017

Pray for strength for the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (Canada) and their allies in the struggle for true reconciliation and implementation of the UNDRIP. 

Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary as a modern country this summer, a country in the forefront of human rights according to the outside world. Yet, in Canada one of the biggest genocides in the history has taken place and it’s survivors live the outcome of it every day, suffering alone and in silence. Today the indigenous nations of Turtle Island live in poverty inside the borders of one of the richest countries in the world. The consecutive governments of what’s called Canada have let down the indigenous nations and did not uphold their part of the treaties they signed 150 years ago. As a result, the indigenous nations' land has shrunk to 0.2%. The indigenous communities have the highest rates of unemployment and incarceration in the country, staggering numbers of missing and murdered women and girls and a very poor access to health care and child welfare support.

However, this year marks also the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a declaration which if adopted and implemented would become the doorway towards restoration of the indigenous nations sovereignty over their land and alleviation of systemic human rights abuses and oppression the first nations of this land suffer from silently. Peacemakers in Canada are striving to pressure the "liberal" Canadian parliament and government to fully adopt and implement UNDRIP and start a real reconciliation that would include more than an "apology."

CPTers and delegates meet Grassy Narrows community members
CPTers, delegates and allies meet with a long-time CPT partner Judi Da Silva and her husband Bepgogoti in Grassy Narrows.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Reflections on the Fast for Indigenous Rights

CPTnet
30 September 2017
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Reflections on the Fast for Indigenous Rights

by Chuck Wright

I’m not a religious guy, but last week I participated in a day of fasting for Indigenous rights. Although it was only a day, it is in the lead up to 2nd reading of Cree MP Romeo Saganash’s Bill C262 and in solidarity with those who are fasting for a just relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. It’s at a time when Canada has a real opportunity to change course through Bill C262 – an Act to ensure the laws of Canada is in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

I used this time to reflect about the purpose of fasting. Specifically, I think of Steve Fobister Sr. from Grassy Narrows who – in July 2014 – went on a hunger strike to call for justice for mercury survivors. I think of former Chief Theresa Spence who – in December 2012 during the birth of the Idle No More movement - endured a several day hunger fast to demand nation-to-nation meetings about the socio-economic crises affecting Attawapiskat and so many other Indigenous communities across the country.

My friend Steve Heinrichs – Mennonite Church Canada director of settler-Indigenous relations and CPT Steering Committee member – initiated a 46-day rolling Fast for Indigenous Rights and is inviting others to sign up for a day or more in our shared hunger for justice. He states: “The fast is born out of a couple places – a need to show the depth of our seriousness for Bill C262. Government of Canada has offered a lot of good words, but needs more action on the ground. It is also born out of a deep place of spirituality, where I’m asking a force greater than us to help move the hearts and minds of our political leaders alongside the grassroots demanding real change in Canada’s relationship to Indigenous peoples.”

 

Silent action with banners: We support Bill C-262
Constituents of Winnipeg Centre and supporters of Indigenous Rights call on the Liberal government to do less talk and more walk for reconciliation by supporting Bill C262.