“Honour Your Word”

 
honour your word posterThoughts from Albert “South Wind” Dumont, who attended our Earth Day screening of Honour Your Word, the new documentary about the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

 

The documentary “Honour Your Word” to me, is a call for Canada’s citizens to go on the march in defence of the sacredness Canadians claim to place on the threads which connect the hearts and souls of all the good people who populate this great land. Watch the film and if, after doing so, you are not motivated to help make things right in La Verendrye Park where justice has been drawn, quartered and burned at the stake, then you are as spiritless as the perpetrators of the human rights violations taking place there today. The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are standing alone against tyranny and oppression. They are a brave resourceful people living in Third World poverty whose plight is documented in a film produced and directed by Martha Stiegman.

Where is the mirror that would show Canadians what really is looking back at them when they peer into it? It does exist, but most of us (Canadians) will have to wait until death carries them to a new world to see it. The ugliness of their ways will be revealed and an accounting of some kind will surely come to pass at that time.

We, the First Peoples, live in a world where only the human rights violations directly impacting settlers or injustices being perpetrated against people in far off countries like China or the Middle East are worthy of Canadians’ support and sympathy. When human rights violations are occurring against the Aboriginal People of this land, Canadians turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. Canadians need to ask themselves why this is so. To me, the answer begins and ends with ‘greed’.

“Honour”, the real definition of that word does not exist in our Parliaments only because Canadians do not demand it as a trait alive and strong, in the men and women we send to the Red Chamber to represent us before the world and before God. We must ask ourselves how our children and their children will be impacted by our negligence of duty to them when we do such a thing. Surely we doom them (our children) to a world where dog eats dog, where the weak are spat upon and where peaceful protest is laughed at and ignored.

The film is interesting throughout but several powerful scenes stand out to me as highlights. One scene is particularly moving, it shows a young Barriere Lake Algonquin man standing before the camera telling about what is being lost of his beloved land when clear-cutting occurs. His words are strong and heartfelt, he is overcome with emotion and though weeping almost uncontrollably, he finishes his statement. I wept with him while sitting in the darkness of the theatre and cannot banish the scene from my mind. It will be my inspiration and motivation to get involved and help with this cause in whatever way the Algonquins ask of me.

One thing the film makes clear to me at least, is that the peaceful protest of the Algonquins up to this point, is nothing more than an exercise in pointless frustration. They protest peacefully to protect the trees and their way of life. Their leaders are thrown in jail when they do so. “Next time you will not be jailed for short periods of time but for years,” they are warned by the courts. Knowledge of such injustices and oppression makes my heart sick.

What is happening in La Verendrye Park is proof positive of just how racist a country Canada is. Only a people who are capable of raw, unadulterated hatred against a segment of the community not their own would allow what is happening to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake to occur in a country like Canada. God help us.

Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind.

 

Albert Dumont, “South Wind”, is a Poet, Storyteller, Speaker, and an Algonquin Traditional Teacher. He was born and raised in traditional Algonquin territory (Kitigan Zibi). He has been walking the “Red Road” since commencing his sobriety in 1988. He has published four books of poetry and short stories and one children’s book, written in three languages. His website is www.albertdumont.com

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More on the film and the struggle of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake:

 

Action items:

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Resources for Barriere Lake:

 

More about the film:


 

 

 

Truth & Reconciliation Commission proceedings – Live screening in Ottawa March 27-30, 2014

The final public hearing of testimonials from survivors of Canada’s residential schools is being held from this coming Thursday (March 27) through Sunday (March 30).

Live streaming of the Edmonton Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings will be offered at First United Church (347 Richmond Rd. in Ottawa) in the chapel. There will be a host to orient you to what is going on, and provide hot drinks.

Free for all who wish to come and be a caring witness. See schedule below for daily times (all in the afternoons and evenings).

We invite you to come and gather in community as long distance witnesses to the proceedings. Our witness is important. A full schedule of events can be viewed on the www.trc.ca website under events – livestreaming is available to everyone through that website.

  • Opening Ceremony: Thurs March 27th 12-2pm
  • Commissioners Sharing: Fri March 28th 3-5pm
  • Call to Gather: Fri March 28th 6-8pm
    (includes Honorary Witness Ceremony and Expressions of Reconciliation)
  • Commissioners Sharing: Sat, March 29th 11am-2pm & 3-5pm
  • Call to Gather: Sat March 29th 6-8pm
  • Expressions of reconciliation: Sun March 30th 11am-12noon
  • Commissioners Sharing: Sun March 30th 12-2pm, 3-5pm
  • Survivor Birthday Celebration: Sun March 30th 5-5:30pm
  • Closing Ceremony: Sun March 30th 6-8p.m

For more information, email: jhardman@rogers.com

VIDEOS: Our Land, Our Identity – Algonquins of Barriere Lake Fight For Survival

Michel Thusky and Jacob Wawatie speaking at the event Oct 10, 2012 at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Ottawa on unceded Algonquin territory.

Michel Thusky:

Jacob Wawatie:

Event hosted by: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement of Ottawa (IPSMO), MiningWatch Canada and the Friends Service Committee of Ottawa.

Gathering Knowledge Community Symposium – Oct 27

Gathering Knowledge Community Symposium

October 27, 2012   9am – 5pm
St. James Major Catholic Church Hall
Road 38 – Sharbot Lake, Ontario

Hosted by Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Keynote Speaker– Bonita Lawrence
Author of : Fractured Homeland – Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario 

Books will be available for purchase

Programme Details:

9:00am Welcome – Mireille LaPointe, Robert Lovelace and Opening prayer by Elder Irene Lindsay

9:20am Panel 1: Setting the Stage for Community Well-being

  • Regina Hartwick – Am I Omamawinini Enough?
  • Susan Delisle – Education For and About Indigenous People that Works
  • Marcie Webster- Aboriginal Early Learning Programs – A Community Approach

10:45pm Break

11:00 – Tom Pawlick, Author of The War in the Country – How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape our Future

12:00 Lunch

1:00 pm – Keynote Speaker: Bonita Lawrence, Author of Fractured Homeland – Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario.

2:00pm Break

2:15pm Panel 2: Certain Futures

  • David Welch – Protecting the Land, Uranium exploration in the Frontenacs and the lessons learned.
  • Paul McCarney – Understanding land and resource decision-making on Indigenous territories as an issue of original jurisdiction
  • Robert Lovelace – Re-indigenizing the Commons

3:45pm Closing Comments and Closing Prayer

HONOURING INDIGENOUS WOMEN VOLUME 2 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

For Vol. 1, please see Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations – Vol. 1 

As part of IPSMO’s Honouring Indigenous Women campaign, we aim to make space to actively listen to Indigenous women’s voices as well as to critically reflect our relations to colonialism. For these reasons, we are inviting you to tell us your stories through photography, graphics, art work, cartoon, poetry, and short writing.

We are inviting Native women from all nations – First Nations, Métis and Inuit – to tell us your stories about:

  • Your life experience as Native woman;
  • Your resistance to negative definitions of being;
  • Your actions to reclaim your traditions;
  • How you construct a positive identity by translating tradition into the contemporary context;
  • How you act on that identity in a way that nourishes the overall well-being of your communities; or
  • What being a Native woman means to you.

Those topics above are borrowed from and inspired by Kim Anderson’s book Recognition of Being, Reconstructing Native Womanhood (Anderson 2000: p.15).

We are also inviting non-Indigenous women, as well as both Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and Two-Spirit peoples to tell us about your relations to colonialism and your responsibilities to (re)build relationship with Indigenous women.

Submission Guideline:

  • Please limit your submission to one page (feel free to send us more than one submission however.)
  • Please include a short autobiography. If you are Indigenous, please also include your nation and community. Your name can be a name in your chosen language or a pen name, it’s up to you!
  • For non-written submission, please send us your work in the highest resolution possible.

Deadline for submission:

June 30, 2012

Our Principles:

It is our understanding that Indigenous women, as givers of life and carriers of their cultures, were highly respected in their communities. The prevalent and various forms of violence experienced by Indigenous women are the outcomes of colonization. Its ultimate objective is to facilitate the existing capitalist, patriarchal and racist system within which we live in today. The destruction of Indigenous communities and by extension, their lands, is only possible through deprivation of the power and violation of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of Indigenous women.

Furthermore, it has been said by many Indigenous activists and scholars that reclaiming the roles and responsibilities of women (as well as men) in their community is integral to reclaiming self-determination of their people and nationhood.

As non-Indigenous peoples who have participated or been complicit in the past and present colonization of Native peoples and their lands, it is paramount for us to support the work of Indigenous peoples in this regard. The survival of our species is interconnected with the healthy existence of Indigenous women because of their special relationship with the Earth.

The 2nd volume of Honouring Indigenous Women’s booklet is the continuation of our solidarity efforts not only to broaden our (i.e. all peoples) understanding of the struggle of Indigenous women and their importance to our existence, but also to explore our responsibilities as non-Indigenous women in our own decolonization and self-determination process and take actions accordingly.

Our goals are consistent with those of the Vol. 1 – we strive to break the silence on the systemic violence experienced by Indigenous women and the racial stereotypes that have been perpetrated and perpetuated by colonialism. We aim at (re)building relationships with Indigenous women.

Contact Us:

To send us your submission or ask us any questions, please e-mail: ipsmo@riseup.net. Please indicate: Honouring Indigenous Women in the subject line.

Thank YOU!!

IPSMO member Sylvia Smith receives Governor General’s Award for educational project on residential schools

IPSMO member Sylvia Smith receives Governor General’s Award for educational project on residential schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2011

OTTAWA – Sylvia Smith, for her work as coordinator of Project of Heart, will be presented with a Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching on Monday.

Sylvia Smith presenting Project of Heart at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Project of Heart is a hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational, inter-institutional artistic endeavour that commemorates the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the Indian Residential School experience.

Participants have used the learning module to connect with a specific residential school history and the Indigenous people whose traditional territory the school was located on, and have shared the experience with an Aboriginal elder and/or residential school survivor. Follow-up research and social justice action is part of the process for each participant.

Smith founded Project of Heart in 2007 in collaboration with her students at Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternate High School Program in Ottawa, and over 50 schools, faith communities, and workplaces across Canada have since taken part.

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO) member Pei-Ju Wang states, “We are very pleased to see this award recognizing the work that Sylvia and others with Project of Heart have done to help non-Aboriginal Canadians acknowledge, and take ownership and action for, the devastating policy of residential schools that continues to have lasting effects on Indigenous peoples here. Her contributions to our group’s work have similarly been about moving people towards achieving justice, understanding and healing in the relationship between the Canadian state and the First Peoples of this land.”

Warren McBride, a fellow teacher at Elizabeth Wyn Wood, observes, “One of the main attributes of Project of Heart is that it provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge of the past to issues that are continuing today. Sylvia has been able to create an educational experience that has direct relevance to the news headlines of December 2011.”

Smith herself says, “Project of Heart is something that belongs to all who embrace it.  Indeed, it is the collective aspect of the Project that gives it its strength. I am honoured to be the name attached to it.”

Contact:
IPSMO: ipsmo@riseup.net

For more information:

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