The Peoples’ Social Forum in Ottawa – an invitation for Indigenous participation

After over two years of cross-Canada planning, the Peoples’ Social Forum will be taking place August 21-24 in Ottawa, based at and around University of Ottawa facilities. Organizers are expecting thousands from across the country to attend this gathering that is aimed at fostering activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today. The Forum is intended as a space for social movements to meet and converge, for the free expression of alternative ideas and grassroots exchanges and for artistic manifestations reflecting a diversity of demands and aspirations.

The gathering will open on August 20 with a traditional Algonquin ceremony at sunrise. August 21 and 22 will see hundreds of participant-led workshops happen simultaneously at the University of Ottawa, and a celebratory peoples’ march in the afternoon.  Saturday, August 23 will be a day of movement assemblies.  The last day there will be a final all-movements assembly and closing ceremony.   The Peoples’ Social Forum is also a joyous gathering with special exhibitions, work and peoples history tours, film screenings, critical mass rally, a pow-wow, street performances, concerts, games, and building new relationships. The Peoples’ Social Forum is a means of  stimulating debate, discussion and furthering our sense of community and collective action.

The Peoples’ Social Forum is intended to bring a diversity of peoples together and is especially focused on bridging the English / French – Quebec / rest of Canada divide, as well as centering the participation and leadership of the Original Peoples of this land.

As such, we’ve prepared this short invite and welcome tailored to local Indigenous people and communities, on how to be involved in the lead-up process to the Forum, and during the Forum itself.

In advance / preparation:

Can you see yourself doing any of the following for the forum:

Giving a workshop? Performing music or dance? Creating art to display and/or sell? Serving as a healer in the healing space? Helping with programming for the children and youth? Participation in the different assemblies? Helping outreach to other local people and groups? Talk about how you want to change the world? Screening a film? Reading from and/or selling your book(s)? Drumming at the big opening event, or at the pow wow? Organizing the pow wow? Giving a guided walk? Offering traditional teachings? Guiding people in beading or making ash baskets,  birchbark containers, or other art / cultural artifacts? Discussing Indigenous comics? Childraising? Hosting a hand games competition?

There are specific ways to propose your activity, listed below.
– If you don’t see your desired form of involvement, please use the contact info below to discuss how to sign up for what you’d like to do.

During August 21-24:

Bring yourself, bring your family, bring your friends – there will be a lot going on for everyone. Activities will be centred at the University of Ottawa, but there will be other venues as well, including Victoria Island and Sparks Street.

Stay tuned for a complete schedule, but please take a moment to register in advance:

* Note: A Solidarity Fund is set up to help support the participation of Indigenous, People of Colour, youth, elders, remote and low-income. Apply by July 31st:


This guide is not an exhaustive description of everything the Peoples Social Forum has to offer. For more, please explore the website including the ‘FAQ’ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Contact information – for the local ‘expansion committees’ representing different locations across Canada, for the different Caucuses, and for the PSF coordinators as listed below – is all accessible at

  • Roger Rashi: Finance and Program, Labour and Quebec, or 613-236-7230 #7971
  • Darius Mirshahi: Culture and Mobilization, People of Colour and Queer, or 613-236-7230 #7977
  • Ana Collins: Logistics and Mobilization, Original Peoples, Youth and Women, or 613-868-6983
  • Sakura Saunders: Communications, (dis)Ability,

Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO)

IPSMO has put together this guide, and is committed to supporting this process of the PSF, especially involving Indigenous people and solidarity participation. To that end, we are doing some fundraising in order to support that participation – if you require financial support, please contact us (although we may have limited funds).

IPSMO will be facilitating some workshops during the Forum, as well as leading the coordination of an Indigenous Solidarity Movement Assembly. If you are interested in being part of that planning process, or know others who might be good, please do get in touch – you can see the initial description at

We can be contacted at or – or by phone, via OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa, at 613-230-3076.


Native Caucus Invitation (August 18-20) – For Indigenous folks from all nations!

The Social Forum is scheduled for August 21-24 (Thurs-Sun) in Ottawa. The potential for good to come from this is tremendous, but the need for all of our Original Peoples’Caucus to meet ahead of time is more important.

This is an invitation to start our strategizing for positive solutions by meeting together before the Social Forum.

Our invitation is to meet August 18-20 (Mon-Wed) near Poltimore, Quebec, which is 30 minutes from Ottawa. Neecha Dupuis’s parents have offered their land located on 200 acres with a private lake. Bring your camping gear and tents. Remember to bring your personal items (soap, towel, etc.). Cooking can be taken care of by friends who helped with Theresa Spence’s kitchen staff. Because this is potluck, we request food donation and/or money donations.

Any further information or suggestions can be emailed to either of our contacts listed below.

This separate time will give all of us the opportunity to strategize together. Good minds coming together in our own way.

Hope to see you there.


Wes Elliot,
Neecha Dupuis,


May 8 & 10 – Nonviolence Conference keynotes: Rajagopal P.V. / Clayton Thomas-Muller / Michel Thusky

Conference: Nonviolence: A Weapon of the Strong


May 8 – Thursday evening, 7:30 to 8:30 PM
with renowned nonviolent leader and activist, Rajagopal P.V.: Nonviolence, a Tool for Social Change.

May 10 – Saturday evening, 7:00 to 8:30 PM
with Clayton Thomas Muller of Idle No More, and Michel Thusky, an Algonquin Elder from Barriere Lake, both Indigenous leaders and activists.

Both public talks will be in the Amphitheatre (room 1124),
Saint Paul University, 223 Main St, Ottawa.

The rest of the conference information can be found at:


About the speakers:

Rajagopal P.V. of Ekta Parishad is the foremost leader, teacher, and practitioner of nonviolence in India. From South India, Rajagopal began his work on nonviolence when he spent six years working in the Chambal region. He spent 15 years working with Indian rural youth through nonviolent and community building training programs. In 1993, Rajagopal became the Secretary of the Gandhi Peace Foundation. In 2007, he organized and led a large nonviolentmarch, Janadesh, where 25,000 people walked from Gwalior to Delhi. In 2012, after preparing for four years, Rajagopal organized a similar, although larger, nonviolent march where 100,000 people walked, again from Gwalior to Delhi, for land reform, and were successful in negotiating their requirements for sustainable land regulations. Rajagopal, along with the work of Ekta Parishad, is a world leader on nonviolent struggles, training and actions.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathais Colomb Cree Nation (Pukatawagan) in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is an activist for indigenous self-determination and environmental justice. Based out of Ottawa, Clayton is the co-director of the Indigenous TarSands (ITS) Campaign of the Polaris Institute as well as a volunteer organizer with the Defenders of the Land-Idle No More national campaign known as Sovereignty Summer. Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement globally for energy and climate justice. He serves on the board of the Global Justice Ecology Project, Canadian based Raven Trust and Navajo Nation based, Black Mesa Water Coalition. Clayton has traveled extensively domestically and internationally leading Indigenous delegations to lobby United Nations bodies including the UN framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Earth Summits and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Michel Thusky is an Elder and spokesperson from the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake. He is involved with the Barriere Lake Solidarity activities, and is often a spokesperson for his community. Several documentaries, including the recent film Honour Your Word, have been made about the issues in Barriere Lake, and the lack of attention paid to the injustices suffered by the Algonquin community who live there. Mr. Thusky often addresses the various struggles, blockages and community identity in the context of his people’s struggle to defend their land, their way of life, and their traditional governance system against attacks by the colonial governments of Quebec and Canada.


VIDEO: Andrea Smith at Women’s Worlds 2011

Speaking on the ‘Breaking Cycles’ plenary at the international conference in Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory, in July 2011.

From the Women’s Worlds 2011 program: “PROVOKER: A feminist thinker and anti-violence activist from the Cherokee nation, Andrea has garnered international respect for her advocacy on violence against women of colour specifically Native American women. Co-founder of “INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence”, Andrea currently teaches in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to that, she was assistant professor of American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.”



Women’s Worlds 2011 was a five-day international women’s congress, consisting of 4 plenaries and approximately 300 sessions and other events. Over 2,000 women from around the world were in attendance, and 2011 marked the 30th anniversary of the first Women’s Worlds gathering.

The Breaking Cycles plenary consisted of Andrea Smith, Devaki Jain, Tanya Tagaq and moderator Joanne St. Lewis. See the full video of the plenary:

Mar18-19: Forum on Police Violence, Incarceration and Alternatives

Forum on Police Violence, Incarceration and Alternatives



FRIDAY MARCH 18th=====================

Opening Panel – 7pm

with Ashanti Alston, Bridget Tolley, Julie Matson, Jaggi Singh

MRT 205 (U of O campus)

In this opening panel the panelists will speak about their various
experiences with and analysis of the police, prisons and alternatives to

Ashanti Alston:

is a former member of the Black Panther Party and ex-political prisoner.
He publishes the Zine Anarchist Panther and has been a guest lecturer at
the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont, speaking on the Panthers and
the history of Black nationalist movements. He has spent time in Chiapas,
Mexico, studying the autonomous structure of Zapatista communities and
working on his memoirs. Ashanti resides in Rhode Island, where he is
presently the national co-chair of the Jericho Amnesty Movement, and an
active member of Estacion Libre, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and
Critical Resistance.

Bridget Tolley:

is a member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation in Quebec. Her mother was
struck and killed by the Quebec Police on October 6th, 2001.She believes
that there was homicidal negligence on the part of Surete du Quebec
officers and is presently working on a complete review of the
investigation, arguing that homicide files were filled with inaccuries and
incongruent reports and that police procedures were not conducted
according to accepted practices.Bridget feels the dignity and respect of
the deceased and family members was greatly breached by all police
officers and the investigation team involved.

Julie Matson:

is the daughter of Ben Matson who was killed by Vancouver police in 2002.
She is an activist who opposes police violence and impunity. She says
investigations into police killings and brutality should be conducted by a
third party not connected to any police force. She says the way police
there handled the investigation into her father’s death is typical of what
happens across the country.

“I witnessed first hand cover-ups, lies, misinformation [and] conveniently
forgotten reports,” said Matson. “It’s not recognizing the real story
that’s happening there. It’s just recognizing what they want to see, and
that’s protecting themselves.”

Jaggi Singh:

is a long-time organizer and activist. He has been involved in many groups
and campaigns over the years, especially the anti-capitalist movement
(CLAC), anti-racism and migrant-justice (with No One Is Illegal –
Montreal), indigenous solidarity and anti-police brutality. He was also
targeted for arrest during the recent anti-g8/g20 protests in Toronto.

SATURDAY MARCH 19th==========================

Morisset rooms 219, 221, 250, 256 – U of O campus

More info and confirmed speakers to come soon

Confirmed Speakers:

Sara Falconer
Anne K. Abbot
Patrizia Gentile
Sunny Marriner
Karl Kersplebedeb
Ottawa Movement Defence
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Coalition Opposed to Police Brutality
Transvestite and Transsexual Health Action
Prostitutes of Ottawa: Work, Educate, Resist

The themes of the conference will be police violence, especially against
resistance movements, how to support prisoners, state violence against
indigenous communities, alternatives to prison, campaigns against state
repression and much more.

We hope that you will be inspired by the conference and that this
inspiration will translate into a renewal of local initiatives against
police violence, prisons and creating alternatives to both.

Les thèmes de la conférence seront la violence policière dans les
mouvements contestataires, comment supporter ceux présentement
emprisonnés, la violence d’état dans les communautés Autochtones, les
alternatives aux prisons, campagnes contre la répression et plusieurs

Nous espérons que vous serrez inspirés par la conférence et que cette
inspiration se traduira en un renouvellement d’initiatives locales contre
la violence policière!

More info: 613-230-3076 / /

IPSMO has endorsed this event.

Jan 22/23 – Global Apartheid conference/convergence

For full information, please see

This year, OPIRG Carleton and OPIRG-Ottawa/GRIPO-Ottawa have teamed up to organize a conference focusing on Global Apartheid: the system of global inequality that dictates access to wealth, power and basic human rights based on race and place*.  Apartheid, an institutionalized system of racial subjugation which means ‘separateness’ in Afrikaans, did not end when South African apartheid formally ended in 1994, but continues to manifest itself today in many local and global contexts: Indigenous struggles for justice from Turtle Island to Palestine; Canada’s system of unfree migrant labour; struggles against colonial borders and racist citizenship regimes around the world; and racialized economic apartheid, to name but a few examples.


Opening Plenary :: Race, Space, and (In)Justice
Global Apartheid from South Africa to Turtle Island

A panel discussion with Shawn Brant, Rozena Maart, Chris Ramsaroop, and Jaggi Singh
7:00pm :: Carleton University, Azrieli Theatre 102


Building Movements to End Apartheid :: Workshops & Panels
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Morisset Hall, 65 Universite Pvt, University of Ottawa

*Advance registration required – PWYC, $5-10 suggested (includes breakfast, lunch, and conference materials)
>> Click here to register
>> Click here for schedule
… schedule includes ‘Indigenous Solidarity For Settlers’ at 2:00pm presented by IPSMO

Artists Against Apartheid :: No One Is Illegal-Ottawa Fundraiser
9:00pm, East African Restaurant, 376 Rideau Street

PWYC // suggested $5 at the door – all proceeds to No One Is Illegal-Ottawa

Featuring the Ottawa debut of Palestinian spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah performing poems from her critically acclaimed CD “Hadeel”
PLUS * Ian Keteku (Ottawa) * Free Will (Ottawa) * Faye Estrella (Ottawa) * Readnex Poetry Squad (New York) * Beats by DJ yalla!yalla! and DJ Mikkipedia