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: http://www.peoplessocialforum.org/register

* 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: www.idlenomore.ca/peoples_social_forum_apply_now_for_financial_support


Overall

This guide is not an exhaustive description of everything the Peoples Social Forum has to offer. For more, please explore the website www.PeoplesSocialForum.org 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 http://www.peoplessocialforum.org/contact

  • Roger Rashi: Finance and Program, Labour and Quebec, rogrash@videotron.ca or 613-236-7230 #7971
  • Darius Mirshahi: Culture and Mobilization, People of Colour and Queer, darius_mirshahi@hotmail.com or 613-236-7230 #7977
  • Ana Collins: Logistics and Mobilization, Original Peoples, Youth and Women, anapsf2014@gmail.com or 613-868-6983
  • Sakura Saunders: Communications, (dis)Ability, sakura.saunders@gmail.com


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 https://ipsmo.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/indigenoussolidarity__thepsf.pdf

We can be contacted at ipsmo@riseup.net or http://www.ipsmo.org – or by phone, via OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa, at 613-230-3076.

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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.

Nya:weh,

Wes Elliot, wes.at.6@gmail.com
Neecha Dupuis, neecha@hotmail.com

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April 22 – HONOUR YOUR WORD: Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

 

Click image to print poster
Click image to print poster
Movie Screening and Fund Raiser for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake

With special guests: Barriere Lake community members including Norm Matchewan and Elder Michel Thusky, and (via Skype) filmmaker Martha Stiegman

Tuesday, April 22 at 6:30pm (doors 6pm)
at the Mayfair Theatre
1074 Bank St. (near Sunnyside)
Buses # 1 & 7 (Bank) or # 5 (Riverdale)

$5-15 suggested donation
(no one turned away for lack of funds)
Fundraiser for Barriere Lake: Click to donate

 

Honour Your Word is a new documentary film – an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with the political injustice they face.
 

Presented in Ottawa by the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa, with Diffusion Multi-Monde and co-sponsors MiningWatch Canada, OPIRG-Carleton, OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa and OSSTF District-25 Human Rights / Status of Women Committee.

 

Honour Your Word – trailer
 

 

9-minute interview with filmmaker Martha Stiegman, from CHUO 89.1FM radio show Click Here with host Mitchell Caplan:
 

 

Accessibility Notes:

  • The Mayfair Theatre has side entrances that are wheelchair accessible.
    The washrooms are not, but Shoppers Drug Mart (located next door) does have accessible washrooms.
  • Please refrain from wearing perfumes, colognes or other scented products
  • Please contact us if you require ASL/LSQ
  • Please contact us if you require bus tickets

Contact: ipsmo@riseup.net – www.ipsmo.org
 

Please help us promote this event!

 
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Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

This movie screening of Honour Your Word is the IPSM Ottawa’s 3rd “Earth Day” event Celebrating the Defense of Mother Earth!

Last year we were honoured to work with Defenders of the Land and Land Defenders from Six Nations and we raised $1405 for the legal defense of activists from Six Nations, and in 2009 we organized our 1st event with Minwaashin Lodge, the Tungasuvvingat Inuit, and others.

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More about the movie – Honour Your Word (2013, 59min):

New Algonquin leaders are followed as their community fights to protect their land, their way of life and their language.

The title refers to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s campaign slogan demanding Canada and Quebec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991. Director Martha Stiegman spent four years shooting this poetic, heartfelt documentary that challenges stereotypes of “angry Indians.” Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes—the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway stand-off against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve—to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become a part of their way of life, a life rooted in the forest they are defending.

For more information:

 
 

IPSMO HAS A NEW PAMPHLET and A BOOKLET to download & print

IPSMO HAS A NEW PAMPHLET!

It describes who we are and what we do, and especially what we stand for. Don’t miss it!

Contents: Who is IPSMO?  – Our History – Algonquins of Barriere Lake – Indigenous Women – Solidarity – Highlights 2008-2010 – How to get involved

Please feel free to download it and share it with your friends and relatives: http://bit.ly/ipsmo-pamphlet2011

 

 

AND, A BOOKLET NOW ONLINE

Our long time solidarity activist Greg Macdougall has generously shared a booklet: “MY ENTRY INTO ABORIGINAL UNDERSTANDING”, featuring a collection of articles on Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty, rights, resistance, language and culture that he has written.

You can download two different PDF versions of the booklet at:

See the announcement here:

July 9: Grassy Narrows Youth Leader Speaks Out

Chrissy Swain will speak and will be presenting a new documentary
Thursday, July 9
Umi Café at 6pm
610 Somerset St. W
ipsmo@riseup.net
https://ipsmo.wordpress.com

Chrissy Swain, a Grassy Narrows youth leader and mother will be speaking about the ongoing struggles for healing and land protection at Grassy Narrows. Chrissy will also present a new documentary about the history of the conflict there.

She is speaking out in order to draw attention to links between environmental destruction and the destruction of communities, to open dialogue about protecting and healing the earth, as well as healing communities and the relationships between them.

Since arriving in Southern Ontario last week, Chrissy Swain has already visited the Anishnabe protest camp at Dump Site 41 in Tiny Township, had a presence at the rally in solidarity with Six Nations against the formation of the Caledonia Militia in Cayuga, participated in the Peace Caravan to Akwesasne, and spoke on stage in front of over 1000 music fans at the Propaghandi concert on June 26 in Toronto.

Last year, Chrissy led a group of 22 youth from Grassy Narrows (and a few other First Nations communities), on the Protecting Our Mother Walk—over 1800 kilometres from Grassy Narrows to Toronto—which became a catalyst for the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors and Sovereignty Sleepover last May at Queens Park, where the message was:

*Respect the right of First Nations to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction, no criminalisation of land protectors.*

* *

This year, Chrissy is planning another walk which is scheduled to leave from Grassy Narrows for Ottawa on August 24th.  This year’s walk will bring together representatives from communities across the province to deliver a united message to Ottawa that the rights of First Nations must be honoured and land protectors must not be criminalised.

Chrissy has been an integral leader in the Grassy Narrows resistance to logging on their territory, in the empowerment of youth, and the traditional resurgence of Anishnabe culture that is taking place in their community.

On December 2nd, 2002, the youth of the Grassy Narrows First Nation established a blockade on a logging road in their territory, and sparked what is now the longest standing and highest profile indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history. Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) is a small Anishnabe community about 80 kilometres north of Kenora in Northwest Ontario. *The Grassy Narrows community has been through many traumas including relocation, residential schools, mercury contamination, flooding of sacred grounds and burial sites, and clearcut logging of their traditional territory. However, resistance is strong at Grassy Narrows where people are actively resisting the continued destruction of their territories, re-occupying their lands, reviving their culture and fighting for the right to manage their land as they see fit. ***

This tour, for Chrissy is a spiritual journey inspired by dreams and recent incidents. Chrissy and Grassy Narrows organizer Judy Dasilva visited the site of the Macintosh Residential School near Kenora. There, behind the old school site, instead of a memorial, they found several large hydro towers right at the site of the graves of those children who died at the school, disrespecting their memory.  Following the visit, Chrissy had dreams telling her that this was to be a symbol of the connection between the destruction of Indigenous lands, and the destruction of their communities. She began planning a second Protecting Our Mother Earth Walk that had been tentatively scheduled to leave Grassy Narrows on June 15.

The recent and ongoing standoff at Akwesasne is a spiritual sign to her that the time for the journey is imminent. The events of Friday June 12 (when the OPP brutally raided a solidarity blockade in Tyendinaga, and also escalated the police crackdown on protests by women from the Beausoleil First Nation who are camped at Dump Site 41) were a signal to Chrissy to forgo the walk across Northern Ontario so that she could be here now, talking to people in both settler and Indigenous communities, trying to build solidarity and support for communities engaged in land protection struggles, and to work towards healing.

“The government does not understand that words are not good enough. Talking ‘green’ and making empty apologies that don’t actually deal with real issues is not good enough. We have to *protect* the land—protect our Mother Earth. I want to tell Harper that apologies are not good enough. Canada needs to give proper respect to the victims, families and survivors of the residential schools. We need Canada to recognize the damage those schools have done to our communities and cultures, and we need an end to the destruction of our lands, and an end to native people being criminalised when they stand up for their rights to protect their lands, their cultures, and their communities.”
-Chrissy Swain, June 2009

Upcoming Events:

  • London, July 4*.  Empowerment Infoshop, 636 Queens Ave, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Hamilton, July 7*.  Sky Dragon Centre, 27 King William St, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Ottawa, July 9*.  Umi Cafe, 610 Somerset St W, 6-9pm.
  • Brockville, July 10*. St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 37 Victoria Ave, 7-9pm.