“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:


 

 

 

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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Families of Sisters in Spirit: CALL FOR ARTISTS & PERFORMERS IN THE OTTAWA AREA!

Families of Sisters in Spirit, a grassroots non-profit led by families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls is seeking artists and performers who can donate their talents for the 1st Annual Families of Sisters in Spirit Fundraiser. If you would like to donate your talents please e-mail us at familiesofsistersinspirit@gmail.com,  Thank you so much in advance for your support!!

The fundraiser is on Friday April 29th, 2011 at 8 p.m. at Montgomery Legion, 359 Kent Street. Join us!

We will be serving food, raising awareness, auctioning off art, and celebrating the talents and gifts of our communities.

The 1st Annual Families of Sisters in Spirit Fundraiser will take place after a memorial vigil 6-7pm on Victoria Island, Ottawa. The vigil honours Terrie Ann Dauphinais a young Aboriginal mother of three who was murdered in her home in Calgary on April 29th, 2002.

Seeking Justice for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

2010-isw-mmiw-justiceSEEKING JUSTICE panel discussion: A National Call for an Public Inquiry for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. Featuring speakers: Sharon McIvor, Maria Jacko, and Yasmin Jiwani

Held Friday Oct 29, 2010
Lamoureux Hall room 122, University of Ottawa

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Are Canadians complacent and complicit on the issue of the Indigenous Murdered and Missing women? Does Media play a role in perpetuating stereotypes about Indigenous women? Do media cultivate indifference because of the lack of critical and investigative reporting? What are the International Human Rights violations of Indigenous women? What are the challenges families, mother’s face when police do not take the investigations seriously? Are Indigenous women merely a political scapegoat by politicians because they do not believe a National public enquiry is necessary? Seeking Justice; A National Call for a Public Inquiry on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women will be a lively discussion that will provoke you to action to support Indigenous women in their plight for a National Call for a Public Inquiry in Canada .

 

SHARON MCIVOR:
Sharon has devoted her life to improving the conditions of Aboriginal women, and all women in Canada. Sharon is a member of the Lower Nicola Band in British Columbia , a practicing lawyer, and a Professor of Aboriginal Law at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. She has spent over two decades fighting to end sex discrimination under the status provisions of the Indian Act. At the same time she has been tireless in her work to end violence against Aboriginal women.

 

MARIA JACKO:
Maria Jacko’s niece Maisy Odjick, along with Maisy’s friend Shannon Alexander went missing together on Sept 6 2008 from Kitigan Zibi, unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory, 135km north of Ottawa in Quebec. They were 16 and 17 years of age, respectively, at the time, and have not been since since. For more info, please see www.findmaisyandshannon.com

 

YASMIN JIWANI:
Yasmin Jiwani is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University , Montreal . Her publications include: Discourses of Denial: Mediations of Race, Gender and Violence, as well as a co-edited collection titled: Girlhood, Redefining the Limits. Yasmin is also a co-founder of RACE, Researchers and Academics of Colour for Equity, a Canadian based organization. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. Her research interests include mediations of race, gender and violence in the context of war stories, femicide reporting in the press and representations of women of colour in popular television. In 2006, she co-wrote an article tracing Aboriginal women’s representations in The Vancouver Sun. That article is available and can be accessed at: at www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/download/1825/1932 … Email: yasmin.jiwani@gmail.com … Webpage: http://coms.concordia.ca/faculty/jiwani.html

 

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This event was part of Indigenous Sovereignty Week 2010 in Ottawa, Oct27-Nov4 – for full details please see www.bit.ly/iswottawa

Organized by: Defenders of the Land; Indigenous Environmental Network; Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa (IPSMO); Bolivia Action Solidarity Network; MiningWatch; Project of Heart; Public Service Alliance of Canada

Sponsors: Canadian Union of Public Employees; Public Service Alliance of Canada; Canadian Union of Postal Workers; OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa; PSAC NCR Aboriginal Action Circle; PSAC National Women’s Department; CUPE Local 4600 (at Carleton University); Carleton University Graduate Students Association; PROMdemonium Fund; Canada Council for the Arts

June 28: Pray for the Land

Pray For the Land: An invitation from the Ardoch Algonquin to join them on June 28

IPSMO will be arranging car rides to the Robertsville mine site.  If you want to go, contact us at ipsmo@riseup.net.

If you are planning to drive, and want to take people with you, contact us: ipsmo@riseup.net

Pray For The Land

June 28th 2009
On the Robertsville mine site

Participate in a universal call to prayer!

Human beings have an innate understanding of their relationship with the earth and when the time comes we all welcome it among the most meaningful obligations of our lives.

People of every faith recognise their sacred responsibility to care for the earth. On June 28th, the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation is inviting people of all faiths to join them again in praying for their homeland which has been seriously harmed by uranium exploration.

If you have ever felt the need to speak up for creation and seek justice for people who live close to the land please come to Robertsville to join us. If you can’t come out to the land please encourage your faith community to remember the Ardoch struggle when you gather together.

For information:
Robert Lovelace
705-748-9685
lovelace@queensu.ca

For a map to Robertsville, more pictures and site information go to the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation Website: http://www.aafna.ca/