Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa – www.ipsmo.org

December 31, 2016

le 3 janvier 2017 – Solidarité à Val d’Or avec les femmes authochtones

(ENGLISH FOLLOWS) En réponse aux poursuites de 2,3 millions entamées par 41 policiers de Val d’Or contre ICI Radio-Canada pour avoir couvert les accusations des femmes autochtones de 37 cas d’agressions sexuelles, une démonstration aura lieu à la station de police de Val d’Or le 3 janvier 2017. Cette démonstration servira aussi de réponse à la récente marche en support aux dit policiers, impliquant quelques citoyens de Val d’Or.

QUOI : Blancs (et autres) en solidarité avec les femmes autochtones
QUAND : Mardi 3 janvier 2017, 11h30am-1h00pm
OU : Val d’Or –1151 rue d’Escale (en dehors de la station de police)
POURQUOI : Démontrer notre support envers les autochtones qui ont dénoncées les injustices

  • Des lettres de support envoyées par différentes personnes ou organisations à travers du Canada seron lues sur place.
  • La démonstration demande spécifiquement aux blancs de démontrer leur support avec les femmes autochtones.
  • Le thème de démonstration assertera que :
    o Nous croyons les femmes autochtones et dénonçons la culture du viol qui laisse la vaste majorité des agressions sexuelles jamais dénoncées et/ou impunies.
    o Que la violence policière contre les personnes autochtones, peu importe la forme qu’elle prend, est une manifestation contemporaine de la suprématie blanche et du colonialisme d’occupation dans le présent.
    o Qu’il y a des alliés non-autochtones qui suivent et dénoncent ces injustices partout au Canada

CONTACT: Trycia Bazinet tryciabazinet@gmail.com

Facebook for live video and more information: @IPSMO (Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement Ottawa
Page de l’évènement : https://www.facebook.com/events/1689759581338008/

January 3, 2017 – Solidarity in Val d’Or with Indigenous Women

In response to the lawsuit launched by 41 police officers against the news outlet (ICI Radio-Canada) that aired the testimonies of Indigenous women denouncing sexual assault (37 cases recorded), a demonstration will take place at the Val d’Or police station on January 3rd 2017. This demonstration is also a response to the citizen’s march in support of police officers, which recently took place in Val d’Or.

WHAT: Non-native Solidarity rally for Indigenous women attacked by police in Val d’Or
WHEN: Tuesday January 3rd (2017) 11:30am – 1:00pm
WHERE: Val d’Or – 1151 rue d’Escale (outside the police station)
WHO: Non-native (especially whites) in support of those confronting and exposing mistreatment by police
WHY: To show support for those risking their own safety to stand up for justice

  • Letters of support, sent by various individuals and organizations, will be read on spot.
  • Main messages of the rally:
    o We believe Indigenous women and denounced rape culture, which results in the the vast majority of sexual assaults of ever being denounced and/or punished.
    o That police violence against Indigenous peoples, in whichever forms it takes, is a contemporary manifestation of white supremacy and ongoing colonialism of occupation.
    o There are allies all accross Canada following this case and denouncing the injustices

CONTACT : Rally coordinator Trycia Bazinet tryciabazinet@gmail.com

Facebook for live video and more information: @IPSMO (Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement Ottawa)
Facebook event page : https://www.facebook.com/events/1689759581338008/

jan3-valdor

November 7, 2016

Ottawa Fundraising Dinner, Tues Nov 8- Algonquins of Barriere Lake Land Defenders

No Mining In Our Territory – Ottawa Fundraising Dinner
Algonquins of Barriere Lake Land Defenders Camp

Please join us this Tuesday to gather together for a dinner and opportunity to hear from Barriere Lake community members about their new efforts to prevent mining in their territory, and how you can support these efforts.

In late October, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake set up a camp to defend their territory from new threats of the various companies that have mining claims there. The Quebec government has recently begun unilaterally lifting multi-year moratoriums on mining in the area, despite this being against the Trilateral and Bilateral Agreements of the 1990s.
More info: http://www.barrierelakesolidarity.org/
http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/blog/Blogentry/mining-without-consent-of-the-algonquins-of-b/blog/57914/

Tuesday, November 8th 2016
5pm – 7pm  (come as you can, even if not right at 5pm)
at St. John’s Church, 154 Somerset St W. (corner of Elgin)
– Basement hall: entrance off of Somerset, wheelchair accessible entrance ramp off of Elgin.

Due to too short notice, we have not arranged ASL sign language interpretation. Please contact us with any other questions about accessibility or otherwise: indigsol@riseup.net

Planned food includes wild game and/or fish from ABL territory, with vegetarian chili, quinoa, and salad generously provided by the Table Restaurant.

All levels of donations accepted – to go to maintaining the camp and for gas for travel monitoring the various areas of the territory where drilling/mining companies may start work. By cash or cheque. Donations are also accepted via paypal.

This event has been very quickly organized so we need your help to please get the word out and encourage your fam/friends/comrades/networks to show up. The land defenders camp has just been started within the last two weeks, and this fundraising dinner is timed to coincide with the “Joining Our Fires: Women for the Protection of Lands and Waters” rally happening directly afterwards at 7pm, at the Human Rights Monument (Elgin at Lisgar: 3 blocks from our venue).

February 20, 2015

Sat Feb 21 & Wed Feb 25: Save Odawa’s 510 Drop-In Centre

1622387_1761223400769974_3511792773388271591_oOpen House / Prepare materials for Wed’s Rally/March
Saturday 11am-1pm at 510 Rideau

RALLY/MARCH to Save Odawa’s 510 Rideau Drop-In Centre
Wednesday 10am at Parliament Hill, march to Ottawa City Hall

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Print promo materials:


Background info/links follow, beneath event details

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The 510 Rideau Drop-In Centre will be holding an “Open House”
THIS Saturday, February 21st, at 11:00 a.m.

The purpose of this Open House is to meet the clients and staff of Centre 510 and to work alongside them in constructing pickets and signs, and to also meet with other people who are willing to assist and help with the rally, and we would also be able to get to know each other better!

If you are able to provide materials (such as signs, pickets, chairs for the elderly, and ANYTHING else that you can think of), please do, and it would be SO MUCH appreciated.

We really need your help! Spread the word!!Thank you!

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RALLY / MARCH to Save Odawa’s 510 Rideau Drop-In Centre

Join us on Wednesday, February 25th at 10 a.m to begin with a peaceful march to have the voices of the homeless heard in telling the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa to restore funding to the Odawa Native Friendship Centre’s Shawenjeagamik – Centre 510 Drop-In Centre for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples!
(Shawnejeagamik means ‘House of Compassion’ in the Algonquin language).

Join us in solidarity for the betterment of all
There will be some great advocates and speakers, including Ottawa-Centre NDP MP Paul Dewar, for example, and lots of others voicing their support alongside the most vulnerable in our society – this being the homeless – who will tell their stories on how the elimination of funding for their Centre 510 Rideau and the Bannock Bus will directly affect them and the community of Ottawa located on un-surrendered, non-ceded Algonquin Territory!

The march itself will begin at the Peace Flame on Parliament Hill, and continue on a route that will take us down Wellington Street and turning onto Elgin Street, continuing to Laurier Avenue to City Hall of Ottawa.

Once Gathered at City Hall, we will hear a Prayer and Honor Song in accordance with the Traditional Indigenous Protocol of the First Peoples to begin the rally.

There will also be a beautiful and memorable “Unity For The Community – Round Dance Ceremony” for those able to participate.

Please bring your signs and pickets so we can have the voices of the Indigenous Peoples who are “Homeless on the Homelands” heard!

PleaseTweet: #unity4thecommunity #homelessonthehomelands

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/897472826960987

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LINKS / BACKGROUND:

Facebook group: Save Odawa 510 Rideau Drop-In Centre !!

Petition: Re-establish funding to the Homeless Drop-in Centre at 510 Rideau

Fundraising: SAVE THE ODAWA NATIVE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE DROP-IN

CBC Feb 4 (Video, audio, article):
Aboriginal homeless drop-in centre loses bid for city funding

Ottawa Citizen Feb 4 (article):
Odawa native group says funding cuts will force closing of homeless centre

Ottawa Sun Feb 4 (article):
Centre closure concerns Aboriginals

Metro News Feb 4 (article):
City funding cuts force Aboriginal homeless drop-in centre to close

APTN Feb 5 (video):
Ottawa’s Odawa drop-in centre closing

House of Commons Feb 5 (video):
Will the minister intervene to reinstate the funding to the Odawa centre?

Ottawa Citizen Feb 19 (article):
Councilor McKenney pledges help for homeless agencies

Centretown News Feb 23 (article):
Drop-in centre’s closure harms at-risk Aboriginals

Gabrielle Fayant Feb 23:
Open letter to Mayor Jim Watson, re: 510 Rideau

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August 19, 2013

Aug 24: Show Up, Shout Out and Shut Down the Tar Sands!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — waawaaskesh @ 4:32 am

Show Up, Shout Out and Shut Down the Tar Sands!
Demonstration and Festivities

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Dundonald Park
(Somerset and Lyon)
Saturday, August 24, 2:00pm
Bring your banners, pots, pans, drums and whatever!

Organized by DecLine 9 Ottawa
This is not a permitted march

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Free Food and Drinks
There will be music and drumming

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Speakers:

Ben Powless (Mohawk), Ecology Ottawa
Vanessa Gray (Ojibway), Anti-Line 9 Organizer

Musicians:

Vela
Adam III

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On August 24th, land defenders, activists and allies are putting their bodies on the line by blockading Alberta’s Highway 63, which is the MAIN ARTERY that services the tar sands production sites north of Fort McMurray! They have made a call for an international day of action against the tar sands, and Decline 9 Ottawa is organizing a protest in solidarity with the blockaders.

It is essential to support the people who will be on Highway 63 this day, both to honour their actions and to let the authorities know that people across Turtle Island, and around the world will be watching
them.

We are everywhere! We want to build a world where everyone fits!

We want to celebrate all of the creative, beautiful and loving ways Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have been protecting Mother Earth, waters, animals and future generations. We will be coming together as a community, to show our solidarity with the protestors, and our commitment to building a better world together. We want a movement that is stronger in numbers, less apathetic, and more empathetic with each other and with the natural world.

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YouTube, “Shut Down the Tar Sands Highway”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGTQ2gI3pMk (Preview) (Preview)
Vancouver Media Co-operative, “Shut Down the Tar Sands Highway:
http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/fr/video/shut-down-tar-sands-highway/18211

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Highway 63 is the main artery that services the Tar Sands production sites north of Fort McMurray. The Tar Sands are one of the most, if not THE most, environmentally destructive projects that exists today.

The Tar Sands exist due to the historic and ongoing colonization of Turtle Island (North America) and the Treaties made between the Canadian Government and Indigenous Nations. The Canadian government has never honoured the spirit in which the treaties were made, and in practice has unilaterally violated virtually all the agreements which it made.

We are all downstream from the tar sands, whether that’s literally or through exposures to the many pipelines that are being built to service tar sands industry. We are all effected: worker’s are forced
to work in dangerous and toxic environments; migrants workers are denied citizenship rights, super-exploited, segregated from and paid less than Canadian citizens, and often experience racism; women and women workers have said that they frequently experience physical and sexual violence; women who live close to the industries and refineries are subjected to dangerous toxins that damage their reproductive systems, and have more risks of miscarriage; children are born with birth defects, and have much higher instances of serious physical health issues; both children and adults in affected communities experience grave physical and mental health issues, including cancers, post traumatic stress, developmental disabilities; animals are disappearing, as more and more are being killed or chased away from their natural habitats.

It is important to remember that the ecological degradation wrought by the tar sands happens everyday, and that the scale of the destruction is so great, and with such dire impacts for everyone, especially the environment and directly effected communities, but also in terms of climate change and global warming, that the Tar Sands need to be a political priority for every person, and movement in Canada.

The movement against tar sands is at a critical juncture. Currently the expansion of the tar sands is being significantly impeded by the fierce resistance that pipelines have attracted continentwide. The industry’s difficulties in moving their product West and South has led to Enbridge’s Line 9 Reversal project and TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Project, both of which cut through Ontario & Quebec on their way to the East coast. The time has come for people in our region to come together, declaring that we will not be complicit in the exploitation of Mother Earth and that we do not want these pipelines carrying Tar Sands oil running through our communities.

Join us!

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This event has been endorsed by:

The Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement – Ottawa (IPSMO)
350 Ottawa

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For more information on:

Indigenous People: http://canadiandimension.com/articles/1760

Environment:
http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/jun08/feature_tar_sands.asp

Migrant workers:
http://oilsandstruth.org/increase-migrant-workers-canada-opens-door-abuses

Women: http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/1468

Racism:
http://oilsandstruth.org/racism-tar-sands-exploiting-foreign-workers-and-poisoning-indigenous-people

Children: http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/03/22/Alberta-Family-Flees-Oil-Sands/

Health: http://oilsandsrealitycheck.org/facts/human-rights-3/

Animals:
http://oilsandstruth.org/twomouthed-fish-discovered-near-alberta-tar-sands-two-stories

General: http://desmog.ca/2013/05/15/10-reasons-canada-rethink-tar-sands

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November 26, 2012

Tues 4pm Nov 27 – Ottawa Solidarity Rally with Unis’tot’en and Grassroot Wet’suwet’en

 

Ottawa Solidarity Rally with Unis’tot’en and Grassroot Wet’suwet’en

Tuesday November 27th, 2012 @ 4pm, 

Prime Minister’s Office (corner of Wellington & Elgin)

FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/497971450224037/

#nopipelines

This Tuesday, November 27th, communities from coast to coast are taking action in solidarity with the Unis’tot’en and grassroots Wet’suwet’en, to reaffirm and amplify the message that no proposed pipelines will proceed on their territories!
No to PTP! No to all pipelines on Unis’tot’en land!

On November 20th, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Toghestiy intercepted and issued an eagle feather to surveyors from the Can-Am Geomatics company who were working for Apache’s proposed natural gas Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP). In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather is used as a first and only notice of trespass. The surveyors were ordered to leave the territory and the road leading into the territory has been closed to all industry activities. The Unist’ot’en are against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, which include Enbridge Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgans northern proposal, Pembina, Spectra, and Pacific Trails Pipelines.

The Unis’tot’en are now calling for solidarity and support actions to get the message out loud and clear to corporations, investors, and government that they have no right or jurisdiction to approve development on Unist’ot’en lands.

So this Tuesday, November 27th, on unceded Algonquin territory, join in solidarity and resistance with Unist’ot’en in front of the PMO (Wellington and Elgin). Let’s tell them that we support Unist’ot’en and grassroots Wet’suwet’en and say no to all pipelines slated for their territories!

Bring banners, signs, noisemakers to make our voices loud and clear and reaffirm our solidarity with Unis’tot’en!

Invite friends and allies and help spread the word!

Let us know asap if you can help support and organize:
email stan.kupferschmidt at gmail.com or lena at lena.ca

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For more information please see links below:

The Unist’ot’en website, including news releases, backgrounder, and videos from latest events: http://unistotencamp.wordpress.com/

BC First Nation members evict pipeline surveyors:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-first-nation-members-evict-pipeline-surveyors-set-up-road-block/article5547325/

Raising Resistance – Global Action Solidarity with Unis’tot’en: https://www.facebook.com/events/279802322123507/

Pamphlet to print and handout: http://unistotencamp.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/ptp-flyer2.pdf

January 8, 2012

Solidarity with Attawapiskat! Learn, Speak up, and Rally on Feb. 14 2012!!

As the crisis of inadequate housing and colonial repression continues in Attawapiskat and other First Nations, what can we do to hold our governments accountable for the prevalent violence deliberately perpetrated against these unique peoples?

Photo Credit: Liam Sharp,

With our gratitude and respect to the original peoples of this land we live on, and acknowledgement of the over 500 years of their resistance to colonialism, patriarchy and racism, in the spirit of reconciliation, we ask all to show solidarity by:

  1. learning about the root causes of the crisis;
  2. speaking out against the governments and media’s misrepresentation of the issues;
  3. rallying in front of the Supreme Court of Canada on Tuesday, February 14 at 10:30 am as it hears a landmark human rights case on Canada’s systematic underfunding of services on First Nations reserves; and
  4. attending the court to show your solidarity during the hearing of this unprecedented human rights case (Feb. 13-15) at the Supreme Court of Canada

Details about each of these actions follow, below.

1. Learn more

Check out the link below for an overview and other insightful analysis of the crisis in Attawapiskat:

Canadian Colonialism: The Attawapiskat Humanitarian Crisis – an Example of Continuing Oppression and Genocide by Canadian Government: https://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/canadian-colonialism-the-attawapiskat/

Students putting letters supporting Shannen's Dream in school house mail box. Source: Shannen's Dream gallery http://www.fncfcs.com/shannensdream/gallery

2. Speak out

We must speak out against skewed, colonialist misrepresentations of the situation wherever we encounter them in our daily lives.

We also must let public officials know about our disgust with the federal government’s shameful victim-blaming response to the humanitarian emergency in Attawapiskat, and the Ontario government’s irresponsibility to the well-being of the First Nation. We must demand peace, justice and equity for all of First Nations peoples. It is our responsibility.

Here are a few suggestions for officials to write to:

  • John Duncan, Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development: minister@aadnc-aandc.gc.ca, Phone: 819-997-0002, FAX: 819 953 4941
  • Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: minister.maa@ontario.ca
  • Joanne Wilkinson, Ontario Regional Director General of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: Phone: 416-973-6201
  • Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada: pm@pm.gc.ca, stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca, Phone: 613-992-4211, Fax: 613-941-6900
  • Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario: dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org, Phone: 416-325-1941, Fax: 416-325-3745
  • David Johnston, Governor General of Canada: info@gg.ca, Phone: 613-993-8200, Fax: 613-998-8760

You can also contact your member of Parliament (contact info can be found here: http://bit.ly/pKCBj4), and member of Provincial Parliament (see http://bit.ly/dl8sdz)

3. Attend Have a Heart Day Rally 

Tuesday, February 14th
10:30 am ~ 11:30 am
Parliament Hill, unceded Algonquin Territory

Bring your creative signs to support First Nations children!

“Have a heart for First Nations Children” image source: http://www.fncfcs.com/have-a-heart/cards

From February 13th to 15th, the Federal Court will hear an appeal on a human rights case that challenges Canada’s racially discriminatory underfunding of children’s welfare services on First Nations reserves by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Timed to coincide with this hearing, the Caring Society has declared February 14th “Have a Heart Day for First Nations children”.

Allies of First Nations children, led by the students of Lady Evelyn Alternative School and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School, are organizing a rally in front of the courthouse to show Canada we care about First Nations children!

The case is relevant to Attawapiskat because it centres on the principle of culturally based equity that essential services accessed by First Nations children and families on reserves should be funded at a level equal to the funding level for all of Canadian residents. If the Caring Society and AFN are successful in this human rights case, it will set a precedent to address funding inequities in all areas on reserves, including housing, education, recreation, health care, clean water and sanitation. Canada is not arguing this case on the facts relevant to whether discrimination is occurring rather they are trying to avoid a hearing on this matter using legal loopholes.

For more information on this historic event: www.fnwitness.ca

We are calling upon peoples to attend the rally on Feb. 14 at 10:30 am in front of the Supreme Court of Canada (301 Wellington Street).

4. Court Support throughout the Federal Court Appeal on the child welfare case

Feb 13-15, 2012
9:30 am ~ 4:30 pm
(10:30, 2:30 coffee break & noon-1pm lunch break)
Federal Court
90 Spark Street, Ottawa, unceded Algonquin Territory

The Caring Society is calling upon observers to attend the hearing of the appeal throughout these three days.

For more information on this appeal please see above or check this web site: www.fnwitness.ca. If you have any questions regarding this court support, please e-mail Sylvia at info@projectofheart.ca.

“I am a Witness” Image source: http://www.fncfcs.com/fnwitness

Image credit: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

September 8, 2011

Walk 4 Justice

Please spread the word!

On June 21, 2011, Walk4Justice began their long walk from Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory to Ottawa, Algonquin Territory to raise awareness about the plight of the far too many (over 3000) missing and murdered Indigenous women across Turtle Island (Canada). On Monday, September 19, they will be ending their walk at Parliament Hill where they will continue demanding justice for these women and their families.

Please come out and show your support for the walkers. Bring your banners, signs or placards and good spirit to the rally!

March & Rally
Monday, September 19
9am at Minwaashin Lodge (424 Catherine St), 10am Parliament Hill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112167435552467

Please join the walkers at Minwaashin Lodge at 9am and walk with them to Parliament Hill.  If you can’t make it then, please come to the rally on Parliament Hill at 10am.

Feast and Fund-raiser 
Monday, September 19
5:00pm at Mac Hall on 211 Bronson Ave.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=242669869108872

Community celebration, feast, entertainment, and fundraiser! Featuring Walk4Justice co-founders Gladys Radek & Bernie Williams and Beverley Jacobs from Families of Sisters in Spirit.  Headliners for the performance: Elaine Kicknosway, Nancy Myatt, Vera Wabegijig, Sandy Scofield, Elizabeth Riley Band and Jamie Koebel!Please spread the word!

These 2 events are part of the 30 Days of Justice organized by the Families of Sisters in Spirit and their allies.  “30 Days of Justice” brings together families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and the wider Ottawa communities to raise critical awareness on the violence against Indigenous women and demand justice and accountability for the disappeared and murdered women. For more details and other events during the 30 Days of Justice: http://30daysofjustice.wordpress.com

About Walk4Justice

The Walk4Justice is a nonprofit organization that was created by donation and volunteer since January 2008. Gladys Radek and Bernie Williams co-founded this group to raise awareness about the plight of the far too many missing and murdered women across Canada. Their supporters consist of family members who have lost their loved ones across the nation and grassroots women and men from all walks of life. Together with their supporters, the Walk4Justice demands justice, closure, equality and accountability.

Gladys’s niece, Tamara Lynn Chipman disappeared off Highway 16 out of Prince Rupert, BC, now dubbed the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia. She vanished without a trace on September 21, 2005. Bernie is a long time advocate and voice for the women who have been forced to live on the streets of Canada’s poorest postal code, the DTES. She has been a frontline worker in the DTES for 25 years. Her mother and two sisters were also victims of violence who were murdered in the DTES over the years.

For more info: http://fnbc.info/walk4justice

About Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS)

FSIS is a volunteer grassroots non-profit organization led by families of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada with the support of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. FSIS was the vision of one family member named Bridget Tolley, an Algonquin grandmother and activist from the Kitigan Zibi First Nation whose mother was killed by a Quebec provincial (SQ) police car in 2001 with the ongoing support of Beverley Jacobs, Mohawk grandmother from Grand-River Territory, whose cousin Tashina General, pregnant with her son Tucker, was murdered in 2008, and non-Aboriginal student and activist Kristen Gilchrist. Together we are working to end violence, challenge interconnected inequalities in Canadian society, and transform ourselves and the world around us.

Visit their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Families-of-Sisters-in-Spirit/169989823049052

About the performers

Elaine Kicknosway and her son Theland: Drummer and Hoop dancer

Nancy Myatt: Nancy is a Mohawk from Kahnesatake with Algonquin. Her family lives in Kitigan Zibi. She is a traditional dancer and drummer. She has two daughters and a granddaughter arriving in November. She has supported Take Back the Night and Sisters in Spirit by sharing songs in her culture. She is very happy to support and be involved in this cause because her great grandmother was also murdered.

Vera Wabegijig: Vera is a poet and Anishnaabe mother from the bear clan who writes for expression and to connect with the larger world. See Vera’s gift to us: http://verawaabegeeshig.wordpress.com/

Sandy Scofield: Sandy is a multi-award winning composer, musician and singer. She has studied classical, jazz, African, Indonesian gamelan and electro-acoustic music. A Métis from the Saulteaux and Cree Nations, she hails from four generations of fiddlers, singers and musicians. Among her four recordings to date, she has won five Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, a Canadian Folk Music Award, an Indian Summer Music Award (U.S.A.), a Western Canadian Music Award and received three consecutive Juno nominations. Check out her web site: http://sandyscofield.com/

Elizabeth Riley Band: Ottawa-based Elizabeth Riley Band has a raw, contagious sound, with original songs and interpretations inspired by bluegrass, folk classics, and alt and traditional country music. Wielding banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, djembe, stand-up snare, these four singer-songwriters speak out about personal, social and political realities. Their songs are infused with women’s lived experience. Vocally driven with an electrified edge, Elizabeth Riley Band has captivated audiences at an eclectic range of venues. For a taste of their music: http://www.elizabethrileyband.com/

Jaime Koebel: Jamie is Metis from Lac La Biche, Alberta. She is an artist, a performer, an educator and a public speaker. As a successful visual artist, she has been fortunate to have works that have been showcased world-wide and held in many prestigious personal and public galleries. Her art reflects fantastical plant life – all with a story! As a performance artist, She was a dancer with the well-known troupe, Jig on the Fly for five years until 2010 when she started a new dance group with her children called Jaime and the Jiglets. She also dances with the musical group, Fiddle Ground. Over the years, She has won many individual dance competitions in Canada and the United States. See her fantastic works: http://www.JaimeKoebel.com/

February 9, 2011

Feb 14 – Day of Justice: Rally for Sisters in Spirit

Monday February 14, noon-1:30pm
Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Algonquin Territory
(Facebook page)

Also events in Vancouver and Winnipeg, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal

Come out and show support for the survival of the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) unprecedented Sisters in Spirit campaign (SIS), which, since it’s inception in 2004, has worked to raise awareness about violence against Native women and girls in Canada–namely, those who have gone missing or been murdered.

SIS not only compiled a data for over 583 cases of missing and murdered Native women in five years time, but also identified key patterns integral to understanding the systemic nature of the violence: media neglect or racial bias, police racism or negligence, victimization of Native women by the Justice system, and governmental apathy and enforcement of cycles of poverty for Native communities, to name a few. In a relatively short period of time, SIS also managed to raise the profile of the issue in the media and in the minds of the population at large, while providing indispensable support to the families of victims and creating a cross-country network.

This October 86 communities organized the 5th annual memorial Sisters in Spirit March and Vigil, including one in Nicaragua.

In spite of this progress, and the ongoing collection of new data (indeed, grassroots groups have put the number of missing and murdered women much closer to 2000), the government has held SIS in funding limbo for the past 8 months, ever since the release of Canada’s 2010 budget back in March, when $10 million was promised to “address the issue of missing and murdered Native women.” It wasn’t until November 2010 that the government finally made the announcement that confirmed the worst fears of many activists, organizers, and even opposition MPs: the money would not go to fund SIS research, but would instead fulfill the government’s new idea of safety for women, and include requirements for enhanced police power: amendments to the Criminal Code to allow police to wiretap without warrants in emergencies and obtain multiple warrants on a single application. This will not only increase the likelihood of criminalization of women, Native communities, and other vulnerable sectors of the population, but will be expected to operate without the backbone of research and data collection. Add to this the historical and ongoing relationship of distrust between many Native communities and police, who are themselves implicated in a number of documented violent altercations with Native women. Gladys Tolley, for instance, was killed by the Surete du Quebec in 2001 and no one was ever brought to justice. Her daughter Bridget Tolley has pushed for an independent investigation for years and was recently refused.

ENOUGH is ENOUGH!! We will not stand for the continued stripping down of First Nations programs essential to the physical safety and mental and emotional health of Native women and Native communities, as we have seen earlier this same year with the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and First Nations University.

RALLY FOR JUSTICE on February 14th. SHOW YOUR LOVE!

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Volunteers needed!

We are looking for volunteers who would like to help out on the Hill, February 14th from noon to 1:30 pm (shorter if windchill warning in effect).

There are a number of tasks available:

– Handing out rally signs
– Handing out memorial armbands
– Being a part of our human billboard (by holding 1 of 19 letters to send a clear message to Stephen Harper)
– Helping to coordinate the human billboard on the steps of the Hill
– Taking photos/video of the event (to be posted online afterwards)

If you are interested in volunteering please email Kristen at familiesofsistersinspirit@gmail.com

In love and resistance!

February 8, 2011

Sacred Fire for Beaver Pond Forest starts Wed in Toronto

Media Release ~~ February 8, 2011 ~~ For Immediate Release

SACRED FIRE WILL BURN AT QUEEN’S PARK FOR OTTAWA’S SOUTH MARCH HIGHLANDS

(Toronto) Daniel Amikwabe Bernard, Algonquin Firekeeper, will keep a Sacred Fire burning at Queen’s Park from Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th February to urge the province to halt tree-clearing and to promote understanding about Ottawa’s most important ecological and cultural heritage area.

The South March Highlands is one of the most bio-diverse areas remaining in urban Canada, with more than 675 different species of life, including 240 species of wildlife and over 134 different types of nesting birds.

For the past year local citizens, environmentalists and First Nations groups representing over 14,000 people have mounted a vigorous campaign to save undeveloped lands in the 10,000-year-old, ecologically unique, South March Highlands.  In the 1970s it was protected as a Natural Environmental Area but urban development has steadily eroded it until less than 1/3rd remains protected.  Citizens have actively opposed development since 1981 because the South March Highlands is an old-growth forest having the densest bio-diversity in Ottawa and provides critical habitat for 20 species-at-risk.

In the latest assault on the forest, KNL Developments recently began clear-cutting trees for a subdivision in an area known locally as the Beaver Pond Forest, even though development depends on planned water diversions without Environmental Assessment and a questionable archaeological study.

The principal Algonquin Spiritual Elder, Grandfather William Commanda, Ancestral Carrier of the 3 Sacred Wampum Belts, Officer of the Order of Canada, recognized as a spiritual leader and founder of the Circle of All Nations, considers the South March Highlands to be Sacred and sees this as an opportunity to renew our sustainable relationship with Mother Earth.

Algonquin across the Ottawa River Watershed in both Ontario and Quebec have called for a comprehensive archaeological assessment of the area.  KNL’s archaeological study was accepted by the Ministry of Culture in 2004 despite being described as ‘fatally flawed’ by Dr. Robert McGhee, past president of the Canadian Archaeological Association.  A review of the KNL study by Groupe de recherche archéologique de l’Outaouais (GRAO) led by Marcel LaLiberté, concurred that the area “can no longer be ignored as of low archaeological potential”.

In addition to questioning many irregularities in development approvals, the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands has put forward creative proposals for stewardship of the South March Highlands that the City of Ottawa and the Provincial Ministries of Environment (MoE), Natural Resources (MNR), Culture (MTC), Aboriginal Affairs (MAA) and Municipal Affairs (MMHA) have to-date declined to discuss.

“We are also asking why the MNR has yet to confirm the area as a provincially- significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest despite the fact it was recommended for that designation in 1992, and why the MMHA has yet to enforce the Provincial Policy Statement that prevents development in ecologically significant areas such as ANSI candidates,” says Paul Renaud, of the Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands.

“We are asking why the MoE is allowing development to proceed without Environmental Assessments and why the MAA has yet to uphold the Canadian Constitution which requires the Crown to consult and accommodate the interests of First Nations,” adds Renaud.

Starting Wednesday, a Sacred Fire will burn as a beacon of hope within the provincial capital to promote understanding and to request support from the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, to issue a Ministerial Order to halt the clear-cutting, in light of the two independent archaeological reviews, and the discovery of potentially significant sites since the 2004 MTC approval.

In an unprecedented recognition of aboriginal religious practices by the Provincial Legislature, permission has been granted to keep the Sacred Fire burning day and night. The Sacred Fire is an altar for prayer and visitors are invited to approach respectfully and spend time with the Firekeeper to learn more about the South March Highlands and to discuss our relationship with Mother Earth.

On Sunday, February 13th, the Sacred Fire will go out at mid-day.  There will be Closing ceremonies, with drumming, prayers, and singing, a message from Grandfather William Commanda, and from other First Nations elders and chiefs.  Everyone is invited to join with us regardless of religion, race, or culture.

PLEASE NOTE:  There is a protocol regarding filming and photography at the Sacred Fire and media are kindly asked to speak with the Firekeeper before recording or photographing.

-30-

The Sacred Fire will be directly in front of the Provincial Legislature at Queen’s Park.

For more information:

Daniel Amikwabe Bernard – 416-876-3051

Liaison for Daniel Bernard: Peter Haresnape, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Aboriginal Justice Team – 647-838-8455 or office 416-423-5525

Paul Renaud, Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands  —  613-277-5898

Background Info:

UPDATE:

On the morning of Tues Feb 8th, approximately 20 community members staged an action in the forest, surrounding the cutting machines and temporarily preventing them from further destroying the forest:

February 5, 2011

Beaver Pond Forest: Welcome Rally for Chan & McGuinty

Saturday, February 5 · 6:00pm – 7:00pm
The Westin Hotel (11 Colonel By Drive, attached to the Rideau Centre), Ottawa

** Update: article in Ottawa Citizen “Westin hotel orders South March Highlands protester to leave”

Provincial Tourism and Culture Minister Michael Chan has the power to issue an emergency stop work order for cutting of the Beaver Pond Forest, under the Ontario Heritage Act section 62. Please consider joining us at 6pm for a rally outside the Westin, where the provincial Liberals are gathered from Feb 4-6, and where Dalton McGuinty is set to deliver a speech at 6:30pm Saturday.

Note:

This is part of a letter from Minister Chan dated February 4, 2011:

“The Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s role in this situation is limited to the regulation of archaeology. The ministry is not an approval authority in respect of any development project.

The ministry regulates archaeology by licensing archaeologists under the Ontario Heritage Act and reviews archaeological assessment reports as a condition of licensing in accordance with Part VI of the act.

The assessment ofthe property in question was completed under the 1993 technical guidelines, and on June 1, 2004 the ministry issued a letter confirming that the assessment report met all of the requirements.

We recognize the City of Ottawa’s efforts to foster dialogue between the development proponent and the Aboriginal community on this issue.”

The assessment referred to, prepared for the developers and accepted by the Ministry in 2004, was reviewed by an independent archaeologist, Dr. Robert McGhee, in 2010:  click here to read the review. More recently, a review of the assessment was conducted by the Groupe de recherche archaeologique de l’Outaouais (GRAO) for the Algonquins of Ontario: read Ottawa Citizen article here.

Both reviews of the initial assessment are strong grounds for Minister Chan to issue a stop order on cutting so that further archaeological study can be done.

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The South March Highlands have the highest density of bio-diversity in Ottawa and have been recognized as provincially significant for its ecological value for 20 years.

We have found physical evidence that the SMH is also provincially significant for pre-contact aboriginal cultural heritage, possibly containing sites not found elsewhere in Ontario.

Despite the recommendation of its own Advisory Committee on Arts & Culture, the City of Ottawa has to-date failed to properly assess this evidence and the sites that we have reported, saying that it is the responsibility of the Minister of Culture to require a new study.

To-date there have been 2 independent reviews conducted by eminent archaeologists of the situation.   Dr. Robert McGhee and Dr. Marcel LaLiberte are highly respected across Canada and around the world.  They have concluded that the Minister needs to order a new study and that the entirety of the South March Highlands are of extremely high archaeological potential.

The Algonquin First Nations in both Ontario and Quebec have all demanded that their cultural heritage be protected by the Minister – yet he refuses to fulfill his responsibility as a Minister of the Crown to accommodate the legitimate request of First Nations.

Minister Chan has not explained why he chooses to ignore their scientific assessments and why his Ministry refuses to consider the new evidence at hand.

We are here to ask him “why not?”

Contact Minister Michael Chan:

Ministry of Tourism and Culture
9th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto ON M7A 2E1
Tel: 416-326-9326
Fax: 416-326-9338
mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org

450 Alden Rd., Unit 5
Markham ON L3R 5H4
Tel: 905-305-1935
Fax: 905-305-1938
mchan.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

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