Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa – www.ipsmo.org

April 29, 2014

“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:


 

 

 

December 11, 2012

Chief Spence Announces Hunger Strike in Ottawa

Attawapiskat First Nation

Chief Spence Announces Hunger Strike in Ottawa

ATTAWAPISKAT, ON – 11 December 2012. Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation began a hunger strike today in protest of continuing governmental abuses against First Nations. Chief Spence stated: “Canada is violating the right of Indigenous peoples to be self-determining and continues to ignore our constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights in their lands, waters, and resources.”

Chief Spence is profoundly concerned with the hostile and adversarial approach of the Federal Government which is characterized by an intimidating and unilateral approach to working First Nations. Instead of being an advocate of First Nations, the Minister’s office is used to mislead the public about the facts of First Nation social realities and often deflects responsibility by casting blame on First Nations themselves.

First Nations are already severely and chronically underfunded on basic essential services like housing, water, food and education. These discriminatory practices have led to the current poverty crisis which impacts many First Nations which often suffer from multiple over-lapping crises in housing, water, sanitation, food insecurity, health and education.

Attawapiskat First Nation previously declared a State of Emergency in housing as some of their members were living in unheated sheds. Instead of offering assistance, Canada illegally placed the community into third-party management despite there being no problems with their audits. Shortly after the court case confirming Canada’s illegal actions, their proposal for housing was denied, leaving many community members without homes this winter.

Canada has since embarked on an aggressive, assimilatory legislative agenda without having first consulted, accommodated and obtained the consent of First Nations as required by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Further, Canada has attempted to silence First Nation voices by cutting essential funding at both the organizational and community levels. This is not what was envisioned in the treaty relationship.

Chief Spence feels that this backwards approach is not only poisoning Canada’s relationship with First Nations, but will irrevocably destroy the lands and waters that all Canadians need for sustainability and balance. Canada’s actions against First Nations will impact the future generations of all Canadians. She feels that Canada must withdraw the recent suite of legislation being imposed without First Nation consent and reverse its decision to cut funding to First Nation organizations and communities.

Chief Spence is encouraging First Nation leaders to support her on this hunger strike. She will remain on this hunger strike until both Her Majesty the Queen and the Canadian government agree to meet with First Nation leaders and engage in meaningful dialogue on our rights.

Attawapiskat First Nation is a remote, isolated First Nation in North Eastern Ontario, whose traditional territory includes lands around the Attawapiskat and Ekwan river systems in Northern Ontario. They form part of the Cree Nation and are affiliated with the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council.

Attawapiskat First Nation comprises 3,429 band members with approximately 1,800 on-reserve members. Chief Spence also sent an open letter to her membership yesterday (which is attached).

For further information, please contact Chief Theresa Spence (807) 629-6704), or by email to Theresa.spence@attawapiskat.org.
 
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UPDATED:
 
Exclusive CBC interview on 8th day of hunger strike (Dec 18th) – 17min:
 

 
Article by IPSMO member Greg Macdougall:
Idle No More: What does Chief Spence’s hunger strike mean?
 

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