Category Archives: Colonialism

Fixing the Cleveland I*****s Racist Team Name

Congratulations, Toronto Blue Jays on another exciting season!

Let’s hope that before the Atlanta B****s or Cleveland I*****s come back to Toronto they will have changed their name. And as I’ve argued in the past, the process of fixing racist team names can itself be a reconciliation moment.

A moment that you can help bring on by sharing the image below with those of your people who still don’t understand why cultural groups are not other people’s mascots!

National Congress of Indians (via the Good Men Project)

A recent poster from the National Congress of Indians (via the Good Men Project) sheds greater light on this issue. Simply put, they argue that having a Cleveland Indians logo is like having a “New York Jews” or “San Francisco Chinamen,” mascots that would be blatantly offensive. I shudder to think what the equivalencies for gays or black people would be.

You can take a look at the image [above] for yourself, a stark reminder that racism is alive and well. We often say that it lives in the cracks, but sometimes it’s right in front of our face, the racism we accept every day.

What the BC Premier’s Reconciliation Smells Like

Kitimat Terminal Information | Kitimat Shipping Agencies || North ...

Quite simply, if a politician dangles child welfare money to anyone, but makes it contingent on embracing a sick LNG plant, what does that smell like to you?

I think it smells the same as when she tells a school board to close schools or else they don’t get seismic upgrading money.

I think you know what that smells like too.

We must completely obliterate the BC Liberal Party. Because children aren’t pawns, except to the BC Liberal Party.

First Nation rejects province’s Pacific Trail cheque after child welfare program hitched to pipeline offer

A ham-fisted attempt to win First Nations support for the province’s liquefied natural gas ambitions has backfired, threatening support for the Pacific Trail pipeline needed to bring natural gas to Kitimat for a proposed LNG plant.

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have returned a cheque to the province and have backed away from a proposed agreement on the pipeline after the B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation linked its LNG offer to continued funding for vulnerable children in the northern coastal community.

“When we saw that they had rolled up our child welfare program in the LNG offer, we were dismayed. This is an absolute proof of the sharp dealings across this province to get this LNG initiative,” said Debbie Pierre, executive director for the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.

Source: B.C. child welfare program offer to First Nation backfires over LNG ties – The Globe and Mail

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

I so hope you had a wonderful Indigenous Peoples’ Day yesterday!

In “America” there is a movement to replace the systemically racist Columbus Day. It’s spreading briskly; soon it may reach the 100th Monkey and spread across Turtle Island.

In Canada, we had Thanksgiving Day, for all the cornucopia reasons you can think of.

But as thinking citizens and all around justice-seeking individuals, we all have a role to play in leading our leaders into the pristine pastures of a richer community with greater reconciliation and cultural peace.

And please, let’s not let “America” beat us to the closer-to-utopia place of eradicating systemic racism. Let’s put on our toques, re-tape our hockey sticks and fix Thanksgiving.

And while we’re at it, let’s help Edmonton change their football Eskimos name. Here are some simple tactics to get that done!

And on the way, check out all the “American” places that are ahead of most of “Canada” with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

 

Columbus Day is Institutionalized Racism

 

Columbus Day is Institutionalized Racism

Columbus memeIn Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day today, a slight improvement on Columbus day, which institutionalizes systemic racism.

Columbus Day celebrates white supremacy. It’s time to stop that now. If you need some elaboration, read this.

Seattle did it 2 years ago. Now Vermont has figured out a first step in a solution: turning Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The rest of it involves human engagement, some truth, some reconciliation and building a new future with dignity and respect.... 25 Cities Abolish Columbus Day and Adopt Indigenous People Day Instead

So go out there and learn the maps of pre-colonial “Canada,” “USA,” and Mexico.

Trudeau Spins the Royals

If you’re wondering about what kind of spin cycle Trudeau [#TheNewHarper] put the Royals through to smooth over First Nations discontent with the 21st century version of settler imperialism?

Read this:

Justin Trudeau’s relationship with indigenous people and the politics of William and Kate’s Canadian Royal tour

A cynic might question if the prime minister is using the Royal couple to blunt criticism that the Liberal government’s words on indigenous issues aren’t being matched by its actions.

At the very least, William and Kate’s stopovers will paint a benign image of aboriginal people for the international media covering this Canadian visit.

A picture can tell a thousand words, particularly if it involves a prince or a prime minister wearing a buckskin jacket and a feathered indigenous headdress.

But the reality on the ground is often very different, particularly in Canada where aboriginal people have been subjected to centuries of repression, not to mention cultural genocide.

End Our Slow Motion Genocide!

Genocide can take place in slow motion, just like weapons of mass destruction.

When I learned that people were calling land mines “weapons of mass destruction, in slow motion,” it became obvious that we can practice social/cultural/human genocide in slow motion too.

Understanding racism and genocide is no simpler than this,
from Zianna Oliphant:

Considering the people we have colonized, enslaved and oppressed in North America the last 500 years, there have been times when the genocide was more rapid, urgent and hurried.

There have also been times when it has been slow. Like entropy.

First Nations in Canada, American Indians and African Americans are among the groups that white supremacists have been trying to eradicate.

And by white supremacists, I’m not talking about the Klan and Skinheads. I’m talking about the Canadian and American settler governments who have overt, covert, active and passive policies to eradicate those they deem inferior.

For, if we white settlers actually felt these oppressed groups were equal to us, we would actually stop the policies and practices that eliminate them from our world.

We would address homicides and summary executions by police, missing and murdered indigenous women, the reserve/reservation townships, the prison industrial complex, and all other policies and practices that have been clearly demonstrated to pursue our slow motion genocide agenda.

There aren’t enough hashtags to encompass all who have been recently or historically slaughtered in this slow motion genocide.

Here’s just the latest, this week: #AlfredOlango, executed by police in the slow motion genocide charge of “Having A Seizure While Black”:

California police killed an unarmed, mentally ill black man after his sister asked them to help him

But I have a solution for you, my fellow white people governed by white supremacist North American governments. Scroll back up and watch, again, the wise and stunning statement from Zianna Oliphant in Charlotte who can so clearly see what kind of racist culture we are perpetuating. Honestly, if it is that clear to a child, but not Mike Ditka [an ignorant racist], you need to decide if you side with the wise child, or the racist former football coach.

“Part of white privilege has been the ability to not know that your privilege exists. If you benefit from racism, do you really want to know that?” Do you? Then read this, and act accordingly:

No, BC Actually Mentored Saskatchewan’s Poor-Bashing

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Foxfamblogs.org%2Ffp2p%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F10%2FClass_War-2_250px.jpg&f=1Despite being Metro News, Emily Jackson’s great piece yesterday [below] about how brutally cruel the Saskatchewan government is should make us mindful of a number of issues.

Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies.

That makes the BC Liberal government Saskatchewan’s poor-bashing mentor.

Let’s re-spin this piece and explore some key context, then work up some solutions!

  1. In Saskatchewan there’s a lot of racism and classism and discrimination against the poor and those with mental health issues. BC too.
  2. 1 in 7 people in Saskatchewan is aboriginal.
  3. In Saskatchewan, the police have been known to drive aboriginals out of town to dump them on the outskirts of town. In the winter. There are even jovial nicknames for that little jaunt.
  4. Saskatchewan has cut funding to shelters. So has BC. It’s called poorbashing. People, after all, should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, after all, we are all born with equal opportunity to succeed in life! [Myth, as you know.]
  5. The BC premier is an opportunistic liar when it comes to the 2 men the Saskatchewan Party put on a bus with a one-way ticket to BC: “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.” There are hundreds of thousands of stories of people in BC who are being degraded, de-funded, insulted and left to dangle in the wind from almost 15 years of cuts to social programs. Perhaps she thinks these men from the bus can work in LNG because that’s mythical as the BC Liberal Party social conscience.
  6. A Vancouver city councillor is deluded if he really believes his own words, that he “hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.” Vancouver has a dismal record of actually contending with homelessness and inadequate housing. And if he really believes that anyone should look to the BC government for how to deal with the poor, he’s at best disingenuous. But then he shows his weakening credibility: “We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.” BC treats its vulnerable populations hideously. Our province is a train wreck.

Solutions Time!

  1. The same Vancouver councillor is right in calling for a national homelessness strategy, and far far more robust than this insult.
  2. We also need a poverty reduction plan in BC.
  3. We also need living wage legislation in BC.
  4. We need a housing authority in Vancouver, like Whistler has.
  5. We also need a national poverty strategy.
  6. And a national housing strategy.
  7. This isn’t really all that difficult. #1-6 indicate some intentional planning, based on sincerity and integrity and actual concern to ensure that people in a rich country like Canada don’t have to live in squalor.
  8. Which brings us to #8. Welcome, #8! Canadians are ignorant or oblivious or criminally indifferent to the squalor we have created over generations on reserves and for off-reserve first peoples. We are content with their inadequate housing, untreated mental health disorders and addictions, pathetic healthcare and education, insufficient physical and social infrastructure, and a myriad of other socio-economic problems reminiscent of 21st century failed states. And you won’t see any comments on this piece about how they just need to pull themselves up by their…bootstraps. I’ll just delete them upon submission. So there’s that.
  9. Oh, and we also need the post-carbon energy infrastructure transition to ramp up to 11 now because delaying will create climate chaos that will exacerbate all the socio-economic problems above, and many more.

Ultimately, we can simply coordinate our ample brain power, increasing tax base and will to create a just and equitable Canada for everyone.

And if that isn’t compelling enough for you because it’s the right thing to do, imagine if you weren’t born who you were. Imagine you were born lacking the socio-economic entitlements you have and you lived in communities like I mentioned in #8. Bad luck, eh.

If you have the neurons to even just imagine that, then ask yourself, shouldn’t you be advocating for public policy that would provide people with the best shot at a good life on the off chance that you would have been born into a vulnerable community? After all, all humans deserve an equal chance to have a good life, and not be born into deprivation, right?

And if the answer is no, it’s probably because you weren’t and you’re ok enjoying your entitlements while others born into vulnerability can just rot.

There’s a word for that kind of person. Many words, even.

B.C. will help two homeless men sent west by Saskatchewan government: Premier Christy Clark

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the province should and will help the two homeless men en route to the west coast after the Saskatchewan government bought them one-way bus tickets to B.C., where neither had social services lined up.

Saskatchewan’s ministry of social services spent $500 on B.C.-bound bus tickets for the two First Nations men instead of helping them at home, where their local shelter recently faced funding cuts, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, one man has family in Victoria and one, a 21-year-old who struggles with mental health problems, doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver, his final destination. The men embarked from North Battleford, Sask. Tuesday night, but it’s not clear whether they arrived in B.C.

Regardless, Clark said the province stands ready to help, adding that B.C.’s strong economy is attracting a variety of people.

“I think everybody in British Columbia would say we want to support people with serious mental illness and we want to make sure they get the care that they need,” Clark told reporters. “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who is also a psychiatry professor at UBC who researches mental illness, said this story shows homelessness is a problem across Canada, not just in major centres, and called for a national homelessness strategy. Meanwhile, he hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.

“To treat two human beings that way, slapping them on the bus, one reportedly with mental health issues, to send them off into the night, is absolutely disgusting,” Jang said.

“I hope Saskatchewan learns from this and says we’ve got to invest in our social services and get people the best care to get them on their feet again, not push it off and hope fate will take care of them.”

The Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan social workers have the discretion to buy people bus tickets, usually to join family, but it is not typical. The government announced Wednesday it will review the case.

Vancouver’s annual homeless count takes place Wednesday night to Thursday morning. If volunteers meet either man, they will offer help.

“We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.”

My Canada Includes…The Future!

Inspired by Nora Loreto [again], I am starting to frame my vision for what Canada should be after C-51, the TRC report and the October 19, 2015 federal election.

Here are my initial thoughts:

I’d love it for the very foundation upon which Canada [sic] is built, to crumble! We can start a national dialogue to re-imagine it, but way better than for 1982. This time, let’s go with:

– a distinct Quebec society
– First Nations at the table as equ
als
– repeal C-51 and get our Charter back
– repeal the Indian Act
– no Senate
– proportional representation
– dump the monarchy
– pay equity
– a national minimum wage as the living wage
– fair trade, not free trade [so dump NAFTA and all the rest…]
– move to the post-carbon energy and transportation infrastructure
– real and complete Medicare
– national strategies for housing, childcare, mental health, environment, seniors…
– repealing corporate personhood

Is that too much to ask? [Hint: no!]

MY CANADA includes all that!

And probably more!

Looking for Heroes?

energy-east-poster.jpg

I’ve been watching The Book of Negroes this week. I have no words. I only recognize justice, integrity, brutality, acknowledgement, witnessing, story telling and a myriad of other foggy responses.

It’s easy to also ponder qualities of heroes.

Then I read this from earlier this week, and nodded. Do you get it?

Anishinabe Women Protest Energy East Pipeline on Family Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 16, 2015

‘Protect the Water, For Future Generations’: Message being shared today with local families, starting at Market Square at noon.

Kenora—Dozens of Anishinabe Women, their families, and supporters converge today on Market Square at noon to deliver a message against the proposed Energy East Pipeline that will deliver tarsands oil right through the City and through all of Treaty 3 (and other First Nations) Territory.

Today’s Family Day demonstration, with a focus on protecting the water for future generations, is intended to be highly visible—with drumming, singing, placards and speeches—and to inform and engage the local public about the immense threats posed by the likelihood of oil spills to local water sources, ecosystems, animal habitat, and human health, as well as broader environmental impacts from proposed tarsands expansion.

Fawn Wapioke is Chief of Shoal Lake #39. She says, “I am deeply concerned about the pipeline and believe that our responsibility is to the land, the water, and future of our People. Our responsibility is upholding the law of the land to ensure survival of our Mother Earth.”

TransCanada, speaking to the possibility of a major oil spill in the area, has said that it would take a minimum 22 minutes to shut down the Energy East pipeline in case of a leak. Any spill from the pipeline  could allow as much as 2.7 million litres of oil to spill in that time.

It wouldn’t be the first major industrial spill in the region.

“Being from Grassy Narrows, I know firsthand how damage to the water can poison our families and our kids, not just now, but in the future, too,” said Corrisa Swain, a Youth from Grassy Narrows where families continue to watch newborn children exhibit the brutal symptoms of mercury poisoning, a Dryden pulp and paper mill having dumped over 9000 kgs of Mercury into the English and Wabigoon River System over 40 years ago. “We know from our own experience how these kinds of projects can have terrible impacts on future generations and how unlikely it is that government or companies will ever clean up afterwards,” says Swain.

The environmental impacts from the Energy East Pipeline also extend far beyond the local effects on the Winnipeg River, Lake of the Woods and local ecosystems.

“The project is a climate nightmare, demanding as much as a 40% expansion of tarsands extraction, releasing millions of tonnes more carbon pollution, just when we’ve been told that 75% of tarsands oil needs to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate impacts in the next century,” said Teika Newton, a representative of Kenora Transitions Initiative (TIK), a Kenora-based environmental advocacy group. “There is also the reality that tarsands extraction, like pipeline spills, have terrible impacts on downstream communities across the continent,” Newton says.

Trancanada’s new pipeline project has already been opposed across the entirety of its route, from local tarsands impacted communities to the Mohawk community of Kanesatake and Mi’qmak communities on the East Coast. In Treaty 3 Territory, Grand Chief Warren White has already clearly stated that the pipeline will not carry tarsands oil across the territory without express consent from affected First Nations. Local grassroots communities have echoed those sentiments.

“The Energy East Pipeline is going to affect us all, we together as Peoples need to prevent this project. For the sake of the water, wildlife, and land,” says Alicia Kejick, a Youth from Shoal Lake #39. “For our Peoples and future grandchildren,” Kejick says, “it is momentous that we protect what is ours to begin with. We will be out on Family Day, not just to raise awareness, but to speak for those who can’t.”

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Contact:   Chrissy Swain, 807 407 1468

More of Harper’s First Nations Racism

The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.
The federal government tells CBC News that 84 First Nations have until Wednesday to post their audited financial statements for the last fiscal year, including the salaries and expenses of their chiefs and councillors.

Pam Palmater is one of the most important voices in Canada in this young century so far. Here’s another reason why:

Below she calls out some racism in the form of settler-occupied hypocrisy.

The first nations, so go the racists, are incompetent and corrupt. Like the unions and the poor. That’s why we have Bill C-377 to make the unions pay for working for working people. That’s why Jean Swanson had to write Poor Bashing.

And since the racists and Conservative Party [including the overlap there] think the first nations need to be transparent to us, we have a new bill, C-27, to make them give themselves an exercise in transparency to justify their leadership.

Except federal politicians don’t have to live up to the same standard. Are there corruption and conflict of interest in political bodies in Canada? Yes. This bill, however, will do nothing to explore and alter the generations-old dynamic of politicians’ contempt for democracy.

That kind of hypocrisy is racism. Don’t dance around with weak narratives. Call it what it is.

Imagine if any political leaders in Canada had to report their personal wealth in addition to the salary of their public office. Prime Minister Harper is the 6th highest paid political leader in the world with a salary of approximately $300k/year. Harper not only makes 7 times what the average Canadian makes, but makes far more than other world leaders with much larger populations and economies.

But let’s forget about his salary for a minute. What is Prime Ministers and federal politicians had to publicly disclose their PERSONAL wealth? Then we are no longer talking about over-paid Prime Ministers, we are talking about million dollar Prime Ministers. Stephen Harper’s personal wealth has been estimated at $5M. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is in the hundreds of millions. Why the double standard?  Why did so many federal MPs refuse to disclose their own expenses? I agree there is an issue of accountability in Canada, but it’s with the federal government, and not First Nations.

Indigenous Nationhood: Myth of the Crooked Indians: C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act.