First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

This warning by Russ Diabo posted in Ricochet, July, 2015 is even more timely today.

Image result for Ricochet: First Nations and the federal election: An exercise in self-termination

For the past several weeks, I have observed with increasing frequency a call for First Peoples to get out for the upcoming federal election. The mainstream media and now the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, are urging Indigenous people to vote, particularly since it is looking like a three-way race between the federal leaders and their parties (sorry, Elizabeth May).

…I took particular notice of an opinion piece by Tasha Kheiriddin in the National Post. Kheiriddin was responding to Regina Crowchild, a councillor with Alberta’s Tsuu T’ina Nation, who said that she would not want to see “an alien government’s polling station” on her reserve, adding that “if we join Canada in their election system, that’s a part of genocide.”

Here was Kheiriddin’s counterargument:

The reality is that, paradoxically, if First Nations are truly interested in more autonomy, they will never get it without cooperation from the federal government. That means electing a government that is sympathetic to their perspective — and they will never do so unless they go to the polls. Voting is not capitulation, but a recognition that in a democracy, you need to participate if you want your voice to be heard.

Despite the mainstream media’s pleas, we must remember as First Nation individuals we are connected to our families, communities and nations. Therefore we have collective or group rights, which Canadian citizens — whether founding settlers or recent immigrants — cannot claim.

In fact, Canada (including the Supreme Court of Canada) bases its asserted sovereignty and territorial integrity on the racist, colonial Christian doctrine of discovery. Kheiriddin’s argument makes sense only if Indigenous peoples already consider themselves as “Canadians.” MORE

Forced sterilizations of Indigenous women: One more act of genocide

Image result for Forced sterilizations of Indigenous women: One more act of genocide
Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Metis lawyer and former nurse called tubal ligations carried out on unwilling Indigenous women one of the “most heinous” practices in health care happening across Canada.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Last fall, a group of Indigenous women in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan brought a class-action suit against the Saskatoon Health Authority. They also sued the provincial and federal governments and some medical professionals.

They asserted that some Indigenous women had been forcibly sterilized. Others had been tricked into giving consent for sterilization when they were under stress or heavily drugged. They claimed that doctors did this over several decades, up to the 2000s.

The UN Committee on Torture recommended in late 2018 that the Canadian government investigate all allegations of enforced sterilization and adopt legislation criminalizing it.

Indigenous activists want a new law specifically outlawing forced sterilization, but the federal government argues it’s already illegal.

Morningstar Mercredi named in the proposed class action law suit says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone. What remained was an incision from her panty line to her belly button, cut without her permission. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

 

Canada doesn’t have a good history with regard to forced sterilization. The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia forcibly sterilized people from the 1930s to the 1970s. MORE

 

The Cautious Case for Climate Optimism

Believing in a comfortable future for our planet probably means some giant carbon-sucking machines.


Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow/Sven Schabbach/Getty Images

[Adapted from The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells, to be published on February 19 by Tim Duggan Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019 by David Wallace-Wells.]

It’s not too late. In fact, it never will be. Whatever you may have read over the past year — as extreme weather brought a global heat wave and unprecedented wildfires burned through 1.6 million California acres and newspaper headlines declared, “Climate Change Is Here” — global warming is not binary. It is not a matter of “yes” or “no,” not a question of “fucked” or “not.” Instead, it is a problem that gets worse over time the longer we produce greenhouse gas, and can be made better if we choose to stop. Which means that no matter how hot it gets, no matter how fully climate change transforms the planet and the way we live on it, it will always be the case that the next decade could contain more warming, and more suffering, or less warming and less suffering. Just how much is up to us, and always will be.

Since I first began writing about climate a few years ago, I’ve been asked often whether I see any reason for optimism. The thing is, I am optimistic. But optimism is always a matter of perspective, and mine is this: No one wants to believe disaster is coming, but those who look, do….Given only conventional methods of decarbonization (replacing dirty-energy sources like coal and oil with clean ones like wind and solar), this is probably our best-case scenario. It is also what is called — so often nowadays the phrase numbs the lips — “catastrophic warming.” A representative from the Marshall Islands spoke for many of the world’s island nations when he used another word to describe the meaning of two degrees: genocide.
….But this fall, the start-up incubator Y Combinator called for proposals in four areas, hoping to invest in companies that would suck carbon out of the atmosphere by expanding the reach of the ocean’s phytoplankton (which naturally absorb CO2 in the ocean and turn it into oxygen) or reengineer it to do so more prolifically; by making the world’s rocks massive carbon sinks; by inventing new enzymes that would filter the air; and by flooding large areas of the world’s deserts with beds of algae engineered to absorb all that CO2.

Indifference and disrespect are constants in the lives of Indigenous peoples

Covington High School student Nick Sandmann, left, and Omaha First Nation Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. The stomach-churning feeling of racism in the confrontation is palpable, Tanya Talaga writes.

Covington High School student Nick Sandmann, left, and Omaha First Nation Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. The stomach-churning feeling of racism in the confrontation is palpable, Tanya Talaga writes.  (HAYLEY HANKS / KC NOLAND/YOUTUBE)

THUNDER BAY—The debate over what exactly happened at last week’s Indigenous Peoples March misses the point. Whatever the order of events, First Nations people will see in the image of a white high school student confronting an Indigenous Elder in Washington, D.C. the callous indifference and disrespect that are constants of their experience.

This is certainly true of the Indigenous people of Thunder Bay, who learned this week that the man accused of throwing the trailer hitch that hit a First Nations woman would stand trial for second-degree murder.

This is the city that recently saw its police board disbanded while authorities reopen nine Indigenous death cases, four of those being the Seven Fallen Feathers — First Nations students Jethro Anderson, Curran Strang, Kyle Morrisseau and Jordan Wabasse — who died in this city between 2000 and 2011. All this after a sweeping provincial probe into systemic racism inside the Thunder Bay police force. MORE

Canada’s Respect for the Rule of Law and Its Sacred Obligation to First Nations

Canada’s Respect for the Rule of Law and the Wet’suwet’en


The Wet’suwet’en interpret the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada Delgamuukw v. Queen decision as conferring them the right to meaningful consultation which they say has not happened in the current case.

In Part 1, it was noted that Canadian politicians repeatedly claim that Canada is a nation bound by the rule of law….

Although there are myriad examples to adduce that Canada is not a country bound by the rule of law, this article will focus on one current example.

It is important to first acknowledge the irrefutable fact that Canada is a nation established through the denationalization of other states. This was wrought by genocide and dispossession. MORE