'Nation to Nation'? Indigenous people and the Trudeau government

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Liberals have continued on with the colonial attitude towards indigenous people. Trudeau speaks with a forked tongue.


The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society has refused funding from the federal government because it doesn’t accept donations from funders that harm children.

Canada didn’t pass the society’s “ethical screen” and it has declined $149,000 in funding from Indigenous Affairs said executive director Cindy Blackstock.

“We don’t accept funds from groups that are harming children or who are violating Indigenous rights,” Blackstock told APTN National News Thursday. “Their conduct falls outside of our ethical screen to receive funds from donors.”

Blackstock’s comments come on the one year anniversary of a historical ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that found Canada guilty of discriminating against First Nations children by chronically underfunding programs and services compared to non-Indigenous children.

Since that ruling, the tribunal has issued two non-compliance orders against Indigenous Affairs for failing to meet standards set by the tribunal said Blackstock, who first launched the human rights complaint nearly 10 years ago, along with the Assembly of First Nations.

The tribunal has called for a compliance hearing to be heard in March.

“I am extremely disappointed in this government,” said Blackstock. “They’ve read the decision, so they know the answers are there. They’ve seen a half billion dollars announced for the birthday party (Canada’s 150th birthday). So they know there’s money out there somewhere. There just seems to be a lack of political and bureaucratic will to get the job done.”

The government has responded in affidavits filed Wednesday to the tribunal it’s provided nearly three quarters of the $71 million earmarked for 2016 for the First Nations Child and Family Services program (FNCFSP). It’s part of $634.8 million funding over five years announced in last year’s budget for FNCFSP. That funding was decided upon before the tribunal made its ruling said Blackstock.

She also said at least $10 million of that stayed in Indigenous Affairs for various costs associated with providing the funding to groups across the country.



kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Canadian governments of all stripes have failed in their relationship with indigenous peoples in this country. Trudeau says nice things and plays dress-up as an Indian while he implements the same inadequate strategy as Harper before him.


Article 1 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Some days, I wake up and I put on my T-shirt that says ROGUE across the front in bright NDP-orange letters because I wake up in a society where I am expected to remain quiet, obedient and, most of all, grateful to a colonial government that even in the 21st century paternalistically denies Indigenous Peoples our rights under the premise that they know best. I am expected to be thankful for temporary, piecemeal measures to remedy crimes that the Canadian government has, and continues to, commit against my people. I am expected to wait patiently for meaningful legislative changes that will end the colonial occupancy of our Indigenous legal, economic and social systems.  This society expects me to happily accept the mere pennies that they invest in funding our social services. Welcome to our dystopian present.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Shacks, bullying and unemployment: Why isn’t #Article23 working for Nunavummiut?

Article 23 was written into the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement for one reason, to ensure that Nunavummiut had a chance at jobs in the territory.

The goal is to have 85 per cent of the jobs held by Inuit.

But somewhere, something went wrong.

APTN Investigates.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Indigenous water solutions: 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Cleaning up drinking water in Indigenous communities appears to be a case of two steps forward, one step back, according to new government numbers.

There are 71 long-term drinking water advisories — in existence for a year or more — in First Nations communities across Canada.

Since November 2015, 18 such warnings have been lifted, allowing the communities to drink their tap water.

But 12 advisories have been added, according to figures provided by the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. 

It's an example of the complex, tough task facing the Trudeau government, which has pledged to have all long-term drinking water advisories lifted within five years.


Federal bureaucracy

Many First Nations communities complain that it takes too long — from five to 10 years — to solve drinking water problems. They blame a cumbersome federal bureaucracy.

Bennett admits that one of her tasks is to simplify the process.

As the opposition critic, she heard from many communities that thought they were about to get a new water treatment system, only to find out the government had decided to order another feasibility study, delaying everything.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Millions promised for Indigenous kids is subsidizing mining companies, internal documents show

Carolyn Bennett's story isn't adding up.

Despite sunny rhetoric suggesting they're taking a different approach towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the Trudeau government is having a hard time backing up its word.

In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett boasted that the federal government was spending "almost $200 million" on the well-being of Indigenous children.

Not only is there no evidence​ Canada is spending $200 million, but internal documents obtained through Access to Information by York University's Anna Stanley and reviewed by PressProgress suggest money Bennett claims to be earmarked for the well-being of Indigenous children is being spent to "attract mining investment" instead....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Evidence of good faith lacking in Trudeau’s Indigenous agenda


The much-referenced nation-to-nation relationship has also failed to materialize. Trudeau’s government instead focuses all their discussions with three national Aboriginal organizations and not First Nations — the actual rights holders. We no longer hear discussion about Aboriginal, treaty and title rights except in court. Trudeau rejected the AFN’s call to have constitutional talks to better define First Nation rights and the nation-to-nation relationship — calling such discussions “squabbles.”

While Trudeau did ensure that work on the national inquiry began early on in his term, the actual creation of the inquiry was delayed, Indigenous peoples were excluded from drafting the terms of reference or choosing the commissioners. While a big flashy announcement was made in the fall of 2016 to start the inquiry, it still hasn’t started and likley won’t until spring 2017. With a limited two year mandate, the loss of six months could significantly impact the effectiveness of such an important inquiry.

We gave Trudeau’s government more than a year to put some good faith on the table. Instead, we see a lot of talk but very little substantive action on the matters that matter most to us. If our right to free, informed and prior consent before development on our lands is not respected, that is the equivalent of breaching our Aboriginal, treaty and title rights. If he can ignore multiple court orders to stop discriminating against our children in care, how does that make him any different from Harper?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

There was nothing good: An open letter to Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak

By Anglican Church of Canada


There was nothing good about a federal government policy of forcibly removing children “from their evil surroundings”, housing them in schools with the intent of “killing the Indian in the child…and turning them into a civilized adult”. It was an attempt at cultural genocide, an attempt whose failure bears witness to the courage and resilience of those children and their communities. As elder Barney Williams of the Survivors’ Society has so often said, “We were all brave children.”

There was nothing good about practices of taking away children, removing their traditional dress, cutting their hair, taking away their name, confiscating their personal effects and giving them a number.

There was nothing good about forbidding children to speak their own language, to sing and dance in a powwow, to practice their own spirituality. It was a denial of their dignity and human rights.

There was nothing good about experimenting with children’s diet to monitor the impact on their dental hygiene or their digestive systems. There was nothing good about pressing children into forced labour. It was state-sanctioned cruelty.

There was nothing good about denying a child a celebration of his or her birthday, about separating siblings one from another, not allowing them to be home for Christmas, or to enjoy summer holiday.

There was nothing good about child abuse – and it was rampant in Residential Schools – physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse. Such abuses were nothing less than crimes against humanity.

There was nothing good about children going missing and no report being filed. There was nothing good about burying children in unmarked graves far from their ancestral homes. It heaped cruelty upon cruelty for the child taken and the parent left behind.

There is nothing good about a lingering and sordid legacy of intergenerational trauma reflected in poor health, the struggle to enjoy healthy relationships, addictions, domestic violence, astonishingly high rates of incarceration and communal dysfunction.

There is nothing good about Indigenous people treated as “second class”, the blatant evidence of which persists in lower funding for health care, education, policing, and emergency health services. It is a travesty.

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The New Threat Threshold

It was early November 2016 when Russell Diabo received a phone call from an APTN reporter, who told him that his was the only name that hadn’t been redacted from a recently released RCMP intelligence document. The document, outlining Project SITKA – a police operation tracking Indigenous activists “who pose a threat to the maintenance of peace and order” – was acquired through an Access to Information request filed by Carleton University researcher Jeffrey Monaghan. It revealed that the police were following 89 activists who met “the criteria for criminality associated to public order events.”

Project SITKA tracks activists organizing around natural resource development (fighting oil pipelines and shale gas expansion), anti-capitalism (G20 and Occupy activists), the missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry, Idle No More, and land claims. The report concludes that the protesters “pose a criminal threat to Aboriginal public order events,” though it concedes that “there is no known evidence that these individuals pose a direct threat to critical infrastructure.” This proof of surveillance sent a chill through the activist community....

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Starve or submit: How one First Nation remains in servitude to a private accounting firm

A team of accountants in Quebec City manages the finances of the impoverished Algonquin of Barriere Lake, a First Nation located 600 kilometres away. These third-party managers pay themselves $550,000 a year for this service out of the budget the community relies on for health care and housing. Of the band’s meager annual budget, 10 per cent now pays for this dubious service, and every year deep cuts to community programs are required in return.

More troubling questions surround this arrangement. Why is this First Nation not privy to financial statements supposedly done on their behalf? How can the federal government, responsible for forcing this external control on the community, justify the costly imposition? How is it possible that for 11 years, despite multiple regimes of supervision by highly paid private accounting firms, these financial managers have yet to resolve the initial debt?.....

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Sen. Murray Sinclair blasts Globe and Mail for propagating ‘racist fallacy’

Senator Murray Sinclair blasted a major newspaper in Canada over an editorial he said propagated “the racist fallacy” that Canada was a “thinly populated” territory before European contact.

Sinclair, the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, posted a scathing critique of the The Globe and Mail editorial published online Monday. The editorial was written in response to a speech delivered by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould during a trip to South Africa. Wilson-Raybould said South Africa’s struggle with apartheid offered reconciliation lessons for Canada where Indigenous peoples have lived through over “150 years of colonialism.”

The editorial argued South Africa’s experience with apartheid and reconciliation offered few lessons for Canada because of its different history and dynamics.

“(Wilson-Raybould’s) contention in her speech that the post-apartheid era in South Africa offers ‘many important insights’ and ‘parallels’ for Canada should be approached with caution,” said the editorial. “It’s difficult to assess the population of what is now Canada when Europeans first arrived in the 15th century. But most of the Indigenous population were hunters and gatherers, so most of the land was quite thinly populated. The Europeans came to trade and gradually began to settle and colonize as farmers and later, manufacturers—and eventually became the majority. In contrast, black South Africans were the majority when Europeans arrived in their country, and are still the majority by far. This is a critical difference.”

Sinclair, in a Facebook post published Tuesday, called the unsigned The Globe and Mail opinion piece, which generally represents the position of the newspaper, a “colonizer’s editorial.” Sinclair took particular aim at the editorial’s claim that Canada was a thinly populated territory before contact.

“That argument of low numbers is essential to maintain the mythological doctrines of ‘terra nullius’ and ‘discovery.’ There are several expert reports which say that the population of the Americas was higher than the population of Europe at the time of contact, and there are experts who assert, with considerable evidence, that Columbus and his conquistadors (conquerors) were responsible for the genocide of more than 20 million Indigenous people within a very short period of time. Some estimate that number as high as 90 million,” wrote Sinclair. “There is no doubt that such a genocide did happen, and there can be no doubt that it was done solely for the purpose of wiping out the larger numbers of Indigenous people (thinning the population) in order to sustain the fallacy of terra nullius.”

Sinclair also criticized the thrust of the editorial’s argument the majority black population in South Africa versus the minority Indigenous population in Canada made it difficult to transpose the experiences of both countries.

“Excuse me, but apartheid is exactly what happened here. Canada’s apartheid era didn’t start until Confederation, when the population of Indigenous people outside of the original confederating colonies far outnumbered Europeans. Through chicanery, lies, and duplicity (i.e. the Treaties) the government lulled the Indigenous leaders in the West into a false sense of security, and after asserting the extension of Canada’s legal jurisdiction, enacted apartheid laws over them,” wrote Sinclair. “Only after such laws were enacted was Canada able to increase the population of Europeans in the West in order to overcome the much higher Indigenous population. That apartheid system still exists, and it is what we, who are working for reconciliation, are all working to dismantle.”....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from the above


“And so, colonizer editorialist, next time do your homework. We do have a lot to learn from the South African experience:

  1. Never trust the colonizer’s history.
  2.  Racism is hard to overcome
  3. Tribalism after colonization ends can become the new ‘problem.’
  4. Apartheid is economic as well as political and legal.
  5. Even with a supportive government, reconciliation will take a long time.
  6. Without immediate economic and social reform, the legacies of racism easily live on.”

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Archeologists confirm Heiltsuk village site three times older than Great Pyramids

Researchers with the Hakai Institute are backing up Heiltsuk oral history with western science during a relatively new archeological dig on the remote Triquet Island on B.C.'s Central Coast.

“Heiltsuk oral history talks of a strip of land in that area where the excavation took place. It was a place that never froze during the ice age and it was a place where our ancestors flocked to for survival,” said William Housty, a member of Heiltsuk Nation.

Archeologists working on site have dated it to at least 14,000 years ago, when much of the continent was covered by glacial ice save a relatively small strip of coastland.

“This find is very important because it reaffirms a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years,” Housty said.


The findings also have significant implications for First Nations when it comes to negotiating land claims and rights and title.

Housty, who sits on the board of directors for the Heiltsuk Resource Management Department, says the scientific validation will help in future negotiations.

“When we do go into negotiations, our oral history is what we go to the table with,” Housty said. “So now we don't just have oral history, we have this archeological information. It's not just arbitrary thing that anyone's making up ... We have a history supported from Western science and archaeology.”

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Millions promised for Indigenous kids is subsidizing mining companies, internal documents show

Carolyn Bennett's story isn't adding up.

Despite sunny rhetoric suggesting they're taking a different approach towards Indigenous Peoples in Canada, the Trudeau government is having a hard time backing up its word.

In a recent interview on CBC Radio's The Current, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett boasted that the federal government was spending "almost $200 million" on the well-being of Indigenous children.

Not only is there no evidence​ Canada is spending $200 million, but internal documents obtained through Access to Information by York University's Anna Stanley and reviewed by PressProgress suggest money Bennett claims to be earmarked for the well-being of Indigenous children is being spent to "attract mining investment" instead....