Week 5: Indigenous People Matter

Beyond the Text, found within the text: Fashpoint Events
“…As can be seen from the analysis of Oka and Ipperwash, these acts of Aboriginal resistance serve as wake-up calls to governments. They are sharp and clear signals that Aboriginal Peoples are not going to take it on the chin any more, that there are fundamental flaws in the conditions of Aboriginal communities and the treatment of their rights that governments must address. For Aboriginal Peoples, they strengthen the sense of agency, a sense that their communities and governments have the primary responsibility for protecting their rights and advancing their interests.”
A paragraph taken from This is an Honour Song, Oka to Ipperwash: The Necessity of Flashpoint Events by Peter H. Russell, pg. 45.

This is definitely an interesting perspective, as I do not often see something that I agree with completely. I think in all essence, a democratic government’s main purpose is to protect the rights and forward the interests of their constituency in the House of Commons and a Legislative Assembly, yet the Canadian government does little to protect the rights and interests of Aboriginal communities. It is difficult for me to believe that things could change without positive steps taken forward to “bridge the gap” between settler and non-settler communities in Canada. The relationship between governments and aboriginal communities has been put on the back burner for far too long. I honestly think it would be in the best interest for all Canadians to discontinue that distractive cycle of not recognizing respect for the aboriginal communities. All it takes is communication – simply put. Then things don’t result in violent actions.

Media Analysis:
Major news story for this week, as noted from the Globe And Mail website:
“Feeding our Future,” the Toronto District School Board piloted a school meal project that fed three high-schools and four primary schools. Supporting studies for this project said “a hungry kid is an angry kid” and to counter this reality, the Toronto District School Board decided to feed children. They soon found that a healthy meal plan in schools reduced aggression, increased attendance, improved concentration in the classroom and children earned higher grades. The program reduced any stigma of poverty in school, and while this success story is new in a developed country, this type of meal program in schools is highly successful in developing countries. The news article says if the studies continue to prove success for the school board, then other school boards could follow by example. “School meal programs ought to be viewed as investments, not a cost.” Previous analysis by an independent consulting company from Boston suggested, on average, a high school graduate contributes $75,000 to the economy. It makes complete sense to me, investing in the wellbeing of people means a healthy economy. Ultimately, people make things happen, people are worth investing in.
For the full story, click the link below:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/feed-a-student-feed-the-future/article2196186/page1/

Another story in the media this week includes MP Romeo Saganash journey in the race to become the first Aboriginal federal party leader. Saganash is a former Cree leader whom Jack Layton persuaded to run for becoming an MP. His constituency includes northern Quebec; more than half of the provinces geographical area.
(Photo above NDP Leader Jack Layton, right, raises the hand of candidate Romeo Saganash at a rally Monday, April 18, 2011 in Val d’Or, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)

Shaganash’s working relationship with the former NDP Leader Jack Layton was long and building up to this party leadership campaign. Toronto MP Chow spoke about his campaign on APTN National News. Chow is quoted “the New Democratic Party is about democracy and participating,” which in all essence would encourage the Aboriginal community to become more involved in politics when more people recognize a familiar face. Important goals such as education for young “native” people would be pushed, as well as an encouragement for “respect, love, friendship, trust” so as to consider that no one is left behind in Canada.
It would be a great legacy left by Jack Layton, whom brought many Canadians together this past year under his leadership of the NDP. His departing letter to Canadians honestly touched my heart, as I’m sure it did for many other Canadians. It will be interesting to see how this campaign plays out. Cheers to Saganash for stepping up and putting his name forward for becoming the first Aboriginal person running to become party leader!
The full story which includes a video interview of Toronto MP Chow below:
http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2011/10/05/sagansh-ndp-leadership-ship-bid-carries-‘hope-and-change’chow/

Research Discovery:
Robert Lovelace, former chief of Ardoch Lake Algonquin First Nation. He is a spokes person for petition against uranium mining on Algonquin land, lecture in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queens University with a special interest in Aboriginal Studies. He’s served in jail for peacefully petitioning uranium exploration, and gives many talks on colonialism, community development, and the right to land. He is sometimes mentioned in the likeness of Gandhi, Mandela and Lovelace by local supporters of his work. He says “we need to reap the benefits of our own land” as opposed to letting others do just that.

I’m sorry to say that I would have not heard about this guy had I not taken this class, and not looked up uranium mining. Its quite interesting the work he’s done, and how he speaks. You can listen on Youtube.
For an article from “Anarkismo” click the link:http://www.anarkismo.net/article/8395

Reflective Journal:
This class has increasingly become more interesting with special guests and lectures with the readings about Canadian Democracy. I’m not sure how others in the class are feeling, but I certainly am coming along quite well. Enjoying the journey of learning again, life outside of school is not so fast-paced, so coming back into learning and producing is feeling new again, but well worth it.

Question of the week:
What would it mean if Saganash were elected NDP Party Leader, and sit in the seat as the official leader of opposition? …Sitting across Stephen Harper. I am certainly happy he is vying for that position, it is definitely worth something to think about, in my opinion.

October Books:
Vanishing Face of Gaia
Empires of Food

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About Kerri

I am a tiny Inuk lady who chose to attend Acadia University for the academic year of 2011. This is a blog pertains to weekly assignments, particularly in the Introduction into Law, Politics and Government class.
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One Response to Week 5: Indigenous People Matter

  1. Kerri says:

    http://www.itk.ca/blog/mary-simon/jul-24-2009-we-are-resilient-people?page=1

    Here’s an important link from the President of the Inuit Tapirasat Katami. Important truths that should be recognized! Please feel free to share your thoughts, I’ll be glad to receive feedback.

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