Category Archives: Aboriginal Issues

Christie Blatchford: First Nation’s $550K powwow is no surprise for band’s members

The Caldwell First Nation, where a forensic audit uncovered gross financial irregularities around a 2016 powwow, allegedly has been dubiously run for years.

“I am not even remotely shocked about the results of the audit,” says one member of the small Leamington, Ont.-based First Nation. “I think if members knew what went on … they would be sick to their stomachs for weeks.”

The member asked not to be identified.


Communities Cancel Australia Day Celebrations Because It’s ‘Like Celebrating The Nazi Holocaust’

Australia Day is celebrated Jan. 26 every year to mark the anniversary of Britain’s First Fleet’s arrival in 1788. The Moreland City Council in Melbourne voted Wednesday to remove all references of the date as Australia Day. One councilor called the ceremonies “grossly offensive” while another compared it to Germany celebrating its Nazi past.


Senator Lynn Beyak says First Nations should give up status cards

“Trade your status card for a Canadian citizenship, with a fair and negotiated payout to each Indigenous man, woman and child in Canada, to settle all the outstanding land claims and treaties, and move forward together just like the leaders already do in Ottawa,” she said in an open letter published Sept. 1 on her Senate website.

“None of us are leaving, so let’s stop the guilt and blame and find a way to live together and share,” she wrote. “All Canadians are then free to preserve their cultures in their own communities, on their own time, with their own dime.”


Staff at Western Canadian university encouraged to add messages about “unceded” aboriginal land in their course outlines

As the school year begins at **** University (located in Western Canada), an “Equity Committee” circulated to all teaching staff towards the end of August:

Given our mission to be a university of choice for Aboriginal education, the **** Equity Committee would like to encourage faculty to acknowledge the ***** territory in your course outlines as unceded in support of indigenizing the curriculum.  This could be done by adding the following message right under the [university] logo in course outlines:
“Located on the **** ***** territory within the unceded traditional lands of **** (**** Nation)” 
The **** Equity Committee thanks you for considering this request.

Another similar message was sent in early September:

You may also customize your outline to include the following gratitude (courtesy of Dr. ***):
I acknowledge the **** Nation, upon whose traditional and unceded land **** University is located (***). I am grateful for the **** Nation’s generosity and hospitality while we live, learn and work in their territory.

Exactly how much “unceded” land are we talking about? Just this one case? The whole province? The whole county?

This strikes me as pandering of the worst sort. It encourages people to see themselves as victims. They need to see themselves as equal to the rest of us, many of whom see themselves victims on different issues.

The cult of victimhood is wrong. (And my spell checker is convinced that “unceded” is not a word.)


Yukon Court of Appeal cuts drunk driver’s sentence in half, after man’s Aboriginal heritage dismissed

The Yukon Court of Appeal reduced a convicted drunk driver’s sentence by half, ruling the sentencing judge did not consider the man’s Aboriginal heritage.

In 2014, Arthur Joe, a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation, was convicted of impaired driving and refusing to provide a breathalyzer sample.

He was sentenced to 43 months in custody, a 10-year driving prohibition and three years probation.

Before that conviction, Joe had issues with drinking and driving, but had no charges between 2008 and 2014.

At his 2014 sentencing, Judge Donald Luther ruled Joe was a “notoriously repeat drinking driver” and he “should have almost no particular consideration afforded to him as an Aboriginal offender.”


‘It’s our time to be at the forefront:’ Why an Indigenous relations office is needed in Calgary

Council recently unanimously approved a proposal for a distinct Indigenous relations office at city hall, joining municipalities like Edmonton and Winnipeg that house similar divisions. Civic affairs reporter Annalise Klingbeil spoke with Lorna Crowshoe, a city of Calgary issues strategist focused on Indigenous affairs, about the development.