Category Archives: i don’t care if you were “here”

The New “Tobacco” Monopoly

We knew this was coming:

Under the federal government’s Bill C-45, provinces and territories were responsible for determining how cannabis is distributed and sold. But where indigenous communities – which fall under the federal Indian Act – fit into this picture is still unclear, given questions about jurisdiction and self-governance.

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott told the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples earlier this month that the government is working on addressing concerns regarding jurisdictional issues.

“I know that indigenous communities, organizations and businesses have spoken up about jurisdictional concerns but specifically the exercise of First Nation bylaw-making powers in relation to the legalization and regulation of cannabis,” Philpott told the committee.

“Our government recognizes and respects the jurisdiction of indigenous governments. We will continue to work with First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities to address and accommodate jurisdictional issues in an appropriate way moving forward.”

In Ontario, the only legal option to purchase cannabis until April will be through the province-run online store. Under the province’s proposed legislation, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will grant licenses to private retailers ahead of an April 1 launch.

Under the same proposed legislation, First Nations can opt out of that private retail model through a band council resolution. Brian Gray, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, said in an emailed statement that any store located within a First Nations reserve would require approval by the communities’ Chief and Council via band resolution before the AGCO issues a license.



Founder of Aboriginal Group Decried As “Fake”

The former chief of the Mikinaks, a self-proclaimed Indigenous community that gained infamy in 2016, is now fending off threats and online harassment because she’s received Indian status.

Lise Brisebois said all she wants is peace, but her notoriety for founding the so-called Mikinak community makes it difficult to escape attention. 

Earlier this month, she learned that someone had shared a photo of her status card on Facebook, ridiculing her. 

​”They say that I’m not an Indian. That I’m a fake Indian,” Brisebois said.

“I had to disconnect my home phone because I was receiving threats … And they write me privately [on Facebook] and they call me all sorts of names.”

When Brisebois read one comment suggesting that someone should “finish her,” she said she reported it to the Kahnawake Peacekeepers. 

“I said I want it to stop. I want them to stop saying mean things to me.” 

Brisebois first grabbed headlines in 2016 when she founded the Mikinaks, under the Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

At the time, Montreal-area Mohawk leaders blasted the new group, calling it “nothing but lies” and an attempt to evade taxes.

Brisebois said she later severed ties with the group, and no longer calls herself their chief.


Education Minister Walks Back From Pointing Out Biased Curriculum


Saskatchewan’s education minister is apologizing for referencing her son’s homework in a speech which appeared to question how treaty education is taught in schools.

Bronwyn Eyre says she’s sorry if there was confusion about her position and says she is committed to treaty education.

“I regret bringing up my son, and, if there was any misunderstanding that was caused, absolutely regret that as well,” Eyre said Tuesday after speaking to the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.

Eyre said in a speech in the legislature earlier this month that “there has come to be at once too much wholesale infusion into the curriculum … (and) too many attempts to mandate material into it both from the inside and by outside groups.”

She said her son, who is in Grade 8, brought home a history assignment that suggested all pioneers to Canada were ill-meaning.

When asked to clarify her speech, Eyre said it was about a broader discussion of curriculum. She suggested there might be too much “infusion” of First Nations history in schools.

Eyre told the school boards association that she is committed “to the 100 per cent mandating of treaty education in the province.”


Ontario Creates Two New Aboriginal Ridings

Oh, dear:

Ontario will have two new northern seats in next year’s provincial election to boost Indigenous representation, though First Nation communities say one of the riding’s names takes reconciliation a step backward.

Legislation passed Tuesday to create two new ridings called Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk-James Bay. Kiiwetinoong is a majority Indigenous riding, while Mushkegowuk-James Bay has a population that’s about one-third Indigenous and 60 per cent francophone.

First Nations representatives had told the legislative committee that it was disrespectful for Mushkegowuk to be used in the riding name with no permission from the Mushkegowuk Council.

The Mushkegowuk Council and the Nishawbe Aski Nation said in a joint submission to the committee that they were not consulted on the name and called it “misleading.”

“This government’s own statistics indicate that the majority of the population would be francophone, not Indigenous,” they wrote. “We were led to understand that these proposed new ridings would be majority Indigenous, but examination of the population statistics shows that is not the case…Instead of giving First Nations a stronger voice, it may well diminish it, with less chance for First Nations to elect one of their own to represent their issues at Queen’s Park.”

The Progressive Conservatives proposed that the riding named Mushkegowuk be renamed altogether, but the majority Liberal committee added James Bay to the name and the legislation now requires the attorney general to review the name.


Former Chief Claims That Marijuana Could Be the Path to Reconciliation

Oh, for the love of crumb-cake:

Former Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine says his pitch to produce medical marijuana on reserves is getting lots of attention from Indigenous communities hoping to get into a potentially lucrative industry.

About 100 First Nation communities and business interests are keen on the enterprise, he told the National Post this week, though some stigma remains around cannabis and its production.


“Offensive” Star Trek License Plate Withdrawn


Manitoba Public Insurance has revoked a Star Trek fan’s personalized licence plate after receiving complaints that its message — ASIMIL8 — is offensive to indigenous people.

Nick Troller has been driving around with the plate for two years.

(Sidebar: Troller?)

It’s held within a Star Trek licence frame that also bears the quotes, “We are the Borg,” and “Resistance is Futile.”

Troller tells CTV Winnipeg that on his favourite show, an enemy race of aliens called the Borg travel through the galaxy trying to assimilate other cultures into their own.

He says he thought the plate was funny and notes strangers and other Trek fans have complimented him and asked to take photos with the plate.

But Troller got a phone call Wednesday from a staff member at Manitoba Public Insurance who told him two people had complained that the word “assimilate” is offensive to indigenous people.

He also received a letter from MPI on Thursday demanding he “surrender” the plate immediately, telling him he can either get a new plate or a refund on the $100 charge.

“But that’s not the point,” says Troller. “We’ve become way too sensitive. You can’t say anything anymore to anybody.”

Ry Moran, from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, insists the word “assimilate” is too offensive to be on a licence plate.

“For basically the entirety of this country’s history, indigenous peoples have been forcibly assimilated through really extremely destructive means and ways,” he says.

“Words like that, meant or not, have an actual impact on many people.”


Worf knows what to do:




Sajjan Wants to Give First Nations the Power to Call on Army

How could this possibly go wrong?

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is considering a request to give First Nations the power to directly call in the military when their treaty, environmental and other rights are threatened.

Ron Swain, vice-chief with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, told Sajjan during consultations with indigenous groups Wednesday that aboriginal communities deserve the same rights as provincial governments, which have the authority under the National Defence Act to call in the military to fight civil unrest and during other crises.

“We believe, in protecting our sovereign territory and our issues around environmental concerns, we should be able to trigger the same response and have our Armed Forces defending our treaties and our territories,” Swain said during a break in the closed-door meeting in Winnipeg that included about a dozen aboriginal leaders and academics.



Manitoba Chief Defends DNA Collection

The head of northern Manitoba chiefs supports an RCMP plan to collect DNA samples from every man and boy between the ages of 15 and 66 in Garden Hill First Nation, as part of the police investigation into the death last May of 11-year-old Teresa Robinson.

Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), met with RCMP in Winnipeg to discuss the DNA collection, among other issues on Thursday.

“We talked about how unusual this step is by the RCMP for this investigation. This doesn’t happen very often, this kind of massive DNA collection and testing,” she said after the meeting.

“I think the community’s been calling for something to happen, and for the investigation to move.”

The people of Garden Hill First Nation want answers, said North Wilson, and they want closure.

“If that means an inconvenience … I think they’re willing to do that,” she said.

About 2,000 samples are to be collected as part of the investigation into the murder of Teresa Robinson. 

Garden Hill chief Arnold Flett said he believed most people have complied with the RCMP’s request for a sample.

RCMP said they are asking men and boys to give a sample voluntarily but Corey Shefman, a human rights lawyer in Winnipeg, has a different interpretation.

The past president of the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties said the RCMP’s request is far from voluntary and is an example of the systemic racism First Nations people face.

“Particularly if you’re an indigenous person, if a police officer shows up at your door and says, ‘We’d like you to voluntarily give us some of your DNA,’ if you were to say no, the next thing to come out of their mouths is not going to be ‘OK, thanks, have a nice day.’ It’s going to be, ‘Why don’t you want to give us your DNA? Are you hiding something?'” he said.

By refusing the test, Shefman said, people risk becoming a suspect. 

North Wilson defended the RCMP’s tactic as a means to an important end for the community. Garden Hill residents don’t feel safe because Robinson’s killer hasn’t been caught, she said.


To wit:

Parallel to the findings of the 2014 Overview in which most homicide victims had a previous relationship with the offender, the 2013 and 2014 RCMP data reveals that the offender was known to the victim in 100% of the solved homicides of Aboriginal women in RCMP jurisdictions, and in 93% of cases of solved homicides of non-Aboriginal women. Violence within family relationships is a key factor in homicides of women, and has prompted the RCMP to focus intervention and prevention efforts on familial and spousal violence.



When Liberals Waste Money

(Insert own cries of disgust here.)

Internal government documents say Manitoba First Nations live in some of the most dilapidated homes in the country and it will cost $2 billion to eliminate mould and chronic overcrowding in that province alone.

That’s almost 13 times more than the $150 million the federal government has budgeted for housing on all reserves across Canada this year.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emerged from a meeting Wednesday with a formal commitment to fast-track $700 million in previously committed federal infrastructure money to the struggling province.


Trudeau Wants An Apology From the Pope

Oh, the arrogance:

FOR more than a century the government of Canada ran a system of residential schools for indigenous children, taking them from their parents—by force if need be—and putting them into institutions where many were physically and sexually abused. Seven years ago Stephen Harper, then Conservative prime minister, apologised on the government’s behalf to the 150,000 children and their families for the brutal attempt to wipe out their cultures. On December 15th Justin Trudeau, the new Liberal prime minister, apologised again, saying the “abhorrent” system represented “one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history”. He then said he would ask Pope Francis to apologise too. Why involve the pontiff?

One might ask who PM Trulander thinks he is but one could be waiting for a long time for the answer.

Furthermore, there is no sense in deluding one’s self into thinking that another apology on top of previous apologies is what Big Aboriginal is really after.


Pope Francis should publicly tell PM Trulander to cram it.


“Anger” Moved the Aboriginal Vote

Wait for it….

Harper saw the increased political activism amongst First Nations during the Idle No More movement and thought “we’ve got to make sure these people don’t vote,” Cameron said. She wanted to prove him wrong.

“Harper’s intent was to suppress the indigenous vote and that motivated me,” said Cameron, a former NDP candidate. “It just caught on. I think the excitement of getting rid of the Harper government, showing Harper that his oppression tactics weren’t going to work – I think that was a huge motivator for many people who decided to step up.”


This is the same Harper who demanded financial transparency from band chiefs.

Trudeau did not.

Enjoy your sloth and corruption, guys. You went out in droves to get it.


Aboriginal Groups Not Happy With Pope Francis’ Apologies

Well, I’m shocked:

In imploring U.S. lawmakers to show compassion to refugees, Pope Francis once again acknowledged the brutal treatment of the Indigenous peoples in the settlement of North America.

But the Catholic pontiff did not agree to a request from Canadian and American native leaders to meet during Francis’s first visit to the United States this week.

And he proceeded to canonize a Catholic missionary whose elevation to sainthood was strongly opposed by many First Nations.

The ever-aggrieved are never happy.


“They’re not taxpayers’ dollars…”

This was actually said:

Though many First Nations bands have not published their finances because of the long and complicated process, others, such as Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus, say they shouldn’t have to release the information to the general public.

“The monies that we’re talking about are not public funds, they’re not taxpayers’ dollars,” Erasmus said.



Almost 200 First Nations Reserves to Lose Funding Over Failure to Disclose

The Conservative government will start withholding millions of dollars in salaries and other funding from nearly 200 First Nations after they failed to publish detailed financial information online, as is required by a controversial federal law.

Under the First Nations Financial Transparency Act, 581 First Nations from across the country were required to post audited financial statements on the Internet by midnight Tuesday or risk losing non-essential funding from the federal government.

The information to be made public included how much money individual band leaders made during the year, no matter whether the income came from federal funding or the First Nation’s business interests.

The federal Aboriginal Affairs department said 191 – or nearly one-third – had not posted their information as of Wednesday. While more are expected to trickle in over the next few days, the figure is still striking after only 10 First Nations did not comply with the law last year.


Turtle Island News: Child welfare system part of ongoing ‘genocide’ says Manitoba aboriginal group

WINNIPEG – A Manitoba aboriginal group says the province’s child welfare system is part of an ongoing “genocide” and needs to be completely overhauled.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says First Nations children are being seized from their parents in record numbers and are being deprived of their family bonds and their culture.

The group has released a report which calls for more aboriginal control over services…