Canada and Indigenous peoples 2022

Written by  //  May 10, 2022  //  Canada  //  No comments

Achieving clean drinking water
in First Nations communities

10 May
First Nations leaders say Quebec has ignored their pleas to be exempt from Bill 96
Kanien:keha’ka and speakers of Kanien’kéha — the Mohawk language — are raising concern over a proposed Quebec law that would update the province’s existing Charter of the French Language.
(CBC) Quebec says it won’t change Bill 96 to exempt Indigenous youth from having to take extra French courses in CEGEP, despite mounting calls from First Nations leaders who say their efforts to rebuild their languages and cultures are in jeopardy.
Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer — who held a news conference at the National Assembly Tuesday alongside Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador and Gesgapegiag First Nation Chief John Martin — said her community would hold protest actions until it felt heard.

11 April
Outdoor education program gives First Nations youth in Saskatchewan a new taste of old ways of life
Learning to ride dog sleds, hunt game and pick berries and medicine, students at White Bear First Nations are discovering the benefits of a land-based education
The program, which incorporates activities like picking berries, harvesting traditional medicines, tanning hides and trapping, is not only helping Indigenous students get the credits they need to graduate, it is helping them embrace their traditional way of life.
Kevin Lewis, an assistant professor in curriculum studies at the University of Saskatchewan, has been certifying land-based educators for over 20 years in northern Saskatchewan. He says the curriculum for courses like Mr. Schmidt’s comes from the rivers, the wind, the land, and traditional teachings, and often reflects the spiritual side of Indigenous people. It is an authentic experience, with culture braided throughout the class activities. Education like this revitalizes an Indigenous way of living, he says. It helps instill an appreciation of lifelong learning and reinforces a sense of Indigenous identity.
The demise of traditional Indigenous practices is one of the painful consequences of the residential schools system, he says. Many young Indigenous people haven’t learned these traditions because the relatives who would’ve taught them were taken away from their families and forced to learn residential school curriculum.

1 April

Pope apologizes for ‘deplorable conduct’ of some Catholics in residential schools

(WaPo) After years of resisting calls to do so, Pope Francis on Friday apologized for the “deplorable conduct” of some Catholics in Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous children, saying he was “deeply grieved” by the stories of “suffering, hardship, discrimination and various forms of abuse” from survivors.
Speaking to an audience that included an Indigenous delegation that traveled from Canada to the Vatican this week to press for an apology, Francis said he felt “shame” for the role Catholics have had “in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.”
“All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the pope said at the Apostolic Palace. “For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness, and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.”
Francis reiterated a pledge made last year to visit Canada, where he said he would be “better able” to express his “closeness.”

Canadian Bishops welcome Pope’s apology to Indigenous peoples
(Vatican news) Pope Francis asked for pardon during an audience with indigenous Canadians Friday in the Vatican, in the wake of recent revelations of abuse in Canada’s residential school system. The Pope also expressed his hope to visit the nation this year
Pope apologises to indigenous Canadians for wrongs at residential schools
Pope hopes to visit Canada in July; jokes: “not in winter”
Indigenous leaders pleased, call apology “historic”
Pope feels “sorrow and shame” for attempt to erase culture
Prime Minister Trudeau praises apology, welcomes visit

30 March
B.C. reveals 89-point action plan to advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples
Government and Indigenous leaders herald 5-year plan as historic step toward reconciliation
The 89 actions address a wide range of issues, including governance, land and water stewardship, salmon, education, anti-indigenous racism, child welfare, policing and justice, data collection, health care, sport and recreation, Indigenous languages, climate change, B.C. place names, cannabis policy and high-speed internet access.
Each of the 89 actions notes which provincial ministry is responsible for its implementation.
Premier John Horgan called the plan a roadmap to do “what has never been done on planet Earth before.”
“This … is a first for any government in the world. It will drive transformative change in the relationship with Indigenous Peoples and help us build a brighter future for everyone,” said Horgan.

11 March
First Nations drinking water settlement open for claims from communities, individuals
$8-billion settlement follows class-action lawsuits over unsafe drinking water
After a years-long fight for clean drinking water, Indigenous communities and individuals in Canada are a step closer to receiving money from a class-action lawsuit that was settled with the federal government for $8 billion last year.
The claims process under the settlement opened up to submissions on Monday. Indigenous communities now have until Dec. 22 to file their claims, while individuals have until March 7, 2023.
The legal fight began in 2019, when two separate lawsuits were filed against the federal government — one by Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation, both from Ontario, in the Federal Court of Canada, and the second by Tataskweyak Cree Nation in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench — concerning prolonged drinking-water advisories on First Nations reserves across the country.

10 March
Canadian pipeline groups spend big to pose as Indigenous champions
Oil and gas companies are ‘Indigenous-washing’ their ads to garner support for projects on First Nation lands
The fossil fuel groups spent some C$122,000 (US$95,249) on more than 400 targeted Facebook and Instagram ads over the past two years relating to various oil and gas projects throughout the country. The ads spiked last November during Indigenous land defense actions on the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia and solidarity protests across Canada. The vast majority of the ads, which were shown some 21m times in total, were linked to the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the site of intense protest and violent police crackdown in recent years.

3 January
Ottawa reaches $40-billion deal with First Nations over child welfare
The federal government has reached a $40-billion agreement in principle related to First Nations child welfare, with half the money earmarked to compensate adults who went through the system as children and the other half directed toward reform.
The parties reached the agreement on New Year’s Eve, on the last day of negotiations, which included the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and representatives of class-action lawsuits related to Indigenous child welfare. The federal government will reveal details of the non-binding agreement on Tuesday.
Mary Teegee, who represents British Columbia on the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society’s board, confirmed on Sunday that $20-billion will be directed toward compensation and $20-billion to reform.

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