1- Assembly of First Nations supports motion to elect new chief in

CP, July 15 - HALIFAX - A new chief for the Assembly of First Nations will
be elected in December as many aboriginal leaders agreed Tuesday there is
a growing need to ensure native issues don't fall off the national agenda
ahead of a federal election next year. Many of the hundreds of chiefs at
the annual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations supported a motion to
choose their leader at a special chiefs assembly in Winnipeg, saying
issues including education and aboriginal title need to be raised with the
federal parties as they prepare for the October 2015 vote. "We really need
a national chief to deal with the current government of Canada, to deal
with Stephen Harper and to get ready for the federal election that will be
coming," Roger Fobister, chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation in Ontario,
told the meeting in Halifax. "We need someone to talk to the opposition,
Justin Trudeau, to see if he's really a government in waiting."

King, chief of Gull Bay First Nation in Ontario, echoed that position.
"There are too many important issues at stake here," King said. "The
organization as a whole requires someone at the helm to help guide and
direct us." The Assembly of First Nations has been without a leader since
Shawn Atleo unexpectedly stepped down in May amid criticism for his
support of proposed changes to federal legislation related to aboriginal
education. The federal government has since put the policy changes on
hold. The motion that passed Tuesday will see the next leader serve a
mandate of 3 1/2 years. Chief Wilf Adam of Lake Babine Nation in British
Columbia spoke about the need to have a strong national voice following
last month's groundbreaking Supreme Court decision to grant aboriginal
title for the first time in Canada. "It's important that we have a
national leader, especially at this time, especially when we have a very
important case that was won," said Adam. The Supreme Court ruled
unanimously to award 1,700 square kilometres of territory to B.C.'s
Tsilhqot'in First Nation, providing long-awaited clarification on how to
prove aboriginal title. The ruling also formally acknowledged the
legitimacy of indigenous land claims to wider territory beyond individual
settlement sites. Ghislain Picard, regional chief for Quebec and Labrador,
said he is considering running for national chief although he has not made
a final decision. "To me, what I was looking at was an election not too
far in the future," said Picard after the vote. "Many chiefs are
expressing the need to review the structure of the AFN, as a body, how it
operates and the changes that are needed in order to function in such a
way that it is more responsive to the reality of our First Nations."
Resource development, fisheries and the high number of murdered and
missing aboriginal women are among some of the other issues that will be
discussed at the three-day meeting, which concludes Thursday.
2-Ghislain Picard ponders run for top First Nations chief
Sherri Borden Colley, Chronicle Journal, July 15 - Some former residents
who were abused at the Shubenacadie Residential School and day schools are
still waiting for compensation, says Shubenacadie Band Chief Rufus Copage.
"There's got to be some discussion on that too," Copage said in an
interview outside of the 35th annual meeting of the Assembly of First
Nations in Halifax   "I figure there's still 30 to 40 people that are
still waiting around for their money. The residential school took so much
away from us." Over 130 church and government-run residential schools were
located across the country, and the last school closed in 1996. In 2007,
the federal government settled a class action with the Assembly of First
Nations for pulling generations of native children away from their
families and placing them in the schools.  The Indian Residential Schools
Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008. Prime
Minister Stephen Harper apologized that year to survivors, and each
received financial compensation and an opportunity for counselling. Next
steps and support for survivors of Indian residential schools will be
discussed at Wednesday's sessions. About 1,100 delegates, including 300
chiefs, are registered for the assembly, which wraps up Thursday. The
Indian Brook First Nation, home to the Shubenacadie band, is the largest
reserve on Mainland Nova Scotia, with a population of 2,500, of which
about 1,400 are on-reserve band members. "Fighting for our treaty rights
is really important. Now people are looking at our rights across the
country," Copage said.  A Supreme Court of Canada decision last month
granting aboriginal title for the first time to B.C.'s Tsilhqot'in First
Nation, awarding it 1,700 square kilometres of territory, may help Nova
Scotia Mi'kmaq as well, Copage said. "Because we're pre-Confederation
treaties - the 1752 (Mi'kmaq) treaty," he said. Treaty implementation,
claims and land rights are also on the agenda. Ghislain Picard, regional
chief for Quebec and Labrador, is pondering a run for national chief of
the assembly. "It's still under consideration. I have not made a final
decision yet," Picard told reporters during a break Tuesday. The assembly
will decide on a process for selecting a new leader this week. Shawn
Atleo, the assembly's former national chief, resigned in May following a
five-year term. He resigned following criticism of his support of proposed
changes to federal legislation related to aboriginal education. An
election for a new national chief will take place in December. Picard said
the new leader must be both a diplomatic and aggressive leader. "If you
look at both the Supreme Court decision out of British Columbia three
weeks ago and its significance, and what it means to all First Nations
across the country, obviously it didn't come about easy," Picard said.
"There's been a strong stand taken by (the Tsilhqot'in First Nation) and
Chief (Roger) William. But, as well, we have to find a way to engage."
"Now is crucial time for the leaderless assembly," Eskasoni Chief Leroy
Denny said in an interview. "The vote is for the best interest of our
people, our children, the future, the treaties. We just have to find a way
to work well together and I believe in our people."
3- Family, disabled teen honoured at Assembly of First Nations conference
MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE, Chronicle Journal, July 15 - An aboriginal family from
Nova Scotia was formally recognized Tuesday at the Assembly of First
Nations annual conference in Halifax. Delegates stood and applauded after
an announcement was made about a recent federal government decision to
drop its appeal of a court ruling involving the care of severely disabled
teen Jeremy Meawasige of the Pictou Landing reserve. He has autism,
cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Attendees at the national First
Nations meeting were asked to stand in recognition of Meawasige, his
mother, Maurina Beadle, and others who supported them and battled Ottawa.
Since the young man lives on a reserve, his care is the responsibility of
the federal government. Ottawa wanted to cap monthly payments at about
$2,000; his care costs the Pictou Landing band council $6,000 to $8,200
per month, news reports have said. A Federal Court agreed with Beadle last
year when it ruled the government was wrong to cover only a portion of the
costs hooked to his well-being. CBC News has reported Beadle's lawyer was
told last Friday the government was yanking its appeal. Stan Beardy, a
regional chief from Ontario, had prefaced a discussion on native health
issues Tuesday afternoon with a brief tribute to Meawasige, Beadle and the
small Pictou Landing community. He said the family is "a true inspiration
to all of us." Beardy told delegates the assembly is working on a national
health strategy for natives and the program is expected to be launched
next spring.
4- First Nations target drilling
AARON BESWICK, Chronicle Journal, July 15 -A proposal by Corridor
Resources Inc. to drill a test well for oil and gas has caught the
attention of industry, cash-strapped provincial governments, aboriginal
leaders and environmental groups. This morning, the First Nations Alliance
for the Protection of the Gulf of St. Lawrence will host an information
session at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax to explain why
they are opposed to the drilling. Meanwhile, three aboriginal fishing
boats from Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula will be at the site where Corridor
intends to drill, off Newfoundland's southwestern coast, to protest. "We
have rights and we have to be consulted," Chief Claude Jeannotte of the
Micmac Nation of Gespeg said Tuesday. "We're not against economic
development but there are a lot of questions the (Canada-Newfoundland and
Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board) cannot answer." The southern Gulf of
St. Lawrence is underlain by a sedimentary basin up to 12 kilometres deep
and, according to a 2009 resource assessment by the Geological Survey of
Canada, contains all the necessary geological structures for a
commercially viable petroleum resource. That survey estimated the
potential for 39 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.5 billion
barrels of oil in the southern gulf and adjacent areas based upon
geological formations and the 10 wells that have been drilled in the gulf
since the 1940s. Corridor's application to drill a test well in the
Laurentian Channel at a site called Old Harry is being reviewed by
Newfoundland and Labrador's energy regulator. "New areas of the world to
do exploration are getting fewer and the Gulf of St. Lawrence is starting
to come back on the radar screen of companies," said Paul Barnes, Atlantic
Canada manager for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "The
companies are watching two things: what activity Corridor may take and,
secondly, how the regulatory regime in that area gets worked out between
the federal government and Quebec and New Brunswick." The two provinces
are negotiating with Ottawa to set up their own offshore regulatory
authorities similar to the ones in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and
Labrador.  Setting up those boards would give oil and gas companies the
security of knowing the provincial governments support development of the
resource for the entire gulf. In February, Quebec announced it would
contribute up to $115 million to finance $190 million of exploratory work
on Anticosti Island in the gulf. The increased shipping activity, the
effects of seismic testing on blue whales and the potential for oil spills
has groups like Sierra Club Canada up in arms. On Monday, the Sierra Club
and the Save our Seas and Shores coalition announced a fundraising
campaign with the goal of raising $10,000 to help their Blue Whale
Campaign fight oil and gas development in the gulf. "With a population so
small, the slightest misstep at Old Harry could spell the end of the blue
whale," said Zack Metcalfe, a spokesman for the Sierra Club. He said
seismic testing performed in the search for oil and gas can interfere with
the feeding and mating habits of the endangered whale and has the
potential to deafen the animal. Increased ship activity could lead to more
ship strikes.  For its part, in a written response, Corridor said it is
confident it can drill without adverse environmental consequences.
"Hundreds of exploratory wells have been drilled safely in the offshore
waters of Eastern Canada, where governments and the industry have
co-operated in developing one of the most robust and effective regulatory
regimes in the world," the statement said.
5- First Nations education set to be big topic at second day of AFN
Hillary Windsor<http://www.news957.com/inside/staff/hillary-windsor/>,
News 95.7, Jul 16 - Report a map
Some heavy-hitting issues will be addressed at the Assembly of First
Nations annual general meeting today, including Indian Residential School
survivors and First Nations education. Chiefs from across Canada must
decide what to do now that they've rejected the Conservative government's
bill to reform First Nations education. NDP leader, Tom Mulcair was at the
assembly in Halifax yesterday and told News 95.7 Stephen Harper needs to
stop imposing his will with regards to the education of First Nations
children. "We have to remember why we've apologized," he said. "We removed
their inherent rights, we removed their culture, their language, and we
treated those children in a most despicable manner. Now that we've done
that, we have to understand we have to work with the First Nations, we
have to respect them." Yesterday's topic of discussion was the assembly's
decision to elect a new national chief, which is something regional chief
of Nova Scotia, Morley Googoo, said was needed. "I think we need to go
back to our seven teachings and try to really took at how we can
collectively make progress so we can be stronger." The new chief will be
elected in December at a special assembly in Winnipeg. The three-day
conference continues today in Halifax and wraps up tomorrow.
6-First Nations education reforms up for debate in Halifax Steve Rennie
The Canadian Press, , July 15 - OTTAWA - Controversial changes to
aboriginal education will be up for debate today in Halifax at the annual
meeting of the Assembly of First Nations. Chiefs from across Canada must
decide what to do now that they've rejected the Conservative government's
bill to reform First Nations education. The legislation deeply divided the
aboriginal community and precipitated the abrupt departure of Shawn Atleo
as national chief of the AFN. Some saw it as a first step - with a
substantial dollar amount attached - that could improve the lives of First
Nations children. Others viewed it as the government exerting too much
control over aboriginal education. Jaime Battiste, the AFN's interim
regional chief for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, says many chiefs aren't
dead-set against the bill and are open to compromise. "I heard a lot of
chiefs saying that they don't want to throw the baby out with the bath
water, that there's room for discussion," he said in an interview. "I
think the chiefs are looking for a commitment on equitable funding from
the government, and they're willing to work with the government to ensure
that they're happy that their money will be spent in an accountable
manner. "However, I think that the chiefs aren't willing to create a
bureaucracy in Ottawa for our education. I think that each region, each
nation, has their own people that they would rather have working on that
than a bigger bureaucracy out of Ottawa." The Conservatives say their bill
will remain on hold and no new money will be spent until the AFN gets
behind the legislation. Regional chiefs briefly showed their support for
the education bill by attending an event in February with Prime Minister
Stephen Harper and Atleo, but that support quickly evaporated. Whether
$1.9 billion tied to the original bill is gone, too, is another question.
A spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt would only
repeat a talking point from earlier this year when asked if the money is
still on the table. "Our government is extremely disappointed that the
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) did not honour its agreement with the
government," said an emailed statement attributed to Valcourt spokeswoman
Andrea Richer. "As we have said all along, this legislation will not
proceed without the support of AFN, and we have been clear that we will
not invest new money in an education system that does not serve the best
interests of First Nations children; funding will only follow real
education reforms." Chiefs from across Canada voted in May to reject the
Conservative education reforms, and they demanded a new agreement with
First Nations that provides transfer payments to aboriginal communities.
They also want the government to provide $1.9 billion tied to the original
bill immediately, with a 4.5 per cent escalator until a new deal on
education is reached. Valcourt says too much time and effort has gone into
the bill to start over again. The minister says the bill meets the five
conditions outlined by the AFN and chiefs during a meeting in December.
The legislation remains on hold as the government considers its options.

7-Wab Kinew to lead the Assembly of First Nations?

Drew Hayden Taylor, Toronto Now, July 15 -  There is a vacancy atop
Canada's leading aboriginal political organization, the Assembly of First
Nations (AFN), and it's been said that nature hates a vacuum. Native
politics, like non-native politics, tends to follow the laws of physics.
Back in May, Shawn Atleo, the then national chief, abruptly abdicated
amidst controversy over his support of the federal government's aboriginal
education act, Bill C-33. Atleo said he didn't want to be a "lightning
rod" for criticism of the policy. Many prominent and talented prospective
candidates have been doodling "National Chief" in front of their names
ever since.  The most interesting of those pondering sticking an
indigenous toe in the murky waters of national politics is Wab
Kinew<http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=191131>. The chief
is dead; long live the chief.  A growing media presence, Kinew has
travelled many trails in his 32 years. He's the University of Winnipeg's
first director of indigenous inclusion and the host of Fault Lines on
Al-Jazeera America. He hosted CBC-TV's national documentary series 8th
Fire and won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award in 2009 for his rap
CD, Live by The Drum. He championed Joseph Boyden's novel The
http://www.nowtoronto.com/books/story.cfm?content=194937> in this
year's Canada Reads competition on CBC Radio and won against formidable
opponents like former ambassador to the UN Stephen Lewis. He's signed a
deal with Penguin Canada to write his autobiography. At 32!  The man has
his finger on many of the issues circulating through the country's First
Nations communities. But is that enough?  Yes, Kinew is charismatic,
smart, knowledgeable. But it will take more than that to handle 633
rambunctious chiefs coming from all different directions in Canada, plus a
prime minister who most native leaders feel is just a little to the right
of Custer. Many still wince at the PM's decision to shake hands with a
pair of Chinese pandas in Toronto instead of a group of Cree teenagers who
had walked from the James Bay area to meet with the man.  Some tout Kinew
as the Justin Trudeau of the aboriginal community, the bringer of new,
innovative ideas to what is essentially an old boys' club. He's not only
camera-pleasing, but, like Trudeau, is the son of a prominent politician
and academic, and he's very popular with progressive First Nations
leaders. But is a rock star what native politics needs to take on Harper
and win? Kinew tells me, "We are in a unique era when First Nations people
are moving ahead in big ways but still face too many challenges. At the
same time, there is a stronger desire among average Canadians to get
things right with indigenous people. I want to help make sure we take
advantage of those two big trends and take a real step towards the vision
our ancestors had of sharing the land [for our] mutual benefit."
"Education, reform of AFN governance and nation-building" are important to
him. But the "biggest issue is making the AFN financially inde-pen-dent of
the federal government." Sounds like strong medicine.  There's this hope:
"There isn't a better [native] communicator in Canada today," says Hayden
King, director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson
University.  But then there's the reality: "The AFN is in decline," says
King. "And has been for some time. I'm not sure even Wab can save it."
Kinew's biggest weakness is his air of urban intellectuality, of
remoteness from the reserve grassroots. These are the people who regularly
deal with black mould in their houses, if they have houses, or with being
flooded out by temperamental rivers, or facing law officials in severe
need of equity and diversity training. In the last AFN election several
years ago, many of the candidates had that same aura of sophistication.
But native chiefs want their leader to be both smart and homey, somewhere
between a low-fat, decaf latte and an instant coffee spiked with Carnation
Evaporated Milk. Native author and activist Lee Maracle believes Kinew has
the right stuff. "He is connected to many of the issues indigenous people
face, has a solid view of colonialism but is an extremely reasonable and
intelligent man. I believe he would consult more effectively with his
constituents and move ahead with them in mind. He is not afraid to take
the lead but is always aware of those he stands with." It's important to
remember that the prime function of the national chief of the AFN is to
represent status reserve members in Ottawa, those people in First Nations
communities scattered all across Canada: fishermen, ranchers, small
businessmen, traditional hunters, the poor, the well off, those with land
claims and those who sit in their kitchen writing articles about potential
politicians. Off-reserve and non-status aboriginal people are not included
in the AFN mandate. They're represented by the Congress of Aboriginal
Peoples, whence sprang Stephen Harper Senate appointee Patrick Brazeau.
The less said about that the better.  Mastery of the job involves juggling
around half a million people with over a dozen separate and different
languages, cultures, priorities, problems and prejudices.  Dan David, a
Mohawk journalist from Kanehsatake, has mixed emotions about Kinew's
interest in Indian country's top job. "As an academic, he's been in a
position to be able to speak his mind. Academia provides him a platform to
say things that might provoke. [But] so far, his comments have been aimed
at tweaking white guilt and sentiment. What he's said on a national
platform has been relatively safe. He's also said nothing that's been
controversial to anyone in Indian country. And that's where it really
counts if he's going to run for national thief." (The "thief" reference is
a native joke. He means national chief.) Native author Thomas King, who
ran federally for the NDP, once told me that as a politician you are not
allowed to possess a sense of irony. Quoted out of context, it can kill
you.  Kinew will definitely have his hands full if he decides to run. One
Mi'kmaq journalist from Nova Scotia who declined to be named here doubts
he will sweep in and take the election by storm.  "In order to
successfully run for national chief, a candidate has to be known amongst
the chiefs who elect him. This means the candidate has to already have
leadership experience at the national political level. He/she would have
experience as a chief of a First Nation, have taken up executive positions
in regional and national political organizations. The candidate needs to
do major schmoozing during AFN meetings. That may hurt him in the long
run." Still, it's an interesting idea. A national chief who can talk about
literature as well as policy. Harper may be able to play the piano, but
Kinew can rap. Maybe he's just what native politics needs.
8-AFN national chief election set for Winnipeg in
Tim Fontaine, APTN National News, July 15, HALIFAX-The election for a new
national chief of the Assembly of First Nations will take place in
Winnipeg this coming December. Chiefs and proxies made the decision this
afternoon at the AFN's annual general assembly in Halifax, after
considerable debate. Some chiefs argued that more time was needed to work
out organizational issues, including a rift a between the Confederacy of
Nations and the AFN Executive. Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation Chief Gordon
Beardy felt that with so many divisions within the organization and the
unprecedented resignation of the former national chief, more time was
needed to heal and to look at the organization as a whole. Dakota Tipi
First Nation Chief David Pashe was one of the Chiefs calling for an early
election. "We need a national chief almost immediately." he told the
assembly. Pashe said the next national chief needs to take a softer
approach with Ottawa. "We need a national chief that can work with the
federal government. Not a 'vigilante chief' who is going to wield a
hammer," said Pashe. The 2015 Federal election was also cited by many
chiefs, who felt a leader must be in place by then. The Chiefs were
presented with 3 options, with dates that included October 2014, December
2014 or July 2015. All included Winnipeg as the host province. Grand Chief
David Harper, whose organization the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO)
won an earlier bid to host the election, welcomed the decision to come to
Winnipeg in December. Grand Chief Harper told the assembly that MKO is
"financially ready" to host the election and has the full support of the
province and Winnipeg. But the decision was not without scrutiny. Serpent
River Chief Isadore Day questioned the validity of the vote, saying it may
have violated the AFN Charter. But the meeting's chair Harold Tarbell said
he was confident that the Charter allowed for Chiefs in Assembly to call
an election. Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence told the Assembly that the
time has come to open the election to First Nation citizens, not just
chiefs and proxies. Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Donavon Fontaine cautioned
that holding the election in December risked losing the full attention of
First Nation chiefs. Chief Fontaine stated for him and many other leaders,
"families come first." The meetings continue this afternoon with a
discussion about restructuring or reforming the Assembly of First Nations.
First Nations stories of Interest:
1-Athabasca Chipewyan abruptly pull out of Grand Rapids pipeline hearing
Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal, July 15 - EDMONTON - In a dramatic turn,
the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation abruptly pulled out of the Grand
Rapids pipeline hearing late Tuesday saying the process favours industry
and does not address concerns of First Nations and the environment.  "The
Grand Rapids hearings demonstrated how the Alberta government is willing
to put the cart before the horse," said Chief Allan Adam in an release
early Tuesday evening.  "TransCanada's application included incomplete
studies and reports, yet the Alberta Energy Regulator still granted a
fast-track hearing where TransCanada submitted last minute evidence ..."
The company has not completed a caribou protection plan and impacts of the
pipeline on hunting and fishing, said Adam.  "The AER puts us in an
impossible position," said Adam, who called Grand Rapids the "mother of
all pipelines" designed to feed into the Keyston XL to the U.S or Energy
East, also a TransCanada proposal.  Earlier in the day, the band was
unhappy that TransCanada was allowed to enter as evidence its final
environment protection plan, a document the band did not see until Tuesday
mid morning as it was about to begin its presentation to the AER hearing
panel.  That caused a dust-up at the hearing with the First Nation asking
for more time to review the proposed protection plan while the company
argued any delay would be unacceptable. The protection plan reveals the
500-km, $3 billion twin pipelines from Edmonton to just west of Fort
McMurray will cross 26 rivers and streams in the northern leg and outlines
measures to protect the water ways and fish habitat during construction
which is slated to begin this fall.  The AFCN is "frustrated at having
this sprung on us," said lawyer Lorraine Land, adding this puts the band
"at a severe disadvantage" at the hearing.  She called for an 18-month
delay of the hearing to give adequate time to review the final document
and assess its recommendations to protect the pipeline corridor.  The new
document is crucial, "especially given the new scope of the AER" for
decision-making on enforcement of environmental laws, she said.  But
TransCanada objected strongly to any delay in the hearings, noting that
the company has gone beyond regulatory requirements by producing this
environment protection report. Under provincial rules, TransCanada is not
required to do an environmental protection plan for a provincial pipeline
in the so-called "green zone" in the north, company lawyer Dufferin Harper
stressed. "To adjourn a hearing for a document we are not required to
provide, we think that is unacceptable," Harper told the hearing.  "It's
ludicrous to say we should delay for 18 months" given the AFCN has had a
copy of the draft plan since last fall and there are not substantial
differences."  In its ruling, the AER hearing panel gave the AFCN until
Wednesday morning to review the company's plans.  The panel requested the
company produce the environmental protection plan for the 900,000 barrel a
day project which involves one pipeline to ship bitumen and a smaller
parallel pipe for diluent.  The AER does require an environmental
protection plan for pipelines in the so-called southern "white zone" of
the province, and that has also been submitted by the company, said Darin
Barter, AER spokesman. At this time, companies seeking approvals could be
required to produce a different study, called an environmental impact
assessment, outlining the environmental footprint of the project for
Alberta Environment.  But Alberta Environment told TransCanada such a
study was not required in this case, TransCanada confirmed.  Earlier in
the day, the Alberta government came under fire for telling TransCanada it
did not have to consult with the AFCN - even though it designated other
bands further from the proposed pipeline as required consultation.  The
province's fledgling Aboriginal Consultation Office made the ruling that
the AFCN, with reserve land 100 km from the northern hub, did not have to
be consulted while Saddle Lake First nation, more than 150 east of the
pipeline route, must be consulted. But TransCanada proceeded with
consultation with the AFCN anyway "on the basis of our good neighbour
policy," spokesman Jeff Paquin told the hearing.  "We are in for the long
haul and we want good relations," said Paquin, noting the company has
plans for three more projects in the area. The Aboriginal Consultation
Office, which is not giving evidence at the hearing, gave no reasons for
its decision not to designate the Athabasca Chipewyan band for
consultation. Despite the government decision, the hearing panel gave the
band standing at the hearing. The regulator is not bound by the decisions
of the Aboriginal Consultation Office.
2-Trashing sensitive Indian school survivor accounts 'irreversible,' court

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press, July 15 - TORONTO - The sensitive
testimony of survivors of Canada's notorious residential school system
should be sealed for decades rather than destroyed, because destruction
would damage the historical record, an Ontario court heard Tuesday.In
making a pitch to keep the records, a lawyer for the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission said their preservation does not have to equal
their publication. "Destruction of those documents will have a deep,
irreversible impact on the state of the record," lawyer Julian Falconer
said. "The minute you destroy the information, you alter the ability for
generations to come to remind people of what was done to these victims."
At issue are records of the often heart-rending and emotional accounts of
thousands of survivors of the residential school system who sought
compensation for sexual, physical and psychological abuse. Their evidence
under the independent assessment process - separate from thousands of
others who spoke publicly to the judicial commission about their
experiences - was intended to be confidential. The head of the
adjudication process, Dan Shapiro, with backing from a privacy expert,
argues the only practical way to ensure the promised confidentiality and
avoid revictimizing survivors is to destroy the documents once their
claims are finalized. In urging destruction of the materials, Shapiro's
lawyer, Will McDowell, argued the compensation process for those who
suffered serious harm was designed to address the needs of the individual,
not of the collective. Further harm could still occur decades down the
road if, for example, the names of abusers became public, he said. "It
would be a betrayal of trust again," McDowell told Ontario Superior Court
Justice Paul Perell. "Claimants shouldn't have to be forever vigilant
about the prospects that these documents will be released." McDowell
proposed a retention period of several years, after which the documents
would be shredded. Court also heard that part of the mandate of the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission is to create as complete a record as
possible of the residential school system and its legacy. There are ways
to protect privacy without threatening history, Falconer told court. He
proposed sealing the documents for at least 30 years. During that time, an
"outreach" would occur to try to get survivors to agree to making their
accounts part of the trove of material that will be housed at the National
Research Centre at the University of Manitoba. If that consent cannot be
obtained, the materials would be transferred from Aboriginal Affairs after
the 30-year waiting period to Library and Archives Canada, which would
deal with them under its normal document protocols. "You're not deciding
how to protect history today," Falconer told the judge. Perell, who
fretted he could be doing harm no matter how he ruled, made it clear he
was struggling with balancing claimants' privacy interests with the need
for a comprehensive historical record. He indicated a willingness to order
some length of retention period - perhaps 15 years - followed by
destruction where claimants have not agreed to archiving of their
documents. To "take the Indian out of the child," about 150,000 First
Nations, Inuit and Metis children were forced to attend residential
schools over much of the last century. The last school closed outside
Regina in 1996. Ry Moran, head of the to-be-built residential school
archive, has said the voices of thousands of survivors would forever be
silenced if their testimony was destroyed. The hearing is slated to wrap
up Wednesday.
3-Canadian policies don't meet 'genocide test'

Michael Melanson, WFP, July 15 - Mary AGNES WELCH writes (The genocide
-dont-meet-genocide-test-267286851.html>, July 12) that a conversation is
underway about "whether the treatment of indigenous peoples -- the forced
relocations, the man-made famines, the loss of land, the outlawing of
religious practices and especially the removal of children over the last
century -- meets the genocide test." Some academics and activists want the
public to regard Canada's past treatment of indigenous peoples as
unqualified genocide. "A fuller historic picture" would correct
perception. "It's probably faster and more effective to start with the
next generation than fighting entrenched approaches based on denial," says
Charlene Bearhead. Implying an equivalency with Holocaust denial, Bearhead
stigmatizes anyone who challenges the charge of genocide. Bearhead and
others have judged Canada guilty, and all that remains is to compel
Canadians under moral and political duress to confess to their national
crime. As Welch concedes, there were few mass killings or instances of
direct physical destruction in Canadian history. Such acts comprise what
most people would understand as genocide. Faced with that absence of
slaughter, academics such as University of Manitoba sociologist Andrew
Woolford have been "teasing out" a more nuanced definition of genocide
based upon the seminal work of Raphael Lemkin. The destruction of culture,
Woolford has found, is a destruction of group "life" constituting
genocide. There is little chance of revising the United Nations Genocide
Convention, so what end does revising the definition of genocide serve?
Perhaps this reassessment of history will further reconciliation. Bearhead
has deferred reconciliation for at least another generation, but Welch
reveals how unlikely reconciliation is at any time. For aboriginal
peoples, genocide "describes neatly not just what happened over the last
century, but what's continuing today." Besides the high rates of
tuberculosis on reserve and unresolved treaty claims, there are also the
missing or murdered aboriginal women and the huge rates of child
apprehension and youth suicides. The RCMP showed most of the murdered
aboriginal women were killed by people they knew. Southern Chiefs
Organization Grand Chief Terry Nelson said recently the high number of
aboriginal children in CFS care was "the definition of genocide." Since
devolution, those seizures have been undertaken by aboriginal agencies.
Groups do not target themselves for genocide and suicides, by definition,
are not genocide, but wholesale judgment seems to be the point. The
furtive prospecting of Lemkin's work fails the prosecution: "(Genocide) is
intended rather to signify a co-ordinated plan of different actions aiming
at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national
groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves." The alleged
genocidal actions of Canada are scattered throughout its history. How is
Lemkin's standard of co-ordinated intention and action possible given such
a span of years and different governments? It is only possible to construe
such co-ordination if one sees colonialism as a unifying medium of
conspiracy, and genocide as a fundamental characteristic of European
settlement. In other words, it is only possible to see such co-ordination
as a function of race where homogeneity and constancy of will can be
explained. The accusers claim the residential schools meet the
convention's fifth clause: forcibly transferring children of the group to
another group. The transfer has to be permanent: Students were able to
return home for summer and after graduation. Educating a people
presupposes their continued physical existence in any case. Proving intent
has been a persistent challenge to the accusers so while there may be
scant evidence of mass killing, "there are many cases of policies whose
indirect intent was to destroy culture at the very least, and First
Nations (people) would argue the upshot was the same -- the end of them as
a people." There is no such thing as unintended genocide by anyone's
definition, and it follows that indirect intent is not intent: The
perpetrators have to know what they are doing. If Woolford et al are
correct in their assessment of Canada's genocide, then we are left with
the prospect that Canada has committed history's longest -- and unpunished
-- genocide, something far worse than the Holocaust, the image of which
image the term popularly conjures. In Accounting for Genocide: Canada's
Bureaucratic Assault on Aboriginal People, authors Dean Neu and Richard
Therrien suggest how terrible is the reckoning: "Which is worse -- the
murdering of millions of human beings over a short period of time, or
slowly dissolving their existence through dehumanization and disease and
coercion over several generations? "Canadian Indian policy may not have
been as overt or concentrated as the Holocaust... but it was nonetheless
violent and achieved much the same ends. It may even be said Canadian
policy has been more effective than Nazi policy, since none of Canada's
First Nations have yet to regain full statehood, whereas the Jews have
Israel." Neu and Therrien suggest the Nazi death camps "may have found
their infancy in the social engineering projects of Canada." Rather than
being comparable genocidaires, we are worse for our inspiring example, so
denying the Canadian genocide is worse than denying the Holocaust, more so
for the fact the perpetrators have escaped justice and continue to commit
the crime. Denial of the current crime is complicity. It is difficult to
see what is gained by revising the definition of genocide to the point
where Canadian aboriginal policy can be condemned in total. Assigning
victimhood so broadly is dehumanizing in itself and an insidious assertion
of superiority. Militant aboriginal nationalists use accusations of
genocide to justify their quest for statehood. For left-leaning moralists,
labelling Canada as history's greatest genocidal state is the chance to
damn the Establishment absolutely and shepherd its orphans to righteous
contrition. But for the aboriginal individual, how do they reconcile their
self to a state that is still trying to kill them? The narrative of
ongoing genocide leads logically to radical dissociation and as history
shows, it's not far from the prophylactic to the pre-emptive for a
national community that believes its existence is imminently threatened.