Update on things happening in Rotary and indigenous communities, including current events – Rotary luncheons with guest speakers, open community and cultural gatherings, etc.

 

 

 Ottawa moves closer on DNA database

Kathryn Blaze Carlson  <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/authors/kathryn-blaze-carlson> OTTAWA - The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Oct. 27 2014, 11:21 AM EDT Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 28  2014, 7:44 AM EDT

Ottawa is one step closer to creating a DNA-based national missing-persons tool it says will assist coroners and police in solving cases and identifying human remains - a victory for families who have long pressed for the database despite privacy concerns and funding obstacles.

The proposed legislation, introduced in the Conservatives' latest budget bill, is the culmination of more than a decade of advocacy by those calling for a system that can compare missing persons' DNA with samples culled from unidentified human remains. Victims' families say the national database will give them the comfort of knowing that if their missing loved one is in a morgue somewhere, at least they'll know.

Judy Peterson, whose daughter disappeared at the age of 14 in 1993, has been a key proponent of the measure and was on hand at the government's
announcement in Ottawa on Monday. "When I understood that I couldn't put Lindsey's DNA into a databank to find out if her remains were anywhere in
Canada, I was horrified," she said. "I'm absolutely thrilled to see the legislation in print."

The budget bill is aimed at creating a missing-persons index, a human-remains index and an index for relatives whose profiles may be valuable in locating loved ones or identifying remains. The new indexes will be housed within the RCMP's National DNA Data Bank facility, which already holds a crime-scene index and a convicted-offenders index.

The legislation says profiles uploaded to the missing-persons index and the human-remains index can be compared against those in the crime-scene index
and the convicted-offenders index - a move that could set up a battle with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which said it doesn't object to a missing-persons database so long as it's tightly secured and independent from the criminal indexes.

The Privacy Commissioner's Office told The Globe and Mail it is reviewing the proposed amendments to the DNA Identification Act and will be looking
closely at the relationship between the new indexes and the existing criminal ones. The Criminal Lawyers' Association has also raised concerns about linking the various indexes, saying it's possible an intentionally "missing" person's DNA could innocently end up at a crime scene. The association argues police might then become aware of that person's whereabouts, infringing on privacy rights.

Ms. Peterson defended the government's plans, saying she wants to look for Lindsey in the crime-scene index because if her daughter was killed but no
remains were found, then it's possible a trace of Lindsey is in that index.

The proposed legislation also comes amid immense pressure on Ottawa to do more to tackle the issue of Canada's more than 1,181 murdered and missing
aboriginal women.

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1-An open letter to all Canadians and members of the media

October 24, 2014

On Wednesday, October 22, people across Canada stood together, collectively watching a tragedy unfold in Ottawa. Thoughts and prayers reached out from
all across the country in solidarity with those in the capital. I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.

Throughout the day, people tuned in to radios, live-streamed news broadcasts from their desks, and anxiously awaited each new tweet from reporters and
eye witnesses on the ground. Information was flying as fast as it could be spoken, typed and broadcast – and consumers were thirsty for every drop of
information; even if it was mostly speculation.

A really dangerous thing happens in this kind of information whirlwind. We allow our fears and biases to mix and mingle with news and fact. In the chaos of the whirlwind that had a whole nation spinning, people excused the racialized fears that were fed into our news cycle and into the collective Canadian psyche.

One reporter for the Globe and Mail reported on Twitter that "eyewitnesses say suspect has long dark hair and two said he appeared to be aboriginal."

Other reports claimed he looked "South American" or "Muslim".

These kinds of assumptions, which also proved not to be true, served only one purpose – to rationalize tragic violence as outside of the realm of the white-colonial state. In the case of Bill Curry this happened by labelling the perpetrator "Aboriginal".

Looking specifically at Mr. Curry's tweet, it is problematic in several ways.   

First, it relies on racial stereotypes of Aboriginal peoples to convey information. How does one "appear Aboriginal"? The only signifier used to express "Aboriginal-ness" in this example is long dark hair – a common racial stereotype of the modern Indian.

Second, this tweet threw fuel on a fire that was raging inside of the information whirlwind that used charged and emotionally amplified language like "terror" and "terrorism".

This type of language is risky when attached to a single act of violence, and has been seen to lead to new and amended legislation that further restricts civic freedoms both in Canada and the United States.

It becomes additionally problematic when used predominantly to describe acts of violence committed by people of colour. Once the identity of the shooter became known, the media slowly and subtly started shifting their language. No longer were they talking about an act of terror, they were talking about a Canadian born to a business man and a public servant who had "mental health problems" and who "seemed unstable," according to neighbours quoted in various news outlets Thursday morning.

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We thought we would share appreciation from a recipient for the recent delivery of the Wawahte books with whom HIP has supported.

We received the copies of your "Wawahte" book and DVD on Wednesday October 15th.  In the afternoon of the same day, I presented the material to the Teacher Librarians from our secondary schools.  All received one copy of the material.

Thank you for your generous donation of this material to each of our 33 secondary schools and specifically to support the Native Studies curriculum which students take in our system.

Regards,

Vincent Citriniti
Program Co-ordinator, Curriculum & Accountability Department
Toronto Catholic District School Board

First Nation brings Hydro protest to HQ Pimicikamak residents rally over Jenpeg

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS By: Ashley Prest

Posted: 10/24/2014 1:00 AM | Last Modified: 7:43 AM |

Backers of a First Nation's protest against Manitoba Hydro rallied Thursday at the Crown corporation's downtown headquarters.

The peaceful rally saw about 30 members of Pimicikamak First Nation protest over the Jenpeg generating station, located about 20 kilometres from Cross Lake, which is 525 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Last week, about 600 Pimicikamak residents evicted Manitoba Hydro employees from the Jenpeg station grounds, protesting what they say is the anitoba government's failure to honour the Northern Flood Agreement, signed in the 1970s after the Jenpeg station was built.

Pimicikamak council member Mervin Garrick spoke Thursday to the assembled crowd, representing Chief Cathy Merrick, who couldn't attend because her flight was
cancelled. Garrick said the action is being taken to force the government to restore a fair relationship with Pimicikamak.

"They have not fulfilled their promise to do environmental cleanup... to maximize employment for our people... to eradicate mass poverty and mass unemployment,"
Garrick said, noting 287 residents right now lack power because Manitoba Hydro cut them off when they could not afford to pay power bills which, at about $600 per
month, are among the highest in the province.

"We feel frustrated. We feel cheated. But we also feel determined," he said. "That is why we will stay at Jenpeg until the government and Hydro demonstrate that they are committed to restoring a fair relationship with Pimicikamak."

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First Nations Stories Dominating the News:

1-Membertou aboriginal summit ends with tribute to missing, murdered women

<http://www.capebretonpost.com/Author-Staff-%7E-The-Cape-Breton-Post/830/1> Staff ~
The Cape Breton Post, October 22 - MEMBERTOU — The National Aboriginal Women's Summit ended Wednesday with a tribute honouring missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls from across Canada. The tribute was called a Circle of Hope, and was preceded earlier in the day by a discussion about the issue, said Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association. "There is a parallel session to look at how a roundtable would be on missing and murdered
indigenous women, so there's going to be a side working group that's really interesting to see where we're moving that file," said Maloney. "They called on the
federal government to have a roundtable and they came back and said, 'Sure, if you want to pay for everything and if you want to admit that you're killing your own
people, then we'll have an inquiry.'" While Maloney said there's disappointment with the federal response, the same cannot be said about the province's reaction to
the issue. "They have supported a call for missing and murdered women and, unlike some other provinces which just talk about it, this province has actually stepped
up," said Maloney. "It's worked. And we're working together and trying to find solutions to deal with the issues facing aboriginal women, and this conference is
evidence of that commitment to the women and the women file." Premier Stephen McNeil spoke to the summit on Monday night and was one of the co-chairs of the
event. "As one of the first provinces to call on the federal government to launch a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, we
recognize the importance of this critical issue," said McNeil. "We also appreciate that this summit needs to address other critical issues, too." Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an environmental and human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, delivered the keynote address on Tuesday. Waneek Horn-Miller, an aboriginal activist and Olympic athlete from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, spoke on Wednesday. The three-day summit saw 175 delegates from across Canada attending the event and participating in a variety of sessions covering such issues as equity and empowerment. The Nova Scotia government co-hosted the summit alongside the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Other First Nations stories of Interest:

1-Methadone treatment needs review, First Nations leader says

Jody Porter, <http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364> CBC News, Oct 23 - A First Nations leader wants to know who is benefitting from the growing number of methadone clinics in Thunder Bay. "There has to be some regulation in terms of how doctors are running these clinics and the scrutiny that should be there, I don't think is there right now," said Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief Alvin Fiddler. Thunder Bay, with a population of about 110,000, has seven clinics that provide methadone to people as a treatment for addictions to injection drugs. Toronto, with a population of about 4.5 million people, lists 11 methadone clinics. Fiddler says the numbers don't add up, but the billings for doctors who oversee methadone prescriptions do. "Running a methadone clinic is big business," he said. "It generates a lot of revenue." A doctor can bill up to $10 thousand a year to supervise methadone treatment for one patient, Fiddler said, and the treatment can go on for years. "We've heard that clients that were on this program 10 or 11 years ago are given the same dose today," he said. "The effectiveness of the methadone program is under question." Fiddler wants the College of Physicians and Ontario's Ministry of Health to review methadone treatment. But provincial Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he doesn't believe his fellow physicians are motivated by money. "I think if anything is driving them into the field of mental health and addictions management it's a better understanding of just how serious this problem is in the province," Hoskins said. "That doesn't mean that's the situation in 100 per cent of the cases but I'm confident that our physicians are driven by what they see as their contribution to their local community and wanting to make a difference in the health and well-being of the population." Hoskins said "a significant portion" of the province's increased health care budget will go towards the Aboriginal population and be directed towards "prevention and addictions management." "Nowhere in the province is that more acute than in places like the
Thunder Bay region," he said. Fiddler agrees that addictions are a serious concern but he questions the reliance on methadone, alone, as a treatment. "There there has to be supports," he said. "What we're finding right now is that those supports that are supposed to help a client aren't there in Thunder Bay. They're severely
lacking."

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