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

 

 

*Volunteers wrapping up ground search along Winnipeg river for missing,
murdered women*The Canadian Press, October 6 - WINNIPEG – Volunteers are
wrapping up their ground search in Winnipeg for clues about missing and
murdered Indigenous women. The group has been searching the banks of the
Red River since the body of a 15-year-old girl was pulled from the water in
August. Searchers have found bones, which turned out to be animal remains,
along with a blood-splattered pillowcase, a bloody rug, a set of dentures
and clothing. Bernadette Smith, whose sister disappeared six years ago,
says the ground search is becoming too difficult with the colder weather
and fallen leaves. "We're dealing with lots of mud due to the rain," she
said. "The leaves have been a big hindrance. You have to move them all out
of the way. It's been really hard and it's taken us a long time."
Volunteers will continue dredging the river for another few weeks as the
water level drops, Smith said. They're still hoping to uncover anything
from a distinctive piece of clothing to a body that might bring closure to
a family searching for a missing loved one. Since the discovery of
Fontaine's body, the group has attracted hundreds of supporters from around
the world and dozens who have painstakingly scoured the ground and the
river. Smith said the search has kept the conversation about missing and
murdered Indigenouswomen alive. "All of our people in Canada are important
and we can't just become desensitized or complacent that people are being
murdered or going missing," she said. "We should be alarmed about that and
worried because these numbers continue to increase." Fontaine's body was
found Aug. 17, just over a week after she had been reported missing. She
had been in Winnipeg less than a month and had run away from foster care.
Police aren't saying how she died but are treating her death as a homicide.
No arrests have been made. The young girl's death touched a nerve across
the country and reignited calls for a national public inquiry into almost
1,200 missing and murdered Indigenouswomen. The Assembly of First Nations
has called for an independent investigation into how police handled
Fontaine's case after it was discovered that two officers came across the
girl after she was reported missing but did not take her into custody.
Police say they will be doing their annual sweep of the Red River on their
own later this month once the locks open and the water level drops. Const.
Jason Michalyshen said the patrol is not new and officers will search
riverbanks that have been submerged for most of the spring and summer.
"They'll be looking for anything suspicious, whether that be objects or
anything that shouldn't be there," he said. "This isn't something new by
any stretch." When the snow melts away next spring, the volunteer group
plans to resume its own search, Smith said. The effort has brought the
community together and empowered families who felt helpless, she added. "We
were tired of not doing anything and waiting for somebody else to do it,"
she said. "We're really hoping to have the width of the river covered with
boats so that we can do one sweep and cover more ground."*2-**We Need To
Stop Seeing Indigenous Women As Worthless*

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*1-**Missing, murdered aboriginal women honoured at St. John's vigil*

 *CBC News
<http://www.cbc.ca/news/cbc-news-online-news-staff-list-1.1294364>, Oct 04
-* About 200 people walked down 8th Street in Saskatoon to honour missing and murdered women on Saturday afternoon. The event was one of six Sisters
in Spirit events held throughout the province. Darlene Rose Okemaysim-Sicotte has helped organize the event for the past seven years in the city. She says indigenous women from many different walks of life have gone missing and face danger on a daily basis simply because they are indigenous. "Being an indigenous woman isn't like nine to five Monday to Friday, it is 24 hours a day," Okemaysim-Sicotte said. "So, no matter what kind of lifestyle, or prestige or economic status, you still can be very vulnerable." The march ended at Oskayak High School on Broadway Avenue.  Many people who have family members who have gone missing or have been murdered shared their experiences with the crowd that gathered there. Many of the participants said they want a national inquiry into missing and
murdered indigenous women —a chance to share their stories and work together to find preventative solutions. Okemaysim-Sicotte says society's view of indigenous women needs to change. Her cousin Shelley Napope went missing from the Beardy's & Okemasis First Nation in the early 90s. She says her family reported Napope missing more than 30 times. They later found out that she was one of serial killer John Crawford's victims.  "Indigenous women have the same rights to safety. The same rights to be alive. They have the same rights to get an education, to live in a house, to go wherever they would like to go any time of the day or night,"
​Okemaysim-Sicotte said. About 100 Sisters in Spirit events were held across Canada on Saturday, marking the ninth year of the campaign's efforts to raise the public's awareness of missing and murdered women in the country.

 

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*AFN leadership a two man race: Ontario looks over candidates and future gaming possibilities*

*Lynda Powless and Dennis Hanagan, Turtle Island News, October 2 - *TORONTO
- The search for a new national leader for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is developing into a two man race between two AFN Regional Chiefs, one from the east, the other from the west. Both are veteran politicians.

Current interim AFN leader Ghislain Picard, (AFN regional chief for Quebec and Labrador for 22 years before taking on the helm of the AFN in May) and Saskatchewan Federation of Indian Nations leaders Perry Bellegarde are the only two declared candidates for the Dec., 11 election.

It is Bellegarde's second run at the top job. He lost in 2009 to former AFN leader Shawn Atleo.

Bellegarde is now Saskatchewan Regional Chief for the AFN and in his third term at the helm of the FSIN. He has also served as a chief and councillor for the Little Black Bear First Nation.

Sources have said Wab Kinew, a broadcaster and university professor has backed out of the race saying he will not be seeking the seat, but other
hopefuls have until November 4th to get on the ballot.

 The unusual timing of the election doesn't appear to be lending itself to the usual political candidate's debates.

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*1-**Canada Is The Only UN Member To Reject Landmark Indigenous Rights Document*

*Zi-Ann Lum, Huffington Post, October 2 -* Canada singled itself out as the only country to raise objections over a landmark United Nations document re-establishing the protection of the rights of indigenous people last week. It was a gesture one prominent First Nation leader called "saddening, surprising." "Canada was viewed always as a country that upheld human rights," said Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde. "For Canada to be the only nation state to get up to make a
caveat on the vote – that's very telling." Bellegarde travelled to New York City to attend a special UN General Assembly meeting of more than 1,000 delegates and heads of state for the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on Sept. 22 and 23. Top of On day one, nations voted on the adoption of the document http://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/indigenous/pdf/WCIP-CFs-on-Draft-Outcome-Document.pdf>

the first vote of its kind after the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was introduced in 2007. In his opening remarks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=8015>spoke about the document's significance, saying it helps "set minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples" – more than 370 million around the world. "I expect member states to meet their commitments, including by carrying out national action plans to realize our shared vision," he told delegates. The United States, who was among four nations (including Canada) who opposed the adoption of the original declaration seven years ago, notably reversed its position. President Barack Obama threw his administration's support behind the declaration http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/12/obama-supports-un-on-indigenous-peoples-rights-we-can-move-forward/>, regarding it as one that will "help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future." The document was adopted by all nations by consensus last week, but Canada was the only country to file its objections, flagging
the wording of "free, prior and informed consent" as problematic. Free, prior, and informed consent is commonly upheld as a key principle in international law. But according to Ottawa, it's tricky wording that could be interpreted as "a veto to aboriginal groups http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/prmny-mponu/canada_un-canada_onu/statements-declarations/other-autres/2014-09-22_WCIPD-PADD.aspx and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists." "As a result, Canada cannot associate itself with the elements contained in this outcome document related to free, prior and informed consent," the government explained in a statement. Interim Assembly of First Nations Chief Ghislain Picard called the government's objections "deeply concerning," adding "Canada continues to embarrass itself and isolate itself on the world stage by offering to explain their vote." In the feds' explanation, the word "veto" pops up three times, and Bellegarde says that's inaccurate. "Veto does not exist in the declaration anywhere," Bellegarde said. "Why are they misleading and using that word?" In 2007, Ottawa first used the same "veto" explanation <http://www.aadnc-dc.gc.ca/aiarch/mr/nr/s-d2007/2-2936-eng.asp> in its statement rejecting the UN declaration.

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*1-**FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde aims to lead Assembly of First Nations*

*CBC News  ** , Oct  01 -

*The Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is now in the running to lead the Assembly of First Nations. FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde announced this morning that he will be on the ballot when 633 chiefs vote for a new AFN leader in Winnipeg in December. Shawn Atleo resigned as Chief of the assembly in May. Bellegarde says his 25 years of experience and ability to get things done make him the strongest candidate.

"We've talked about treaty implementation since they were first signed and we still don't see that. We've talked about recognition of aboriginal rights and title, we still don't see that," Bellegarde said. "I always say you've got to have a legal strategy, a political strategy and an on-the-ground activist strategy."

Bellegarde identified the following points in a press release as the areas he would focus on if elected National Chief:

- Establishing processes for self-determination, including revenue sharing, ensuring environmental sustainability, adherence to the duty to consult and accommodate and international standards such as free, prior and informed consent
- Establishing a new fiscal relationship with the federal Crown
- An immediate action plan and inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- Revitalization and retention of indigenous languages

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