I set out to learn why the human rights scenario in Canada and Nepal seem so different. I was shocked to hear how Canada discriminated against Indigenous children.
In the latest episode of Strive podcast, by IPS News, I discuss a hugely important human rights case in Canada. My goal initially was not to describe all the details of the complaint, made in 2007 by two groups representing First Nations Children. (First Nations are one of three groups of Indigenous people in Canada).
With only 16 cases detected since January, how seriously are Nepalis preparing for the pandemic?
Nepal’s long land border with India (1,800 kilometres) is usually open, so that citizens of both countries can come and go easily without visas and usually with little notice from the police posted at entry points. On March 24 India closed that border, along with all other access to the country of 1.4 billion people. The same day Nepal also declared a ‘lockdown’ and barred all entries. But it’s been estimated that there are 500 official and unofficial entry points along the imaginary line between the two countries and in the days before and after the lockdowns as close to half a million Nepalis living in India crossed home, according to the Nepali Times newspaper.
Since Nepal’s first case of COVID-19 was detected in January the country has tested just over 6,000 people. Yet only 15 other cases have been detected, and no one has died of the coronavirus. How can that be? is the question that everyone is asking, including officials in the ministry of health.
On 25 August Robyn Lawson posted on Twitter that three women in her family had disappeared in Canada in the last three years. Robyn is Indigenous, one of about 1.6 million Indigenous people in Canada (5% of the population).
In June, the report of a national inquiry found:
“First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women and girls and (LGBTQI) people in Canada … have been the targets of violence for far too long. This truth is undeniable … (and) amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, which especially targets women.”
I have read much over the years about the experiences of Indigenous People living in Canada (and written about some of them in this blog and beyond). But Robyn’s tweet hit me hard — it’s difficult to imagine three people disappearing from my family.
I wrote and asked Robyn, who is an activist for Indigenous people’s rights, to describe those incidents and the broader context of the lives of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Her powerful, authoritative answers, lightly edited by me, are below.
Can you tell me about the 3 women in your family that you Tweeted about — they all went missing in the last 3 years?
There were actually four that went missing within my family, all cousins. The fourth went missing in 1988 from a Cultus Lake campground in British Columbia (province) after she accepted a ride that was to take her home to Surrey, BC. She has never been found. Her name is Roberta Ferguson, and she was 19 years old at the time she was taken. Continue reading “Missing and murdered in Canada”
The news itself is shocking: in 2017 poor diets worldwide caused 11 million deaths, concludes the report, published in The Lancet journal. Eating too much salt and not enough whole grains and fruits were the major culprits.
Obstacles to healthy eating
But what Crowe also highlights are those factors that are beyond the control of individuals and are known as ‘environmental determinants of health’. These range from absent or misleading labels on food packages to prominent placement of junk food in supermarkets to the unaffordability of the fruits, vegetables and other healthy food that we’re supposed to be eating more of to prevent those 11 million deaths. Continue reading “To fix unhealthy diets: activism before ‘an apple a day’”
Canada has the best quality of life in the world, a survey has announced. But what if you live there and have been unable to drink the water coming out of your tap for 25 years without first boiling it? Or if you’re preparing to leave your home on short notice while community leaders consider an evacuation because mould growing in houses is causing skin rashes and respiratory ailments in a rising number of residents? There is reportedly a list of 100 children waiting to see a doctor.
You live in Canada. You:
Have been unable to drink the water coming out of your tap without first boiling it, for 25 years in the case of one community (1);
Are preparing to leave your home on short notice as community leaders consider an evacuation because mould growing in houses is causing skin rashes and respiratory ailments in rising numbers of residents. There is reportedly a list of 100 children waiting to see a doctor (2);
Have for decades complained about deformed fish being caught in nearby rivers and lakes after a paper mill routinely dumped mercury in the waters in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, kids whose mothers ate fish from those waters are four times more likely to have learning disabilities (3);
Hope that your community – including your teenage daughter – will not be the next one caught up in a wave of youth suicide. For indigenous people up to the age of 44, suicide is the leading cause of death (4).
A Canadian living in Kathmandu, I woke up Thursday to the headline news in all the dailies that Nepal had defeated Canada in cricket.
My family in Canada woke up to read about another murderous shooting spree in the neighbouring US, a new government initiative for the country’s indigenous people, and a political leader in the province of Ontario claiming to be the target of a conspiracy.
To state the obvious, cricket is not big news in Canada. In fact, it doesn’t even rate its own page on the website of CBC, the national broadcaster. Athletics, tennis, swimming, cycling, rugby and volleyball are all there. No cricket. Ask Canadians what they think of when they hear ‘cricket’ and the vast majority will mention a hopping, chirping insect. Continue reading “Cricket loss lost on Canadians”
In Australia, the debate on Indigenous Peoples issues takes two forms: silence or romanticisation.
I’m constantly drawn to the similarities between the history of Indigenous People in Canada and Australia. In both places, settlers stole their land and tried to wipe out their cultures, mainly by taking children from their parents with an aim to ‘kill the Indian in the child’. (The approach was shockingly similar in the US also).
A senator apologist for Indian residential schools and a justice who bases a judgment on the devastating impact of those schools. It’s a good thing only one has decision-making powers.
Two Canadians in powerful positions with totally divergent views about the impact of residential schools on Indigenous Peoples: thankfully the one with the decision-making power has taken the time to understand the painful history, and legacy, of this atrocious system.
In January, Justice David Gibson of the Ontario Court of Justice wrote an insightful commentary on the history of Pikangikum, a First Nation community in northern Ontario.