The ceremony to announce the connection of Pikangikum to the Ontario power grid, in Dec. 2019. Photo: TBNewsWatch.com
These days I live in Nepal, where every once in a while a celebratory report appears in the news that a remote village has just been connected to the energy grid or road system. But it’s fairly rare to see such a headline in the media about Canada.
Well, here’s one — from 21 Dec. 2018!: Pikangikum, Ont., 1st remote community connected to provincial power grid.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This a follow-up to my last post, where I took issue with an argument in a recent op-ed in the New York Times by Kenan Malik. He contended that the common claim that Indigenous People have a “special attachment to the land and a unique form of ecological wisdom” is the flip side of the historical argument that they are primitives who cannot adapt in the modern world. He calls it a “reworking of the ‘noble savage’ myth.” Continue reading
Uluru Convention delegates Irene Peachey, Jackie Huggins (National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples), Irene Davies and Commissioner June Oscar. (c) Australian Human Rights Commission)
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).
The newcomers failed however, and today Indigenous People in both Canada and Australia are becoming more powerful, as their populations grow, become better educated and politically active. This has led to reconciliation movements in both places. In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has finished its work and now, as they say, the hard work begins. Continue reading
Canoes in front of the museum in Haida Gwaii.
I was happy to read an article recently about the Haida people repatriating articles from museums in Canada and around the world. In many cases the articles were stolen, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the name of collecting evidence of dying indigenous peoples. Continue reading
Report of Canada’s TRC, at the 2-year point of its 5-year mandate.
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.
(I’ve written about Pikangikum before, including in this post.) Continue reading
I am astounded. One of the first items I posted on this blog, in 2010, was about girls’ toilets in schools in Nepal and other ‘developing’ countries. It described how the lack of designated toilets for girls in many schools meant that once they reached the age of menstruation, girls would stay home when they had their periods.
Today I read that in Canada’s province of Saskatchewan, girls in some northern communities are staying home from school because they can’t afford sanitary pads or medicine when they are menstruating. The CBC article lacks details, but I’m assuming that some, or all, of those communities are “reserves” where many of Canada’s Indigenous People live. (The article does mention “First Nations” communities). Continue reading
Morning assembly at KISS. Photo (c) Pulitzer Center.
I’m amazed to learn that 22,500 students attend a single residential school for indigenous children, in eastern India.
Anthropologist Christine Finnan spent six months at the Kalinga Institute for Social Sciences and as you’ll read, she was extremely conscious of the history of residential schools in places like Canada and the US when she started her research. Continue reading