First Nations

Twenty-two years ago today, a gunman entered a university in Montreal and killed 14 women – simply because they were women.
During this same 20 years, over 700 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered across Canada.


 In Canada there are approximately 1,900,000 women aged 15 and over who have
disabilities. It is estimated that approximately 40% of these women with disabilities will
be assaulted, sexually assaulted or abused throughout their lifetime.
 Depending on whether they reside within an institutional or community setting, women
with disabilities are 1.5 to 10 times more likely to be victimized than women who are not
disabled.

Approximately 83% of women with disabilities will be sexually abused in their lifetime.
 The rate of sexual abuse of girls with disabilities is four times greater than the national
average.  Approximately 40% to 70% of girls with intellectual disabilities will be sexually victimized before the age of 18.
 It is estimated that only 20% of cases of sexual abuse perpetrated against women with
disabilities are ever reported to the police, community service agencies, or other
authorities.

 Women with disabilities most frequently experience victimization from an intimate
partner or spouse, family member or caregiver.

 Women with disabilities are often more vulnerable to abuse than women without
disabilities for the following reasons: 

  •  Dependence upon a caregiver;
  •  Lack of access to support services;
  •  Due to mobility, cognitive or communication impairments unable flee or call for aid;
  •  Low self-esteem stemming from societal myth and social attitudes.

But let us also remember there is hope…

For more information Please check out the Disabled Woman’s Network Ontario and the White Ribbon Campaign

Image of potential Mega-quarry

First Nations are fighting back in solidarity with farmers and ranchers in the Orangeville area to stop the Mega Quarry Open Mine Pit. This quarry is privately backed by a U.S. hedge fund, and will decimate the crops, water supply, and wildlife.

For a better picture of the extent of this mine, imagine digging a hole deeper than Niagara Falls, and twice as wide; then pumping enough water out of that hole to fill two thousand tanker trucks each day. This will be one of the largest open pit mines in Canada, and the company is suggesting that it will benefit the environment. The truth is, under Ontario law, an environmental assessment is not required for a mega-quarry.

Please join the fight back against this open pit mine. Protestors will meet on July 21st at 12pm at the Ministry of the Environment, 77 Wellesley Street, Toronto.

If you are unable to attend, you can also sign the online petition.

Wednesday, October 27, 7pm – 9pm
Sidney Smith Hall, room 2118
100 St. George Street
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Featured Speakers:

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dene from the Athbasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, Canada. Eriel is currently employed with the Rainforest Action Network as the Freedom From Oil Campaigner in Edmonton, Alberta targeting tar sands development and the banks that fund it. Eriel is a long time Indigenous rights activist fighting for environmental justice working along side various organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Ruckus and IP3.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. She has been working as an advocate for Indigenous rights for the past 10 years. She has worked with organizations like Redwire Native Media Society, Indigenous Media Arts Society and has also produced short documentaries, researched, and worked on topics ranging from the tar sands, inherent treaty rights, water issues to cultural appropriation. She has studied and worked in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Turtle Island focusing on Indigenous rights and culture, resource extraction, ICTs and international diplomacy. Before joining Greenpeace as a tar sands climate & energy campaigner in Alberta, Melina was pursuing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.

Jasmine Thomas is a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz, which is a part of the Carrier Nation. She has inherited the ancient practice of traditional medicines from her late great-grandmother, Sophie Thomas. She is completing her Environmental Planning degree at the University of Northern British Columbia. She also participated in the Bolivia Climate Convergence that took place in Cochabamba to speak on issues related to the destructive tar sand developments and the Enbridge Pipeline Project that proposes to cross her traditional territories. Jasmine believes that the most power lies at the grassroots level and advocates on behalf of the Defenders of the Land and fully supports the efforts on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.


The Indigenous Environmental Network is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.

The tar sands development has completely outstripped the ability of the corporations and provincial and federal governments to provide environmental management and protection. In the perspective of many concerned First Nations and citizens of northern Alberta, the government has given the responsibility of environmental monitoring and enforcement to the corporations.

This fall the government of Alberta and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is responding to a sophisticated assault on its tar sands industry internationally and domestically with the “truth” campaign. As part of this campaign the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is sponsoring invite only discussions across Canada featuring oil sands experts from industry and government agencies to dispel what it views as unfair attacks using biased information against the Tar sands development. The Indigenous Environmental Network is sponsoring First Nations Woman’s Tar Sands Speakers Tour in response to this propaganda. This tour is profiling the voices of First Nations Women from downstream, who’s people and way of life are being impacted by the worlds most destructive development known as Canada’s Tar Sands.

This event sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network in partnership with Environmental Justice Toronto, RAN, OPIRG and Defenders of the Land.

Info: www.ienearth.org/tarsands. html

KINGCOME INLET — Clearcut logging and a receding glacier were pinpointed Tuesday as probable contributors to a devastating flood which swept through the remote First Nations community of Kingcome Inlet last month.

Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan and First Nations leaders, who converged on the village to take a first hand look at the damage, said a helicopter trip up the Kingcome River Valley was startling.

“Right at the glacier is an obvious unravelling of the slopes,” said Duncan, who announced financial help adding up to $770,000 and said a key part of the recovery plan will be a full hydrological assessment of the valley.

“I was expecting to see a significant event. What I wasn’t expecting was to follow mud all the way to the headwaters and major, significant issues at the head of the glacier,” said Duncan, adding that there will be no quick fix.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said the situation up the valley means the community will remain vulnerable.

“It has been severely impacted by decades of clearcut logging and, at the head of the glacier, I saw a torrent of mud and debris,” he said.

Increased monitoring will be necessary once residents return to the village and one of the priorities will be ensuring the helicopter pad is usable at all times, Duncan said.

Helicopters provided the only way out for about 120 residents when water quickly rose up to four metres in parts of the village.

Wayne Goodridge, a pilot for West Coast Helicopters, the first to fly in amid the flooding, said water was rising so fast it was uncertain whether the helipad behind the school would remain usable.

“It was up to almost the top of the helipad — almost 15 feet. If it had gone on any longer we would have been plucking them off the rooftops,” he said.

Apart from a handful of members of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation who stayed when the water rose, most are now evacuated to Alert Bay, where residents are staying with friends and relatives.

In Kingcome Inlet, porches and steps have been knocked off homes, which are built on stilts to withstand regular, smaller floods. Mud fills crawl spaces and propane tanks lie at drunken angles.

Even though many electric meters were underwater, power has stayed on and Tuesday, as assessors and electrician pored over wiring and looked at other safety issues, Duncan said repair work could start on many of the homes. “The sooner we can get people back in the community the better we will be.

Band council chairman Joe Willie said that although people are anxious to get home, he is not yet sure it is safe.

Willie said he is pleased with support being offered by the federal government, but the immediate offer of $100,000 for assessments and social services help and $20,000 per house is not likely to go far. “We are an isolated place and it costs a lot of money just to get materials in,” he said. “Only one barge has agreed to come up the river. The rest wouldn’t risk coming up the river.”

Although the river level has dropped, debris has collected in different areas, creating hazards for boats. The small boats travelling the muddy river take passengers to an open area of Broughton Archipelago to get on a larger vessel.

The federal government is investigating building a road into the area and about $900,000 has been spent on engineering costs, Duncan said.

Others would like to see logging companies, which have taken so much out of the area, help pay for some of the flood costs. Dave Darwin, who looks after Kingcome Inlet’s power, said the valley bottom was first stripped of all its old growth trees and then logging companies clearcut beside the main river and the tributaries. The river can no longer meander as it used to, he said.

“Maybe we can get some environmental group to finance a lawsuit,” he said.

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Musgamagw-Tswataineuk Tribal Council chairman, said the provincial government has some responsibility because it oversees forestry. “The provincial government has enjoyed unlimited revenue from this place with no return to the First Nation that holds title. I think that would be an interesting conversation,” he said.

However, the immediate concern has to be those driven from their homes, Chamberlin said. “It has been 17 days now and every day we wait it’s going to get worse,” he said. “There are 30 children displaced from their homes and their community and we need to make proper plans.”

jlavoie@timescolonist.com
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