Pages tagged "indigenous"


"the long legged river... flows right to Grassy"

The gathering scheduled for next week in Grassy Narrows is gaining steam. This note of support came from Steve Fobister, a Band Council Member. Pictures from a visit to Steve's trapline can be found here.
Ahneen Kakinna, Clearcut visit with Steve June 11 121Today was a feast day at the blockade organized by our visitors who have been with us for the few last weeks, people from Forest Ethics, Rainforest Action Network and other environmental groups. Our people, the youths and elders have been teaching how fish is smoked and to make smoked bannock. They just love the smoked bannock and couldn’t resist eating it all before the others were done. They are vegetarians and the elders told them that it’s all right to eat moose meat–the moose is a vegetarian too! The mosquitoes have been very cooperative this year, but the sand flies are terrible and they bite and sting harder. The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) showed today at the blockade taking pictures of the area and some of the environmental people there. I suspect they think that the property was being used for some kind of terrorist training ground. It’s actually a place to train people to make smoked bannock and fish. Leah from Forest Ethics had a chat with them and I guess they wanted names of all the people here other than from Grassy. I will be taking the group to my trap line this Sunday to have a first hand look at the heavy clearcutting that has taken place there by Abitibi and Weyerhaeuser. Some of the trappers are also concerned of all the mining exploration that’s going on there on Willie Keewatins trap line. There has been silver reported there for many years. If a mine is built there, the long legged river next to it flows right to Grassy. However, there are a lot of preparations happening for the upcoming youth conference starting June 13 to 15. The pow-wow celebration then kicks off from June 16 to 18–a time when all our situations, differences and problems are set aside. Awsa, Steve

"the long legged river... flows right to Grassy"

The gathering scheduled for next week in Grassy Narrows is gaining steam. This note of support came from Steve Fobister, a Band Council Member. Pictures from a visit to Steve's trapline can be found here.
Ahneen Kakinna, Clearcut visit with Steve June 11 121Today was a feast day at the blockade organized by our visitors who have been with us for the few last weeks, people from Forest Ethics, Rainforest Action Network and other environmental groups. Our people, the youths and elders have been teaching how fish is smoked and to make smoked bannock. They just love the smoked bannock and couldn’t resist eating it all before the others were done. They are vegetarians and the elders told them that it’s all right to eat moose meat–the moose is a vegetarian too! The mosquitoes have been very cooperative this year, but the sand flies are terrible and they bite and sting harder. The OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) showed today at the blockade taking pictures of the area and some of the environmental people there. I suspect they think that the property was being used for some kind of terrorist training ground. It’s actually a place to train people to make smoked bannock and fish. Leah from Forest Ethics had a chat with them and I guess they wanted names of all the people here other than from Grassy. I will be taking the group to my trap line this Sunday to have a first hand look at the heavy clearcutting that has taken place there by Abitibi and Weyerhaeuser. Some of the trappers are also concerned of all the mining exploration that’s going on there on Willie Keewatins trap line. There has been silver reported there for many years. If a mine is built there, the long legged river next to it flows right to Grassy. However, there are a lot of preparations happening for the upcoming youth conference starting June 13 to 15. The pow-wow celebration then kicks off from June 16 to 18–a time when all our situations, differences and problems are set aside. Awsa, Steve

Emile Fontaine, Feb 21 1947 – May 26 2006

More reports from Grassy Narrows. This from Alex.
On Wednesday a man called ‘Shoon’ came by our campsite. He is on the Tribal Council of Grassy Narrows, and is also one of the trappers involved in the groundbreaking lawsuit against the province and Abitibi Consolidated. The lawsuit has to do with the fact that the clear cutting in this area infringes upon his and the communities ability to maintain hunting and like activities on traditional trap lines. Traditional subsistence rights are guaranteed under Treaty 3, a document of more than a hundred years old. Shoon came by and told us that a member of the community had died. He asked that we come into town the next day and help with preparations for the funeral. The ‘men’ were to dig the grave, and the ‘women’ were to help prepare the meal. When I was dropped off at the graveyard, there was a group of men there, ranging in age from mid twenties to… well, old. I had been very worried about being involved in such a solemn and ceremonial affair. But when we there, around the grave sight, it became evident very quickly that it was just a bunch of guys, eating sandwiches and drinking pop, telling jokes and talking about sports – guys digging a hole. As the only outsider, needless to say there were more than a few jokes at my expense, not all necessarily in good taste, but definitely in good fun. At some point, most of the guys started heading to the trucks parked at the road. “Alex come on,” I heard one of the guys say. So I went. And so, I was to become a pallbearer at Emile Fontaine’s funeral. “Hunter, Trapper, Guide, and Fisherman” said the grave marker that Naila painted. I was involved in the ceremony, and in the emotional scenarios that inevitably surround a funeral. Somehow though, it wasn’t the negative experience that one might expect from being involved in a stranger’s funeral in a community that is not one’s own. The best way I can explain is to paraphrase something Shoon’s wife, Lorna said to me. She said that there are many things that bring a community together, death being one of the most poignant among them. Being involved in Emile Fontaine’s funeral not only gave me the opportunity to connect with the group of guys with whom I was digging, which it definitely did, but it made me feel like I had an actual stake in the community beyond the activist activities that we are involved in, and my responsibilities as a Canadian. Helping to bury Emile Fontaine, “Hunter, Trapper, Guide, and Fisherman,” helped to make me feel like the community really wants us here, like there might be something genuine that we can do, rather than just being ‘activists’.

Emile Fontaine, Feb 21 1947 – May 26 2006

More reports from Grassy Narrows. This from Alex.
On Wednesday a man called ‘Shoon’ came by our campsite. He is on the Tribal Council of Grassy Narrows, and is also one of the trappers involved in the groundbreaking lawsuit against the province and Abitibi Consolidated. The lawsuit has to do with the fact that the clear cutting in this area infringes upon his and the communities ability to maintain hunting and like activities on traditional trap lines. Traditional subsistence rights are guaranteed under Treaty 3, a document of more than a hundred years old. Shoon came by and told us that a member of the community had died. He asked that we come into town the next day and help with preparations for the funeral. The ‘men’ were to dig the grave, and the ‘women’ were to help prepare the meal. When I was dropped off at the graveyard, there was a group of men there, ranging in age from mid twenties to… well, old. I had been very worried about being involved in such a solemn and ceremonial affair. But when we there, around the grave sight, it became evident very quickly that it was just a bunch of guys, eating sandwiches and drinking pop, telling jokes and talking about sports – guys digging a hole. As the only outsider, needless to say there were more than a few jokes at my expense, not all necessarily in good taste, but definitely in good fun. At some point, most of the guys started heading to the trucks parked at the road. “Alex come on,” I heard one of the guys say. So I went. And so, I was to become a pallbearer at Emile Fontaine’s funeral. “Hunter, Trapper, Guide, and Fisherman” said the grave marker that Naila painted. I was involved in the ceremony, and in the emotional scenarios that inevitably surround a funeral. Somehow though, it wasn’t the negative experience that one might expect from being involved in a stranger’s funeral in a community that is not one’s own. The best way I can explain is to paraphrase something Shoon’s wife, Lorna said to me. She said that there are many things that bring a community together, death being one of the most poignant among them. Being involved in Emile Fontaine’s funeral not only gave me the opportunity to connect with the group of guys with whom I was digging, which it definitely did, but it made me feel like I had an actual stake in the community beyond the activist activities that we are involved in, and my responsibilities as a Canadian. Helping to bury Emile Fontaine, “Hunter, Trapper, Guide, and Fisherman,” helped to make me feel like the community really wants us here, like there might be something genuine that we can do, rather than just being ‘activists’.

Healing the Spirit at Grassy Narrows

This report comes from Caitlin, one of several interns spending their Summer in Grassy Narrows:
After 400-500 years of assault on the spirit, the Anishinabe nation has begun the process of healing their nation and spirit. This was why they named their Youth and Elders Gathering “Healing the Spirit.” Hosted by Grassy Narrows, the gathering took place at the blockade sight June 13-15. Gatherings like this are an important step in this long but crucial process. The Gathering has become a yearly event and brings together youth from Grassy Narrows as well as other youth from the Anishinabe nation. Leon Jordain the former Grand Chief of Treaty Three came and spoke to us. He is a man that has a strong presence and I was inspired to see a politician who was so real. He is actually connected to the people he represented and fighting for their rights. I got the sense that he would be fighting until he left this world despite the fact the federal government has labeled him a ‘terrorist threat’ because he has been standing up for his people, and not selling out to industry or the federal government. In addition he has been denied federal funding for the Treaty Three Anishinabe Nation because he was ‘talking too much’. He has been a Chief for 12 years and Grand Chief of Treaty Three for 4 of those. Healing the SpiritHe spoke of uniting all the communities under Treaty Three as the Anishinabe Nation instead of the federal government’s current plan of ‘divide and conquer’ that forces each community onto a small reservation and creates legal obstacles to these communities forming stronger connections. For example, a member of Grassy Narrows is unable to get a job on another community of their nation. This would be like me going to a neighboring town and it being illegal to work there. He stated that his people have been “imprisoned by someone else’s lines in the sand”. These lines have been drawn by the federal government such as the lines around the reservations and the borders between provinces and countries which so often arbitrarily cut through Indigenous peoples’ nations. He told youth of Grassy Narrows that they were right in stopping the logging and systematic destruction of their territory. He asked, “Am I Canadian? No. I am Anishinabe,” he replied. Jordain informed us that the Cheifs of Treaty Three are required to report to the Minister of Indian Affairs but not their people. As well Canadian First Nations get millions of dollars in government funding annually, but ¾ of that goes directly to the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and I doubt that many of their employees are indigenous. “We must fight from within not from the head”.

Healing the Spirit at Grassy Narrows

This report comes from Caitlin, one of several interns spending their Summer in Grassy Narrows:
After 400-500 years of assault on the spirit, the Anishinabe nation has begun the process of healing their nation and spirit. This was why they named their Youth and Elders Gathering “Healing the Spirit.” Hosted by Grassy Narrows, the gathering took place at the blockade sight June 13-15. Gatherings like this are an important step in this long but crucial process. The Gathering has become a yearly event and brings together youth from Grassy Narrows as well as other youth from the Anishinabe nation. Leon Jordain the former Grand Chief of Treaty Three came and spoke to us. He is a man that has a strong presence and I was inspired to see a politician who was so real. He is actually connected to the people he represented and fighting for their rights. I got the sense that he would be fighting until he left this world despite the fact the federal government has labeled him a ‘terrorist threat’ because he has been standing up for his people, and not selling out to industry or the federal government. In addition he has been denied federal funding for the Treaty Three Anishinabe Nation because he was ‘talking too much’. He has been a Chief for 12 years and Grand Chief of Treaty Three for 4 of those. Healing the SpiritHe spoke of uniting all the communities under Treaty Three as the Anishinabe Nation instead of the federal government’s current plan of ‘divide and conquer’ that forces each community onto a small reservation and creates legal obstacles to these communities forming stronger connections. For example, a member of Grassy Narrows is unable to get a job on another community of their nation. This would be like me going to a neighboring town and it being illegal to work there. He stated that his people have been “imprisoned by someone else’s lines in the sand”. These lines have been drawn by the federal government such as the lines around the reservations and the borders between provinces and countries which so often arbitrarily cut through Indigenous peoples’ nations. He told youth of Grassy Narrows that they were right in stopping the logging and systematic destruction of their territory. He asked, “Am I Canadian? No. I am Anishinabe,” he replied. Jordain informed us that the Cheifs of Treaty Three are required to report to the Minister of Indian Affairs but not their people. As well Canadian First Nations get millions of dollars in government funding annually, but ¾ of that goes directly to the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and I doubt that many of their employees are indigenous. “We must fight from within not from the head”.

Youth Workshops in Grassy Narrows

We continue to hear good reports from Solidiarity Summer going on now in Grassy Narrows. The First Nation community in NW Ontario is struggling to defend its traditions from multinational logging companies. Join them at the Earth Justice Gathering July 10-16th. This report comes from Christy:
For several years now, Grassy Narrows has hosted a three-day gathering for youth from the community and from other First Nations communities. The gathering, and in particular this year’s theme, “Healing the Spirit,” speaks to the community’s emphasis on the power of its youth, its value on spirituality and traditional ways, and its commitment to restoring and healing the community and the land. This is one of many ways the Grassy Narrows community helps its youth to reclaim both their traditional land and ways. Youth Workshops The night before the Youth and Elders Gathering, we met with Lisa Martin from Christian Peacemaker Teams (a group that has mediated conflict in Grassy Narrows, Iraq and other parts of the world) to discuss the programming for the next day’s gathering. Lisa was in charge of organizing a series of activities and workshops for the youth geared at building confidence and encouraging communication and connections between those at the gathering. She emphasized how important it is to foster self-confidence in the youth of the community. We led the group of about twenty youth, ranging in age from about nine to twenty-five, in activities including games, a demonstration of Aikido (a type of self-defensive martial arts) and discussions on issues facing the community. I have been continuously impressed by how bright, engaged and dedicated the youth from Grassy Narrows is, but I felt honored to be privy to such an honest discussion, and by how freely they shared and discussed the issues they face as Grassy Narrows youth. They openly shared their accomplishments and successes, the things (great and small) that hold them back, and the ways in which they see themselves as part of a larger cause of reclaiming land and culture—things that are rightly theirs. Our Blockade Feast June 8 175Through both the blockade and this youth gathering, the Grassy Narrows community empowers its youth by giving them leadership roles and allowing them to participate and contribute in meaningful ways to their community and its struggle. And to me, that is a big part of “healing the spirit,” both of the youth, and of the community itself.
More info at FreeGrassy.org

Youth Workshops in Grassy Narrows

We continue to hear good reports from Solidiarity Summer going on now in Grassy Narrows. The First Nation community in NW Ontario is struggling to defend its traditions from multinational logging companies. Join them at the Earth Justice Gathering July 10-16th. This report comes from Christy:
For several years now, Grassy Narrows has hosted a three-day gathering for youth from the community and from other First Nations communities. The gathering, and in particular this year’s theme, “Healing the Spirit,” speaks to the community’s emphasis on the power of its youth, its value on spirituality and traditional ways, and its commitment to restoring and healing the community and the land. This is one of many ways the Grassy Narrows community helps its youth to reclaim both their traditional land and ways. Youth Workshops The night before the Youth and Elders Gathering, we met with Lisa Martin from Christian Peacemaker Teams (a group that has mediated conflict in Grassy Narrows, Iraq and other parts of the world) to discuss the programming for the next day’s gathering. Lisa was in charge of organizing a series of activities and workshops for the youth geared at building confidence and encouraging communication and connections between those at the gathering. She emphasized how important it is to foster self-confidence in the youth of the community. We led the group of about twenty youth, ranging in age from about nine to twenty-five, in activities including games, a demonstration of Aikido (a type of self-defensive martial arts) and discussions on issues facing the community. I have been continuously impressed by how bright, engaged and dedicated the youth from Grassy Narrows is, but I felt honored to be privy to such an honest discussion, and by how freely they shared and discussed the issues they face as Grassy Narrows youth. They openly shared their accomplishments and successes, the things (great and small) that hold them back, and the ways in which they see themselves as part of a larger cause of reclaiming land and culture—things that are rightly theirs. Our Blockade Feast June 8 175Through both the blockade and this youth gathering, the Grassy Narrows community empowers its youth by giving them leadership roles and allowing them to participate and contribute in meaningful ways to their community and its struggle. And to me, that is a big part of “healing the spirit,” both of the youth, and of the community itself.
More info at FreeGrassy.org

Youth Workshops in Grassy Narrows

We continue to hear good reports from Solidiarity Summer going on now in Grassy Narrows. The First Nation community in NW Ontario is struggling to defend its traditions from multinational logging companies. Join them at the Earth Justice Gathering July 10-16th. This report comes from Christy:
For several years now, Grassy Narrows has hosted a three-day gathering for youth from the community and from other First Nations communities. The gathering, and in particular this year’s theme, “Healing the Spirit,” speaks to the community’s emphasis on the power of its youth, its value on spirituality and traditional ways, and its commitment to restoring and healing the community and the land. This is one of many ways the Grassy Narrows community helps its youth to reclaim both their traditional land and ways. Youth Workshops The night before the Youth and Elders Gathering, we met with Lisa Martin from Christian Peacemaker Teams (a group that has mediated conflict in Grassy Narrows, Iraq and other parts of the world) to discuss the programming for the next day’s gathering. Lisa was in charge of organizing a series of activities and workshops for the youth geared at building confidence and encouraging communication and connections between those at the gathering. She emphasized how important it is to foster self-confidence in the youth of the community. We led the group of about twenty youth, ranging in age from about nine to twenty-five, in activities including games, a demonstration of Aikido (a type of self-defensive martial arts) and discussions on issues facing the community. I have been continuously impressed by how bright, engaged and dedicated the youth from Grassy Narrows is, but I felt honored to be privy to such an honest discussion, and by how freely they shared and discussed the issues they face as Grassy Narrows youth. They openly shared their accomplishments and successes, the things (great and small) that hold them back, and the ways in which they see themselves as part of a larger cause of reclaiming land and culture—things that are rightly theirs. Our Blockade Feast June 8 175Through both the blockade and this youth gathering, the Grassy Narrows community empowers its youth by giving them leadership roles and allowing them to participate and contribute in meaningful ways to their community and its struggle. And to me, that is a big part of “healing the spirit,” both of the youth, and of the community itself.
More info at FreeGrassy.org

Youth Workshops in Grassy Narrows

We continue to hear good reports from Solidiarity Summer going on now in Grassy Narrows. The First Nation community in NW Ontario is struggling to defend its traditions from multinational logging companies. Join them at the Earth Justice Gathering July 10-16th. This report comes from Christy:
For several years now, Grassy Narrows has hosted a three-day gathering for youth from the community and from other First Nations communities. The gathering, and in particular this year’s theme, “Healing the Spirit,” speaks to the community’s emphasis on the power of its youth, its value on spirituality and traditional ways, and its commitment to restoring and healing the community and the land. This is one of many ways the Grassy Narrows community helps its youth to reclaim both their traditional land and ways. Youth Workshops The night before the Youth and Elders Gathering, we met with Lisa Martin from Christian Peacemaker Teams (a group that has mediated conflict in Grassy Narrows, Iraq and other parts of the world) to discuss the programming for the next day’s gathering. Lisa was in charge of organizing a series of activities and workshops for the youth geared at building confidence and encouraging communication and connections between those at the gathering. She emphasized how important it is to foster self-confidence in the youth of the community. We led the group of about twenty youth, ranging in age from about nine to twenty-five, in activities including games, a demonstration of Aikido (a type of self-defensive martial arts) and discussions on issues facing the community. I have been continuously impressed by how bright, engaged and dedicated the youth from Grassy Narrows is, but I felt honored to be privy to such an honest discussion, and by how freely they shared and discussed the issues they face as Grassy Narrows youth. They openly shared their accomplishments and successes, the things (great and small) that hold them back, and the ways in which they see themselves as part of a larger cause of reclaiming land and culture—things that are rightly theirs. Our Blockade Feast June 8 175Through both the blockade and this youth gathering, the Grassy Narrows community empowers its youth by giving them leadership roles and allowing them to participate and contribute in meaningful ways to their community and its struggle. And to me, that is a big part of “healing the spirit,” both of the youth, and of the community itself.
More info at FreeGrassy.org

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