My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Love it or leave it! Peace.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Postponement to Mining Act revisions good for industry Currently, mining is the only cash cow left of the province's four main industries so tampering with it would be more than foolhardy, it would be economic suicide.

Postponement to Act revisions good for Ontario's mining industry

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Posted 17 hours ago

When it comes to timing mining cycles or stock movements, when everyone believes something it usually turns out that they are wrong.

The 10-year boom in commodities turned out to be less than four years and no one knows when it will resume.

Yet, there is a bright side for the Canadian mining industry, and especially the Ontario segment. The provincial government has postponed its planned revisions to the Ontario Mining Act.

Bowing to several pressure groups, the McGuinty government had intended to ram through major changes before the new year. The world-wide meltdown in credit facilities brought the Liberals to their senses.

Ontario has four major industries -- new vehicle and parts manufacturing, mining, forestry and tourism. Even before the housing crisis in the United States spread into every sector of the world economy, the forest industry was written off by Queen's Park.

Tourism was in a slump and asking for McGuinty to spend millions of dollars to get our southern neighbours crossing the border again.

The culprit was basically the high Canadian dollar in terms of the U. S. dollar but still the tourist industry was expecting help, the kind of help that the forestry industry was refused.

With the new vehicle sector seeking billions of dollars in assistance and the parts sector lined up behind it for help, Ontario faces a sharp decline in tax revenues.

McGuinty in early November was projecting a $500 million deficit but the final figure is likely to be much higher.

So, the situation is this: the only major industry still pouring tax revenues into Queen's Park is mining and its allied supply and services operations. And we must not forget the personal taxes paid by the workers.

Canada is not as heavily dependent on consumer spending as is the U. S. but it still plays a significant role in keeping the national economy healthy.Miners spend their pay cheques where they live and therefore firms from coffee shops to department stores maintain their workforces and pay taxes.

When the province announced in August a short consultation period for the Mining Act changes, industry spokespersons were loud in their complaints but the major noise came from Aboriginal groups.

They were certainly correct that this would be their first opportunity to have real input into a piece of legislation that touches on so many of their concerns, ranging from a piece of the royalty pie to infringements on their legal rights and use of their traditional lands.

The Oct. 15 deadline was first moved to Nov. 15 to give Aboriginal organizations more time to consider the province's suggested areas of consultation (although nonnative groups were bound by the original date) and on Nov. 13 it became Jan. 15 for everyone.

There is no doubt that the auto industry is Ontario's most important industry, employing 400,000 people and generating $28 billion in economic activity annually.

That it is important to Canada is also beyond question. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty notes 90 per cent of our vehicle production goes to the U. S. What the bureaucrats in the Ontario finance ministry must have realized in recent weeks is the importance of the mining industry.

This province produces 28 per cent of the nation's minerals, with an approximate value of $10.8 billion and employs 100,000 Ontarians directly and indirectly.

Also important is the fact that mining pays higher wages than any other industrial sector.

Mining will not be immune if the world slips from recession status into a depression but industry executives know mining is cyclical in nature and good times are always followed by bad ones.

Currently, mining is the only cash cow left of the province's four main industries so tampering with it would be more than foolhardy, it would be economic suicide.

As for the new deadline for the Mining Act changes, it is a safe bet that it will be extended well past Jan. 15. There are three key factors in the setting of a realistic timetable: two are political and one is based on economics.

The first and most important political reason is the fact that the U. S. got the world into the present economic mess and it will have to lead it out of the swamp.

President George Bush is a lame duck Republican president who will be out of office on Jan. 20 but has even less power than previous lame ducks in that the Democratic Party now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

What in-coming Democratic president Barack Obama will do is not known but whatever steps he eventually takes are months, even years, away from being effective.

Since at this time the full effects of the world-wide financial crunch are not known and world leaders are hesitant to take concrete action until they can see the full picture, Ontario should not take any moves to harm its mining industry.

The second political reason is the request by some Ontario Aboriginal leaders to have the consultative deadline extended.

Chief Donny Morris wants at least one year for native groups to consult and to reach a consensus on their position.

By extending the deadline well into 2009, McGuinty will build up political capital with native groups and buy time to see if some of the drastic measures being proposed to revive confidence in financial institutions succeed.

The economic reason is that achieving an end to financial forces battering the Ontario economy are basically beyond its control.

The federal government has some say in any eventual success but it must be repeated that Canadians must await action by the U. S. and the other major industrialized nations.

The U. S. is willing to spend trillions of dollars, Canada billions of dollars and the rest of the industrialized nations more trillions but first clear objectives must be established to restore economic stability.

To his credit, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, an economist by profession, has stated he will allow Canada to fall into a deficit position, but only if it becomes necessary.

Uncertainty abounds and in such times governments must move cautiously.

In today's world everything is interconnected; think of breaking a single strand of a spider's web without being able to discern the importance of that strand to the integrity of the entire web.

Article ID# 1322633

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thai protesters force police to abandon checkpoint
Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:26am EST

By Ed Cropley

BANGKOK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Hundreds of anti-government protesters forced several dozen Thai riot police to abandon a checkpoint on Saturday as they tightened their siege of the country's main airport, witnesses said.

Around 2,000 People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters forced back about 150 police from a kilometre (0.6 mile) north of Suvarnabhumi Airport, although the incident passed off without violence.

The protesters are seeking to oust Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat in the latest escalation in a long-running political crisis.

A day after their police chief was sacked for mishandling the protests, commanders on the ground said they would not yet try to evict by force the thousands of protesters at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports.

But PAD supporters were taking no chances and on Saturday deflated the tyres of ambulances and police vehicles at the police checkpoint. Several vehicles were left stranded in the middle of the road.

The PAD say they are ready for a prolonged siege, with their "security guards" armed with clubs, sticks and golf clubs, and dug in behind a series of barricades of fire trucks, razor wire, car tyres and luggage trolleys.

PAD co-leader and retired general Chamlong Srimuang told supporters on Saturday not to go to Suvarnabhumi as there were enough people there and instead go to Government House, where the protests started months ago. "Too many people will not help if police shut us there. If you're on your way here, please go to the Government House because if police shut us here, we'll still have people to help," he said.

Chamlong said PAD leaders had not yet held any talks with authorities.

"We are still open to talks but only with people directly involved in the situation such as Somchai," he told a news conference.

"They can talk with any of our leaders and wherever, but nobody contacts us yet.

He also offered some hope of a way out, without giving details.

"We believe the situation will not be prolonged as we always think of the important day. But we believe it will be eased before Dec. 5," he told a news conference, refering to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej's birthday.

In a televised address on Thursday night, Prime Minister Somchai said the PAD members barricaded at the airports were doing massive damage to the economy, but he would avoid violence to end the protests.


Pressure is building on the army to oust the prime minister, as they did Thaksin in 2006, after Somchai rejected military calls to quit this week.

But army chief Anupong Paochinda has said he would not take over, arguing the military cannot heal fundamental political rifts between the Bangkok elite and middle classes, who despise Thaksin, and the poor rural and urban majority who love him.

Exporters were scrambling to get perishable goods and key components to customers around the world.

The question of compensation may arise later, but for now, they are focused on shipping goods, said Kasem Jariyawong, president of the Thai Air Freight Forwarders Association.

A prolonged closure of Suvarnabhumi, which can handle 3 million tonnes of cargo a year, would do serious damage to an export-driven economy already struggling to cope with a global slowdown, experts say.

Repairing Thailand's tarnished image as a safe place to do business and travel may also take time.

The government began shuttling thousands of stranded tourists by bus to U-Tapao, a Vietnam War-era naval airbase 150 km (90 miles) east of Bangkok, as an alternative landing site for airlines, but travellers reported delays and confusion. (Writing by David Fox; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Staff emerge as heroes in Mumbai hotel sieges
Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:07am EST

By Krittivas Mukherjee

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Prashant Mangeshikar could be dead, one of more than a hundred victims of militant attacks across Mumbai landmarks, if it had not been for an employee at the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Mangeshikar, his wife and daughter were in the foyer of the 105-year-old hotel on Wednesday night when Islamist gunmen opened indiscriminate fire in one of a series of coordinated attacks in India's financial capital.

Recovering from the initial shock and chaos, hotel staff shepherded the guests, including the Mangeshikar family, through the service section upstairs -- only suddenly to come face to face with one of the gunmen.

"He looked young and did not speak to us. He just fired. We were in sort of a single file," Mangeshikar, a 52-year-old gynecologist, told Reuters. "The man in front of my wife shielded us. He was a maintenance section staff. He took the bullets."

The tale of the unnamed staff member has echoed across Mumbai where, time after time, hotel workers have emerged as the people who shielded, hid or evacuated their wealthy guests from militants at the Taj and Trident/Oberoi hotels.

Hotel workers in one case ushered guests into a conference room and then locked the doors to protect them from the militants. The guests were later rescued by the fire brigade.

The staff often proved essential, knowing short cuts to safety and where emergency exits were located.


Within seconds after Mangeshikar's family was saved from the bullets, the guests made a dash for the hotel rooms to hide.

Mangeshikar and a few others dragged the wounded hotel employee identified only as "Mr. Rajan" into one of the rooms.

"His intestine was a lump hanging from a gaping hole in his abdomen," he said. "The bullet had entered him from close to the spine."

For the next 12 hours, Mangeshikar and other guests surrounded the wounded man trying to push back his intestines with bedsheets and stop the bleeding. He was finally evacuated, but it was not known if he survived.

"The hotel staff has been very, very brave," Mangeshikar said. "Hats off to them."

As the gunmen went around spraying bullets, on another floor hotel staff struggled to secure the doors with bedsheets and put tables and beds against the doors.

Televisions had gone off. Power also went out. Some people tried desperately to call their family on cell phones.

Kanda Noriyaki, a chef at the hotel's Japanese restaurant, led guests trembling and screaming with fear to safety.

"We hid in the restaurant," Noriyaki told Reuters. "We could hear the firing somewhere very close. Intermittently, there were blasts."

Many evacuees from the hotel hailed the bravery of the staff. "Just imagine, they even served us food the first few hours," said a hotel guest, who did not wish to be named. "Only when the kitchens became out of bounds did they express regret for not being able to serve us food."

One person recounted how Taj staff stopped panicky guests from rushing into the lobby where militants could have shot them.

"They were brilliant," Bhisham Mansukhani told the Mail Today. "If they hadn't kept their cool, many more lives would have been lost."

The wife and children of the Taj's general manager who lived on the hotel premises were killed in the attacks. Witnesses said many trainee chefs had been killed in the kitchen of the Taj.

Mangeshikar said that, but for the courage of Mr. Rajan, his wife and daughter could have been dead.

"I'm going out today to the hospital to find out what happened to him," he said. "I owe it to that brave man."

(Editing by Alistair Scrutton and John Chalmers)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tradition, Modernity or Both? TVO, The Agenda Thursday, November 27 Canada's First Nations: Tradition, Modernity or Both? Aboriginal identity at a crossroad: 1.2 million strong and growing, but with more than half of Canada's First Nations now living off-reserve, can the traditional way of life be maintained? Live from the Munk Centre for International Studies. For guest information and background resources, check: (Episode Video, blog, etc)

Suffice it to say ... "Aboriginal people have a special connection to the land? What's this? I've never heard of this. I don't have a connection to the land?" Spoken testily by Frances Widdowson on this episode of The Agenda. Can you believe that this woman co-authored a book telling Indigenous Peoples of Canada that they should just disappear? And she clearly doesn't even have a clue who they are, what their legal rights are, what Canada's legal responsibilities are ... nothing! She is by far the most ignorant 'academic' I have ever come across. Apparently her 'knowledge base' allows her to pronounce judgment on Indigenous Peoples and her judgment is ... wait for it ... They should all assimilate with other Canadians and for heaven's sake, stop trying to neolithicly live off the land! Oh yes she's qualified to make those judgments ... just as qualified as any other criminal who is publicly inciting genocide. (See Article 3 c Frances Widdowson needs to read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Or at least she could read Indian and Northern Affairs website for some basic information about the Indigenous Peoples she would dissolve and disperse. "Aboriginal rights: Rights that some Aboriginal peoples of Canada hold as a result of their ancestors' long-standing use and occupancy of the land. The rights of certain Aboriginal peoples to hunt, trap and fish on ancestral lands are examples of Aboriginal rights. Aboriginal rights vary from group to group depending on the customs, practices and traditions that have formed part of their distinctive cultures. " Indigenous Peoples of Canada have the right to exist. Frances Widdowson would deny that. Frances Widdowson is a sorely misguided toady of the corporate establishment, with fascist fantasies. And see ...

More native kids in B.C. living away from parents

Lives of aboriginals appear to be getting worse, children's rep warns

Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist

Published: Thursday, November 27, 2008

The lives of B.C.'s aboriginal children may be getting worse instead of better, the province's child advocate said yesterday.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond warned that seven of every 10 children living in care or outside the parental home in B.C. will soon be aboriginal if nothing is done to halt current trends.

"We are very concerned about the situation for aboriginal children in British Columbia," she said. "And we are very concerned that there may in fact be a decline in the well-being of aboriginal children in the last number of years and not an improvement in their circumstances."

Speaking to a standing committee on children and youth, Turpel-Lafond noted that when she took office in 2007 about 51 per cent of children in care were aboriginal despite the fact they made up just eight per cent of the population.

She estimates that aboriginal children now account for nearly 60 per cent of children living in care or away from their parents under programs that place them with a relative.

"With the demographic trends, with the vulnerabilities in that community, I would be very sad to see, at the end of my term as representative, if that was closer to 65 to 70 per cent," she said. "But if the trends are unabated, and we do not work more effectively in this area, this will happen."

Turpel-Lafond said in an interview that other factors have influenced her view, such as the health and education outcomes of aboriginal children and their poverty levels.

Her office also recently tracked the lives of all children born in B.C. in 1986 for an upcoming report on youth justice. Disturbingly, the study found one in five aboriginal children ended up in care or living outside the parental home at some point in their childhood.

Children's Minister Tom Christensen questioned some of Turpel-Lafond's statistics, but acknowledged that one of every two children in government care is aboriginal.

"That is far too high, but quite frankly it's much less than in neighbouring provinces," he said. "If we look across Western Canada you get 70 to 80 per cent of the children in care being aboriginal."

Christensen insisted that government is working hard to reverse the trend by meeting with First Nations leaders, shifting more responsibilities to aboriginal agencies, and pressing the federal government to invest in prevention programs on reserves.

"But we are fooling ourselves if we think you're going to wake up one day and all of sudden everything's going to be reversed," he said. "This is going to be incremental."

Former judge Ted Hughes, whose 2006 review of B.C.'s child welfare system led to Turpel-Lafond's appointment, laid much of the blame for over-representation of aboriginal children on the "devastating effects" of the Indian residential school system.

He also cited other reports noting the impact of poverty, isolation, unemployment and inadequate housing, as well as lack of support from governments.

Turpel-Lafond said if the situation is to improve, everyone needs to remain focused on the children. "What are the conditions for the children? How are we going to make progress year to year on the situation like poverty, poor housing opportunities, the need for parental support, over-crowding issues -- things that really pose significant health and safety risks to children," she said.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

Canada is put to shame . . . but do we care? Published Thursday November 27th, 2008

Canada has been put to shame in the last few weeks. It may not be shame on the scale of a bad showing in Olympic medals, but some of us are concerned.

This month, a United Nations committee scrounged to find a few positive things to say about Canada's performance to improve equality between women and men, before blasting us for our shortcomings and breaches of international undertakings.

Its report is highly critical of Canada's record on women's human rights and it asked Canada to report back in one year on steps taken to address inadequate social assistance rates across the country and the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with the disappearance of Aboriginal women and girls.

Then we find out that the Swiss-based World Economic Forum has dropped Canada, who had been ranked 14th in the world for equality between the sexes in 2004, to 31st place in its 2007 ranking of 130 countries. The survey measures what gains individual countries have made in closing their gender gaps: economic participation and opportunity; educational attainment; political empowerment and health and survival.

Then the Conference Board of Canada's Report Card on quality of life, was, let's say, less than flattering. The Report Card "tells the story of a country moving to the back of the class because of its under-performance in almost all subjects". Our child poverty rate and our declining "life satisfaction" did us in. On the gap in income between women and men, the Conference Board said Canada is second worst out of 15 peer countries. We were also put to shame because of our low voter turnout, assault rate and youth suicide rate.

Canada appeared for review before the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women Committee, and again, as in 2003, Canada did not come out of it looking good. In fact, in failing to take any initiative towards meeting the 23 recommendations put before us by the committee five years ago, we came out of it looking like a contrary child who just can't get enough bad attention.

The committee told Canada it needed to address its inadequate legal aid for family law and poverty law; the over classification of federal women prisoners and absence of an external oversight mechanism; the high rates of child apprehension, particularly from Aboriginal women; lack of child care; lack of adequate and affordable housing options; and cancellation of the Court Challenges Program.

What must Canada do to keep up with the other countries -- let alone deliver on the promise of equality to Canadian women? According to the United Nations committee, the federal government must use its leadership and funding power to set standards and establish a mechanism for implementing the Convention in all parts of Canada in a transparent manner. Canada should also establish minimum standards for social assistance.

On the positive side, the committee did say it welcomed Canada's efforts to combat human trafficking, applauded parental leave for fathers is possible -- noting that at least in Quebec the number of men using this option has greatly increased -- and welcomed the new Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Ironically, the United Nations committee recognized Canada's sustained leadership in international forums to promote the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. But at home, not so much.

At the most basic level, Canada is failing in its obligations as a signatory to the Convention 28 years after signing on. Thumbing its nose at its commitment to establish and maintain public institutions aimed at protecting women against discrimination, the federal government recently overhauled the mandate of Status of Women Canada, removing "equality" and restricted its purview of action.

Equality-seeking groups who do any kind of advocacy, lobbying, or other work to make change are ineligible for funding from the federal government. The Harper government also removed Canadians' most valuable tool in responding to rights infringements -- the Court Challenges Program -- that, ironically, was one of the few feathers in Canada's hat at the 2003 review.

The government has not acted on the committee's recommendation that legal and other mechanisms be introduced to ensure compliance with the convention at all levels of Canadian governance. Nor has it moved on the question of implementing gender-based impact analysis assessments of programs, policies, and legislation.

The gendered income gap (which is currently at 25 per cent) and poverty rates in Canada still weigh heavily against women, and especially lone mothers, Aboriginal women and women of colour. Nationally, 36 per cent of Aboriginal women, 57 per cent of African-Canadian women, and 38 per cent of lone mothers live in poverty.

Immigrant women remain grossly under-employed. Incarcerated women offenders continue to be over-classified, with Aboriginal women in particular falling overwhelmingly subject to this practice in addition to being grossly over-represented within the prison system.

The federal government has no pay equity law, there is still no national child care plan, and a comprehensive social housing strategy is absent. Those were three areas that were points of concern raised during the 2003 U.N. review, and if anything, we are further away today from seeing these become a reality than we were then.

This is not the Canada that Canadians want. Do our leaders know we care about this?

n Elsie Hambrook is Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Her column on women's issues appears in the Times & Transcript every Thursday. She may be reached via e-mail at

Six Nations, Brantford: "Motives for flak over protests not what they seem" There's a lot of flak pouring into the editorial section of The Expositor over the disruption of the medical centre project caused by Ruby and Floyd Montour. Citizens firing up their pens, the mayor voicing his concerns. Vicano despairing of how the company is trying to provide such a badly needed service to the people of Brantford. Crap! And you all know it. Vicano is in this for one reason only -- profit. Nothing more. The mayor: Keeping his promise to Vicano as a gesture of his appreciation for campaign donations made to him by Vicano. Citizens screaming blue murder: Floyd and Ruby are criminals! They ought to be charged. On and on and on and on! You might feel differently when you see the restaurant, hotel and gas bar go up with Phase 2 shortly after the medical centre is done. "Aha! So that's why they were crying 'foul' so loud against the Indians." It's all about profit. And telling the press about how Vicano had definitely consulted with "someone" at Six Nations. Tell me, where was all of this deep concern when a walk-in facility, accessible to so many, closed this past year? Where was all this passion for medical services then? Where were the voices of your mayor and council? Where were the voices of Brantford's citizens? Not a peep. Not one! And, can anyone tell me why the old Canadian Tire and BMO property on Colborne Street East would not have made an excellent site for such a centre? Much more accessible to the handicapped, elderly and the poor who cannot afford public transit to "Mississauga West" at the 403 and Garden Avenue. Imagine in the dead of winter when the frigid winds are blowing and the poorest of the poor in Brantford must make their way to this remote facility on the outskirts of Brantford. Watch while a single mother of four must scrape together the fare, gather up all the kids and get out there in the oppressive heat of summer, just to keep an appointment for one of the kids, or herself. Where was the indignant outcry then? What is criminal is what the city's mayor and council have allowed to happen in Brantford, but I hear no one calling for their skins. All this because out-of-town doctors will find it such a hardship having to drive another six or seven minutes in their BMWs, Cadillacs, Porsches and Audis to reach the Colborne Street site? In answer to John Barnes' sarcasm, "Medical centre welcome on his property," Nov. 25, about not caring about thousands of mature trees coming down, not caring about whose land it is; when this insane destruction of Brantford's beautiful natural assets is done and the air quality is so bad "thousands" of people can then get out to the new "Mississauga" to have their respiratory problems looked at. I'll trust that Barnes will feel equally as charitable and has lots of room on "his" property when the hotel, restaurant and gas bar goes up and is open 24 hours a day. Floyd, Ruby, you have done nothing to deserve the sarcasm and scorn Barnes has offered up to you. Carry on doing what you do so well, respectfully and of the good mind. There is a justness about it when ordinary people fight the good fight! O. Garlow Six Nations

Copyright © 2008 Brantford Expositor

Background ...

Elmvale: Dump Threatens Pristine Water Proposed Dump Threatens Pristine Water, Say Township Residents

Thirty-year fight to stop landfill continues

By Joan Delaney Epoch Times Staff Nov 26, 2008
Tiny Township
Dozens of protesters approach the Ontario legislature where they rallied to stop a garbage dump from being built in Tiny Township, Ontario. (Jim Simpson)

The farming community of Tiny Township in Ontario is home to something entirely unique — a series of bubbling artesian wells that contain some of the cleanest and most abundant fresh water on the planet.

The water in the Alliston aquifer is so pure that it equates to Arctic ice core samples taken from snows deposited 10,000 years ago, before the advent of modern industry and its resulting pollution.

But a proposed landfill, Dump Site 41, is slated to be built smack on top of the Alliston aquifer, and if it goes ahead the residents of Tiny Township are worried that this precious resource will be destroyed forever.

A rally outside the Ontario legislature last Friday was part of the ongoing fight to stop Site 41 — a fight that started 30 years ago. The fight continues despite the approval of the landfill by the Ontario government and despite a 16-15 vote in favour of it by the County of Simcoe.

“We don't need the dump, it's not necessary, and it's the worst place you could ever build a dump in the County of Simcoe,” says Stephen Ogden, a member of the Site 41 Community Monitoring Committee.

As part of the Queen's Park rally, Ogden and Mohawk elder and environmentalist Danny Beaton undertook a five-day 120-kilometre “walk for water” from Tiny Township to Toronto. They want the provincial government to stop the landfill and hope to convince county councillors to overturn their “razor-thin” decision.

Dr. William Shotyk, a geochemistry professor at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, has called water from the Alliston aquifer “the best water on earth.” Shotyk, whose family owns property near Tiny Township, came to that conclusion after testing the water in a sophisticated laboratory he runs at the university to analyze contaminants in prehistoric ice.

There are many shallow aquifers connected to Alliston aquifer, and opponents of the dump fear that a synthetic liner intended to prevent leakage will not be entirely effective, resulting in the contamination of surrounding water. The upward motion of the water is also supposed to help prohibit leakage.

Initially, the proposal for a landfill in that spot was rejected after a 70-day environmental assessment hearing back in 1989. However, the government intervened and through an Order in Council overturned that decision.

Tiny Township
A sign in Tiny Township. (Jo Kressin)
Artesian water percolates to the surface under its own pressure, so when a hole is dug it fills up with water. This means that millions of litres of water will have to be pumped out and transferred to a nearby creek to prevent the landfill from becoming a lake.

A permit is needed to remove such a large amount of water, and right now this is the only thing stopping the site from going ahead. The permit is currently being reviewed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE), says spokesperson Kate Jordan.

“We want to assure the residents that we won't issue a permit until more experts are confident that the proposal is scientifically sound and that the site will be operated in an environmentally responsible way that will ensure the protection of the surrounding watershed.”

Jordan says that while MOE is aware of Shotyk's studies and of the opposition to Site 41, the landfill was approved because the ministry was satisfied that it would be built in a way that would not damage the environment.

“The approval that we gave set out conditions to ensure that the landfill would be constructed using state of the art engineering techniques so that the groundwater would be protected as well as the surface water to ensure that there is no impact on drinking water,” says Jordan.

While Simcoe County maintains current landfill capacity for the region is only seven to eight years, Progressive Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop says there's about “35 years of capacity in other areas of the county” and therefore Site 41 is not necessary.

A former county councillor, Dunlop says he was in favour of the project until the Walkerton tragedy, when six people died from contaminated water — and until he actually went and visited the proposed site.

“I went there and the water was actually bubbling out of the ground. We were just told by the ministry staff that it was a good site for a dump and we never really objected to it. But since Walkerton when people died it's time to start paying a lot more attention.”

There's a precedent in place for pulling out of the project, says Dunlop, citing the Adams Mine in northern Ontario which was also earmarked for a landfill.

“Legislation was put through for that and all the approvals were in place and the government did a complete reversal and it was because water seeped into the bottom and created a lake of about a hectare in size.”

The Adams Mine Lake Act was subsequently passed which prevents any lake more than one hectare in size from being used as a landfill. Tiny Township residents believe this applies to Site 41, because once the hole for the dump is dug it will fill up to more than a hectare if it isn't continuously pumped out.

Ogden believes building yet another dump is the wrong way to go when Ontario Environment Minister John Garretson is promoting zero waste for the province, and with zero waste initiatives catching on in many countries.

“We just need to change the way we do things,” he says.

The ministry will “closely monitor” construction and operations at the site, Jordan says, adding that there's a condition in the agreement that the county has to fund an environmental inspector. But these reassurances are not enough, says Ogden.

“They're trying to convince us it will be safe, but I don't think so. You can imagine how we all feel. We have this beautiful farm land, and we're risking this incredibly pure water and we don't have to.”

Last Updated Nov 26, 2008 Site 41 is a proposed engineered Landfill Site which shall be located on several aquifers, in a flood plain, beside the headwaters of MacDonald Creek which runs into the Wye Marsh and into Georgian Bay. It is also class one and two farmland. This area has so much groundwater that artesian wells are common, no pump needed; just a pipe in the ground and the water readily flows out. The upper aquifer is as little as 27í from the surface of Site 41 before construction. The Alliston Aquifer (as well as shallower aquifers) is located under Site 41 and extends a great distance and supplies many communities with their drinking water.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Barrick Gold (CDN) Carves up Mount Tenabo Spiritual Area Thanksgiving the “Cortez” Way - U.S. Ignores Western Shoshone Objections – Barrick Gold Readies Itself to Carve up Mount Tenabo Spiritual Area By Timbisha Shoshone, Western Shoshone and Great Basin Resource Watch Photo by Erin Hetherington/Oxfam November 20, 2008 RENO and CRESCENT VALLEY, Nev. -- Last week, after years of determined opposition from Western Shoshone, the U.S. Department of Interior, through its Bureau of Land Management (BLM), approved one of the largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines in the United States on the flank of Mount Tenabo – an area well-known for its spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone. The area is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants and items and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual and cultural practices. Over the years, tens of thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States and around the world have joined with the Shoshone and voiced their opposition to this mine. The mine has been referred to as one of the most opposed mines in the world and indeed the level of public opposition is unprecedented for the BLM. With the threat of mine construction beginning as early as this week, the South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Great Basin Resource Watch, today filed a complaint in the Reno Federal District Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the mine. Barrick Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold mining company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, plans to construct and operate the mine, known as the Cortez Hills Expansion Project. The Project area is located entirely within the territory of the Western Shoshone Nation, recognized in the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. The Mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on Mount Tenabo over 900 acres in size, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. It would include several new waste disposal and processing facilities (including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), consisting of approximately 1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings material, and 112 million tons of spent heap leach material. The Mine would include an extensive groundwater pumping system to dewater Mount Tenabo (in order to keep the open pit and mine workings dry during mining) and associated water pipelines that will transport the pumped water away from Mount Tenabo. In total, the mine would permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres land on and around Mount Tenabo, over 90% of which is classified as federal “public” land. “How are we, as a nation, showing our values, if we allow a transnational corporation to destroy this ‘church’ for all time, just to get 10 years worth of gold.” Says Larson Bill, Vice-Chairman of the South Fork Band Council. “There are dozens of active gold mines on Western Shoshone lands already, there is no need for this one, which is clearly immoral and irresponsible. The public should be aware that Nevada is not a waste land, but is the home of ranchers, sportsmen, fishermen and homesteaders that have enjoyed the lands alongside the Shoshone people for generations. We have been clear in our opposition to this mine and while Barrick tries to cloud the real issues with gifts and money, we continue to oppose this project – they have not bought our people, the traditions nor the lands of the Shoshone.” he adds. The proposed mine area has been found by the BLM, in repeated ethnographic studies, as being of extreme spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone. One report says: “Mt. Tenabo is … considered a traditional locus of power and source of life, and figures in creation stories and world renewal. As the tallest mountain in the area – the most likely to capture snow and generate water to grow piñon and nourish life – it is literally a life-giver. Water is to earth what blood is to the body, and these subterranean waterways are likened to the earth’s arteries and veins.” Carrie Dann, a world renowned Western Shoshone elder, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (known as the “alternative Nobel Peace Prize”) has been among those to lead the fight to protect Mount Tenabo from mining for over 15 years. “Mount Tenabo should be left alone – no further disturbance. This mine will drain the water from Mount Tenabo. They will be sucking the water out of the mountain forever. The destruction of the water is like the destruction of the blood of the earth; you are destroying life of the earth and the people and wildlife that depend on it. Dewatering is taking the life of future generations. Water is sacred, all life depends on it,” says Carrie Dann. “Next week we celebrate Thanksgiving - The question that the courts and the people of this country need to ask themselves is will we continue to tolerate these violations against the First Peoples of this land or will we finally turn the tide of injustice and protect these sacred areas?” Says Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Consultant to the Western Shoshone Defense Project. “None of us are opposed to mining, if it is done responsibly, however this project is as irresponsible as it gets. The BLM has a legal responsibility to protect the air, water, and ecological values of the area as well as the religious freedom of Western Shoshone, and to fully analyze the impacts of a proposed project. In each case, this mine would clearly violate the law.” Says Dan Randolph, Executive Director of Great Basin Resource Watch. “This is an example of how the Bush Administration is rushing to protect their corporate friends in their last few months in power. The BLM denied requests to extend the comment period on the Environmental Impact Statement not only from us, but also from several Western Shoshone tribal governments. Therefore, we are forced to now turn to the courts to stop this project. We know that Barrick will begin work on the mine as soon as they can, to cause enough harm in an attempt to make the religious rights arguments moot, and the BLM and Bush Administration appear to be more than willing to help them in every way possible.” The plaintiffs are being represented in court by Roger Flynn of the non-profit legal firm, the Western Mining Action Project, which specializes in mining, public land, and environmental law. For more information on the Cortez Hills Project, Mount Tenabo, and the legal challenge go to and For Immediate Release: Contacts: Larson Bill, South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, 775-744-2565/775-397-6726 Dan Randolph, Great Basin Resource Watch, 775-722-4056 Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-397-1371 Reno Gazette: Western Shoshone file suit to stop gold mine

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Missing children-Group hopes to fill in the blanks about missing native children

Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Many survivors of Canada's Indian residential schools say they ache to tell their stories to a federal commission charged with exploring the system's legacy, but what about the aboriginal boys and girls who did not survive? Who will tell their stories?

Historian John Milloy says that if all goes according to plan, the living will share - orally or in writing - what they know about the deaths and burials of their former classmates, many of whom ended up in unmarked graves dug by their fellow students on the grounds of the schools they attended.

Those stories will be added to information gleaned from records contained at dozens of church and government archival sites across Canada, Milloy said Tuesday in an interview.

Jeanette Baker, 50, holds a picture of her ancestors who suffered in residential schools. Questions remain as to how their stories will be told.

Jeanette Baker, 50, holds a picture of her ancestors who suffered in residential schools. Questions remain as to how their stories will be told.

Mark van Manen/ Vancouver Sun
Milloy, author of A National Crime, the Canadian Government and the Residential School System 1879 to 1986, was an adviser to the working group of church, aboriginal and federal government representatives that has laid out for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission a plan for filling in huge gaps in information about how many children died, what they died of and where they are buried.

The working group's proposed research project has been approved and the commission is committed to implementing it, Kimberly Phillips, spokeswoman for the commission, said Tuesday in an e-mail.

However, with no budget, and a commission hobbled by the surprise resignation last month of its chairman, Justice Harry LaForme, the project is not off the ground.

Milloy said he's hopeful the work will proceed and that it will be done by independent historians and archivists so there is no perception - real or imagined - of tainted findings.

Milloy said he's convinced survivors are keen to help fill in the blanks of what happened to fellow students and to help answer questions that haunt the surviving parents and siblings of the missing or dead.

"I get it every time we sit around for coffee and there are survivors in the room. Out come the stories about the kid that ran away and nobody has ever seen him again, about the child who was taken to the infirmary and died and so on. They know names, they know places and they know dates," he said.

Milloy said the commission risks being dismissed by aboriginals and others unless it documents the missing and dead as well as possible, and puts an end to "ridiculous" allegations that thousands of aboriginal children were used in medical experimentation, purposely infected with tuberculosis or even murdered in a bid to "end the Indian problem."

Milloy, a professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., said the legacy must be put in the proper historical context.

"There is no doubt about it, we are going to hang the smelly horseshoe around the federal neck. There's no doubt they are responsible for the neglect of thousands of children and the consequences that flowed from that neglect, And some of that was death. And some of that was shortened lives. And some of that is an inability to function after graduation," he said. "They knew all this from very early on. Yet they persisted in the system, and that's enough of a guilty verdict as far as I am concerned."

The important thing now that the federal government has apologized and negotiated a compensation package is to move ahead with the commission's quest for truth and reconciliation, he said.

Milloy says tuberculosis was the most common cause of death in the crowded and under-funded schools, but that other illnesses, accidents and suicides added to the toll.

Once the graveyards and burial grounds are located and documented, the working group's plan envisions traditional aboriginal ceremonies being conducted at the sites to "ask the spirits of the missing children" to return home to their communities.

The second phase of the massive research project is more ambitious and complicated because it would require the provinces to open up confidential and sensitive files. It would be aimed at tracking what happened to the youngsters who left the boarding schools and ended up in hospitals, foster care or elsewhere "without the knowledge of their parents."

In my opinion, John Milloy is far too eager to conclude that the government is blameless, beyond 'negligence'. He concluded that in 1998, and sticks to it now, even though absolutely NO INVESTIGATION of any deaths has occurred, and many survivors stories include murders and intentional exposure of children to disease causing death. Yes, this project is critically important, but John Milloy is clearly biased toward covering up criminal deeds of the government and thus does not have credibility to lead this investigation, in my opinion. While John Milloy seems to downplay the issue of the missing children, Eduardo Gonzalez from the International Centre for Transitional Justice, overseeing the Canada program, considers the investigation of the missing children a central focus of the Truth and Reconciliation process: It is their memory that Canada should honour as it presses forward with its historic truth commission, and works to achieve a healthier, more united country. And see ...
Catholic church protested ...

Reconciliation work honoured

Kristen Thompson/Metro Vancouver
24 November 2008 05:03

rafe arnott/metro vancouver­

Walter Lynxleg protests the Catholic Church’s historical treatment of aboriginals yesterday by GM Place, where 15,000 attended a ceremony to honour a B.C. woman recognized by the Pope.

An aboriginal grandmother received one of the highest honours the Catholic Church bestows on a layperson at GM Place yesterday, while residential-school survivors and their supporters protested the ceremony outside. Shirley Leon was awarded the Benemerenti Pontifical Medal at a mass celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Leon retired this year as a member of the Canadian Catholic Church’s Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation, where she consulted with priests and aboriginal people about reconciliation after the closing of residential schools. Outside, Ricky Lavallie claimed he saw his older brother killed at a residential school, and the church is shirking its responsibilities by hiding behind the government and letting it take the fall. Kevin Annett, spokesperson for the Friends And Relatives of the Disappeared, said it’s outrageous the Cat­holic Church is “posing as a friend of Native people.” “(The medal) is a pat on the head (from the church) for helping improve their image to natives,” he said. “Reconciliation is just a word. It’s the action that counts.” Annett said there can be no reconciliation until the church gives proper burials to the native children who died at residential schools and “surrenders those responsible for their death.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Investigate cases of murdered, missing native women: UN
THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA - The United Nations is calling on the Harper government to investigate why hundreds of deaths and disappearances of aboriginal women remain unsolved. A UN committee on discrimination against women has asked Canada to report back in a year on more than 500 cases. It says Canada should urgently assess failures to fully investigate, and whether racism played a role. The committee also wants Ottawa to set minimum standards for welfare to better protect the most vulnerable citizens across Canada. Federal and provincial justice ministers said last September that they're improving how missing-person cases are handled, especially those involving native women. The UN also raises alarms about lack of shelters for battered women, and Conservative government cuts that wiped out the Court Challenges Program - funding that helped advance minority rights.

'Narco-culture' destroys a First Nations dream

Doug George-Kanentiio, Times Colonist Published: Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Nov. 14, an elderly couple died at Akwesasne, Ont. in a terrible car-van crash after a high-speed police chase with a suspected tobacco smuggler, who was also killed.

The collision caused one of the vehicles to explode in flames, killing the couple, who were from Massena, N.Y. The gentleman who died in the flames was Edward Kassian, 77, my former high-school science teacher whom I remember as an excellent instructor, gentle in spirit and gifted with a unique sense of humour. He was very popular.

He did not deserve to die as the latest victim of an activity which is consuming the Mohawk people and the First Nations communities of Akwesasne, on the St. Lawrence River at the Quebec-Ontario border.

Smuggling tobacco, narcotics and whatever else commands a profit has created a "narco-culture" at Akwesasne in which the traditional values of humility, compassion, simplicity, generosity and communal service have been replaced by violence, intimidation, greed and death.

It was not supposed to be this way, at least not for those of us who gave heart, mind, body and soul to the struggle to secure the vague Nirvana called "native rights" a generation ago.

I was an active participant in virtually every standoff, conflict and rally as we waged a decades-long campaign to secure what we called our "indigenous" rights to self-determination.

We not only sought to remove the last vestiges of Canadian and American colonialism from our territory but to recreate a viable Mohawk Nation which would be governed by our own laws, enacted by our administrative agencies, rooted in aboriginal customs. We wanted all alien law enforcement authorities off Akwesasne. To accomplish this we revived our traditional rituals, formed international alliances, reached out to human rights organizations, reinvigorated our language and created our own media.

We also sought to have the international border between Canada and the U.S., which dissects Akwesasne, eliminated. We would create our own peacekeeping service, followed by a broad new economic policy which would encourage the growth of our community through the production and marketing of products consistent with our history.

As appealing as this sounded, we grossly underestimated the internal resistance to Mohawk unity. We were stunned by the vigour with which our own people fought against these plans.

Already, in those daydreaming months of 1987-88, the smugglers and gamblers were forging an alliance which would destroy our plans since they feared, correctly, it would put them out of business.

In a wave of violence unmatched in our history, the weaponry of this cartel was turned against other Mohawks and in 1990 we degenerated into civil war.

Mohawks died, and in the resulting administrative anarchy the smuggling took hold and has not relaxed its grip on our people. Far from a benign activity, the profit from this vice is so great as to attract criminal gangs from throughout eastern Canada. And these gangs take no prisoners. They kill with impunity.

Many Mohawks have paid with their freedom or their lives for taking part in these midnight smuggling runs. The fast-flowing, frigid waters of the St. Lawrence have taken more.

The easy money has led to corruption not only at Akwesasne but throughout the region. The fragile economies of Massena and Cornwall are now sustained by this narco-culture.

There are solutions, but it means a collective effort by the U.S., Canada and the legitimate Mohawk leaders. It means removing the border and empowering our people to enforce our own laws. It means those who carry the contraband to our community must be prosecuted. It means removing the political factionalism which has crippled us for too long, and restoring a single governing entity to Akwesasne. It means entering into a Native Free Trade Act so we can transfer legitimate goods across the river to other native communities without the gangs. It means legitimizing the tobacco trade.

Otherwise, Akwesasne will become an armed encampment, for Canada will have no choice but to use its military powers and occupy our territory. The resulting war which will surely come from such an action is not what any Mohawk wants. But we cannot carry the burden of more victims dying in the most terrible ways because we failed to act as true human beings.

Doug George-Kanentiio, an Akwesasne Mohawk, is the former editor of Akwesasne Notes, a co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association and a writer for News From Indian Country..

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

OOPS! It's a criminal offence! Full trial for Gary McHale
Procedural error postpones McHale's trial The Hamilton Spectator (Nov 22, 2008) The trial of Caledonia activist Gary McHale has been delayed because of a procedural error by the prosecutor. McHale is charged with counselling to commit an illegal act, in this case, mischief. The charge stems from a Dec. 1, 2007 rally involving Caledonia and Six Nations residents which turned violent. McHale's trial started Thursday, but was halted yesterday after the error was brought to the court's attention. Assistant Crown attorney Mitchell Hoffman said the Crown had been proceeding summarily on the charge, which would have meant a less serious punishment if McHale was convicted. However, after discussing the issue with Ontario Court Justice Bernd Zabel, the court determined the charge was indictable, which means McHale could choose to have a preliminary hearing and a trial by judge and jury, or a trial by judge alone. Zabel told McHale he could take the weekend to decide how to proceed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From: Barriere Lake Solidarity <> FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, November 19, 2008 *Barriere Lake Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117 in Northern Quebec a second time: despite fears of more police violence, community wants Quebec and Canada to respect agreements and Canada to end interference in leadership selection* Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - This morning at 7:30am, Barriere Lake community members of all ages and their supporters once again peacefully blockaded highway 117 outside their reserve, demanding that Quebec and Canada send in negotiators rather than resort to police violence. During the Algonquin's first blockade on October 6th, 2008, Quebec police used tear gas and "pain compliance" techniques against a peaceful crowd that included Elders, youth, and children, arrested nine people, and hospitalized a Customary Councillor after hitting him in the chest with a tear-gas canister, drawing criticism from international human rights groups, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Christian Peacemakers Team. [ ] The Algonquins promise to maintain the blockade until Canada and Quebec commit in writing to honour their agreements and Canada appoints an observer to witness and respect the outcome of a new leadership selection in Barriere Lake in accordance with their Customary Governance Code. "Instead of doing the dirty work of the federal government, Quebec should implement its agreements and immediately lobby the federal government to deal fairly with our community," said Norman Matchewan, a community spokesperson on-site at the blockade. "Charest's brutal treatment of our community shows his government has absolutely no respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, which should be an urgent matter of debate during the provincial election." Barriere Lake wants Canada and Quebec to uphold signed agreements, dating back to the 1991 Trilateral Agreement, a landmark sustainable development and resource co-management agreement praised by the United Nations and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Canada has been in breach of the agreement since 2001. Quebec signed a complementary Bilateral agreement in 1998, but has stalled since two former Quebec Cabinet Ministers, Quebec special representative John Ciaccia and Barriere Lake special representative Clifford Lincoln, made recommendations for the agreement's implementation in 2006. "To avoid their obligations, the federal government has deliberately violated our leadership customs by ousting our Customary Chief and Council," said Matchewan. "In what amounts to a coup d'etat, they are recognizing a Chief and Council rejected by a community majority. The Quebec government is cooperating with the federal government because they are using the leadership issue as an excuse to bury the 1991 and 1998 Agreements they signed with our First Nation." In November 2007 the legitimate leadership of Barriere Lake had issued a ban on new forestry operations in the Trilateral Territory until Quebec implemented their agreements, but the province and forestry companies have used the leadership change as an opportunity to cut new logging roads [in preparation for logging operations] without permission from the legitimate Barriere Lake representatives. On March 10th, 2008, for the third time in 12 years, the Government of Canada interfered in Barriere Lake's internal customary governance. They rescinded recognition of the Customary Chief and Council and recognized individuals whom the Barriere Lake Elder's Council says were not selected in accordance with their Customary Governance Code. "The federal government pretends this is simply an internal issue," says Marylynn Poucachiche, another Barriere Lake spokesperson on-site. "But we can only resolve the situation if the federal government appoints an observer to witness a new leadership selection that is truly in accordance with our Customary Governance Code, promises to respect the outcome, and then stops interfering in our internal affairs." In 2007, Quebec Superior Court Judge Rejean Paul issued a report that concluded that the current faction recognized by the federal government was a "small minority" that "didn't respect the Customary Governance Code" in an alleged leadership selection in 2006 [2]. The federal government recognized this minority faction after they conducted another alleged leadership selection in January 2008, even though an observer's report the government relied on stated there was no "guarantee" that the Customary Governance Code was respected [3]. The Algonquin Nation Secretariat, the Tribal Council representing three Algonquin communities including Barriere Lake, continues to recognize and work with Customary Chief Benjamin Nottaway and his Council. In Montreal at noon, supporters of Barriere Lake will rally in front of the office of Premier Jean Charest at the southeast corner of McGill College and Sherbrooke. -30- ***Media Contacts*: *Norman Matchewan*, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902 *Marylynn Poucachiche*, Barriere Lake spokesperson:514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860 *Norman Young*, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869 Notes: [1] Photos: [2]<>, pg 26-27 [3]<>, pg 2 Collectif de Solidarité Lac Barrière ******************************
************* 514.398.7432 _______________________________________________ six_nations_info mailing list Previous posts on this topic ...


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SQ riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - SQ officers and a Riot Squad arrested five Barriere Lake Algonquins, including a targeted arrest of Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway, after forcing community members off highway 117, during their fourth in a series of blockades over a period of seven hours.

"Chief Nottaway sent a letter to Premier Charest on Monday requesting that the government resolve political issues through negotiations rather than police violence," said community spokesperson Norman Matchewan."Blockades are a tactic of last resort. For two decades now all we've asked is that Quebec and Canada honour signed agreements but they prefer to play with our lives."

As the community was pushed off the highway for the last time at 2:30 pm, riot police broke out of formation to chase and arrest Acting Chief Nottaway. His was the second targeted arrest of the day. Community youth spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche, mother of five and organizer of the community school, was arrested at one of the morning blockades after being reassured by police that no arrests would be made since protesters had agreed to leave peacefully.

One community member was pushed to the ground and kicked by several SQ officers before being arrested.

"The police dragged him with his head on the ground all the way to the police car," said one community member.

Another woman from the community fell while being pushed back onto the access road leading to the Barriere Lake reserve, and hit her head. She was subsequently arrested.


Media Contacts:

Norman Matchewan, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 819 – 435 – 2171, 514 - 831 - 6902

Marylynn Poucachiche, Barriere Lake spokesperson: 514 - 893 - 8283, 819 - 860 - 3860

Norman Young, Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat: 819 - 627 - 6869


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - The Barriere Lake Algonquins have blocked highway 117 by gathering in the middle of the road, after Quebec police dismantled their log blockades earlier in the day, and have now been put on notice that the Riot Police will arrive momentarily.

Community spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche has been arrested for obstruction and mischief and is currently detained.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Regarding the front page article in Saturday's Expositor inferring that those bad ol' Indians are standing in the way of a much-needed medical centre, I'd like to interject a few points. This work stoppage has nothing to do with depriving Brantford of a medical centre. All, including the people of Six Nations, agree it is a needed service. The problem is the same one that pops up whether it's a medical centre or a dog house. There has been no consultation or accommodation with Six Nations, at any point in the planning, as the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled since 2002. Several large land claims in B. C. and elsewhere have come down in favour of First Nations since then, yet here in Ontario -- and in Brantford and Caledonia especially -- some people are quick to pull out the phrase "rule of law" to prevent Six Nations' right to protect the very land that is under land claim. Yet what they forget is that same rule of law also includes these Supreme Court rulings, as well as the Canadian Constitution that actually forms the rule of law which states: " The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed." No. This is not about a medical centre. I don't remember much fanfare and city hall outcry about the closure of two neighbourhood medical centres over the past year. Now, to go to a medical centre, a sick person is expected to take public transit to the very outskirts of the city. Why? Because it's more convenient for the doctors who would commute here from out of town, and will generate higher tax revenues for the city than they would get by putting it in one of dozens of empty buildings within the greater city itself. Once again, this is all about money, not about anybody's health care. It's also about product placement. Mark my words. This medical centre is the least of the plans for the Johnson Settlement lands. There will be a hotel, gas bar and restaurant in there before the pavement in the parking lot dries. City hall has already rezoned the area in anticipation of three more huge sub-developments they are planning for the Johnson Tract. It's just another a thinly veiled theft of more Six Nations land. The Johnson Settlement is 7,000 acres of land specifically protected by Six Nations for more than 150 years. It was never to be sold, only leased, with the proceeds to go to the perpetual care and maintenance of the Six Nations economy. Will Six Nations get any of the lease money from that medical centre? Yeah, right. Jim Windle Brantford

Monday, November 17, 2008

Western Shoshone v Barrick Gold (Cdn)

Caretakers of the Land

Western Shoshone wage battle against modern gold rush

by Meg Hewings

The Cortez Mine on Shoshone territory. The Shoshone have long accused the US, and now the Canadian government, of systematically ignoring their territorial rights in favour of multi-national corporations. Photo: Sandra Cuffe

MONTRÉAL–All is not quiet on the western front.

For the Western Shoshone, an indigenous nation with an unceded Treaty covering a large swath of 60 million acres of ancestral territory stretching across Nevada, California, Idaho and Utah, their traditional homeland is better described as a war zone.

Not only has the US government used Shoshone lands to test hundreds of nuclear weapons, dispose of thousands of metric tonnes of radioactive waste, and proposed Yucca Mountain as a national dumpsite for (even more) deadly nuclear waste; modern corporate gold mining, including many Canadian operations, now threatens to gouge the heart right out of Western Shoshone territory.

“Two years ago they counted over 260,000 abandoned mines in Nevada – and that’s not counting new ones opening up,” says Larson Bill, Vice-Chairman for the South Fork Shoshone community and Community Organizer for the Western Shoshone Defense Project (WSDP), established to protect, preserve and restore Shoshone – or as they are also known, Newe – rights and lands for present and future generations.

Despite their small staff, the Defense Project’s office is abuzz with activity, work and noise on this day, as most. Even so, Bill manages to remain measured and thoughtful on the phone as he explains the tribe’s latest struggle.

These days he and the WSDP are busy trying to stop the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US government from permitting Canadian-owned Barrick Gold Corporation, now the world’s largest gold-mining company, from mining on or any nearer to Mt. Tenabo, a sacred mountain to the Western Shoshone and fundamental to Newe worship.

“Mt. Tenabo, the proposed site for Barrick’s latest expansion project, is home to Shoshone creation stories,” says Julie Cavanaugh-Bill (formerly Fishel), lawyer for the WSDP. What the mining company is planning is akin to razing churches or mosques, according to the WSDP.

The structure for a sweat lodge sitting at the base of sacred Mt Tenabo, threatened by Cortez expansion proposed by Canadian-owned Barrick Gold. Photo: Sandra Cuffe

The Shoshone, who consider themselves caretakers of their land, have long accused the US, and now the Canadian government, of systematically ignoring their case in favour of multinational corporations whose interests, they argue, lie in bottom lines and not the environment.

“Proposed mining operations and expansions are trying to make northeastern Nevada – which is Shoshone country – a land with holes in it over a mile deep. This will expose nature to acid drainage. Nothing will survive in it for thousands of years. They are pretty much going to ruin the land,” says Bill.

While Barrick Gold is slated to advance their project in the Cortez Hills in late 2008, a 30-day comment period, during which Shoshone and non-natives who live in affected areas can raise grievances, closed at the end of October. It kept Cavanaugh-Bill and the Defense project busy.

If history dictates, however, chances are slim the Shoshone will be able to halt Barrick’s new open-pit gold mining and processing operation, despite the environmental impacts, which are almost unimaginable in scope. The new plant will destroy 5,000 acres of Pinyon Forest, a staple Newe food source, create a new open-pit cyanide heap leach mine on the southern flank of the mountain, and include new heap leach pads. It will increase dewatering and underground detonations. The Betze mine, also operated by Barrick Gold, already threatens the Rock Creek area, with a dewatering rate that has reached upwards of 70,000 gallons per minute – consistent with other mining activities in the area. Mt. Tenabo is worth $8 billion to the gold-mining industries.

While Barrick admits that its projects have an environmental impact, the company maintains that it has put in place environmental protection and management systems to deal with waste, and held frequent dialogue meetings with members of Nevada’s Western Shoshone communities.

This is not enough, according to Newe leader, revered activist and grandmother, Carrie Dann. “Land is sacred to Western Shoshone – it represents life. To take our land is to take our life,” says Dann in the 2007 documentary Our Land Our Life. “I look at that as spiritual genocide against the Shoshone who think of Earth as their mother ... It's a spiritual death.”

The fallout from years of fighting to protect Shoshone land has been a physical and real death too, resulting in loss of land, animals, identity and place.

Dann has often claimed she became an activist by default, when the US accused her and her sister Mary, both Newe grandmothers, of “trespassing” on “federal land.” For decades, Dann and the Western Shoshone have maintained that the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, supreme law of the land, clearly recognized Shoshone title over these ancestral lands and that federal agencies have simply ignored and violated their rights ever since.

One morning in September 2002, the BLM (under orders from Washington) mounted an operation in which helicopters, trucks and a cavalcade of armed agents in bulletproof vests rounded up and confiscated some 200 head of cattle and 400 wild horses on the Dann's property. While the US argued the grandmothers’ horses were “degrading the land” by “overgrazing,” a more likely reason, as Cavanaugh-Bill argues in Our Land, Our Life, was that their range sat squarely on some of the world’s most valuable real estate. Crescent Valley is the second-largest gold producing region on Earth. Only a few months after the roundup, Cortez Gold declared it had “struck gold” in the area. Cavanaugh-Bill calls this one of the biggest “land swindles” in modern history.

It’s also why the existence of mining companies on the territories, many of which are Canadian-owned, seems all the more egregious to Dann and the WSDP.

At the time of the 2002 raid – one of three such raids – on the Dann’s ranch, the Newe had exhausted all domestic legal options to prevent the US government from continuing their systematic land grabs. Exasperated by being bullied, Carrie Dann, Cavanaugh-Bill and other Shoshone leaders finally decided to take their fight to an international court. The case was brought before an 18-member panel of experts at the UN, set up to monitor global compliance with the 1969 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

In what became a precedent-setting case for aboriginal land claim rights the world over, the Shoshone proved their moral high-ground: the UN committee condemned the US government for violating the tribe’s rights and urged the US to immediately stop any further actions against the Western Shoshone, including legislative efforts to privatize their land.

The US government has flatly refused to act, rejecting the concerns raised by the UN CERD. As a consequence, corporate activity in Nevada is only growing and many of the companies in operation, including Nevada Pacific Bond, Barrick Gold, Bravo Venture Group, Great Basin Gold and GoldCorp, as well as smaller junior companies that do prospecting, are now registered in Canada.

When the Shoshone returned in early 2007 to issue a second plea to CERD--this time accusing Canadian corporations of being unlawfully involved in exploiting indigenous lands in the US--the UN again sided with the Shoshone. The UN committee ruled that Canadian corporations were involved in illegal exploitation and human rights violations and demanded immediate legal steps be taken to regulate Canadian transnational activities and their effects on indigenous peoples abroad.

Despite this berating, Canada too has failed to regulate transnational mining companies in violation of human rights. Instead, adding insult to injury last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s minority Conservative government refused to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“How can a foreign country come into another nation and start tearing up their lands without their approval or consent? This has been a practice since colonial days. [Canada] still believes in the rape of resources,” says Bill, adding that outdated legislation such as the 1872 General Mining Law, regulating hard rock mining on public lands, facilitates the resource exploitation and the distortion of the Newe Treaty with the US.

“The US and Canada say they don’t need to abide by these rules. Even though they portray themselves as [democracies and] protectors of human rights, they did not sign [the UN Declaration]. We hold this against Canada. They are still practising colonial ways of acquiring land and taking indigenous people’s resources,” says Bill, who also argues there’s been scant reporting on the subject of Barrick Gold in Canada.

In May 2007, Bill took formal statements to Barrick Gold’s shareholders, including over 18,000 signatures from people who oppose mining on Mt. Tenabo and in Horse Canyon. He hoped to paint the devastating picture of environmental damage Barrick mines have wreaked on Newe land, resources and customary uses.

As Cavanaugh-Bill said to Oxfam America, prior to the meeting: “We want to ask if they have an official corporate position on mining in areas of known and existing human rights violations. ... What we want to do with these questions is to encourage the company to recognize the pressing need for reform in the way it does business on Shoshone lands.”

While the AGM was beamed around the world via a live webcast, when the indigenous delegates who had spoken checked the Internet they found that the webcast ended with the speech by Peter Munk, the company’s Chairman, and that their statements and questions had been censored – including the voice of Larson Bill.

Without stricter regulatory standards and government intervention, Bill argues, Canadian mining operations will continue to operate in the area with impunity. He adds that the “dialogue process” the company established with members of the Western Shoshone has only proved frustrating.

“[Barrick] buy[s] up all the ranches in the Shoshone area near their mines, so they don’t have to deal with public.” The company uses other persuasive tactics to weaken local opposition too, he says, like offering donations to certain communities and individuals in return for “signed consent.” In other words, they are “buying approval,” says Bill. “They said they wanted to start a dialogue with Shoshone communities, [but in the end] they made their own agenda and only wanted to talk about how much money they could give our communities when the real issues are the religious values of our land, our resources, and our treaty. They didn’t want to talk about that.”

His argument to shareholders who continue to invest in Barrick stock is simple: While mining isn’t all bad, a company that pollutes without paying a penalty operates on a flawed economic and ecological principle, and is a bad investment. “One single gold ring produces 20 tonnes of waste material and squanders fresh water resources. ... We have deer, antelope, birds and insects… There are water pockets and those springs are there for the animals. [Companies] come and pollute these springs and the animals have no place to go. They don’t think about the animals…”

Even while independent environmental studies and science now confirm what Shoshone traditional leaders have known all along – that poisons have infiltrated traditional water sources and are adversely affecting the health of the land, animals and humans – Barrick’s website continues to laud the company’s “Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Bill blames instincts that have been around since the days of early expansionism: unchecked greed and a retrograde notion that resources are somehow limitless.

“Gold is an epidemic. That disease we think of from the 1800s – where you’d kill your own brother for gold – it still exists today. It’s happening in different forms now: through the law and manipulation. But everyone comes out here to Nevada to line their pockets… Then they’re gone and we are left with the devastation and the cleanup.”

While the fate of the Shoshone and their ancestral lands still hangs in the balance, thanks to strong traditional leadership, the WSDP is now on the offensive. They have led what is quickly becoming a growing paradigm shift to make ecological sustainability the new essence of the planet’s economic engine.

This past July, the Defense project hosted the 15th Indigenous Environmental Network Protecting Mother Earth conference, an international seminar, on Western Shoshone territory. The conference tackled head-on the issue of Barrick and other corporations’ alleged gross violations of human rights perpetrated in indigenous communities around the globe. But it also involved strategizing about how to convince world leaders and their governments to act in the best interest of the planet’s health.

It’s a complex and urgent question for our global collective times, and one Shoshone traditional leadership has long held close to their heart.

“The earth is dying because of the way people act,” says Carrie Dann in Our Land, Our Life, her voice catching as she pleads: “You are killing the earth... Consumers are producers of gold. We as indigenous people are yelling: ‘Stop that – you are killing the earth. You are killing the mother of all life – for God’s sake. Will you wake up and listen to what we are saying and that is treat her with tender loving care because she is our only mother.’”

Meg Hewings is Assistant Editor, News, at the Hour in Montréal.

My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.