There has never been a more important time to think about what matters the most to each and every one of us then right now.
We are in an unprecedented time in the world. There is a greater threat that sees no borders, races, gender, or class divisions. In only 4 months a new infectious disease has killed a record number of people, and infected even more.
Ontario has declared a state of emergency. With each passing day over the past week the governments and leaders of the world have announced increasingly unusual measures to stop the spread of COVID19. Measures should be stepped up. “We will spare no expense to support Ontarians,” Ontario’s Premier said when suspending traditional law for temporary emergency law.
Now we will see what we are made of as a people. Crises have a way of intensifying the best and worst parts of things. It is terrific to see how laser focused the media is working to get accurate information out to the general public. It is good to see countries’ leadership mostly listening to experts. There are a lot of acts of good that will come from good sources. There will be good acts that will come from sources we have traditionally seen as bad.
There will also be an aggravation of the weaknesses in our society and culture. While this new coronavirus sees no borders, races, gender, or class, we as a people do. Closing borders, closing business, closing services may be sound tactical measures that protect the vast majority of the public with the means to hunker down and wait out the virus; what about the people that don’t have those means?
We have invisible people in our society and we need to see them now. The doors to libraries, to Tim Hortons, and to other service providers in Canada will be shuttered but we need to support the people who are counting on access to bathrooms, running water, and the internet. We kicked the can of equitable care down the road as a collective, we need to pick it up now. This is the time to prioritize the fairest treatment of all people.
The conversation about how to protect the economy, the pensions of workers being ravaged by Wall Street and Bay Street panic, businesses and workers, is well underway. These conversations need to get bigger. We need to bring along the most vulnerable people in what could be this societies’ defining moment of goodness. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, let’s exhibit unprecedented exceptionalism.
We have the means to do good, what we need now is the will.
From the Desk/Kitchen Table of Karl Dockstader
On February 24th, 2020, in the morning news cycle prime time the Crown’s state police outnumbered and wrestled land protectors to the ground on territory that was gifted to their people for their assistance in helping Canada achieve sovereignty. The very men who were tasked by their community in Tyendinaga to help protect the land for the unborn generations were driven into it by agents of the Crown who uphold laws of the Canadian nation state. Canada can’t help but revert to colonial force when the economic interests of the power elite are at stake it seems. Peace was in hand, but it was put down by force that morning as Canada again disdainfully proclaimed that the only rule of law that matters is their own.
The events that are shaping Canada in early 2020 are not about a pipeline, a rail blockade, or the misleading claims of divided Indigenous communities; These events are about the hearts and souls of Nations and the values they reflect.
This nation state now called Canada would not be possible had the forefathers of the land protectors not defended the territories in Canada without hesitation from the rebel thirteen colonies centuries earlier. Marc Miller on February 15th, 2020, asked to ‘Polish the Silver Covenant Chain’ in an act of Nation to Nation respect established in these formative years for Canada. This is an important legal acknowledgement that history on this land is shared between the Crown and her people and the people original to these lands. This sharing is meant to embody principles such peace, respect, and friendship that were crucial in order for Canada to be formed.
These acts of kindness, the use of the Silver Covenant chain, the friendship between leaders tasked with caring for their people are part of the most formative events in Canadian history. In 1701 leadership from the Haudenosaunee negotiated the Treaty of Montreal with the French to effectively apply the principles of the One Dish, One Spoon agreement to their territories. At the same time period in the same year Haudenosaunee leadership negotiated the Treaty of Nanfan following the same principles with the representatives of the English Crown’s leadership. The One Dish, One Spoon was further used as a terms of reference for peace and resource sharing between the Haudenosaunee and the Anishinaabe people during this time.
Scholars and legal experts can split hairs over the specific legal, constitutional, and historical ramifications of how these One Dish, One Spoon principles apply in detail today, but this agreement is one of the most crucial foundational events in the establishment of the modern Crown nation state now called Canada. For over a century when Canada and the United States were transitioning from colonies into independent nation states they looked to the existing Nations in these territories for guidance, governance, and power structures to follow. It is well documented how much time William Johnson and Benjamin Franklin spent with the Haudenosaunee people to explore a kind of freedom from tyranny that the European commoner hadn’t seen. They looked to the law of the land, and on Turtle Island the rules of law are the principles of the wampum agreements.
The rule of law is the One Dish, One Spoon agreement; the resources of this territory are a finite gift from which we can support ourselves to the degree we need with the understanding that we must leave enough to share with others. The rule of law is the Two Row Wampum agreement; we have to have peaceful interactions respecting the distinctive strength in each of our cultures that lead to respectful dialogue in the name of mutual respect and friendship. The rule of law is the Silver Covenant Chain; our fates are bound together, our histories are deeply interconnected now, what happens to the land happens to both our societies, so we must come together regularly as equals and remind ourselves that peace is something we actively need to work at together.
The Canadian nation state right now is far from peace. While Canada could turn to the One Dish, One Spoon principles as a roadmap for resource development it instead has turned resource development over to profit driven extraction focused corporations. Canada could follow the roadmap for negotiation that the Mohawks shared with some of the first settlers in the Two Row Wampum and focus on peace and values with other nations. The Crown is instead willing to do business with leaders from countries who detain Canadians without merit, suppress the press, and regularly violate human rights. Canadian nation state leadership could explore how conservative, liberal, progressive, and French Canadian values add to regionally unique interests of a land that has so many gifts by looking at what chains of friendship exist between these diverse but important interests. Instead their parliamentarians shout at each other in their leadership house with adversarial tones to work towards the self interest of making their party look good as opposed to caucusing for how to help their people get the things they need that they can’t get on their own.
Perhaps this is too optimistic to hope that the modern Crown nation state can look to the values of the people original to this land. There is a presumptive superiority in the way that the colonial settler society has conducted itself since it got here. This is coupled with a robust and rich history of top down leadership enforced at the tip of a bayonet, the end of a rifle, or in the case of the OPP in Tyendinaga the use of sheer force of numbers. Is Canada more than an economic engine that pumps money out of the land for the benefit of an established power status quo? What principles will the nations state of Canada use to reconcile it’s deepening income inequality, regionally divided interests, and widening political polarization? Are Canadians okay with their government using force and suppression of journalism to deny sovereignty to people who were, are and will continue to be freely governed by deeply entrenched laws and lessons learned from the land?
There are answers to these complex questions about Canadian nation state values. There is a way for the Crown to learn from history to meet a wide range of needs of people with differing perspectives. The values of the agreements reflected in wampum were shared freely with colonial settler society to help everyone who lives on this territory live a full life of peace.
Canada chose force over peace in Tyendinaga – the very birthplace of the founder of the Great Peace of the Haudenosaunee. Their prime leader stood aside while the police wrestled original sovereign people fighting to protect their right to exist and their requirement to protect the land to the ground. The wampum agreement principles went to the ground with them. Marc Miller had the Silver Covenant Chain in his hand. He was breaths away from making substantive efforts to reaffirm values that could have fundamentally made life for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people better. Instead he put the interests of his political party and the Crown first. Fortunately the laws of the land and the principles of peace were there before the Canadian nation state, they still exist, and they can still be picked up followed by good people who want to help preserve and care for the unborn generations that will follow us.
Official Statement from One Dish, One Mic:
Updated February 9th.
1. One Dish, One Mic condemns the actions of the Crown for its failure to respect the will of the Wet’suwet’en title holders by using hostile force to invade their territory.
On February 6th, 2020, under the cover of darkness, the RCMP started to dismantle peaceful camps of supporters of the Wet’suwet’en and arrested several people. The active invasion of camps occupied by supporters of a government that is thousands of years old by a government that is several decades old is a shameful continuation of the colonial and racist legacy of the Crown’s material self interest. We condemn this invasion and consider it illegal, unethical, and fundamentally destructive to the interests of Crown and Indigenous relations.
2. One Dish, One Mic calls upon St Catharines MP Chris Bittle, and MP Vance Badaway as Niagara members of the ruling government to publicly condemn the unethical raids and support deep and meaningful dialogue with the title holders in Wet’suwet’en territory who have been offering a peaceful solution for over 10 years.
Canada must respect the wishes of the traditional title holders in Wet’suwet’en territory. One Dish, One Mic supports the Five Clan Families as the true trustees of the territory and condemn the actions of the Canadian government, it’s courts, and it’s paramilitary police agents. Canada is effectively lawless when it comes to the treatment of Indigenous people when it acts in the way it is acting in this traditional Indigenous territory. The honour of the Crown requires Canada to follow the principles of Peace, Respect, and Friendship it bound itself to when it was granted legal life at the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. Failure to do so delegitimizes the Nation State of Canada.
We specifically expect MP Bittle, and MP Badaway to explain why the Prime Minister is:
3. One Dish, One Mic as a member of the media demands that the Crown and the Federal and National Police Service change any policy that allows a journalist to be threatened with arrest in the course of their work by the Crown’s Federal and National Police Service.
On the morning of February 6th, 2020, the RCMP detained two journalists, and threatened another journalist with arrest on the traditional Indigenous territory of the Wet’suwet’en people. This fundamental disregard of freedom illustrates the danger of a state that puts material interests over the interests of fairness such as press freedom and Indigenous sovereignty. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right of a modern and free nation state and the discretionary use of exclusion zones to limit free documentation of accredited journalists and photographers is deeply problematic.
Sean and Karl work all week long to craft an hour of radio that tells the stories of Niagara through an Indigenous lens. Every Sunday morning at 10am on AM 610 CKTB – The Voice of Niagara you can now hear their voices and unique takes. This is radio that is not like other radio shows and that’s what makes it compelling.
We want to hear from you and you can reach One Dish One Mic on Twitter, Karl on Twitter, or Sean on Twitter, or join the lively discussions about things happening throughout the week on our Facebook page.
Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you Sunday morning at 10am.
May 4th, 2018
Planning Division &
City of Niagara Falls
4310 Queen Street, PO Box 1023
Niagara Falls, Ontario, L2E 6X5
Dear City Officials,
I wish to express my opposition to the Riverfront Community Official Plan Amendment as currently proposed as an act of bad faith that ignores Canada’s obligation to act as good faith Treaty partners. I am mindful while making these comments that it is challenging to find a route to fulfill the Crown’s Duty to Consult through the means available to the City. While my opposition includes these grounds my opposition also extends to concerns about the OPA outside of these concerns. I will outline why I think that this OPA must be opposed at this time in this letter.
The Duty to Consult has not been fulfilled:
My perspective is guided by the letter of Infringement from August of 2016 issued by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute and the letter issuing a warning from the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force to Justin Trudeau on March 8th of 2017, both of which are attached. These letters have been delivered to the planning department in and around the dates specified.
The letters were drafted in reference to the Thundering Waters Secondary Plan amendment but the core elements of the current OPA still do not address the concerns in the letters. Because the concerns in the letters have not been addressed the opposition to the project stated in each letter is applicable to the OPA in its current form.
All of the descendants of Katsistyawaks of the Ow^tsa’tha family of the On^yote:aka are united in their opposition to this OPA. The Men’s Fire of Six Nations expressed opposition. Several local Indigenous Niagara families maintain their opposition. I have been in contact with the Mississaugas of the New Credit and Six Nations of the Grand River who have not been properly contacted for input. The Ow^tsa’tha family letter issued is attached.
I do want to commend Kenneth L Beaman and the City Planning department for personally addressing myself and other community members who had expressed concern about Treaty Rights in a courteous and professional manner. I have no doubt that the Planning and Legal departments have tried their best to address these requests within their abilities. The concerns still stand unresolved however.
I might highlight some portions of the letter of Infringement to show why the concerns still stand:
“At this time, and on a preliminary basis, we confirm that the Project will interfere, impair, and infringe upon Haudenosaunee title, rights and interests as guaranteed and recognized by the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, the position of Crown via the Lords of Trade and Plantations as to Haudenosaunee title as recognized and affirmed by the Mitchell map of 1755, the August Treaty of 1764 and the Treaty of Fort Stanwix of 1768…
“As we have indicated, the Project will impair treaty rights and at a minimum will have the affect of extinguishing harvesting rights on the subject lands. The Supreme Court of Canada has recently clarified that treaty rights may only be impaired and/or infringed where consent has been provided and/or the infringement has been justified. We confirm that the justification process involves the discharge of fiduciary duties and as discussed fiduciary duties may not be delegated without the consent of the fiduciary. We confirm that consent as to the delegation of fiduciary duties has not occurred.
“We also confirm our discussion in relation to the consultation and accommodation framework that was first discussed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Haida and Taku decisions. We have expressly stated that this is an inappropriate approach as those cases dealt with asserted but unproven rights whereas the rights in question on this matter are established and recognized in Canadian law by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. If we did assume the applicability of the consultation and accommodation framework (which is expressly denied) then the delegation from Ontario to Niagara Falls would only be lawful where Ontario undertook a prima facie assessment of the rights and interests which would then structure the nature and scope of consultation. As you indicated it does not appear that any such assessment has been undertaken by Ontario and/or Niagara Falls and as such the delegation is unlawful on this basis.
“Going forward we would ask that entirety of the process for advancing the amendments to the Official Plan be placed on hold until such time as Ontario has discharged its obligations. As discussed, if Niagara Falls proceeds it may suggest bad faith and a bias as to outcomes…
“Please also accept this correspondence as official opposition to the Project for the purposes of section 17 of the Planning Act.”
– Haudenosaunee Development Institute letter of Infringement – August 20th, 2016
I have the utmost respect for City Staff and Council but a realistic gap between the kind of Treaty partner Canada wants to be versus the kind of Treaty partner Canada is exists. I am sympathetic to the perspective that the City has neither the mandate nor the capacity to properly address these concerns yet I maintain hope that asking, acting, and thinking kindly can help perpetuate the ways of thankfulness. Further to that, sooner or later the discrepancies between the principles of the Treaty agreements and the ways of growth must be resolved. I am hopeful that that path exists within the frameworks that generations of leaders have crafted into your most current laws.
The Spirit of the Treaty Agreements Could be met through Good Stewardship
We have important covenants like the Dish with One Spoon, the Two Row Wampum, the Friendship Belts and other wampum belts that guide us and bind our will towards virtue. You have a Federal Constitution, a Provincial Planning Act, and the City’s Official Plan to help bind your judgement and guide your decency.
I would hope that the cautionary words of Henry Lickers speaking on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force will shape your thinking on this important decision to be made. Here is an excerpt:
“They say the development of the forest part will not impact the wetlands. We know this not to be true because this land is all intricate, complex and woven together. They cannot be separated. One is dependent on the other just like humans are dependent on nature. All the environmental studies do not take into consideration the history of the land and the cultural resources it possesses…
“All of the wildlife is important to the Haudenosaunee, over the past years we have seen many of our brothers and sisters disappear from this earth and have mourned their passing. Canada and the United States have enacted “Species at Risk” legislation to protect various species that are endangered of extinction. This area has many such species…we remind you of your obligation under the Two Row treaty that we have with you to warn you when we see danger in the river life that that could harm us both. Your obligations under your own legislation must be clear to you.”
HETF March 13th, 2017
The obligation to follow the Planning Act and the Official Plan of Niagara Falls are the guidelines I tried to use to understand how Council should proceed. My understanding is that this decision should follow the Cities Official Plan which follows the principles of the Provincial Policy Statement as set by the Provincial Planning Act. The Act aims to balance the following interests:
What makes this complicated is that the last two points can come into conflict with one another.
It is important to create opportunities like the one promised to the developer who hopes to invest in our community. It is also important to protect and preserve environmental features like wetlands, wildlife habitat, and core heritage features. My understanding is that the ladder argument carries more weight in this instance if the Official Plan and the PPS are being followed.
Special Policy Area 56 in the Official Plan of the City of Niagara Falls was set as an area for growth within the urban boundary. This was set several decades ago though when the science on wetland protection wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I would suggest that if the planners in the 70’s had the knowledge we have now about the ecological richness of this area they might not have set it for growth and development.
When the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry re-evaluated the area in 2010 they increased the protections in the area after recognizing its value. In 2016 they evaluated an ever further need for protection. I imagine that when Council went on tours of the area as agreed to in August of 2016 that it was easy to see the natural wonder of the environmental features in the wetlands, the meadows, the forests, the thickets and even some of the areas with recent disturbance that are regenerating.
It is being mindful of these studies and your own observations of the area that I hope guide your judgement when considering how to interpret the policy around this area:
I do not possess the complete expertise to explore each of these concerns in detail but it seems fair to argue that there are questions not about whether there will or won’t be a negative impact, but rather how extensive the negative impact will be. There are wetlands within the OPA proposal. There are studies yet to be completed. There will be hectares of woodlot to be removed. Even the disturbance areas look beautiful to the common person. The City can stop it by following its own policies and planning guidelines.
The Mayor was well intentioned in seeking ways to advance our community. I commend the project proponent for their patience while the important process of environmental stewardship plays out. I am grateful to live in a city that is clearly working hard to find the balance between preserving natural heritage and attracting the right kinds of development to share our neighbourhoods.
The development is a great idea. This location isn’t ready for this development at this time though.
I urge the City to be mindful of the importance of the timeless principles embodied in the wampum agreements. I think that the way to do that is not to approve this amendment.
If you want to learn all about Thundering Waters Forest and don’t like reading then this is the podcast for you. We unpack a lot of important ideas about ecology, development, balance and even pack in some cool historical info about Treaties and the principles of stewardship…also TREVOR HAS HIS FIRST TRAVELING THOUGHT!! The cosmic balance of the universe might be out of flux now…we saved a good one for our quarter century mark on the One Mic.
Check it out the STWF PODCAST BY CLICKING THESE WORDS!
It’s hard to put into words the emotions I feel over the Colten Boushie case. Although I cannot help but feeling that we’ve been here before, this time is different. With Colten, I see me. I see my friends. I see any youth who walked the fine line between right and wrong. If we evaluate this case at face value and remove race, the facts are simple. Gerald Stanley is responsible for the death of Colten Boushie. Mr. Stanley intentionally armed himself and he intentionally put the bullets into the gun. Mr. Stanley admittedly pointed the gun at the back of Colten’s head. The trigger was pulled and anything and everything that Colten could have been will never be. Mr. Stanley is responsible for that; Colten’s death is on his hands.
When we add Colten’s indigeneity to the equation, it only complicates the situation that much more. I want to make this clear, I believe that racism was the determining factor in whether Colten lived or died. I believe that racism was the determining factor in how the RCMP handled the case. I also believe that racism was the determining factor in the verdict. Canada has a racism problem. It is hidden in society’s veil of ignorance. Veil, in this case, refers to Canada’s claim to diversity. While Canadians may be diverse in skin colour and country of origin, that diversity could be a burden when understanding racism and its relationship with Indigenous people. How can an individual understand racism when they don’t know the subtleties of it? How can an individual understand Canadian racism when they don’t know the history of it? Citizens have been conditioned to view Indigenous people as less than long before 1867. Those views have been reaffirmed by racist and restrictive policy and reinforced by laws. Look no further than the evolution of the Indian Act.
My first experience of racism occurred when I was six years old. I was raised in an urban environment in a relatively big city. In a class discussion, the teacher proposed the question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”. All students responded with obvious answers like a teacher, doctor, or police officer and my response was relatively similar. However, after informing the classmates and teacher of my career choice, her response was simple and her view of me was clear. She said, “You’ll probably drink lots”. I was six years old. While I laughed it off, it left me puzzled. Her view of me and who I would be, has stuck with me all this time. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what she meant. It wasn’t until I became aware of the struggle some indigenous people have with substance abuse that it all became clear. It hit me like a ton of bricks. After that realization, I began to experience racism on a regular basis. Instead of talking it out, fists became my words and anger was my story.
Racism as a societal construct of bias has always been a part our narrative. It is those lived experiences that have shaped our realities. It is those racist or discriminatory subtleties that often go missed. However, it is also those experiences that have united us. Our stories are unique and Colten is the mirror of many images I have encountered in my life. Colten is my son; young, careless, and free. He wore his indigeneity like a badge of honour. However, what an indigenous person interprets as an honour society often mistakes it for a target.
His name was Colten. He was 22 years of age. Gerald Stanley took his life, but racism killed him. So as the Boushie family grieves for the loss of their son, I want them to know that history will remember his name. Colten will be the catalyst for change.
David vs. Goliath.
Ali vs. Foreman.
Marvel vs. DC.
Timmies vs. Starbucks.
Quirk vs. the World?
The NPCA has lately been oft embattled. Is it because they are picking fights instead of solving problems?
Within moments of a local judge ruling that a letter issued by the agency was like an “Opening Salvo in a war,” Tony Quirk of the NPCA board was engaging in a twitter fight side by side with the official NPCA tweeter. Perhaps the tweeter was one of the new communications people enlisted to replace the environmentalists they’ve been discharging.
If the NPCA has any money left after all the taxpayer dollars they wasted suing Smith – an amount they refuse to disclose – they might want to draft some of the reporters from the Standard who have been doing great work exposing some of the flaws of the NPCA kingdom’s adversarial thinking. Maybe they’ll need to use some of the money from the Department of Defense training happening on NPCA grounds for their war on scrutiny.
Is this thinking unique to the NPCA or does it extend to the various entities and corporations its board members, such as Niagara Falls mayor Jim Diodati- sit on?
If this is the climate within which the disagreement over how to resolve the controversial Thundering Waters development dispute will be resolved then the tri-color bats better head for cover.
There are questions about the Region. There are questions about the NPCA. There are questions about Niagara Falls and the threatened Thundering Waters Forest and pollinator meadow.
Ed asked for a call to accountability not a call to duty – something he knows more about than anybody on the NPCA board.
Are those seeking the truth in the Niagara of 2017 dealing with people clouded by the fog of a meaningless war declared on public criticism?
Most people want answers, not a fight, but most people apparently aren’t like the special brand of people running the NPCA at the moment.
In just a couple of hours, the annual Deer Hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park will begin. This year, like years previous, will be highly controversial. The controversy you ask? The hunt is being held at a provincial park and the only people allowed to hunt are those who are members of the Six Nations community.
Since inception, the hunt has received backlash from animal rights groups, hunters and concerned citizens. These protestors show up by the dozens and make their presence known.
It seems simple enough, right? Well, unfortunately, it’s not. In response to the highly anticipated hunt, Co-Host of One Dish, One Mic and Co-Chair of the Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition Karl Dockstader, has penned a letter that states, “Opposition to the Haudenosaunee Deer Hunt in Shorthillls Park cannot be separated from racism. Opposing the deer hunt by indigenous hunters, whether intended to do so or not, is supporting the worst parts of Canada’s racist legacy and perpetuates policies of assimilation. Antagonizing a group of people because you believe that your group’s views are superior is the very definition of racism.” This letter has stirred up a fair amount of controversy over the implication of the protestors being racist. Protestors refute the claim. Now, if you look at the scenario at face value, I could understand one’s hesitation to use the term. What people fail to acknowledge is that this issue is bigger than just a hunt. There is more to this then the protections of animals, the park and neighbourhoods. While the protestor’s intent might be good, their actions are the same actions of those people who use to protest the very existence of indigenous people.
The history of Indigenous people and the Country of Canada is horrific at best. Legislatively speaking, indigenous people were not considered people under the Indian Act. Indigenous people could not pursue higher education without losing their rights. They couldn’t hire lawyers or vote. Canada has not been kind. Nor has its citizens. While the Indian Act was being developed and policies were implemented, the Canadian government also signed treaties with its Indian Allies (Indian being the preferred noun of the time). The treaties guaranteed certain inalienable rights; the right to hunt on traditional grounds being one of them.
Given that it was the 1800’s you need to understand how important that right was and still is today. Wal-Mart or Costco did not exist nor was there was no corner store. There was only hunting, fishing and farming. Hunting was not done for sport or bragging rights, it was done to survive. First Nations would base their life off of the location of the animals. If they moved, we would follow. Hunting was also more than food too. Every aspect of the animal that was killed was used. The hide was used for clothes and blankets. Bones were utilized for tools and weapons, etc. In the 1800s, a successful hunt meant a successful life.
Decades after Confederation though, pro-enfranchisement policies became the norm. The Government was so hell-bent on solving the Indian problem that their answer was to systematically remove our rights. So when it comes to people protesting the deer hunt, it is reminiscent of those policies. You have to understand that you are protesting more than just the act. You are protesting my very existence. Your Protest, like Karl Dockstader said, “…whether intended to do so or not, is supporting the worst parts of Canada’s racist legacy and perpetuates policies of assimilation.”
While you might not see the correlation between protest and racism, I can assure you that it is there. It is no different from individuals protesting our language or our culture. You cannot separate the hunt from who we are as a people. Hunting is intertwined with our cultural identity. It is intertwined with us.
I am not from Six Nations of the Grand River. That is not my community. I am not afforded the right to hunt in Short Hills Provincial Park, but I still stand in solidarity with my indigenous brothers and sisters. I will attend the counter-protest to ensure that people who view our way of life as inferior do not undermine our inalienable rights.
“Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.”
If you stand in solidarity, I would encourage you to come out in support.
I’ve wanted to write about the #MeToo campaign for some time now. But for the sake of not stepping on anyone’s feet, I decided to let the dust settle on the interwebs. Now that its been about two weeks, here we go:
For those who aren’t familiar, female survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been urged to use the Hashtag MeToo to inform the world that this problem is bigger than we think. Although the hashtag was coined by a female activist in 2006, Tarana Burke, it really caught the wind when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted it out.
I was shocked at the mount of #MeToo’s I was seeing on my social media platforms. A rough estimate of my network places it at about 70 percent of all of my female friends and followers. But was even more shocking was the response. The more researched I did, the more disgusted I became with society.
I want to make this as clear as possible, WE HAVE A PROBLEM! I am afraid to say it, but in my humblest of opinion, this issue is bigger than any race or religious issue out there. The only constant in societies around the world since evolution, is how men have treated women.
I do not proclaim to be an expert or hold the secret answer to how to effectively change society and society’s views on women. But I have some suggestions:
1) Change starts with us – Gentlemen, we need to do better. We need to be better. It going to be an uphill climb, but the only way to overcome is with that first step. Sexual assault and harassment is NEVER OK. I do not care how much you have had to drink or who you were with or whatever bullshit excuses you can come up with. Harassment and assault is not justifiable. Women are never asking for nor do they ever deserve it.
2) Forget about what you see in the movies or read in books. Very rarely does Hollywood get it right.
3) In order to effectively change, we need to redefine what it means to be a man. Do not give into gender stereotypes. DO NOT teach your children about gender stereotypes. Should you be fortunate to have a young daughter, do not teach her that if a man a boy picks on her, he likes her. Should you be fortunate to have a young boy, teach him about respect.
4) This may be the biggest one of all, call it out when you see it. Tell whoever it is who that is doing it, that it is unacceptable. This will be the toughest one of all. You may lose some friends and you might even make some enemies, but the world will be a better place for it
By no means will this put an end to sexual assault and harassment but it is a start and it is my pledge to all women.
To the women who took the time to share #MeToo. I thank you for your bravery, I thank you for your honesty and I believe you.