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Murray Sinclair to help AFN with conflict resolution after ‘turmoil’: national chief

 By Stephanie Taylor THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA- Murray Sinclair, a former senator and commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will help the Assembly of First Nations with conflict resolution in 2023, national chief RoseAnne Archibald said Tuesday. Archibald made the announcement in her opening remarks to chiefs gathered in Ottawa for a three-day special assembly. The organization, which serves as the national advocacy voice for more than 600 First Nations, has spent months dealing with infighting in its highest ranks over complaints lodged against Archibald by her staff. That conflict played out in public during the last AFN gathering in Vancouver in July. Archibald attended the meetings despite a vote from the executive committee and board of directors to temporarily suspend her leadership. On Tuesday, Archibald told chiefs there

The race is on to spy on Canada’s whales from space

 By Rochelle Baker  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Scientists on Canada’s coasts are exploring the use of satellites to surveil whales and other ocean “megafauna” to better monitor and protect at-risk ocean species. The rapid advance of very high-resolution (VHR) satellite imagery and dropping costs are providing conservationists with opportunities to locate, count and monitor wildlife and their critical habitat from the cosmos. The technique is especially helpful in remote areas or expanses of ocean that are difficult for scientists to access. In October, University of Ottawa researchers were the first to identify a particular endangered North Atlantic right whale (NARW) using satellite images. Newly available high-resolution images, along with ideal weather conditions, showed the large, distinctive white scar on the back of a whale named Ruffian, one of the approximately

Diabo to provide counterpoint opinion for AFN national chief

 By Shari Narine  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter A vocal critic of the Assembly of First Nations is joining the ranks as special advisor to National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. Russ Diabo, an Ontario-based Indigenous policy analyst and member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawa:ke, says a “short conversation” with Archibald following the July Special Chiefs Assembly in Vancouver resulted in him coming on board. Diabo will advise Archibald in sovereignty, jurisdiction and treaty rights. He says his focus will be on how the federal policy of self-government, as proposed by the Trudeau government, differs from self-determination, which is an international right for Indigenous peoples. He points out that Archibald represents First Nations that have modern day and numbered treaties, and those who are at recognition tables with the federal government. “It’s usually

A battle is brewing over the PC government’s plan to destroy the Greenbelt for development

 By Rachel Morgan  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter When the PC government threatened to use the Notwithstanding Clause to deny CUPE members the right to bargain for their own employment contracts, a movement rolled across the province and forced Doug Ford to back down. The same passion sparked during the bargaining saga has transitioned to a grassroots citizen effort coalescing around the Greenbelt, following the PC government’s decision to remove 7,400 acres from the supposedly protected ecosystem that arcs above the GTHA. “People are coming to these rallies and saying to me, `I am not being heard, my voice doesn’t even matter’,” said Margaret Prophet, Executive Director of the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition. With this week’s passage of Bill 23, the PC plan to build 1.5 million homes in just eight

Kanesatake partnership promotes mental health, Kanien’ke?ha

By Simona Rosenfield  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter There’s change afoot at the Kanesatake Health Center (KHC). With the rollout of their new mandate to promote mental health services within the community, KHC is starting this work with their own staff. “Investing in reclaiming our identity and revitalizing what has been so brutally attacked by colonization – our language, our culture – I think that it’s a great path towards community well-being,” said Teiawenhniserahte Jeremy Tomlinson, executive director at the KHC. “Part of doing that is, as an employer, promoting the learning and use of Kanien’keha in the workplace.” He is talking about KHC’s recent partnership with the Tsi Ronterihwanonhnha ne Kanien’keha Language and Culture Center, where KHC employees who wish to enrol in the language-immersion program will be supported in

Inuit leader says he can’t support bill creating national reconciliation council 

By Stephanie Taylor  THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA- The leader of a national Inuit organization says he cannot support federal legislation to create a national reconciliation council. The legislation, which passed unanimously in the House of Commons this week, would create a council to oversee Ottawa’s implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 calls to action. At a press conference in Ottawa Friday, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed said the bill could result in recommendations “that may be completely out of sync” with Inuit positions, with only one seat on a board of nine to 13 people to be nominated by the organization. “We are still quite concerned, from a fundamental level, about being understood, and our rights being upheld and our institutions being supported in the

‘End this ongoing genocide:’ Indigenous advocates call for change after women killed

 By Brittany Hobson THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG- The arrest of a man accused of killing four women, all believed to be Indigenous, shows vulnerable women and girls are subject to dangerous outcomes if governments don’t work together to end gender and race-based violence, Indigenous advocates say. Several Indigenous groups are urging governments and other institutions in power to fulfil the 231 Calls for Justice outlined in the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, released in 2019. “The political will of all levels of government is required to end this ongoing genocide,” the National Family and Survivors Circle said in a statement Friday. The group said Indigenous women are disproportionate victims of violence in Canada due to “unchecked racism and misogyny.” Winnipeg police

Ottawa trailing in protection of Indigenous women and girls: federal minister

OTTAWA-The minister for Crown-Indigenous relations says the federal government is failing in its responsibility to protect Indigenous women and girls, despite allocating money toward the issue. Marc Miller said Friday he was shocked to learn Winnipeg police have charged a man in the alleged killings of four women last spring. “It’s a legacy of a devastating history that has reverberations today,” he said. “No one can stand in front of you with confidence to say that this won’t happen again and I think that’s kind of shameful.” Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Rebecca Contois, 24, Morgan Harris, 39, Marcedes Myran, 26, and an unidentified fourth woman. Three of the women’s bodies have not been found. Contois, Harris and Myran are

Uchucklesaht builds 35 foot community canoe for citizens to connect to their territory

By Alexandra Mehl  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC – At the beginning of January, Hipolite Williams began carving a 35-foot canoe for Uchucklesaht Nation. Through winter, spring, summer, and fall, he and his apprentice, Cooper Styan, worked daily toward carving the red cedar canoe. The log, chosen by Williams and sourced from C?awak ?qin Forestry, was 45 feet long, 5 feet at the base, 3.5 to 4 feet at the top, weighing 16, 000 pounds, said Ryan Anaka, director of Lands and Resources for Uchucklesaht. “This one had a perfect half moon kind of shape on one side,” said Williams, who is a member of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Each log, even if it looks perfect on the outside, changes when you open it up.” Williams, who’s been

AIDS day walk in North Battleford aims to `banish that stigma’

 By Julia Peterson  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter On World AIDS Day, advocates in the Battlefords gathered to raise awareness about how the virus affects people in their community, and how people can get help and treatment, if they need it. “HIV is completely preventable in today’s society, with all the advances in medication,” said Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre’s HIV project coordinator, Cymric Leask. “But due to a lot of intersecting factors, especially due to COVID  in the past couple of years, our HIV numbers have skyrocketed.” In 2021, more than 200 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in the province, even while testing, treatment and outreach were reduced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of new HIV infections in Canada, and has

Sharing Our Stories: Brick house by the riverside/Kaneniarihton ionnia:ton kanonhsote’ kaniatarakta

 By Storyteller: Sonny Joe Cross  Writer: Marcus Bankuti  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter  Translator: Sahawiso:ko’ Arquette THE EASTERN DOOR My father built that house in 1925. It was there 1925 to 1955. They took it away for the Seaway in 55′. They took those houses away, destroyed them, just like they did near Russia. Same thing. They set a bomb and they took all the people and they threw them out of there, out of the islands. The Canadian government did that. They took all those houses over there, they bulldozed them, they set them on fire. At the time that it happened, we didn’t have the officials like they have today. The men who were elected to be in the council office, they weren’t getting paid and they were all

Metis settlements council challenges Crown Indigenous Relations for giving the nod for MNA constitution vote

 By Shari Narine  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Metis Settlements General Council (MSGC) is accusing the federal government of playing favourites when it comes to prioritizing and funding the political voice of Metis in Alberta. The MSGC filed in federal court on Nov. 21 a notice of application for judicial review against both the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA). The MSGC is calling the federal government “complicit” in working with the MNA to “dispossess the Metis Settlements of their self-government, their constitutional rights and their lands.” The MSGC says the MNA’s Otipemisiwak Metis Government Constitution for self-government claims that the Metis Nation within Alberta (changed from Metis Nation of Alberta) would speak for all Metis in the province. The MSGC is also claiming that

Inquiry into Emergencies Act urged to recommend greater oversight of police

By Laura Osman THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA- Lawmakers should define how to maintain government oversight of law enforcement while ensuring police independence more clearly, experts told a public inquiry Thursday, arguing that the understanding of where to draw the line has long been too vague. The concepts of police oversight and independence came up time and again over six weeks of fact-finding testimony at the Public Order Emergency Commission, which is investigating the federal Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act last winter. Throughout the inquiry hearings, police and politicians described a separation between police operations and policy, and said politicians and police boards should never direct operations. The line was often described as a separation between church and state. “For me, it’s pretty clear. Anything operational, we’re advising what’s

‘We’re still not done:’ Family gathers to honour women police say were killed 

By  Brittany Hobson THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG- Under a dark December night sky, a collage of photos taped to a billboard rests against a tree illuminated only by the light of a sea of candles. Each of the photos depicts a smiling Morgan Harris at different points in her short life. This is how Cambria Harris, 21, wants the public to remember her mother. “I want her to be remembered as happy-go-lucky. She was silly. She was fun. People loved to be around her,” she said Thursday evening during a vigil. Winnipeg police say Harris, 39, is one of four woman allegedly killed by Jeremy Skibicki this past spring. On Thursday, police announced Skibicki was charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Harris, Marcedes Myran, 26,

Making Nunavut work for Inuit

 By Stewart Burnett  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Should Jack Anawak earn the vice-president position at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in the Dec. 12 election, he wants to see Nunavut become what it was truly meant to be from the start. “There’s only one reason Nunavut was created, or the Northwest Territories was divided into two,” said Anawak, who has a long political history, “and that’s because of the Inuit in Nunavut. So that should be the sole concern, or the major concern of Nunavut Tunngavik and the Government of Nunavut, as well as the regional organizations. There has to be a lot more coordination and a lot more cooperation between those bodies in order to ensure that Inuit get the benefit of why we pursued Nunavut in the first place.” At

Serial Killer: Man accused of killing Indigenous woman in Winnipeg charged in three other homicides

By Brittany Hobson THE CANADIAN PRESS WINNIPEG- Police allege a Winnipeg man charged with killing an Indigenous woman last May also killed three other women, two also confirmed to be Indigenous and one believed to be. Jeremy Skibicki was charged on May 18 and kept in custody after the partial remains of Rebecca Contois, 24, were found in a garbage bin near an apartment building. Police later found the rest of her remains in a Winnipeg landfill. Contois lived in Winnipeg but was a  member of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, also known as Crane River. Police said at the time that they were not ruling out more victims. On Thursday, they said Skibicki is now charged with first-degree murder in three other deaths in the same period in the spring. Police

DFO inadequately rebuilding B.C. salmon stocks: Audit

 By Kaitlyn Bailey  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Oceana Canada’s annual Fisheries Audit found that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is not doing an adequate job rebuilding Canada’s fisheries. In an announcement Nov. 22, Oceana Canada stated that for the sixth year in a row, less than a third of wild fish and invertebrate populations in Canadian waters can be considered healthy. The new Fisheries Act passed in April 2022 legally requires the DFO to rebuild Canada’s critical fish populations to support fisheries, coastal communities and the ocean. However, 37 per cent of stocks have not been assigned a health status, which means there is no legal requirement to rebuild them. Oceana Canada estimates that likely 25 per cent of the unassigned fish are critically depleted. In B.C., less than one-sixth

Brant County man identified as victim of homicide

(BRANT, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has identified a Brant County man as the victim of homicide in a death investigation on Salt Springs Church Road. OPP said on November 24, 2022, at about 12:45 p.m. (corrected time), Brant County OPP  attended an address on Salt Springs Church Road to investigate a report of a deceased individual. Investigators have now determined 82-year-old Gordon Oughtred from Brant County died as a result of homicide. The investigation by the Brant OPP Crime Unit is ongoing and under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) and in partnership with the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Services. OPP is asking anyone with any information that would assist this investigation to contact them at

Over 100 people charged, 121 children identified in Child Exploitation numbers

OCTOBER CHILD EXPLOITATION NUMBERS SHARED BY 27 POLICE SERVICES Numbers continue to increase as 121 children identified, 107 people charged (ORILLIA, ON) – Police forces across Ontario laid hundreds of charges against 107 people including a Caledonia man in October that shows just a snapshot of the work being done by investigators and analysts that make up the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet (Provincial Strategy). The results of the investigations completed in October, named Project MAVERICK, were announced in a video release showcasing members of the Provincial Strategy. During the month, the 27 policing partners conducted 255 investigations, completed 168 search warrants and seized 1,032 devices. In total, 428 charges were laid against 107 people. During the investigations, 61 victims were identified

PROJECT MENACE: Brantford man faces drug and firearm charges

BRANTFORD, ONT-  A city man is facing firearm and drug charges after Brantford Police Services(BPS)  Tactical Intelligence Generated Enforcement and Response Unit (T.I.G.E.R) continued Project MENACE, a drug trafficking investigation, Tuesday, November 29, 2022. Project MENACE, launched last month, saw police raid a Courtland Drive address under a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant and S. 487 Criminal Code search warrant. Following the search, officers seized the following: Loaded 9mm firearm with ammunition Approximately 38 grams of (suspected) cocaine with an estimated street value of $3,810 Approximately 3.5 grams of (suspected) fentanyl with an estimated street value of $1,400 Digital scale and drug packaging materials Canadian currency The seized illicit drugs were valued at approximately $5,210. BPS has arrested and charged Quoc Quy Dang, 21, of Brantford with: Unauthorized

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