Blog 2 - The Turtle Island News
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New life for Neechi Commons

By Dave Baxter  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter A new agreement will see a new tenant move into the Neechi Commons Building on Main Street, and with the move they say they will now have more room and more resources as they work to support the wellness of First Nations children, youth, and families. In late July, it was announced that the Southeast Resource Development Council (SERDC) a long-running not for-profit organization that delivers programs and services to southeastern Manitoba First Nations, has purchased the Neechi Commons building on Main Street from the Cambrian Credit Union. The approximately 28,000 square foot building that sits just north of Higgins Avenue on Main Street was previously the home of a grocery store, restaurant and gallery space, but that venture closed in 2018. After

Remains of priest removed from Quebec Mohawk community after sex abuse allegations

 By Jacob Serebrin THE CANADIAN PRESS MONTREAL- The remains of a priest alleged to have sexually abused children have been exhumed and removed from the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, months after community members voted on the issue in a contentious referendum. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, which governs the First Nations territory south of Montreal, said the remains of Rev. Leon Lajoie, who died in 1999, were exhumed Wednesday from St. Francis-Xavier Mission, a church in the community were Lajoie worked and was buried. “It was important to remind ourselves, as a community, that this has been a difficult and emotional issue,” the council said in a written statement. “It was important to carry out the relocation in the respectful and dignified manner that a solemn occasion such as this

Indigenous leaders question Near North Board’s reaction to vandalism

 By Jennifer Ashawasegai-Pereira  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Near North District School Board has recently decided to take action a couple of months after a noose had been hung in the entrance to the Shaputuan (elongated teepee structure) at Parry Sound High School and after students spoke out. In an update posted on Aug. 5 to the Near North District School Board website, the board states, “Near North District School Board (NNDSB) shares the pain caused by the vandalism of the Shaptotaun (sic) at Parry Sound High School (PSHS) and wishes to provide an update regarding these incidents. NNDSB is proud of the relationships it continues to cultivate with many First Nations. In the Parry Sound area, the board works with the First Nations of Moose Deer Point, Wasauksing, Shawanaga,

Brantford Police arrest two wanted for murder

BRANTFORD-Two people wanted for First Degree Murder in the death of a city man have been arrested. Brantford Police  said On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Rorey Hill, 38, and Jessica Poreba, 41, were arrested  Tuesday, August 9th 2022 at about 11:30 p.m. without incident . Police did not release where the two were arrested. Police are not releasing any details saying the investigation “remains active and ongoing, additional details including the identity of the deceased and manner of death will not be released at this time.” Brantford Police had been searching for the two after responding to the murder of a 68-year-old man  July 22, 2022 at a Colborne Street address. Police said at the time  the victim was located at the address deceased and “circumstances

NDP decry Indigenous child welfare stats

By Ryan Clarke  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Critics are calling for the Alberta government to decolonize the  child welfare system after data from April 1 to June 30 shows 7 of 8  deaths of children in welfare systems were Indigenous. Provincial  data shows that children died while receiving child intervention  services showing a rising number from previous years. In 2020 to 2021,  34 deaths were reported with 23 attributed to Indigenous children. This  year’s data shows the death toll is already higher at 49 with 39 of  those deaths being Indigenous children. “During the pandemic,  when we saw these numbers rising, the numbers for the 2021 fiscal year  show that there’s a sharp increase in the number of young people. These  are people who are 18-plus, who are transitioning out

Ohsweken man faces multiple charges after fleeing police

By Bree Duwyn Writer SIX NATIOSN OF THE GRAND RIVER- Six Nations Police arrested a man after he fled from police in the early morning of Tuesday, Aug. 9. When police observed a vehicle trying to attach a trailer to a truck hitch, they asked the man if he needed assistance. After encountering the police, the male driver returned to his vehicle without attaching the trailer, according to a media release. Police said the man had slurred speech and glossy eyes at the time of the incident. When the man drove away from police, they followed the vehicle and watched it enter the ditch, into a nearby field. The man got out of his vehicle to flee on foot but was arrested by police without incident. When police searched the

Ahousaht First Nation receives $8.3 million for new bighouse 

By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ahousaht, BC – As community members from Ahousaht First Nation gathered inside the gymnasium at Maaqtusiis Secondary on Flores Island, deep roars of thunder penetrated the room. “The ancestors are here in full force,” said Rebecca Atleo, Ahousaht Education Authority director of education. “It’s very indicative of the excitement that we have for today.” Addressing those gathered on August 10, Atleo revealed that the nation received $8.3 million towards the construction of a new bighouse through the federal government’s Cultural Spaces in Indigenous Communities Program. Upon hearing the news, the room erupted into applause and cheer. The bighouse is being designed to provide a space for young girls, women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people in Ahousaht to be emotionally and physically safe. Launched by Crown-Indigenous

Poll suggests most Canadians view Pope’s apology as step toward reconciliation

By Brittany Hobson THE CANADIAN PRESS A poll suggests more than half of Canadians viewed the recent visit by Pope Francis and his apology for abuses at residential schools as a step toward reconciliation. The Angus Reid Institute released the findings from its latest online poll in which nearly 60 per cent of participants said they saw the Pope’s apology as a meaningful step toward reconciliation, while 32 per cent said it did nothing to move reconciliation forward. Respondents who self-identified as Indigenous were less likely to say the apology contributed to reconciliation, at 54 per cent, and 36 per cent said the gesture made no difference. Francis spent six days last month visiting Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut for what he called a “penitential pilgrimage” and he apologized for the evils

Beavers to be culled for Site C wetland logging

By Tom Summer  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Work is expected to ramp up this fall on logging the Watson Slough to make way for the Site C dam reservoir, but BC Hydro says it will first need to breach beaver dams and cull the animals from the wetland before crews can begin. The slough was given a reprieve from logging in 2017 after pressure from the regional district to preserve it for as long as possible. With reservoir filling slated to begin as early as next year, BC Hydro says it will begin lowering water levels in the slough this fall so that standing trees can be safely cleared over the winter. Spokesman Greg Alexis says work is being timed to “minimize the risk to amphibians and migratory birds” but

Yukon Indigenous safety summit discusses emergency preparedness, substance use

By Lawrie Crawford  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The first-ever Indigenous Community Safety Summit was held in Whitehorse this week. The conference, titled “The Past, Present and Future” was streamed live on a hybrid platform allowing community people to attend without travelling. The summit brought together people from Yukon communities, dignitaries and youth, as well as people from outside the territory. It took place Aug. 2 to 4 at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre. The summit, though grounded in community safety issues, also raised other issues such as disaster preparedness and the administration of justice for First Nations people. Short welcoming addresses were made by the chief of the two traditional territories hosting the event, Chief Amanda Leas of the Ta’an Kw?ch’?n Council and Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dun

Dehcho preparing detailed self government proposal

By Caitrin Pilkington  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Dehcho First Nations negotiators are pushing for regional consensus on a range of issues before approaching the N.W.T. government with a proposal for self-government. Lead negotiator and former Deh Cho MLA Michael Nadli, lawyer Chris Reid and Grand Chief Herb Norwegian took questions at a virtual town hall held on Tuesday evening. The DFN is seeking to definitively establish sovereignty over the way the following systems are run in Dehcho communities: justice, education, traditional medicine, culture and language, marriage, adoption and child welfare, income assistance and social housing, and wills and estates. Negotiators told members the focus over the next few months will be on clarifying the DFN right to self-government and defining how that will look, rather than on land claims. But

Quebec rejects plea to send army to northern region facing health worker shortage 

By Virginie Ann THE CANADIAN PRESS MONTREAL -Quebec’s Health Department has rejected a request from officials in the northern region of Nunavik to have Armed Forces members brought in to help ease a shortage of health-care workers. Kathleen Poulin, a spokeswoman for Nunavik Regional Board of Health, said Wednesday that labour shortages in the health sector are hitting Nunavik particularly hard due to the region’s “remoteness and its specific characteristics.” “In some of the smaller villages that have only two to four nurses, the briefest absence can require a complete reorganization of activities in order to maintain services,” Poulin said in a statement. “Considering the sizes of the communities, a handful of (additional) health-care workers can make a big difference in the level of services offered to the population.” The health

Feds officially apologize for File Hills Scheme after nearly a century

By Marc Lalonde  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter After nearly a quarter-century, the federal government has finally officially apologized for their part in a plan to involuntarily relocate Residential Schools graduates to a social-experiment colony, creating divisions amongst the Peepeeskisis Cree Nation that continue to exist today. The scheme, which ran from 1898 to 1954, involved the involuntary relocation of grads from Residential and Industrial Schools in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s reserve, as well as random reassignment of Peepeekisis lands to the new arrivals. The File Hills Colony took land from the nation over time, without consent, offering it to the grads. Those residents are often referred to as `placements.’ By 1906, only 29 percent of the original 26,600 acres of land remained for the Nation’s original

Chiefs sweep Kodiaks to advance to Major Series Lacrosse championship final

By Sam Laskaris Writer It took a bit longer than they wanted to. Actually, it took the Six Nations Chiefs a lot longer than what they would have preferred. But in the end the Chiefs were able to pull out a 10-9 double overtime victory against the host Cobourg Kodiaks on Wednesday. With that win the Six Nations squad swept its best-of-seven Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) semi-final series 4-0, bringing the Kodiaks’ 2022 campaign to an end. The clubs were deadlocked at 8-8 following three periods of regulation play, in the match held at the Baltimore Recreation Centre Arena. Cobourg scored the tying goal with a mere six seconds remaining in the third period. That necessitated a full 10-minute overtime period. But when the two rivals scored once each in

Fan favourite events return to 100th annual ‘Greatest Show in the Peace’

 By Kirsta Lindstrom  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The 100th Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede is underway this week until August 14th at the Exhibition Grounds. Connie Patterson, who has served as the president of the event for 21 years, and her committee have been working non-stop to make this year’s event the biggest and best year while remembering the past. To commemorate the 100th anniversary, some past events are returning, such as a slow pitch tournament, bingo, and the “Indian Relay Race.” Patterson’s family has been a cornerstone of the creation and coordination of the event since it started. She recounts the homestead farmers from Rolla, North Rolla and Pouce Coupe who came together to celebrate the harvest and trade livestock. Within three weeks, they built a rodeo track, corrals,

`JUST BEAMING’: Donated sports equipment having a huge impact in remote communities

By Dave Baxter  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Mel Whitesell has seen how lives can be changed when sports equipment gets into the hands of Indigenous children in Manitoba. “To us, it is collecting equipment, but to them, it’s something that can change their world,” Whitesell, the executive director of the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council (MASRC) said. MASRC is a not-for-profit that works to improve the health and well-being of the Indigenous population across Manitoba through sports and recreation, and by offering opportunities for Indigenous children and youth to take part in sports and physical activity here in Winnipeg and in communities in all corners of the province. “We try to make sure that everyone in Manitoba and all Indigenous people including people in remote communities have some access

Federal program helps Alaska villages get broadband access

 By Mark Thiessen THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP)- Alaska will receive at least $100 million through a new federal program to expand high-speed internet to underserved rural areas and promote workforce development, officials said Tuesday. U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, coordinated a summit with state, federal and tribal officials in Anchorage, in an effort to ensure parties were on the same page moving forward. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill at the summit establishing a broadband office to help coordinate between all entities. Sullivan said it is important to seize “this incredible opportunity that we have before us, which is to connect every part of Alaska, every village, every community to broadband and other internet activity.” The federal infrastructure package included $65 billion to help ensure

Resolutions provide MNA with legal options if talks with province, feds unsuccessful

 By Shari Narine  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Two resolutions that passed unanimously at the Metis Nation of Alberta’s annual general assembly this past Saturday gives the organization permission to pursue legal action if necessary. The MNA hopes to move forward in talks with the province for recognition of harvesting rights in southern Alberta, and with the federal government in establishing a process for negotiating a settlement for Metis scrip abuses within Alberta. If neither happens, litigation will ensue. “For me and Region 3, we’ve had a lot of discussions about what hasn’t happened around harvesting, so I’m glad that we have that resolution and we’ll be able to move on it,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras, who introduced the resolution on harvesting rights in southern Alberta. A 2010 Alberta Provincial

Native Americans urge boycott of ‘tone deaf’ Pilgrim museum

 By Philip Marcelo THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP)- Native Americans in Massachusetts are calling for a boycott of a popular living history museum featuring Colonial reenactors portraying life in Plymouth, the famous English settlement founded by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower. Members of the state’s Wampanoag community and their supporters say Plimoth Patuxet Museums has not lived up to its promise of creating a “bi-cultural museum” that equally tells the story of the European and Indigenous peoples that lived there. They say the “ Historic Patuxet Homesite,” the portion of the mostly outdoor museum focused on traditional Indigenous life, is inadequately small, in need of repairs and staffed by workers who aren’t from local tribes. “We’re saying don’t patronize them, don’t work over there,” said Camille Madison, a

Commercial fishers and wild salmon advocates cheer large returns to B.C. waters

 By Dirk Meissner THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA- The summer of 2022 is shaping up to be a bumper season for both pink and sockeye salmon in British Columbia rivers, with one veteran Indigenous fisherman reporting the biggest catches of sockeye in decades. Mitch Dudoward has worked in the salmon industry for more than 40 years, and says fishing on the Skeena River in northwest B.C. has never been better. “This is the best season I can recall in my lifetime with the numbers we are catching,” said Dudoward, who recently completely a big sockeye haul aboard his gillnetter Irenda. Bob Chamberlin, chairman of the Indigenous-led First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, meanwhile said that thousands of pink salmon are in Central Coast rivers after years of minimal returns. The strong run

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