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What if an Indigenous woman was the face of Canada’s $20 bill?

By Matteo Cimellaro  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Queen is dead. Is it now time for an Indigenous woman to take her place on the $20 bill? The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is asking that question through its new art exhibition, “Change the Bill.” The concept for the exhibition began following the Queen’s death, as the decision of changing the figure on the back of the Canadian dollar loomed near, Irene Goodwin, NWAC’s director of policy and programs, culture and art, told Canada’s National Observer. An Indigenous woman has never been represented on a Canadian banknote, Goodwin explained. The exhibition, which runs from Jan. 20 to 28 at The Local Gallery in Toronto, is a call to action to promote reconciliation through art, according to an NWAC press

Feds, First Nations settle class action lawsuit over `collective harm’ of residential day schools

By Matteo Cimellaro  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter  Warning: This story contains distressing details.  The federal government and 325 First Nations have settled out of court a second class-action lawsuit by survivors who attended but did not board at residential schools. Indian residential day schools operated from the 1800s to as late as 2000. Referred to as residential day scholars, they attended schools run by Christian churches. During the course of their education, they were subjected to assimilating abuse and loss of identity, culture and language. The Gottfriedson settlement, named after former Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Shane Gottfriedson, was announced Saturday in Vancouver by Marc Miller, minister of Crown-Indigenous affairs, alongside Gottfriedson and other former First Nations leaders. The $2.8-billion fund will be placed in a not-for-profit trust led by the

Feds fund cultural awareness teacher, community based services to tackle high rates of Inuit in justice system

 By Matteo Cimellaro  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ottawa is providing $1.16 million to help the Nunatsiavut government address the overrepresentation of Inuit in Newfoundland and Labrador’s justice system. The funding, announced by Justice Minister David Lametti on Thursday, will create an Inuit cultural awareness educator position, fund a family violence prevention program and provide money to expand access to needed community-based justice services. Johannes Lampe, president of the Nunatsiavut government, says Labrador Inuit are targeted in the justice system, not just by police but as cases move through the courts. Lawyers appointed by legal aid don’t understand the circumstances of Inuit in Labrador today, and there is no community-based help, he said. “It should not be that way.” At a news conference announcing the funding, Lampe explained the history of

Probe into Alberta residential school links unpasteurized milk to children’s deaths

SADDLE LAKE CREE NATION- A new report from a group looking into children who died and went missing at a residential school northeast of Edmonton says unpasteurized milk was responsible for the deaths of Indigenous children at the institution. The preliminary report was released Tuesday by the Acimowin Opaspiw Society, formed by the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in 2021 to investigate the Blue Quills residential school. “I definitely see genocide at play,” said Leah Redcrow, executive director for the society. Researchers went through historical records from school administrators, nurses and the church. They found that doctors would check the children to make sure they were healthy entering the school, the report said, but many became sick soon after. Redcrow estimates up to 400 children died while attending the school between

Probe into Alberta residential school links unpasteurized milk to children’s deaths

SADDLE LAKE CREE NATION-A new report from a group looking into children who died and went missing at a residential school northeast of Edmonton says unpasteurized milk was responsible for the deaths of Indigenous children at the institution. The preliminary report was released Tuesday by the Acimowin Opaspiw Society, formed by the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in 2021 to investigate the Blue Quills residential school. Leah Redcrow, executive director of the society, says they estimate up to 400 children died while attending the school between 1898 and when it closed in 1990. She says their research found that the children were healthy entering the school but many became sick after drinking unpasteurized skim milk three times a day. Redcrow says school administrators, who were not drinking the milk, were not getting

66 more potential graves identified at former Williams Lake, B.C., residential school 

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C.- The lead investigator in the search for unmarked graves at a former residential institution near the Williams Lake First Nation in central British Columbia says the latest phase of their work has uncovered 66 additional “reflections,” indicating children’s graves. Whitney Spearing told a news conference that the results of Phase 2 of their investigation show there were crimes committed against children associated with the Catholic operation of St. Joseph’s Mission. Spearing says that in addition to the reflections found in a technical survey, their interviews with survivors and archival records revealed that babies born as a result of child sexual assault at the mission were disposed of by incineration on and off-site. Spearing says they found “a minimum” of 28 children died at the mission, which operated between

Blueberry River First Nations beat B.C. in court. Now everything’s changing

By Matt Simmons  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter  Apart from a little pocket of land on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, Blueberry River First Nations territory is an industrial wasteland. At a walking pace, it only takes about three minutes to stumble onto some kind of development. It’s a land of pipelines, clearcuts and gas rigs. But things are about to change. After winning a hard-fought case before the B.C. Supreme Court in 2021, the Treaty 8 nation reached a final agreement with the province on Jan. 18. The agreement charts a path forward from a past where the province excluded the community from resource decisions and infringed on the nation’s constitutionally protected rights. Two days later, B.C. signed agreements with four neighbouring nations: Doig River, Halfway River, Saulteau

Secwepemc land defenders, arrested for opposing TMX, receive outpouring of support in `Vancouver

By Aaron Hemens  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Eight land defenders who are facing jail time for opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (TMX) in unceded Secwepemc homelands are receiving support from allies in “Vancouver.” Gathering at a community hall in Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories, Indigenous leaders, artists and Youth took part in a fundraiser event to help with legal fees for two ongoing court cases stemming from arrests in October 2020. The total money raised during the Secwepemc Sovereignty Fundraiser on Jan. 19 is still being tallied, but organizers estimate about $5,000 is being added to an existing fund to support land defenders during sentencing _ scheduled to take place in the Tk’emlups (Kamloops) court from Feb. 21 to 24. Rueben George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, who has spent

Results to be released after second search for graves at B.C. residential school

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C.-A First Nation in central British Columbia is ready to announce results from the second phase of an investigation of grounds around the former St. Joseph’s Mission residential school, outside Williams Lake. A preliminary search in 2021 found what the Williams Lake First Nation said were 93 “reflections,” indicating unmarked graves of children around the now-closed school, roughly 500 kilometres north of Vancouver. The First Nation says a meeting will be held with the chiefs of communities directly affected by the latest search, giving them a chance to ask questions of the technical experts involved in the second phase of the investigation. A public announcement will follow this afternoon in Williams Lake and a social media post from the First Nation says a Sacred Fire will burn until

Onondaga One is Ground Zero In Six Nations housing crisis battle

Six Nations and Habitat for Humanity tackle housing crisis By Lisa Iesse Writer Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and Habitat for Humanity are tackling the community’s housing crisis with the building of a multi -unit complex that will house five families. It’s the largest housing development at Six Nations in a number of years. “Going forward we’re going to make sure that the housing that we are providing is safe, that it’s accessible and that it continues to be,”said Lily Ann Mt. Pleasant, acting director of Six Nations housing. She added the development is much needed. “Not only for us but the next generation coming in, that they are all going to be realized with these programs and services.” Mt. Pleasant said community housing was needed. “It’s so important for our...

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Councillor sounds alarm on Six Nations Housing Crisis

By Turtle Island News staff The housing crisis is coming to a head on Six Nations with a severe lack of housing and land available for members after years of underfunded housing services. Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) Councillor Helen Miller has been sounding the alarm for more than two years warning Indigenous Services Canada is pushing to expand devolution of housing to First Nations. Miller gave SNEC an update on the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs Committee on Housing committee at SNEC’s Political Liaison meeting on January 23. She reiterated that her recommendation is, and has always been, for Six Nations to start its own housing authority. “There’s so many people that can’t find housing that don’t have houses. Rent is so high in Brantford, they can’t afford to...

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Six Nations Health centre working with only one doctor a week

By Turtle Island News Staff While a medical staff shortage is taking hold of the country, Six Nations is down to only one doctor once a week at its Gane Yoh’s Community Health Centre. The shortage has Six Nations working to make it more attractive for doctors to provide services in the community. Six Nations Elected Councillor Greg Frazer and Jennifer Smith, executive director of the Six Nations Family Health Team gave a presentation about their progress and next steps to recruitment at the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC)’s Political Liaison meeting on January 23. “We’re flagged, as other communities are [for a shortage of doctors and] in finding and retaining doctors. Sometimes they do come in and stay for one or two years,” Frazer said. He and Smith met...

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SN Grand River Development hits hurdles trying to develop

By Lynda Powless Editor Political factors including the federal government’s Additions to Reserve (ATR) process for returning land to First Nations is holding up development or transfer of a number of Six Nations properties. Six Nations Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) has returned management of seven community properties, including the Oneida Business Park, to Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) management after being unable to develop the properties as hoped. SNGRDC announced the return as part of what it called a new “Enhanced Relationship’ between it and SNEC. But when asked by Turtle Island News why SNGRDC was no longer managing the properties SNGRDC said in a statement “Certain properties that are being divested to SNGR cannot be developed due to political factors, these factors are beyond the control of SNGRDC.” The...

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OPP Seeking Public’s Help In Robbery at Mississaugas of Credit First Nation

MISSISSAUGAS OF CREDIT FIRST NATION- – The Haldimand County  Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are asking for  the public’s assistance in locating a suspect involved in a robbery on Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Haldimand OPP responded to an early morning robbery Thursday, January 19, 2023, at about 2:58 am,  at a King St., W business where a man approached a window and brandished a firearm. OPP said the suspect fled on foot with a quantity of cash and cigarettes. There were no injuries. The OPP Canine unit and West Region Emergency Response Team (ERT) attended the area to search for the suspect, but he was not located. The suspect is described as a male in his 30’s, approximately 6’3” with a medium skin complexion and average build. He was...

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Khill to be sentenced in spring in shooting death of Jonathan Styres

HAMILTON, ONT-Peter Khill, convicted in the 2016 shooting death of Six Nations’ Jonathan Styres will be sentenced April 12th. A Superior Court Judge said Friday Khill is scheduled to return to a Hamilton court room April 12th for sentencing. Khill, because he used a firearm, will receive a minimum of four years in prison. Manslaughter with a firearm comes with a minimum sentence of four years imprisonment. Khill attended the sentencing virtually. He ha been granted bail in December and has been out on a $100,000 bond until his sentencing. A jury of 12 found Khill guilty last year of manslaughter. He shot and killed 29-year-old Jonathan Styres who had broken into his pickup truck in February 2016. Khill was acquitted after a trial in 2018. A new trial was...

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Mississaugas of Credit First Nation “old” council house get make over

By Lisa Iesse Writer The Missisaugas of the Credit First Nation’s (MCFN) historic ‘Old Council House’ is about to get a face lift. The MCFN’s council recently received a $500,000 Indigenous Tourism Relief Fund grant to help restore the building that has served as the community’s first political and social centre for over 100 years. Since it’s construction in 1882, the Council House has been the centre of the community’s political and social life. Until 1988, the Council House building hosted elected band council meetings, but also many MCFN programs and services. “The building itself housed all of our programs of the day, that’s where we started out of,” community historian and former MSFN Chief Carolyn King said. “And it has been a lot of things for the community, from...

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Divided for almost 100 years

Six Nations oldest political debate is rearing its head… again. Who gets to be in charge? It’s a debate that has gone on now for 99 years. Yes, in 2024 Six Nations mark 100 years of internal political turmoil. The issue of who gets to be in charge came to the forefront again when councillor Helen Miller raised it during a political liaison session saying Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu’s department is looking into “alternative governance for First Nations.” Councillor Miller questioned what the Minister meant by alternative governance and why the Minister’s office would be undertaking it without consulting with communities. She also asked “I wonder if that’s not the reason [Minister of Crown Indigenous Services] Mark Miller snuck down and met with the Haudenosaunee Chiefs Confederacy Council...

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Feds say ‘no willing partners’ to bring fire codes onto First Nations, including AFN

By Stephanie Taylor THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA-The federal government does not have a willing partner to find a way to introduce fire codes on First Nation reserves, a newly released document shows. The senior director for the Indigenous Fire Marshal Service, however, says there are steps Ottawa can take now to better protect communities. “Doing nothing is not an option,’’ said Blaine Wiggins. “Analyzing the problem that they already know is not an option.’’ A meeting scenario note for Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, obtained by The Canadian Press through access-to-information legislation, details some of the sticking points the department says it has run into when it comes to improving fire prevention. The note was prepared ahead of an anticipated meeting with Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald...

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Chiefs select four players in Major Series Lacrosse Entry Draft

By Sam Laskaris Writer The Six Nations Chiefs have added some new faces to their organization. The local squad selected four players in the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) Entry Draft, which was held this past Saturday. The five-round draft, which saw a total of 30 players chosen, was held at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville. The facility is home to the MSL’s Oakville Rock, which has chosen to sit out a second consecutive season in 2023. It is believed the Rock brass opted to not have an MSL squad once again this year so it could concentrate on its Senior B franchise, also named the Oakville Rock. That Ontario Series Lacrosse club will host the Presidents Cup, the national Senior B tournament this coming August. While the Rock...

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