Onkwehonwe Week in Review April-8-2015

Ojibway man walking from Victoria to Ottawa

VICTORIA – On Saturday, March 28th, an Ojibway man from the Curve Lake First Nation started a five-month long walk from Victoria, B.C. to Ottawa spreading a message of non-violence.

David James Taylor, 42, did a similar walk last year to honour residential school survivors. This time, Taylor wants to bring attention to the violence indigenous men and women are subjected to. According to a 2009 federal survey, indigenous people are two times more likely than non-natives to experience being victims of a violent crime.

Taylor, a part-time First Nations education assistant for School District 63 in Victoria, said the idea to walk across the country came to him in a dream last year in which his grandfather visited him.

During that walk, Taylor received a lot of support from indigenous communities across the country. He said several people approached him and suggested something needed to be done about violence in their communities.

Taylor and two of his friends plan to walk around 30 kilometres a day for about five months, stopping in many of the same communities that received him last year and staging events to discuss violence and traditional teachings.

Anyone who wants to help fund Taylor on his walk can donate at www.gofundme.com/walktoendviolence.


2016 Indspire nominations open

Indspire, an Indigenous-led registered charity that is the largest funder of Indigenous education outside the federal government, is calling on people from across Canada to nominate outstanding First Nation, Inuit, and Métis achievers and bring Indigenous accomplishments to national attention. Nominations for the 2016 Indspire Awards are open until June 26, 2015.

Celebrating 23 years, the 2016 Indspire Awards will recognize First Nation, Inuit, and Métis achievers in the following categories: Arts; Business & Commerce; Culture, Heritage & Spirituality; Education; Environment & Natural Resources; Health; Law & Justice; Politics; Public Service; Sports; Youth – First Nation; Youth – Inuit; Youth – Métis; and Lifetime Achievement.

“By honouring these individuals and sharing their transformative stories of hard work, talent, determination, and resilience, we hope to inspire Indigenous youth to fully achieve their own unique potential,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire, and Executive Producer of the Indspire Awards. “The Indspire Awards promote the outstanding contributions of Indigenous people to the diversity, vitality, and success of Canada. These stories need to be shared with all Canadians.”

Visit indspireawards.ca for more information and to read biographies of past Indspire Awards laureates.


Heiltsuk protestors close fishery

BELLA BELLA, B.C. – The commercial herring roe fishery near Bella Bella, B.C., which was re-opened last month despite fierce First Nations opposition, is closing.

Last week, Heiltsuk First Nation protestors, including a chief councillor, locked themselves in the Department of Fishery and Oceans office on Denny Island, to protest the decision to re-open the fishery.

“It is confirmed. All commercial gill-netters are exiting Heiltsuk waters… They will be escorted by Heiltsuk patrol boats and we will continue to occupy DFO until they have exited our waters,” Heiltsuk First Nation councillor Jess Housty wrote on his Facebook account Apr. 2.

DFO’s senior B.C. manager Sue Farlinger said she still needed to check with Ottawa whether the plant would close or not, but members of the Heiltsuk First Nation were celebrating nevertheless.

The First Nation called for a ban on capturing herring for a year in order to allow their depleting numbers to recover. Leaked DFO emails have shown that even DFO scientists had suggested certain fisheries remain close in 2014.

The DFO claimed its science was updated in 2015 and that a sustainable catch was possible, reported the Vancouver Observer.


Chiefs to hire own child and family advocate

MANITOBA – Manitoba’s Family Service Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross recently confirmed that the province will stop housing youth in hotels, after a teenage girl in Manitoba Child and Family Services’ care living in a downtown hotel was attacked. She remained in critical care over the weekend, reported the CBC.

This has raised serious questions about the CFS system and the safety of the more than 10,000 children in its care, most of whom are indigenous, according to officials.

The Assembly of Manitoba’s Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said they are therefore hiring their own child and family advocate in order to help the assembly work with families and help reform the CFS system. The province already has a child and family advocate, but Nepinak said having a separate indigenous advocate will encourage involvement from the indigenous community and help CFS to provide better care for children and their families.

He added that the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization will launch a class-action lawsuit against the CFS, which he called a $500-million industry of child apprehension, on behalf of affected children and families, reported the CBC.

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