Onkwehon:we Wee in review, December 31 2014

Mohawk man asks Mrs. Flaherty to vacate ‘illegally’ occupied land

Thahoketoteh, from the Mohawk Nation, wrote a letter to Mrs. Flaherty on Dec. 19 asking her for a chance to meet to talk about the fact she’s illegally occupying indigenous land protected by the Royal Haldimand Proclamation 1784, and to ask her to vacate the premises.

The land in question is in Kanekota, known as the Haldimand Tract, Lot 1, Concession 11, where the late Jim Flaherty erected three 3-storey buildings in a 90-acre estate in 2005. It is also where the old Etobicoke Education Centre used to be before being abandoned.

“I claimed the school property…(which was) enough for my growing family. All this was done according to the Kaianerekowa and the Two Row Wampum, which your government is legally required to honor,” reads Thahoketoteh’s letter. “(But) your husband decided to ignore the Royal Proclamation and build a home on our claim (even though)…we let him know before a shovel was put in the ground.

Mrs. Flaherty did not respond to phone calls by press time.


The ‘Decolonized’ Diet

Residents of Little Earth of United Tribes, a low-income housing complex in south Minneapolis, are bringing back foods that existed before European settlers arrived, and are calling this new movement the “decolonized diet.”

It’s a movement that’s spreading across indigenous communities across the United States as a way to combat the bad eating habits that have led to obesity and diabetes issues plaguing the native community.

“In New Mexico, indigenous food programs are working to preserve seeds from hundreds of years ago. Tribes in North Carolina are restoring native fruit and vegetable plants in newly established gardens. Closer to home, the White Earth Land Recovery Project aims to preserve original land practices,” reports the Star Tribune.

Members of Little Earth plan to build a greenhouse to grow more indigenous fruits and vegetables and a foodtruck to bring it right to people’s doors.


Nun urges Pope Francis to renounce Discovery Doctrine

A nun has delivered a letter to the Pope’s ambassador in Washington, D.C., urging Pope Francis to renounce the Discovery Doctrine, a 15th century church decree that sanctioned the enslavement and killing of indigenous peoples who did not convert to Christianity when their lands were taken over.

Sister Maureen Fiedler and her order – the Loretto Community – worked with a member of the Osage Nation to draft a resolution in 2012, and last year joined 12 other Catholic groups in asking the pope to rescind the Doctrine.

The document has been enshrined in U.S. law since 1823, and was even cited by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a land-claim ruling against the Oneidas, according to Religion News Service.

In 2007, the United States called the Doctrine “racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust.”


Lac la Ronge Frustated with their MP and Bill C-428

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of the Lac la Ronge Indian Band said they are frustrated because the federal government passed Bill C-428 on Dec. 16 without any consultation with First Nations despite ample opposition. To top it off, the bill was brought forward by the First Nation’s MP.

Chief Cook-Searson said her band has opposed the bill every step of the way but have been ignored, and added that their MP, Rob Clarke, failed at being a representative.

“We want real input into the laws that govern us, not unilateral Private Members Bills…We would hope that our representative in the Federal government would actually represent us,” she told Eagle Feather News.

Though Chief Cook-Searson recognizes the Indian Act needs to be amended, she pointed out how ironic and problematic it is that it was changed without any consultation with First Nations – the very people it affects.

Clarke’s bill requires band councils to publish their by-laws, and demands the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development communicate annually to the House of Commons any proposed changes to the Indian Act.

It also seeks to “give First Nations greater responsibility over day-to-day affairs…(and) repealed all references to residential schools as well as removing unnecessary schools-related provisions,” according to Eagle Feather News.


Mikisew Cree First Nation wins lawsuit against Federal Government

The Mikisew Cree First Nation in Alberta took the federal government to court over the omnibus bills passed in 2012 – and won.

Though the victory won’t change the passed bills, it means that by law, governments will have to seek input from First Nations before passing any bills in the future, not just before individual projects, reports the Edmonton Journal.

When the omnibus bills such as Bill C-38 were passed in 2012, the Harper government did not consult with First Nations at all, even though the bill greatly reduced federal protection of the waterways and fish habitat used for generations by the Mikisew for fishing and traveling.

Citing the guarantees afforded to First Nations under Treaty 8, which the Mikisew and other First Nations entered into in 1899, Justice Roger Hughes ruled that the Harper government was wrong in not giving the First Nations an opportunity to respond to a law that would reduce the amount of oversight of waterways, which would carry with it the “potential risk of harm,” reported the Edmonton Journal.


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