Onkwehonwe Week in Review February 18 2015

TRC calls for Vatican to rescind 15th century Papal Bulls of Discovery

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada, which is currently examining the impact of residential schools, is considering asking the Vatican to repeal the 15th century Papal Bulls of Discovery, which considered indigenous people to be less than human.

This comes at a time when more and more people are asking the Vatican to help renew relationships with indigenous peoples, reports a CBC article.

The committee chair, Murray Sinclair, echoed these sentiments when he said that in order to really achieve reconciliation, a new relationship must be established between the native and non-native world.

The papal bulls are at the centre of Canadian and North American sovereignty, and if rescinded, there could be serious implications for Canadian sovereignty over land, said Sinclair.

In 2009, a special UN rapporteur found that the documents were essentially the root of indigenous exploitation.


Women’s memorial marches honour the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women

Thousands across the country gathered to march and show their support for the more than 1,200 women who have gone missing or been murdered across Turtle Island this past Valentine’s Day.

Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Saskatoon, Calgary, Winnipeg and Edmonton were among the Canadian cities that took part in the protest and memorial. A CTV article reported over 500 people attended the Toronto event, while hundreds gathered in downtown Vancouver, the place where infamous serial killer Robert Pickton abducted his victims, many of whom were Onkwehon:we.

According to the event’s Facebook page, this year marked the 25th anniversary of the memorial marches, which started in Vancouver in 1991 when a Coast Salish woman was murdered. This is the tenth year they’ve been held in Toronto.

An RCMP report released last May stated that indigenous women make up 16 percent of female homicides and over 11 percent of missing women, despite accounting for only 4.3 percent of the population.

The Conservative government still refuses to consider this a social phenomenon, instead focusing on funneling money into the indigenous criminal justice system.


Lac la Ronge receive compensation from SaskPower

SASKATCHEWAN – After a two-year negotiation process, trappers from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band will receive $75,000 from SaskPower as compensation for the disruption the Crown Corporation caused the band’s trappers.

Ten trappers successfully argued that SaskPower’s I1K and I2P transmission line, which runs through their traditional territory from Island Falls to Key Lake, negatively affected their livelihoods, reports a CBC article.

This included having to rebuild and relocate their cabins away from the 300-kilometre transmission line and other difficulties with maintaining their traditional ways of hunting and trapping because of the crown corporation’s activities.

Unfortunately the $75,000 isn’t all the trappers were seeking, but Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said it was better than getting nothing at all to mitigate their ongoing losses.


Young Aboriginal girls given their own voice in “Silent No More” project

WINNIPEG – In an empowering turn on the missing and murdered indigenous women narrative, the National Post partnered with Centennial College and Maples Collegiate to give 12 young native women the power to tell their own stories about their lives, fears and hopes.

With cameras provided by Henry’s, the girls took photos of everything from the ongoing tribute to Tina Fontaine, to cheerleading uniforms, to candid pictures of themselves applying lipstick or walking home in the cold dark.

While many of them have hope for bright futures, citing desires to be carpenters and teachers, they all voiced deep personal fears of becoming another statistic in what has been dubbed Canada’s most racist city. Tales of being solicited, shouted at or followed by strange men are frighteningly common.

Still, the girls’ awareness of the situation and how they want to change it gives hope for the future.

Their stories and photos can be viewed online at news.nationalpost.com/silent-no-more.

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