Onkwehonwe Week in Review – Week of September 16

By Danielle Boissoneau

Conservative Director ousted from board after racist comments

Sue MacDonnell, former police sergeant with the Toronto Police Services, was on the Board of Directors for the newly formed Bay of Quinte Conservative Riding Association.  That is until, she was removed over racist comments that were posted on her personal social media.

MacDonnell wrote such comments as, “Indians loathe us and have no self-respect.  The only way to stop the madness is to stop throwing at them and force them to grow up.  Apparently, they’re just remaining infants.  And they wonder why people have no respect for them???  Get the CAS to seize the children as being in need of protection and cut the adults off PERMANENTLY from all funding.”

NDP candidate, Niki Ashton, who also serves as the party’s Aboriginal Affairs critic, called the comments “disgusting” and “clearly racist.”  She continues to ask whether PM Harper stands by those comments.  The Bay of Quinte riding borders the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve.


AFN National Chief Bellegarde Flip Flops; Will Now Be Voting

Only a week after declaring he would not be voting in the federal election out of deference to nation to nation agreements, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chief Perry Bellegarde has now declared that he will be voting.

Bellegarde says that after attending a pow wow and talking to, “a number of regional chiefs” he has decided to vote for the party that leans the most toward “closing the socio-economic gap” between First Nations and the average Canadian.  The AFN National Chief said that he was told he needs to be an example.

Despite the recent release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report and its 94 recommendations, First Nations issues continue to be ignored by the federal party leaders, based on the themes put to them in the first leadership debate.  Federal party leaders have yet to respond to a report written by the Assembly of First Nations which is called, “Closing the Gap.”


Painted Hand Ceremony and Feast Rekindles Ancestral Alliances

Over 200 people attended the Painted Hand Ceremony and Feast in Serpent River First Nation this past weekend.  The ceremony serves as a method of revitalizing historical alliances between some of the Original nations of Turtle Island.  Feasting and paying tribute to the agreements of the past through ceremony is one of the ways utilized to ensure a strong and healthy future for our children.

Speakers included Derek Nepinak, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, John Beaucage, a pipe carrier from the Anishnaabe Bear clan, Tony Belcourt, former President of the Metis Nation of Ontario and Alan Corbiere who shared teachings on wampum agreements.  Christi Belcourt, Metis visual artist and author, also presented on the importance of reviving these alliances.

The meeting was hosted by the Onaman Collective, which is an, “Indigenous grassroots land-based art initiative sharing traditional knowledge and language with youth.”


Manitoba’s Child and Family Services (CFS) Continues the 60’s Scoop

According to the police in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 4 out of 5 missing persons involves kids in the care of Manitoba’s Child and Family Services, with 71% of them being female.   Cora Morgan, an advocate for  Manitoba’s First Nations says that social workers are seizing an average of one newborn a day.  Oftentimes, the infants are apprehended for reasons out of the parent’s control, such as the need for extra medical care for the child or the mother being in CFS care when she was younger.

Manitoba has the highest rate of apprehension in Canada.  Last year, child welfare in Manitoba came under fire after Tina Fontaine, 15, was killed after running away from a hotel where she was in government care.  Increasing amounts of violence are happening to children in governmental care and this continues despite the recent release of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission’s report on cultural genocide.  This includes the study of the impacts of cultural genocide on Indigenous peoples.


Notice of Seizure Issued to McGill University

A Notice of Seizure was sent by registered mail to McGill University from a group of Mohawk women identifying as Kahtihon’tia:kwenio of the Rotinoshonni:onwe. The notice states, among other things, that McGill University and its agents have stolen land, funds (which were taken from Aboriginal trust funds to build McGill and Osgoode Hall and never repaid), and violates the kaia’nereh:kowa and teio’ha:the, and has established corporate entities on Mohawk land without consent. The notice invites McGill to discuss the issues outlined in the document and asserts that the land in dispute was never relinquished. More on the notice at mohawknationnews.com.

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