Why I’m Idle No More

First in a series of posts.

idlenomore

What is THE most important issue of our times? For me, there is no doubt. The treaty obligations of settler Canadians just have to come first and they have to come first now. Those of us who are not indigenous to this country have ignored those obligations since we entered into them. This has resulted in First Nations and Inuit people becoming the most harshly treated people in this country, across the board, on all indicators. Their access to adequate housing on reserves is appallingly inadequate and movement into urban areas often leads to urban poverty – mental illness, addiction, prostitution and subjection to state violence and street violence of all kinds. Both on reserves and in urban areas, far too many are without access to decent medical care, standard education options and community supports. The state is more likely to “help” First Nations people by stealing their children, as it did in the past. First Nations land is robbed and stripped of resources and polluted while communities are poisoned. Yes, we should worry that the poisons and pollutants run downstream. Why wouldn’t we worry first that they attack the land and people to whom we have legal and ethical obligations?

My life’s work outside my family has been a commitment to the liberation of women. In that regard, First Nations women are the most legally subjugated people in Canada, subject to the most violence, the fastest growing rates of incarceration in the country and systematic, historical and ongoing action to relieve them of those most precious to them … their children.

I’ve always believed in grassroots action, even though I was an academic. I’ve always believed in working from the bottom up because if we resolve the problems of those who suffer the worst exploitation, oppression and repression, we cannot but resolve those problems for all. Trickle UP actually works. It only makes sense. That, I suppose, is the more selfish reason for supporting Idle No More, Sisters In Spirit, the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network, Chief Theresa Spence, the National Aboriginal Women’s Association and many other FN organizational and community actions. For my own children and grandchildren, and yours. I think that’s ok. Doing the right thing has those kinds of benefits.

We must also listen to those many Indigenous people who live on unceded land in Canada – those with whom the state has never negotiated treaties and whose attempts to claim their land through legal processes are backed up in the courts and dealt with unjustly.
As a white settler woman, I still have a lot to learn. I’ve made mistakes in the ways I’ve tried to be an ally and a supporter and I’m sure to make them again. But as a friend said last night, “Better to risk a flawed activism than to maintain a perfect inactivism.” I’m doing my best and that’s what we all have to do. If we want a future in this country, in relationship with those nations who lived here first, on Turtle Island, we have to do it now. That’s what I think.

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Give Yourself a Slap Upside the Head Canada

UPDATED Below

In these days of action for democracy in Egypt, Canada once again finds itself on the wrong side of humanity’s hope for freedom, thanks to His Harperness’ failure to condemn the brutal totalitarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. In that context, I hope everyone watches this:

UPDATE:

And just to clarify that the bone I’m picking is with the state of Israel and not all of Israel’s people, watch this too:

Canadian F-Word Blog Awards

This just received from A Creative Revolution:

Just in case you didn’t know, you’ve been nominated for Best Feminist Blog – Oh! Canada! English in the 2009 Canadian F-word Awards! First round voting is April 11 – 14 (extended!).  One vote per IP addy, please.   

What does being nominated for an F-word Award mean, besides glamour, prestige, and a pretty badge to display on your blog?  In the big scheme of things, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! More acutely though, it means that someone who is aware of the awards likes your blog enough to nominate it in our anti-sexist snark festival.  It means someone thinks you kick ass! AND YOU DO! W00t! 

Come on over and celebrate blogging women – we’re having a party and you’re the guest of honour!

Good luck, and thanks for participating.

- Dr. Prole and Pale @ A Creative Revolution

My friend mattt @bastardlogic nominated me for this – thanks mattt.  I’m not voting for myself but if you want to, go on over to Creative Revolution by April 14th and do it.  Or vote for someone else.  Just vote.

Braidwood

Kelly McParland does an admirable job of summing up the testimony of RCMP officers at the Braidwood Inquiry:

Whatever conclusion is ultimately reached at the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski, one conclusion now seems inevitable: the original tale peddled by the RCMP about that day at Vancouver airport was overwhelmingly bogus.

The 40-year-old Mr. Dziekanski did not grab a killer stapler and wave it threateningly over his head, as the police claimed. He did not advance on four officers with threatening gestures. He did not stay on his feet after the first jolt of the Taser they fired at him. He did not have to be wrestled to the ground. He did not, it appears from the testimony of the officers who were there that day, represent any kind of threat at all. Continue reading

Poetry for Dziekansky

The Dziekansky Inquiry

If you’re a skier in distress,

We’ll overlook your SOS,

For Mounties just don’t want to know

When dying words are left in snow.

But when a man steps off a plane

And cries for help, our Mountie brain

Knows right away the proper course

Is swift and painful use of force.

Get lost in our arrival hall?

We’ll be there in no time at all

To help you see, when you’re upset,

That you’ve become a deadly threat.

Pick up a stapler in your hands,

Refuse to meet our firm demands,

Act strange in ways that raise our fear,

And Mounties answer loud and clear.

Sometimes we fail to get our man,

And things don’t work out quite to plan,

But next time, when you need our aid,

Stand still and show us you’re afraid.

Please understand, the Mounties strive

To help our suspects stay alive,

But if you won’t or can’t comply,

Don’t blame our tasers when you die.

John Allemang