Territorial land acknowledgement in Parry Sound-Muskoka: We are pleased to announce that the Liberal Riding Association of Parry Sound-Muskoka passed a motion in the new year to begin each Executive meeting going forward with a Territorial Land Acknowledgement by the meeting’s Chair. This tradition, which dates back centuries for Indigenous people, is a small, but we hope significant, step forward in the spirit of reconciliation. Thank you to YWCA Muskoka for inspiring us and providing resources for our research.
Fair representation on juries: In May the province of Ontario received the Final Report of the Debwewin Jury Review Implementation Committee, looking at moving forward on the 2013 report First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci. You can’t blame anyone interested in Indigenous rights for being frustrated to see reports about reports on this important issue, especially in light of divisive outcomes elsewhere, such as that of the Colten Bushy murder trial in Saskatchenwan, which was overseen by an all-white jury. Learn more.
Mercury clean-up at Grassy Narrows: A recent report has quantified the physical and mental health of the residents of Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation), as poorer than that of other Indigenous communities in Canada. The community has struggled with widespread mercury poisoning since a nearby paper mill dumped 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the waterway in the 1960s and 1970s. Finally last year the Government of Ontario earmarked $85 million to clean the site up. It will be interesting to see how the new Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford proceeds. Learn more.
Six month extension for MMIW Inquest: The community was disappointed with a decision by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett to grant the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquest an extension of just six months. The Inquiry, which has experienced internal difficulties from the outset, requested an additional two years to complete its work. Learn more.
Bill C-262 on Indigenous rights passed by HoC: In May an Indigenous rights bill which brings Canada’s laws into line with the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was passed by the House of Commons. Bill C-262 is a private member’s bill spearheaded by NDP MP Romeo Saganash, who is himself a residential school survivor and was one of the architects of the UN declaration. Learn more.
Ten years on—Statement of Apology translated into seven First Nation languages: The Government of Canada is marking the 10th anniversary of the Statement of Apology to former residents of Indian Residential Schools, delivered in the House of Commons by then-prime minister Stephen Harper, by translating it translated into seven First Nation languages. Educational videos about this dark chapter in Canada’s history will also be ready for use in schools beginning this fall. In making the announcement in June, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett called it a small step on the path to reconciliation. Learn more.
POW WOWS THIS SUMMER — MARK YOUR CALENDARS
July 6-8: First Nation & Aboriginal Advisory Committee’s 12th Annual Gathering and Pow Wow
French River Visitor Centre, admission is free.
For more information please call 705-774-6695, 705-857-1630 or 705-389-2760
August 4-5: Wasauksing First Nation’s 8th Annual Traditional Pow Wow
Depot Harbour Parry Sound, admission by donation.
For more information contact Kelly King, Debbie King or Maggie Tabobodung at 705-746-8022
August 18-19: Shawanaga Anishinabe Pow Wow
For more information contact Jodi at the SFN Healing Centre at 705-366-2378.
Sept 1-2: Nipissing First Nation, 30th Annual Traditonal Pow Wow
Nipissing First Nations Cultural Grounds, Jocko Point in Parry Sound.
For more information contact the event coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-753-2050 x1290.
Sept 8-9: Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre Traditional Pow Wow
Wye Valley Road, Midland. Admission is $5.
For more information contact email@example.com or 705-526-5589.
Everyone is invited to these family-friendly events.