Posts tagged "ontario"

Let’s Talk Race

Join the Conversation

Make your own 5 minute video that discusses your experiences with racism.

“Why do you want to talk about racism?” 

Each video should be from 2-5 minutes long. In the vein of “Shadeism” and the “Stuff White People Say to PoC” videos, these videos should function as tools for racism awareness. We encourage you to create a video discussing your lived racialized experiences. It can be in any format; a rap, a song, a poem, a skit or even just you- one on one with the camera, talking about your experiences with racism.

Deadline for submissions  has been extended to June 24 2012. Send your video/ videolinks to The winner will be awarded $500!


Anna Mae Aquash was a Mi’kmaq activist, born in 1945, who became a member of the American Indian Mouvement in the early 1970′s. She was murdered in 1975, and the case of her murder is still going on today. The murder of Anna Mae Aquash will never be fully resolved, but she will always be remebered as a powerful woman who fought for the rights of her people. An active American Indian Movement (AIM) member, as well as mother, wife, social worker, and day care teacher, her image is powerful as much for her untimely death as for her life’s work. Found murdered on the Pine Ridge Reservation during a time of tremendous social and political upheaval, she has become a symbol of the movement for Indian rights.

Anna Mae Aquash Quotes:

- “I’m Indian all the way, and always will be. I’m not going to stop fighting until I die, and I hope I’m a good example of a human being and of my tribe.”

- “These white people think this country belongs to them. They don’t realize that they are only in charge right now because there’s more of them than there are of us. The whole country changed with only a handful of raggedy-ass pilgrims that came over here in the 1500s. And it can take a handful of raggedy-ass Indians to do the same, and I intend to be one of those raggedy-ass Indians.”

Day 100! of Racism Free Ontario’s 100 People of Colour Spotlight.
 .(more info  at Anna Mae Aquash)

Uncivilized. Primitive. Inferior. Apparently, that is what the rest of us Canadians think of First Nations’ people.

I am not sure that is entirely the case but that at least is what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported last month after hearing the testimonies of many of those native people who went through the now discredited residential school system.

One thing for sure, most of us newer Canadians had probably never heard of the controversial residential school system until that boil was lanced a few years ago, and the federal government offered a formal apology and established the reconciliation commission to help chart a new future.

Most Canadians, I’d hazard a guess, had never realized that between the 1840s and 1996, more than 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, aboriginal and Metis children were taken from their families by law and shipped to the residential schools, the majority of them against their will.

We were never really aware of the long history of emotional, physical and, sometimes, sexual abuse that confronted so many of these children, causing a long ripple of destructive behaviour within the aboriginal community, which they, and the rest of us, don’t know how to fix.

But, how would we know how to fix a problem that we didn’t really know existed, at least to the extent that we do now?

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, Justice Murray Sinclair holds a copy of the commission’s interim report during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday February 24, 2012. (Canadian Press)

It is not like we were taught about it in school — which is something the reconciliation commission now wants to change.

Its first interim report last month asked provincial governments to examine their school curricula to make sure this sad chapter of Canadian history is well documented.

But is that enough? If we are going to retell our history from the human perspective, maybe we shouldn’t just stop there, or with what we learn in school.

When I came to Canada as a girl in 1987, I remember feeling as if we were moving to a modern Europe, where everyone was white, spoke European languages — English and French — and the biggest concern in my family was to become Canadian, in the white, Protestant work ethic sense.

As best as I can remember, no one suggested during the immigration process that we might want to learn Ojibwe, or where the Cree lived.

We had only a romanticized sense of North American Indians in those days anyway, probably from TV.

We weren’t expected to know anything about the ongoing struggle for aboriginal rights and land treaties, or about residential schools.

The daily lives of aboriginal Canadians were pretty much a non-issue in our introduction to this country. What’s more, it’s not like many of us gained a better understanding of these things once we entered the school system.

Reflecting back on it, Canadian history, as it was taught to those of my generation anyway, only began once the Europeans arrived and was seen through that prism.

Aboriginal Canadians, in particular, seemed to be frozen in time. We never learned much about the pre-contact period, nor about their modern-day tribulations, or contributions such as building big-city skyscrapers in the 1960s and ’70s, or fighting in the World Wars.

How not to teach Canadian history - Canada - CBC News

How not to teach Canadian history

Putting Canada’s real aboriginal story, and others too, in school curriculums

I don’t recall much discussion about the first wave of South Asian migrants who came on the Komagata Maru in 1914, almost all British citizens who were forced to leave because of Canada’s Exclusion Laws. Nor about the history of the Chinese or Japanese migrants (save for the Second World War internment) and their everyday contribution to building the Canadian West.

There was more on black history, but in my days it largely centred on the underground railway that helped bring former slaves to Canada. It was as if their journeys and struggles ended once they came here, which most of us now know wasn’t the case.

And what is the worst part of our limited education about Canada’s aboriginal communities is that we came to see them largely as victims. Nothing more.

Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, a Maliseet woman from New Brunswick’s Tobique Nation,  has been a driving force in securing rights for Aboriginal women in Canada, and is also a wonderful example of the impact one woman can have when she sets out to correct an injustice.

Sandra lost her status when she married a white man, and even once divorced, she and her children didn’t recover her status. At the time, the Tobique band council refused to allocate her a subsidized house. The law made no similar provision for Native men who married non-aboriginals. Women who lost status were effectively barred from having their children educated on the reserve and taking part in band decisions. In 1977, Ms. Lovelace Nicholas took her case to the United Nations human-rights committee, charging that the discriminatory measures in Canada’s Indian Act violated an international covenant on civil and political rights – a case she won in 1981. The law was not reversed until 1985; it took her nearly ten years to recover her status.

Challenging discriminatory provisions of the Indian Act, which deprived Aboriginal women of their status when they married non-Aboriginals, she was instrumental in bringing the case before the United Nations Human Rights Commission and lobbying for the 1985 legislation which reinstated the rights of Aboriginal women and their children in Canada.  In 1990, she was awarded the Order of Canada, and in 1992, she received the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. Sandra Lovelace Nicholas’ efforts have helped advance the cause of civil rights in this country, and her pride, strength and determination have made her a role model for many Aboriginal women. A proud mother of 4, she studied at St. Thomas University for 3 years and has a degree in residential construction from the Maine Northern Technical College.  She continues to make her home on the Tobique First Nation.

  (via Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas)

Beverly K. Jacobs (Gowehgyuseh). She is the current President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. She was born into the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation on the territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River in Southern Ontario. Her traditional name, Gowehgyuseh means “She’s visiting.”

Jacobs is a lawyer by profession and holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Windsor and a Masters Degree in Law from the University of Saskatchewan. She has taught at the University of Windsor, the University of Toronto, the University of Saskatchewan and Ryerson University and began her career as an entrepreneur and consultant with her own firm, Bear Clan Consulting where she dealt with issues such as Bill C-31, Residential Schools, Matrimonial Real Property, and Aboriginal Women’s health issues.

Jacobs’ work on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women was inspired by her work with Amnesty International as the Lead Researcher and consultant for their Stolen Sisters Report. This 2004 groundbreaking document highlighted racialized and sexualized violence against Aboriginal women in Canada. Her work with Amnesty International led her to run for President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) in 2004. There she successfully secured funding for Sisters In Spirit, a research, education and policy initiative aimed at raising public awareness about Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

In her role as NWAC President she has traveled extensively to raise awareness, rally citizens and inspire young Aboriginal women. Jacobs was re-elected for a second term as President of NWAC in 2006; in the same year she was appointed Chair of the National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk (NACOSAR), which advises the Minister of Environment and makes recommendations to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council. In October 2008, Jacobs was honoured by Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, and Civilian Peace Service Canada as one of 50 Canadian women whose work and dedication has helped to further a culture of peace in Canada. In November 2008, she was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award in commemoration of the Persons Case, which salutes Canadian contributions to the advancement of women’s equality 

(via Beverly K. Jacobs)

Arthur Miki, a sansei, has had a distinguished career as an educator and community activist. He has worked to promote improved race relations and to increase awareness of human rights issues in Canada.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Art was five years old when his parents and grandparents were forcibly removed to Manitoba in 1942 to work on a sugar beet farm. He later became a teacher and was a principal in several Winnipeg schools for 18 years. He has been active with many cultural organizations, especially in the Japanese Canadian community. As president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, Art led the negotiations to achieve a just redress settlement for Japanese Canadians interned during the Second World War.

He is author of the book Japanese Canadian Redress Legacy: A Community Revitalized published by the NAJC in January 2003.

In 1991, Art received this country’s highest recognition, the Order of Canada, and in 1999 he received an Honourary Doctorate degree from the University of Winnipeg. He is currently a Citizenship Judge for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Arthur’s Letter to Mulroney Regarding the Lubicon Tragedy

 (via Arthur Miki)

Red Slam is a hiphopsoulrock fusion band whose music uplifts, self-identifies and promotes unity through Spoken, Lyricism which Arranges Meaning (SLAM). The group is comprised of young poets, songwriters, rappers, musicians, composers, and vocalists, breakers and graf artists representing diverse indigenous nation affiliations across Turtle Island and Internationally (Mohawk, Mi’kmaq, Anishinaabe, Inca, Cree, Dene). The Red Slam Movement started back in the fall of 2008 after a 12 week Slam Poetry workshop series at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto. In 2009 a TUAS and the OAC Grant gave way to professional development sessions with award winning recording artists Digging Roots.

In 2010 with support a Word of Mouth Travel Grant, Red Slam began the DissemiNation Tour performing live in cities across Ontario and Quebec. 2011 Red Slam featured at the NXNE Music Festival, the Home and Native Sound Music Series, and Manifesto Urban Arts Festival. They started 2012 headlining in Vancouver, BC for Red Wire’s Sentinel Shores Land Defense. Since 2010 Red Slam Collective has been successfully delivering cultural arts facilitation in the areas of slam poetry; collective rap compositions and recording; graffiti arts, break dancing and hip hop choreopoetry under their 4 Directions Urban Arts Workshop Series, to children, youth and intergenerational communities in both urban and rural settings across Ontario. These workshops integrate diverse indigenous teachings with contemporary explorations of self-identity, anti-colonial journey mapping, community capacity building and self-

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Nia:wen~ Chi Miigwetch~ Wela’lin

 (via Red Slam)

kemba king is an artist. healer. storyteller.

she has been writing and sharing her art for over 10 years. in 2009 and 2010 she was a part of the anitafrika dub theatre playwrights-in-residence program where she wrote and co-produced the biomyth monodrama ‘where the stories are told’. during the same year, she participated and culminated from the sacred leaders mentorship program from sacred women centres international. she hosted and co-produced a radio show entitled ‘womyn’s word’ for over 10 years. she also co-directed and co-facilitated the medina collective – an organisation committed to informing and engaging young women of colour in media literacy primarily via hip hop. kemba is an emerging blogger kemba uses her experience in community organising and community counseling to support emerging leaders in toronto.

  (via kemba king)