ARTICLES BY Daniel David

A five-step program

Kelly Lendsay won’t let up. He’s a relentless advocate for a five-step plan for development in Aboriginal communities. He designed the agenda at the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Trade Show (AECTS) around these five steps. Here’s why: “There’s a big focus on resource development,” Lendsay explains, “because what’s under development, particularly ... read more ››

Great expectations

About 40 years ago, a provincial premier said he’d bulldoze Indian rights, land claims or any Indian community that got in the way of his mega-project. Big business and governments didn’t bother with Indigenous rights back then. Things have changed. Today, powerful law firms churn out legal opinions advising governments and international corporations ... read more ››

Cultural contacts

Everyone knows that if you’re not into the politics or personalities, the annual conference of Canada’s chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations can be deadly boring. You meet a lot of people in hallways or grabbing a smoke-filled “health break” who will admit they aren’t there for the meetings ... read more ››

May the best dogs win

It may feel like spring in the southern regions of Quebec, but that is not keeping mushers from taking part in two dogsled races this month. Despite freezing rain in the days leading up to the event and temperatures forecast to be well above freezing on race weekend, the Fourth International ... read more ››

Maps and mining in northern Quebec

Mining in northern Quebec was once a “hit-and-miss” prospect. Miners might hear stories about shiny or glittering objects found on the surface of the land by Cree trappers. Prospectors would arrive looking to confirm the story. Sometimes the hunch would pan out and the miner would strike it rich. Other ... read more ››

Education as weapon of mass destruction

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) says it’s time for Canadians to face “some hard truths” about their history and residential schools. “It was not simply a dark chapter,” says a report by the TRC, but “an integral part of the making of Canada”. Justice Murray Sinclair says an Interim Report ... read more ››

Not quite historic

Prime Minister Stephen Harper billed the Crown-First Nations Gathering as a “historic event”. So did Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations. The mainstream media might be forgiven for almost unanimously declaring this meeting to be “historic”. This one meeting would, according to both Atleo and Harper, “reset ... read more ››

CREECO board nixes new structure – for now

  There were signs for a potential confrontation leading up to the Cree Regional Economic Enterprises (CREECO Inc.) board meeting in December. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come’s plan to radically re-organize control of its business operations raised fears that the proposal would kill the fundamental principle of community control over Cree ... read more ››

Post-Secondary Survival Guide

  Every former student knows what it was like during those first few heady days at CEGEP or university. There was the excitement of discovery, new surroundings, possibilities of romance, and a major upswing in group activities (i.e., party on dudes and dudettes!). There was also the flip side: an unfamiliar ... read more ››

The Cree way

  A parent in Chisasibi recently wrote an open letter asking why the Cree School Board reduced the amount of Cree taught to her children. She wanted to know why the CSB “replaced” the Cree Language of Instruction Program (CLIP) with a formula of 50% Cree and 50% in French and/or ... read more ››

Is the current Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan, the best or worst ever?

Comments from people attending the Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations. (note: Most people – everyone but one – insisted on anonymity because they feared repercussions if named. In fairness, I mentioned no names to all.) •••••••••••••• I’m going to give him a neither, only because I don’t think ... read more ››

Don’t they get it?

  Two symbols stand in stark contrast to each other the moment one enters the Special Chiefs Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa. The first symbol is a plains teepee – empty, mute and majestic. It’s also completely out of place in this building, which is the other ... read more ››

Run Romeo, run

  Romeo Saganash has a bronchial infection. His breathing is laboured; his voice is almost a croak. His face is framed by a wave of longish curly hair. The clothes are expensive, stylish and businessman dark. He’s been fighting an chest infection for a week or so, made worse by a ... read more ››