ARTICLES BY Jesse B. Staniforth

A Quiet Revolution: Cree Shoppers go elsewhere

As December dawned and Christmas approached, posts on social media showing pictures of the streets of Val-d’Or began to multiply: the streets, reported post after post, were empty. The boycott was working. The economic impact clearly influenced Val-d’Or municipal council to reach an agreement with nearby Cree, Anishnabe and Algonquin communities ... read more ››

"of the North" – Quebec filmmaker uses YouTube and unauthorized music to portray the Inuit

“Everything you need to know is in the first scene he picked, the scene with the nude Inuit girl sitting on the white man’s leg,” said an angry viewer as she left a theatre at the Université du Québec à Montréal in disgust half-way through a festival film screening. “He’s ... read more ››

Anti-poverty projects take shape and Provincial funding begins to flow following Val-d’Or crisis

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is quickly making good on his promise to fund projects in Val-d’Or in the wake of the crisis sparked by allegations of abuse by marginalized Native women against Surêté du Québec officers in the northern city. “It’s all good news,” said Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre director Edith ... read more ››

A lifesaving conversation: Dialogue for life conference focuses on suicide prevention

“We were once a very strong, powerful and loving people,” said Chisasibi healer Harry Snowboy. “We need to get that spirit back. I saw a glimpse of it in the old people I grew up around – how strong we are. It’s not something that is lost. It’s only something ... read more ››

Band-aid solutions: Grand Chief critiques Quebec's response to Val d'Or crisis

A month has passed since the Radio-Canada program Enqûete aired stunning allegations of abuse by SQ officers against Aboriginal women in Val-d’Or. Though the initial upheaval has passed, discussions about the matter among politicians are continuing. As this issue of the Nation goes to press, the Chiefs of the Assembly ... read more ››

Val-d’Or allegations throw Quebec into a crisis

Twenty five years ago this month, a 17-year-old Cree man named Neil Stonechild was picked up by Saskatoon police, driven out to the edge of the city, and left there. Temperatures were below minus 25ºC, and Stonechild’s frozen body, wearing a light jacket and one shoe, was later found in ... read more ››

Fly the Healthy Skies – Cree Health Board's medical shuttle takes off

The population of Eeyou Istchee is roughly 17,500 – and according to Cree Health Board Director Bella Petawabano, between 7,000 and 8,000 Crees travel every year for healthcare reasons to destinations outside the Cree Nation. For that reason, on October 26, the CHB partnered with Air Creebec to launch a ... read more ››

After operating for two years, Nemaska’s Justice Centre officially opens

According to Quebec Aboriginal Affairs Minister Geoff Kelly, “If you hang around politics long enough, you get to see things being built.” He was speaking to guests at an October 13 ceremony officially opening the Nemaska Justice Centre, though it actually has been in use since November 2013. Back then, a ... read more ››

Retro Daze Café prepares to open in Chisasibi

“We’re adults, eh? Let’s enjoy life,” laughed Roger Orr, proprietor of Chisasibi’s Retro Daze Café, opening soon at 10 Fort George Road. Retro Daze is a café in name, but it’s a lot harder to describe than that. It’s sort of a café, and will soon be hosting karaoke and open-mic ... read more ››

Indigenous leaders join progressive organizers in call for new environmental movement

“As long as the environment becomes an issue,” said Kanesatake activist Ellen Gabriel, “people will become slowly educated into understanding that if the land is being attacked, we are being attacked as Indigenous people – because our identity is tied to the land.” Gabriel was participating in a press event ahead ... read more ››

New books profile different aspects of Indigenous issues in this country

The end of September brought the publication of two very different books about Indigenous issues in Canada. The first, Wab Kinew’s memoir, The Reason You Walk, is ultimately celebratory, and speaks to a wide audience of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Canada and the US. The second, Emmanuelle Walter’s Stolen ... read more ››

The Roundhouse Café is a warm place for Indigenous homeless in Montreal

Montreal’s Cabot Square stands at the corner of St. Catherine and Atwater streets, a gateway between the noise and chaos of the grimy downtown to the east, and the wealthy tree-lined streets of Westmount in the west. For decades, the park has been full of homeless people, many of them ... read more ››

Darlene Cheechoo named Waskaganish Chief in a landslide victory

Darlene Cheechoo is the first woman to be named Chief of Waskaganish. Darlene Cheechoo, elected Chief of Waskaganish August 26 with close to 80% of the vote, is the first woman to lead her community. But she’s no stranger to leadership: she was a commissioner to the Cree School Board and ... read more ››

Wemindji unites against suicide

“A lot of youth are dealing with drugs and alcohol,” says Wemindji Community Health Worker Colleen Atsynia. “Most of the cases I get are related to drugs and alcohol, with attempting suicide.” That alone is enough of an explanation for why Atsynia and her colleague Norma Jean Saganash helped organize events ... read more ››

Mistissini hosts the first David Mianscum Memorial Fishing Derby

Mistissini’s David Mianscum was a respected hunter, trapper, fisher and guide. Though he died last October 27, his memory now lives on in the David Mianscum Memorial Fishing Derby, which had its first edition over the Labour Day weekend. The goal, in part, was to remember Mianscum by being out ... read more ››

Specialized sex education will remain despite Quebec plan

Social media lit up with debate following an August 30 Twitter post by Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come calling the Quebec government’s plan to impose a “no-exceptions” sex-education curriculum at some of its schools “disgusting.” But many of those responding to Coon Come seemed to be missing the implication of ... read more ››

Charlie Angus chronicles Treaty 9 and the stolen wealth of northern Ontario in a new book

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus’ new book Children of the Broken Treaty is a history of Treaty 9, from its signing through the nightmare years of St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany, past the ’60s Scoop, the crises in Attawapiskat and Kaschechewan, and the story of Attawapiskat student activist ... read more ››

Youth Grand Chief Joshua Iserhoff removed in vote of non-confidence

“Maybe I dreamed too big for them,” said now former Youth Grand Chief Joshua Iserhoff. “I did what I could in three years, but I think we did an excellent job as youth leaders.” Former CNYC Grand Chief Joshua Iserhoff, seen here on a December 2014 cover of The Nation. The ... read more ››

Our annual rundown of the films of the First Peoples’ Festival

Montreal’s festival season is in full swing, reaching a midsummer peak with the First Peoples’ Festival from July 29 to August 6, when it bridges the end of Just for Laughs and Osheaga (which finally announced a formal ban on Native feather headdresses!). Over its eight days, the FPF straddles the ... read more ››

Waskaganish family wonders if remains found in Hannah Bay belong to their father

Peter Hester was last seen clinging to a five-gallon drum, trying to stay afloat in Hannah Bay after high winds and waves capsized the canoe he was travelling in with his friend Billy Shecapio. That was 1979. But now, after years of waiting, it seems like the family might get ... read more ››

Where did Aboriginal Affairs put that missing $1-billion?

News that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) failed to spend $1-billion budgeted for First Nations services over the last five years didn’t catch Quebec’s Indigenous organizations by surprise. After all, barely more than two weeks before the news broke in early June, the 40-year-old organization Quebec Native Women ... read more ››

Residential school survivors sue the federal government for failing to find documents

Bishop Hordon Residential School – Credit- Algoma University Archives The nine survivors who launched a lawsuit against the federal government for failing to find information about crimes against children committed at Moose Factory’s Bishop Horden Hall residential school could set a precedent for survivors across the country. Lawyers for the survivors, supported ... read more ››

Voices from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's closing ceremony

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada held a closing event in Ottawa (Algonquin Territory) between May 31 and June 3, beginning with a five-kilometre healing walk across the bridge from Gatineau, Quebec. On June 2, the Commission released the findings resulting from its six years of hearings from survivors, ... read more ››

Val-d’Or’s homeless day centre struggles to obtain funding to stay open

Many people in Val-d’Or agree that Willie’s Place is doing great things for homeless people and non-homeless people alike. But the day centre that opened on December 22 was funded with pilot-project money, and the financing runs out on March 31. Even though local businesses circulated a petition to city ... read more ››

The Montreal Council for Women names Nakuset Woman of the Year

Nakuset is one of the most visible Aboriginal figures in Montreal for two reasons: she’s involved in a multitude of important projects, and she’s always willing to talk about them. In late November, the Montreal Council of Women chose to name her their Woman of the Year in recognition of ... read more ››

James Daschuk rewrites Canada’s uncomfortable Indigenous history

In the middle of the 19th century, the Plains Nations lived on an abundance of bison, which provided them with a seemingly endless source of quality meat and clothing. Their diet was high in protein and low in fat – and they were among the tallest people in recorded history. ... read more ››