ARTICLES BY Steve Bonspiel

Criminal acts must be punished

Barriere Lake Chief Casey Ratt’s house was recently burned to the ground in a dispute over power and control of the tiny Algonquin community. It is a method that is not only criminal and stupid, it seems to be the new way to voice displeasure within Aboriginal communities – and ... read more ››

Canada Apologizes to Residential School Survivors

After years of down-playing or outright ignoring the pain and suffering of former residential-school students, the Canadian government finally stepped up to the plate and delivered an apology for the sexual, physical and mental abuse suffered at the church-run schools by over 150,000 students. “The treatment of children in Indian Residential ... read more ››

Algonquin Chief’s house burnt to the ground: The leadership dispute at Barriere Lake continues

Chief Casey Ratt’s house was burnt to the ground in what appears to be a case of arson as the volatile situation between the traditionally-appointed band council and the opposition in the Algonquin community of Barriere Lake is heating up. Ratt and his family were at the powwow in Maniwaki on ... read more ››

SDBJ ready to invest in Cree business: The group has cash to spend and a new attitude towards Crees

This is not your father’s Societe de developpement de la Baie-James. In the not-too-distant-past, the SDBJ, which was formed in 1971, did little or nothing for Crees to help bolster the Eeyou economy and foster a better relationship for Cree business. Things are changing these days. The SDBJ released their development plan ... read more ››

Helping victims of crime: A Crime Victims Assistance Centre is coming to Eeyou Istchee

Victims of crime in Eeyou Istchee will soon be able to reach for help close by. Two regional Crime Victims Assistance Centres (CAVAC) have been announced with joint operational funding to be located in the Cree territory. CAVAC made the announcement in late May that $336,669 was to be donated annually ... read more ››

Aboriginal judge chairs new Residential School body news: Truth and Reconciliation Commission journeys towards justice

The newly formed Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (IRSTRC) has appointed an Aboriginal chairperson to oversee its responsibilities for the next big step towards healing for Residential School survivors. Justice Harry S. LaForme, who is a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, was named in late ... read more ››

Lakehead University’s new unique program news Exclusively for Aboriginals, Honours B.Ed. promising

Aboriginal students looking to become fully qualified teachers will be able to turn to a unique new program this fall offered by Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario that stresses First Nations realities and helps to acclimatize teachers to their students’ needs. “It is different from other programs because it is ... read more ››

Suffer the consequences of your actions

Aboriginal people are not going to jail as often these days, but that does not mean we are committing less crime. It stems back to the Jamie Gladue case that was heard before the Supreme Court in 1999. Her defence lawyer argued that an offender’s Aboriginal background should be taken into ... read more ››

Digging for gold: Value of gold skyrocketing, mining companies eager to do business

What was old is new again as Metanor Resources Inc. has announced plans to revitalize an old gold mine next to Bachelor Lake near Waswanipi. They are also looking to do exploration diamond drilling on a property south of Cree territory. And so far, the Cree response has been good. “One positive ... read more ››

The floods return: Kashechewan is evacuated for fourth time in four years

The troubled northern Ontario Cree community of Kashechewan is dealing with uncertainty once again as several hundred residents had to be evacuated April 25 due to imminent flooding. Rapidly rising waters caused by the break-up of the ice cover on the Albany River is expected to continue to threaten the community ... read more ››

Suffer the consequences of your actions

Aboriginal people are not going to jail as often these days, but that does not mean we are committing less crime. It stems back to the Jamie Gladue case that was heard before the Supreme Court in 1999. Her defence lawyer argued that an offender’s Aboriginal background should be taken into ... read more ››

Covered by Love: Philanthropic endeavour creates quilts to warm hearts and bodies

Hundreds of men, women and children living below the poverty line in 16 countries are a little warmer these days thanks to the Quebec Native Women‚’s Ministries in Chapais and their Covered by Love project. It was started in 2004 when six women got together to make quilts from recycled materials ... read more ››

Digging up the past: Residential school tribunal uses pressure tactics to locate mass graves

The heat has been turned up on Ottawa and the Catholic, Anglican and United churches as a new group, called the International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), has been launched as a response to the approximately 50,000 missing children’s bodies from the dark days of the Indian ... read more ››

KI in dire straits: Tiny Ontario community continues to fight Ontario government, big business and the justice system

The tiny Ojibwa/Cree community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ontario, is losing more control of its traditional territory as the exploration company Platinex has garnered support from Ontario and the provincial justice system. The latest saga in the battle for mining on KI’s land has ended in a six-month jail term ... read more ››

Something’s sparkling: The impact of a new diamond mine

There have been various minerals discovered and mined in Eeyou Istchee over the years and the Nation has now learned that diamonds could be added to the list after a recent announcement that Stornoway Diamond Corp. is trying to get a road built to access an area known as the ... read more ››

Looking for recognition: The Washaw Sibi Eeyou long for their own community

The Washaw Sibi Eeyou have struggled with many issues since the 1960’s when the federal government placed them on lands belonging to a different nation and in doing so, effectively abandoned the people and their needs. They have had to deal with racism, from the Algonquin and white people in Pikogan ... read more ››

Chantiers Chibougamau erects Route 167 blockade: Paix des Braves cited as major reason for logging restrictions

The Paix des Braves Agreement is being called into question by forestry company Chantiers Chibougamau as it held a protest blocking Route 167 in mid-March. A looming cut in wood allocation had protestors citing the 2002 Quebec-Cree deal as the primary reason for their troubles. The blockade was erected on March ... read more ››

Algonquins of Barriere Lake in deep trouble: Blockade erected at tiny troubled reserve

After months of infighting, mud-slinging and name-calling, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake have hit a low point that resulted in the erection of a barricade on March 2 and with it, caused even more irreparable damage to the tiny reserve of 350. After being appointed by the Elders and the community ... read more ››

The blockade effect

The word blockade is most often associated with disgruntled Native groups who are getting nowhere through the usual channels of negotiating with the government, or in the form of a court case snaking its way through the painfully slow judicial process. Recently, forestry company Chantiers Chibougamau and its supporters from Chibougamau, ... read more ››

Eastmain Chief resigns: Reason why a mystery as former chief refuses comment

In a strange twist to an increasingly bizarre story, Eastmain Chief Lloyd Mayappo has tendered his resignation after originally asking for Deputy Chief John Brown to quit after calling into question his conduct. The January 23 meeting was called to “expose and explain” the situation of what some are calling a ... read more ››

Chisasibi mushrooms offer economic boost: Mushrooms worth millions on Asian market can be developed

The Cree Nation is always looking for a way to bolster its economy and protect traditional territory at the same time. With a new pilot project currently in the development phase that would see trappers harvesting and selling mushrooms down south and abroad, it could soon be meshing both worlds ... read more ››

Making the nation stronger: Conference stresses self-reliance through economic development

Economic development officers, local band administrators and various heads of Aboriginal companies met in Montreal February 12-14 to exchange ideas and foster new business relations as a way to strengthen ties that will boost economic productivity. A large crowd of about 900 people from many of the 633 bands across Canada ... read more ››

Standing up for his Aboriginal right: Jimmy Cooper will defend his right to hunt all the way to jail

Jimmy Cooper and his traditional right to hunt wild game is being called into question once again. This time however, the courts have set a date for his incarceration and the Grand Council has vowed not to fight for Cooper because if it lost, the precedent the case would set ... read more ››

Chapais mayor tries green spin on hog factory

Chapais Mayor Jacques Bérubé is not letting go of his dream to create a massive, 100,000-strong pig farm outside his northern community despite Cree and environmental opposition. As recently reported in the Nation, Bérubé is now seeking financial aid from a Polish firm to help give life to his stalled hog ... read more ››

Cox family under siege again: Poachers and vandals add to danger

The Cox family is under attack once again as a cabin situated on their trapline was burnt to the ground January 18. Firefighters responded to the scene, but according to eyewitnesses, no evidence was taken to verify if the fire was in fact arson. Josie Cox, who is a Cree Culture ... read more ››

A practical dictionary for everyday Cree

Learning a language gets harder as people age, but Kevin Brousseau is hoping that his method, in the form of researching and writing a 5,000-word dictionary, will make the Cree language more accessible and easy to learn for lynu and non-lynu of all ages. Brousseau laments the fact that he never ... read more ››