ARTICLES BY Lyle Stewart

How to build the perfect backyard ice rink

For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, play during the cold months meant a makeshift patch of ice wherever one could find it. A pond or a lake and a shovel would suffice. If you lived close to a town’s outdoor rink, even better – if it was maintained. Best ... read more ››

Quebec Chiefs sit down with Premier Couillard

The media frenzy surrounding Premier Philippe Couillard’s meeting and press conference with several chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) in Montreal November 4 spoke volumes about the urgency – and opportunity – to repair relations between First Nations and the provincial police in the ... read more ››

Members of Sweden’s Sami Nation visit Eeyou Istchee

For the Indigenous Sami peoples of northern Scandinavia, the lowly lichen is an essential element to their well-being. As the main winter food staple for the reindeer population of this region, the starchy fungus thrives in healthy forests. As go the lichen, so go the reindeer, the central protein in ... read more ››

Five jobs for the next government

Too much of the time, election-minded editorials denounce what we see as failings in our political leaders. Only rarely do we editorialists express what we’d like to see our leaders striving for. This is one attempt to right the balance. Job #1 – Imagine a federal government that actually treats Canadians ... read more ››

New OJ Chief Curtis Bosum picks up the torch

It’s been a whirlwind year for the newly elected Chief of Oujé-Bougoumou, Curtis Bosum. The victor in the August 26 runoff election against Anthony Hughboy, Bosum started 2015 as a band councillor before resigning to run Oujé-Bougoumou Enterprise as CEO. Now he’s starting his third job this year: leading a ... read more ››

Secret police and smart TVs

The Twitterverse exploded recently over the revelation that Samsung’s new SmartTV models might be watching the watchers. It was an odd admission for an electronics manufacturer to make. Samsung promotes the new product by saying viewers need only “speak into the new Smart Remote’s built-in microphone” to find a desired channel ... read more ››

Nothing to fear but fear itself

The attacks on Canadian soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa couldn’t have come at a better time for the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. As I write in the wake of the two shocking incidents, conspiracy theorists are already spinning worldwide webs of intrigue. And who can blame them? Just as they were ... read more ››

Scots Wha Hae!

There are few family names as Scottish as mine. There are five Scots tartan patterns for Stewart clans, and two more for those who spell it Stuart. That heritage doesn’t necessarily make me Scottish. I’m one of millions worldwide who can claim at least some Scottish ancestry (including a large number ... read more ››

Heavy Montréal 2014 : Peace and love in a mob of metal-heads

Catharsis NOUN 1. The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions: music is a means of catharsis for them – The Oxford Dictionary Put 75,000 mostly young, largely male folks in a field on an island overlooking downtown Montreal during two sizzling summer days. Hire 60 heavy metal and ... read more ››

A rudder? Or a new ship?

As it wrapped up its annual three-day gathering in Halifax July 17, the Assembly of First Nations was leaderless, divided and facing an uncertain future. As one chief commented, it is like sailing in a “rudderless ship.” Former AFN Chief Shawn Atleo At the centre of the organization’s problems is how to ... read more ››

Disputes growing in the forest, warns Matthew Coon Come

The Cree are facing a new battle in the forests, according to the Grand Chief of the Crees. Speaking at the conference on forestry in Val d’Or May 28, Matthew Coon Come made it clear that disrespect for hard-won achievements in forestry in recent years is leading to new disputes that ... read more ››

Natives join labour and social groups in Calgary to fight the Conservatives’ destructive agenda

Don’t eat the buffalo given to you by an oil company. This was one telling lesson learned during an address given by Crystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree Nation in northern Alberta near the province’s massive tar sands developments, during a remarkable event hosted by the civil ... read more ››

Values? More like a crass election strategy

Living in Montreal, I’ve often gazed up the defining geographical feature of this city, Mount Royal, and wondered why in this day and age it should be topped by an illuminated Christian cross that is paid for by all residents here, no matter our religious faith or lack thereof. This attitude ... read more ››

Forewarned is forearmed

For some reason, people were shocked when Google admitted in a US courtroom last week that, effectively, no one should expect privacy when sending a message via Gmail, the Net giant’s hugely popular web-based email provider. Let’s face it: as a series of revelations over the past several months have made ... read more ››

The Mayan example

The historic battle for justice is winning against all odds The absence of despair. The refusal to lose hope. The determination to keep fighting in the face of implacable odds. These are the characteristics that struck me most about the many Guatemalan refugees I met in the spring of 1990 during a ... read more ››

A date for the General

A landmark trial for genocide and crimes against humanity concluded last week in Guatemala City, though you could be forgiven for not having heard of it. The trial of former Guatemalan dictator and army General José Efraín Rios Montt and his one-time intelligence chief, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, for wiping ... read more ››

When justice is injustice

Howard Sapers is ringing the alarm. If the rate of incarceration of a specific community’s people is an indication of the health of that community, First Nations in Canada are in an emergency. Sapers is the Correctional Investigator of Canada. His job is to provide an independent oversight over how the ... read more ››

A fight to the finish

The legal challenge by Strateco Resources to the Quebec government requirement that it obtain “social acceptability” from the Cree before the company’s Matoush uranium development project can proceed highlights a key moment in the evolution of Cree sovereignty over its territory. As a judicial concept, however, the notion of social acceptability ... read more ››

Enduring the cold

Cold weather, real cold, is an awe-inspiring thing. Obviously, I’m not talking about Toronto’s call-a-national-emergency-at-minus-10 cold. I grew up in Alberta and Northern BC, so I am familiar with a real winter. I had the privilege recently to renew my acquaintance with winter’s deep freeze when I experienced record cold temperatures ... read more ››

Taking the long view

If you’re reading this, the world did not end December 21, as some doomsday crackpots and deluded hippies believe was predicted by the Mayan long-count calendar. That doesn’t mean 2012, as a year, didn’t deserve to die. In many ways, this does feel like the end times. Politically, socially, economically, and ... read more ››

First Nations will rise to the challenges

Things are not looking good for remote First Nation communities in northern Canada. In particular, there are serious problems developing for communities up the James Bay coast and much of this has to do with global warming and changes in weather patterns. My people, the Cree of James Bay, could always ... read more ››

David beats Goliath

Even for the winners, it was a shock. Last month, an unlikely coalition of local farmers, celebrity chefs, weekend cottagers and First Nations in Ontario learned they had successfully blocked what would have been the biggest open-pit mine in Canada. Buried by two years of bad press, beset by constant and ... read more ››

AFN chiefs march on Parliament

With the federal government’s controversial budget-implementation Bill C-45 set to pass through the House of Commons, hundreds of First Nations chiefs marched on Parliament December 4 to protest the lack of consultation on an array of legislation that will affect their members. The chiefs were meeting at an annual Assembly of ... read more ››

Pillars of propaganda

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… A people is herded off its ancestral lands onto tiny, overcrowded and often infertile wastelands by a newly arrived occupier. Their economy is squeezed and blockaded at every turn. Their culture and language mark them as somehow less than completely human. Their ... read more ››

The great giveaway

The Conservative bulldozers are roaring, trampling over our parliamentary democracy, our rights and, soon, through the rivers that are vital to many First Nations. The federal government recently tabled Bill C-45, a bloated, 457-page assault on the common good that it dishonestly said is only intended to implement changes already announced ... read more ››

Four corners, bad signs

Guatemala’s Cuatro Caminos is an important intersection in the Central American nation’s western “Altiplano,” its mountainous highlands. Depending on which of the directions you take from Cuatro Caminos – west to Quetzaltengo, north to Heuhuetenango, or east to Totonicapán – you’ll find three major centres of the country’s Indigenous Mayan ... read more ››