Category: Editorials

Bring them Home

When then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to the First Nations Peoples in 2008 for the residential school system, I cast doubt on the sincerity of his words. I still feel that way given the many harmful pieces of legislation his government imposed on us without any consultation. Now we know that, ... read more ››

Sharing, caring and you

Every Christmas, I encourage people to open their hearts and wallets for those less fortunate. According to a Facebook post, Oujé-Bougoumou Chief Curtis Bosum thinks much the same way. “Some thoughts as we enter the holiday season,” Bosum wrote. “It is important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful ... read more ››


It has been 40 years since the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) was signed. I remember those days, which had a vast influence over how Cree economics, politics and culture have developed to this day. Something precious was taken from us that wounded the spirit but made us ... read more ››

Editorial: Two rules of law

What a time this has been. What started out as a story on a missing Cree woman, Sindy Ruperthouse became much more as allegations of misconduct, sexual and otherwise, came to light when First Nations women in Val-d’Or courageously shared their stories with Radio-Canada’s Enquête program. A quiet internal investigation ... read more ››

My vote

I know voting is by secret ballot but there’s no law sharing one’s choice, which I’m about to do for this election. In Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou I will be voting for Romeo Saganash, the current MP and candidate for the New Democratic Party. I like most of the NDP platform and the way ... 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 ››

Cast your ballot

The Harper government passed the so-called Fair Elections Act last spring, just in time for this federal election. It’s anything but fair. Introduced in February 2014 by then-minister for democratic reform Pierre Poilievre, the new law requires potential voters to show two pieces of ID to cast a ballot. In ... read more ››

The Senator strikes back

After slamming Patrick Brazeau many times in the past I have to say that, for once at least, the embattled Senator has finally impressed me. In an essay titled Time To Throw Harper Under The Bus and published August 25 on the Loonie Politics website he hit the nail on ... read more ››

Skipping our future

Absenteeism among Cree students was a hot topic at this year’s Annual General Assembly in Oujé-Bougoumou. The rates have dropped but still remain high at 19%. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come said this would always be an issue, “because … the School Board (and the leadership) can only do so ... read more ››

Northern bytes

It’s about time, in many different senses of the word. For instance, the time it takes to download the simplest things from the Internet in Cree communities. The time it takes to get connected to the Internet, which some Cree community members say can be more than three months. It’s ... read more ››

The Canadian Museum of Human Slights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened last September surrounded by controversy. Protestors at the ribbon-cutting ceremony ranged from First Nations members to Palestinians. A Tribe Called Red cancelled their show at the opening gala. By then, it had become clear that the museum was an exercise in Conservative propaganda. James Kafieh, ... read more ››

Happy Mother’s Day

I don’t think there is a culture on this planet that doesn’t honour their mothers. Though the modern Mother’s Day is relatively new, hundreds of years ago both the Greeks and the Romans had festivals honouring motherhood. It is only in the past few generations that men have been part of ... read more ››

Why Bill C-51 is a threat to Aboriginal rights

In January, the federal government tabled Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. The bill has generated widespread uncertainty and concern. It fails to safeguard the dignity, human rights and security of Indigenous peoples and individuals. It is inconsistent with good governance. The bill would allow federal judges to grant Canada’s spy ... 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 ››

The sharing season

Christmas is the most celebrated holiday in the Western world. While many may decry the commercialism of an event that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ (who wasn’t actually born on December 25), it is nevertheless a magical time of the year. It has gone far beyond its ancient beginnings ... read more ››

Glass houses

Hard times are ahead for over 80 First Nation bands that haven’t handed over their financial records under Canada’s First Nations Financial Transparency Act. If documents aren’t received by December 12, Ottawa says federal funding will be cut off. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) issued an ultimatum, threatening to ... read more ››

Setting the record straight on the JBNQA

On November 13, 2014, 40 years after the signing of the Agreement in Principle leading to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA), Chiefs of the Innu, Attikamekw Nations and certain Anishinaabe communities announced the formation of a coalition to defend the Aboriginal title and rights they claim were ... read more ››

The colour of theft

Mark Twain wrote that Indians are dirty, lying, thieving beggars. Long before this, French explorer Jacques Cartier also opined on thievery among Indians. It doesn’t help that in 1534, he treacherously seized 10 Iroquois, including chiefs, and sailed for France. None would ever return home. This characterization of North American Aboriginals ... 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 ››

Canada fails at WCIP

The historic two-day World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) began September 22 at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. I and other Indigenous leaders attended with heads of government, ambassadors and ministers to witness and contribute to a new chapter of our history. We went to celebrate Indigenous ... read more ››

This land is our land

I recently read yet another editorial in a national paper calling for a change to Aboriginal communities’ land rights – for their own good. The Conservative government has made a number of legislative moves in this direction, such as the First Nations Governance Act. Now some are lobbying the federal ... read more ››

Murdered but not missed

A renewed cry for a national inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women came after the discovery of 15-year-old Tina Fountaine’s body in a bag beside Winnipeg’s Red River. Unfazed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper again rejected the calls. Fontaine’s murder, he said – and, by inference, the murders of ... read more ››

The meaning of Cree

Across Canada there are more than 200,000 people who identify themselves as Cree. In Eeyou Istchee there are over 18,000 recognized Cree members, but what does that mean? How many more don’t qualify as members but who are nonetheless Native to our communities? Which Cree are entitled to the benefits of ... read more ››

From Gaza to Grassy Narrows

The Harper government is finally talking about land rights. They’re even advocating the sovereignty of a people who occupied their land thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, they had to look outside the country to do so. As of press time, the conflict in Gaza has claimed over 1,360 Palestinian lives, the ... 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 ››

The law of the land

Last month’s unanimous Supreme Court decision in favour of BC’s Tsilhqot’in people is the first time the court has ever issued a direct declaration of Aboriginal title to a First Nation in this country. This has far-reaching implications for mining, forestry, pipeline projects, resource extraction and how the Canadian government ... read more ››