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The Ubyssey Nov 9, 2007

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Array HWULMUHW LHXILUSH SINCE I918 2   First KIations hsv/e
November 9th, 2007 Thj?&Jbyssey
Haida art hopes to inspire engagement
by Matthew Jewkes
If you visit the Museum of Anthropology this month you'll be
bumping into a parked Pontiac
Firefly with a canoe tied to the
roof. The piece, a part of artist
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas's
new Meddling in the Museum
exhibit, is more than just a
fusion of the old and the new,
though. Instead the exhibit is
highly symbolic, dealing with
the individual and cultural
conciliation of settlers and indigenous peoples.
On the carpet sits the gutted,
copper-foiled, argillite-dusted
Pontiac Firefly. Strapped to
its roof is the traditionally designed and decorated Haida canoe. The carpet is stained with
a skid mark as the wheels turn
off away from the viewer.
"What we have is a car that
could be driving in from Surrey with a canoe on the top
heading up towards Cultus
Lake for the weekend. It suggests the accessability for the
regular Canadian to connect
themselves to the ongoing
story of indigenous and settler
relations. The marriage of the
Canadian and the indigeni can
be accessible to us all. It need
not be demonised. There is
the opportunity for us all to
fashion a wonderful, unique,
democratic relationship that
need not be informed by grand
political objectives."
This piece, entitled "Pedal
to the Meddle," is situated in
front of Bill Reid's famous
carving, "The Raven and the
First Men." The concrete pedestal holding Reid's famous
sculpture stands out behind
the parked shell of the Pontiac,
a juxtaposition that Yahgula-
naas clearly intended.
He believes the symbols
that he presents can help lead
to a mutual coming together
of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in a willing and
democratic manner.
"You have the Aboriginal
Relationship and Reconciliation Ministry. It is incorrectly
named. Reconciliation is
something that happens when
two pieces which were once
together are ripped apart. You
reconcile after divorce. What
we're talking about is creating
the first formal relationship between settlers and indigenous
people. Particularly for the
Haida, Canada has never come
to the table.
"The hugeness of the moment is that we get to do this
for the first time. We get to fashion our formal structural relationship freely given and freely
consented to by both sides. And
that's called conciliation. It's
the virgin moment."
Yahgulanaas has two other
pieces at the exhibit. One entitled "Coppers from the Hood"
is a series of copper shields
constructed from discarded
moter vehicle hoods, decorated
in a style that incorporates
traditional Haida formlines
with Japanese manga, while
telling a number of traditional
Haida stories of peace and
"The Haida have a long history of working on Japanese
fishing and hunting boats, and
the stories that come back are
of Haida being treated as people. Haida people going into
bars and being served a drink.
Haida people going in to stores
and not being regulated to the
'Indian' side of the store. I see
Haida manga, therefore, as a
good synthesis, a very natural pacific sort of blending of
Yahgulanaas's final piece,
"Bone Box" was built from
discarded plywood boxes. It
has a lever on it which, when
pulled, rotates all of the tiled
components aside, revealing
the ocean below. "You grab the
handle, you pull the handle,
and you change the entire
piece. My vision of the panels
disappears, and you see things
behind it, you see totem poles
and cedar boxes, you look out
through Arthur Erickson's box,
i.e. the Museum of Anthropology, and you look out on the
Salish Sea. You do that as the
viewer, and what you see is entirely what you want to see. You
can see it how you see it, and
you can claim the authority to
have your own vision, which
is one of my most important
Yahgulanaas's exhibit will
be on display until the end of
December, though the museum
may extend the date. Also,
"Bone Box" has been purchased
by the museum, and thus may
be available for more permanent display.
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas's website, with additional
art and a biography is located
at http://mny.ca/. jl
Kitsilano, Tues & Thurs 7:30 pm
to 9:00 pm. Tel. 604-230-0161
or www.mariomckenna.com
LESSONS. Experienced teacher
and performer. Classical, Jazz,
World. RCM Preparation.
BMus. (UBC), Master of Music
(C.U.New York). In your home,
my studio or on campus. Mike
Dowler (778)893-2154
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by a UBC student for less. Call
Add some laughter to your life
by spending one hour a week
with a kid at a nearby
elementary school. We have
volunteer opportunities for men
and women.
604-876-2447ext246 or
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Presented by UBC Africa
Awareness, CIH BC's Children's
Hospital. Turning War into
Peace: An Insider's story.
12:00pm, Friday November 9.
Asian Centre Auditorium
(adjacent to Nitobe Memorial
Gardens) 1871 West Mall.
Admission free.
November 10, 2007 at 2:00pm-
3:00pm. 2305 West 7th Avenue,
(7th and Vine Street, Kitsilano).
Go  beyond  your  dreams  and
even beyond your own body, on
a journey that will change your
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November 9th, 2007
Vol. LXXXIX N°19
William G. Lindsay
first nations issue
Champagne Choquer &
Stephanie Taylor
Editorial Board
coordinating editor
Champagne Choquer
news editors brandon adams &
Boris Korby
features/national editor
Matthew Jewkes
production manager
Kellan Higgins
Levi Barnett
volunteer coordinator
Stephanie Findlay
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of
British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by The
Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation, and all students are encouraged to
Editorials are chosen and written bythe Ubyssey staff. They are
the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect
the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of
British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey is
the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions,
photographs and artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced
without the expressed, written permission of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include
your phone number,student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions. ID will be
checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of
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tives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and
are run according to space/Treestyle^'areopinion pieces written by
Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be given to letters and perspectives overfreestyles unless the latter istimesensitive.Opinion pieces
will not be run until the identity of the writer has been verified. The
Ubyssey reserves the right to edit submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by 12 noon the day before intended
publication. Letters received after this point will be published in the
following issue unless there is an urgent time restriction or other
matterdeemed relevant bythe Ubyssey staff.
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that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occursthe liability of the UPS will not be
greater than the price paid for the ad.The UPS shall not be responsible for slight changes ortypographicalerrorsthat do not lessen the
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Hand and hand Stephanie Findlay and Matthew Hayles walked off into the
sunset. Shielding her eyes from the blaze of the setting sun, Stephanie Tayloi
was reminded of Joe Rayment s departure. He had left the town with Jordan
Chittley, to meet Kellan Higgins in a land known only by Sabrina Merchand
It was called Buccia, named after Paul Bucci, a legend who unknowingly
changed the course of history as he muttered under his breath washing dishes. Boris Kirby reflected on their departure. He had known that something
like this was bound to happen, the town psycic Kasha Chang had predicted
it would be so in her damp, smoky apartment. Her glazed over eyes were
unfocused as she told how,one day,David Zhang would return. The town had
adjusted without him, Micheal Bround and Champagne Choquer were still
seen selling goods, Sonja Babovic was still in her dingy office wheeling and
dealing used carsjeehye Kim had remained on the corner,sitting outside the
bar, smoking a neverending cigarette. Although, the town had never seer
anyone since they'd left. Connie Do was still waiting for her fiancee, Samantha Jung was awaiting her husbands return, Matthew Jewkes walked home
thinking every day thinking that Brandon Adams would be there. Oker Cher
didn't once look back after he shut his door, and walked to the westjust another one that wouldn't come back.
Kellan Higgins
Canadian   Canada Post Sales Agreen
University  Number 0o40878022
Press ThjUjbyssey November 9th, 2007
First KIations hsv/e   3
Residential school reparations sit uneasily
Bm     ]T
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13 3 3
Residential schools for
First Nations children
operated in Canada
from 1892 to 1998. The
federal government is
currently in the process
of making payments to
survivors of the schools,
many of whom endured
systematic abuse.
'I would prefer to
see more money go
to healing
by Jeehye Kim
For more than a century, many
students in residential schools
were mistreated, being sexually,
psychologically and physically
The residential schools were
an attempt to assimilate First
Nations people operated by the
government in conjunction with
Anglican, Methodist, Roman
Catholic, United and Presbyterian churches. Residential schools
were officially established as
early as 1892, but surprisingly,
the last residential school closed
very recently: 1998.
In 1998, the Government
of Canada formally recognised
and apologised to the residential school victims and since
then has introduced various
projects and departments to
begin the reconciliation process with First Nations people.
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was established in 1998,
the Indian Residential Schools
Resolution Canada emerged
as a new department in 2001,
and the AlterNative Dispute
Resolution (ADR) process was
launched in 2003.
However, William G. Lindsay, whose mother was a residential school victim, said the
current government efforts are
a "pittance" and disagreed with
the way the government is approaching this issue.
Lindsay is a coordinator for
Aboriginal Student Services at
UBC, and has come a long way
after having much of his child-
First Nations children were forcibly taken from their homes and placed
in residential schools for nearly a century. Similar systems existed in the
United States and Australia.
hood affected by his mother,
who was emotionally and physically affected by her time in a
residential school.
It will take time, a few
generations, for the scars
and consequences
of mistreatment of
Aboriginal people to
completely heal.
William G. Lindsay,
UBC Aboriginal Student
Services Coordinator
"She had lots of social
problems, including substance
abuse issues. Being in a reserve
environment where she was surrounded by fellow victims who
had similar problems didn't
help much," he said.
It was those problems that
brought Lindsay's mother an
early death when Lindsay was
young, and it had a negative
impact on him and his brothers
growing up.
"I led a wild life, even
flunked a year of university, and
my brothers to this day struggle
with psychological issues."
For Lindsay, the government's effort to compensate financially through ADR was useless for him and his brothers.
"I called [the ADR] three years
ago when the whole reparation
thing was starting and they told
me that family members could
not collect the reparation sums
on the victim's behalf. Victims
would have to be present themselves to collect any money."
Currently, it is estimated that
80,000 residential school attendees are alive.
"All my aunts and uncles are
now dead, many of them early
because of their sufferings, and
that whole generation is now
gone," said Lindsay, "which ultimately means no reparation
for them and their families who
were as much affected by their
Currently, the government
pays a Common Experience
Payment of $10,000 for having
attended a recognised residential school, an additional sum
of $3000 for each school year,
and additional sums for other
proven physical and psychological abuses. The acceptance of the
Common Experience Payment is
meant to release the government
and churches of further residential school experience liabilities,
excluding serious physical and
sexual abuse cases.
Lindsay believes that the
amount of money the government is allotting is nothing
compared to a life that has been
scarred forever. "As a basis for
fairness, it should be at least ten
times that amount."
Lindsay is also critical of
the way the government has
handled the drug problem, such
as the opening of safe injection
sites and the practice of giving
out free drugs. He encouraged a
proactive approach to substance
abuse, and thought that the
money could be better used to
target much deeper problems,
such as the healing of emotional
and psychological scars. "I
would prefer to see more money
go to healing foundations such
as the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and substance abuse
The Canadian history of assimilating Aboriginal people
took more than 100 years, but
the government at the moment
is only dedicating $350 million
and ten years toward healing.
Lindsay said that he has
healed himself extensively, but
that he will always have the
scar. "It will take time, a few
generations, for the scars and
consequences of mistreatment
of Aboriginal jjeople to completely heal."
Activists concerned 2010 may bring corporate control
by Levi Barnett
In 826 days, the 2010 Olympic
Winter Games will begin in Vancouver. VANOC, the organising
body behind the event, hopes for
"unprecedented Aboriginal participation in the planning and
hosting" of the Games.
The Lil'wat, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh
First Nations, in whose traditional territories the Olympics will
take place, have made a formal
alliance to ensure that the Games
are successful while at the same
time benefit the region's Aboriginal community.
The Four Host First Nations
Society, as the collaboration is
called, sees 2010 as an opportunity. On its website, the society
highlights how Aboriginal enterprises and workers can gain
from the Olympics. A major undertaking in this direction was
the 2010 Aboriginal Business
Summit, held in February.
"First Nations, the Metis
people, and the Inuit across this
country have an opportunity
now," said BC Premier Gordon
Campbell at the summit, "to take
their small businesses, their
investors, their ideas, their culture, their traditions, and give it
to the world."
While the Four First Nations
Host Society sees the Olympics as
a way to celebrate their cultures
and strengthen their communities, there is also a vocal group
of activists, Aboriginal and otherwise, who believe that the Games
will leave no net positive effects
for Native peoples.
On October 28, several hundred people gathered to hear
speakers from this opposing
group at the "No Olympics on
Stolen Native Land" event in
East Vancouver.
Housing was the topic of
discussion at the beginning of
the evening. The Olympics are
widely believed to be spurring
a property boom in the city, and
Anti-Poverty Committee member Jill Pettiar told the crowd
that rising land values will hurt
First Nations residents who have
recently moved from reservations and smaller communities.
Finding little or no affordable
housing, Aboriginal Vancouverites "get hit with the blunt end of
the capitalist stick."
Following Chettiar was organiser Gord Hill, who described
himself as a member of the
Kwakwaka'wakw nation and
talked at length about the history
of the Hudson's Bay Company
(HBC) and its relationships with
Aboriginal groups. HBC was a
major part of the colonisation
of Canada from the 17th century
The company is now an
official sponsor of the 2010
Olympics, and Hill sees modern-
day "corporate colonialism" in
bringing the Winter Games to
Vancouver and Whistler. He said
that the Olympics are a way to
promote natural resource development in BC.
Kanahus   Pellkey,   a  Native
What the 2010
Olympics will
bring is mass
marketing for
our land.
Kanahus Pellkey,
Native Activist
activist, continued in a similar
vein. She was concerned that
the increased visibility of British
Columbia following the 2010
Games will lead to less Native
control of traditional First Nations territories.
"What the 2010 Olympics
will bring is mass marketing for
our land," said Pellkey. "International investors and companies
[will] see the vastness, see the
richness of all the resources,
and they're just going to step on
Pellkey, who is involved in an
ongoing campaign against the
Sun Peaks ski resort's control of
territory, said, "We say 'tourism
is terrorism.'"
Pellkey encouraged the audience to protest the Austrian ski
team, which will be practicing
at the resort in the years leading
upto the Games.
"All the Olympics symbolises
are the white power structure...
it's necessary for us to oppose
this policy, and to show that indigenous people here in British
Columbia, Canada, are still fighting for our rights."
For her and others, land development related to the Olympics will be its lasting legacy.
Pellkey called First Nations'
hold on land "Our rights. Indigenous peoples' rights. And human
rights." J, 4  First KIations hsv/e
ThjUjbyssey November 9th, 2007
First KIations Issv/c I J
Robin Perelle,
managing editor
is lecturing
on the art of
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Integrated Stormwater Management Plan (ISMP)
Would you like to know more about UBC's Stormwater Plan?
DATE: Wednesday, November 21st, 2007
TIME: 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 5:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Aquatic Ecosystem Research Laboratory
(AERL) Room 107/108, 2202 Main Mall
Please join us at our Open
House. UBC Planning Staff will
be on hand with drawings and
information highlighting the
proposed stormwater
management plan at the
University of British Columbia.
For further information, please
contact David Grigg (AD,
Infrastructure and Services
Planning) at 604.822.0472 or
Linda Moore, (AD, Community
Relations) at 604.822.8831.
Stormwater component of
Sustainability Street, UBC
For directions to AERL, please visit: www.maps.ubc.ca
www.planninq.ubc.ca www, un i versitvtown. u bc.ca
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The Guerillaw newsletter depicting one of the articles in question.
Chief unsatisfied with apology
Comments made in campus
newsletter offensive to members of
First Nations community
by Sabrina Marchand
Chief Stewart Phillip, president
of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs,
remains unsatisfied with the "so-
called apology" from anonymous
authors of an offensive newsletter that was sent to UBC Law
The two articles in question,
headlined "Look 'em in the eyes"
and "Ask Big Al," appeared in the
Sept. 20 issue of Guerillaw News,
a publication speculated to be written by UBC Law students.
The second article was intended to parody Allan McEach-
ern, a former chief justice of the
BC Supreme Court and currently
UBC's chancellor. It was a letter
from a fictional reader under the
pseudonym "White, Scared and
The article refers to First Nations as "Indians," because, notes
the article, "lets not forget that we
still have an Indian Act and a Minister for Indian Affairs, so it's OK
to call them Indians in Constitutional class. They probably didn't
have names for themselves before
we got here anyway."
The article goes on to warn the
fictional reader: "don't trust them,
don't look them in the eyes, don't
let them in your house."
The ensuing apology from Guerillaw News said, "it was not our
intention to attack Aboriginals at
all. We had actually wanted to draw
attention to Aboriginal issues."
Yet it is precisely this kind
of qualification of the defamatory material that Phillip finds
He called the apology "more of
a clumsy qualified excuse than a
genuine apology."
Commenting on Phillip's demand for "an apology broadcast as
wide as were the original injurious
and defamatory statements," Matt
Brandon, president of UBC's Law
Student Society (LSS), said "the
apology was transmitted the same
way that the original newsletter
was, but the article got forwarded
and re-forwarded, eventually finding its way into the Province newspaper. I doubt very much that the
apology has been forwarded and
re-forwarded [in the same way]."
Nearly two months later, Phillip said, "we have received no
further communications from the
group responsible for the offensive
"Many people were offended,"
said Brandon. "Whether they got
the satire or not...the tone of the
Guerillaw News is quite angry,
in-your-face, outrageous, and offensive...First Nations students
are legitimately hurt [by this
The dean of the UBC Faculty of
Law, Professor Mary Anne Bobinski, said, "it's important to make
clear that we do expect and encourage open debate...but it has to be
done in a way that doesn't create a
hostile or discriminatory environment for students."
In a recent letter to UBC Law
students, Brandon said "we are
deeply troubled that students
might mistakenly conclude they
[Guerillaw News e-mail messages]
are official LSS messages because
their mass e-mails are similar in
form to those sent by the LSS."
Brandon said student and faculty e-mail messages are available
in the law school directory and
"it's not that hard to embed your
own group [with the e-mail addresses] from the class of '09 and
the class of '10...they didn't hack
anything, they just manually typed
in everyone's addresses."
The LSS said they are doing
what they can to support First Nations, but Brandon comments that
"a re-hashing of this incident has
the potential to re-open old wounds
and actually cause further harm to
an already vulnerable group." Jk
The Rez Sisters: landmark Canadian play comes to UBC
by Connie Do
"It's the first Canadian play about
First Nations written by a First
Nations playwrite," said Jerry
Wasserman, professor and acting
head of UBC Department of Theatre, Film and Creative writing.
Tomson Highway's "The Rez
Sisters" stars a group of seven
women living on a reservation
on Vancouver Island. In order to
fulfill their aspired dreams, they
all make a "comic-tragic" quest to
a huge jackpot in Toronto, where
"the biggest bingo in the world"
is being held. On the way, they
yell, laugh, brawl, lose hope, find
hope again and essentially learn
a thing or two about themselves
and the importance of having
each other.
First premiering in 1986,
"The Rez Sisters" veers from the
common theme of oppressed Natives being disenfranchised by
the selfish, short-sighted white
man. Highway did not want to
exult the tragic First Nations
people and convince everyone
else to feel sorry for them, but
show the commonalities between
all people.
"It's the first time we saw
First Nations characters on stage
who weren't stereotypes, who
were multi-faceted, who weren't
victims, even though they might
have been poor and suffering.
But they don't go around saying
'oh, I'm poor, I'm suffering, I'm
such a victim'; they just live their
lives," said Wasserman.
These characters are not as
polished as characters who we
may have seen in the past. There
If a producer wants to
casta Black-Chinese
lesbian midget with
a 12-inch dick as a
chief of an Indian
reserve in Canada,
then that's his right.
Tomson Highway,
is no wise old Chief Runningwa-
ter narrating a tale that has been
passed down generations upon
generations around a fire with
a group of grandchildren. There
are, however, people who you
realise are idiotic, really witty, or
just nothing at all.
"He is not afraid to show both
sides...we all have good and bad
sides," said Director Johanna
Wright. "He trusts his audience
to see and appreciate the full por
trait that he is creating instead of
just showing the noble side."
Highway has the freedom to
write his characters in any way
he wants and feels no need to
tip-toe around the subject like the
non-Native writers (writing about
Native peoples) before him.
Therefore, he is able to open up
new possibilities for different degrees of realism or idealism and
not be afraid of accusations that
non-Native writers feel they have
to be wary of.
So how is the cultural gap
between the characters in "The
Rez Sisters" and the audience
bridged? According to Kim Harvey, who plays the character of
Maria Del, there are several uniting themes.
"Everyone wants the chance
to be something more and
do something more," said Harvey. "I think universally, all
we have to work with is our
The values of family, friendship, love, sacrifice, and ambition, are not overly hyped up to
the point where we completely
disconnect ourselves from the
characters in the play. They are
real enough so that the audience
can see the possibility of being in
their shoes.
Highway  has   been   said   to
be controversial not only due
to the fact that he isn't afraid to
add flaws to his characters, but
also because he insists on casting non-Native actors for Native
roles. Although this may appear
to undermine the culture of First
Nations people, Wright believes
that Highway feels there is something to be gained from doing
this; it does not restrict the number of people who can play his
characters for one, and there is a
different kind of appreciation for
characters when non-Native actors are cast for those roles. Despite negative attitudes towards
his casting preferences, Highway
is not afraid of criticism.
"If a producer," insists Highway, "wants to cast a Black-Chinese lesbian midget with a 12-
inch dick as a Chief of an Indian
reserve in Canada, then that's his
right. No one—no one—has the
right to come in and meddle with
my work."
A panel discussion called
"Playing Indian: Casting and Race
in The Rez Sisters" will be held in
the Frederic Wood Theatre, Friday Nov. 23, from noon to 1 pm.
The play opens Nov. 14 and
runs to the 24th at the Frederic
Wood Theatre. Curtain will be at
7:30pm from Monday to Saturday. J.
Canadian playwright Tomson Highway
Groups against violence towards Aboriginal women unite across Canada
Sisters in Spirit raises awareness about lost
Aboriginal women
CUP Quebec Bureau Chief
MONTREAL (CUP)-Tiffany Morrison was 24 years old when she
went missing.
The Mohawk woman was last
seen in a taxi on her way home to
Kahnawake, a Native reserve south
of Montreal, in June 2006. She is
one of a growing number of Native
women who are missing or murdered in Canada.
Further west, the stretch of
the Yellowhead Highway between
Prince George and Prince Rupert
in Northern BC has been called
"The Highway of Tears" for the
dozens of women who have gone
It's hard to say just how many
Native women are missing, but
the Native Women's Association of
Canada (NWAC) figures the number is in the thousands. Amnesty
International estimates that as
many as 3 2 women may have gone
missing on that stretch of road in
the past 30 years.
As the NWAC was gearing up
for its second annual Sisters in
Spirit vigil in Ottawa, a parallel
event was also being prepared in
Last year, 11 vigils were held
across the country. This year there
were more than 30, including two
in Latin America.
The vigils are meantto highlight
the ignored human rights abuses
in Canada's Native communities.
This   time,   however,   they  have
international aid organisations
and the federal NDP paying attention and the NWAC is demanding
TheresaDucharme, community
development coordinator with the
NWAC's Sisters in Spirit initiative,
said that this is a "ray of hope."
Sisters in Spirit is in its fourth
year, but Ducharme said that not
much has improved. While human
rights activists and ordinary Canadian citizens are taking notice,
she said, governments are lagging
behind. At the United Nations,
Canada was one of four countries
to vote against the Declaration on
Indigenous Rights.
"Is it going to take another Robert Pickton before we do anything?"
asked Irkar Beljaars, a producer
with CKUT's Native Solidarity News
in Montreal.
These women had
families. They were
sisters, aunties, mothers
and grandmothers.
Ellen Gabriel,
Quebec Native Women's Association
Despite his Mohawk background, Beljaars said he didn't
realise the magnitude of violence
against Native women until he
started research for the radio show
and learning about the Highway of
"There's a stereotype that it's
just another dead Indian," said
Ducharme, explaining why so
many cases go unsolved. Ducharme said racialised and sexualised
Aboriginal women are the perfect
"The killers are smart. They
know there is no justice," she said.
According to Amnesty International, an Aboriginal woman in
Canada is 16 times more likely
to be murdered than a non-Native woman. But, Ducharme said
it's not necessarily because these
women lead "high risk" lifestyles,
such as working as prostitutes.
Many, including Tiffany Morrison,
are students.
Others, like Gladys Tolley, are
grandmothers. Tolley was killed
in 2001 by an RCMP officer in
"These women had families.
They were sisters, aunties, mothers and grandmothers," said Ellen
Gabriel, president of the Quebec
Native Women's Association.
"It doesn't matter their profession. There's a negative image of
prostitutes, but prostitutes are
women too. They're daughters and
In 2004 Amnesty International
published a report called "Stolen
Sisters". It was based on two years
of research that included visits to
Native communities and conversations with families of the disappeared in order to gather statistics
and evidence.
One of the problems with gathering data, Ducharme points out,
is that police reports don't include
race. Amnesty's report, however,
painted a bleak picture of the situa
tion for Native women both on and
off the reserve.
"One of the most disturbing
human rights abuses in Canada
is the treatment of our Aboriginal
people, and Aboriginal women in
particular," said Nancy Brown,
a spokesperson for Amnesty
Brown said that the federal
government needs to commit
money to solve the problems, but
simply throwing that money at
the situation won't make things
better—there needs to be proper
consultation with Native women.
We have to have
elders as part of the
reconstruction. We want
to hang on to culture.
Irkar Beljaars,
Native Solidarity News
Paul Martin's government
began this process, noted Brown,
with the Kelowna Accord.
Some of the specific requests
included improving funding to
women's shelters and ensuring
funding for more than a one or
two-year period. More resources
for help-lines with counselors who
speak Native languages was also a
Brown is still unsure about
whether the current Conservative
government will maintain Liberal
Sarah Anderson helped organise the October 4 vigil in Montreal
and thinks that part of the problem
could lie in our public education
systems. A graduate of Concordia's
women's studies program, she
said that curricula in high school
and CEGEP should better reflect
the realities of how Canada was
"[Native perspectives] is not
something that's covered in your
average grade 10 Canadian history
or European history course—it's
history of the victors," said
Ducharme said that the justice
system, the government and media
only focus on the negative—"she
must have been a prostitute ...I
feel there is a responsibility for the
media to ask why did she become
a prostitute? Why did she turn to
One of the root causes is poverty, said Beljaars. He is echoed
by Amnesty International and the
"In cities, shelters have been
losing funding and many have
been cut off by the current government," said Piper Huggins, president of the Quebec branch of the
NDP. "Affordable housing in Quebec is a little better...In Toronto
there are 7,000 kids living on the
streets. Shelter should be a right."
Ducharme said that historical
trauma also plays a role and many
communities are trying to recover
from the devastation of residential
schools, including loss of language
and culture.
Once Sisters in Spirit concludes
its final year, the Native Women's
Association of Canada will make
policy recommendations based on
their work.
"We need a taskforce, and I'm
not talking Indian Affairs," said
The 720 kilometres between Prince
George and Prince Rupert has been
dubbed the"Highway ofTears"
as many women,including many
Aboriginal women, have gone
missing along the stretch of road in
recent years.
Beljaars. "We need to go to communities and talk to the kids and
talk to the elders. We have to have
elders as part of the reconstruction.
We want to hang on to culture, but
if we work together properly we
can face this problem ...We have so
much culture, but we've had our
asses kicked." J, 6   First KIations hsv/e
November 9th, 2007 ThSJJbyssey
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99 First Nations
communities under
boil-water advisory
Federal government left responsible as
reservations not part of municipal system
by Paul Bucci
For most of us, water quality
is not an issue we're forced to
think about.
We expect our water to be
filtered, sterilised, and fluoridated—safe for us to drink without a
second thought.
However, for 99 First Nations
communities under boil water
advisories across Canada, this is
not the case.
The Health Canada website
states that "The responsibility for
making sure drinking water supplies are safe is shared between
the provincial, territorial, federal
and municipal governments. The
day-to-day responsibility of providing safe drinking water to the
public generally rests with the
provinces and territories, while
municipalities usually oversee
the day to day operations of the
treatment facilities."
The problem is that reservations fall outside of the municipal
system, as they are generally autonomous entities. The Ministry
of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development is responsible for
First Nations water supply.
According to the Health Canada website, "Chief and Council
are responsible for planning and
developing their capital facilities
which provide for the basic infrastructure needs of the community, including drinking water."
Funding is inadequate for the
development of infrastructure
in these communities, leaving
many with substandard drinking
water. The Kwicksutaineuk First
Nation community, who live on
the tip of Vancouver Island, have
been forced to drink from bottled
water in the past, as drinking
from their own water supply
would have serious implications
for their health.
The discovery of E. coli bacteria in the Kashechewan Nation's
water supply in 2005 sparked a
national firestorm that put pressure on the federal government
to do something about the appalling state of water quality in
First Nations communities.
Jim Prentice, the federal
Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development, said in a
statement that addressing water
quality issues will be his first priority. He also stated that he will
"take the preventative measures
needed to head off similar crises,
and will not hesitate to intervene
when the health and safety of a
community is at risk."
Progress is being made, but
it is slow, leaving many communities at risk.
Currently, the only defense
against unsatisfactory water
quality in communities not yet
affected by the program is the
boil-water advisory.
The Health Canada website
states that, although the problem
occurs predominantly in First
Nations communities, this is in
part due to their remoteness.
They state that isolated communities are often issued boil-water
warnings, regardless of their
provincial and federal status. Jk ThjUjbyssey November 9th, 2007
First KIations hsv/e | 7
FN Language courses useful to all majors
Programs attract
diverse array
of students
by Sonja Babovic
The First Nations Languages
program (FNLG) at UBC currently offers courses in three
There is the Hun'qumi'num'
language, belonging to the
Coast Salish language family,
and spoken by the Musqueam
people whose traditional territory lies within Vancouver. The
Dakelh Dene language, part of
the Athapaskan language family, spoken in the central interior of BC. Finally, the Cree language, which is spoken across
Canada, from BC and Alberta to
These courses attract a broad
range of students from all faculties. Dr Suzanne Gessner, acting
director of the FNLG, extends a
warm welcome to all students,
including those of non-First
Nations ancestry, to take these
language courses.
Gessner says that knowledge
of a First Nations language is
likely to be particularly useful
to anyone who works in any capacity within First Nations communities and may be especially
relevant to people pursuing
careers in forestry, health care
and law.
Learning a First Nations language is helpful when learning
other languages, said Gessner,
because of similar grammatical
structures that are shared between different languages.
"Although we may not be
offering a course in your traditional language, you may find it
helpful to take one of our courses because it can help you learn
your language, especially if the
two are related,"said Gessner.
The student population that
First Nations language courses
attract is diverse: enrollment
encompasses not only First Nations and domestic students,
but also international students.
Gessner notes that First
Nations languages are very systematic, and also very complex,
Line Kesler speaks during a conference at the First Nations Longhouse. First Nations language courses can be used to fill the Arts language requirement.
which can appeal to students
interested in attaining a sophisticated analytical skill set.
All of the First Nations language courses can be used to
fulfill the Arts credit requirement for Science students.
Musqueam 100B and 200B
courses also attract arts students, whose program requires
students to take two years of
courses in a language. Musqueam can be used to meet this
language requirement. Carrier
and Cree are currently offered
as 100-level courses only.
Dr Line Kesler, program
director of the First Nations
Studies Program (FNSP) at
UBC, emphasises that courses
within this department have a
significant enrollment of non-
First Nations students, and has
around 70 students enrolled in
the program at any given time.
The advantages of taking
FNSP courses—which are open
to students in all faculties—include developing a strong con
centration in First Nations cultures and issues, and being able
to combine these courses with
other academic specialisations.
Kesler notes that many
students enrolled in FNSP will
graduate with an interdisciplinary degree, which may include
a double major, or a major with
a minor in another field. Commonly, FNSP courses are of
special interest to anthropology
and political science students.
Kesler highlights FNSP 400,
described as a "Practicum/Ad-
vanced Research Seminar,"
which allows students to apply
their knowledge to a context
outside of an academic environment. To complete this course,
students carry out year-long research projects for community
organisations, both addressing
their research needs and producing a substantial and useful
result for the organisation.
While some students have
described the practicum as
"intense" and "demanding", it
has also been described as "the
most meaningful of their experiences," because it allows for the
application of theoretical knowledge to address a real issue.
One student's practicum involved interviewing aboriginal
women about accessing Downtown Eastside social services.
The    practicum    investigated
There have been
several instances of
students being offered
jobs immediately
after presenting their
research projects.
whether or not the needs of
these women were met by the
social services available to them,
especially in light of privacy and
identification issues.
Dara Kelly, another student
in the program, worked on a
project to evaluate the availability  of services  geared  to
ward helping young Aboriginal
parents develop their parenting
Another research project
involved investigating what
kinds of challenges Aboriginal
students face in the transition
from high-school to post-secondary education.
Several research projects involved interviewing elders and
community members, which is
both an interesting and important practice as it aids in forming a historical record of what
would not have been recorded
As the program is interdisciplinary in nature, Kesler encourages students to take FNSP
courses to develop integrated
modes of thinking.
He also notes that there
have been several instances
of students being offered jobs
immediately after presenting
their research projects to faculty members and members of
outside organisations. Jk
Tm TO ^%.
culture@ubyssey.bc.ca 8   First KIations hsv/e
November 9th, 2007 Thj?&Jbyssey
Judge becomes lieutenant-governor, makes history
Steven Point's
appointment a first
in Canada
by Stephanie Taylor
Steven Point, a former judge
and UBC Law student, made
history last month when he
became BC's first Aboriginal
Point, who officially replaced
outgoing Lt-Gov. Iona Campag-
nolo on October 1, is a former
tribal chair of the Sto:lo First
Nation as well as a former provincial court judge. It was this
unique fusion of ceremonial and
professional credibility, said
UBC political science professor
Paul Kopas, which made Point
an ideal candidate for the job.
"He's recognised by both
[First Nations and non-First
Nations people] as having credibility," said Kopas.
Bruce Miller, a UBC professor of anthropology and longtime friend of Point's, seconded
this notion, saying, "[Point is]
interesting because he matches
experience in mainstream affairs...with ceremonial and
ritual knowledge of the [First
Nations] community." He added
that "[Point has] been called
upon to do...both spiritual ritual
things and political things...outside of his band [and] outside of
just the Sto:lo nation."
Miller felt that Point's familiarity with both mainstream politics and Aboriginal life would
aid him in his duty to represent
British Columbia as a whole. "He
will have to represent all British
Columbians, and that's kind of
the interesting twist on this," he
said. "He's not just representing
First Nations...He's acting on
behalf of all of us."
Despite the importance of
such an unprecedented appointment, Miller wondered why
more media attention had not
been given to the event.
"Nobody seems to have taken
it up as an issue of the first First
Nation [member] holding an office like this in this province,"
said Miller.
Kopas viewed the appointment as a step forward in bridging the gap between Aboriginals
and non-Aboriginals. "It's really
recognising [that] we are equals
The symbolism inherent in
the appointment was also significant to Miller. "It reflects the
fact that the First Nations are a
part of the larger society in British Columbia," he said.
However, while other ethnic
groups made inroads into both
elected and appointed political offices years ago, Kopas felt
that Aboriginal involvement in
mainstream politics has been
limited by the memory of colonial oppression and unwillingness on the part of non-Aboriginals to elect a member of a First
"Part of it has clearly been a
resistance on the part of a 'white'
society...Stereotypes of Aboriginal people prevent a lot of people
from being able to see past those
stereotypes and seeing that there
are people like Steven Point who
have all of the professional characteristics, intelligence and acumen...that any other member of
Canadian society has."
A different view was taken
by Miller, who said that First
Nations have been so focused on
the drawn-out treaty negotiation
process that they have had little
time or energy for mainstream
political life. "This generation
of Aboriginal leaders have been
wrapped up in the amazing and
huge transformation of their own
self-governance," he said.
With respect to electoral representation, Miller pointed out
that ceremonial appointments
have recently gone to members
of minority groups, such as the
current and previous governors-
general. But Miller was keen to
point out that Point's personal
traits recommended themselves
to the position: "He's thoughtful
and well-spoken...People listen
to him." J,
Ward Churchill on territory, identity, ideology
Proponent of Aboriginal rights sparks debate on campus
by Brandon Adams
The titles given to Ward Churchill
are as varied and numerous as
his detractors and supporters.
The controversial figure has
been titled a political activist,
university professor, defender of
Aboriginal rights, and prodigious
scholar. In his recent October 29
visit to UBC, Churchill lived up to
many of these labels with an interesting, challenging, and highly
controversial lecture.
Churchill, who was born in
1947 in Illinois, began both his
activism and academic career
soon after returning from a stint
in Vietnam. Upon his return,
he worked with activist organisations like the Students for
Democratic Society and the radical left Weather Underground
Earning his BA and MA from
Sangamon State University,
(now the University of Illinois at
Springfield) Churchill became an
associate professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder in
1990 where only a year later he
was granted tenure.
In 2005, Churchill was
forced to resign from his role as
chairman of the Ethnic Studies
program due to writings where
he claimed that the individuals
killed on September 11, 2001
were not innocent, but 'little
Eichmanns' in reference to Adolf
Eichmann, a high level Nazi who
defended his actions by claiming that he was merely following
On Social Issues
During his UBC talk, Churchill
polled all of those present about
the social problems which they
opposed—including homophobia, sexism, classism, and racism. Churchill argued that all
of these problems stem from
the 'settler' culture imposed on
all Canadians—First Nations or
"Every one of the [negative]
facets of social existence that
you oppose is derivative directly
from the incoming settlers: that
expropriation, that subjugation,
that colonial imposition...If you
don't address that fundamental
issue...you are doomed to repeat,
to replicate what you just defeated in creating this social nirvana
[you've] fantasised.
"The first priority of any
social movement that wishes
to affect a transformation to address all those problems, the first
priority has to be the decolonisation of First Nations, first peoples
in Canada. Absent that you have
only the illusion...of success.
You can't reform this state, you
replace it without addressing the
foundation on which it rests."
On Ideology
Churchill argues that land is
just one small element of the
problems faced by First Nations
both in Canada and elsewhere.
Ultimately the issue of ideology,
claims Churchill, takes a very important role in the colonisation
"You take things which are
purportedly universal principles
and extrapolate those to a politics
for a contemporary society, but
in that extrapolation totally miss
the point. That this is America—
not Asia, not Europe, not even
Africa, or Latin America—this is
North America.
"You still haven't addressed
the most fundamental issue, the
most fundamental issue is the
fact that Canada as it is, all of it,
in whatever form, does not exist
absent the conquest, colonisation, subjugation, and expropriation of First Nations. There is not
one square inch of Canada that
did not come out of the territory
of First Nations people."
On Territory
Churchill briefly spoke about
reparations and land disputes,
arguing that reparations should
be secondary to returning land to
displaced First Nations.
"There weren't any treaties—
they just walked in and took the
land," said Churchill about the
expropriation of First Nations
territory in British Columbia.
"Resolution a criminal act is not
the criminal—the perpetrator of
the crime—explaining what a just
and proper resolution will be.
"If you wrongly unlawfully
take something...the first obligation if the property still exists
is restitution. If it's damaged,
reparations comes into play...I'm
not saying anything radical or extreme: that's the [foundation] of
tort law—until you get to the relation between a settler state and
indigenous society: it's turned
right around."
On 'Settlers'
In advocating the complete return
of First Nations land, Churchill
argued that First Nations should
be given complete sovereignty
over their land. While Churchill
said that every indigenous group
would have the ability to decide
how to deal with 'settlers', he felt
that most would deal with non-
Natives in a way similar to current governments.
"There is no reason in the
world why a non-indigenous...
could not be nationalised as a
citizen within a sovereign indigenous government—that's the
prerogative of any government...
There's no reason why, short of
that, you [settlers] couldn't be
landed immigrants or have some
kind of green card status. The
only real change we're talking
about here in all probability is
that the jurisdiction changes and
you're living under Native law...
what's so shocking about that?"
On Identity
Ultimately, said Churchill, the
issues of identity and consciousness are the root of many of the
currentproblems within First Nations communities. Dismissive of
arguments surrounding cultural
differences and genetic 'abnormalities', Churchill argued that
today's society not only harms
First Nations but also presents a
massive obstacle to change.
"The first issue of this is one of
consciousness. Because it is really deeply pounded into everyone,
this includes me, that the present
situation is natural, right, and inevitable...There are more Native
children in this mainstreaming
school system than there ever
were in the residential schools
and their effects are not that different. There are differences, but
psycho-intellectually, this being
trained to see yourself in this
degraded position as being right,
natural, and inevitable.
"The lesson plans for Native
kids in the school system are no
different than the lesson plans
for everyone else, so they're being trained to see themselves
through the lens of a society that
has despised Native people so
much that they wanted to utterly
eradicate it—tells you something
about what they'll be walking out
with in terms of self-esteem and
self-concept. That's the genocidal
process." J,
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