Chelsea Vowel
Chelsea Vowel is Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec. Her passions are: education, Aboriginal law, the Cree language, and roller derby. She holds a BEd, an LLB and is working on a BCL.

Entries by Chelsea Vowel

Read the Truth and Reconciliation Report Before You Form an Opinion

(32) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 6:52 PM

After six years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada held closing events from May 31 to June 3rd, and issued its executive summary of a report which will run to six volumes, and will be translated into six indigenous languages. The summary itself is 388...

Read Post

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Need Both Action and Inquiry

(7) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 1:43 PM

I am seeing a disturbing trend in the multitudinous op-eds streaming out of the mouths and fingers of pundits on the issue of whether there ought to be a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW). While lip service is generally paid to the welfare of Indigenous...

Read Post

I Won't Oppose an Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 6:43 PM

Some of you might be asking, "Who would oppose an inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women (MMIW)? Only awful people, probably!"

The reality is, of course, much more complicated than this. Many Indigenous people oppose an inquiry for some very valid reasons, mostly centering on Canada's track record of...

Read Post

My Bold Idea to Reform Aboriginal Education

(12) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 12:47 PM

Much ado is made of the divisions in indigenous politics and this focus successfully draws attention away from our strengths. In the old days indigenous peoples traded with one another; not just for material goods, but also for intellectual and spiritual ones. Arguably, we do the same thing today. Just...

Read Post

Colonialism in the First Nations Education Act

(25) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 1:43 PM

Education is widely seen as a key component to future success not only for the individual children who receive that education, but also for the society to which they belong. We use graduation rates and post-secondary degree attainment numbers to help determine the efficacy and accessibility of a system of...

Read Post

First Nations Won't 'Get Over' Your Ignorance

(84) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 2:00 PM

Since December of 2012 and the rise of Idle No More events, there have been numerous teach-ins throughout the country. Some focused on reconciliation, some provided background to those unfamiliar with the causes of indigenous discontent and others attempted to provide a possible vision for the future.

Unfortunately much...

Read Post

I'm in a Life-Threatening Abusive Relationship...With My Government

(302) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 8:46 AM

Although thousands of indigenous people all over Canada rallied together under the banner of Idle No More on December 10, there has been very little media coverage on the movement. Most of what is being said in the mainstream media is focused on Bill C-45. I'd...

Read Post

Can You Wear Native Fashion Without Being Offensive?

(26) Comments | Posted November 24, 2012 | 12:57 PM

A lot of attention has been drawn to the native fashion trend in the past year or so. From violations of the Navajo trademark, to No Doubt and Victoria's Secret experiencing a long-overdue backlash to the all-too common misuse of Plains warbonnets,...

Read Post

The Dirty Secret of Dirty Water in First Nations

(4) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 12:19 PM

Water advisories are not limited to First Nations. At any given time there are upwards of 1,400 water advisories issued throughout Canada. Water security in this country is something that should concern everyone. Nevertheless, the severity and duration of water advisories in First Nations communities is nothing short...

Read Post

Meet the First Native to Get a Comedy Special on CBC

(1) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 1:18 PM

If you haven't been keeping track of native comedy lately, you should. It's good stuff, and there is nothing like laughter to help you ease into sometimes difficult discussions about race, colonisation, marginalisation and indigenous culture.

Recently I got a chance to interview Ojibway comedian, Ryan McMahon,...

Read Post

Can You Tell this First Nations Act From The '60s Version?

(10) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 6:34 PM

If you hang around native people long enough, you'll probably hear references to white paper, and it might have you scratching your head. The trick is to capitalize the words. They're talking about the 1969 White Paper officially titled, "Statement of the Government on Indian Policy." It was...

Read Post

Why "Free Houses for Indians" Is a Myth

(51) Comments | Posted August 7, 2012 | 3:31 PM

One of the most prevalent and enduring myths out there is that aboriginal peoples receive "free houses." For the purpose of this article I'm going to focus specifically on this myth, saving housing conditions on reserve for later.

I think it's useful to acknowledge that there are different understandings of...

Read Post

The Truth Is, Attawapiskat Was Never Financially Mismanaged

(26) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 4:07 PM

On August 1, the Federal Court released its judicial review of the appointment of a Third Party Manager in Attawapiskat.

For those not familiar with the different kinds of cases that come before the various courts in Canada, a judicial review is precisely that -- a court is...

Read Post

"Bad Parenting" Is No Excuse For Cultural Genocide

(4) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 12:48 PM

If you've heard the term "'60s Scoop" and thought it had something to do with ice-cream in ye olden days, I'm here to enlighten you. I prefer the term "Stolen Generations," because the scooping I'm about to discuss didn't end in the '60s, and arguably still goes on...

Read Post

Canada, Stop Seeing Yourself as Always the Good Guy

(41) Comments | Posted April 20, 2012 | 11:04 AM

There are many stories that Canadians do not regularly learn in school. Our history is littered with forgotten events, either deliberately overlooked, or rationalised away somehow.

This lacuna in our collective knowledge is not limited to events which affected indigenous peoples. You might reach adulthood without ever once being aware...

Read Post

Tories Ride Off into Sunset after "Saving" Attawapiskat

(10) Comments | Posted April 10, 2012 | 1:13 PM

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is busy patting itself on the back for solving all of Attawapiskat's problems. To hear them tell it, Jacques Marion was a veritable hero, swooping into Attawapiskat in the nick of time, narrowly averting disaster.

AANDC is magnanimously...

Read Post

A 7-Year-Old Aboriginal Girl's Battle to Tell the Truth at School

(22) Comments | Posted April 3, 2012 | 11:21 AM

Ruby was seven years old and in Grade 2. She was to prepare a class presentation on a topic of her choice, and decided she wanted to tell the story of why she doesn't speak her First Nations language.

Ruby wanted to share information about the effects Indian...

Read Post

How Do You Say Hipster in "Navajo"?

(4) Comments | Posted March 6, 2012 | 1:46 PM

Although the specific legal principles involved may differ, use of the terms icewine, Roquefort, and Navajo all have something in common. They tell you something about what you are buying, and in this case, the Navajo Nation wants to ensure that consumers are not associating the term "Navajo" with "random...

Read Post

Oxycontin Shortage Will Spell Catastrophe On Reserves

(6) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 9:58 AM

Health Canada recently announced that all "long-acting oxycodones" such as OxyContin have been removed from the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) list.

Thus legal sources of OxyContin will become unavailable to all Status Indians and recognized Inuit across Canada through the NIHB. Those who legitimately need this...

Read Post

Hey You in the Headdress, Know What it Means?

(8) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 7:31 AM


I see you are confused about what constitutes cultural appropriation. I would like to provide you with resources and information on the subject so that you can better understand what our concerns are.

However, I also want you to have a brief summary of...

Read Post