There are a lot of kind, educated, empowering and reasonable men in our communities, but sometimes they fail to acknowledge what we deal with. Sometimes there's so few of us working at an organization that we become representative of Native American Women concerning every issue, no matter our personal experiences, or specializations, or politics on representation.
When Boyden said in a recent interview that he should step back and let more deeply-rooted members of the community speak on its behalf -- and that he had become 'a bit too big' of a deal, my immediate reaction was a shrug. His apologies have felt a little flaccid, while criticisms have become strengthened and more expansive concerning ideas and identity.
Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda, is a figurehead in native literature and was recently scrutinized for his lack of proof concerning his native roots. The questions his identity raises are interesting and necessary, but if he's unwilling to have those conversations publicly, he's holding up progress.
There is a clear problem: hundreds of people of specific populations are killed every year in police interactions. Black Lives Matter is not saying that only their lives matter; they are saying that, historically, their lives have not mattered. They haven't mattered much, nor have Native American lives.
Epidemics of obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases and suicide that plague First Nation children across Canada are complex and multi-faceted. Yet government solutions often focus on simplistic bio-medical approaches -- when they address the crises at all -- and too often ignore the cultural strategies proposed by indigenous leaders.
It's a nice problem to have: When you achieve your lifelong goal, what do you do next? That's the question Spencer O'Brien has been wrestling with. Earlier this year the 28-year-old British Columbian found herself atop the snowboard world with a slopestyle gold medal at the Winter X Games in Aspen, a moment she had dreamed about for years.
The health of Canada's indigenous people lags substantially behind other Canadians -- and the tragic reality is well documented. Sadly, the data regarding poor health status for indigenous populations shows us this is true across all major illnesses and across all age groups. In other words, being an indigenous person in Canada is too often a dangerous reality. But it doesn't have to be this way. These phenomena are not new, and while Canada has been good at documenting health crises, and collecting evidence, we've been poor at doing anything about it.
We have a lot to learn from the Maori in how to sell our Indigeniety as something that can attract investment (both monetary and social) from the rest of the world. Luckily, we can add to this learning as we already have a model that helped shape Manitoba's business future internationally, many, many decades ago.
As Cree youngsters in the north, we are taught the tradition of how to walk on the land and in the bush -- with each foot fall carefully and quietly placed so as not to disturb the food sources that have always meant the difference between thriving and starvation. When young people began returning from residential schools, it is fascinating that what struck those who lived off the land the most is that these "students" had to be taught how to walk all over again. Not with the harsh heel strike they had learned in the towns and cities but with the gentle foot fall of their early childhoods.
The #IdleNoMore Movement is not a new movement. Instead, it is the latest incarnation of the sustained Indigenous resistance to the rape, pillage and exploitation of this continent and its women that has existed since 1492. For those transfixed on race, you're missing the point. Please consider this a fairly exhaustive explanation of the #IdleNoMore movement, what it is not and what it is.
Leonard Peltier, now 68, has been in prison for 35 years. Since 1977, petitions and pleas on his behalf have been ignored; appeals by the Arhbshiop of Canterbury, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, 55 U.S. Congressmen, and Canadian Parliamentarians, and members of the European Parliament Union. But the FBI is adamant that he killed two of their agents.