My digital de-cluttering diary

Every now and then, my digital desktop gets cluttered with junk. Oh, sure, it’s all gold at first, oh so worthy of attention at some point… just not now. Taken from news sites, blogs or emails, I really, really intend to post something about these subjects, either to my own blogs or to this one. […]

It’s you, always you: the realities of Aboriginal / non-Aboriginal reconciliation

No, this isn’t a late Valentine’s card. This has got nothing to do with love or relationships. Well, maybe relationships but not the personal kind. More like the international kind. No, it’s not a ‘kiss-and-make-up’ kind of thing either. It’s more a sort of ‘kindly-remove-yer boot-from-my-neck’ kind of thing. A ‘why-blame-me-cuz-it’s yer-boot’ type of thing. […]

Mission Improbable

A few years ago, someone sent me figures downloaded from a Canadian website. Those figures identified the amount of year-end bonuses paid out to Indian Affairs bureaucrats. If I remember correctly, the data also included the program or branch where these employees were doing such remarkable work to earn millions of dollars in bonuses. You […]

Tribute: Dr. Patricia Monture (1958-2010)

I first met Patricia Monture at the University of Western Ontario in 1979. She was taking anthropology and other courses for a B.A.. I was in the one-year Program in Journalism for Native Peoples (PJNP). She was Mohawk from Grand River Territory near Brantford; I was Kanienkeha:ka (Mohawk) from Kanehsatà:ke Territory near Montreal. We both […]

Who is Indian Affairs helping in England?

Who is Indian and Northern Affairs Canada helping in England? That’s a darned good question. In fact, I’d like to know more after this little tidbit arrived in my email inbox from a helpful gnome, and another version arrived via my newsreader. I’ve contacted Marci, the media contact listed at the bottom of the news […]

First look at ‘LAST CALL INDIAN’

The documentary Last Call Indian begins with a simple premise captured in its very first shot. The narrator’s voice begins as the camera pulls back from an empty bed fitted with railings in a small sunlit bedroom. It’s a sick room. The empty bed speaks volumes. Then a woman’s voice emerges, soft and clear: “I’ve […]

Doin’ the Oka Shuffle

You’ve probably heard via the news media that “Oka is heating up again.” That there are “rising tensions with Mohawks on the 20th anniversary of the Oka Crisis.”  Maybe you’ve heard that “Mohawks are angry with a developer” who wants to build on land he says he bought, fair and square, but that the Mohawks […]

Two steps forward… or is it backward?

A new Angus Reid poll has some disturbing opinions from the average Canadian about progress on Aboriginal issues in the 20 years since the “Oka Crisis”. First, the poll found that Joe and Jane Lunch-Bucket from north of the 59th didn’t think either of their country’s two main political parties have done – or would […]

“The Real Oka” and Other Conspiracy Theories

I read Doug George’s anti-warrior diatribe in Tuesday’s Montreal Gazette (“As I Saw It: The Real Oka Story,” July 13, 2010) with a mixture of shock, horror, and sadness — roughly in that order. It’s clear (to me, anyway) that he doesn’t know the real story at all. In fact, the only sentence I could trust […]

What’s up, Doctrine? (part 2)

I probably first heard about the “Doctrine of Discovery” when I came upon my parents during one of their kitchen table sessions. Typically, Dad would make a point by poking a finger at the table. Mom might ponder a moment, maybe leaf through Felix Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, or reach for a piece […]