Canada COMMENTARY: If we want to be allies to Indigenous communities, we must act like every child matters
Indigenous women must lead fight against violence, Ontario report says
TORONTO — Indigenous women must be squarely at the forefront of efforts to combat the national tragedy of violence against them, a new Ontario government report asserts. The province's response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls offers a road map for tackling an issue that has inflicted horrors on countless lives for generations. The "Pathways to Safety" report outlines the province's framework forThe province's response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls offers a road map for tackling an issue that has inflicted horrors on countless lives for generations.
Every Child Matters. We’ve heard these words a lot this week.
I am horrified by theof 215 children’s bodies at a near Kamloops, B.C., last week.
While we have seen an outpouring of support — tiny shoes placed on the steps of public buildings, flags flown at half-mast, words of anguish shared across social media — I am disturbed by a lack of outrage from so many others. The silence is deafening. Is Indigenous grief not our collective grief?
RCMP is losing Indigenous officers — and some former Mounties blame racism in the ranks
Data released by the RCMP to Parliament shows that the force is losing Indigenous officers — a trend which comes as no surprise to retired Mounties and other observers.That was before the now-retired Mountie had to remove an intoxicated passenger from a Greyhound bus parked at a gas station off a highway in Newfoundland and Labrador on her own. The backup she called for, she said, was a long time in coming.
I am reminded of the Humboldt bus crash in 2018 which claimed 16 lives and how our entire country mourned. It was a horrific loss — one for which I too wept — yet I do not feel the same sense of collective national grieving this past week. Yes, every child matters, but some seem to matter a lot less.
Because if every child mattered, why is it that six years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, which had an entire 266-page chapter dedicated to missing and murdered children, was there so little haste in finding them? Would the bodies have been found had the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation not taken it upon itself to use ground-penetrating radar technology to find them?
Partially paralyzed Indigenous man left in wheelchair outside Toronto ER files complaint
An Indigenous man who is partially paralyzed filed a complaint with St. Michael's Hospital after he says he was kicked out of the ER for swearing and left outside in the cold in a wheelchair he couldn't operate.Hussin, 50, said he was removed from St. Michael's Hospital by a security guard after a doctor wanted him discharged because he was swearing about a nearly six-hour wait in the ER.
More than 150,000 children were torn from their homes and sent to residential schools between 1863 and 1996. I was a teenager in 1996. This is not ancient history.
Why are we not more outraged that so many First Nations communities still do not haveon reserves, that they suffer greater rates of suicide, addiction, homelessness, that they are significantly overrepresented in killings by police, that they face racism in the health and social service system.
We watched on videobefore her death in a Joliette, Que., hospital. Do her motherless children not matter?
June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. It is a month to honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Several planned events and campaigns to celebrate Indigenous joy have been put on pause as communities mourn. We are meant to be recognizing the strength of Indigenous communities. Their resilience humbles and pains me.
Two years after MMIWG report, Ottawa releases preliminary national plan
OTTAWA — The federal government is committing to funding and co-developing targeted initiatives to address many systemic barriers identified by a national inquiry into Indigenous women who have disappeared or been killed in Canada. As part of today's release of the action plan on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a "federal pathway" document outlines Ottawa's planned steps to address the inquiry'sAs part of today's release of the action plan on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a "federal pathway" document outlines Ottawa's planned steps to address the inquiry's sweeping 231 calls to justice.
“As an Indigenous business leader, the role I fit best into (from my perspective) is to show our kids what we are capable of despite all the trauma. Personally, this past weekend was raw with emotion,” wrote Jennifer Harper, founder of Cheekbone Beauty, in an email to me this week.
We must be clear. This is not, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted last week, merely a “dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.”
The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart - it is a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history. I am thinking about everyone affected by this distressing news. We are here for you.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau)
This is a significant underlier of our country’s history. Residential schools pre-date this country’s 1867 Confederation and continued after the Charter of Rights and Freedom was written in the 1980s.
Residential schools, built in nearly every province and territory, aimed to “take the Indian out of the child."
Here’s the 1st steps Canada plans to take in light of the MMIWG inquiry
The federal government promises a series of initiatives to help address many systemic barriers identified by a national inquiry into violence against Indigenous women and girls.Ottawa's announcement comes amid Thursday's release of the long-awaited action plan on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, two years after its initial report.
Duncan Campbell Scott, deputy superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932, is often quoted as saying: “Kill the Indian, save the man.”
Residential schools are wheresexual abuse, physical abuse, deprivation, malnourishment, medical experimentation, cruelty, torture and murder. Half of the children did not return home. Now 215 of those children have been found, but thousands more are expected to be discovered. This is Canada’s genocide. These are the sins of our country.
“All Indigenous Peoples living today in Canada are survivors of Canada’s tools of genocide. We are survivors of residential schools. We are survivors of the Indian Act. We are survivors of the Sixties Scoop and survivors of the ongoing systemic racism which attempts to erase us,” Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa said in the Ontario legislature on Monday.
“But we are still here.”
Looking back on my own miseducation, I never learned about residential schools in my formal schooling. The first time I heard about residential schools was hearing Gord Downie sharing Chanie Wenjack’s story. Chanie was a young boy who died on Oct. 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape and return home from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away.
MMIWG national action plan criticized by Indigenous leaders in B.C.
The federal government's response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) is sorely lacking in substance and scope, according to some B.C. Indigenous leaders. "This so-called action plan is another slap in the face," said Kukpi7 (Chief) Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. "Canada as a whole must take full accountability for their role in the ongoing genocide of our women and children and two-spirited people, and give the crisis that is MMIWG the urgent attention it deserves.
Over the last several years, I am learning that my beloved Canada is not the Canada I once thought it was. I am learning that history must be re-written so we can see the picture in its fullness, not the one painted through the colonizers' rose-rimmed glasses.
I am learning that I have an active role in this, too. While I hold our government and the Catholic church responsible for much of this carnage, I must hold myself accountable, too.
As a settler, it is my responsibility to do the work to learn more and advocate for Indigenous People — I may not have caused it, but I have benefited from their suffering.
I must acknowledge the sins on which this country has accumulated its wealth and prosperity. I must acknowledge the privilege I am granted in my children’s well-being and safety has come at an immeasurably grave cost to other children.
It is not enough to say every child matters. We must act like every child matters.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.
is a cultural commentator and co-host of on Global News Radio 640 Toronto.
These North Vancouver trees have powerful messages about Canada's MMIWG .
On a cluster of trees in a North Vancouver forest, visitors will find powerful succinct messages and striking visual reminders of Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited. The trees can be found in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve on the Baden Powell Trail just east of Lillooet Road. After walking about 90 metres, the marked trees can be seen within the forest on the north side, to the left of the trail. A number of trees there have had their cedar bark stripped and have various messages about MMIWG2S written on them.