James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, says Canada faces a crisis in its treatment of indigenous people. He recommends (CBC, CTV, G&M, CP via Mississauga News) that the federal government:
- “take a less adversarial” approach to land claim settlements
- not “rush forward” with a proposed First Nations Education Act but instead take time and redraft the legislation in consultation with aboriginals
- launch a “comprehensive and nationwide” inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women
- extend the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] so that it can complete its work
- deal with housing urgency
However, the federal government and First Nations disagree with each other. For example, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Valcourt (pictured, with Harper and Aglukkaq) says that ‘reforming First Nations education is key to closing the learning gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.’ Indigenous leaders oppose the reforms, saying it denies the primary importance of their languages and cultures and fails to affirm First Nation control over their education.
I could not find anything recent about extending the TRC’s mandate, though last May Global News reported that the Auditor-General found significant problems. Nor could I find government responses to aboriginal housing needs, though I encountered previous concerns and differing views about places such as Attawapiskat (pictured). This issue has been around for a long time. And while aboriginal groups and all ten provincial premiers have called for an inquiry into the disappearances and murders of aboriginal women, still the federal government has so far refused to consider an inquiry and has ‘rebuffed a critical report on the issue from the UN Human Rights Council.’ Anaya makes a full report to the UN.
From walkingwithoursisters.ca: ‘Sometimes called “vamps” “tongues” or “uppers” the tops of moccasins are intentionally not sewn into moccasins, and represent the unfinished lives of murdered or missing Indigenous women, exhibited on a pathway to represent their path or journey that was ended prematurely.’
• we watched [2013-10-23] polar bear family and me. the future looks uncertain not only for these polar bears but for many denizens of a perhaps human-caused, too rapidly changing arctic.
actually, it started with us cocking our heads at dogs (and vice-versa).
Jean Vanier notes that ‘the longer we journey on the road to inner healing and wholeness, the more the sense of belonging grows and deepens. The sense is not just one of belonging to others and to a community. It is a sense of belonging to the universe, to the earth, to the air, to the water, to everything that lives, to all humanity.’
• we watched [2013-10-25] elephants on board: a journey to remember on the fifth estate.
David Suzuki writes that ‘millions of salmon are making the arduous journey up the rivers and streams of British Columbia to the spawning grounds where they were born. Waiting for this rich pulse of life from the Pacific Ocean are bears, gulls, wolves, eagles, ospreys, crows, pine martins and dozens of other species. Communities and businesses wait, too. It’s fitting that this time of year also marks the first anniversary of the final report of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.’ He urges Canadians to tell Prime Minister Harper and Fisheries Minister Shea by telling your MP you want strong protection for Pacific salmon (<==this link makes it easy to do so).
• while the wind blew and the leaves fell, it rained again off and on. we watched [2013-10-26] coast and the world before her, which contrasted young women in a hindu nationalist camp with those in the miss india pageant.
The Sparrow Quartet performs Strange Things
What is Abdoullaye Diabatè, from Burkina Faso, playing? Does it matter? He makes it sound great.
Originally called ‘And did those feet in ancient time’, ‘Jerusalem‘ is a poem by William Blake, circa 1808, set to music by Parry in 1916. Although not a hymn, it is in the hymnal. It is one of my favourite ELP tracks. It was sung in Chariots Of Fire (the movie’s title echoes Blake’s poem). It was sung at Kate and William’s wedding. It is stirring. It is Great Britain’s unofficial anthem. So I didn’t take my headmaster seriously when he said we should append a resounding ‘NO!’ to the poem’s questions. An apocryphal story has a young Jesus as a boy travelling to what is now England, but such a visit was transitory. It is as if it never happened, and it probably never did. Recently I learned that in one common interpretation of Blake’s poem, by the 19th century, mercantile England is void of Christian love, and these dark, Satanic mills represent the Industrial Revolution; unlike Parry’s patriotic setting, Blake was angry. My headmaster’s ‘NO!’ emphasized that anger.
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?–NO!
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?–NO!
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?–NO!
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?–NO!
• again the wind blew and more leaves fell, but blue skies beckoned. we ventured out during the day [2013-10-28], but returned home to eat, feed the dog, and watch treasures of ancient rome: the empire strikes back (pictured is host alastair sooke in leptis magna in africa). we learned that while the roman empire declined into barbarism and eventually fell (as must all civilizations), its art flourished, influencing us to this day.