#OTTAWA TODAY: #WalkTheTalk for implementation of #UNDRIP Rally at #HumanRights #monument

A Mennonite-led Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights walks to Ottawa.

Today at 2 pm at the Human Rights Monument Ottawa come to welcome the WALK THE TALK group who arrived from Kitchener (they walked the whole way!) in order to bring attention to the fact that the Government of Canada is still not complying with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as promised. This 600 km trek began at Sterling Avenue Mennonite Church in Kitchener and the Walkers arrived last night at Ottawa Mennonite Church. Many Mennonite churches in Canada have offered their support in solidarity with this issue calling on the Liberal government to follow through on their words to implement the UNDRIP. 

Along with the rally there will also be a Teach-In tonight at Ottawa Mennonite Church, 1830 Kilborn Ave.

RALLY FOR BILL C-262
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 2 pm
WHERE: Human Rights Monument (Ottawa City Hall), Elgin Street, Ottawa

TEACH IN
WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2017 @ 7-9 pm
WHERE: 1830 Kilborn Avenue, Ottawa

For more info visit the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights website as well as coverage on APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) and the CBC.

FROM THE WALK THE TALK FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

While the pilgrimage is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action (#48, see below) directed to churches and people of faith, all are welcome to attend this rally and subsequent walk through downtown Ottawa, where we will read out key sections of the TRC Calls to Action as well as the UN Declaration.

For too long, too many have spoken fine words of truth and reconciliation, but not matched those fine words with just actions. The pilgrimage, and this final day of activity, are a call to account for political leaders, church leaders, and all segments of Canadian society to meaningfully discuss and then act upon what it means to decolonize a society built on what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clearly identified as “cultural genocide.”

Please join us to Walk the Talk May 13 with your own signs and banners, in the loving, transformational spirit that builds compassion, connection and community.

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Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 43, 44, 48 and 49
43. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

44. We call upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a
framework for reconciliation. This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:

i. Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

ii. Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iii. Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

iv. Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.

OTTAWA TOMORROW: #WMWCanada 4 #WomensMarchOnWashington @ #HumanRights #Monument #Ottawa City Hall @ 11 am

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington DC

Tweet  #WMWCanada #WomensMarch & #WomensMarchOnWashington to @CdnWomenMarch @womensmarch

FROM THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: 

Solidarity/Sister March with Women’s March on Washington #WomensMarch. The Ottawa gathering @wmwottawawomenmarch is one of many local events taking place in Canada and also serves as the official Canadian Sister March #WMWCanada.

Route: Starts at the Human Rights Monument, proceeding via Lisgar to Laurier and then marching to the Bronson Centre at 211 Bronson ave for indoor rally!

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On January 21st, 2017, we will march.

We will march the same day as hundreds of thousands of women in Washington as they take to the streets – all with a common goal but each with a diverse voice.

We will stand in solidarity with people gathering all over Canada and the world that day in support of women’s rights as an integral part of recognizing human rights. We will rally against the divisive words, attitudes and actions sparked by the events of the last year.

We will take a stand and support the rights of ALL women.

**SPIRIT AND ETHOS OF THE MARCH**
The purpose of this *non-violent*, *inclusive* and *intersectional* protest is to take a stand for and support women’s rights — the rights of ALL women — with women from all races, all religious communities, all political affiliations, cis or transgender and all sexual orientations. Violence, whether from or against the right-wing, left-wing, centre or independents, is not welcome and will not be condoned. We are unabashedly committed to intersectional feminism and inclusion:

  • Women & Girls & Femmes & Gender Non-conforming & Gender fluid
  • Men & Boys
  • Families
  • People of Color
  • Immigrants
  • LGBTQI+ Community
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Sex Workers
  • ALL religious communities
  • Climate Change Advocates
  • Anyone else who wants to come out in support!

This North American event was sparked by Trump’s election to the White House and is a response to the hate-inciting, divisive, discriminatory attitudes, messages and actions that emerged and have been normalized in political discourse around the globe. We also recognize that even in Canada, we still have so much work to do. Domestic violence, workplace harassment, gender bias in education & derogatory attitudes towards sexual assault survivors are all real and pressing issues here at home. This march will serve as a platform for these women in our most marginalized communities to speak and be heard.

To date, there is no country in the world that has yet achieved gender equality, but that does not mean we should give up striving towards it. We will not tolerate any discrimination or victimization of women or any violation of women’s rights, whether through words, actions or policies. We will not allow our hard-won rights to be trampled on and we will not be stopped in our pursuit of intersectional, substantive equality for women rights and human rights that have yet to be recognized!

“Equal enough” is NOT enough!
We hope to see our brothers, fathers, sons, husbands and other male allies marching with us — women’s rights are a crucial part of human rights!

This event is just the beginning. Unite with us. Stand in solidarity.

NATIONAL AND LOCAL MARCHES IN CANADA
Canadian Contingent going to Washington D.C
Vancouver BC
Okanagan Valley/Kelowna BC
Nanaimo BC
Kamloops BC
Edmonton AB
Calgary AB
Winnipeg MB
Toronto ON
Ottawa ON
Montreal QC
Halifax NS
Gabriola BC
Grand Forks BC
Kingston ON
Lethbridge AB
Happy Valley/Goose Bay/North West River Beach LAB
Niagara/St.Catharines ON
St.John’s NL
London ON
Hamilton ON
Bowen Island BC
Fredericton NB
Victoria BC
Whitehorse YT 
Saskatoon SK
Kootenay Bay BC @ Yasodhara Ashram 
Saint John NB
Sutton QC

US Page is here, with links to other States’ pages:https://www.facebook.com/events/2169332969958991/

PRIDE ON PARLIAMENT: A historical moment in Canadian History and Mixed Bag Mag was there

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins Pride Month by raising the Flag on Parliament Hill

Yesterday marked the first time the Pride Flag was raised on a Parliament Hill. A large crowd gathered on the greens for the 3:15 Flag Raising that included an address from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As one speaker said “inclusion is the hallmark of our values.” The moment symbolized that “now matter who you are you are valued and loved.”

The weather was one of those gorgeous sunny days where clouds rolled across a big sky. What I love about Ottawa are the views from the Hill as you look out across the river –  the expansive horizons that make you believe that everything is possible. It felt good to be there not to protest but to celebrate. A new day!

#PRIDE2016 #PrideMonth
Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

JUSTICE FOR FIRST NATIONS KIDS: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rules in favour of Indigenous Children in Canada

Image from Have a Heart Day 2014 on Parliament Hill, Ottawa with former NDP MP for Ottawa Paul Dewar. 

First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada files complaint and wins after a long battle!

Congratulations to Cindy Blackstock and the First Nations Child and Caring Family Society of Canada. Today is an important moment as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that the Federal Government is guilty of racial discrimination against First Nations, Inuit and Métis children.

On their website, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) has provided the full document of the Tribunal’s decision.

Over and over the federal government, under former prime minister Stephen Harper, tried to stop Blackstock with Department of Justice lawyers doing all they could to have her human rights complaint dismissed.

Each attempt was defeated allowing the complaint to proceed.”  Read full article on APTN

Below is the livestream of the Press Conference following the Tribunal’s announcement with Cindy Blackstock of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations

In the fight for justice for Indigenous children Cindy Blackstock has engaged local youth. Each Valentine’s Day kids arrive on Parliament Hill to give speeches in support of their peers who have been continually denied equitable education. This popular and positive event has leveraged social media and you can find out more by following #HaveAHeartDay on twitter. You can also join this year’s gathering on Wednesday, February 10 from 10:30 – 11:15 am on Parliament Hill.

WATER: A Human Right AND Responsibility, River Run Walk for Grassy Narrows in Toronto

First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in background

Our culture around water shows we are entering a spiritual drought.  

We say that clean water is a Human Right. Well, some say. The CEO of Nestlé thinks otherwise and it’s this type of reasoning that has created a situation where I wonder if we have gone past the point of no return.

First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in background

First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in background

First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in backgroundLast week I walked with those in support of Grassy Narrows and the River Run Walk. I had this moment where the absurdity of walking for water hit me. Walking in support of the right to clean water is like walking in support of the children of Gaza to live a peaceful life. It makes no sense. The protection of water, what we need to survive, and the protection of children, the ones who will carry forth our DNA into the future, should be our absolute priority. I remember my pride at one of my first primary school projects. It was about the affects of acid rain on our environment. I was 7 years old at the time and in somewhat sloppy printing writing out the facts (found in my Chickadee Magazine) about how unregulated industries were causing dirty rain to fall from the sky. In my childhood naivety I believed that if I shared this information with my teacher, an adult, people would surely change.

Former Treaty #3 Grand Chief Steve Fobister, who suffers from the effects ALS, ends his hunger strike in order to live to fight on.

Grassy Narrows is a reserve in Northern Ontario. The people have been suffering under the impact of corporate negligence my enter lifetime. Last week in Toronto many people came together for the River Run Walk in support of Grassy Narrow (Asubpeeschoseewagong) First Nation and Chief Steve Fobister’s end of his hunger strike. The evening before, Ryerson University hosted a public forum on Indigenous Rights & Water that included Stephen Lewis as well as Anishinaabe writer Leanne Simpson.

Leanne writes in an article for the CBC:

“…for eight years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 20,000 pounds of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River, the lifeblood of local Anishinaabe people.

The impacts of this contamination are still being felt in the bodies, hearts and minds of the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows), Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) and Wabauskang First Nations.

Forty years later, the mercury is not out of the ecosystem and it is still causing severe health impacts on the land and in the bodies of the people.

Unfortunately, this is not the only poison these communities are facing. Their territory is regularly sprayed with pesticides for new tree plantations after deforestation. Their rivers are still being polluted with pulp mill effluent, and their trap lines, hunting grounds and ceremonial spots are also being clear-cut.” Read more…

First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in background

Not even a week after the walk, my facebook feed confronts me with another disaster. In Likely, British Columbia “toxic slurry from the pond – equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools” has leached into a river.

The war the Anishinaabeg people of Grassy Narrow are fighting needs to be the fight of all Canadians. It’s the only way.

Find out how you can support Grassy Narrows by visiting Free Grassy Narrow’s website.

#FreeGrassy
#RiverRun

Join Grassy Narrows Facebook Group.

MORE RESOURCES:
Rabble:Steve Fobister Sr. ends his hunger strike to live on to fight for Grassy Narrows

CBC: Grassy Narrows loses Supreme Court logging rights decision: Top court finds province of Ontario, not First Nation or federal government, has jurisdiction over logging
First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in background
First Nations Chief with headdress walking in street with CN Tower and crowd of people in backgroundAbove images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

CHILDREN WHO ARE SAFE & SOUND: Independent Jewish Voices holds Vigil in Ottawa for the Children Killed in Gaza

Little Palestinian girl holds candle

Little Palestinian boys hold posters, one little boy years sunglasses and Spiderman shorts

My maternal grandmother had 5 children. Then came 12 grandchildren. Now there are 9 great-grandchildren. With the exception of my grandmother, who lived a long and healthy life into her nineties, everyone is alive and well.

On the steps of the Human Rights Monument this Friday night in Ottawa, a Palestinian matriarch, with a cane in one hand and a flag in the other, slowly walked up to position herself in front of the faces of the children that have died in the recent attacks on Gaza. She smiled at the living children who ran up and down the steps around her in preparation for the ceremony. These children – in running shoes, cute sandals, sporty sunglasses and “The Amazing SpiderMan” shorts – are safe and sound in Canada.

Old woman on steps of Human Rights Monument holds waving Palestinian flag, posters of dead children behind her Old woman on steps of Human Rights Monument holds waving Palestinian flag

This woman is probably in her seventies meaning she was born at a time when Israel had already begun its war on Palestine. Her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have only known the story of war and never the story of peace.

I think again of my grandmother. She never had to witness the death of one of her children or grandchildren.

Adolescent Palestinian boy at microphone surrounded by other Palestinian children holding posters with images of the children who have died

One child walked to the microphone. Stumbling on his words with the cracking voice of an adolescent boy transitioning into a young adult, he shared with the crowd that this week 9 of his extended family were killed in Gaza.

9 members wiped out. I struggle as to how to act in this moment. He can’t be more than 13. He has probably known more deaths in his family then years of his life.

I want children to be able to be just children with grandmothers who watch over them with laughter without wondering if today will be the last time they see their little ones play.

#FreeGaza #FreePalestine

For more events by Independent Jewish Voices visit their website.

WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS THAT SAY WE STAND FOR PEACE?: Standing in Solidarity with Palestinians on Eid


Little Palestinian girl rests her arms on poster with images of the children killed. The poster reads Stop the Palestinian Holocaust
Two young woman hold small girls close to them as they listen to the ceremony. Each woman and girl wears a keffiyeh
Young woman a keffiyeh hijab holds a candle and listens
Young woman sits on steps and listens, crowds surround her in the background. Young boy with keffiyeh around his neck and Nike shoes sits on the sidewalk while adults stand around him
Several children hold posters with photographs of the children who have recently died in Gaza.Two young men wearing Palestinian flags like capes walk with candles in their handsA young woman in hijab smiles at the camera while she holds a candle, people of all races surround her also holding candles.Little boy in running shoes and shorts holds a candle, he points up to an adult man above him also holding a candle
Above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

OMAR: Facts Are Stranger Than Fiction

Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad succeeds again at telling an important story.

Mark Twain said that “truth is stranger than fiction” because “fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t” which makes the film Omar, the fictional account of three childhoods friends, even more devastating as this fiction is the plausible reality of those living today in occupied Palestine.

Palestinian Director Hany Abu-Assad’s film is a thriller and a love story. The movie twists and turns as quickly as the main character Omar runs through the narrow passageways of the Nablus medina to escape Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service. Amjad, one of the childhood friends, asks the others “Do you know how they catch monkeys in Africa?” By getting them addicted to sugar cubes. Amjad describes how they pour the sweetness into a hole just large enough for the monkey to stick his hand into but small enough he cannot pull out when the hunters descend. Trapped the monkey still clings to the cubes.

The sweetness of Omar’s love for his best friend Tarek’s sister is what keeps bringing him back to the hole eventually trapping him into the Mossad’s madness that turns friend against friend and lover against lover. There is no exit the characters can take for this story to end positively.

Poster for Israeli Apartheid Week with occupation wall and minaret in background

Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 and how you can help support the people of Palestine.

Last weekend as part of the Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 a group of poets gathered at Ryerson University in Toronto for Performances of Indigenous Resistance: Palestine to Turtle Island. What was witnessed in the recited words was the truth of oppression – that no matter its location the impact is echoed.

Writer Yasmine Haj:

“I do not want to appropriate resistance and neither do you. But stories, poetry, music, art, farming, dancing, singing, and laughter are beautiful because they baffle us with unanswered questions. Because they fumble with the idea of stability and fragility. Because they allow us to reconnect with each other and imagine a collective space of meeting. They help us see Haifa connected to Cairo and Beirut and help us see Turtle Island in its colourful past, deconstructing the grey buildings that occupy its present.”

Many must feel like the monkey trapped with his hand in the hole but perhaps a love story for land that unites a global movement for social justice may be the inspired sweetness to collectively dream a way out.

For more on Israeli Apartheid Week visit their website www.apartheidweek.org, Facebook Page and follow on twitter @ApartheidWeek & #ApartheidWeek.

Other groups and organizations working towards resolution for a free Palestine:

Independent Jewish Voices Canada

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Beit Zatoun

Bottle of olive oil in foreground with CN Tower and skyscrapers in background Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

You can purchase Zatoun Olive Oil (truly the best olive oil in my opinion!!!) produced by a collective in Palestine at Beit Zatoun’s Toronto location in Mirvish Village – 612 Markham St. (1 minute from Bathurst subway stop on Bloor line, Markham St. exit)

“Proceeds are used to directly benefit Palestinian farmers and children living in occupied Palestine and to create awareness for peace in Palestine…Zatoun helps to create a context based in ordinary everyday life to view and discuss the situation in Palestine-Israel.”

In Ottawa Omar will be screening at the Bytowne Cinema Ottawa this week during the following times:

Mon, Mar 17, 4:45pm
Mon, Mar 17, 6:55pm
Tue, Mar 18, 9:10pm
Wed, Mar 19, 7:00pm
Thu, Mar 20, 4:45pm

Visit Bytowne Cinema’s website for full details.

FYI – Boycott Sabra Hummus. More information on Huff Po article talking about Sabra’s CEO Ronen Zohar.

“The protesters make noise, but they make noise to themselves,” he said. “It doesn’t have any influence on our business.”

Let’s make him eat his own hummus words!

 

THE SQUARE: The Doc About Egypt’s Tahrir Square & The People Who Demanded the Downfall of a Regime

The Square is now playing at the Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa.

“We’re not looking for a leader…we’re looking for a conscience” says Ahmed Hassan, one of the revolutionaries featured in documentary on the events circling in and around Tahrir Square  leading up to the removal of Mubarak and the implementation of Morsi.

Director Jehane Noujaim leads us through the emotionally exhaustive journey that Egyptians have endured for the last two years. You are left with no answers just one large question that scratches at the mind – how does humankind not learn? Like a broken record revolution seems to be a track that keeps skipping back to repeat past prejudices and the same social injustices.

“The problem as revolutionaries, most of the time, we only object and say ‘no,’ and we never suggest alternatives.”

This is not a feel good film rather a reminder that we still have so much to learn.

The Square plays tomorrow evening, Saturday, March 8 at The Bytowne Cinema in Ottawa.

For more information on The Square Documentary visit the website www.thesquarefilm.com and follow on Facebook and twitter @TheSquareFilm and @JehaneNoujaim.

BEST WAY TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY: #HaveAHeart Day on Parliament Hill

Boy in snow holding poster that saves Have A Heart for first nations children

Kids standing in solidarity with First Nations, Inuit and Metis children

The best led crusade may just be a children’s crusade because today on Parliament Hill small but mighty voices were articulate in their demands for Harper to “have a heart” with regards to issues around education improvements for Aboriginal children.

Children with teachers in front of the clock tower on Parliament Hill with posters in support with First Nations children

From the voices of babes.

One wee one said “I am just in Grade 3 but I know the difference between right and wrong.” She continued by saying “Mr. Harper, you spend money on silly things like rockets that don’t fly.” Enough said.

And don’t think that these kids are buying it regarding the First Nations Education Act. They get it that a one-size-fits-all education system and dollars handed out with conditions attached doesn’t translate into equitable and culturally based education. They could probably put a lot of MPs to shame with their proper pronunciation of Anishinaabe and knowing that Turtle Island refers to the original name for the continent that the governments of Canada and America now occupy.


“Stephen Harper, we’ve got some homework for you, make our Canada a better place for FN education”

It means nothing if it’s not true.

These kids stood up under the shadow of the Parliament Buildings and spoke to the fact that the National Narrative of an inclusive society that respects human rights falls apart when you look at the Canadian government’s past and present relations with Indigenous Canada.

Kids from all backgrounds – Somali, East Asian, Palestinian, European – showed up and represented.

These kids get it. And on a cold, winter’s day it is what  warms your  heart!

#HaveAHeartDay!







“The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society stands with First Nations children, youth, and families for equal opportunities to succeed.

Using a reconciliation framework that respectfully engages First Nation and non-Aboriginal peoples, the Caring Society provides high quality resources to support First Nations communities to empower children, youth and families. The award-winning Caring Society is proud to work with our partners in Canada and around the world to promote the rights of Indigenous children, youth and families.” For more information on their services visit their website.

Follow on First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s Facebook page and on twitter @CaringSociety.


All images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

2014: The Year of Saying No to Bullies

Getting rid of bullies in 2014.

At the start of last year MIXED BAG MAG proclaimed 2013 to be “The Year of the Artist” and from what was encountered this year in the galleries, festivals and on the street it was! So many of the incredibly talented people I know started to come into their own and express that they felt something shift for the better. At this time last year I quoted Marshall McLuhan as saying:

“The job of the artist is to upset all the senses and thus provide new vision and new powers of adjusting to and relating to new situations.”

I witnessed a lot of artists doing this throughout the year. The result was the cards of truth were laid out on the table. Bullies were exposed and cultural provocateurs got down to the healing work.

This year, with all the progress made, it’s now time to put our energies into fully shut down the bully for good whether it is the bully in your own family, your place of work or your government.

In 2013, as a global community, we witnessed the Assad regime in Syria using chemical weapons to poison even the smallest of souls; we witnessed India taking a massive step backwards and re-criminalizing homosexuality and in Canada our own government used the RCMP to push people around on their own land on (#Elsipogtog).

We also witnessed an entire city being held hostage by a Mayor whose moral compass is broken beyond repair. But what do we do? We encourage the behavior through the mechanism of the spectacle. Reality television as well as social media has turned bullying into our entertainment.

Instead we need to build societies that have mechanisms of protection for the ones who are getting the life kicked out of them.

A small but mighty action is to take the time to notice when someone is being hurt and then make the move to stand along beside them rather than have the expectation that the person or that community should fight the battle alone without outside support. We can work together on this.

MIXED BAG MAG wishes everyone an uplifting New Year!

Caine Stands Up from The Bully Project on Vimeo.