Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter

June 5, 2015

This week: Residential schools and abuses of power

This issue of Other Voices focuses on residential schools. As documented by the just-released report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, residential schools were set up to forcibly ‘assimilate’ Native children by taking them away from their parents and communities, and depriving them of their language, culture, history, and emotional supports. Based as they were on a system of arbitrary power and cruelty, it is not surprising that they also fostered physical and sexual abuse of the children forced into the schools. We spotlight the report and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as films, books, and survivor stories.

Also in this issue: the Orwellian language and tactics being used to sell ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation, mind-boggling subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, and, on the other side of the ledger, stories of courage and resistance.

As always, we invite you to share this newsletter with your friends. You can forward this email, or send them the link to the Other Voices home page on the Connexions website at /Media/CxNewsletter.htm.

Topic of the Week: Residential schools

The Connexions Subject index features a range of resources on Canada’s residential schools. It also includes documentation about similar institutions set up in Australia, where their legacy is referred to as the “Stolen Children,” in Ireland, and in other places. For additional resources in the subject index, see Aboriginal Children and Orphanages.

This Week on Connexions.org

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report this week, the product of a five-year process of hearing from survivors and compiling evidence. The reports calls the schools agents of “cultural genocide” responsible for enormous abuses and lasting damage. It calls for education and reconciliation; according to commission head Murray Sinclair, “The survivors need to know that, having been heard and understood, that we will act to ensure the repair of damages is done.” The summary of the final report of the commission is here, the recommendations are here. Read More

Keywords: Residential Schools - Aboriginal History

“Reality Is Whatever We Say It Is”

Canadians are being asked to submit to the necessity of an “anti-terrorism” law that is ostensibly aimed at potential terrorists and “violent jihadists.” However, this is not legislation meant to address the external threat posed by terrorists, but the cynical employment of law as a tool for citizen control, political repression and population domestication. In other words, the vague and overly broad language of Bill C-51 is specifically intended to create a chilling effect on any Canadian citizen who might have the audacity to show their disagreement with government policy or corporate kleptocracy by engaging in grass-roots dissent, protest or civil disobedience. Read More

Keywords: National Security - Propaganda

How do you stop a pipeline when one family owns both the oil and the media?

An op-ed written by a resident of the town of Red Head, Saint John explaining her community's opposition to a proposed oil pipeline that would pass near her village went unpublished when she submitted it to the Telegraph-Journal. The reason? The Irving family just happens to own the newspaper and the local oil company that's partnered with TransCanada to help with the pipeline. Read More

Keywords: Media Ownership/Concentration of - Pipelines

Anthropocene Boosters and the Attack on Wilderness Conservation

A growing debate has serious consequences for our collective relationship to nature. A number of academics, commentators, and groups argue that humans have so completely modified the Earth that concepts such as ‘wilderness’ or ‘nature’ have become meaningless, and that therefore there is no point in talking about ‘preserving’ wilderness or natural areas. The idea of ‘nature’, they say, is just a human cultural construct. Those advancing these ideas use different progressive-sounding labels, such as “pragmatic environmentalists” or “green postmodernism,” but their message is that we should forget about wilderness conservation and just get on with the business of ‘managing’ the planet for human benefit. Not surprisingly, corporate and industry leaders have been jumping on the bandwagon. Read More

Keywords: Nature - Wilderness

Governments Giving Fossil Fuel Companies $10 Million a Minute: IMF

The fossil fuel industry receives $5.3 trillion a year in government subsidies, despite its disastrous toll on the environment, human health, and global inequality, a new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has found. That means that governments worldwide are spending $10 million every minute to fund energy companies -- more than the estimated public health spending for the entire globe. Read More

Keywords: Oil & Gas Industry - Subsidies

People’s History

Broken Circle

A two-part excerpt from Theodore Fontaine’s book Broken Circle, a memoir of surviving the Fort Alexander Indian Residential School in Manitoba – and pursuing his own path to healing. Read More

Keywords: Aboriginal History - Residential Schools

Still Surviving: Reconciliation Through Everyday Rebellion

Residential school survivors rebuild through small acts of hope and resistance. Read More

Keywords: Aboriginal History - Residential Schools

From the Archives

Mine Wars Museum Opens, Revives Lost Labour History

In the early 1900’s, miners led a series of strikes in southern West Virginia, leading up to the climatic march on Blair Mountain in 1921. Now, this history is honoured at a museum, called the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. Read More

Keywords: Labour History - Mineworkers (Miners)

Website of the Week: IC Magazine (Intercontinental Cry)

A publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, featuring news on indigenous rights issues. “Dedicated to providing you with cutting-edge news and analysis concerning the rights, needs, interests, bio-cultural legacies and the contemporary struggles of the world’s 6000 Indigenous Peoples and Nations.” https://intercontinentalcry.org

Keywords: Aboriginal People - Indigenous People

Book of the Week: A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986

Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. He begins by tracing the ideological roots of the system, and follows the paper trail of internal memoranda, reports from field inspectors, and letters of complaint. In the early decades, the system grew without planning or restraint. Despite numerous critical commissions and reports, it persisted into the 1970s, when it transformed itself into a social welfare system without improving conditions for its thousands of wards. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.

Keywords: Aboriginal History - Residential Schools

Film of the Week 1: We Were Children

A 2012 documentary film about the experiences of First Nations children in the Canadian Indian residential school system. The film recounts the experiences of two resident school survivors: Lyna Hart, who was sent to the Guy Hill Residential School in Manitoba at age four, and Glen Anaquod, who was sent to the Lebret Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.

Keywords: Aboriginal History - Residential Schools

Film of the Week 2: Sleeping Children Awake

A feature-length 1992 documentary video outlining the history of the residential school system and its effect on generations of First Nations’ people. After its release, the video won a number of awards for its portrayal of the residential school system. The documentary was recognized for its role in combatting racism and religious intolerance.

Keywords: Aboriginal History - Residential Schools

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Connexions Calendar

June 5, 2015

World Environment Day


June 12, 2015

World Day Against Child Labour


June 12, 2015

ADR Institute of Ontario 2015 Annual General Meeting and PD Program

Toronto, Canada

June 16, 2015

Free Spirit Gathering XXX

Darlington, United States

Toronto, Canada

The Connexions Calendar is an online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions Calendar is FREE. We'll give you a username and password which you use to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password.

Read more →

Seeds of Fire

June 3, 1935

On-to-Ottawa Trek: Hundreds of men board railway boxcars in Vancouver and start heading east on the On to Ottawa Trek. The Trekkers are unemployed workers, part of a group of thousands who have walked out of federal relief camps protesting dismal conditions and dangerous work. They plan to present their grievances directly to the federal government in Ottawa.The Trekkers make it as far as Regina, where, on July 1, they are attacked by police who kill one man, injure hundreds, and prevent the Trekkers from proceeding further east.

June 5, 1977

Wangari Maathai – Green Belt movement: A group of Kenyan women led by Wangari Maathai start the Green Belt movement. They set out to plant thousands of trees to combat deforestation, stop soil erosion, produce wood for cooking, and generate income.Since the movement started, more than 51 million trees have been planted, and thousands of women have been trained in skills, such as forestry, food processing, and beekeeping, that help them earn income in a way that preserves land and resources.

June 6, 1829

Death of Shanawdithit: Death of Shanawdithit, the last known living member of the Beothuk people of Newfoundland.

June 7, 1939

St. Louis Turned Away: The St. Louis, a ship carrying 907 German-Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land its passengers in Canada. Already refused permission to land in Cuba and the United States, the ship is forced to return to Europe. An estimated 250 of the passengers go on to die in Nazi death camps.

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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here

Thanks to Ulli Diemer and Darien Yawching Rickwood for their work on this newsletter.


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