Indigenous protesters again block entrance to Pinery Provincial Park

Maynard T. George is leader of the Indigenous family group claiming ownership of Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

Protester Maynard George says the action is connected to a First Nations claim to the land

Indigenous protesters are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park, an action they say stems from a longstanding dispute over First Nations claims to the park on the shores of Lake Huron.

Maynard George of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation told CBC news that he and about four other protesters have pulled into the park’s front entrance in a trailer, preventing visitors from entering the park.

He said Pinery staff told people using the park to leave. As of Monday evening, about 10 trailers have already left, said George.

“We’ve moved in, we’ve taken up our residency here,” said George. “And we’ve shut down the park permanently. We’re in a position where we have to do something to resolve the claim.”

​George was involved in a similar action that ended in November with the park re-opening.

He said the protesters’ claim to the land stretches back to the War of 1812.

The park’s superintendent would not comment on the situation.

Indigenous protesters say they are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

No court action

George’s lawyer Wanda Corston said for now, there are no plans to file any official court claim. She said the OPP have spoken to George about the protest.

“They’ve decided to take over the park with regard to some claims they have,” said Corston. She said for now, there has been no action to file a claim in any court.

“There’s no legal position at this point in time, we just hope the claims can be settled in an amicable way,” she said.

Ministry response

George said police were present in the park on Monday, but that they are only there to maintain order. He said there have been no arrests or confrontations.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources said, “Ontario Parks is working toward a resolution to this situation – we are engaging with the individuals, their counsel and police to better understand their claims.”

George said he intends to stay at the park. It’s unclear for how long.

CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2018



Crown won’t appeal verdict in Tina Fontaine case

Raymond Cormier, right, was acquitted in the death of Tina Fontaine

Crown will not appeal acquittal of Raymond Cormier 

Manitoba Justice says Crown prosecutors will not appeal the acquittal of a man who was accused of killing 15-year-old Tina Fontaine.

Last month, a jury found Raymond Cormier, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Tina, whose body was found wrapped in a duvet cover weighed down with rocks in the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014.

The verdict sparked rallies and support for Tina’s family from across turtle island.

“After a critical review … by the Manitoba Prosecution Service’s appeal unit and the Crown attorneys who prosecuted the case, it has been determined there are no grounds to base a successful appeal,” says the statement released Tuesday.

The Crown says it has advised Tina’s family of the decision.

Her cause of death remains unknown.

City Centre Mall lifts ban on Métis elder after security guards’ actions reviewed

Terry Lusty at the Truth and Reconciliation event held at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, March 27, 2014. Perry Mah/ Postmedia, file

A well-known and respected Métis elder says security guards banned him from City Centre Mall in downtown Edmonton for one month, all while he was trying to do a good deed.

Terry Lusty said he was catching a quick bite on the third-level food court Wednesday when he spotted a woman’s RBC credit card on the floor.

He picked it up and loudly called out the woman’s first name to see if she was still around so he could return the card.

Getting no response, he moved into the next section of the food court and called out the woman’s name again.

He said he was simply “trying to be an honest citizen and help somebody out.”

He checked the back of the card and began calling the 1-800 number on his way back to his burger and fries when he was approached by a plainclothes security guard wearing a white name badge.


“It didn’t look like anything official. It looked like something anybody could have made up,” Lusty said Friday.

The security guard asked Lusty to give the card to him, but he explained he was already on hold with the bank and that he would look after it.

Lusty told the man he was simply doing his “due diligence” in reporting the card lost. That didn’t wash with the security guard, who summoned two more security guards using his phone.

They asked him to leave, but Lusty refused.

“I told them that I had just bought a meal here and I am going to eat it in peace,” he said.

“They just stood over me while I ate. They were just power tripping. I even told them that they could sit down while I finished my meal.”

After reporting the card lost, the bank official said the card should be destroyed, Lusty said.

“That’s when I handed it over to (the security guard) and told him that he could now have it and he should cut it up,” he said.

The security guard didn’t hear Lusty so he repeated what the bank had told him, followed by “Are you deaf?”

That’s when he said he was told to immediately leave the premises and not to come back until the following day.

He refused and finished his meal. He then headed for the elevator, but not before he snapped a photo of two of the guards.


At that point, the security guards said he was banned from the mall for one month.

“I mean, this has happened before,” Lusty said, referring to an incident in 2014 when Indigenous outreach worker Gary Moostoos was banned from the food court for six months for no reason.

“This was just racist and discriminatory and it was sheer stupidity,” Lusty said.

“People from our communities need to know that if they assert themselves on matters that they feel are right about, that is their right to do so and they should do so, because otherwise our people will continue being walked all over.”

Mall general manager Olympia Trencevski viewed security footage of the incident and said she was “disappointed.”

The ban was lifted Friday, she said.

“This goes against all of our values and standards and everything we have been working so hard for,” Trencevski said. “What we saw was unacceptable.”

The plainclothes security guard has been removed from duties and will be required to redo all of his training, including diversity, sensitivity, Indigenous awareness and customer service training, Paladin Security executive vice-president Greg Swecera said Friday.

The other two guards will be required to review the footage and may undergo further training.

Lusty will receive a written apology from the group and a face-to-face apology from the plainclothes security guard, Swecera said.

“I’ve had very good, positive, conversation with Terry and we are working through it,” he said.


Judge grants Trans Mountain injunction preventing blockades at terminals in Burnaby

(Source: Camp cloud at km surveillance post/Facebook)

A Supreme Court Justice has granted Trans Mountain an interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from using blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C.

The energy giant filed an injunction on Friday a day ahead of a public demonstration to protest its controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

The Globe and Mail reports the company listed 15 individuals, along with John Doe, Jane Doe and “persons unnamed” in a notice of civil claim as part of its request to restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities.

Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed with that condition and said the injunction will last until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue.

According to Metro News, the injunction is not meant to affect protest on public lands, but will apply to blockades of lands owned by Trans Mountain.

Protesters have repeatedly blocked access to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby to prevent workers from getting in and out of the site.

Protesters of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project block access to workers at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

A Kinder Morgan spokesperson said “Trans Mountain supports the right to peaceful and lawful expressions of opinions and understand not everyone agrees with the project.”

Since Trudeau’s approval, there has been opposition in British Columbia, where the pipeline is fiercely opposed by First Nations and environmentalists worried about oil spills.

Indigenous activists will be marching on Saturday alongside environmental groups, local residents and other supporters in Burnaby, against plans to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The expansion would increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil a day.

The City of Burnaby and the City of Vancouver have opposed the project.

BIV reports, the 15 protestors named in the injunction, and their aliases, are: David Mivasair, Bina Salimath, Mia Nissen, Corey Skinner (aka Cory Skinner), Uni Urchin (aka Jean Escueta), Arthur Brociner (aka Artur Brociner), Kari Perrin, Yvon Raoul, Earle Peach, Sandra Ang, Reuben Garbanzo (aka Robert Abbess) Gordon Cornwall, Thomas Chan, Laurel Dykstra and Rudi Leibik (aka Ruth Leibik).

The injunction will not stop the protest from going ahead.

The rally and march begins Saturday at 10:45 a.m. at the Lake City Way SkyTrain station in Burnaby.

Crown says it won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley trial

Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen’s Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., on Feb. 5, 2018.

The Crown says it won’t appeal the acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer who was accused of fatally shooting a young Indigenous man in the head.

Last month, a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, who was 22 and from Red Pheasant First Nation.

The Crown says a verdict can’t be appealed because people don’t agree with it or because there may be questions about the investigation.

“The Crown can only appeal legal errors in the course of the trial,” senior prosecutor Anthony Gerein said Wednesday at a news conference.

The trial heard that Boushie was one of five young people who drove an SUV into Stanley’s farmyard near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. Those in the SUV testified they were looking for help for a flat tire while Stanley told the trial he thought the youths were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle.

Stanley testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he reached for the keys in the SUV’s ignition.

The case was filled with racial tension from the beginning and the verdict was met with outrage from Boushie’s relatives and their supporters.

Family members met with federal ministers along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for changes to the justice system and to how juries are selected to better reflect Indigenous people.

Protests were also held around Canada to voice displeasure with the outcome of the case.

“I know there is much sadness about the decision not to appeal, but there can be no appeal because the law does not allow it,” Gerein said.

He said the Crown did not consult with the Boushie family about the legal decision. But Gerein spoke to lawyers on both sides and they informed their clients, he said.

Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, has said that the family felt excluded and ignored by the justice system following the shooting.

“I urge no one to be discouraged or distrust the system. We are all in this together and must be united against crime and in the search for justice,” Gerein said.

“Complainants need to come forward when they have been wronged. Witnesses need to come to court and testify, sharing the truth. Good men and women will convict where they are sure it is right.”

On Tuesday, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission launched a review into the RCMP’s investigation into the shooting.

The Canadian Press


Mi’kmaq community on edge over hit-and-run death of Brady Francis

Brady Francis, of Elsipogtog First Nation, is shown in this undated handout image. CP/HO-Garnett Augustine

Elsipogtog First Nation seeks justice for Brady Francis killed Saturday in Saint-Charles

A grieving New Brunswick First Nation is anxiously awaiting the results of a police probe into the hit-and-run death of a popular young man, with many saying they are seeking a justice they felt was eluded in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.

Brady Francis, 22, was hit by a pickup truck Saturday as he departed a party in Saint-Charles, a predominantly francophone town about 12 kilometres south of the Elsipogtog reserve.

Social media posts were circulating Wednesday with pictures of Fontaine, Boushie and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent jury verdicts on the Prairies.

“I’m just saying that I hope history doesn’t repeat itself,” Garnett Augustine, Francis’s employer, said Wednesday.

Ruth Levi, a band councillor and the director of social services in Elsipogtog, said in an interview that the Mi’kmaq community is calling for charges in the death.

“We’re hurting, we left a very fine, wonderful young man. Our youth are hurting, the whole community is,” said the 57-year-old community leader in a telephone interview.

“We’re keeping an eye out for the results of the police investigation.”

She said community members attended a fundraiser Monday evening at CC’s Entertainment Centre on the reserve to raise over $31,000 for funeral expenses for the young man’s funeral.

Many people will be wearing white T-shirts with the logo “Justice For Brady,” at a funeral planned for Saturday, she added.

Levi was among the community members who drove to the scene on Saturday night in Saint-Charles.

Word rapidly spread that a GMC pickup truck had struck Francis as he walked away from an evening gathering.

Levi said family members have informed her that Francis had called his father, asking for a drive home and that the young man was awaiting the arrival of his relatives to bring him home.

Augustine, Francis’s employer at the entertainment centre, said he rushed to the scene after the incident, and witnessed paramedics trying to revive the young man he referred to as “my little right-hand man.”

Like Levi, Augustine said community members are deeply concerned by the death, and are eager to know precisely what occurred.

“I’m hoping for justice,” he said, adding that the recent not guilty verdicts in the 2016 death of Boushie in Saskatchewan and the 2014 death of Fontaine in Winnipeg are on the minds of many in the First Nation community.

“It’s hard. The whole community is shattered,” he said.

A memorial for Brady Francis, 22,. Morganne Campbell/ Global News

Said one Twitter user: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”

Only scant details have been made available so far about what occurred.

Police said in a news release on Tuesday that Francis was “a pedestrian” in Saint-Charles, N.B., on the evening when he was struck.

RCMP initially said they found a GMC truck sign at the scene, and have since seized a truck as part of the investigation.

The Mounties also said in a news release they are analyzing a key piece of evidence and have been conducting interviews.

Still, emotions have been running high, said Levi.

She said she and about 40 other community residents went to the house of the alleged driver of the truck on the morning after the incident.

Francis’s grandfather urged the crowd to disperse, and Levi helped to arrange a candlelight vigil on the reserve.

“We’re preparing for Saturday’s funeral … Brady’s body will be home tomorrow and we’ll get the crisis team ready,” she said.

“This young man took the appropriate steps to come home. He called his parents … and while he’s talking to his Dad, all of a sudden the phone goes dead. That’s something we don’t want people to forget,” she said.

— Story by Michael Tutton in Halifax.

The Canadian Press 


Trump not planning to ship Native Americans to India

This article was originally published by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump never proposed sending the U.S. population of about 3 million American Indians “back” to India, as a satirical news site claimed in a piece with fabricated tweets attributed to the president.

The Postillon’s story says Trump seeks to improve national security and was to sign an executive order to deport the country’s Native Americans. The story claimed Trump consulted with members of his administration and learned Native Americans don’t have “relevant immigration documents”. It attributes quotes Trump never said to Fox News, and fabricates two tweets from Feb. 13, 2017, about the issue that were never sent from the president’s account.

The piece is illustrated with a photo of Trump speaking last year to troops while visiting U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. The president did call at that event for more stringent screening to keep out those who “want to destroy us and destroy our country.” He said nothing about American Indians, the earliest settlers in North America. Native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1924.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Calls for Child Welfare overhaul filter into Sask. after Tina Fontaine’s death in Man.

Manitoba’s child welfare system has been criticized since Tina Fontaine’s body was found in the Red River in 2014. (CBC)

81% of 5,000 children in care in Sask. are Indigenous

As the death of Tina Fontaine leads to calls for an overhaul of the child welfare system in Manitoba, a similar push is gaining momentum in Saskatchewan.

On Aug 17, 2014, Fontaine was found dead in Winnipeg’s Red River. Fontaine was originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, but had been in the care of Manitoba’s child welfare system at the time of her death.

Calls for drastic change in Manitoba’s child welfare system have been consistent and loud since Fontaine’s body was discovered. In Saskatchewan, similar whispers are getting louder.

There are approximately 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan, and about 4,000 of them are Indigenous.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has been in talks with the Ministry of Social Services in Saskatchewan since October — when Second Vice-Chief David Pratt was elected to improve the situation for young Indigenous people in the care of the province. The collaboration is in its infancy, according to Pratt.

David Pratt is the second vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and manages the child welfare file. (Brad Bellegarde/CBC News)

“There’s a lot of receiving homes open in Saskatchewan and we want greater accountability in terms of what’s going on in those homes, who’s staffing those homes, if there’s any cultural component happening in those homes,” he said.

“I think we need to work together as partners.”

Pratt has been encouraged by the readiness of federal ministers Jane Philpott, of Indigenous Services, and Carolyn Bennett, of Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, to focus on prevention of children having to go into care, rather than band-aid solutions.

But Pratt said the province has some work to do.

‘Here in Saskatchewan, we have a lot of work to get done.’ – FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt on Saskatchewan’s child welfare system

“A lot of times the government comes to us with the jurisdictional song and dance. We know the constitution. We know what Section 91 states, that responsibility [for] Indians falls under the federal government. But we’ve got to look at what regions like Ontario are doing.”

In Ontario, federal and provincial governments work with Ontario Chiefs as a tripartite to work toward better outcomes for children in care.

“In Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq actually helped draft the child welfare legislation. Why can’t we do that in Saskatchewan? Let’s open up that legislation.”

Pratt believes that groups like the FSIN have solutions, if only various levels of government would listen.

Recognizing trauma, heritage

Part of improving outcomes for Indigenous children who are unable to live with their parents is connecting them with their home communities.

“Nine hundred of these children are not registered with their community, so we’d like to work as partners with the ministry to get them back registered,” said Pratt

“It’ll help them with their identity. Learning who they are is part of a healthy young individual.”

A young Indigenous person’s identity, though, can often involve a history linked to residential schools and intergenerational trauma, and the necessity of navigating colonial systems.

“Our treaty partners in Saskatchewan, non-Indigenous people, need to realize our history and that we’re not going to find solutions unless we work together on them,” said Pratt.

Within the province’s social services, there has been a conscious shift over the past few years to be more sensitive to the needs of young Indigenous people, and to connect them with their First Nations and families

Tina Fontaine’s body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on Aug. 17, 2014. It was wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down with rocks. (Tina Fontaine/Facebook)

“For many Indigenous families we work with, they might identify elders, community leaders, or agencies like community-based organizations that are Indigenous-run, or they might identify their home First Nation, so we’d connect with them in developing the case plan,” said Tobie Eberhardt, executive director of community services at the Ministry of Social Services.

“It would be around the family identifying what their needs are, who they would see as their natural supports.”

Every child is also subject to a strength and needs assessment when they come to the ministry for help.

Most often, children are then placed with a family member, or at the very least, with someone familiar to them.

“Sixty per cent of children in Saskatchewan are placed with extended family, or significant people in their lives,” said Eberhardt.

CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2018


Norway House Installs Checkpoint to Block Drugs, Liquor

The 24-hour checkpoint is on Highway 73, the only road into Norway House. (Norway House Cree Nation/Facebook)

Visitors and community members must pull into 24-hour checkpoint staffed by security guards

Anyone driving into Norway House Cree Nation now has to go through a border patrol-like checkpoint.

The dry community is taking the extra step to prevent alcohol and drugs from entering the reserve.

All visitors and community members must pull into the 24-hour checkpoint — a building that resembles a registration gate at a national park — where trained security guards will ask for a licence and registration.

Norway House Chief Ron Evans says they have been talking about a checkpoint for a few years.

“We have a lot of issues with drugs and alcohol in our community and we have people driving in and out all hours, and this was one way for us to at least alleviate some of that,” said Norway House Chief Ron Evans.

The community of about 5,000 people, located 460 kilometres north of Winnipeg, launched the new security measure on Monday. The checkpoint is located on Highway 73, the only road into Norway House.

“They [guards] may ask … if you belong to the community or, if you’re visiting, they may ask you what brings you into the community,” Evans said.

“From the responses, I guess they’ll determine whether it warrants a search of your vehicle or not.”

Evans said they have been talking about the idea for a few years and got the process rolling after a 2015 meeting with the RCMP.

More meetings followed between Norway House leaders and politicians from both the federal and provincial levels of government to develop the necessary bylaws.

Evans estimates it will cost $500,000 a year to operate the checkpoint.

CBC News


’60s Scoop Group Educates Survivors, Pushes Rejection of Federal Settlement Deal

Colleen Cardinal, network coordinator of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Feb. 2, 2018. CP/Fred Chartrand

Dozens of people gathered in an Ottawa community centre Monday to learn more about the federal government’s proposed multimillion-dollar settlement for survivors of the ’60s Scoop — and why they should reject it.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network arranged the information session to scrutinize the $800-million deal, which was announced last October but has yet to receive court approval.

“There are so many things that are wrong with this,” network co-founded Colleen Cardinal told the gathering, made up in part of survivors and supporters.

“It’s really important that this information gets out there, by survivors for survivors,” she said. “The federal government is not going to make sure that every survivor knows what their rights are. Our mission is to get out there and let people know what is happening.”

The ’60s Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes by the federal government and placed with non-Indigenous adoptive and foster families across the country starting around the 1950s.

The government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation.

Cardinal denounced the deal, saying the federal government should have first asked survivors what they wanted.

“They don’t even know how many survivors there are,” Cardinal said, disputing the estimated $20,000 to $50,000 payment per person.

Cardinal also criticized the settlement for excluding survivors who are Metis and non-status Indians.

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has said the proposed settlement is a first step and the government is committed to using negotiation to resolve any ongoing litigation.

“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Metis and non-status,” she said a statement from her office.

An Ontario Superior Court judge will hear arguments in Saskatoon and Toronto in May on whether the proposal should be approved.

If the settlement is allowed to proceed, the network will push for at least 2,000 survivors to opt out in an effort to void the deal.

But the government could still push ahead regardless of how many people say they don’t want to be part of the settlement, lawyer Brian Meronek told the gathering.

There is also no guarantee that provinces won’t revoke income assistance payments if someone becomes ineligible after receiving a settlement payout, said Meronek, who represents a group in Manitoba that opposes the settlement.

Cardinal and other organizers have warned survivors to be wary after hearing reports of some lawyers offering to help navigate the settlement in exchange for exploitative contingency fees.

The network is a survivor-led organization based in Ottawa founded in 2014 that offers information and support for survivors. The group has 300 members, and Cardinal said it reaches thousands more online, through its toll-free number and via presentations and gatherings.

The network is also involved in two research projects, the first by Raven Sinclair at the University of Regina about the experience of the ’60s Scoop survivors, using interviews and archival research.

The second is a geographic information system that maps the diaspora of survivors, including their origins and where they were placed.

The Canadian Press, Feb 19, 2018


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