Mural for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Vandalized With Racial Slurs

Isha Jules in Enderby, BC, at the mural painted to raise awareness of murdered and missing women. Photo: Warrior Publications

Mural for missing and murdered women in Enderby vandalized; RCMP investigating

A mural honouring missing and murdered indigenous women in a North Okanagan community was defaced with racial slurs.

According to infotel.ca, the mural, painted last year by artist Isha Jules at the skate park in Enderby B.C., was a statement that missing women would not be forgotten. It boldly stated “No more stolen sisters.”

Sometime on May 9, it was vandalized and painted over with the words “No more drunk stolen squaw sisters.”

The vandal added the words ‘drunk’ and ‘squaw’ to the ‘No more stolen sisters’ mural. Image Credit: River Johnson

It’s not the first time the mural has been targeted. A few days earlier, someone painted a black widow spider on it.

The mural was for all murdered and missing women but concern has been raised around the country about indigenous women in particular. Four women are currently missing from the area, and a fifth woman was found dead at a rural farm about 30 minutes out of Enderby.

Police are aware of the vandalism and an investigation is ongoing.

City of Enderby Mayor Greg McCune says he met with the RCMP and is hopeful they will find the person responsible.

As of Thursday morning, the vulgar remarks are already painted over, plans are underway to repaint the mural, and a rally is being organized for Saturday to denounce the hateful act.

Anyone wishing to attend the rally is asked to meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at the skate park on Old Vernon Road.

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Indigenous rights advocate appeals for return of drums stolen from van in Calgary

30 hand drums were taken from her van in the Dalhousie area on Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (Facebook: Chantal Stormsong Chagnon)

An Indigenous rights advocate is calling on the community to help locate dozens of traditional drums stolen from a van in northwest Calgary this week.

Chantal Chagnon says she uses the drums for marches, rallies, and educational purposes.

A black duffel bag, with 30 hand drums and a ceremonial knife inside, were taken Tuesday morning from outside the Cree8 office in the Dalhousie area.

Chagnon who tours Calgary schools has posted several images on her Facebook page and Cree8’s wesbsite in the hopes that someone will come forward with more information about the missing drums.

Chagnon is a singer, educator and Indigenous-rights advocate with ties to the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.

She says the drums — which she made herself — hold a cultural and spiritual significance, which help bring together people from all backgrounds.

Canadian man lynched in Peruvian Amazon was accused in fatal shooting of Indigenous elder

Traditional healer and elder Olivia Arevalo Lomas of the Shipibo-Conibo Indigenous people of Peru was shot and killed at her home.

A man reportedly from Canada has been killed in Peru after villagers accused him in the shooting death of an Indigenous spiritual elder.

Olivia Arevalo Lomas, 81, a defender of environmental rights and traditional plant healer of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe was found dead with two gunshot wounds last week at her home in the Ucayali region of the Amazon rainforest.

Local media claims the killer pulled up to Lomas’ house on a motorbike and called out her name.

When she appeared at the door, a gunman opened fire and Lomas was killed instantly, with the shooter fleeing the scene.

According to Global News, local villagers pointed the finger at Sebastian Woodroffe, 41, from the Comox Valley in B.C., who had travelled to Peru to study hallucinogenic medicine. He’s believed to have been studying with Lomas.

Woodroffe, who lived nearby was blamed for the fatal shooting of Lomas and he was killed that same day by a vigilante mob.

He had not been named by police as a suspect in her murder.

Sebastian Woodroffe was lynched in Peru after being accused of killing Olivia Arevalo Lomas.

crowdfunding page set up by Woodroffe says he wanted to explore Ayahuasca, a local brew that contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT) – a powerful hallucinogenic and psychedelic drug.

BBC reports, the hallucinogenic medicine has become increasingly popular with backpackers who take part in Ayahuasca ceremonies in the rainforest.

Police did not investigate Woodroffe’s death until cellphone video on local media showed a man who was beaten, then lynched and dragged through a village.

Police found Woodroffe’s body in an unmarked shallow grave on Saturday.

Canadian officials are investigating Woodroffe’s death.

It is not clear, why the villagers anger focussed on the Canadian as other indigenous leaders in the past have been targeted for efforts to keep illegal loggers off Indigenous lands.

“We want the communities of the Amazon to know that there is justice,” Ricardo Palma Jimenez, the head of a local group of prosecutors told TV Peru in Ucayali. “But not justice by their own hands.”

According to The Guardian, Ronald Suárez, the highest authority of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe, said that the men responsible for the lynching “acted on the spur of the moment and resorted to traditional justice.”

“But we are a peaceful people who have always lived in harmony with nature,” he insisted. “We have little confidence in the police as, so often, crimes against us go unpunished.”

No arrests have been made in either of the cases.

‘Intimidated no longer’: Families march in Saskatoon amid allegations of police violence

Sheila Tataquason said she didn’t resist the police dog that bit her in 2013, even after it latched onto her arm. (Guy Quenneville/CBC News)

Parents of 2 dead Indigenous men among those calling for end to police violence

The families of an Indigenous man who was shot at by police and another whose death is at the centre of a police inquest joined a Saskatoon march against police violence on Saturday.

Wearing a shirt that reads “#Justice4Austin,” Agatha Eaglechief joined the march of about a dozen people who played drums, sang songs and carried signs past a heavily trafficked 22nd Street West, as they travelled from Pleasant Hill Park to the police station.

Agatha’s son Austin Eaglechief died in summer 2017 following a police chase in which shots were fired by officers. She said she still does not know what led to shots being fired that day, despite having seen helicopter video footage.

“Everyday I wake up hoping I can get an answer,” Agatha said.

Agatha Eaglechief at a march against police violence, holding a photo of her deceased son Austin Eaglechief. (Guy Quenneville/CBC News)

While an autopsy clears gunshots as the cause of death, which included a high-speed crash with another vehicle, Agatha said in her view shots should have never been fired because her son had mental health and addiction issues.

‘I’m still fighting,’ says mother of Jordan Lafond

Among those speaking before the march began was Charmaine Dreaver, the mother of Jordan Lafond. Lafond died on in October 2016 after crashing into a fence during a police chase. His death is the subject of an upcoming June coroner’s inquest.

“I’m very upset about [how] the police act against so many people [that] have been hurt. It’s been very, very hard. I’m still fighting. I’ll never give up on the fight for Jordan,” Dreaver said to those who gathered.

“We need to be treated better and equally as humans.”

Charmaine Dreaver, left, with family members are still waiting for answers at an upcoming inquest into her son Jordan Lafond’s death. (Guy Quenneville/CBC News)

Police dog bite victim speaks

Sheila Tataquason was bitten by a police dog in 2013 and has been vocal about how it impacted her life.

The canine officer had been chasing an armed robbery suspect and latched onto Tataquason’s arm, although she was not involved, and has not received compensation from police despite facing nerve damage, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder since she was bit.

“I’m here to support all the people and not to be intimidated no longer by the Saskatoon city police,” she said.

Organizers say events like this, organized by the Saskatoon Coordinating Committee Against Police Violence, are a push toward greater transparency by police and also share information about citizens’ rights when it comes to police.

CBC News · Posted: Mar 31, 2018

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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 ‘OFFICIAL’

“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.

THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE

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.

Canoe.com

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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 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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