Tag Archives: Aboriginals

Former SQ Officer Alain Juneau, Accused of Abuse of Aboriginals, Found Dead at Home


Alain Juneau was facing charges dating back to the 1990s, when he was a Sûreté du Québec officer in the northern village of Schefferville, Que. (Radio-Canada)

Red Power Media | January 4, 2017

MONTREAL — The coroner’s office in Quebec confirmed Wednesday it is investigating the death of a retired officer recently charged with sexual assault in connection with an investigation into claims of abuse against indigenous women.

Alain Juneau, 56, died in his home Sunday in Rimouski, 300 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, coroner’s office spokeswoman Genevieve Guilbault said by email.

“His death is currently under investigation by a coroner and any information related to the probable cause and circumstances surrounding his death will be included in the coroner’s report, which will be made public in the coming months,” she said.

Juneau, a retired provincial police officer, was charged in November with sexual assault and assault, allegedly committed between 1992 and 1994 in Schefferville, a town on the Lower North Shore.

He was one of two retired officers charged after Montreal police concluded a high-profile investigation into claims that indigenous women in northern Quebec were abused by police.

Originally six provincial police officers in the northern town of Val-d’Or were accused of physically and sexually abusing indigenous women following an investigative report by Radio-Canada in 2015.

Quebec’s Public Security Department mandated the Montreal police force to investigate the allegations.

By April 2016, Montreal police had 38 cases of complaints of police abuse, including rape, sexual assault, harassment and so-called “starlight tours,” where police would allegedly take people against their will and drive them far outside town and abandon them.

In November, Crown prosecutors concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to charge any of the six provincial police officers originally accused, but brought charges against Juneau and another officer for alleged assault committed in a separate northern town.

Premier Philippe Couillard announced in December the creation of a provincial inquiry into relations between First Nations peoples and various government-run bodies, including the police.

Source: The Canadian Press

First Nations Deeply Involved In Natural Resource Development

First Nations Benefits and Opportunities

First Nations Benefits and Opportunities: Chevron

Report commissioned by the Indian Resource Council finds First Nations are deeply involved in natural resource development.

The Canadian Press | June 22, 2016

Canada’s First Nations have a stake worth hundreds of millions of dollars in resource industry development and are likely to call more of the industry’s shots in the future, concludes a research paper.

“There is not going to be a very substantial expansion of the resource sector in Canada without full partnerships with indigenous Canadians,” said Ken Coates of the University of Saskatchewan.

Coates wrote the report for the Indian Resource Council, an aboriginal group that represents First Nations oil and gas producers.

Coates notes that aboriginal opinion on new energy, pipeline and mineral projects reflects the same splits in the rest of Canada.

He writes while many “connected to broader environmental and climate change protesters” oppose such developments, others welcome well-regulated proposals.

Coates cites several examples of bands that have prospered. Saskatchewan’s Meadow Lake Tribal Council controls companies that earn up to $80 million and employ nearly 200 aboriginals through work with uranium mines.

Alberta’s Onion Lake band owns 400 oil wells that pumped 14,000 barrels in 2014.

Gerald Amos, Chair of Friends of Wild Salmon, speaks as BC First Nations Leaders come together to voice their rejections for the Petronas' Pacific Northwest LNG project during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Gerald Amos, Chair of Friends of Wild Salmon, speaks as BC First Nations Leaders come together to voice their rejections for the Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG project during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Other First Nations have taken equity positions in projects proposed for their traditional lands, such as the 35 per cent ownership share offered B.C.’s Haisla band in the Kitimat LNG plan. The band sold the option and reinvested the money.

Coates writes, however, that owning service businesses and equity stakes has not yet brought much in the way of control.

“Equity ownership rarely includes First Nations representation on the corporate board of governors,” he said.

As well, aboriginal equity in the resource sector is dwarfed by the amount of money in play. Suncor, Canada’s largest energy firm, is worth nearly $43 billion.

But companies – driven by a series of legal judgments – are slowly accepting the need to include aboriginals earlier and earlier in the process, said Coates.

“The known rules now include First Nations and indigenous engagement. Any company that wants to do business in Canada should know now that early involvement of the indigenous population is the only way to go.”

Representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, as well as those from a number of bands contacted by The Canadian Press, were celebrating National Aboriginal Day and not available for comment.

Coates’s report comes as Canada debates projects such as pipelines that cross many First Nations communities.

Reformed environmental approval “at the highest level possible” would go a long way toward reigniting those stalled projects, Coates suggests. So would a set of federal-provincial-First Nations financial agreements.

Sharing resource revenues with aboriginal governments is increasingly widespread. In the three northern territories, Coates said, it’s already the law and is likely to become standard practice.

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall leads the only province that actively opposes resource-revenue sharing.

Coates said it’s a mistake to think aboriginals are automatically opposed to resource development. He said Canada has a chance to bring its resources to market with the consent and full participation of First Nations.

“The way it’s going to go is real, substantial sustained partnerships,” he said. “This is the way of the future.”


Court Oaths On Eagle Feathers Now Permitted For Aboriginals In Ottawa

Residential school survivor Madeleine Basile holds up an eagle feather as she speaks during the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission, Tuesday December 15, 2015 in Ottawa. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Residential school survivor Madeleine Basile holds up an eagle feather as she speaks during the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation commission, Tuesday December 15, 2015 in Ottawa. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

The Huffington Post Canada | By Jesse Ferreras, 01/26/2016

To swear on a Bible is to pledge that you’ll tell the truth in a courtroom.

But Ontario courts have found a whole new way for indigenous people to swear an oath, rather than have them do it on the text of the Christian faith.

The Ottawa Courthouse is allowing aboriginal people to swear on eagle feathers after two such items were handed over to staff in a ceremony last week, CBC News reported.

They were gifts from Greg Meekis, community justice programme coordinator at the Odawa Native Friendship Centre. He provided them after one of his clients asked to swear on an eagle feather, but wasn’t able to last year.

“I was gifted with feathers during the course of my life as well,” he told the network.

“I’ve had these two, and following the teachings that we are just carriers of these sacred items, the keepers, until such time that there’s an opportunity to pass them on, I saw this opportunity to pass these two eagle feathers on to the courthouse. That way they’ll be available to our people when the time comes.”

NDP MLA Elijah Harper sits in the Manitoba legislature holding an eagle feather for spiritual strength as he delays a house debate on the Meech Lake Accord on June 19, 1990. (Photo: Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press via CP)

NDP MLA Elijah Harper sits in the Manitoba legislature holding an eagle feather for spiritual strength as he delays a house debate on the Meech Lake Accord on June 19, 1990. (Photo: Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press via CP)

Eagles are considered sacred figures in certain indigenous cultures, and they’re often used in important rituals and events.

Former Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper, for example, held an eagle feather as he delayed discussion of the Meech Lake Accord in the provincial legislature in 1990, effectively blocking its passage.

APTN reporter Nigel Newlove said that residential school and religion have left a “sour taste” with indigenous people, and the feathers provide them with a new option.

The feathers will be kept in a case at the Ottawa Courthouse, and court operations director Jan Crozier has been instructed to open it every day to “let the spirits breathe,” the network said.

“They’ll be under lock and key, but they will be breathing every day,” she said.

truth and reconciliation

Debbie Stephens holds an eagle feather as she pauses before the start of the Walk for Reconciliation, part of the closing events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on May 31, 2015 in Gatineau. (Photo: Justin Tang/CP)

Ottawa isn’t the only city that allows people to swear on eagle feathers — any Ontario courthouse can allow witnesses to use them, if they have them.

Feathers were, for example, given to courthouses in North Bay and Brantford, Ont. in 2012, The Toronto Sun reported.

Sherry Lewis, Brantford Native Housing’s then-manager of community programs, suggested that the oath’s wording be changed to the following, for those who chose to swear on them: “This eagle feather symbolizes our direct connection to the Creator for my people and I hold it in the spirit of truth.”


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Aboriginals Far More Likely To Die Violently Than Other Canadians



TORONTO – Canada’s aboriginals were far more likely to die violently than other Canadians in 2014, with aboriginal men at greater risk than women, Statistics Canada reports.

Aboriginals are also much more likely to be accused of violence, according to the agency.

Overall, aboriginals accounted for 23 per cent of all homicide victims last year, even though they made up only five per cent of the population.

“Aboriginal people were victims of homicide in 2014 at a rate that was about six times higher than that of non-aboriginal people,” Statistics Canada says.

Experts have long blamed residential schools, poverty and lack of supports for the disproportionate rates of violence and substance abuse among Canada’s aboriginal communities.

Lisa Monchalin, a criminology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, says the statistics reflect the sorry history of how Canada’s aboriginals have been treated.

“We had seven generations of our people put through those residential schools where we experienced violence,” Monchalin says.

“All of the trauma and the impacts resulting from that are still felt in our communities.”

However, last year marked the first time StatCan’s homicide survey had complete police-reported data on the aboriginal identity of victims and those accused of homicide.

The data shows aboriginal males were seven times more likely to be homicide victims compared with non-aboriginal males and three times more likely than aboriginal females. The rate for aboriginal females was six times higher than for non-aboriginal women.

The data also show police had a significantly higher success rate in solving killings involving aboriginal victims — 85 per cent as opposed to 71 per cent.

Most aboriginal victims knew their killers, with aboriginal women much more likely to be killed by family members than their non-aboriginal counterparts but less likely to die at the hands of a current or former spouse or acquaintance.

The odds of an aboriginal man being killed by a spouse is nine times higher than for non-aboriginal males.

There’s little difference between First Nations and other Canadians when it comes to being killed by a stranger.

When it comes to perpetrators, however, aboriginals are much more likely to be accused of homicides than their non-aboriginal counterparts.

Overall, one-third of Canadians accused last year of homicide were aboriginal — 10 times the rate for non-aboriginal accused.

The differential was especially marked for aboriginal women, who accounted for fully half of all females accused.

The agency also made police-reported data available on the aboriginal identity of female homicide victims for the years 1980 to 2013.

The proportion of homicide victims who are aboriginal women has climbed sharply in recent decades, even though the number of victims has not changed much. That’s because the number of non-aboriginal women killed has been declining since 1991.

Between 1980 and 2014, police reported a total of 6,849 women killed. Female aboriginals accounted for 1,073 or 16 per cent of those.

Aboriginals accounted for one in five female homicide victims last year.

Provincially, aboriginal victims were most likely to be found in Manitoba, where the rate was nine times higher than for non-aboriginal. Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick reported no killings of aboriginals.


Aboriginals are much more likely to be accused of violence

Aboriginals accounted for 23 per cent of all homicide victims last year



Premier’s ’60s Scoop’ Apology Criticized By Manitoba Métis Federation

By Red Power Media, Staff

Manitoba’s Metis Federation President says his people are being left out.

Manitoba’s Metis federation says its people are being left out of an apology — set to happen on Thursday at the legislature — for aboriginal children who were taken from their parents and adopted into white families.

The apology, thought to be the first by a Canadian province, is directed at individuals from the so-called “60s Scoop,” which many see as an extension of Indian residential schools policy.

Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

“It’s an acknowledgment that they did lose contact with their families, their language, their culture,” Selinger told The Canadian Press. “That was an important loss in their life and it needs to be acknowledged. It’s part of the healing process.”

Manitoba’s Metis Federation President David Chartrand said no one from the Manitoba government consulted with the Metis or formally invited him to the event. The Metis were left out of the residential school settlement and it feels like the same thing is happening again, he said.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, says his people are being left out of an apology for the '60s Scoop.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, says his people are being left out of an apology for the ’60s Scoop.

Manitoba appears to be blaming Ottawa for what is known as the ’60s Scoop when it was provincial social workers who seized aboriginal children and placed them with families as far away as the southern United States, Chartrand said.

“It’s the province that took our children. It’s the province that sold our children to the United States and other places. It’s the province that did harm to my families.”

“Clearly we’re not going to let the province get away from this.,” said Chartrand.

Paul McKie, spokesman for Selinger, said numerous aboriginal organizations have been invited to witness the apology. The Manitoba Metis Federation was invited Friday by phone, by email and formally by letter, he said.

The province, along with affected adoptees, has been working on the apology for months, he said.

“Many people, groups and organizations have been invited,” McKie said. “There were informal consultations with many people.”

An apology without a plan and proper consultation with those affected is empty, said Chartrand, who has worked with ’60s Scoop adoptees and their families for years.

“You can’t just say ‘I’m sorry’ and walk away. You did permanent damage here. You tore entire communities apart. Maybe they’re thinking if they say ‘I’m sorry’ that ends my responsibility.”

Grand Chief David Harper, with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak which represents northern First Nations, still remembers children being taken away from his community, never to be seen again. He said he will be there to witness the apology but will also be looking for more.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, thousands of aboriginal children were taken from their homes by child-welfare services and placed with non-aboriginal families. Many have filed class-action lawsuits in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta. Another class-action lawsuit in Ontario is still making its way through the courts.

Residential school survivors have had a formal apology from Ottawa and were able to speak at hearings held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which released its final report. The ’60s Scoop’ adoptees have been fighting for the same recognition of their experience and a formal apology. 

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