Tag Archives: Manitoba

A totem pole in Manitoba? German board game accused of stereotypical portrayal of Indigenous people

“Manitoba” is a product of German company DLP Games. Some Manitobans are upset about the game’s stereotypical ideas of Indigenous people. (DLP Games )

Board game called Manitoba features depictions that are inaccurate and offensive, game enthusiast says

A German board game called Manitoba is drawing a lot of criticism for the way it portrays the culture of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The game, called Manitoba, is a product of DLP Games.

“This game is set in the Canadian province of Manitoba with its green hills and majestic mountains, large lakes, endless prairies and forests,” the English-language version of the game’s instructions state.

“It deals with the life of the inhabitants in harmony with the different seasons and the capriciousness of nature.

“Players represent different clans of the Cree Indians, taking care of the material progress as well as of the spiritual development of the clan. At the end of autumn, all clans finally come together to determine the new chief from the clan that has progressed the furthest!”

Ross says the game’s artwork is problematic as it’s an inaccurate depiction of indigenous peoples in Manitoba. (DLP Games)

The artwork accompanying the game includes images of a totem pole and other imagery that is not part the cultures of Manitoba’s Indigenous Peoples.

The game has drawn heavy criticism on the BoardGameGeek online forum.

Creations like paintings or board games refer to reality, but also create new reality.– Game designer Reiner Stockhausen

Governor General’s Award-winning writer Ian Ross is an Indigenous board game enthusiast and the founder of the Winnipeg Board Game Club.

Though the artwork is problematic, what some people have found most troubling is the game’s portrayal of Indigenous spirituality, he told CBC News.

“I think for some people, that’s the real sticky point, the thing they find most egregious, is the commodification of our culture,” he said.

He said it’s ridiculous that the German game makers didn’t do at least some research online before creating the game.

That being said, Ross said he’s happy to see that at least there is a conversation about what is wrong with the game, and is hopeful the publisher will change it.

“There was a time when the thing wouldn’t even have been talked about,” he said.

Game is fiction, designer stresses

Game designer Reiner Stockhausen said he hasn’t heard concerns about the game content from Indigenous people so far.

In an English-language email to CBC News, the German speaker stressed that the game is fictional.

“There is nothing wrong with simplification and abstraction in a fictional creation. Look on the wide history of literature, visual arts or the younger history of board game design and you will see, that it’s firstly impossible not to simplify or to hark back to images and conceptions,” he wrote.

“So creations like paintings or board games refer to reality, but also create new reality.”

Stockhausen said any stereotypes he or German people have about Cree people are positive, citing a Greenpeace sticker called “Weissagung der Cree,” which translates to “prophecy of the Cree.”

A Greenpeace bumper sticker Stockhausen cited as influential to DLP’s understanding of Cree culture. (Submitted by Reiner Stockhausen)

In English, it roughly translates as: “Only after the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned, the last fish has been caught will you find that one cannot eat gold.”

The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs attributes the quote to a member of the Osage Nation, whose traditional territory spanned, in different periods, from what’s now Pennsylvania and Ohio to Kansas and Oklahoma, according to the Osage Nation website.

Stockhausen said his co-editor declined to answer questions, but said he liked the sound of the word “Manitoba.”

“We do research as much and as long till we have all the information, we searched for. But as fiction is not dealing with information, [research] is not a mandatory part of the creative process of making games,” he wrote.

“Whether the decision for this title turned out well or not is a question that depends on the eyes of the viewer. From a European view it seems rather coherent,” he wrote.

CBC News · Posted: Sep 12, 2018

[SOURCE]

Two women charged with inciting hatred after social media post called for “shoot an Indian day”

Two women have been arrested and charged after racist comments on a Facebook page called for “a 24-hour purge” and a “shoot an Indian day.”

RCMP say the women, along with another who has not yet been arrested, posted hateful comments online after some vehicles were vandalized.

A Manitoba woman, Destine Spiller ranted on a Flin Flon Facebook page, blaming the local First Nations community for damage to her car after it was spray-painted with large, black lettering on all sides.

(Destine Spiller/Facebook)

Spiller’s post escalated into racist and threatening language against First Nations people.

In the comments, she said that she was going to “kill some Indians when I get home” and talked about putting together a day to shoot “Indians.”

A second woman agreed with her, and suggested getting a shotgun and alcohol.

A Facebook user under the name Raycine Chaisson suggested “a 24-hour purge.” Destine Spiller commented “it’s time to keep the animals locked up or have a shoot an indian day!”

According to CTV News, RCMP haven’t released the names of the women but said a 25-year-old from Denare Beach, Sask and a 32-year-old from Flin Flon, are facing charges of uttering threats and public incitement of hatred.

The same charges are pending against a third person. All three suspects are cooperating with police.

Urban Trendz Hair Studio, a salon in Flin Flon, posted on Facebook that it had let go of an employee following the social media posts.

“Our business has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism. The person in question is no longer employed by us.”

The other woman’s Facebook account stated she worked in Flin Flon as a mentor and as a substitute teacher in Creighton, Sask.

The Flin Flon and Creighton school divisions said they do not tolerate racist behavior and that the woman hasn’t worked with the divisions for “some time.”

The first woman apologized the next day, saying she was angry and upset about her vehicle being tagged.

However, several people had already called RCMP about the women’s comments.

Both women have since deleted their Facebook accounts.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is applauding RCMP actions in investigating and arresting the two women.

Spirit of the Buffalo camp aims to stop Enbridge pipeline at Canada-U.S. border

Protesters near Gretna, Man., are camping near the point where the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline crosses the border. (Patrick Foucault/Radio-Canada)

Spirit of the Buffalo camp set up Wednesday near Gretna, Man.

An Indigenous prayer camp has been set up near the Canada-U.S. border along the Enbridge Line 3 oil pipeline in an effort to stop construction of its replacement.

There were five people at the Spirit of Buffalo camp near Gretna, Man., 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, shortly after noon Wednesday.

Geraldine McManus, a Dakota two-spirit person at the camp, says they can see the crews working on the pipeline on the U.S. side of the border, where the pipeline replacement received approval on June 28.

“We’re standing about 10, 15 feet away from them, so we’re putting ourselves right on the line,” McManus said. “We’re not letting them cross into Canada.”

Enbridge is replacing its Line 3 pipeline from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wis. (The Canadian Press)

The Enbridge Line 3 replacement has received approvals in Canada and construction has begun in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Construction in Manitoba is anticipated to start in August and facilities construction in the right-of-way has already started, an Enbridge spokesperson said.

Enbridge officials say the pipeline, which was built in the 1960s, is deteriorating and needs to be replaced. Current capacity is 390,000 barrels per day, but the new 36-inch pipeline will restore it to its former capacity of 760,000 barrels per day, the company says.

The original 34-inch pipeline will be deactivated and left in place, which Enbridge says causes less damage than removing it.

Line 2 Maintenance

Company officials are aware of the protest camp, an emailed statement says.

“A number of individuals are observing our Line 2 maintenance work site near the Canada-U.S. border. Safety of our workers and others present near the site is our Number 1 priority,” says the email from an Enbridge spokesperson.

“Enbridge respects people’s right to express their views safely and in accordance with the law.”

McManus, who was part of the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2017, says the group arrived at their camp site at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“I just grabbed a group of people really fast and just said, ‘You know what? We can’t wait no more,'” she said.

The group, which is receiving support from the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, has lit a sacred fire and there’s continuous prayer.

“What we’re doing right now is just holding space,” McManus said.

A farmer has told them they are near a firing range where people shoot toward the encampment, but they aren’t moving, McManus said: “They’re going to have to drag me off here and I don’t know how they’re going to be able to do that.”

The land they are on is Crown land and Indigenous land, she says, and Indigenous people have been given the task of protecting the part of the world they call Turtle Island.

“The earth that I walk on right here, this is my mother. I love her, I respect her and I’m going to protect her in any way that I have to,” McManus said.

The government needs to stop dealing with corporations that are destroying the water and the earth, McManus says.

“Politicians are pushing it through for the sake of money,” she said.

“What are we going to do with all that money when we have no more clean water, when Mother Earth is so polluted from these spills and all these leaks in these pipelines?”

Indigenous people fighting to protect the land have allies of every nationality, McManus says.

“We just all, as Canadians, need to get in front of this line,” she said.

[SOURCE]

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

[SOURCE]

Manitoba First Nations Worried About Changes to Child-Welfare System

Cora Morgan, Manitoba First Nations family advocate,

There are concerns more Indigenous children will be permanently taken from their homes

Some Manitoba First Nations say they are worried some of the reforms planned for the province’s troubled child-welfare system could worsen the problem of having Aboriginal children raised in non-Indigenous homes.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says government plans to expand subsidies to include people seeking permanent guardianship of foster children will only make it faster and easier for kids to be taken from their parents forever.

“This is putting children at risk of being in non-Indigenous homes permanently,” said Cora Morgan, the assembly’s First Nations family advocate.

“When probably close to 90 per cent of our children are placed in non-Indigenous homes, and they’re not having access to culturally appropriate services or meaningful connections to culture and identity, then I have trouble with that.”

Indigenous people make up 17 per cent of Manitoba’s population, but almost 90 per cent of the 10,700 children in government care are Aboriginal.

System encourages taking children

First Nations leaders have long said the system is set up to encourage the seizure of children, because agencies are paid partly based on how many kids they care for.

The Progressive Conservative government, elected in 2016, has promised reforms but has yet to release details.

Families Minister Scott Fielding said legislation will be introduced soon to offer the same kind of subsidies foster parents have to people who seek permanent guardianship. The aim is to give kids a more stable environment rather than have them bouncing between temporary foster homes.

Morgan is worried the subsidies will encourage the current majority of non-Indigenous foster parents to seek permanent care of their charges. Fielding said his goal is to entice more family members who may not otherwise be able to afford to take care of the children.

This is putting children at risk of being in non-Indigenous homes permanently. – Cora Morgan

“We absolutely want more permanent guardianship, and the vast majority of people who take on permanent guardianship is a family member,” he said.

Not providing subsidies to permanent guardians in Manitoba means that “for a lot of people that may take on someone, that is a barrier to basically taking on a lifelong commitment.”

Fielding said courts are already required under law to favour family members in awarding permanent guardianship, so the expanded subsidies should make it more possible that children end up in the culture and language to which they are accustomed.

Fielding is also working on other changes first announced last month, including the launch of customary care, which allows First Nations children to stay in their community in the care of extended family and community leaders.

Preventative supports

The government has also promised to focus more on preventative supports for families to help them before they face apprehension.

A public inquiry report released in 2013 into the death of Phoenix Sinclair urged the government to address the fast-rising number of Indigenous children being taken from their parents.

Two years later, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report called on all governments to provide adequate resources to keep Indigenous families together and, when children are apprehended, ensure they are placed with families where they can maintain ties to their language and culture.Assembly of First Nations National chief says there is a gap in services and programs for Indigenous children on reserves that needs to be immediately addressed. Perry Bellegarde spoke after a demonstration on Parliament Hill.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]