GOATS AND SODA: Why does TB have such a hold on the Inuit communities of the Canadian Arctic? – by Melody Schreiber (National Public Radio – May 2, 2024)

https://www.npr.org/

The ancient and deadly disease of tuberculosis has an unlikely grip on the Canadian Arctic. In a country where the rate of TB is among the world’s lowest – 4.8 active cases per 100,000 people – the territory of Nunavut is an extraordinary outlier.

About 1 in 500 people had active TB in 2021 in Nunavut, which is home to about 40,000 people, most of them Inuit. The most recent wave of TB infections in Nunavut began in January 2021 in the community of Pangnirtung. Two years later, Pond Inlet began reporting cases. A few months after that, it had spread to Naujaat.

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They need new homes, roads and schools. But Indigenous communities across Canada ‘can’t catch up’ thanks to staggering $349B infrastructure gap – by Robert Cribb (Toronto Star – April 10, 2024)

https://www.thestar.com/

In Cat Lake First Nation, there’s only ever enough money to build three new houses a year. For the community of 680 people northwest of Sioux Lookout, Ont., the level of federal infrastructure funding doesn’t come close to addressing the community’s long-standing struggles with housing disrepair, overcrowding and mould, says chief Russell Wesley.

New housing applications to Ottawa just keep piling up, Wesley says. Meanwhile, multiple families live together in some of the reserve’s already dilapidated homes. “We can’t catch up. We can never catch up.”

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It’s shameful that Canada has among the lowest and highest tuberculosis rates in the world – by Editorial Board (Toronto Star – March 22, 2024)

https://www.thestar.com/

The virtual elimination of TB in most of Canada reveals we can end the epidemic — if we want to. We just haven’t wanted to with it comes to Inuit communities.

In the 1940s, tuberculosis among the Inuit became a literal stigma: People infected were stamped with “TB” on their hands, a “scarlet letter” signifying that they needed to be separated from society.

They were therefore packed up, and, in a measure reminiscent of the residential schools, were forcibly removed from their homes and families and shipped south, to sanitoria and hospitals.

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OPINION: Canada’s other (and worse) housing crisis – by Editorial Board (Globe and Mail – March 21, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ask any Canadian politician about the housing crisis these days and, no matter their political stripe, they will recite party lines about what is being done, or ought to be done, to ensure that everyone has access to affordable and safe housing that is appropriate to their needs.

Then, just for fun, say, no, you meant the housing crisis on First Nations reserves – the one where Indigenous people are four times more likely than non-Indigenous people to live in overcrowded housing, and six times more likely to live in homes that don’t meet basic standards.

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Impassable winter roads create ‘dire’ situation for Ontario First Nations: NAN (Canadian Press – February 10, 2024)

https://www.cp24.com/

Impassable winter roads are delaying vital shipments and threatening the safety of First Nations across northern Ontario, leaders warned as they pressed the provincial and federal government for support.

An unseasonably warm winter, intensified by human-caused climate change, has left many remote First Nations cut off from an essential road network built over frozen land, lakes and rivers. The situation has prompted recent state of emergency declarations by First Nations in Manitoba and Ontario, as well as repeated requests for support.

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‘Done being patient’: Treaty 4 First Nations suing Ottawa over $5 annuity payments – by Jeremy Simes (Canadian Press/Toronto Star – February 11, 2024)

https://www.thestar.com/

Treaty 4 First Nations suing Ottawa over annuities

REGINA – Chief Lynn Acoose says she’s taking a step elders and past Indigenous leaders in her community have long been reluctant to.

The chief of Zagime Anishinabek, home to several First Nations in southeastern Saskatchewan, has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the federal government. The suit alleges Ottawa has not kept its end of the bargain over annuity payments after signing Treaty 4 nearly 150 years ago.

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Attawapiskat member files UN human rights complaint over decades-long struggle for clean drinking water – by Isaac Phan Nay (Indigi News – January 25, 2024)

https://indiginews.com/

Charles Hookimaw’s submission to the international organization aims to hold ‘Canada’ accountable: ‘It’s been dragging on too long’

An Attawapiskat member has submitted a 500-page human rights complaint to the United Nations over his First Nation’s lack of access to clean drinking water. For months, Charles Hookimaw has been working with lawyers to draft a document and recently mailed it to Geneva, where it is set to be considered by the United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In the complaint, he details his community’s decades-long struggle with tainted water — and he’s hoping to speak on the matter before their permanent forum on Indigenous People. As “Canada” vies for a spot on the UNHRC, experts say the complaint could be a small step towards more equitable access to drinking water.

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After years of trouble, can the AFN’s new chief avoid another ‘explosion,’ and unite First Nations? – by Joy SpearChief-Morris (Toronto Star – January 30, 2024)

https://www.thestar.com/

Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak has inherited an organization that has been buffeted by internal strife.

OTTAWA — The emotion in the room was electric as Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak stood in a full buckskin dress to be sworn in as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa last month. In an election that ran to seven ballots, the former regional chief from Manitoba became the youngest person, the first mother and just the second woman elected to head the AFN in its 64-year history.

She also inherited an organization that has been buffeted by internal strife. Among its more than 630 First Nations are some whose members feel the AFN no longer effectively represents them. Many First Nations are divided over legislative moves in Ottawa that, critics charge, promise to advance the self-government rights of some at the cost of others.

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Neskantaga First Nation works to uplift community since suicide crisis 10 years ago – by Liam Casey (Toronto Star – January 30, 2024)

https://www.thestar.com/

NESKANTAGA FIRST NATION, ONT. – Small, white crosses dot a graveyard just outside Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario. Some graves are marked with white picket fences, flowers have been placed at others. Most have no names or ages, but some do. A 16-year-old girl rests in one plot, a 13-year-old in another. Suicide brought them there.

Ten years ago, Neskantaga First Nation – a remote community with a population of about 450 – declared a state of emergency after four suicides and several attempted suicides by teens. The state of emergency officially remains, but the community quietly spoke about a small milestone this past summer: no one had killed themselves in Neskantaga in three years.

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OPINION: How have we grown numb to the suicide of Indigenous children? – by Tanya Talaga (Globe and Mail – November 27, 2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

“There have been at least 599 reported deaths by suicide in 30 Northwestern Ontario First Nations between 1986 and June, 2023 – a staggering number that is already out of date as I write this.”

In another world, the death of 11-year-old Elaina Cecilia Nancy Beardy would have shaken Canada’s smug belief that this country offers all its children a good and safe start. Her death would have been the lead story on newscasts and in newspapers, inspiring governments and all of society to move mountains to ensure this never happens again.

Instead, Elaina’s death by suicide on Oct. 28 scarcely received any public mention or attention outside of her family’s northern Ontario communities of Kingfisher Lake First Nation and the neighbouring Sachigo Lake First Nation, situated about 350 km and 450 km north of Sioux Lookout, respectively.

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Wab Kinew officially sworn in as Manitoba’s 1st First Nations premier – by Sarah Petz (CBC News Manitoba – October 18, 2023)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/

New cabinet sworn in Wednesday includes First Nations women for 1st time in province’s history

Wab Kinew has officially become Manitoba’s 25th premier, and the first First Nations premier of a Canadian province, following a colourful and tradition-filled swearing-in ceremony that Kinew said marked the dawn of a new day for the province.

Kinew took his oath of office, which was administered by Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Anita Neville, while wearing a ceremonial First Nations headdress in a ceremony at The Leaf in Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park. After taking his oath, Kinew greeted the crowd in the languages of seven different Manitoba Indigenous nations, and said Wednesday was the start of a new era.

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Solid NDP win cements Kinew as 1st First Nations premier in Manitoba history – by Bryce Hoye (CBC News Manitoba – October 3, 2023)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/

New Democrats emerge with enough seats to form majority government

The NDP sailed to victory Tuesday night with a solid win that cements leader Wab Kinew as Manitoba’s first First Nations premier and also nets the party enough seats to form a majority government. NDP Leader Wab Kinew led his party with a projected win in Fort Rouge, and while results continue to come in, the New Democrats will come away with at least the 29 seats needed to form a majority government.

“This is a great victory for all of us in Manitoba,” Kinew said to thunderous applause at NDP campaign headquarters Tuesday night. “We can do amazing things when we stand together as one province.” Kinew’s win makes Manitoba the first Canadian province to elect a First Nations premier.

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How a First Nations school in Thunder Bay, Ont., combines traditional and land-based learning – by Sarah Law (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 2, 2023)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Matawa Education and Care Centre brings in students from Matawa’s 9 First Nations

It’s been years in the making, but construction has finally finished at the Matawa Education and Care Centre in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The centre invited community members and dignitaries to a grand opening ceremony on Friday to mark the completion of renovations at the building, including its new gymnasium, kitchen, classrooms and Student Care Centre. The day was intentionally chosen to lead into Canada’s third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Saturday.

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Freedom is the reason Canada must be cherished, not cancelled – by Terence Corcoran (National Post – June 28, 2023)

https://nationalpost.com/

The 1867 Project is an eye-opening collection of essays that dig down into mainstream Canadian negativism and expose most of it as the product of twisted ideologies and misunderstandings

The 1867 Project challenges and rejects anti-Canadian identity politics and issues a call for national ideological renewal.

As our troubled nation approaches another Canada Day — the 156th anniversary of Confederation — the celebration is always at risk of being overtaken by people, ideologies and movements that portray Canada’s heritage as a national embarrassment, the product of colonialism, racism, genocidal tendencies, cultural repression and conflict, a place where statues of historical figures deserve to be toppled.

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John A. Macdonald saved more Indigenous lives than any other prime minister – by Greg Piasetzki (National Post – July 2, 2023)

https://nationalpost.com/

Given that he died in 1891, the facts of Sir John A. Macdonald’s life are unchangeable. The story of his life, however, has changed dramatically. For most of Canada’s history, Macdonald was considered a nation-builder worthy of celebration and veneration. Today he is a war criminal, at least to hear some tell it.

But a proper and balanced consideration of Macdonald’s life reveals that, through his own actions and policies, Canada’s first prime minister was directly and deliberately responsible for saving the lives of untold numbers of Indigenous people. Given the temper of our times, this is not likely to be a popular notion. But that does not make it any less true.

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