A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘first nations

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a Toronto family known for its Christmas lights display may be forced to ratchet back by city inspectors.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the apparent discovery of Kuiper Belt objects around white dwarf WD 1425+540.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper examining the possible orbital inclination of Proxima Centauri b, and points to another one speculating about upper limits to the masses of other exoplanets orbiting P_roxima Centauri.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to interviews with different historians noting how close the United States is to a scenario from 1930s Germany.
  • The LRB Blog notes that the actions of the American deep state to undermine elements of the Trump Administration seen as potentially threatening will certainly also undermine American democracy.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw looks at reasons for the continuing gap in life outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer links to a paper looking at the effect of Huey Long’s populism on Louisiana’s economy, noting that he had little effect on the markets. This suggests that counting on the markets to reign in populists before the crash may be a mistake.
  • Strange Maps links to a map and history of the Gagauz of Moldova.
  • Torontoist looks at the continuing decline of live music venues in Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes the origins of Der Spiegel‘s cover art showing Trump with the severed head of lady liberty in a Cuban exile’s work.
  • Window on Eurasia notes differences between how Russians and Americans think about ethnicity and citizenship in their diverse societies.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Centauri Dreams notes the sad news that, because of the destructive way in which the stellar activity of young red dwarfs interacts with oxygen molecules in exoplanet atmospheres, Proxima Centauri b is likely not Earth-like.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of Haidt that conservatives are uniquely interested in the idea of purity.
  • D-Brief notes the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in the heart of 47 Tucanae.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the search for Planet Nine.</li.
  • Far Outliers reports on the politics in 1868 of the first US Indian Bureau.
  • Imageo maps the depletion of sea ice in the Arctic.
  • Language Hat remembers the life of linguist Patricia Crampton.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes some of the potential pitfalls involved with Buy American campaigns (and like political programs in other countries), including broad-based xenophobia.
  • The LRB Blog looks at nationalism and identity in their intersections with anti-Muslim sentiment in Québec.
  • The Map Room Blog links to an essay on the last unmapped places.
  • Torontoist notes the 2017 Toronto budget is not going to support affordable housing.
  • Transit Toronto reports on TTC revisions to its schedules owing to shortfalls in equipment, like buses.
  • Window on Eurasia claims that Putin needs a successful war in Ukraine to legitimize his rule, just as Nicholas II needed a victory to save Tsarism.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO shares ten facts about Union Station.
  • Centauri Dreams describes possible ice volcanoes on Ceres.
  • Crooked Timber argues in favour of implementing a basic income before a universal income, on grounds of reducing inequality and easing the very poor.
  • The Crux shares an argument against dark matter.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze talks about nitrogen and oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres as biomarkers.
  • Far Outliers looks at intertribal warfare on the American plains in the 19th century.
  • The LRB Blog talks about critical shortages of translators, and funding for said, at official functions in the United Kingdom.
  • Language Log tries to translate the Chinese word used by the head of the Chinese supreme court to insult Donald Trump.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing how particular areas of the United States are especially dependent on foreign trade.
  • pollotenchegg maps areas of relative youth and agedness in Ukraine.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at what happened to his Twitter stats after he quite.
  • Towleroad links to a new duet featuring Chrissie Hynde and Neil Tennant.
  • Window on Eurasia warns of a Russian invasion of Belarus and argues that Novgorod’s proto-democratic tradition no longer exists.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO notes the Distillery District’s Toronto Light Festival.
  • Border Thinking Laura Agustín looks at migrants and refugees in James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia.
  • Centauri Dreams suggests that Perry’s expedition to Japan could be taken as a metaphor for first contact.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a report about how brown dwarf EPIC 219388192 b.
  • The LRB Blog notes the use of torture as a technique of intimidation.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at China’s very heavy investment in Laos.
  • The NYRB Daily examines violence and the surprising lack thereof in El Salvador.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw touches on the controversies surrounding Australia Day.
  • Transit Toronto reports the sentencing of some people who attacked TTC officers.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that a Putin running out of resources needs to make a deal.

[LINK] “Federal government vows action on mercury contamination in Grassy Narrows ‘once and for all’”

The Toronto Star‘s Jayme Poisson and David Bruser report on the latest about the pervasive mercury contamination in the vicinity of the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario. May the Canadian government, or the Ontario government, or somebody, or some combination of somebodies, finally get around to doing something about it.

The Chief of Grassy Narrows First Nation is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to commit in writing to cleaning up the mercury that has contaminated the river near his community.

Late Monday, a spokesperson for Trudeau said the federal government will take action to deal with the Grassy Narrows mercury contamination “once and for all.”

“I am pleased to see Trudeau finally stepping up and accepting his responsibility to solve the ongoing mercury crisis that my people have endured for three generations,” said Chief Simon Fobister.

“We have seen many politicians and their promises come and go, and still our river is poisoned with mercury. I call on Trudeau to clearly commit in writing to clean our river until our fish are safe to eat. Trudeau must commit to a short timeline and a sufficient budget to make our dream of a healthy river a reality. Our youth yearn to see our river cleaned soon. Trudeau must not frustrate their hope.”

The federal government will work closely with the province and First Nations leaders to address mercury contamination that has plagued the northern community for decades, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Star. The vow of action followed requests for help from Chief Simon Fobister Sr., a New Democrat MP, and the recent publication by the Star of new test results showing contaminated land.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 18, 2017 at 8:45 pm

[LINK] “When I was 18, I went on a vision quest that changed my life “

Toronto Life shared First Nations educator Eddy Robinson‘s account of how his experiences of First Nations spirituality changed his life. There’s definitely something to this, I think, about the transformative effect of the processes and procedures involved. My memory of the time spent in a Mi’kmaq sweat lodge while during field research for an undergraduate paper is one of my fondest of my young adulthood.

I didn’t have a happy childhood. My Cree father, a residential-school survivor, and my Ojibwa-Anishinabe mother split when I was three and sent me to live with my grandparents. I slept on a cot in their living room, and my little brother’s crib was in the hallway. When I was 10, I moved back in with my mom in a subsidized housing complex at Pape and Danforth. We argued all the time. A few months later, I reconnected with my dad, who was living in Sault Ste. Marie. When I was 14, after a particularly nasty fight with my mom, I hopped on a Greyhound bus and went to stay with my dad and his girlfriend. That didn’t work out, so they put me up in a tiny one-bedroom apartment and bought me groceries once a week. Soon I was drinking and smoking weed. I was arrested several times—for stealing, for fighting, for selling drugs—and spent four months in juvie. Eventually, I was remanded back into my mother’s custody. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I knew she’d let me do what I wanted.

When I moved back to Toronto at age 15, my grandparents insisted that I prepare for my confirmation at St. Ann’s Catholic Church near Gerrard and Broadview, where they were parishioners. The church has a Native People’s Parish, which combines Catholicism with elements of Indigenous spirituality. The church leaders incorporate sage-burning ceremonies into Mass, for instance, and translate hymns into Indigenous languages. As part of my confirmation, the priest insisted that I go on a vision quest—a ritual that lasts anywhere from 24 hours to a week. You’re left alone in the wilderness without food or supplies, and you pray to the Creator for guidance and wisdom.

On the night of my vision quest, I set up my tent at Dreamer’s Rock, a sacred place on Manitoulin Island. I was skeptical. 
I just thought I’d be abandoned outside, bored, hungry and alone. To my shock, I had a vision that night. It was an old man, standing beyond my tent. He looked like he was beckoning me. I didn’t recognize him, but I believe he was a manifestation of First Nations culture—my culture—which was waiting for me to embrace it.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm

[ISL] “Indigenous Canadians face a crisis as climate change eats away island home”

The Guardian is the latest news organization to cover the erosion of Lennox Island, chief Mi’kmaq reserve on Prince Edward Island, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Ashifa Kassam’s article. Between erosion and rising sea levels, it’s an open question as to whether one of the most noteworthy centres of Mi’kmaq culture left can last to the end of the century.

His hands tucked tightly in the pockets of his jeans, Gilbert Sark nodded at the ice-covered bay stretched out before him.

Decades ago, his grandfather – at the time one of the few in this First Nations community to own a truck – would spend winters ferrying people across the frozen bay to Prince Edward Island. One wintry day, the truck hit a patch of soft ice, sending it plunging into the frigid waters below.

His grandfather didn’t make it out of the truck in time. “That bay has claimed a lot of people,” said Sark. “Now it’s claiming land.”

For as long as anyone can remember, life on Lennox Island – a community of some 450 people on the east coast of Canada – has been set to the rhythm of the waters that lap its shores of red sand. But climate change is drastically altering this relationship, sending sea levels rising, pelting the small island with fiercer and more frequent storms and bringing warmer winters that eat away at the ice cover that traditionally protected the shores for months at a time.

The result is impossible to ignore. “We’re losing our island,” said Sark. A survey of the island carried out in 1880 counted 1,520 acres of land. In 2015, surveyors mapped out 1,100 acres of land on Lennox Island – suggesting more than 300 football fields worth of land have been swallowed by the sea within the span of a few generations.

Sark pointed to the shoreline next to the cemetery where his mother and many other members of his family are buried. “There used to be a field right there. We used to play football in that area.”

The community recently spent tens of thousands of dollars to save the graveyard from the encroaching waters, building a wall made up of three layers of rock. “They had to fix it or there would be caskets going out into our bay,” said Sark. “It was that close.”

The scars of the island’s battle against climate change are visible across this low-lying island. Local people recall playing baseball where boats now bob in the water; homes that once sat 20ft from the shore now teeter precariously close to the sea. The shoreline has crept up to the edges of the community’s decade-old sewage lagoon, sparking concerns that a storm surge could send waste into Malpeque Bay, a world-renowned site for harvesting oysters.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm