Indigenous Woman

Indigenous Woman

Monday, 24 October 2011

Really! Is this the education I want for my children?

This past week we had a presentation from the Director of Research.
He shared an article with us that was presented by IBM to the BCSTA summer conference.
I feel fear for BC public schoolchildren and families.
Take a look.

"IBM collaborates with education and government leaders to embrace open and accessible learning environments that focus on every student's success."

"Create a single view of the student for lifelong learning."

Whose single view will be used for children from diverse backgrounds?
How will my child fit into this, my child who is amazing and happens to live with Autism, moderate to profound intellectual disability and severe epilepsy?

What on earth does IBM know about teaching BC Public school children?
Our children are not machines, tabula rasa, empty vessels to pour knowledge.

Our children come to school having learned all sorts of important lessons well before they enter into primary school.

Respectfully Chris
Mom and Teacher

Monday, 13 June 2011

Harpers Thugs!

Harper targeted First Nations for increased surveillance, fears Native “unrest,”
newly released government documents show
Money for housing on reserves slashed, money for surveillance of Natives increased
For immediate release: June 13, 2011
Newly exposed internal documents from Indian Affairs and the RCMP show that shortly
after forming government in January of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had the
federal government step up intelligence gathering on First Nations to anticipate and
manage First Nations political action across Canada.
Information obtained by the First Nations Strategic Bulletin through Access to
Information requests reveals that almost immediately upon Harper’s taking power in
2006, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was given the lead
role to spy on First Nations. The goal was to identify the First Nation leaders, participants
and outside supporters of First Nation occupations and protests, and to closely monitor
their actions.
To accomplish this task, INAC established a “Hot Spot Reporting System.” These weekly
reports highlight all those communities across the country that engage in direct action to
protect their lands and communities. They include Tsartlip First Nation, the Algonquins
of Barriere Lake, Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, the Likhts’amsiyu Clan of the
Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, and many more.
“Rather than listening to the needs of First Nations communities Harper is making plans
to use force to stifle the dissent that inevitably arises from chronic poverty and
dispossession in Native communities,” said Russell Diabo, Mohawk policy analyst, in
response. “First Nations education and housing is chronically under-funded, but policing
and surveillance of legitimate Indigenous movements is always a priority.”
The documents reveal that First Nations are a closely monitored population who are
causing a panic at the highest levels of the Canadian government.
Says Gord Elliot of Tsartlip First Nation, “Obviously trust and good faith are expected
when working with INAC, the RCMP and other agencies of the Government. We are
outraged to discover these same Ministries are spying on us. We were identified as a
‘hotspot’ because we had a roadblock demonstration to voice our concerns about the
Treaty process and non-acknowledgment of Section 35 Constitutional Rights and Title.
We felt we had no choice because the Canadian Government won't acknowledge our
Constitutionally protected Aboriginal Rights and Title.”
For more information and to obtain original documents, contact:
Shiri Pasternak, media spokesperson: 647-227-6696 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            647-227-6696      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Media Spokespeople:
Russell Diabo, editor and publisher, First Nations Strategic Bulletin: 613-296-0110 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            613-296-0110      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Gord Elliot, Councillor, Tsartlip First Nation: 250-883-3970 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            250-883-3970      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Shawn Brant, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory: (613) 813-2057 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (613) 813-2057      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Friday, 3 June 2011

Northern gateway pipeline.

 This morning I caught the last part of a (co-op radio 102.7) radio speak with Irene Lanzinger from BC Federation of Labour.  She spoke about the complex issues between First Peoples, Labour unions and environmentalists. 
My first response is whats so complex?  Here is why.  We potentially could kill off Indigenous Nations! Destroy the lands that all nations live on and with and for what purpose?
To drive our cars? One large company can make lots of money and respond to pressures from other countries that want the oil?  Apparently there will be about 60 permanent jobs.  Is this all worth the devastation?

Check this video from 10 year old child (Ta'kaiya)
Transporting Alberta tar sands oil to the B.C. Coast
The Northern Gateway Pipeline is a proposal by Enbridge to construct twin petroleum product pipelines 1,170 kilometres between Brudenheim (located just north of the city of Edmonton) and Kitimat, B.C.
One pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels per day of Alberta tar sands crude oil westward to a new oil tanker port at Kitimat. The other would carry condensate – a lighter petroleum product used to dilute bitumen – eastward for use in transporting the tar sands crude oil.
Enbridge’s stated reasoning behind its proposed pipeline is that it would facilitate access to new markets for Canadian tar sands oil. Currently, the majority of tar sands oil is shipped south to U.S. markets.


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Reporting on the Vancouver School District, January 2011 Aboriginal Education Forums

Here is the VSB report conducted and prepared by Dr. Jo-ann Archibald Professor UBC
Allyson Rayner, Research Assistant, UBC and Ramona Big Head, Research Assistant, UBC.

The report represents parents, students and VSB stake holder groups, represented by their elected officials and the general public.   You really get the sense that people really care about what's happening or not as far as Aboriginal children are concerned in VSB public schools.  
The world, Canada, BC and the VSB want to know what to do to support and address the educational needs of Aboriginal, Indigenous children.
During my time as a First Nations School Support Worker over 15 years ago Dr. Lorna William's Professor, UVIC had conducted and prepared a plan for a First Nations School back in the day, there was very little support.  There appears to be support today.  However, today I've heard similar terms 'segregation'  and 'ghettoization' used and I'm not sure there is support.
Another similar to ten years ago is, good bad or indifferent, the education of our children is put on display.  Aboriginal parents, children and community endure all sorts of opinions and are recipients of (conscious or unconscious) racist opinions and internalized racism.  I've heard non Aboriginal people saying why is our system not good enough for them, they don't pay taxes, and Aboriginals making statements, I just want,  'to fit in', 'to be like the rest', 'equality for all' and today there are similar responses.  What has changed?   The desire to fit in at the cost of not seeing your self is too high a price to pay.
I do not recall an invitation to have a French Culture Immersion or Mandarin Culture Immersion schools.
Currently we have a number of amazing courses with Indigenous perspectives and none or very few are offered and in fact the question of can you change the name, for example, First Peoples English 12, First Nations Studies 12, what would we call them?  Why not change the name of English 12?

This is so complex yet we cant afford to be bystanders in the education of Aboriginal children.  I do hope the VSB will begin by opening a small program at the very least for students who want to go to a school that teaches, lives, honours Indigenous, Aboriginal perspectives.
I also wonder where the Indian Act, Residential Schools legacy fits into the reality of our collective history we all own.  How can we move forward with so much denial of this collective history that belongs to us all, both born here or immigrated.  To date and an approximate, in BC public schools we have just over 66,000 self identified Aboriginal students (k to 12) and about 250 self identified Aboriginal teachers teaching in BC public schools, I'm not sure how many self identified Aboriginal teachers there are teaching in BC Band schools, I do not believe these schools are filled with only Aboriginal teachers or administrators.

Why cant we create a school that appreciates and infuses Indigenous perspectives?  I imagine this school or program would not be an assimilating school but one that lives inclusion and sees the entire child with an Indigenous lens.
Aboriginal people are not all the same and contrary to the Indian Act or BC Education and policies we are not homogeneous and do appreciate the public report my concern is we will do nothing, but close programs for Aboriginal children and continue with the genocide of our culture.

(May 9, 2011)Monday night there is going to be another open forum to discuss the report.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Thank you MOMs

BC Community Living Action Group launches report,
recommendations to address growing concerns:

Premier Clark urged to listen, put families first again

MOMS will join other family and community living organizations tomorrow at a media event to launch a major report and recommendations urging BC's new Premier, Christy Clark, to honour promises to listen and to start putting families first again.

The report was the result of broad community discussions, including two very successful public forums hosted in Victoria and Vancouver last fall. The forums were organized by a network of community living groups following a rise in serious complaints about service reductions, forced relocations, denial of services and meaning choices, and the exclusion of adults and their families from crucial life decisions.

The report and the broader campaign underlying it reflect an unprecedented consensus among all the major partner groups in community living -- contracted agencies, families, self-advocates and employee groups -- and reflect both the breadth and the seriousness of the concerns. The report focusses on solutions that emerged from the community dialogue that was launched last fall.

The concerns stem from budget cuts and a service redesign project that is seeking to eliminate costlier support and residential options in community living, after the Provincial government ordered CLBC to find $22 million in savings despite growing waitlists, rising costs and added demands from a growing and aging adult population.

Please visit the website of our community partnership, the BC Community Living Action Group, to view the report, recommendations and other information about this initiative:

Please join us!

We urge families to support our campaign by calling on BC's new Premier, Christy Clark, to honour her promises to start listening and to put families first again.

On May 19, 2004, Ms. Clark, who was then BC's Deputy Premier and Minister for Child & Family Development, introduced Bil 45, the legislation that created Community Living BC. In doing so, she promised that "This legislation gives British Columbians with developmental disabilities and their families better options and more opportunities in their communities. They'll be able to look forward to a safer, healthier and better quality of life. ( - page 11234)

Those promises have been directly contradicted by the events of the past 18 months, with an erosion of services and choices, the exclusion of families and adults with developmental disabilities from critical decisions, and growing concerns about safety, quality of life and the lack of independent oversight, monitoring and public reporting in this vulnerable sector.

Ms Clark, who returned to political life in February when she was elected by her party to succeed retired Premier Gordon Campbell, will be running in a byelection in Vancouver Point Grey on May 11.
Contact Premier Christy Clark:
Premier Clark will be running against civil rights activist David Eby in the Point Grey byelection: Contact David Eby:

While this is very short notice, we also invite families and adults to join us for the media event launching our report and campaign:

WHEN: WEDS, April 27, 2011 at 10 am

WHERE: 624 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver (close to City Hall just west of Cambie near

- Wheelchair accessible
- By car: Street parking, parking under Whole Foods
- By transit: 99 B-Line, Cambie Stop or Broadway stop on the Canada Line.

Dawn & Cyndi, MOMS

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Enhancing Aboriginal Gains in Literacy Education (EAGLE) SD 35

I was speaking to a friend yesterday about a Cultural Kindergarten Program called the EAGLE program.  She has been concerned about this program since the current BC government introduced and brought in full day kindergarten.  On the surface sure full day kindergarten for all looks great, but its not good for the Aboriginal children in the EAGLE program.  Over the past few years there have been long wait lists and full classes.  This year not enough to support the running of this one of a kind program.
Children who self identify as having Aboriginal Ancestry attend their local school kindergarten program and the EAGLE program in the afternoon.  Within the program the children work with Aboriginal Elders and experience Indigenous sense of belonging. This particular program has provided a service to Aboriginal children and can't be replicated.

This is crazy the Langley EAGLE program is going to be dropped from programs and services offered to Aboriginal children.

Off the backs of Aboriginal children in the name of equality for all this one of a kind program is under threat of extinction.

Without our languages our cultures cannot survive!