Province commits $97 million to aboriginal post-secondary

Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer attended the annoucnement last week (Photo by Donna Duric)
Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer attended the annoucnement last week (Photo by Donna Duric)

The Ontario government announced last week it is committing $97 million in funding for aboriginal post-secondary education over the next three years.

Ontario Minister of Colleges, Training and Universities Reza Moridi announced the funding at Six Nations Polytechnic June 25.

"All Ontarians - including First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners - deserve equal access to high quality post-secondary education and skills training programs that will help them get good jobs," Moridi said. "Aboriginal institutes are an important component of the post-secondary education and training sector in Ontario and our increased investments and the development of a policy that better establishes their role in the broader sector will create learning environments for students that are anchored in the diverse cultural and linguistic traditions of Aboriginal communities."

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Prescription drug abuse top form of elder abuse on Six Nations

Cayuga Royanni Blake Bomberry, centre, joins staff from Six Nations Long-Term Care and Health Services during a conference at the Community Hall for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. (Photo by Donna Duric)
Cayuga Royanni Blake Bomberry, centre, joins staff from Six Nations Long-Term Care and Health Services during a conference at the Community Hall for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. (Photo by Donna Duric)

The top form of elder abuse on Six Nations is prescription drug abuse.

Addicted youth and adults are stealing or otherwise interfering with narcotic prescriptions for elders in the community, wreaking havoc with their health, participants heard at a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event at the Community Hall Monday.

Brenda Thomas, a health advocacy worker with Six Nations Health Services, says the whole community needs to work together to prevent elder abuse.

"They say it takes a whole community to raise a child; it takes the whole community to care for our elders."

She said many people are too afraid to come forward to report suspected elder abuse and that needs to change.

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Parties taking aim at aboriginal voters in coming election HCCC wants consultation on Flamborough solar project

Samsung Renewable Energy wants to build another solar park on treaty lands, this time, just north east of Hamilton in the town of Flamborough.

And although the company has already approached area farmers to gauge their temperature on the proposed project, it has yet to notify the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, the planning arm of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs' Council.

"Samsung hasn’t talked to HDI yet," said HDI Director Hazel Hill. "We are in the process of notifying them that they have to obtain the approval of the HCCC for their project to go through as it is on our treaty territory."

The draft letter went out on Friday to chiefs and clanmothers who attend HDI weekly board meetings.

"I am waiting on their input before it goes out," she said.

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The aboriginal vote: Can indigenous Canadians swing the election?

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

VANCOUVER-Grand Chief Stewart Phillip believes there has been a political awakening among aboriginals. And the influential head of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs hopes that when the votes are counted in October, aboriginals will have played a key role in kicking the Conservatives from power.

The Assembly of First Nations has argued in recent weeks that if indigenous voters turn out en masse in October, they could influence the results in as many as 51 federal ridings. If so, amid early predictions of a minority government, those voters could play a significant role in deciding which party takes power.

High aboriginal turnout would normally seem far-fetched. But Phillip and others argue indigenous voters are more motivated now than ever, thanks to their perceptions of how the Conservative government has treated them.

"This in all likelihood is the most important federal election in a very, very long time," Phillip says. "And in that regard, I would hope First Nations people realize that, and know and understand how important it is to exercise their right to register a vote for the party of their choice."

Voter turnout among aboriginals has always trailed non-aboriginals. Exact figures are hard to nail down, in part because it’s difficult to determine how many aboriginals living in urban centres actually cast ballots. But turnout on reserves has been between 15 and 20 per cent less than that of the general population since 2004.

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Akwesasne men kept armed watch over territory’s edge

AKWESASNE - Two escaped murderers were caught and shot dead by NY state police bringing calm to the Akwesasne community where reports of the escapees were circulating.

At Akswesasne men armed with shotguns and AR-15s, searched the swamp and thick bush on the edge of the territory Saturday for an escaped murderer who has been on the run from authorities for three weeks.

The camouflage-clad men, known as "Land Defenders," were acting on a tip from the community that a white male had been spotted entering the woods in an area known as the "Al Capone bootleg trail" because it was used to smuggle booze during the prohibition area.

Roger Jock, who led the four-hour search, said the ongoing manhunt for the escaped inmate was beginning to put people in Akwesasne on edge.

"We have been watching and listening to this unfolding," said Jock. "A lot of people here are on edge."

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This Week's Local News Headlines

Local News

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News Alert

Couple wanted for murder captured in Vaughan

Jasmine Doxtator
Jasmine Doxtator
Richard Doxtator
Richard Doxtator








A two-week long manhunt for a couple wanted for murder ended last week when they were caught while travelling on Hwy. 400 in Vaughan, just north of Toronto.

Richard and Jasmine Doxtator, wanted for the June 19 murder of Niagara Falls man Guiseppe "Joe" Caputo, were arrested at around 6:35 p.m. June 30 and transported to St. Catharines where they were held while awaiting a bail hearing.

Police issued arrest warrants for Jasmine and Richard Doxtator on June 22, saying the couple were both known to the victim and that the incident was not a random act of violence.

Caputo, 70, was found dead on the morning of June 19.

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Patrick Brazeau’s assault trial adjourned until September

On the last day before a break, lawyers discussed the admissibility of video evidence

Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau
Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau.

GATINEAU, QUE.-The assault trial of suspended senator Patrick Brazeau has been adjourned until mid-September, when the accused is expected to take the stand in his own defence.

Brazeau is facing charges of assault and sexual assault arising from an alleged incident two years ago in the Gatineau, Que., and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The female complainant, whose identity is protected, claims Brazeau pushed her down stairs, choked her, hit her head against a wall, spat on her and sexually assaulted her.

Proceedings will resume Sept. 15 with the Crown scheduled to show a videotaped declaration Brazeau made to police after his February 2013 arrest.

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AFN executive to discuss National Chief's hiring of "girlfriend"

National Chief Perry Bellegarde
National Chief Perry Bellegarde

OTTAWA - Assembly of First Nations leader Perry Bellegarde will be facing questions from the AFN executive later this month over the hiring of his partner as a political adviser.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde admited in a letter to an Ontario chief that he was in a conflict of interest over hiring his girlfriend to act as his political adviser at the AFN.

Bellegarde and AFN CEO Peter Dinsdale said they had mitigated the conflict by having Valerie Galley answer to Dinsdale rather than Bellegarde for human resource issues.

But that still doesn’t sit well with some members of the AFN executive.

The letter from Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill was discussed by the executive committee in April.

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Miss Teen Six Nations raising funds for children

Miss Teen Six Nations Aleria McKay
Miss Teen Six Nations Aleria McKay

Miss Teen Six Nations Aleria McKay is getting help on her bid to become the next Miss Teen Canada after a generous $100 donation from Miss Six Nations Chezney Martin.

McKay, 15, is heading to the Miss Teen Canada competition this summer and as part of the requirements, she’s raising money for the charity “Free The Children.” The charity, which started in Canada, is focused on making a better life for people in third world countries. It’s the official charity of Miss Teenage Canada.

Martin, 18, kicked off the fundraising for McKay with a $100 donation last Friday.

McKay has to raise a minimum of $400 to be eligible for the crown but she’s aiming for $3,000.

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Breaking the silence on suicide essential to prevention

 A panel, including band councillor Melba Thomas, discusses suicide prevention last week. (Photo by Donna Duric)
A panel, including band councillor Melba Thomas, discusses suicide prevention last week. (Photo by Donna Duric)

Breaking the silence and stigma around suicide is key to its prevention.

That was one of the main messages of a conference on suicide awareness held at Six Nations Polytech last Friday by the Six Nations Anglican Church’s suicide awareness group "Brightening the Spirit - Breaking the Silence."

"We need that prevention," said Six Nations Band Councillor Melba Thomas. "We need to watch over our young people. We need to know them, better than we know our politics. We need to watch our families very closely."

"We’re so busy. How many of us have dinner every night and talk about the day we’ve had? That’s another preventable area that we certainly can take a look at."

Cynthia Patterson, a guest speaker from the Anglican Church of Canada Indigenous Ministries department, said breaking the silence around suicide is essential to its prevention.

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Lynda Powless, Editor

AFN: Take your family to work day is every day

Assembly of First Nations Regional Chiefs are weighing in on what has become a debate about whether the National Chief, or any elected First Nation leader for that matter, has the right to staff their political offices at the expense of public dollars.

At the AFN, the national lobby organization for band council chiefs across Canada, National Chief Perry Bellegarde has brought an issue front and centre that is only whispered about in “Indian” country.

In a word, nepotism.

In First Nation communities there is no question it goes on. In some communities entire band offices are staff with relatives of the elected leader or council members.

Others work diligently to make sure jobs are posted and fair hiring takes place.

But when the National leader of the AFN, a person in the public eye on a 24-7clock staffs his office with his partner/girlfriend something is seriously wrong.

And it`s seriously wrong with the national leader himself.

What makes AFN leader Chief Perry Bellegarde think he can simply hire his girlfriend to fill a spot as political adviser to the national chief.

That’s a position that carries with it a lot of clout and in this case can be seen even to outweigh the influence the AFN executive has over the national leader when it comes to major issues.

Why does Bellegarde think it’s okay?

It’s a simple question that he has been dodging for two weeks now since the Turtle Island News broke the story last week that he had brought his girlfriend on staff at the AFN.

But even more interesting is that he was really, simply transferring her from his office in Saskatchewan where he was the AFN regional chief and his partner apparently already was working for him in the same or similar position and no one in Saskatchewan apparently saw anything wrong with it, so hey, let’s go to Ottawa honey.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde has committed a major political misstep and he needs to make it right.

He needs to acknowledge that it was naive of him to bring his partner on staff and arrogant to simply brush aside the concerns of a grass roots chief for drawing the conflict of interest to his attention.

And do we need to point out that Bellegarde’s chuckle to the executive that this was a case of a disgruntled chief upset he fired her daughter, was childish and he owes her an apology for his antics.

The Assembly of First Nations as an organization lives in the biggest glass house in the country. It not only has to set rules and regulations that are beyond reproach, it has to be seen to be setting them.

Bellegarde has committed a huge faux pas and he needs to fix it. If he doesn’t he will always been seen as the National Chief that took his girlfriend to work and become the butt of jokes.

And that will outshadow anything he does. Fix it Perry. Fast.

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