Ownership question to be used as defense in mischief trials

Jeff “Hawk” Henhawk and Six Nations Men’s Fire
Jeff “Hawk” Henhawk and Six Nations Men’s Fire member Bill Monture were both in Cayuga court Tuesday on separate charges. Henhawk for construction of the fences at Kanonhstaton and Monture for a road closure during an MMIW protest. (Photo by Donna Duric)

CAYUGA - A Six Nations lawyer will be challenging ownership and jurisdiction in two separate cases of several Six Nations men charged with mischief on properties along Highway Six.

"You cannot commit mischief on your own property," says Aaron Detlor, legal advisor for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council.

He is currently representing four Six Nations men charged with mischief last year.

Detlor will challenge the Crown to prove they own Highway Six and the road leading into the former Douglas Creek Estates housing subdivision in Caledonia after two separate incidents resulted in mischief charges against four Six Nations men last year.Three of them were charged with mischief in relation to the weekend-long shutdown of Highway Six between Fourth and Fifth Line last October meant to draw attention to missing and murdered indigenous women.

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Anishinabe history captured in wampum belts

Students had a chance to learn about their history. (Photo by Donna Duric)
Students had a chance to learn about their history. (Photo by Donna Duric)

Unlike Europeans, who used paper to record thoughts, stories and history, indigenous peoples across Turtle Island used wampum belts, and if you know the history behind a belt, reading into one can be fascinating.

Brian Charles, a wampum belt enthusiast from Chippewas of Georgina Island, spent over an hour explaining the unique and convoluted history derived from the symbolism and imagery of over a dozen wampum belts at the 5th annual New Credit Historical Gathering last week.

The three-day event featured a number of speakers sharing their knowledge of the history of the Mississauga Ojibway people, who occupied the area near the current-day city of Mississauga until 1847.

A lot of Mississauga history can be derived through wampum belts, Charles explained.

“There’s a language to these belts,” he said. “They would reveal the thought contained in the belt.”

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Six Nations Band Council needs money from Community Trust

A cash-strapped band council is seeking millions of dollars from the community trust fund to help pay for things like a new waterline on Fourth Line Road, a new food bank, and operations and maintenance for the soon-to-be-constructed Youth and Elders Centre.

Six Nations Band Council will be meeting with the Six Nations Community Development Trust (SNCDT) board within the next month to ask for funding for “council priorities.”

The SNCDT is an endowment fund that was created to manage and distribute a percentage of annual revenues gleaned from Ontario lottery and gaming sales.

The money is supposed to go toward community development initiatives.

Last year, the fund had a $17 million balance. The trust only donates the interest (anywhere between $600,000 and $700,000) from the principal to community organizations every year.

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Science fair showcases community’s bright young minds

I.L. Thomas vice principal Chester Gibson says the children are our leaders. (Photo by Donna Duric)
I.L. Thomas vice principal Chester Gibson says the children are our leaders. (Photo by Donna Duric)

Which popcorn pops better - microwave or stovetop? Will bread grow mold more quickly - in the dark or the sunlight? Does wearing a blindfold help your sense of smell work better?

These were some of the questions posed by budding scientists at the community’s annual District Science Fair last Thursday at Emily C. General School.

Grade six student Phoenix Green solved the age-old question of which popcorn is best - stovetop or microwave - by determining that the one with the least leftover kernels after cooking is preferable.It turned out microwave popcorn had fewer unpopped kernels left behind.

The purpose of his experiment was to recommend which popcorn to buy: “When people go and buy popcorn, they should get the best popcorn there because that popcorn brings everyone together to have a good time watching T.V.”

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The healing power of salt therapy hottest ticket for spa lovers

People are flocking to experience the latest innovation in spas with the Grand Wellness Centre`s salt caves!

People are flocking to experience the latest innovation in spas with the Grand Wellness Centre`s salt caves!

Behind the rustic wooden door to the newly-opened wellness centre at 202 Grand river Avenue is soft, ambient music, the sound of gently trickling waterfalls, a zesty aroma of essential oils and cedar, and a smiling, friendly receptionist who points you to a cozy lounge area, complete with fire place.

The rustic decor, replete with wooden plank walls and exposed brick, remnants of the building’s past as a former cotton mill and beer brewery, has since been transformed into a haven for those seeking to escape the stress and worry of modern living.

Owners Heidi Stewart-Petersen and Jola Westerhoff wanted to bring something new to the city and have with the introduction of a Salt Cave and beer soaks that are popular in Europe.

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Missing, murdered women roundtable agrees to keep discussions going

OTTAWA - A gathering of Aboriginal Peoples and provincial and federal political leaders has adjourned with a plan to keep talking about the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women.

The roundtable brought together families of the victims, groups representing First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and representatives of the provinces, territories and the federal government.

The gathering was a compromise to the full-blown national inquiry that pretty much everyone on the room, except for the Conservative government, wants.

They spent seven hours discussing three main topics: prevention and awareness; community safety; and policing measures and justice responses.

Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod says the group has agreed to reconvene for another meeting before the end of next year.

Earlier in the afternoon, a small group of roundtable attendees gathered in the lower level of the hotel in protest, one woman complaining that politicians were the only ones doing any speaking.

The roundtable is unlikely to quell calls for an inquiry, even though Prime Minister Stephen Harper and members of his government have flatly rejected that idea, saying plenty of studies have been done and now is the time to take action. -CP-

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Roundtable concludes, leaders hold press confederance.

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'Get me out of here,' aboriginal girl begged her parents before stopping chemo

Attendees react to the story of Makayla Sault, told by her parents Sonya and Ken at a forum to discuss recent cases of Indigenous girls who insisted on traditional methods of healing over western medicine at an aboriginal health conference organized by McMaster University in Hamilton on Thursday, February 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett
Attendees react to the story of Makayla Sault, told by her parents Sonya and Ken at a forum to discuss recent cases of Indigenous girls who insisted on traditional methods of healing over western medicine at an aboriginal health conference organized by McMaster University in Hamilton on Thursday, February 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett


HAMILTON - Chemotherapy took such a horrific toll on Makayla Sault's weak body that she begged her parents to take her out of treatment and try instead traditional medicine, the mother of the 11-year-old aboriginal girl said Thursday.

Makayla, who suffered from a rare form of leukemia, died last month after suffering a stroke - her death sparked a national conversation on aboriginal peoples' right to opt out of the health system.

Doctors gave her at most a 72-per-cent chance of survival even with an aggressive chemotherapy treatment, her mother, Sonya Sault, told an audience at McMaster University.

"She became so weak so she couldn't even stand or sit at times," she said.

Sault said the treatment took a heavy physical and emotional toll on the little girl.

"Are you sure I'm getting better? Are you sure we're doing the right thing? I feel I am getting worse," she recalled her daughter asking.

Makayla said things like "the chemo is going to kill me," the mother said, adding that finally she begged the parents to put an end to it.

"Mom, if you have the power to get me out of here, then you have to get me out of here."

Sault said she and her husband Ken thought about it.

"We know that chemotherapy is not easy for anyone, but for Makayla it was devastating," she said.

Makayla, she said, understood the "harsh reality of stopping chemotherapy," but she wanted to try traditional medicine.

"I don't care if I'm going to die, I don't want to die weak and sick in a hospital," Sault remembered her daughter telling her.

So they stopped treatment.

"We know that chemotherapy is not easy for anyone, but for Makayla it was devastating."

Makayla nearly died of septic shock just three weeks into her treatment last year, Sault said. And the girl suffered three other serious illnesses while receiving the treatment.

Sault spoke at an event organized by McMaster University's Indigenous Studies Program in an effort to understand the problems between First Nation peoples and the health-care system.

"Our hearts are broken by the passing of our daughter," an emotional Sault said before composing herself - her husband by her side.

The parents said they want their daughter to be remembered for more than cancer.

She was a dancer, gymnast and lacrosse player, Sault said, and was "wise beyond her years."

The mother also said she wanted to clarify "misinformation in the media" about her daughter's treatment.

The medical staff at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton threatened to get the authorities to apprehend the girl and her two brothers and force chemotherapy treatment upon her, Sault said.

Makayla started to feel better once the chemotherapy stopped, Sault said, but she didn't stop treatment altogether. She continued to receive treatment from her family physician, Dr. Jason Zacks, as well as an oncologist at McMaster hospital. She also received traditional medicine from a healer near her home on the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

Then the family went to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida to get away from the brewing media storm over her case, Sault said.

Florida's Department of Health recently issued a cease-and-desist letter to the man who runs the spa, Brian Clement, for practising medicine without a license.

Sault said Makayla didn't go to the Florida spa for cancer treatment, only to try out a new diet that might boost her immune system. Plus, Sault said, Makayla got to relax and be a kid again, soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean.

The mother of another cancer-stricken aboriginal girl who refused chemotherapy also spoke at the event. The case of her daughter, who cannot be named because of a court-ordered publication ban, made headlines after McMaster hospital took the local Children's Aid Society - and eventually the family - to court in an attempt to bring the girl back for chemotherapy treatment.

The court sided with the family, saying as a First Nation person, the girl has the right to choose her health-care procedures.

"The issue is not whether traditional medicine will be respected, but how it will be respected and how and when the two systems can work together," the mother said Thursday.

She promised to share her daughter's story with the public after the deadline for appeal of the court decision expires on March 13.

Terrorism suspects claim to be ‘proud’ members of Algonquin First Nation, says report

L-R Carlos and Ashton Larmond (Laurie Foster-MacLeod for Postmedia News)
L-R Carlos and Ashton Larmond (Laurie Foster-MacLeod for Postmedia News)

The Ottawa twin brothers who both face terrorism-related charges are claiming to be members of the Algonquin First Nation, according to an APTN National News report.

The report cites sources as saying that Carlos and Ashton Larmond, 24, are “very proud” Algonquins, adding that “they believe they’re the first First Nation converts to Islam to have been charged under anti-terror laws in Canada.”

APTN also says the twins’ father, Anthony Larmond, claims his sons get their aboriginal heritage through his side of the family, although, as the report notes, he could not recall a First Nation community to which his family might be associated.

The Larmonds were charged in early January with several terrorism-related offences, including participation in the activity of a terrorist group, following their arrest by the RCMP.

At the time, their lawyer Joseph Addelman said his clients “intend to vigorously defend these allegations,” and that the charges against them offend Canadian principles of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Addelman declined to comment on Wednesday on his client’s bid to be recognized as First Nations members.

Ottawa ignoring ways to reduce number of missing, murdered native women: study

A study says the federal government is ignoring dozens of recommendations on how to reduce the number of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The study, which analyzed 58 previous studies on violence against aboriginal women, found Ottawa has largely ignored over 700 recommendations.

The report, commissioned by a coalition of organizations including Amnesty International, says most studies spanning two decades agreed on the root causes of violence against native women.

The federal government has said a national inquiry is not needed because the issue has been studied enough.

Coola Louis with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs says this report shows Ottawa is not taking violence against aboriginal women seriously.

Kim Stanton with the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund says a national inquiry is needed to find out why governments are ignoring the issue. -CP-

National roundtable on MMIW to be held Friday

OTTAWA - A national roundtable in Ottawa on missing and murdered aboriginal women will open here Friday.

The roundtable will bring together representatives from the provinces and territories, national aboriginal groups, and the federal government — two delegates from each group will be at the table.

The aboriginal groups attending include the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt and Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch have also said they’ll be participating, as will Premier Kathleen Wynne, her spokesperson said.

The roundtable is being held amid repeated calls for a broader national inquiry — calls the federal government has slammed the door on.

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Lynda Powless, Editor

How many children have to die! $ for firefighting needed now

There is nothing more heartbreaking than the loss of a child.

The loss of two children in a fire death in Saskatchewan has tragically brought to the surface the failure again of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s ability to provide proper funding for First Nations.

The tragic loss occurred when the Loon Lake's volunteer fire department refused to answer the call because of an outstanding bill that can be laid directly at Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt`s feet.

Even if the fighters had responded to the 911 call, the Makwa Sahgaiehcan reserve was 10 km away, they wouldn't have made it in time to save the children.

No one knows better than emergency responders how precious minutes are and professional fire departments have confirmed there was no way for these firefighters to don their gear, get the firefighting equipment ready and make the trip in time. They say any response time exceeding six minutes is too long.

The issue is not whether Loon Lake responded or why Makwa's chief failed to ensure protective service - the issue is why didn’t AANAC provide sufficient funding to First Nations for the equipment and infrastructure needed to prevent deaths such as. Deaths that could have been prevented.

The community had a second-hand operational fire truck that was five years old but no funding to update its equipment to fit the fire hydrants on the reserve.

A community expected to maintain its emergency service with $34,000 for fire protection from AANAC.

Even at Six Nations there is a tragedy waiting to happen. The community only receives $345,000 a year with a band membership of over 24,000 and buildings over two stories and huge factories that current equipment is unable to reach or deal with.

At Six Nations the council has had to turn to the tobacco industry to provide donations to build a new $5 million building. Only Grand River Enterprises has responded and the building has been pared down to $3 million.In northern Ontario communities are turning to resource developers and industry to help with fire costs because AANAC won’t.

Ottawa provides only $26 million for fire protection that is spread over 600 First Nations across Canada .

Providing funding for firefighting is as great a priority as providing proper funding for education, or housing. And who is in power had not made a difference both Liberals and Conservatives have kept First Nations in perpetual crisis mode. The Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada says requiring reserve homes to be built to national standards will save lives but where will the funding come from.

So we have to ask the Minister how many children have to die before First Nations emergency services are properly funded. The tragedy is at his feet.


Accountability goes out the window when process tainted process

For the first time in two decades Turtle Island News had the opportunity to submit a quote on a Six Nations band printing contract last week.

Yup it has taken 20 years. With a separate printing company here, we have always been told because we also owned a newspaper we could not get printing contracts.

An odd argument but it was the band council’s justification.

So imagine our surprise and delight when the Council’s Community Awareness Committee, who puts out an activities booklet sent out an email inviting all local printers to quote on the small job by Feb., 18, 2015.

Turtle Island News met that deadline submitting a quote. Community Awareness chairperson Marilyn Mt Pleasant in the spirit of fairness and accountability put the call for quotes out and we applaud her for that attempt at fairness.

But that’s where it ended.

Monday we attended the meeting announcing the awarding of the contract where we learned we were the only ones who made the deadline.

Now, normally one would think the committee would have awarded the job to Turtle Island or re-tendered. Neither happened.

Instead the committee decided to allow in a late entry from  MTS Printing, that arrived Monday morning just before the meeting began and then announced the two quotes to the room.

That sparked an objection from a Nahnda Garlow who said she did not read her emails on time and the newspaper she works for wanted to submit a quote. This of course after having heard the previous quotes, after the deadline and after Garlow admitted she sits on the committee, Mt. Pleasant put it to the committee made up of representatives from organizations like the Six Nations Police and Two Rivers who decided they would allow them to submit but it had to be the same as the year before, when they didn’t print a booklet.

Now, let me digress here. For the past 20 years we have heard complaints from businesses and contractors who submit quotes for tenders or jobs with the band council and do not receive them, don’t know why so have quit even bidding on local jobs. We see why.

Turtle Island News withdrew its bid .

We explained to the committee we could not be part of a tainted process. A process that is not fair, transparent and certainly not accountable.

Of course the committee gave the contract to the other newspaper, they bid, not surprisingly lower ($2,950) than both of the two submissions that had been announced to the room, an easy task when you know in advance.

Since then a number of emails and texts from departments arrived in expressing concern for unfair practices and we can`t help but agree.

How can the community be assured that in fact the band`s tendering process is a fair and open process when a friend of the committee received a contract after the bidding closes and two competing bids are announced.

Fair, accountable, transparent?


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