Canada says sorry for Inuit relocation

first_imgBy Kent DriscollAPTN National NewsGRISE FIORD, Nunavut— They were cheated, deceived and abandoned thousands of kilometres from their homes and the Canadian government says it is sorry.Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan says “Canada made a mistake” when Inuit families from Quebec and Nunavut were relocated to the High Arctic in the 1950s.They were moved to help assert Canada’s claim to sovereignty over the region.But the painful impact of that transfer is still being felt today.last_img read more

Election 2011 airs 10 PM EST on Monday

first_imgJoin Host/Producer Cheryl McKenzie at 10 PM EST on Monday, May 2nd, as we break down the issues in Canada’s 41st federal election and talk about what matters most to you.last_img

Ancient First Nations artifacts found at Winnipeg dig site revealed

first_imgAPTN National NewsWhen the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was being built in Winnipeg workers discovered ancient artifacts buried below the site.What exactly those discoveries were was revealed Wednesday.They paint a picture of how important the location was for Aboriginal peoples.APTN’s Ntawnis Piapot has the story.last_img

US judge allows North Dakota pipeline construction in conflict zone as Sioux

first_img(The Crow Creek Riders at the ongoing anti Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Photo credit: Natalie Hand, Lakota Media Project via Red Warrior Camp/Facebook)Dennis Ward and Jorge Barrera APTN National News STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION—A U.S. Federal Court judge on Tuesday allowed construction of a controversial four-state, $3.78 billion pipeline to continue in a conflict area the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says contains burial grounds and sacred sites.The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)—which is slated to pump Bakken-fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois—is facing fierce resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe fears the pipeline threatens the area’s water supply and sacred sites.The 1,886 kilometre pipeline passes near the edge of its reservation and under the Missouri River.Standing Rock has the backing of dozens of other Native American tribes. This has led to the one of the largest gatherings of Native Americans in the U.S. over the past century in an area near the pipeline’s path.While the ruling, handed down by U.S. Federal Court Judge James Boasberg after a hearing in Washington D.C., gave the Sioux a partial victory, it won’t stop pipeline construction in an area that has already seen conflict between Indigenous demonstrators and a private security firm hired by the company leading the construction.The judge ordered a halt to pipeline construction east Lake Oahe in North Dakota, but the area is already nearing end of development activity.Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault said the ruling was a “partial win, partial loss” because the judge allowed construction to continue in an area to the west which contains sacred sites and burial grounds important to the Sioux.“We are disappointed that the decision doesn’t prevent DAPL from destroying sacred sites as we await the ruling to stop construction all together,” said Archambault in a video statement. “It’s not over, we still have a long way to go.”Archambault called for calm on both sides.“Even though this is a disappointment we still have to remain peaceful and respectful,” he said. “I ask that we refrain from using violence, I ask that we refrain from using verbal abuse or physical abuse on anyone. And I ask that for both sides.”Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault in a still image from video statement.Boasberg allowed construction in an area west of Lake Oahe in Morton County, North Dakota, which saw clashes Saturday between attack dog-handling private security guards and Native American demonstrators trying to stop bulldozers from destroying land found to hold a burial ground and historical sites.Two Indigenous demonstrators on Tuesday chained themselves to construction equipment in the same area.Julie Richards, an Oglala Lakota warrior, fastens herself to construction equipment Tuesday. Red Warrior Camp/FacebookA subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Transfer is constructing the pipeline. Energy Transfer did not return a request for comment from APTN.Tuesday’s ruling was a skirmish in a larger legal battle  expected to come to a head on Friday when the same judge is expected to rule on an injunction filed by the Standing Rock Sioux to stop the pipeline. The tribe was looking to temporarily halt all construction until Friday’s expected ruling.The tribe is challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to give the operators permits to construct the pipeline which would have the capacity to pump up to 570,000 barrels per day from North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois.Standing Rock was a signatory to the April 9, 1868, Treaty of Fort Laramie which established the Great Sioux Reservation covering all of South Dakota west of the Missouri River.The Sioux-led resistance to the pipeline has become a rallying point in the larger environmental battle over climate change. The Sacred Stone Camp set up on the Standing Rock reservation is expected to grow to about 10,000 people this week ahead of Friday’s expected U.S. Federal Court ruling.Last Saturday’s confrontation with the private security firm has done little to deter the resolve of the thousands of people who have travelled Standing Rock.Sophie Watson drove eight hours from Minnesota to be here when the ruling comes down. Watson said she was sickened to see videos of dogs and pepper spray being used against the demonstrators.Another Indigenous camp supporter who identified himself Quiltman said he came from Oregon to protect the water. He said the camp was “good medicine” and called last Saturday’s actions by the private security guards “cold blooded.”He said it’s time to turn the tables.“Our people have always gotten the short end. We can handle it,” he said.The Sioux tribe’s resistance to the pipeline has also drawn considerable support from Indigenous leaders and grassroots activists from Canada. Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Terry Nelson, from Manitoba, and Grand Council of the Crees Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, from Quebec, recently visited the camp.The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Canada’s largest Indigenous organization, also put its support behind Standing Rock’s opposition to the pipeline on Tuesday.AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said “no pipeline construction should ever begin” until “Indigenous peoples have provided free, prior and informed consent.”AFN Manitoba regional Chief Kevin Hart visited the pipeline resistance camp on behalf of the organization.“The call of the Standing Rock Sioux has echoed across Turtle Island. Now it is up to us to respond by standing up to defend these precious waters and sacred lands,” said Hart, in the statement.Canada faces its own looming pipeline conflicts as the regulatory gears begin to turn on the Energy East pipeline which would transport Alberta mined bitumen to an Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, NB.According to reports, the North Dakota portion of the pipeline is 60 per cent completed and 90 per cent finished in South Dakota.dward@aptn.ca@denniswardnewsjbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Keeseekoose First Nation elders spark RCMP investigation into band council

first_imgKenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsThe RCMP has confirmed to APTN National News that it has launched an investigation on Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan after two elders came forward providing a stack of financial documents.The investigation is in the early stages said Sgt. Rob Laurent of the RCMP’s Yorkton detachment.“We do have an investigation that is ongoing,” said Laurent.Laurent confirmed the investigation is based on complaints made from elders and the documents they provided.Elders Frances Musqua, 70, and Seraphine Straightnose, 71, met with Laurent Aug. 21 and provided him with over 150 pages of financial documents, including receipts and records of large cheques connected the band’s co-manager Edwin Chalupiak and his Regina-based companies Dynamic Management Solutions and Chalupiak and Associates, as well as the band’s director of operations Chris Lafontaine.Chalupiak and Lafontaine have refused to answer questions from APTN citing confidentiality but Chalupiak said the council has launched its own investigation into how “confidential” documents were leaked from the band office.He claimed to have spoken to Laurent and copied the officer on an email to APTN.“He also indicated to me that neither (Dynamic) Management Solutions Inc. or Chalupiak & Associates is under investigation,” wrote Chalupiak. “Any reference to the investigation involving these entities will be misleading, and these entities will suffer damages due to the reporting of incorrect information.”APTN tried to confirm Chalupiak’s comments with Laurent but he didn’t respond to a message left at his office or an email. He also didn’t respond to Chalupiak’s email.Straightnose said she called Laurent and told APTN the officer confirmed he spoke to Chalupiak but it’s against RCMP policy to confirm who is, or not, a subject of an investigation.Straightnose first went to the RCMP after she learned the band’s director of operations had cut two large cheques while the band membership was celebrating Treaty Days on May 17-18, where each member gets a symbolic $5.The one cheque was for $124,944 and the other $50,000 according to documents provided to APTN.There are records of other large cheques and receipts for band membership assistance and housing repairs included in the RCMP documents.“Somebody said they were making cheques on Treaty Day. That’s what really upset me,” Straightnose told APTN, as to why she went to the RCMP.Laurent said because of the large volume of documents the RCMP intends to ask Indigenous Affairs to launch a financial review of the band to assist the investigation.“That is going to be one of the avenues of the investigation we’re going at. It’s just I haven’t gotten to that part, yet,” he said.Keeseekoose First Nation is nearly 300 kilometres northeast of Regina and about 700 people live on reserve according to Indigenous Affairs.The complaint to the RCMP was the boiling point of frustration brewing in the months prior over Chalupiak and Lafontaine.Chalupiak was brought on to be the band’s co-manager, or recipient-appointed advisor, on Nov. 1, 2015 as INAC found the band to be in default of its finances. A contract was signed with Chalupiak’s company Dynamic Management Solutions which gave the company primary authority over finances.The deal provided Dynamic $10,000 a month, plus expenses.In a separate contract, Lafontaine is paid approximately $15,000 a month.Soon after the band council signed the contract with Dynamic, seven members of council told APTN their wages were scaled back and in the summer of 2016, the council of 12 was effectively laid off by Chalupiak for several months, while Chief Lyndon Musqua continued to be paid.By the fall of 2016, Musqua and several councillors wanted Chalupiak and Lafontaine gone according to recordings of meetings provided to APTN, along with interviews with several of the councillors and Musqua. But on April 24, 2017, seven councillors agreed to extend Chalupiak and Lafontaine’s contracts in band council resolutions (BCRs) signed by the councillors in Chalupiak’s Regina office.Musqua was not present at the meeting and claims the meeting was illegal because the band’s custom election act stipulates all meetings have to be called by the chief.Musqua was able to have those BCRs rescinded in May, which was when Lafontaine had the large cheques made out at the band office during Treaty Days.The description on the cheques, according to documents from the band office, said the one for $50,000 was for breaching Lafontaine’s contract, and the other paid out Lafontaine’s salary for the year in advance.Musqua said he tried to determine if the cheques were cashed and called the Bank of Montreal to find out.However, staff at the bank said they weren’t authorized to give the chief any information and could only speak to Dynamic.This all played out during a council meeting on June 20 with Chalupiak and Lafontaine in attendance. The meeting was audio recorded and provided to APTN.“I still got no clarity if the cheques going around were cashed or not,” says Musqua during the meeting. “I asked if they were cashed. Show us.”Later in the meeting, Chalupiak says the cheques were voided, while Lafontaine says the cheques were made as a “lesson” of the consequences the band would face if they breached his contract.“The simple fact they were made – the intent was there – is disturbing enough,” Musqua says. “That’s what upsets me.”The next month, Chalupiak’s contract was renewed for another year by nine councillors.Then Straightnose went to the RCMP with the support of Musqua.“I am not going to back down. I’m not,” she said.Contact Kenneth here: kjackson@aptn.calast_img read more

Melissa Carlick speaks out about being fired from MMIWG inquiry

first_imgShirley McLean APTN NewsIn early November Melissa Carlick wrote a letter to the commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls asking if her termination as community liaison worker could be rescinded and that she has the opportunity to resign.She told APTN News that as of today, she hasn’t received a response.Carlick said she her termination came without warning.“Really boom you’re done because you either push back or you don’t agree with what’s going on,“ she said.Carlick spent six months with the commission as a front line and health worker and said there is a big disconnect between the commissioners and the front-line workers.“They don’t hear you they don’t listen to you it’s just about what makes me look good and if you don’t then you’re out and if you push back you’re gone,” she said.Carlick said the commission fired her during the hearings in Edmonton on Nov. 7.She said they told her she was unprepared.Sources have told APTN Carlick was fired after members of the National Family Advisory Circle complained in a conference call and letters to the commissioners and senior staff that families complained of mistreatment by the inquiry.Carlick said she was the lead on the Edmonton hearings and arrived six weeks before and started to organize families, look for a venue, do health intakes, and find spiritual support for the hearings.She said the task was too big of a job to plan in just six weeks for a person who’s not from Alberta.And she said the working conditions were tough“We were working 24-7,” she said. “Sometimes just all day all the time it was just a lot of planning a lot time, a lot of pressure and no support, no debrief.”Carlick along with two other front-line workers have been let go from the inquiry in the last month and legal counsel Karen Snowshoe also handed in her resignation.That brings the number of inquiry employees who have resigned or fired to 19 in this year alone.Sue Caribou, a member of the family advisory circle also resigned Thursday.last_img read more