Archive for the 'Aboriginal' Category

For far too long the federal government has ignored the needs of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

They are able to do so because most people are unaware of the history of Canada’s First Peoples and believe the myths and misconceptions that surround them.

This campaign intends to raise public awareness about the issues and provide the tools necessary to help ensure that the rights of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada are respected.


The PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference, which will be held September 30 to October 2, 2011 at the Explorer Hotel and the Yellowknife Inn in Yellowknife, NT, under the theme “The Path that Unites us”.

The objectives of the 2011 PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference are to:

  • educate, politicize and mobilize Aboriginal members by making links between themselves, the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights;
  • empower, unite and engage Aboriginal members to take action and move the human rights agenda forward;


PSAC members in good standing and who self-identify as Aboriginal may apply to be a delegate to this Conference. Priority will be given to members who are active on aboriginal workers’ rights in their union or workplace. Priority will also be given to community activist on Aboriginal issues. The selection of delegates will take into account representation such as Region, Component, language, youth, gender and other equity groups.

Delegates will be entitled to full voice and vote during the conference, including the resolutions and elections processes.

Funding for Delegates:

Delegate costs to the 2011 PSAC National Aboriginal Peoples’ Conference will be fully covered as per the 2003 PSAC Triennial Convention decision and PSAC Travel Directive. Costs covered are as follows:

  • travel costs, including ground transportation;
  • hotel accommodation costs at The Explorer Hotel and The Yellowknife Inn;
  • loss of salary;
  • per diem for meals;
  • incidental costs;
  • the conference registration fee of $150.00
  • child care as per the Family Care Policy;
  • costs related to accessibility requirements.

For more information and online application, visit the national website.

via email to: Self-ID’d PSAC members in BC, Youth Caucus, Human Rights Committee

B.C. Regional Triennial Convention – May 13-15, 2011 – Public Services Not Private Profits

The 5th B.C. Regional Triennial Convention of the Public Service Alliance of Canada will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, from Friday, May 13th to Sunday, May 15th, 2011. For more information, visit the regional website –

As per the BC Regional Council by-laws, one delegate to Convention will be elected from each of the following equity groups:

  • racially visible
  • aboriginal
  • lesbian, gay, transgendered, bisexual
  • members with a disability

And three delegates will be elected from amongst youth members, under the age of 30. For more information, see the BC Regional Council by-laws.

Download the nomination form for these delegate positions here. Note the nominations deadline is January 17 2010. Please completed fax nomination forms to (604) 430 0194, or return via email to Mail-out ballots will be sent out once the nominations have been closed.

John Gordon has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to support the continued funding of the Sisters in Spirit initiative.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada had secured government support to pursue the initiative but the federal government has slowly reduced funding for the initiative and even tried to prevent the association from using the name Sisters in Spirit for any other government-funded work.

“PSAC members have actively supported the work of the Sisters in Spirit initiative,” Gordon wrote. “It has become not only a symbol of the commitment of the community to ensuring the safety of Aboriginal women, but also a way of honoring the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls, their families and their communities.”

Please see the letter below from Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, President of the Native Women`s Association of Canada (NWAC) and take a moment to download and circulate the petition calling for Parliament to ensure NWAC and the Sisters In Spirit initiative continue to receive funding (.pdf).


Dear friends,

The Native Womens Association of Canada (NWAC) has just recently learned of and would like extend our appreciation for the support by NDP MP Irene Mathyssen and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) in their creation of a petition to ensure that the Federal Government take steps to renew funding for Phase II of the Sisters In Spirit (SIS) initiative called Evidence to Action.

For the past five years, the Native Womens Association of Canadas (NWAC) Sisters In Spirit initiative has worked to identify root causes, trends and circumstances of violence that have led to disappearance and death of Aboriginal women and girls. In March 2010, NWAC released the report What Their Stories Tell Us which provided evidence that 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada.


June 21st is National Aboriginal Day

It’s been 14 years since then Governor-General Romèo Leblanc declared that June 21 was to become National Aboriginal Day across Canada. The day of the summer solstice was chosen because of its significance in a wide variety of Aboriginal cultures, and many First Nations had already been using the longest day of the year to celebrate their heritage and traditions. The day is meant for every Canadian to recognize, honour and respect the contributions Aboriginal Peoples have made to the Canadian fabric.

June 21st should also be a day for us to learn more about the diverse Aboriginal cultures and about the issues that face Canada’s First Peoples. It is important that all of us make ourselves more aware of the reasons why, in almost every measure, Aboriginal Peoples fare much worse than other Canadians.

Continue reading at the national website.

source: Toronto Star

‘Disgraceful’ conditions persist in native communities after residential schools apology

OTTAWA — Four of Canada’s largest unions have joined together to urge the federal government to tackle the appalling conditions facing the country’s native communities.

The labour movement’s “sorry is not enough” campaign is pressing the Conservative government to get beyond last year’s apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Canada natives for the emotional and physical harm done to them by the residential school system.

“Sorry is not enough when aboriginal peoples in almost every measure are the most marginalized group in Canada,” John Gordon, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) told a press conference Thursday.


Aboriginal rights are respected here: working together to build our strength

June 21 marks the summer solstice, which has been celebrated for centuries by many Aboriginal communities. In 1996, the Parliament of Canada proclaimed June 21st as National Aboriginal Peoples’ Day.

National Aboriginal Peoples’ Day is an opportunity for PSAC to express solidarity with Aboriginal Peoples and support the call for a better life for all Aboriginal Peoples. This is also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in our communities and our union.

The federal government has failed to address the injustice of Aboriginal poverty, including lack of access to education, employment, housing, water, health care and other basic social services.

More than 12 years ago, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made extensive recommendations to improve the situation of Aboriginal Peoples, however, these recommendations were either ignored or ineffectively implemented.


OTTAWA, Ontario (June 2, 2009) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Mtis and Non-Status Indians today announced that the Government of Canada will not appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s ruling on the Sharon McIvor case and that it will proceed with amendments to the Indian Act as ordered by the Court.

“After careful consideration and review of the decision, we will proceed with the necessary legislative amendments,” said Minister Strahl. “This Government has taken many actions over the years to ensure Aboriginal people enjoy the same rights, protections, and equality as other Canadians. Proceeding with those amendments as ordered by the Court is another step in that direction.”

On April 6, 2009, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that certain registration provisions of the Indian Act are unconstitutional as they violate the equality provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court suspended its declaration for 12 months – to April 6, 2010 – to give the Government time to amend the Indian Act.


Income disparity suffered by Indians should trump concerns about other groups, an SFU economist involved in the research says.

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service, March 31, 2009

The income gap between aboriginals and other Canadians is so wide it should trump concerns about other ethnic disparities in this country, a Canadian economist says.

“My way of thinking about it is once you start thinking about ethnic disparity in Canada, you should really only be paying attention to aboriginal people,” says Krishna Pendakur, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University. “They’re an order of magnitude worse off than all other ethnic minorities.”

He and his brother Ravi Pendakur, a sociologist at the University of Ottawa, recently completed the largest study of its kind quantifying the exact size of that gap, and the results are stark.

“Those of us who live in Canadian cities have an intuitive awareness that aboriginal people are on average kind of poor,” Pendakur says. “The thing is that if you then push yourself and ask how poor, you don’t really have any answers. We were lacking a quantitative assessment in this area.”

Using an extensive database from the 2001 census, which includes 20 per cent of all Canadian households and 100 per cent of those on aboriginal reserves, the researchers traced the earnings gap of several segments of the aboriginal population, both on reserves and in cities. (more…)

8,000 Sacred Drums Ceremony

March 21, 2009, 2:00-5:00 pm, Victory Square Park, Cambie and E. Hastings.

This is a worldwide call to Indigenous Peoples and humankind to join together.

According to a 500 year old Otomi (Mexico) Prophecy, the day when the sounds of eight thousand sacred drums join together, an intense healing of Mother Earth will commence.

The earth we share today is in total disequilibrium. Let’s work together so we can live together on the road to sacred peace, in harmony with the universe, Mother Nature, the community, the family and our own hearts.

- Gather at 2 pm
- Elders opening, followed by speakers
- 3 pm: Drumming circle (ALL NATIONS, PLEASE JOIN US!)
- 4 pm: Elders/youth storytelling and sharing circle hosted by Indigenous Action Movement and No Is Illegal.

Organized by the Indigenous Action Movement with the support of No One Is Illegal, Anti Poverty Committee, and BCGEU.

The Pacific Aboriginal Network (PAN) would like to invite you to our Learning Day Event and Annual General Meeting March 5th. This event is free.

Develop Your Learning Plan – Unleash Your Brain’s Potential

The brain is different than other organs of the body. Many organs wear out with repeated and sustained use. However, the brain actually thrives on challenge. Use it or lose it is something that all cognitive scientists agree on.

In this workshop we will look at how we can use learning plans to increase our intelligence, learning skills and advance our careers. Not only will you learn how to fill them out, how to prepare for the learning plan interview with your supervisor, you will learn how to use them to keep your brain functioning very well for the rest of your life. There are practical things that all of us can use to exercise our brains.

We will also discuss options – courses, volunteering, portfolios, job shadowing, mentoring, transferrable skills, etc. that will be helpful in your career.

The workshop will be followed by a network lunch.

  • Time: 8am – 2pm (lunch included)
  • Location: Blue Horizon Hotel, Downtown Vancouver
  • Cost: Free
  • Who: Open to Metis and Aboriginal Federal Public Service Employees
  • Registration: Send an email to

Workshop Facilitator Bio

Bob Aitken is with the School of Instructional Development at Vancouver Community College. He teaches in the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program and the Diploma in Adult Education Program offered by Vancouver Community College. He has a MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. He travels extensively working with faculty in schools and colleges, leaders in corporations, government and non-profit organizations to help them realize the value of brain research to working, leading, training and living. His practical approach and sense of humour have made him a popular speaker at national and international conferences.

Space is limited so rsvp soon.

The February 14th Womens Memorial March is held on Valentines Day each year to honour the memories of the women from the Downtown Eastside who die each year due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. The Womens Memorial march began 18 years ago after the brutal murder of a Coast Salish woman that left the neighbourhood in shock. This was the catalyst that moved women to take action against ongoing violence of women in the Downtown Eastside.

The heinous and unimaginable violence that took the lives of Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Wolfe has left a void in the community.

According to Marlene George, Feb 14th Memorial March Committee Organizer, the community is also awaiting justice for the murders of the additional twenty women. We demand a full measure of justice for the twenty women whose murders have unfortunately become a closed chapter for this government. These women may not be with us today, but we cannot let their lives and struggles be forgotten.


Currently WAVAW and many, many Aboriginal organizations along with the Squamish Nation are working together to do a smudge ceremony of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. As I am sure you are well aware so many of our people end up on the streets of Vancouver through the affects of colonization and residential schools, most of these people are women. Our beautiful sisters are subject to horrific acts of violence and even death. This is seen every day. We have heard of our women going missing on highways, we have heard of mass burial grounds where our women are found to have been fed to pigs as if they were nothing. The fact is that our women are being violently killed on a regular basis and no one seems to mind. 90% of the women working as survival sex-trade workers in the DTES are aboriginal women.

Our ceremonies have always been a way for us to make our lives better, to ask for new life. We know that our traditional ways held our women as sacred life givers and clan mothers; we were leaders of our communities. It is time that we took back our inherent right, and time that the rest of the world acknowledge our ways.

These women were all daughters, mothers, aunties, sisters, grandmothers, deserving of honor for their sacred spirits. We understand that this violence is not only happening to our women but to all women throughout the four sacred races.

The ceremony will be held on March 21, 2009. The smudge will be conducted by 40 Aboriginal ceremonial spiritual elders and leaders. We will walk from the four sacred directions and smudge the entire DTES.This will help to rid years of negative energy that has accumulated and is hurting the people and our Mother the Earth. The four races of the medicine wheel have been invited and will walk and pray in their own way from their sacred direction. We will meet on the corner of Hastings and Main and pray for all women to be honored as sacred life givers and clan mothers. Flags will be lifted in ceremony for the women of the world who suffer from violence and a call for support will be put out for all men to walk with women in a good way.

It seems that no matter where in Kanata I go, I hear of people who have lost someone in the DTES or know a girl who has been missing. All of the world’s women have been affected. This is an opportunity for our people to come together in unity to do our work in a traditional way.

Please come join us in prayer on March 21, 2009 to pray together as a nation – a world of people.

We are asking that territorial leaders come to Vancouver this day to show support for an end of violence against women.

In Spirit, Singing Thinderbird Child Twice Standing Women, Darla Laughlin, Aboriginal Outreach Coordinator/Counsellor, Women Against Violence Against Women, 604-255-6228 ext 231

The Centre for Culture, Identity and Education (CCIE) and co-sponsors: Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education (CCFI), Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness (CSHC), Indigenous Education (INED), UBC Equity Office, and the Department of History at UBC present:

Black History Month, Thursdays, February 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2009

FEBRUARY 5, 4-6 pm
Dr. George Dei, Pan-Africanism Revisited: Pedagogic and Political Possibilities of Social Mobilization
FEBRUARY 12, 12-2 pm
Dr. Annette Henry, Taking Space: Reflections on 20 years of Doing Black Feminist Research in Education
FEBRUARY 19, 12-2 pm
Dr. Boulou de Bberi, The Politics of Knowledge: The Promised Land Project and/as (Black) Canadian Social History
FEBRUARY 26, 12-2 pm
Dr. Afua Cooper, 150 Years of Collective Black History in British Columbia: 1858-2008

UBC St. John’s College Social Lounge, 2111 Lower Mall.
Light refreshments provided.
Please RSVP

Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness,
Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy, Faculty of Education,
University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4
Ph 604 822-8104 Fax 604 822-4714

June 21 marks the summer solstice, which has been celebrated for centuries by many Aboriginal communities. In 1996, the Parliament of Canada proclaimed June 21st as National Aboriginal Peoples’ Day.

National Aboriginal Peoples’ Day is an opportunity for PSAC to express solidarity with Aboriginal Peoples and support the call for a better life for all Aboriginal Peoples. This is also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in our communities and our Union. The day is of such significance that there has been a call to have this day recognized as a national statutory holiday which would allow all Aboriginal Peoples and other people in Canada to celebrate the important contributions of Aboriginal Peoples.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis people continue to make important contributions in the struggle for social justice, equality and workers’ and human rights.


* Ghadari Mela ((Revolutionary Martyr Festival) honouring the Sacrifices of South Asian revolutionaries
* Dedicated to the 100th birth anniversaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru
* In solidarity with current First Nations struggles

Media Release – June 17, 2008

Surrey:  The Indo Canadian Workers’ Association is organizing its free annual fair on June 21, 2008 at the Cloverdale Millennium Park in partnership with the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation. The fair is organized every year in the memory of the Indian revolutionaries, who had sacrificed their lives to free their country from the colonial rule.

This year’s fair will be dedicated to the 100th birth anniversaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The three martyrs were hanged by the British government in 1931. The Indo Canadian Workers’ Association believes in their socialist ideology and respects their internationalist outlook.

The association will also organize a special exhibition of the pictures of the revolutionaries who had dedicated their lives to the struggle for social justice and equality.

A special calendar dedicated to the history of Indo Canadian struggle that was issued by the association earlier this year will also be distributed during the event.

Since June 21 is the National Aboriginal Day of Canada, our association will bring a resolution to condemn the abuse of the natives in the residential schools and encourage the people to denounce the continuous exploitation of the First Nations.

Besides, entertainment by the folk singers from Punjab, the event will provide an opportunity to the people to buy progressive literature and books from the stalls being set up by different groups.

An esssential step on the path to reconciliation.

Published in today’s Vancouver Sun newspaper:

British Columbians join with aboriginal people in recognizing the importance of the apology yesterday for the horrific abuses in residential schools.
And we pledge to do our part to move forward from apology to action – to go forward with aboriginal people on the path to reconciliation, self-determination, dignity and justice that has so long been denied.

A message from BC’s unions – and our members province-wide.
BC Federation of Labour – BC Government and Service Employees’ Union – BC Teachers’ Federation – Canadian Auto Workers – Canadian Labour Congress – Canadian Office & Professional Employees Union 378 – Canadian Union of Public Employees BC – Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Western Region – Health Sciences Association – Hospital Employees’ Union – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – International Longshore and Warehouse Union – International Operating Engineers – Public Service Alliance of Canada, BC Region – United Steelworkers, District 3.

Saturday, June 14 @ 2 pm – starts outside Downtown Eastside Women Centre, 302 Columbia- corner Cordova, just west of Main.
Join women in the Downtown Eastside Women Centre Power of Women Group in the 2nd Annual March for Women’s Housing and March Against Poverty!
We are marching for:
 - Social Housing, Childcare, and Healthcare for all!
 - No more Evictions and No more Condos in the DTES!
 - People Before Olympic Profits!  No Olympics on Stolen Land!
 - Stop Criminalizing the Poor and Scrap Civil City!
 - End Global Hunger and Poverty!
The Power of Women Group is a group at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre and we do education on social issues. We are a group of women from all walks of life who are either on social assistance, working poor, or homeless; but we are all living in extreme poverty. Many of us are single mothers or have had our children apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental health issues for example HIV and Hepatitis C; many have drug or alcohol addictions; and a majority have experienced and survived sexual violence and mental, physical, spriritual, and emotional abuse. For indigenous women, we are affected by a legacy of the effects of residential schools and a history of colonization and racism.

For more information contact or call 604-681-8480 x 234

The Public Service Alliance of Canada joins the Assembly of First Nations’ call for a National Day of Action in Support of First Nations on May 29, 2008.

The National Day of Action is an opportunity for First Nations and Canadians to stand together in a spirit of unity to support a better life for all First Nations and Aboriginal peoples, according to the AFN.

PSAC supports the AFN’s call for the federal government to work with First Nations to create a better future for all First Nations children by eradicating First Nations poverty – which many recognize as the greatest social injustice in Canada.


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