Revolution for Mother Earth by Danny Beaton (Mohawk)

February 17, 2019

An orginal article from Elder Beaton:

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First Nations Drum
January 2019

Revolution for Mother Earth
Danny Beaton (Mohawk)
DannyBeaton.ca

In Memory of Alicja Rozanska

Alice and Lehman Gibson would tell me “Danny go out and pick some fresh rhubarb and turn on the garden hose and clean them and eat them after you pull them out of Mother Earth. Then pick some strawberries and eat them out of Mother Earth; they are very healing and still alive.” NiaWeh for all the gifts that our plant life gives us humans to use and heal with, to fill our tummies, medicines, the three sisters, corn, bean and squash, which give us a good life here on this sacred Mother Earth. It is the gardens of the world that feed us with life-giving forces. Our elders teach us, when we are young, to eat plant life from the garden. Alice said “Nothing is more healing than fresh strawberries right out of the garden, Danny; they are the first to ripen and so we use them in most ceremonies, social gatherings, feasts. They are the leader of the berries in our way of life, we even have strawberries on our traditional clothes and headdresses, shirts, dresses and sacred artwork. Go out in the garden and pick what you like and pick some berries to take home with you. You can wash them, if you like, or just take them off the plant.” The rhubarb was a new experience for me at Lehman and Alice’s farm because I had never really tasted rhubarb fresh from the earth and eating it raw without being cooked or without sugar was a new thing and realistically the only time I had tasted rhubarb was in freshly-baked rhubarb pie when I was a kid. Whenever I visited Six Nations and saw my elders, chiefs, clan mothers and people, they were always friendly on the reservation.

The people were mostly always happy when I was young and I would bring my friends from Toronto with me to learn and feel the open space and see the beauty of the farmland and open space. It was magical with the Six Nations community, now people ask me if I am still going to Six. The people of the cities and urban life, even suburban area, can find peace, healing creativity, community, even great healing there, but there is no healing like the rich forests, meadows, woodlands, old-growth forests or rainforests. The insects creeping, crawling and flying, together with frogs, turtles, salamanders, snakes, are living as one with the ecosystems full of nutrients and medicines, which make up true Creation in its power and spirit. The mushrooms, flowers, berries, wetlands, swamps, Cattails, Oneyed Suzannes, Dandelions, meadows, are evidence of a vast life of species thriving, nurturing each other while we humans can only study what is transpiring in this world we live in. The sap runs from the big Maple and Birch trees and we make syrup for pancakes, but before we boil it, it is considered a powerful medicine for many illnesses. Here in Ontario, Canada, we have Carolina Forest, which is actually the biggest one remaining in Canada with the greatest biodiversity for wildlife: common trees are Shagbark and Black Walnut, both with edible nuts and these nuts are not just good for humans to eat, but also animals: birds eat too, even wild turkeys. Native people gather what our elders call “Repper Roots” and many more herbs for medicinal value. The forests here are home for our relatives, big and small, but now forests are not just a home but a Refuge in Ontario for many creatures, such as the Painted Turtle and Snapping Turtle, which are an endangered species and at risk of disappearing forever. Scientists say we are losing between two hundred and two thousand species each year in the world. Some scientists say the number of species dying is a lot more already. The Eastern Cougar is gone forever, also the japanese Otter, Black Rhinoceros, Pinta Tortoise, Clouded Leopard, Newfoundland and Cascade Wolves, Passenger Pigeon and Labrador Duck, to name a few all directly or indirectly affected by Global Warming.

As native people we have to ask ourselves if there is anything we can do that will stop the destruction of Mother Earth, how we can slow down the forest industry, mining industry, fishing industry, urban sprawl and the oil industry, which includes fracking. When I attended our first elders and youth gatherings in Onondaga, New York, around nineteen ninety, our leaders were crying because our women said our men were not doing enough to protect Mother Earth’s Blood, the water! There were a lot of tears from our grandmothers and women. That had a huge effect on me; from that day on and every ceremony I ever attended with The Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth based in Bozeman, Montana, the spirit of the people always energized our people, the ceremonies were powerful and healing for us all. Back then Bob Staffansan and Eric Noyes were our executives for American Indian Institute and for our council of grassroots spiritual leaders of North America. The Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth is a part of the American Indian Institute and as far as I remember there is a website with the Communiqués or sacred messages sent out from our spiritual leaders and youth, including our mandate.

Almost thirty years ago our elders spoke of the devastations that were happening in their respected communities; alcohol, addictions, drug use, aids, diabetes, environmental issues from pollution to mercury poisoning, then our kids joining gang culture. Back then there was more hope than there is today, even with everything that was going on. Even as I write this story I think how I can truly wish someone Happy New Year, when it is not a happy situation or new year for Mother Earth or Creation. Our way of life tells us we are supposed to be happy, but realistically it is not a positive time in the history of the earth for anyone. Our elders and youth involved in sacred ceremonies through traditionally native culture and those defending Mother Earth have hope of being human beings again, even when things look bad and hopeless. In the past few years there has been a great resurgence of native culture and pride by standing up for Mother Earth with new protests, called “Idle No More! and “Occupy Now!” Mother Earth can see and hear every ceremony we give, our old elders teach us. Creation can feel every prayer and song and action we take for respect, for life! With the recent protests across Canada and the world for the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia and the Gidimt’en Clan, support is pouring in for the Indigenous people there, holding anti pipeline camps for Mother Earth’s Protection.

Because there is such a growing consciousness for Mother Earth/Environmental Protection, maybe it is time to start an Indigenous Party of Canada in contrast to the Green Party or NDP social political movements. Maybe Canada is ready for change, maybe Canada wants to start a revolution to bring about change for the planet. There certainly is enough spirit power and Good Minds here to begin. The recent voice of women across Canada can be heard through three of the strongest intelligence and Traditional Indigenous Culturalists: Ellen Gabriel Mohawk teaching at McGill University, Tanya Talaga Anishinaabe (writer for Toronto Star author of Seven Fallen Feathers) and Pamela Palmater (Chair of Indigenous Studies at Ryerson University). With the backing of natives and non-native people maybe the people can begin to heal themselves and Mother Earth! I have seen the new documentary film Anthropocene (2018) by photographer Edward Burtynsky and I consider it a blueprint for environmental education and protection. Anthropocene was filmed all over the world, showcasing the world’s largest mines and mining corporations devastating the planet and ecosystems, including climate change and the oceans of the world dying out. The spirit of Mother Earth is everywhere in Ed Burtynsky’s new film, from the animals being eradicated to the beauty of people finally standing guard to protect them in protected areas of the wild. The film documents the forests of British Columbia being clear cut throughout coastal mountain paradise. This is a film that shows rape, pillage, genocide and voices of a bankrupt society lost in a fantasy of greed, which needs a healing consciousness to restore balance in the world. We humans need to look at what we are losing at this fast pace, as this generation is a society out of control. “There is a need to start a revolution, because if there is one iota of of a chance for restoration for Mother Earth we need it.”

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Endangered Species Act Review Threatens Two Great Wetlands, Dr. John Bacher

February 16, 2019

Another original article by Dr. John Bacher, SPCC Advisory Council:

JohnBacherPhD.ca
February 14, 2019

Endangered Species Act Review Threatens Two Great Wetlands
Dr. John Bacher

(l) Dr. John Bacher and Mohawk Elder Danny Beaton, Turtle Clan.

After becoming leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario, Ontario Premier Douglas Ford announced his election campaign with an ominous promise. This was that “If I have to hop on that bulldozer myself…we’re going to start building roads in the Ring of Fire.” Ford promised to make 5,000 square kilometer stretch of James Bay Lowlands-now a vast water strong and carbon sequestering wetland: a source of riches “comparable to the oil sands of Alberta.

Ford is not climbing on the bulldozer in a literal sense. What he is doing however, is igniting a review of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act which will end on March 4th. To influence what is happening go the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, website and comment through the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR) Registry.

One of Ford’s revealing initiatives is to remove “Climate Change” from this Ministry’s name. One of the areas threatened by his review of the Endangered Species Act, the James Bay Lowlands, sequester 12 megaton’s of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas contributing to human induced climate change, every year.

The review consultation document now available through the EBR is full of negative comments about the Endangered Species Act imposing onerous restrictions on business. There is little to say about the value of saving species from extinction and regional extirpation.

The most disturbing specific proposal is would increase the harm caused by the creation of exemptions for hydro, forestry and commercial development carried out in 2013. The consultation paper has a suggestion to adding changes that would politicize this process through exemptions based on ministerial discretion. In terms of a practical achievement that could be won through a campaign abolishing this loophole, inserted several years after the act had been passed through onerous public consultations is the best that can now be achieved.

Ford’s review threatens two great wetlands of fundamental regional significance to Ontario. One is the best example of the still relative intact ecology of vast Hudson Bay Lowlands, still beyond the limits of commercial logging and roads. Another is the biggest wildlife refuge for the landscape of southern Ontario, dominated by agriculture.

In northern Ontario, the review threatens the Hudson Bay wetlands. It is the third largest such complex remaining in the world, and a colossal carbon sink. It is the largest contiguous temperate wetland complex in the world.

The other great vulnerable reservoir is the Minesing Wetlands. It is the biggest remaining wetland complex in southern Ontario’s landscape dominated by agriculture. The Minesing wetlands have become a refuge for species in the landscape being wiped out here such as the American Bittern, Least Bittern and the Lake Sturgeon. It is a place big enough for previously extirpated species such as the Bald Eagle, and the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly to return.

The Endangered Species Act current protects Ontario’s greatest threatened wetlands, by safeguarding their highly visible and spectacular indicator species. The forested peat wetlands of the James Bay Lowlands are the only success story for the Threatened Woodland Caribou. It is an iconic species on the Canadian Quarter. The James Bay Lowlands where Ford longs to drive the bulldozer is the only part of Ontario that has seen populations of Woodland Caribou actually increase in the ten years the Act has been in operation.

The Endangered Species Act has helped to hold back the very roads that Premier Ford is so keen to take a ceremonial opening ride upon. Despite considerable protests from sports fishermen and recreational hunters it has served to close roads which threaten the caribou’s habitat.

The Minesing Wetlands is guarded by another charismatic species. It is the Endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly.

Minesing’ vernal pool wetlands are the only place in Canada where the Endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly survives. The nearest American population is located in across the waters of Lake Huron in Michigan. Its presence is helping to slow down sprawl in Midhurst by being a concern in the reviews being undertaken through an environmental assessment.

The Minesing Wetlands is already being damaged from pollution laden sediment from adjacent agricultural operations. This causes parts of the wetland to be marred by a growing ring of ominous dead trees. While the presence of dead trees, long associated with two great heronies is normal, what is happening is a warning signal. The expansion of zones of snags and the failure of living trees to succeed them is a sign of ecological degradation. Over time the snags themselves disintegrate and an artificial lake full of exotic invasive species replaces the former wetlands.

A new wave of tree killing pollution may be unleashed by the planned explosive growth of Midhurst. An increase in population for this community from new development for over 12,000 people would unleash a flood of storm water into Willow Creek, which drains into the Minesing Wetlands. Such pollution would threaten an important indicator Species At Risk, the Lake Sturgeon. Minesing has became the last healthy population of this species, which once gave Ontario caviar, in the entire Lake Huron/Georgian Bay Basin. It is also a refuge for the Wood Duck, Trumpeter Swan and Sandhill Crane.

It is appropriate that one of the leading defenders of the Minesing Wetlands has become Danny Beaton, a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan. Beaton reveres this region as the “Peacemaker’s World”, the birthplace of the founder of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. That a member of the Turtle Clan has become such a towering figure in the battle to save Minesing from a deluge from sprawl is appropriate. Turtles have now become one of the alarm bells that have been triggered by declines monitored by the Endangered Species Act.

Recently the Midland Painted Turtle has was designated as a Species At Risk under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. While vanishing throughout most of Ontario, including another threatened wetland, the Thundering Waters Forest of Niagara Falls, painted turtles are still commonly seen in Minesing. Long before this species was designated in 2018, Minesing was greatly appreciated by Beaton as a refuge for other turtle species. These include the Snapping Turtle, Wood Turtle, Blanding’s Turtle and Musk Turtle. All these turtle species would be threatened by residential development near Minesing since they are vulnerable to pet predation.

Beaton has travelled the world, including the Amazon, to alert attention to environmental dangers. He recently, helped by Mohawks teachers in the region, went to the Hudson Bay Lowlands to study environmental threats. This journey was appropriate since the water contained in these wetlands, ecologist John Riley has found, approximates that of the entire Great Lakes. Beaton in his journey to the Amazon warned native communities not to have their traditional territories despoiled for corporate resource extraction.

Ford in his lust to build roads in the pristine James Bay wetlands is following the call of not only mining companies but an influential lobbying organization the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. (OFAH) While it has sometimes championed legitimate environmental causes, notably protecting the Great Lakes from invasive Asian carp, the OFAH has advocated roads in the James Bay wetlands, and denounced the Endangered Species Act’s regulations to protect Woodland Caribou habitat for blocking them.

According to the junk science put forward by the OFAH, to quote from their website, “Restrictions on development in Crown Forests are limiting the productivity of industries that sustain Northern Ontario communities..” It takes the view that, “Many opportunities will be lost due to a reduction in public access in public accountability to crown land that occurs only” through “forest access roads.”

As opposed to the junk science view of the OFAH that favours roads through caribou habitat, the Recovery Plan for Woodland Caribou of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, (MNRF) takes a very different view. This accurately reflects the history of Woodland Caribou’s decline throughout our continent. It notes that, “Generally woodland caribou require seasonal ranges in order of tens, hundred, or thousands of square kilometres of undisturbed or little disturbed boreal forest.” The plan notes that Ontario’ has lost fifty percent of Woodland Caribou habitat since 1880, and that it is advancing at a rate which threatens to wipe the species out by the end of this century.

The Recovery Plan for the Woodland Caribou clashes directly with the junk science positions based on Northern Ontario boosterism of the OFAH. It notes that roads within Woodland Caribou habitat are “linear corridors” which serve to “fragment existing habitat tract and impede Woodland Caribou movements, distribution and survival.” The Recovery Plan notes that the presence of Woodland Caribou is a “good ecological indicator of a healthy boreal forest.”

The James Bay Lowlands where Woodland Caribou populations area expanding is also one of the few areas in the province, where the species survives in sufficient numbers to assist in the subsistence economy of the native Creek and Ojibway communities of Northern Ontario. He found no need to spread such warnings in the Ring of Fire region. One of the reason that for the past decade the Ojibway and Cree have not been enticed to endorse road to mines schemes our collective memories of the consequence of past industrial assaults on their lands. Their communities listen to their elders who recall how hydro dams built in the 1930s caused rivers to dry up. Now these waters are threatened by toxic leakages from chromite and nickel mines.

Beaton’s warnings make him akin to prophetic figures like Sitting Bull who sought to protect the Great Plains from the ravages of European agriculture in the 19th century. This reality is shown by the Hudson Bay Lowlands now becoming a bastion of habitat for the Snow Goose, as the birds have retreated from former nesting areas on the Great Plains. Now more than five million Snow Geese live in the Hudson Bay lowlands, in such abundance that hunting restrictions have been abolished.

It is to be hoped that Ford’s planned bulldoze drive into the Ring of Fire will end up as modern day version of Custer’s Last Stand. Hopefully, an awakened public will force a retreat comparable to the one experienced regarding clean water legislation and the Green Belt.


On Our Sacred Journey by Danny Beaton

January 31, 2019

First Nations Drum
October 2018

On Our Sacred Journey
Danny Beaton

robertjohnRobertjohn Knapp and Danny at Parliament of Worlds Religions Salt Lake City Utah Photo by Oren Lyons 2015

In memory of Alicja Rozanska

When we give thanksgiving we honor the plant life first in our way of life, then we go to our Sacred Mother Earths blood, rivers, oceans and ponds the sacred drink that our mother give all Creation. After the plant life and rivers its our relations who we thank and honor four-legged, winged ones, fish life and insects these are the ones who share this sacred mother earth with Humans On Our Sacred Journey. When we all start our day this way, how can we go wrong, how can we we ever feel alone when this respect we have for life grows every day, when we connect our self to life, life can connect itself to the Humans. Our old ones teach us Indian people that all Creation can hear and feel our love when we speak to them, our trees, our plant life, the sky,Grandmother Moon, Brother Sun every insect can hear and feel our love ,respect and thanksgiving for sharing this sacred journey with us Humans, as we share this Sacred Mother Earth in that sacred oneness with the Great Mystery our Great Creator the Universe the Cosmos the life-giving forces Earth Air Fire and Water we are all one in the eyes of the Universe/Creator.

Blackcloud on Sacred Drum at Parliament of Worlds Religions Salt Lake City Utah photo by Danny Beaton

Indigenous people have showed Western ideologists and early explorers the oneness of living in harmony with Mother Earth from first contact 500 years ago and were called inferior beings, how can humans become so confused over the years about the Sacredness in life, how can the natural life become so meaningless to humans and become a commodity, a resource to extract and profit from for short-term profit and destroy our relations, fish, animals, birds and insects who need plants, forests, mountains, gardens, swamp, wetlands to live in as humans do, our relations need rivers, lakes and oceans to thrive, multiply and survive. Our oceans were once full of life species, sharks, whales, tuna, cod, shrimp, octopus endless fish life nurturing breeding endlessly with algae, plankton, seaweed, Our oceans are a source of air supply possibly 75 percent of our fresh air supply comes from the oceans biodiversity and web of life support. Yet the governments of the world in charge have left the oceans to factory fishing to destroy and rape as does the mining industry /corporations pillage and rape Mother Earth for minerals, gold, diamonds, ore, nickel zinc and taking the organs out of Mother Earth then sucking the oil from her body till there is nothing but huge gaping wounds on her body. Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants have created higher cancer rates and leukemia since having uranium, plutonium extracted from Mother Earths body to support nuclear energy. Mismanagement after mismanagement of the world’s resources are killing all life on our Sacred planet.

The Sacredness of Life must be taught to those who have fallen asleep spiritually, the children of the world are now suffering and this suffering is growing everywhere as our hospital are filling up with cancer, diabetes, heart diseases depression are rampant. Every major river in the world is polluted. All of this was foretold to us in our Sacred Circles and Sacred Councils by our old elders 25 years ago in my lifetime, yet it was all prophesied by most cultures hundreds of years ago. Our work/jobs are to help those who are asleep spiritually each and every one of us people can do something positive to help Mother Earth or support justice and peace somewhere as the negativity is growing and the Fire Keepers of the world the Medicine People need to speak up of respect, equality, unity, peace and righteousness. Our Old Elders would say we need The Good Mind it is our way of life and we need to put our Minds together to solve these problems of the world, As One Minded People!

Twenty-five years ago I remember waking up to the sound of the Sacred Drum and the songs of the morning, the Dawn Song to honour all life coming alive from a good night’s rest. We were gathered up by The American Indian Institute the united nations of native tribes based in Bozeman Montana, the elders and youth who were carrying traditional indigenous culture or better known as The Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth the wisdom keepers of North America. We gathered up to maintain our sacred culture and way of life to honour the Great Mystery our Great Creator Wakan Tanka, Mother Earth, all our Relations the Great Spirit and life-giving forces. We became Creators extended family and like Chief Tom Porter would say every man is a brother on this continent and every woman is a sister in this country that is the law of the land. Every person is indigenous every person has a homeland and territory we are the indigenous people of this continent.

The first year I attended sacred ceremonies was suggested by Chief Oren Lyons in 1990, Oren was one of the greatest environmentalists I ever met or have known in my life a Wolf Clan adopted into the Turtle Clan a spokesperson for the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth and Indigenous Working Group On Climate Change with the United Nations. The peace and respect on the Onondaga Reserve was overwhelming in Syracuse New York the community was the strongest place I had ever seen or been to in my life full of calmness, intelligence and respect and traditional Iroquois culture, Onondaga may be one of the only places that is free from the US government control and still organized by traditional Iroquois people. My first year attending sacred ceremonies was an experience that helped create the person I am now, I had already been attending sacred sweat lodge ceremonies in Guelph with elder Vern Harper but with the grassroots spiritual leaders of North America was a whole new awakening, It seemed like there were at least a hundred old elders with us that year in Onondaga with all the family’s there it was the largest spiritual gathering I had ever been to. Once the Sacred Fire was started by our Fire Keeper the Fire Keepers kept the fire going for 4 days and three nights. The day would start at sun rise and then Sacred Sunrise Ceremony with blessings from elders of the Four Directions. Then the prayers would continue from all the elders, clan mothers, chiefs, medicine people and runners who had gathered there at ceremony to give thanks to Great Creator/Wakan Tanka Creation the Universe/Cosmos and Mother Earth for the gifts we as Humans Beings were blessed with and our Relatives and Ancestors. We honoured the Spirit World we honoured the Four Directions we honoured Natural Life Natural Laws Earth, Air, Fire Water the Life Giving Forces from everything that moved or lived on Mother Earth to everything in the Sky world to everything invisible our old elders taught us we were at one with throughout Our Sacred Journey on this Sacred Mother Earth. That we as humans had a duty and responsibility to give Thanksgiving for All Creation. Uncle Robertjohn always told me that everything in the Spirit World can hear us Human Beings we were given the Sacred Tobacco to communicate with Great Creator with our Sacred Pipes and that our Songs were the highest form of prayer we could give each and every day.

When we as Indians or non-Indians spend time with our old wisdom keepers/elders the ones who still laugh and joke the ones who still pray and understand the life around us and traditional culture we are being taught our relation to all life around us! When we spend time talking, eating, sleeping, praying, singing, drumming and being with elders who are peaceful healthy, we have a chance to learn stories and teachings of the way life was and should be. When we attended our Sacred Circles in our old days we was loved and nurtured by our elders because that is the way of life that they were taught and it is passed on to us then we pass that Healing and Wisdom on to those who are On Our Sacred Journey.

dannybeaton.ca

http://www.firstnationsdrum.com/2018/10/on-our-sacred-journey/

 


I worked with Jim Dumont at Springwater Park in 2013.

November 27, 2018

I will never forget.

Onaubinisay at the 2018 Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto.


Canada’s Catholic community has an enormous role to play in the work of reconciliation. Apologies matter, says Charlie Angus.

April 19, 2018

Charlie Angus is the NDP MP for Timmins—James Bay.

 

The Toronto Star
April 14, 2018

Pope should apologize for Catholic church’s role in residential school system
“All but one of the Christian denominations involved in the crimes of the residential schools have taken part in the process of reparations and reconciliation. Yet the Catholic Church, which played the largest role in this evil system, has been the most recalcitrant when it comes to repentance,” writes Charlie Angus.
Opinion

Pope Francis should apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system, writes Charlie Angus. (ANDREW MEDICHINI / AP)

Apologies matter. I was taught this from my earliest years in Catholic schools and from the pulpit. The power of the apology is so central to the notion of healing and reconciliation in the Catholic tradition that it is given sacramental form in the rites of confession and penance.

It was Jesuit priests who taught me that the acts of apology and forgiveness cannot simply be personal. They must be systemic. This is how we make a broken world whole. The Church has a vital role to play by being rooted in justice through solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed.

And so I was shocked by the comments of Pope Francis — the first Jesuit Pope — that he is unwilling to make a public apology for the Church’s role in the horrors of the residential school system. The call for a formal apology from the Pope is one of the key calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. And yet, following discussions with the Canadian bishops, Pope Francis has said that the Church is not ready to take this step.

All but one of the Christian denominations involved in the crimes of the residential schools have taken part in the process of reparations and reconciliation. Yet the Catholic Church, which played the largest role in this evil system, has been the most recalcitrant when it comes to repentance.

In 2015, the Catholic bishops used a legal loophole to walk away from their legal obligation to pay $25 million in compensation to support survivors of horrific physical and sexual abuse in Church-run schools. The various Catholic orders involved in this abuse have also proved to be unwilling partners for reconciliation when it comes to turning over documents and evidence relating to the crimes committed in these institutions. Traditionally, it is a country’s bishops — in Canada, assembled in the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops — who must undertake the process of inviting the Pope to apologize on behalf of the Church. They have decided against this.

I have enormous faith in Pope Francis’ vision of a church that is actively engaged in the work of justice and healing. There are numerous precedents, such as when the Church apologized for systemic child abuse in Ireland, Pope Francis’ apology to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and the apology for the Church’s role in the stolen generation of Indigenous children in Australia. So why are Canadian bishops refusing to take this step in Canada?

In this coming week, my colleague Romeo Saganash will introduce a parliamentary motion calling on the Catholic bishops to recognize their obligation to begin the process for a formal papal apology.

Having Parliament publicly call on the bishops is not a step we take lightly. There is no legal lever to compel them to act. Some have pointed out that there is a longstanding tradition of the separation church and state in Canadian political life. That may be, but it was the deliberate blurring of church and state interests that allowed criminal actions in schools like St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in Fort Albany, Ont., to be carried out for decades.

Parliament needs to make itself heard because there is a moral urgency to the issue of reconciliation. There is no moving forward as a nation until all the parties to the brutalities of the residential schools come forward in a spirit of contrition and awareness for the damage done.

One of my proudest moments as a parliamentarian and Canadian was hearing Prime Minister Stephen Harper make Canada’s official apology for the horrors of the residential school system. I talked to survivors in my region following that apology and one couple told me they wept for days because they never dreamed that anyone would stand up and take responsibility for the crimes committed against them at St. Anne’s.

Canada’s Catholic community has an enormous role to play in the work of reconciliation. The Church in Canada has a long and proud tradition of justice and service. It is time for the bishops to step forward and do what we were all taught to do in Catholic schools from a young age: to apologize, and to promise an appropriate penance to restore what has been broken. Apologies matter.

Charlie Angus is the NDP MP for Timmins—James Bay.

Link to the article.


Danny Beaton is now focused on protecting the Nottawasaga River and the Minesing Wetlands from the polluted storm water that is set to flow from the Midhurst Secondary Plan.

February 5, 2018

Danny Beaton, Dr. John Bacher on Simcoe County’s inevitable Greenbelt.

***

First Nations Drum
January 2018

For Danny Beaton, Greenbelt celebrates Mother Earth
Dr. John Bacher (PhD)

Harold and Ann Boker and Danny in Art Parnel’s clover field, Simcoe County
Photo Courtesy of J.E. Simpson, 2009

In Memory of Alicja Rozanska

Now in a ponderous and tentative way the Ontario government is engaged in a consultation to expand the Greenbelt into the sacred heartland of Huronia. It is the core of the civilization that produced the prophetic figure, the Peacemaker.

Technocratic words about wetlands, cold temperature water, moraines, aquifers, base flow and the key indicator species, the Brook Trout are the language of the long overdue exercise to expand the Greenbelt. They have little resonance however, compared to those expressed by Danny Beaton’s, passion for Mother Earth.

In contrast to official jargon, Beaton explains that, “under the Nanfan Treaty the Mohawk nation has the Right to water and wood from Six Nations to Georgian Bay as long as the grass grows and the sun shines…therefore as a Mohawk man I have a right to protect our sacred waters, sacred farm land and our spiritual animals.”

Beaton, a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, took his great stand in the defense of Mother Earth in the campaign to defend the world’s purest source of drinking water. It was located near Elmvale, where the greatest settlement of the people of the Peacemaker was located.

Beaton has termed The Peacemaker’s World, “The Healing Place.” He finds its “probably one of the most beautiful places that I have been to in my entire life. The waters are everywhere. The forests are everywhere. We pick the berries.” Here he eats the fish and gathers cedar on a regular basis.

There was a 22 year struggle that sought to protect the world’s cleanest water from becoming a garbage Dump. It was called based on an engineering report, Dump Site 41. Beaton played a major role in stopping the dump from receiving garbage.

Beaton first organized an eight day walk from where Dump Site 41 would be built to Queen’s Park. It was called The Walk for Water. He saw the trek as bringing “attention to the Sacred Waters of the Alliston Aquifer and the tributaries that run into Georgian Bay.”

Following the Walk Water Beaton organized an occupation of the site. It blockaded excavation machines from digging up the Sacred Mother Earth of the Peacemaker’s World.

What made Beaton’s passion so powerful is that he knew how to be arrested with dignity and power. It was a majestic dignity that the Peacemaker’s words of “Peace, Power and Righteousness” resounded from the ancient times from of his ancestors.

Beaton was arrested on the blockade line by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers. At the time of his arrest he was submitting his photographs of the struggle to First Nations Drum and News From Indian Country. At the time he was using an upright log for his desk and sitting on a lawn chair. After being put into handcuffs he was taken to the OPP Midland Detachment Center.

Beaton distinguished himself by refusing to sign a release form. By doing so he would have pledged never to enter the dump site again. He later explained how, “I felt someone had to show the world that
this was all crazy”.

Beaton told the Justice of the Peace at his trial that “somebody had to stop the rape of Mother Earth.” At this point, he later recalled, “I felt like crying because of all the chaos that was happening but no justice for Mother Earth.”

In refusing to sign the form Beaton’s words were simple but eloquent. He told reporters, “Who Will Speak to the Water?” These were his last words to the press before spending three days in prison, before his bail hearing.

Beaton’s words of the need to speak for the water came at the right time to stop Dump Site 41. This is because when he went to prison the nonviolent struggle of peaceful resistance to save the world’s purest water had taken on the form of a great scientific experiment. It exposed the lies of the engineering professionals that had been used to deceive the voting public of Simcoe County.

When the resisters held the line against the bulldozers the water that flowed out of the Dump Site 41 site remained pure. As soon as the blockade was breached by the force of the OPP the water that flowed out became dirty.

The stain on the water became a dirty mark upon the politicians who backed Dump Site 41. If so much damage could be caused by simply digging a pit, what people reasoned, would be caused by dumping garbage into it?

During Beaton’s three days in prison where his biggest complaint was the impurity of the water, an outraged public opinion caused everything to change. Incensed citizens mobilized and phoned their councilors, denouncing them for believing the lies of the engineers.

When Beaton arrived in the Barrie Simcoe County court house, everything had changed. He was released in the knowledge that work on Dump Site 41 had been halted.

The excavations were healed by restorative work. Eventually easements were put on the land by the Ontario Farmland Trust, to ensure that this prime Class One soil would remain in agricultural use forever.

Beaton a few years later came to the rescue to another threat to the cold pure waters that feed the cold water trout streams that flow into lower Georgian Bay. This new threat was termed the Dufferin County mega quarry.

Much like Dump Site 41 before Beaton’s involvement, opponents of a mega mile quarry on Canada’s best potato growing land had been getting nowhere. Farm houses and buildings were burned down. Their debris clogged local dumps. Forests were clear cut in violation of tree protection by laws. Fence rows were ripped up.

Beaton met with the organizers of opposition in a corporate law office on Bay Street. He told them, literally, to “Take a Hike.”

By suggesting they take a hike Beaton meant they should follow the example the stopped Dump Site 41. He called for a procession from Queen’s Park, the seat of political power which could kill the Mega Quarry, to the site of the proposed giant pit. The march was held and captured the public’s imagination. This sparked by death of the scheme through the unusual imposition of an Environmental Assessment.

After the end of the five day trek Beaton and I were led by one of the organizers Smiling Yogi to a place where he promised we would appreciated what the hike was all about. He took us to one of the magnificent cold water streams of Huronia.

Yogi took us to a White Cedar Brook Trout stream which is an important tributary for the cold water Nottawasaga River flowing into Georgian Bay. Here Brook Trout leaped through its sparkling fast running waters, laced with riffles, runs and pools. It was lined with verdant green watercress.

Beaton is now focused on protecting the Nottawasaga River and the Minesing Wetlands from the polluted storm water that is set to flow from urban expansion in Midhurst. His passion for Mother Earth gives substance to the call of the public consultation document for the expansion of the Greenbelt in Huronia called appropriately, “Protecting Water.” The document exposes how urban sprawl is a threat to the wetlands and trout streams that nourish Georgian Bay. But he expresses it was through the wisdom of native people who see sacred waters as Mother Earth’s blood.

Click here for a pdf copy of the article.


“We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population.”

January 30, 2018

January 27th honours the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

From a Truthdig article written by Sarah Sunshine Manning called Remember the Bear River Massacre, Climax of the American Holocaust


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