I will never forget.
Onaubinisay at the 2018 Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto.
I will never forget.
Onaubinisay at the 2018 Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto.
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.
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, Dr. John Bacher on Simcoe County’s inevitable Greenbelt.
First Nations Drum
For Danny Beaton, Greenbelt celebrates Mother Earth
Dr. John Bacher (PhD)
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.
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
Ontario continues to encourage Simcoe County as the “wild west of development/sprawl”.
Free download here.
First Nations Drum
April 1, 2017
Ontario Planner Struggles to Save Huron-Wyandot Homeland
By Dr. John Bacher (PhD) & Danny Beaton (Mohawk, Turtle Clan)
The Turtle Island region of Huronia – otherwise known by its archaic colonial name of Simcoe County – is under environmental assault by urban sprawl. A blockade to stop Dump Site 41, the occupation of Springwater Provincial Park, and sacred water walks along the shores of Lake Simcoe are tactics being used to rescue the traditional territories of the Huron-Wyandot.
Victor Doyle is a senior planner with the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, (OMMAH) and is inspired by the earth-respecting spiritual actions of various Ojibway communities and their many Mohawks allies. Doyle has been with OMMAH for three decades and is at the epicenter of ongoing battles to protect this sacred land with his fighting for provincially-directed land use planning to rescue wildlife, farms, forests and water from human greed.
Doyle’s most avid opponents are twofold – corporations, and the powerful minions of developers who run Simcoe County (politicians). Doyle’s determination to stand up against their pressure has earned him their enmity. One such politician is former Mayor Doug White of West Gwillimbury, who as far back as 2010 dismissed Doyle’s defense of Ontario’s land use policies as the mere rantings of “one unelected provincial bureaucrat.”
Chief Planner of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat, has made Doyle the public voice on the issue, commanding media attention on the research of agronomists, foresters, conservation biologists, land use planners, hydrologists and municipally-controlled conservation authorities. Though no official title accompanies Doyle’s point-man position, his stature and prominence should be effective in forestalling or preventing further encroachment.
Two brave conservationists, Wayne Wilson and Patti Young, are no longer with the Nottawasaga Conservation Authority due to their opposition to urban sprawl from the booming City of Barrie spilling over into its watershed and into the community of Midhurst in Springwater Township. In 2014, both Wilson and Young departed under the guise of an NVCA “efficiency audit.” Young vacated her position first with Wilson following suit.
While such relatively obscure figures cannot get the media’s attention, Doyle’s warnings about violations of provincial land use policy ravaging Huronia have been published in two of Canada’s leading newspapers, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail. Doyle’s first warnings about Huronia appeared in the December 12, 2009 edition of the Toronto Star. The newspaper characterized his warnings as “a damming memo from Ontario’s senior planner” that paints “a stark picture of unsustainable sprawl, congestion and skyrocketing infrastructure costs if the province proceeds with a controversial strategy to urbanize large swaths of Simcoe County north of the Greenbelt.”
When penning his 2009 warnings, Doyle worried about schemes promoted by corporations to turn the small hamlet of Bond Head, a village of 500 people served by septic tanks, into a city of 114,000 persons. This threat still endures, although now in a more modest scale of a 30,000 hectare proposal. A new danger emerging is the construction of 10,000 housing units in Midhurst. The biggest problem posed by this development is the polluted runoff spilling into Willow Creek, which is a major source of water flowing into the Minesing Wetlands. The wetlands are an important refuge for rare, endangered and ecologically significant wildlife including the endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, Sturgeon, Bald Eagle, Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, Blue Winged Warbler, and various turtles.
As Doyle took to writing his second citizen report this spring, Ontario’s land use planning system’s “Co-ordinated Review” appeared to be on the brink of collapse. A freeze on urban boundary expansions – a key principle of both the Greenbelt and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan – was under attack by media, developers and municipalities.
The Toronto Globe and Mail provided a link to Doyle’s full 27 page report titled “The Growth Plan and the Greenbelt Plan: Settling the Record Straight” where he vigorously defends urban boundaries. This led to a modest expansion of the Greenbelt on urban river valleys and on grape and fruit tree growing lands in Grimsby. While “Setting the Record Straight” saved the Greenbelt, it has not yet rescued Huronia. The warnings in the report do show why Midhurst, Bond Head and all of its remaining rural land need the protection of the Greenbelt.
Nonsense used to justify the urbanization of Willow Creek, such as the claim urbanization does not harm streams, is junk science, and has been refuted by Doyle using data from the watershed report cards assembled by conservation authorities. Using a study by the Credit River Conservation Authority, Doyle demonstrates how surface water in urbanized areas is always rated, “Very Poor” or “Poor” and explains that damaged watersheds are without any native fish, turtles or frogs.
Doyle said the main threat posed to Minesing Wetlands wildlife refuge from urban sprawl is “the major issue of habitat loss, which, in turn, is the key loss of bio-diversity.” Doyle warns refusal to extend the Greenbelt into Simcoe County is causing a mass sale of farms purchased by land speculators. His report states, “development interests continue to be speculatively buying or securing huge land assemblies tens of thousands of acres beyond the green belt.” The speculation in Simcoe County has led to farmland to commonly sell for $54,000 dollars an acre. In contrast, in the better regulated Waterloo region, farmland cost $14,000 an acre.
Doyle’s report illustrates the necessity of the struggle to protect Huronia inside the Greenbelt – a struggle made more difficult by the hostility we received while walking around Lake Simcoe with Ojibway environmental leaders in the “Walk for the Water.” My experience includes a driver of an animal control vehicle angrily scowling at us for taking a rest near a bicycle trail.
Those in Huronia that care for the earth should not be treated with contempt, but with the honor given to one standing-up for the sake of the entire community and the life web supporting it. The province must rescue Huronia by extending the Greenbelt.
The province must rescue Huronia by extending the Greenbelt.
Dr. Bacher and Elder Beaton continue on our Advisory Council.
Originally re-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.