There is no solution to Springwater Park without a treaty solution.

December 14, 2013

There were two citizens’ groups that started in 2012 that claimed to represent the community.

Settler thumbnail

The Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition respected First Nations right to be at the table to talk about the use and ownership of the land.

  • The other one couldn’t see their way clear to see it as a treaty issue.

Idle No More is about the value of putting social justice first. Last. And everywhere in between. The 96% of us who are settlers are more protected from the jackals the more we safeguard our brothers and sisters.

Click here for full size image from Briarpatch magazine.


Top 10 viewed posts on so far.

October 23, 2013

What are the most popular articles on this weblog?

Top 10 Posts viewed and when they were written

    1. Friends of Springwater Provincial Park: their financial record, Nov 28, 2012.
    2. Cat’s-paw: a pawn or dupe, Dec 2, 2012.
    3. Any community groups that are sucking up to the MNR when Springwater Park ownership is under question, are helping provoke a confrontation., May 12, 2013.
    4. Who is responsible for the sand blasting, damage and repair of the circa 1929 Vespra Boys cenotaph at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi?, Oct 15, 2013.
    5. Idle No More in Barrie: Flash Mob Round Dance, Georgian Mall Barrie, ON, Boxing Day, 2 pm., Dec 23, 2012.
    6. The Fraud Triangle by Dr. David Cressey, Dec 12, 2012.
    7. How deep is Ian Taylor’s understanding of First Nations nation-to-nation Treaty Rights and Springwater Park – Camp Nibi?, May 12, 2013.
    8. Simcoe County politicians could finance the Springwater Park “losses” for almost 150 years, if they wanted to, Dec 31, 2012.
    9. Are the 31,000 acres of Simcoe County Forest really The Lungs of Barrie?, Oct 24, 2012.
    10. Sunnidale Park in Barrie should be a model for protecting Springwater Provincial Park from being sold, Mar 14, 2013.

October 23, 2012 to October 23, 2013.

United Nations representative investigates Canada’s central race relations situation.

October 7, 2013

Nine days for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples special advisor to see what progress has been made since 2003.

James Anays

James Anaya, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, begins a tour of Canada Monday to gauge the government’s progress on aboriginal rights. JAMIL BITTAR / REUTERS FILE PHOTO

An interesting Toronto Star article, A UN envoy steps into the Canadian fire.

It is a visit more than 18 months in the planning, a somewhat grudging welcome mat laid out by a government that does not embrace international observers on its turf.

But James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, says he takes the Conservative promise of co-operation at face value, even as he begins his tour of the country Monday to gauge the government’s progress on aboriginal rights with his eyes wide open.

Some of the rapidly accumulating issues:

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo has characterized the looming resource battle as “collaboration or collision” and he has vowed that First Nations will stand their ground until their rights are respected.

Anaya says there is a duty of the state to consult “in order to obtain consent” in regards to resource extraction on aboriginal land.

The journalist summarizes:

Anaya says he has had “a lot of different reactions” from a lot of countries regarding his recommendations and analyses, but one reaction he does not deserve from this government is disdain.

As usual, the comments reflect a divergence of opinion and stereotypes.

Tecumseh’s Ghost by Allan Gregg: A very important read for all Canadians.

October 5, 2013

Are non-aboriginal elites condemned to continue to deal in bad faith based in ignorance of First Nations?

To read the more of Mr. Gregg’s weblog article, click here:


200 years ago today, in what is now called Moraviantown, Ontario, the great Shawnee warrior, Tecumseh was killed defending Canada against invading American troops during the War of 1812. After waging a fearsome battle with the encroaching American militia for over five years, Tecumseh had struck terror in the hearts of American settlers, soldiers and commanders alike. His alliance with the British General, Isaac Brock, and their victory at Detroit, decisively shifted the early momentum in the War to Canada’s favour. No longer could the Americans boast that victory would be (as Thomas Jefferson promised then President James Madison) “a mere matter of marching.” Indeed, it can be said that it was Tecumseh – as much as any other single individual – who saved Canada in the War of 1812.

To read Ongoing reaction to Tecumseh’s Ghost, click here.

Gregg Barlow1

Is it possible for people to empathize, to say something new to themselves about First Nations?

September 14, 2013

Can Idle No More help heal and unify by having even the “mutts” wonder: Wow, maybe this kind of trauma doesn’t really go away. Maybe this trauma on such a mass scale does resonate through generations?

The Orenda

An interesting article about a new book in this morning’s Globe and Mail, Joseph Boyden tackles native torture, colonial amnesia and ongoing racism:

History class has rarely been so fun. But rarely has the teacher been anyone like Joseph Boyden, the Ontario-born, Jesuit-educated, New Orleans-based self-described “mutt” of Scottish, Irish and Anishinaabek heritage whose new novel, The Orenda, is destined to be one of the biggest books of the season. A brilliant and bloody dissection of Canada’s early days, it follows on the heels of two other acclaimed historical novels by the author: His first book, Three Day Road, set just after the First World War, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize; his second, Through Black Spruce, nabbed the Giller.


People have remarked that this is the perfect book to follow the Idle No More movement. And sure, in a sense – this is a novel about First Nations. But beyond that connection, is The Orenda especially resonant in this moment?
I’m happy that people have made that connection. Idle No More didn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of people who’ve been truly disenfranchised in their own homes. Any good historical novel is going to feel contemporary, thematically. You look at this novel, and think about immigration, who you allow in, who you don’t. The Huron allow in the ones who ultimately end up destroying them, because the Huron aren’t perfect either: They needed the trade, and how much greed was involved in that? Look environmentally – you wipe out all the furs and your economy is gone. It’s like the oil sands.

I understand the Idle No More connection is one you’re happy to see made, but it still feels a bit hazy.
I would never try to make that connection. I could, if I had the time and the energy, trace the route between where my novel ends and Idle No More begins – because it’s not over, it’s just quiet right now. First Nations youth are the fastest-growing population in our country, and they’re not going anywhere. If I could make one reader look at a contemporary First Nations person a little bit differently, that would thrill me. Once a reader said she gave her dad a copy of one of my books, and he was kind of a racist dude toward native people. And after he read that book, he was much less so – he began to see them as three-dimensional.

There’s a point in the book where the sort of omniscient narrator, who introduces the novels’s sections, asks how one keeps going when one has lost everything. Then that narrator says, “Or perhaps the question is this: What role did I play in the troubles that surround me?” That felt almost like a moral imperative: You now must examine what role you played. Is that a central concern for you?
I carefully put that there, because I don’t want to present First Nations as always being victimized. No one’s purely the victim. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. My wife was purely a victim when she was horribly raped and left for dead. But when it comes to big cultural movements, the Huron played a role in their demise, and they know that. The English and the French and Dutch all did, too. Just the acceptance of responsibility is really important. Certainly we got the short end of the stick. Disease, for instance: There were 30,000 Huron when the Jesuits arrived; within 10 years, there were 10,000. There is that, which is just brutal and unfair. But this idea of accepting responsibility for something not going the way it should have is something I think everyone should do.

The book is a kind of democratization of trauma and loss, a long sequence of trading things back and forth – you do this to me and my family, so I’ll do this to you and yours. Can a story like this, told this way, spread that sense of sadness, of loss, further, so that readers can share that pain, too?
Well, maybe not share it, but understand it a little bit better. How do you go on when you’ve lost everything? If we as contemporary readers look back and say, “We really screwed some of these people, didn’t we, when we first arrived?” That’s a lesson I didn’t want to bang people over the head with, but I want the reader to be able to empathize with the characters.

Can that also become a moment of optimism for us as a broader society now? If we look at what we’ve lost, through our own fault, can we find a way to move on from that?
That would be amazing. But when I read the newspaper comments sections online, I realize that the racism is far heavier in Canada than I ever wanted to imagine. I think the average thinking, caring, emotive person can learn a bit of a lesson from reliving our history even if it is in fiction, which can sometimes have a greater truth. Maybe somebody will read this and say, “Wow, maybe this kind of trauma doesn’t really go away. Maybe this trauma on such a mass scale does resonate through generations.”

Do you think that a movement like Idle No More, despite all its successes, can actually propagate more racism?
I don’t think people are made racist because of a political movement. I think people are forced to examine their beliefs and their motivations. Like my friend DJ NDN from A Tribe Called Red, he is fighting a good fight in Ottawa to get a football team called the Nepean Redskins to change their name because he is an Anishinabe man and he finds it horribly racist. You should see the racists that crawl out of the woodwork. These people are coming out just to scream at him. I think Idle No More forces us to examine our motivations, our belief systems, our systems of commentary. I don’t think it’s going to make racists – but it will draw them out. And maybe it’s time to draw out that kind of poison, so we can excise it.

You’ve talked much about how your First Nations heritage is but one part of who you are.
I’m a mutt and very proud of it. I’m proud to have Irish blood and Ojibwa blood and Scottish blood.

Christophe is the first Western character in a novel of mine who’s been a protagonist. I think that they’re coming. I think there will be some really good mutt characters in the next novel. I hope and think I’m continuing to grow as a writer. I’ve got room to grow still, and lots of stories.

…when I read the newspaper comments sections online, I realize that the racism is far heavier in Canada than I ever wanted to imagine. 

Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden will be at The Avening Hall near Creemore this Monday pm.

An Open Letter to my Settler Canadian People by Adam Barker

August 25, 2013

An explanation of settler colonialization and our way out.

terra nullius – a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning “land belonging to no one”, which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty. Source

Freedom is the other side of fear. Let’s fight for our own.

Adam Barker on Vimeo. Thanks to AWARE Simcoe.

John Ralston Saul suggests aboriginal peoples are central players in Canada’s future.

August 11, 2013

And the promise of this whole magnificent country of ours, of the 100% of us are who are “Treaty People”, is being acted out at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi in boring Midhurst, ON.


An interesting article in The Globe and Mail by John Ralston Saul, Wake up to the aboriginal comeback. pdf

Saul claims from a population at contact of 2,000,000 First Nations, it dropped to 150,000. But what some may consider a racial genocide has ended. Forever.

Those 150,000 or so aboriginal people are now approaching a million and a half, and they’re on their way to two million. Those who were forbidden the right to hire lawyers as recently as the Indian Act of 1927 now have more than 1,000 lawyers of their own. They are in an increasingly strong legal position, having won case after case at the Supreme Court over the past 40 years. Having been forbidden the practice of their own spiritual beliefs, an increasing number of their young are embracing them. Forty years ago, there were virtually no aboriginals in colleges and universities. Now, there are more than 30,000 and the number is growing.

As a whole, Canadians have not yet woken up to this reality. Worse still, our governments, bureaucracies and most of the legal community are still lost in denial of the aboriginal reality. They go on fighting every detail of every negotiation in order to slow down this return in force. There is still no willingness to admit that Ottawa funds far less for the education of each First Nations child than the provincial governments fund for each non-aboriginal child. Officials at all levels are still ducking and weaving over the lack of clean water and housing, inadequate sewage systems, malnutrition, child poverty and other poor reserve services. They continue to hide behind numbers and narrow arguments.

He suggests that we get used to a fundamental shift of power, similar to the anglophone and francophone relationship.

The simple truth is that we are all witnesses to the remarkable comeback of the aboriginal peoples. This will mean fundamental shifts in power, in financing and in how we all live together. We can pretend this is not happening; we can manoeuvre in order to delay it. But it is going to happen. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose by embracing this comeback as living proof of the strength of these cultures and peoples. We are witnessing how central they are to the future of this country.

Now is the time to listen to what they are saying and understand what they are calling for.

And the role of Idle No More and many similar actions like Springwater Park – Camp Nibi?

What indigenous peoples are after is their full and proper place on this territory. They are the original founding pillar of everything done here. Their influence on the shape and habits of this country has been and remains enormous.

Yes, Canadian authorities began acting badly once they saw they could get away with it. Yes, the indigenous population plunged in the second half of the 19th century from as many as two million to fewer than two hundred thousand people. And so the racist policies aimed at assimilation, as well as cultural and even physical disappearance, gained traction.

But those days are long past. That is, the aboriginal position has changed radically. And that was the underlying message of last winter’s protests and fasts, of Idle No More.

For more detail, see Dr. John Ralston Saul Osgoode hall lecture notes: “Aboriginal Peoples and the Law”

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