What would it take to invite Joseph Boyden and John Ralston Saul to visit the Minesing Wetlands?

April 16, 2014

I believe they eat: so keeping 1,900 acres of Ontario foodland producing food is worth a look.

Joseph Boyden Orenda

That Springwater Park – Camp Nibi may be evolving into an internationally-significant Anishinaabe and Midewiwin Lodge teaching and healing centre .

John Ralston Saul Dark Diversions

And they may also know Margaret Atwood who is helping out with a petition.

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Springwater Park – Camp Nibi draws thousands of winter visitors….and +$110,000 in private and public support!

April 10, 2014

The winter is an exceptionally busy time at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi: both inside and out.

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In the Barrie Advance, Group raises cash to help reopen Springwater Park:

A year of uncertainty about Springwater Park’s future has sown the seeds — and cash — for meaningful talks on a partnership to reopen the facility.

The Springwater Park Foundation has so far raised $103,000 and it’s putting its cash where its mouth is as it plans talks with the province’s Natural Resources Ministry.

Springwater resident Nancy Bigelow:

Now that the money’s set aside, Springwater Park Foundation chairperson Nancy Bigelow said she’s working to set a date to meet with the ministry. She can tell stories of people who have come to appreciate the park, which the ministry had said was experiencing a drop in visitors.

“You have to walk in, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. There are trails and plenty of people. On the weekends, it’s packed. All through the winter, there were snowshoers and cross-country skiers. It’s been impressive,” Bigelow said.

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Our Anishinaabe friends continued their ceremonies all winter long:

“There won’t be so many overnight times. We’re not moving back in, but we’ll be doing ceremonies and teaching,” said the group’s Elizabeth Brass Elson. “We’re Camp Nibi and we plan on staying there forever. We haven’t finished our initiative.”

 

Snow clear 93

And finally:

Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition founder Les Stewart said talks are still ongoing and Springwater Township has set aside $10,000 to help reopen the park if an agreement is reached.

Running for deputy mayor of Springwater, Stewart said he’s keeping a keen eye on the park and efforts to reopen it.

“The park is in great shape and people have been using it all winter. We’re looking forward to an announcement from the MNR,” he said.


Who will the MNR decide to be the best protectors of Springwater Park – Camp Nibi: Elizabeth Brass Elson or Ian Taylor?

January 2, 2014

What is their reputation in protecting land, water and air in Simcoe County?

Cedar boughs

In today’s Barrie Advance, Groups working to keep Springwater Park open:

The closure prompted the creation of two local groups which have worked to get the ministry to reverse its decision.

And last April, Anishinaabe First Nations member Elizabeth Brass Elson and some friends moved into the park, founding Camp Nibi, where they have lived ever since.

In July, a teaching lodge and traditional Midewiwin sweat lodge were erected and Brass Elson hopes to eventually turn the area into a First Nations education and spiritual centre, which would be open for everyone to experience.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue,” Brass Elson said. “Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future.”

Meanwhile the Friends of Springwater Park is meeting with the ministry Jan. 8, but it’s unknown if a second partnership will be struck.

Has the Teaching Lodge or slide been made off-limits to anyone since April 1, 2013?

Teaching lodge

Has anyone been denied access to the Midewinin Sweat Lodge or tipi that wanted to learn?

Sweat tipi

What group has done the physical work necessary to keep the trails open since April 1st?

Clearing trees

And continues to do so now?

Plow 4

***

Plow 3What group has always favoured the light, life and inclusiveness while saving the land for everyone?

here comes the sun

Which group has chosen another path?

Posted on voteLesStewart.ca.


The Oshkimaadziig Unity Camp occupation of Awenda Provincial Park continues

December 23, 2013

Since May 2012, the Anishinabek Confederacy to Invoke Our Nationhood, ACTION has reclaimed land in another provincial park near Penetanguishene, ON.

ACTION website: Oshkimaadziig.org

Ontario Parks website: Awenda Provincial Park

Awenda map1


NEWS: Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

December 20, 2013
beth-kim-sylvie-nahuis

Elizabeth, Kimberly Rose and Sylvie (l to r). Photo: Anne Nahuis

Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

Springwater Provincial Park – renamed Camp Nibi by a group of First Nations women who have occupied it for nine months – is to be a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Beausoleil First Nation.

Beausoleil First Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are in discussions which ensure the interest of Camp Nibi/Midewiwin Lodge for their continued traditional, cultural, spiritual education will continue to be provided for on these lands of Springwater Park, Elizabeth Brass Elson said today.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue. Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future,” she said.

An agreement between the Ministry and the First Nation is good news for all, Brass Elson said.

“We are satisfied that our vision for Camp Nibi has been recognized. Camp Nibi and the Eastern Doorway of The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will be working together with the First Nation to bring traditional spiritual teachings on the land of Springwater Park.”

The past nine months at Camp Nibi have been the scene of ceremonies, teachings, potluck suppers and – most important – connection with the land and the surrounding community.

It’s been an important journey for Brass Elson, known to many in Simcoe County for her leadership role in the battle to stop Dump Site 41.

She turned her attention to Springwater Park – part of the traditional territory of Beausoleil First Nation – after the Ontario government declared it non-operational as of April 1, 2013.

“I found my true spiritual connection with the land here,” she said. People came from all over Ontario to camp with the women who were in the park through the high heat of summer and the recent bitter cold. Locals were generous with support and donations.

“Chi Miigwetch, a big thank you to all those who supported us, our friends and our allies,” Brass Elson said. “And special thanks to Beausoleil First Nation and Ontario Parks for recognizing our vision for these lands.”

Two women joined Brass Elson – an Anishinabek from Chimnissing (Beausoleil First Nation) – in a steadfast determination to ensure that the land remains protected in an area north of Barrie that’s being subjected to intense development pressures.

They are Kimberly Rose Edwards, a Richmond Hill resident from the Mohawk community of Oka, and Sylvie Simard of Kapuskasing, a Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick.

“This has been my destiny,” said Edwards. A seer, she found her native roots a decade ago and saw the Camp Nibi lands long before she arrived to support Brass Elson in April.

“I came to learn,” said Simard. “My ancestors were calling.”

News release from Camp Nibi

Cross posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf


How can an MNR Minister who is the Sault Ste. Marie MPP try to (1) freeze-out Anishinaabe grandmothers in Springwater Park get and (2) away with it politically?

December 20, 2013

Especially with a provincial election likely in the spring of 2014.

DavidOrazietti

It’s not because traditionally first nations’ have a very low voter turnout.

Or is it another reason for your refusal to act in good faith or say “yes”, Minister?

Hon. David Orazietti, MPP

Anishinaabe Reservations

Anishinaabewaki


Has the Ministry of Natural Resources treated the ladies in Springwater Park in a Christian manner?

December 20, 2013

Speaking from my imperfect knowledge of  Catholic social justice principles, no.

SSMarie Precious Blood Cathedral1

Notwithstanding an overall cordial relationship between the perfectly legal First Nations occupation and the local/regional MNR staff and the Premier’s office, any decision above the “mid-level grunt” level is clearly in bad faith (mala fidesand unfair dealings.

Examples:

  • refusing to meet with the occupation, Beausoleil First Nation, and community leaders at the same time, even once after 8.5 months opportunity to do so, (unreasonably force a winter occupation to cynically take credit for re-opening on Apr 1, 2014 which may coincide with a provincial election),
  • breeding distrust between indigenous and settler leaders (divide-and-conquer),
  • using the 230 cm of our expected snowfall and -20 C temperatures to drive first nations’ grandmothers out of the park or into the hospital,
  • cynically playing “bad cop” to Premier Wynne’s “good cop” (here, here, here, now here),
  • threatening to knock the building down,
  • cutting off all electricity for lights, heat and security in a 193 ha., unsecure wilderness more than 3 months ago,
  • refusing to meet with community groups from the Assistant Deputy Minister level and above,
  • (so far) refusing the community permission to do volunteer snow removal to keep the 14 km. of ski and snowshoe trails open. This also forces low income families to pay over $1,000 at private ski resorts for a season pass instead of using our already-paid-for trails.,
  • showing up late as guests for a spiritual ceremony,
  • refusing to allow fallen trees to be harvested for firewood by chainsaw,
  • failing to investigate damage done to vehicles (twice), and
  • approving the sandblasting/desecration of the Vespra Boys cairn (eg. the Anishinaabe and Medewinin Lodge call field stones “Grandfather”; people, animals, air, land, water, trees and even stones have a type of “soul”, made by the Creator and it is my great honour to have been taught should be valued and protected from harm).

I wish Minister David Orazietti and his family all the best for this Christmas season. He and I will be enjoying the warmth, generosity, support and company of our family, parish and community over this very special time in the liturgical calendar. I imagine that the Precious Blood Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie will be as comfortable as St. Mary’s parish in Barrie will be for Midnight Mass next Tuesday night. St Marys bulletinWe have a terrific new pastor at St. Mary’s who was born in Kenya.

I’ve never had occasion to talk to him specifically about intolerance but this is the first such collection I can remember.

Cross-posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf


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