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Category Archives: Politics and Culture

Another extraordinary day: Indigenous blessings, singing, creative brilliance and connecting with the meaning of time

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April 18, 2018 — As we arrived for our court date in the ongoing battle of the people vs Kinder Morgan, Justin Trudeau and the rest we were greeted by the cadence-like movement of of Will George’s characteristic feathered head dress. He was accompanied by a circle of  drummers and participants in dancing the words and prayers of his ancestors.

Today, it was in honour of those of us attending court.  Their voices and rhythm filled the concrete tunnel linking Vancouver’s  Smithe Street Law Courts entrance despite the sound and fumes of the passing cars. The vibration even through the concrete was powerful.

What a difference then walking through the door and confronting the black and white costumed legal bees buzzing throughout the first floor of the Supreme Courthouse and all the way up to Courtroom 55 where the drawn-out proceedings of the Canadian Legal system were shown to be as confusing as ever.

During the approximate three hours in the courtroom the court was silenced twice, at separate intervals, by two Indigenous people who took space in the court to berate the Canadian legal system for its unfairness in daring to seek punishments and to criminalize people who are fighting to save the land and the water and who are acknowledging the principle and the law of  free, prior and informed consent required in the use of Indigenous held lands. There were no media reports either of the morning greeting nor the episodes of drama in the courtroom.

Those two courtroom episodes, (I apologize for not being able to credit them personally) stopped the court in its tracks.  There was silence as each of those people spoke of long term injustice and growing strength in the face of it.  One spoke in her Heiltsuk language. The other speaker presented with the power that comes from centuries of resistance.

And they gave rise to searing applause and shouts of support from the hundreds in the room who are in the process of submitting to the harsh reality of a legal system that does not accept dissent in any meaningful way! The judge listened without cautioning or commenting.

But none of the above was deemed to be news by mainstream BC or Canadian media.

But what was the news media highlight of the day?.  CBC and other news outlets shouted from the roof tops that Angus Reid that “trustworthy” pollster owned by “no” corporate interests, they say, has stated that based on their most recent on-line poll it’s clear that British Columbians want the pipeline to go ahead.  That was the a.m. news and nothing changed about the top story all day. While callers to the noon-hour BC Almanac mostly berated the polling results and questioned the notion that so much credence is given to polls, the methodology and outcomes and issues reported from the poll were credited as fair by host Angela Sterritt.

 

But in, fact no other activities, no counter polls, hardly a mention of the complex sovereign ownership of the land and sea complete with wildlife and resources that are threatened were counted or reviewed by Angus Reid.  No discussion of free, prior and informed consent related to Indigenous People’s rights.

So today a group of primarily settler resistors, in the courtroom,  backed by some powerful Indigenous voices both inside and outside were, once again, ignored by Canadian mainstream media.

For resisting settlers,  it is not so much a brand new experience as a reminder of how long Indigenous Communities in this country some of us call Canada have been resisting.  It is a lesson in time.

Time flies, they say, when you are having fun.  The time, for Indigenous sovereignty, respect and learning exactly what those will mean for all who live in this territory, has come! It is not fun to be in a constant battle over truth and only truth can lead to healing in this territory.

Its up to every one of us, settlers in particular,  to both change and ignore those polls and join the resistance in forceful but peaceful resistance.

 

 

 

 

One 0f 200 arrested for taking a stand against tar-filled pipelines coming to the coast

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On March 22, I became the 140th person to be arrested standing at the gate to the Kinder Morgan disaster that is happening on Burnaby Mountain.  Although i’ve been involved in many and various activities during my more than 50 years as a feminist, labour and cultural activist, I’ve never been arrested before.

Tomorrow about 170 of us have been summoned to court to find out how the system will deal with our refusal to accept Justin Trudeau’s order to let the Texas-based Kinder Morgan proceed with completing a pipeline to transport dirty,  heavy and chemical-laden bitumen through forests and neighbourhoods to the Fraser River and beyond.

I’m proud to have taken a stand.  I will continue to do so.  I’m grateful for the leadership of the Indigenous Coast Protectors (@coastprotectors), for all the Indigenous Matriarchs and for the thousands who have stood up for First Nations rights and the rights of all people to live and breathe without being poisoned.

Thanks to Arthur Manuel for encouraging so many in the settler communities on this journey.

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Many thanks to Ta’ah Amy George, Tsleil=Waututh Matriarch, UBCIC Grand Chief , Stuart Phillips with Naomi Klein  (@NaomiKlein) and Chief Bob Chamberln (@ChiefBobbyc). This is national and international leadership!

 

 

 

Vancouver Moving Theatre 2017 Season

Vancouver Moving Theatre 2017 Season

* DTES Heart of the City Festival Oct 25-Nov 5, 2017 * Weaving Reconciliation: Fall 2017 Residency / Spring 2018 Tour * BAH! HUMBUG! Announcements – James Fagan Tait, Renae Morriseau

Click Here to get the details http://mailchi.mp/8dc592002500/news-from-vancouver-moving-theatre-june-2520289?e=eb3ba6c230

Harper militarizes again and Justin Trudeau thinks that’s ok!

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Shocking media reports today!  Harper is sending soldiers to Ukraine and he is sending uranium to India. Once again we have it? On the heals of his undying support for Netanyahu, Harper is aligning himself with the most rightwing leaders in Europe and Asia.  And it would appear, from Mr. Trudeau’s comments today in which he refuses to engage in a coalition with the NDP under Thomas Mulcair because their politics are so different, and his published support of the Harper move to send soldiers to the Ukraine that Trudeau and his party are now definitely seeking to embrace ultra conservative politics. It’s time for anyone who has been thinking “strategic voting” to realize that including Trudeau’s liberals in a strategic voting plan will do nothing to invigorate the process of reinforcing and expanding  peace and equality in Canada and around the world. While Harper is singing the same tune he’s been signing since arriving on the political scene Trudeau brings shame to the memory of Lester Pearson and others.  Will Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair consider forming an alliance?

Gwen Giesbrecht

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Gwen Giesbrecht

Gwen GGwen Giesbrecht is a parent, owns a small business and is an active advocate for public education and strong communities. She is a longterm resident of Grandview-Woodland.

Gwen’s involvment with Public Education includes working with other stakeholders in the Vancouver School District as member and past chairperson of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council ( DPAC ), the COPE education committee, and the Justice not Charity working group.

Currently Gwen is President of the Britannia Community Services Centre board of management and Chair of the Britannia Secondary Parent Advisory committee. Britannia has an integrated model for community service delivery and works closely in partnership with the VSB, the VPL, the COV, and many local organizations. She is a leader in the Public Education Project, and stands up for families and community.

In her role as a parent representative to the VSB, Gwen has consistently worked to ensure that the voices of families, especially those that have barriers to advocating on their own behalf, are heard.

Ms. Giesbrecht truly believes that the best opportunities for lifelong learning and support for all students should be available, accessible and equitable. She believes that there is not a more important achievement for a society to aspire to than working to provide the means for every individual to the reach the fullest potential of their abilities.

GRAN MALÓN: In solidarity with Carmen Aguirre

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Carmen, author of the national bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, which won Canada Reads in 2012, was owed $60,000 in royalties when D&M Publishers went bankrupt later that year. She has never received any of that money. Carmen makes her living as a writer and an independent theatre artist, and whatever we raise through this campaign will go directly to her.Malón is a Chilean term of Mapuche origin. Initially, its meaning had to do with Mapuche raids/assaults on the Spaniards, but in the last sixty years it has evolved to mean a big party where everybody “takes over/assaults” somebody’s house (with their previous consent) and contributes with food, music and whatever else is needed to have a good time. In this case, we’re requesting financial contributions and, if you are in the region, your attendance at our Gran Malón. There will be food, readings and performances—and we’ll have a good time! Autographed copies of the Douglas & McIntyre edition of Something Fierce will also be for sale at the event. Again, all proceeds will go directly to Carmen.
 
We have creative ticket pricing for this event: $20 to $500. You can choose to attend in person or virtually. With your virtual attendance, we’ll thank you by name during the evening’s program. 
 
Date: Monday, June 9 Time: 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Location: Heritage Hall Address: 3102 Main Street, Vancouver (at 15th Ave.)
 
Note: We expect this event to sell out, so please order your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
 
For more information, visit http://granmalon.blogspot.ca/
 
Finally, please forward this info by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter–whatever you’ve got!–to anyone you think might be interested.
 
Thanks for your support, and look forward to seeing you there.
 

For those who think young

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Before its too late. Harper ’s got to go!

I’m concerned that many young folks in my own family, particularly my great-nieces and nephews, don’t understand what a serious threat Stephen Harper and his Conservative government in Ottawa pose to our way of life in Canada.

Since Harper became Prime Minister, his government has screwed up things up in every important area of our lives, from health, education, workplace security and the environment to the cost of housing.

These days, how many of you can afford to go to college or university, learn a trade, or develop a technical or creative skill without applying for a giant bank loan that will take years to pay off? And given what is happening in the work force today, do you think you’ll have enough money to support your own kids over the course of their education? For the first time in Canadian history, you will likely have a lower income than your parents did.

How many of you today have health plans through your workplace that pay health premiums, with or without extended health? Who pays for your dental work? Can you afford to go to the dentist on a regular basis?  How many of you—or your parents or grandparents—need  prescriptions you can’t afford to fill?

Right now, the government in Ottawa is looking for ways to make the oil companies richer while they gut the Canada Health Act. Our tax dollars used to support one of the best health care systems in the world. No more! The Conservatives today are cutting  $36 billion dollars from Canadian Medicare. Every person who buys anything from books to shoes to a muffin and coffee has to pay the GST.  But how come banks get bailed out, corporations squirm out of paying taxes, and those who have money make more money as a result?

The next federal election will be held sometime in 2015. We’ve got one year to make some choices about who is going to manage our country. Think about it carefully. What kind of future do you want for yourself and for your kids and grand kids?

I’ll be blogging about these issues in more detail over the next few months.  Stay tuned!