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Addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Debating the need for an inquiry on #MMIW with former judge Ted Hughes. Watch it here.

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Human rights museum needs to act on First Nations right to water

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Originally published by CBC on July 10, 2014. Read the original here. Daryl Redsky can still remember the night as a boy when he lost his mother and sister. He was awakened in the middle of the night by a fire in his childhood home on the Shoal Lake #40 First Nation. “I got my brother up,” Redsky recalled at a meeting in his community yesterday. “We crawled beneath the smoke. I couldn’t save my mother, I couldn’t save my sister.” The images of the blaze still haunt Redsky decades later. “What really hurts is the image of my little sister banging on the window just as close...

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The Ambassador: Wab Kinew is an aboriginal leader seeking to engage with Canadians at large

By Joe Brean. Originally published by the National Post. Read the Original Here. Later this year, the Assembly of First Nations will choose a National Chief to replace Shawn Atleo, whose resignation in May derailed a $1.9-billion deal on First Nations education, and made Mr. Atleo’s perceived closeness to the federal government seem like a curse. In that election, one likely contender would stand out starkly among the career chiefs who dominate indigenous politics in Canada. Wab Kinew, Winnipeg rapper turned broadcaster, already has a public profile as a former CBC host and reporter,...

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Why Canada Still Needs the Assembly of First Nations

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Originally published by Huffington Post on May 7, 2014. Read the original here. It's an interesting time in the world of First Nations politics. The past week has seen the resignation of National Chief Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo, the shelving of Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, and the Assembly of First Nations scramble to make arrangements to respond. Now, some are criticizing First Nations leaders for not accepting the proposed bill and its increased funding. Others are questioning whether the AFN has past its "best before" date. Dissolving the AFN is not the right...

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Forget the Politicians – Is the First Nations education bill good for parents and kids?

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Originally published by CBC on April 11, 2014. Read the original here. Vanessa Testawich thinks a lot about First Nations education. The 27-year-old mother of two spends her days teaching her three-year-old son his ABCs while also doing online coursework for dual diplomas in accounting and management. Testawich does this while waiting for her older son to return from his Grade 1 classes in a town near their home on the Duncan’s First Nation in Northwestern Alberta. “My little guy travels on the bus one hour to school and an hour to get back,” she points out. She would prefer he spent...

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WILL FIRST NATIONS CONTROL OF FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION HELP ACHIEVE ‘SHANNEN’S DREAM’?

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Originally published by VICE on March 3, 2014. Click here for the original. Shannen Koostachin was a vibrant and focused 15 year old from Attawapiskat. As a youth, her community’s school was closed due to an oil spill. As a teenager, she became an activist and fought for a new school building, and the broader quest of equal access to education for First Nations kids. Currently, reserve schools funded by the federal government get less money per student than provincial public schools. The graduation rate on reserve is typically half the national average. Shannen died in a car accident in 2010,...

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Debating with Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis paid me a great honour on Canada Reads 2014 by debating The Orenda with me in front of a national audience. We have become friends as a result.

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Spoken Word defence of The Orenda on Canada Reads

This year I'm defending The Orenda on Canada Reads. I opened with a spoken word defence. Check it out here...

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Nelson Mandela: Human Touch

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What I remember most about the day I shook hands with Nelson Mandela is not the firmness of his grip, but rather the power of his presence. In 1998, the world-renowned freedom fighter visited Toronto to launch the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund Canada. Before the public launch of his charity, the former South African president and his wife, Graßa Machel, took time to meet with a group of First Nations people. Most were Grand Chiefs and politicians, but somehow I managed to luck out with an invitation. Before Mandela came to meet with us, we stood around a nondescript conference room, joking...

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Canadians call on Feds to #HonourTheApology

For Immediate Release Canadians from many cultural communities call on Feds to #HonourTheApology to Residential School Survivors Unity across faiths and backgrounds in response to recently revealed “nutritional experiments” on Indigenous people WINNIPEG, MB (07/22/2013) - At noon on Thursday, July 25 at venues across the country, Canadians, newcomers, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples from all walks of life and religious denominations will reflect upon the impacts of Canada’s residential schools in a national moment of silence. In response to University of Guelph historian Ian Mosby...

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