Following an emotional week that saw Pope Francis make various statements expressing sorrow and shame for the role of Catholics in the residential school system, First Nations leaders are ready to move on to what happens next.
The First Nation tradition of cultural burnings was outlawed in British Columbia over a century ago, putting an end to a practice that helped Indigenous communities manage forests and forest fires for thousands of years.
Many across the region expressed disappointment that this year’s sports hunt for moose is suspended in Zone 17. Delivered by Ungava MNA Denis Lamothe, it came as a surprise to the Cree Nation Government, which criticized Quebec’s lack of consultation over potential solutions.
On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Cree Nation of Chisasibi announced it will pursue a search of grounds at residential school sites on Fort George Island. Following consultations with survivors and communities, Chisasibi will use ground-penetrating radar (GPR) at former Anglican and Catholic schools.
One of the primary outcomes of last November’s initial Eeyou Tripartite Table, comprised of the Grand Chief and leaders of the school and health boards, was the recognition of the need for a regional special needs policy. The Table declared that 2022 would be the Year of Special Needs in Eeyou Istchee.
As graduation ceremonies were being planned at schools throughout Eeyou Istchee, two events in early June celebrated milestones in Cree post-secondary education that leveraged online resources to enable students to advance their studies close to home.
In December 2019, a couple blissful months before a global pandemic ravaged the world, Wanda Brascoupé was discussing with philanthropy experts how to better distribute resources to both on-reserve and urban Indigenous communities. Their conversations plotted out what would later become the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund (IPRF).
Pikangikum First Nation, Sioux Lookout and other northwestern Ontario communities remain in crisis after water levels swamped the province throughout the month of May. As of June 3, 14 First Nations had declared a flooding emergency along with eight neighbouring municipalities. The Surface Water Monitoring Centre issued a provincial flood watch for the entirety of northwestern Ontario June 4.
While the youth population may be booming in Eeyou Istchee, some may forget that the number of Elders is growing as well. In the past, clinics employed a couple of nurses and offered limited medical supplies. Doctors visited every now and then in the 1960s and 1970s.
Youth in Waskaganish are enthusiastically taking to the sport of bouldering thanks to a new climbing wall installed as part of a two-month pilot project in the community. Eeyou Bouldering is the dream of Vincent Rodrigue and Jeanne de Metz, who both taught for two years at the local elementary school.