February 07, 2007

Feb. 7, 2007: Natives - Internationals Doing Good

Note: What follows emanates, along with my commentary, from an excellent article detailing the situation on two native Indian reserves in Canada's province of Ontario, though it could have been from any province as far as the dismal aspect goes; however, the international agencies who have partnered with the Ontario Provincial Liberal minister involved have political and/or UN tentacles, from what I can see. Check the links and decide for yourself. My comments are in navy blue.

A slap in the face of every Canadian -- It is everyone else's fault, naturally ... or is it?

"Meet Lizabell. She is 15. Her baby is dead. And still the men won't leave her alone. 'I wish my son were here. He would love me forever.' ... " Lizabell has been humiliated by rumours that she threw the baby at her former boyfriend." ... and if you want to know more, read the whole devastating indictment of what is ... The proffered solutions are worth reading; even more interesting is by whom and their networks and connections ... worth checking further.
, Margaret Philp, Feb. 3, 2007, Globe and Mail


The catastrophe of native life in Canada .... reports ... nothing happens [....]

But now something extraordinary ... One of the international humanitarian agencies ... is training its eye on some of the isolated, alcohol-drenched reserves here at home. Two international relief workers from Save the Children have just finished a tour in Canada ... a hard look at the poverty and hopelessness[....]

Michael Hardy, executive director of Tikinagan Child and Family Services, the native-run society responsible for protecting youngsters in the 30 first nations scattered across [Ontario's] Northwest. [That's Liberal Dalton McGuinty's bailiwick, the province of Ontario, and the Minister involved is very excited about this opportunity.]

[....] home, bursts through the door with its broken window and gaping hole where the doorknob belongs

[....] 15-year-old ... suicide

[....] questions ... strangers ... from the South -- one from the United States

[....] Barbara Ammirati of Save the Children [....]

A reserve is unlikely turf for international aid workers, but Ms. Ammirati is here with Nicholas Finney, emergencies deployment adviser with Save the Children in Britain, ... an unprecedented partnership between northern first nations and southern social agencies. It's a project launched by a handful of child-welfare leaders [.... But check that north-south bit further. It has other tentacles. ]

The two visitors, along with seven Canadian specialists, ... economic and social assessment of Webequie and the even more troubled Mishkeegogamang First Nation ....

[....] pair reserves seeking help with aid agencies that have access to vast charitable resources, in some cases global, ....

Judy Finlay, the province's [Liberal] official child advocate, co-founded the project .... "This is a turning point," she says. "It's the beginning of a movement, and that's not overstating it . . . . What's different is that this is not a story of a disempowered, hopeless group of people. It's a story of an empowered group of people, and here's what you as a civilized society can do. [This time it's really going to work for a provincial Liberal Minister ... really. Everything is going to change ... Are the Chiefs disempowered?]

[....] Webequie still depends on hunting, fishing and trapping to supplement what groceries a welfare cheque can fetch at the U.S.-owned Northern Store, where a four-litre bag of milk costs $12.89 -- nearly triple the price in Toronto. The nearest town, Pickle Lake, is a 250-kilometre flight south, and Oji-Cree is so prevalent that children are loath to speak English.

.... visit small houses crammed with three generations ... mattresses covering nearly every inch of the bedroom, rotting holes in the floor and spongy, water-damaged ceilings.

Even if people can feed themselves, those with snowmobiles must pay $2 a litre for fuel, more than twice the cost in the South, which makes a hunting excursion expensive. [....]

Prospects for economic development ... started businesses .... Coffee Shop offers groceries and coffee ... fledgling tourist lodges for sportsmen, guided by locals, go to hunt and fish.

Lillian Suganaqueb, the local health director, owns one of the lodges and a convenience store near the school. By reserve standards, she is positively wealthy, and drives a shiny pickup truck. [.... Was that intended to be ironic? ]

Emily Jacob, who serves as the reserve's mental-health worker [....] [Would it help their mental health to leave the reserve, go to a larger center, get an education and a job ... or should we discuss root causes, inadequate funding for more from the helping professions ... and whitey's fault in all this? Which will it be? Make an educated guess. ]

At the police station, one of the two Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service officers ... most of the crime stems from alcohol, but drug use is on the rise. ... addicted to the prescription painkiller Percocet, which they snort like cocaine through empty pens.

... a gang of teen girls -- some as young as 13 ... sniffing gasoline and drinking hairspray when they can't find liquor....."The parents are scared to discipline for fear of suicide." [ Left unmentioned is that many of the parents themselves, are alcoholics. Where do children learn to drink at such an early age? ]

The doctor, Naseem Janmohamed ... rampant diabetes and respiratory problems living in crowded, wood-heated, sometimes mouldy homes thick with cigarette smoke. Diets are rich in fatty, processed foods, with fruit and vegetables both expensive and never part of the traditional diet. [Should the rest of Canada send in nutritionists, dietitions, cooks, more government-funded ... whatever?]

... depression, anxiety disorders and massive unresolved grief [....]

... Maurice Brubacher.

Now retired as executive director of the Children's Aid Society in Guelph

[....] Ms. Finlay.... the provincial advocate ... Mr. Hardy arrange a meeting of social and humanitarian agencies that might set their sights on the North. Most have. [global network?]

[....] At the school, where the curriculum includes classes in the Ojibway's language and culture, the children score on average between three to four grades behind kids their age in Southern Ontario. While the school is a towering new $7.5-million building with a teepee-shaped roof tall as a steeple and framed by pine timbers, Ottawa provides only about half the student allotment for education that schools elsewhere in the province receive. [Would that be because the communities are small and funding is allotted on the basis of numbers? That the building of schools takes a large chunk? Would grouping of a few of these communities help to save money so more could be spent on the individual children? Is it time to suggest that living in the bush and hoping the feds will help with some tourism projects to bring hunters to the bush is hardly the panacea that is hoped and allowed to be seriously discussed by people drunk in the morning? Maybe joining the 21st century would help? How does student-teacher ratio and funding fit in? Do the chiefs and councils have any input and it is helpful for real change? Or is the object to talk, get more funding and continue as usual? Is there a reality principle at work in any of this dismal story?]

"How can you expect that kids up North are ever going to be able to compete academically . . . if you're only prepared to spend half as much on their elementary-school education?" Mr. Brubacher demands. [ Is funding the real problem or is it the many social pathologies enabled by the giant welfare scheme that is the Indian Act?]

About 60 children are in foster care with Tikinagan, the native-run agency [....]

"Most of the children are in care because of alcohol," .... "Usually neglect and abandonment."

Lizabell Kwandibens ... 15 years ... mother, a drinker.

... gave birth .... Son Justus ... only three weeks later that she awoke one morning to discover him lying cold and lifeless next to her. His sudden death ....

Autopsy results are pending .... Lizabell has been humiliated by rumours that she threw the baby at her former boyfriend. [....]

[....] She was "almost raped," .... worries she is pregnant again. But it was hunger that drove her here. ... pipes froze ....no hot water."

[....] Josh Roundhead is playing a video game on his television screen, one of his few possessions in a house devoid of furniture. ... battled the bottle ... mouthwash and hairspray [....]

... a security guard at the band office for $12 an hour .... brothers, Cauley and Reggie ... welfare cheques . Eight people live here, three of them children, but not a morsel of food .....

... his three-year-old son, ... fetal alcohol syndrome [....]

Fetal alcohol syndrome is rife on the reserve. In a place where destructive habits betrays a wholesale loss of self-respect, the growing numbers of teenage girls becoming pregnant think nothing of treating their unborn children as recklessly as they do themselves.

"We can't do anything about it until the baby comes," ... They just say, 'It's my life. I can do what I want.' " [Legally, the foetus is not a separate person deserving of protection and those who believe in abortion don't want that changed. SoW's groups? They won't touch that ... sacred cow. ]

[....] No one fixes their broken windows, since idle teens -- Mish has no community centre, no organized sports, no clubs -- will soon smash them again. [ This might ring a bit hollow for those Canadians who often did NOT have any organized sports, no clubs, and they did not turn out that way. Who is at fault? ]

.... no bus service, people hitch [....]

Eleven people ... dingy three-bedroom house, holes punched in every one of its inside doors, mattresses tossed on bedroom floors to sleep everyone. [Do you see any scope for personal responsibility? ... Or should taxpayers just send money?]

Michele's father ... road-building crew ... $725 every two weeks .... without a car, they must hire a taxi to the Northern Store in Pickle Lake to buy groceries at a whopping $170 for a return trip [....] [Would there be any scope for an enterprising native to run taxi / bus service if he bought a van and charged a reasonable amount?]

"... can't pay all the bills ... out of food. [....]

Many of the children abuse alcohol. [....]

[Chief Connie Gray McKay] ... hope ... restoring the health of families -- teaching people themselves raised in poverty and neglect to parent and providing them a decent place to live as a start. [How about starting with a dose of reality first? ]

[....] The assessment team has come away with no shortage of ... things to recommend in their report, starting with an immediate shipment of floor-hockey equipment and 150 pairs of cheap shoes [....]

With welfare cheques in Mishkeegogamang issued by the band as food vouchers at the Northern Store [....] [Who owns or benefits from that store? In any way connected to the Chief or the council?]

... investment should be invited in the budding eco-tourism industry, bringing money and jobs into the community.

A small bus could be purchased for Mish .... [Note that passive voice; it means someone else does it. ]

What about youth-recreation programs for adolescents on both reserves where they are none, including excursions to the bush to learn traditional land-based activities like hunting and fishing? [Re-read that ... Is that realistic in the 21st century? ]

Agencies from down South should provide counselling and training should be ....

Perhaps gas could be subsidized for hunters who go into the bush for food. [ But going back to the old ways ... going out on the land ... back to the bush ... does not require a gasoline-powered snowmobile. If we're going to preserve 19th century ways and the local languages for the 67 or so native language communities, something's got to give. Make the experience for hunters authentic ... or tell the locals to get off the teat, get off the booze, go to a community where there is some menial work for which they might be fitted and join the rest of society who have made stupid choices. Stop telling the rest of us that it is our fault. It's not mine! Stop telling Canadians to fund more of their pathologies and unrealistic expectations. ]

"... basic needs ... requires humanitarian action," says Nicholas Finney of Britain's Save the Children.

[....] a few other humanitarian agencies considering the uncharted territory of northern first nations.

... Feed the Children Canada ... agency's head office in Oklahoma [....]

Charitable foundations are also showing interest. The Laidlaw Foundation [See below for more]

... the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, executive director Charles Pascal is intrigued by the project and its "genuine reciprocity" between North and South [....]

Band aid

Anyone keen to help the project can visit its Web site, www.northsouthpartnership.com , for information, or call 1-800-263-2841. [North South Partnership ... Does that ring any bells ... perhaps UN bells?]

The members of the new alliance dedicated to improving life on native reserves


The 30 first nations located in Northwestern Ontario

Humanitarian agencies Save the Children Canada, Feed the Children Canada

Tikinagan Child and Family Services, a native child-welfare agency based in Sioux Lookout

Office of the Child and Family Service Advocacy, Ontario's official child advocate

Laidlaw Foundation

Kinark Child and Family Services, Ontario's largest children's mental-health agency

Ryerson University

Voices for Children, a child-advocacy organization

This year, I have read of the United Nations / UN and "rights" ... which are burgeoning ... as we speak (Thanks Hedy for that phrase)

* the "right" to movement across borders (think "undocumented aliens", No One Is Illegal, and the like)

* the "right" to credit and there is a burgeoning banking aspect through this

* Make a guess for yourself, but I'm guessing the next "right" to come out of the UN will have to do with childrens' rights and / or natives' rights ... in addition to the natives' right to their culture which necessitates preserving their languages which is already part of the UNESCO Protocol on Cultural Diversity (of which I wrote of in the week beginning Jan. 29, 2006) with its several tentacles ... and culminating with hands in your pockets if every guilty whitey and/or First World / North Nations / the West only signs on. The Third World needs the money, after all, and it looks as though the natives are about to join the Third World, despite what is sluiced in that direction, if not to the needy, each year.

* Look forward to the "right" to knowledge ... Maybe it will necessitate Internet access which I believe is already in the works to connect the various reserves in Canada and probably around the world ... the better to communicate and to learn by ... think globally ... It will be necessary 'for the good of the children' ... and to link the leftists around the world. (If you think I'm away off track, keep digging; keep reading. Dig deeper. )

Note: I do not doubt the good will of many individuals involved. Having said that, however, I remain cynical about much of this when I check further, particularly where some of this leads. When is it acceptable in Canada for UK and US agencies to intervene? Note the tentacles, the connections, the global networks ... Perhaps foreign intervention in a Liberal province, Ontario, is acceptable if they support:

* the leftist root causes gang,
* the no-one is responsible for their own lives gang (It's all whitey's fault ... colonialism, racism, systemic discrimination ... etc.),
* the UN as global do-gooder agency despite the reality gang,
* the global anti-poverty despite the personal reasons for it gang ...
Well, fill in your own assessment. Oh, yes, this plays well for the old Kelowna Accord gang who undoubtedly will run again in the next election. What were the promises made to the natives? Why was money being promised willy-nilly? Who stood to win in the North? Keep digging.

Search: Laidlaw Foundation , check its Board, who are involved in the membership, pay attention to language ... and a few other items ... instructive.

Laidlaw Foundation: Board of Directors and Membership

Note: sustainable, environment, Africa , governance, capacity building ... Have you heard those words before somewhere? Think hard.



The Laidlaw Foundation and Social Inclusion ... aligned with the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD)

www.ccsd.ca/subsites/inclusion/bp/cf2.htm here

From Experiences of Exclusion to a Vision of Inclusion:
What Needs to Change?
See at the bottom of the webpage: Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD)

Another Google entry with that search:

TakingITGlobal -- orgs.takingitglobal.org/7615 -- IT = Internet Technology -- Where does that fit in? It does ...

Obviously, these people think one of the problems is social inclusion. Now, think about that ... living in the bush in the 21st century, a group of natives who are debased in various ways and personal choices such as through popping pills, dependent, on drugs and/or alcohol, without education, despairing so that they live in filth with kids watching TV instead of fixing the broken windows and cleaning up the places. Do you suppose there is any other reason? Would there be any reason they suffer exclusion ... other than our fault?

Laidlaw Foundation's Perspective on Social Inclusion
Mr. Robert Laidlaw established the Laidlaw Foundation in Toronto in 1949 as a private foundation. ...


Canadian Council on Social Development / Conseil canadien de développement social



90 O'Connor Street, Suite 100
Ottawa Ontario
K2P 2R3
Telephone: (613) 236-8977
Fax: (613) 236-2750

Search: northsouthpartnership.com / North South Partnership

UN-NGLS Millennium Development Goals

United Nations Non-Government Liaison Service Links and Listservs



So much to read, so little time ... so many NGO/CSO's selflessly doing good ...

Listservs International System Civil Society Governments

This section of the website serves as a gateway to other sources of information on the Millennium Development Goals. This gateway has two main components: listservs and links. MDG related listservs have been provided as a vehicle to get the latest news on the MDGs. To receive MDG news through these listservs, please register to the electronic mailing lists of the websites specified below. As for the links, a comprehensive list of stakeholders from outside the United Nations system - international organizations, civil society groups, and governments - has been made available. These websites offer a diversity of perspectives regarding policy, analysis and research relating to the MDGs.

Is a picture starting to emerge? NGO's are now termed Civil Society Organizations / CSO's. ..... NGO's, being unelected and therefore responsible only to those whose interests they serve, must have been getting a bad name.

Search: save the children , north south partnership / North South Partnership


One of the entries is for the UK Department for International Development and it is worth reading. You may recognize some of the language.

Search: partnership , stakeholders , Department for International Development , Current DFID/Save the Children (UK) relationship , "World Food Programme, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisations and United Nations Humanitarian Committee on Refugees" , the fight for international child rights

"Save the Children is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance. The Alliance is an association of 26 independent, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working throughout the world for children, their families and their communities. It aims to be a truly international movement for children." [These agencies are always non-profit, non-sectarian and NGO's / CSO's or Civil Society Organizations ... and somebody is paying ... but do we know who? All that doing good doesn't come cheaply. Follow the funding to the politics. Oh, yes, and internet access to network and organize is so important. Somebody has to pay. ]


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