IndigiNews of the week: Time for change

Your weekly roundup of news and information about what’s happening across the Nation.

In this weekly roundup, we share the latest news from across the Okanagan and Turtle Island. This week, it’s time for change. The Edmonton Eskimos are in talks to change their name, while we also share Brandi Morin’s latest piece, in which she talks with Chief Allan Adam, who was beaten by the police earlier this year. Sparking outrage, it brought up discussions about police brutality, racial profiling and systemic racism. And, of course, how this might finally spell an era of real difference.

Worth your time  

  • From Kelsie Kilawna this week, we have Indigenous cannabis dispensary grows in popularity after raids. She talks with Cory Brewer, the owner of Tupa’s Joint. She explains, “There has been no slowing down since Tupa’s Joint, an Indigenous cannabis dispensary in downtown Vernon, was raided for a second time on June 25, 2020 by the Province of B.C.’s cannabis enforcement agency Community Safety Unit (CSU).” Despite the raids, they are asserting their sovereignty, and she explains, “In the meantime, Brewer and his employees say they will continue to stand behind Tupa’s Joint and the movement it’s creating in order to achieve respect for Indigenous sovereignty.” Employee Jessica Jones adds, “We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. I have full confidence that this will work in our favour.”

  • In this Al Jazeera article, by journalist Brandi Morin, Chief Allan Adam on being beaten by police and Indigenous rights, she speaks with Chief Adam, who was attacked by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) earlier this year. Morin explains, “Dashcam footage of the incident showed Constable Simon Seguin running towards Adam as he is about to be handcuffed by another officer. Seguin bulldozes Adam to the ground, punches him and puts him in a chokehold. The two RCMP officers then put him in a police car.” In her interview with Chief Adam, he explains that, “We live in the 21st century now, and the way the police force treats us shouldn’t be happening. When it comes to the treatment of First Nations in Canada, the police are nothing but a bunch of ruthless thugs.” Adam also points out racial profiling: “I knew they (the police) were checking us out … if we were white, they wouldn’t have done that,” he adds.

News of the week

  • Edmonton to drop ‘Eskimos’ name, according to TSN sources. The network explains, “The Edmonton Canadian Football League franchise has made an internal decision to change its ‘Eskimos’ nickname. … Edmonton’s decision follows a team announcement that a review of the nickname was ongoing and comes on the heels of the Washington National Football League franchise ceasing the use of its nickname, one derogatory towards Indigenous people.” One of their sponsors, Belairdirect, threatened to pull funding if they didn’t change the name. A statement from the team reads, “We take this issue seriously as has been demonstrated by the three years we’ve spent engaging in Canada’s north and conducting research related to our name. We recognize that a lot has occurred since this information was gathered, and as a result, we are accelerating our ongoing process of review. We will be seeking further input from the Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions moving forward. We’ll continue to listen carefully and with an open mind. We intend to complete our review as quickly as possible and will provide an update on these discussions by the end of this month.”

  • Kashechewan gives chief and council power to banish drug dealers from James Bay community, according to CBC Indigenous: “A woman originally from Attawapiskat is being forcibly removed from Kashechewan because she’s believed to be a drug dealer. She is the first person to be banished from the Cree community under a recently adopted trespassing bylaw.” Chief Leo Friday says, “We got our mandate from the community and the general membership of our meetings. … They say we have to do something and this is what we are doing.”

Okanagan latest

  • In Kelsie Kilawna’s latest, OKIB and RDNO work collaboratively to see this historically significant Syilx beach come to life again, the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) has reached an agreement with the Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO) to ensure the preservation of Sandy Beach. In a joint press release on RDNO’s website, they explain, “Sandy Beach will now fall under the RDNO’s parks bylaw, which will allow for the RDNO to enforce against littering and vandalism. Additionally, the RDNO can now enforce the ban on fires and dogs on the beach.” As Kilawna has previously reported, there have been major issues managing the beach in the past as the area, is actually comprised of two beaches, one of which is commonly referred to as Kin Beach. It is a public beach owned and maintained by the City of Vernon, while the other – Sandy Beach – is private land on the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) reserve. Kilawna also explains that, in the new agreement, “Sandy Beach will also be given a Nsyilxcen name to represent the historical significance on this beach in the North Okanagan.”

  • Okanagan College honours community leaders in business, culture, according to Castanet. Okanagan College honoured five fellows, including Pamela and Wilfred “Grouse” Barnes, Robert Foord, Louis Thomas and Don Turri. “It would be impossible to quantify or to adequately put into words the positive impact this year’s honorary fellows have had in their communities,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “Their contributions to the social and economic fabric of the region are vast and inspiring.”

  • Castanet also showcased local artist Sheldon Pierre Louis in Local artist opens new exhibition at Kelowna International Airport. His latest exhibition “puti kwala – we are still here”, is featured in Kelowna International Airport. Louis explains the inspiration behind his art: “I really wanted to show today, what we look like today being here, because we tend to blend in a little more. People unfortunately assume that we still live in those old age times and live in that way, so I wanted to really showcase that our culture is still alive and vibrant today in a contemporary context. Rethinking it, I really looked at the youth, knowing that the youth are really bringing back a lot of our cultural practices. The younger generation is learning from our older generation and they’re really carrying it forward.”

That’s it for this week! If you have news or information that you want to share, email me: [email protected]

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