The Basics: Land (and Everything)

Chaudiere Falls, Ottawa, from the Bytown Banks
Chaudiere Falls, Ottawa, from the Bytown Banks, July 1838, image by Philip John Bainbridge (collectionscanada.gc.ca) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What does it mean to protect “the commons” when “the commons” is stolen land? This will be the focus of a conversation between author Craig Fortier (Unsettling the Commons: Social Movements Within, Against, and Beyond Settler Colonialism) and writer and activist Fiona Jeffries (author of Nothing to Lose But Our Fear: Resistance in Dangerous Times). The launch of Unsettling the Commons takes place on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 7 p.m. at Octopus Books, 116 Third Ave.

An important read about land and water in Ottawa: Lynn Gehl’s article Akikodjiwan: The Destruction of Canada’s Heart of Reconciliation, published in the Watershed Sentinel (March 8, 2018). Lynn Gehl explains how reconciliation and environmental progress are impossible as long as local and federal governments do not recognize and respect Algonquin jurisdiction and rights.

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Festivals in Ottawa

Grass Dancer via Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival https://www.ottawasummersolstice.ca/media/

It’s definitely festival season in Ottawa.

Festivals can be great ways to get outside, celebrate the diversity that is Ottawa, and connect with community. Starting this week:

Welcoming Ottawa WeekJune 20-30, 2017

Welcoming Ottawa Week is an annual festival celebrating Ottawa as a city that welcomes newcomers, and hosting events where residents can get to know more about each other. Activities include a series of heritage walks in Chinatown, Little Italy and Lowertown with local residents sharing the stories of how immigrants have shaped those neighbourhoods, and Indigenous Walks, to understand Ottawa’s public spaces from an Indigenous perspective. There’s also a recreational soccer tournament, photo and art exhibits, film screenings, community picnics and much more.

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, June 20-25, 2017

This colourful and fascinating annual festival at Vincent Massey Park (and a few other places) celebrates the artistic and culture diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. It includes live musical performances, theatre, art and food vendors, Aboriginal Day Live! and a three-day Pow Wow. Not to miss.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, June 22-25, 2017

With origins connected to nature and the bounty of the land and water, the annual Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival brings more than 150 teams to compete in dragon boat races at Mooney’s Bay Park. There’s also live music, a family zone, food vendors and more.

Also on: Canada Scene, the Ottawa Jazz Festival and Festival de la St-Jean à Ottawa.

Flooding in Ottawa-Gatineau

Thoughts go out to everyone affected by the flooding.

The City of Ottawa and the City of Gatineau have posted information about the flooding, how to stay safe in flood conditions (around the water, near electricity and with drinking water), and where to obtain assistance.

Other information available:

How to volunteer to help with flooding recovery over the next few weeks: https://ottawa.ca/en/register-volunteer-flooding-efforts

Where to donate to support recovery efforts through the Salvation Army or Canadian Red Cross: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#-donations

Where to get help for coping with stress, worry and other mental health needs (links for the Distress Centre, Tel-Aide Outaouais, Walk-In Counselling Clinics and other supports): http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/older-adults/safety/emergency-preparedness/emergency-notifications-flooding-information#responding-stressful-events

The Ottawa Riverkeeper also has information and links on what to do and where to get help.

Stay safe, everyone.

Posted by Denise Deby.

 

 

Local Writers/Activists Talk Indigenous Land Defence

jan7-singingpebble-dominion-facebook-image

Posted by Denise Deby.

In a November post, I referred to Indigenous and other groups taking action to protect land and water against inappropriate, ecologically harmful development.

The Dominion’s most recent issue, “Warrior Up,” is all about Indigenous land defenders across Canada, featuring 24 articles by Indigenous writers and activists.

Three of those writers/activists will be at Singing Pebble Books (206 Main St.) on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, from 2-5 p.m. to talk about the issues and sign copies of the magazine:

Find out more about the three speakers and event details on the event page.

Thanks to The Dominion, you can read the full issue via their website.

More Actions for the Environment

dec-7-event

Update: An Indigenous Land Defence event will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. It’s in support of Standing Rock/#NoDAPL, the Chaudière Falls sacred site (in Ottawa), the Treaty Alliance against tar sands expansion and the Algonquins of Barriere Lake No Mining! Land Defenders Camp.

Featuring speakers and multimedia, the event takes place at the Bronson Centre (211 Bronson Ave.), but will also be livestreamed. See IPSMO’s website or Facebook event page for details. Funds are being collected for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake land defence efforts.

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Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/
Via https://www.facebook.com/events/276625229401814/

Written by Denise Deby.

Last week I posted about some of the actions happening in Ottawa in support of people and groups in Canada, the U.S. and Indigenous territories defending land and water against destructive development.

Here are two more events, taking place Monday, Dec. 5, 2016:

Prime Minister Trudeau approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 tar sands pipelines. If just one of these pipelines is built, it will unleash enough climate pollution to undo the proposed phase out of coal, the carbon tax and the low carbon fuel standards combined, and then some. These pipelines are strongly opposed by Indigenous communities along the route. A spill threatens drinking water and coastal waters including critical Orca habitat.
For more information:
www.canadians.org/pipelines
https://350.org/category/location/canada/
http://twnsacredtrust.ca/

  • POSTPONED: Also, the Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa is organizing a #NoDAPL Day of Action in Ottawa, from 1-3:30 p.m., starting at the fountain in Confederation Park. It’s a response to the Camp of the Sacred Stone‘s call for a month of global resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. From IPSMO’s event post: “Based on Global Calls for Action, we are organizing a Non-Violent Direct Action to publicly ask Banks to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).” See important details and updates on their post.

Other (online) actions to check out:

  • Environmental Defence has launched a campaign to raise funds and support for a legal challenge to the federal government’s pipeline decision;
  • The David Suzuki Foundation has posted a letter that people can sign asking the federal government to rethink its approval of the pipelines.

For an analysis of the flaws in the pipeline approval process, and the adverse affects that moving ahead with them will have, see this article in The Tyee.

Land and Water Defenders

stop-kinder-morgan-vigil-ottawa-canada-350-org-a-tetreault-on-flickr-attribution-noncommercial-sharealike-2-0-generic
Stop Kinder Morgan Vigil, Ottawa, Canada via 350.org (A. Tetreault) on Flickr Creative Commons attribution-noncommercial-sharealike-2-0-generic

Written by Denise Deby.

Change is in the air…and the water…and the land.

People are speaking up and coming together to protect the earth against inappropriate development.

On Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, communities across Canada held vigils calling on the Canadian government to stop Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to BC and Washington. In Ottawa, people gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office to call on him to uphold his commitments to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples, and to take climate action.

Three hunger strikers from Labrador—Inuk artist Billy Gauthier, Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister—came to Ottawa in October to draw attention to the Nunatsiavut government’s Make Muskrat Right campaign. The campaign was in response to a plan by Nalcor Energy to flood a reservoir with contaminated water—leaching methylmercury into the water and food supply—as part of a hydroelectric project on the Churchill River. The province and community subsequently agreed that the work would be postponed until scientific studies could be independently reviewed.

On Oct. 24, a group of mainly young people from Ottawa and across Canada walked from the University of Ottawa to Parliament Hill, carrying the message “Climate leaders don’t build pipelines.” Police detained nearly 100 of them for crossing a barrier during the “Climate 101” action.

On Nov. 8, people in Ottawa held a fundraising dinner for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake who are trying to prevent mining in their territory. The event coincided with a rally, Joining Our Fires: Women for the Protection of Lands and Waters, held at the Human Rights monument in solidarity with the No Dakota Access Pipeline movement in North Dakota, the campaign against BC Hydro’s Site C Dam and other actions.

Coming up on Nov. 30, 2016, there’ll be a day of action in Ottawa in support of Indigenous peoples whose cases against National Energy Board rulings about industrial activities in their territories will be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada. The Clyde River Inuit‘s case centres on oil exploration using seismic blasting in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s case concerns Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project between Sarnia and Montreal. At the heart of both: the rights of Indigenous peoples to their territories, and Canada’s duty under constitutional and international law to consult them on resource projects within those territories.

In many cases—including the Treaty Alliance against tar sands expansion and the #NoDAPL defense of land and water—Indigenous people are leading the way.

Here’s hoping that these voices are heeded.

Water-is-life_bk_blue by Nicolas Lampert with artwork by Ossie Michelin via Justseeds Creative Commons non-commercial http://justseeds.org/graphic/water-is-life-3/
Water-is-life_bk_blue by Nicolas Lampert with artwork by Ossie Michelin via Justseeds Creative Commons non-commercial http://justseeds.org/graphic/water-is-life-3/

 

March To Save Our Rivers

Posted by Denise Deby.

Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa
Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa

Last month’s spill of oil from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River contaminated drinking water systems in communities and cities along the river, killed fish, birds and other species, and polluted soil and vegetation.

It’s a scenario that people opposing the Energy East pipeline want to avoid. Energy East would carry tar sands bitumen from Alberta to New Brunswick, with risks to ecosystems and waterways along the way.

Participants in the March to Save Our Rivers, organized by STOP Oléoduc Outaouais, are travelling this week from Saint-André d’Argenteuil near Montreal to Ottawa, along the Ottawa River and the proposed Energy East route.

Ecology Ottawa is encouraging people to come out to welcome the marchers to Gatineau and Ottawa, and join them for the final leg from Major’s Hill Park to Parliament Hill. They’re expected to arrive in Major’s Hill Park on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. For details and to RSVP, see http://www.ecologyottawa.org/welcoming_the_march_to_save_our_rivers or https://www.facebook.com/events/1030299940358766/.

From Ecology Ottawa’s invitation:

The March to Save our Rivers highlights the pipeline’s risks while underscoring the resolve of groups in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere who are committed to preserving our shared natural environment…. Let’s all come out and show the city and the country that Ottawans do NOT want their climate, land and water threatened by this pipeline, and that we stand in solidarity with all opposition in the country.”