Welcome! I love to write, and I love sharing what I write with my readers. I vary my style as much as I can-posting events, creative non-fiction, prose and poetry and the occasional video. Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Imagine - The Beatles - John Lennon

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bill C-45: There's A Duty to Consult

(January 11- Youth in Ottawa Protesting- Photo By: Christine McFarlane)

 Bill C-45- There's A Duty To Consult:
By: Christine McFarlane

Bill C-45 is a 457-page omnibus budget legislation bill (also known as the Jobs and Growth Act) that will make changes to several Canadian laws and enactments. Bill C-45 includes the following:

Bill S-6 First Nations Election Act
Bill S-8- Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act
Bill S-2-Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act
Bill S-207- An Act to Amend the Interpretation Act
Bill S-212- First Nations Self Government Recognition Act.

This includes the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Act. These changes are detrimental to all Canadians, not just First Nations peoples.We need to all stand together instead of falling to the divide and conquer strategy that has been used upon us all.

Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada need to recognize that they cannot just enact legislation such as Bill C-45 without negotiation. A refusal to negotiate means that they are not considering First Nations people, their distinct nations and their ownership of what we all know as Turtle Island. Their refusal is an affront to international law, the Constitution of Canada, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Government of Canada never consulted with ANY First Nations in regards to these amendments as outlined in our treaty rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 32 in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states:

1.Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of Indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements."

and lastly Article 40 states

"Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the Indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

There is a duty to consult. There is the need for the Canadian government to acknowledge the ongoing systemic nature of Canada's colonial past and present before First Nations/Metis/Inuit Peoples see and believe that PM Stephen Harper and his government are sincere about paving a path forward together.

 [1] United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved January 15 2013.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest Post- Roy Pogorzelski on Idle No More


(Roy Pogorzelski)

Roy Pogorzelski: is a member of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan.  His family is from the Meadow Lake/Green Lake region of Northern Saskatchewan.  Roy convocated from the University of Regina with a B.A in Indigenous Studies (distinction) and a B.H.J in Human Justice in 2006.  Roy has been heavily involved working in the Aboriginal field.  He has worked as a Research/Teachers Assistant for the First Nations University of Canada, as a Research Officer for the Department of First Nations and Métis Relations and as a Youth Care Worker with the Ranch Ehrlo Society and Regina Public School Board. In 2006, Roy worked in Vienna, Austria as a Research Assistant on International Indigenous issues for the Legal Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Roy has travelled extensively in Europe, covering 24 European countries. In 2009, he completed his master's degree in Cultures and Development Studies from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium (distinction). His thesis was on Metis Identity in Canada. Currently, Roy has worked as the Aboriginal Diversity Support Co-ordinator with the Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge and sits as a committee member for the Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD).

He is also a freelance writer for Alberta Sweetgrass and Saskatchewan Sage magazines under the Windspeaker Label, and a freelance writer for the Lethbridge Journal, in a column called Aboriginal Voices. He took part in the Aboriginal Emerging Writers Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2011 and has a blog titled "Embracing Identity" Please visit it at



Idle No More 2012 (The Pogo Perspective)

It has been awhile since I turned to the blog to express my opinions.  However, arriving back from Europe in December to start teaching at the First Nations University, I realized I came at a very important political time for Indigenous Canadians and Concerned Canadians (I say concerned because unfortunately Canada is full of people that take no interest in political movements, but are the to first to air their ignorant opinions).

The Canadian government (or Harper's government as he would rather it be referred to) decided to pass undemocratically through parliament an omnibus Bill C-45.  This bill passed through so quickly it would make kidney stone patients jealous.  The idea behind the bill is that it eliminates the protection of 2.5 million lakes and rivers, it also eliminates the environmental protection from unscrupulous development companies that enjoy filling our waterways with nuclear waste.

Protecting our Water should be important to ALL CANADIANS!!

This has also become a violation of the rights for First Nations people entrenched in treaties that were signed on a nation to nation basis on mutual trust and sharing of this land.  Another important element is that the treaties only covered 6 inches under the ground, anything deeper would have to be re-negotiated and make further arrangements for those natural resources.

The Harper government has also declared to make amendments to the Indian Act that would open up lands to privatization, corporate development and national capitalism.  He is also interested in a new method in which we negotiate modern treaties, which would endure the same capitalist effect.

Arriving back, I heard of a Chief named Theresa Spence from the community of Attawapiskat who would endure a hunger strike, even willing to die in order to get a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Lloyd Johnston to discuss Bill C-45 and the current colonial relationship between Stephen Harper and Aboriginal people in Canada.

Idle No More (Chief Spence)

A movement organized by 4 strong Indigenous women (Idle No More, 2012) sprung into action sweeping through the nation and capturing the attention of not only Canadians, but the entire world.  A movement resembling the strong political organizing of the 1970's when Trudeau's Liberal government tried to pass the White Paper of 1969 (an Act to assimilate First Nations treaties, reserve lands and culture into the mainstream).

Taiaiake Alfred stated in his book "Peace, Power and Righteousness" that it would be unrealistic in the present to see Canada create another Bill that would undermine Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.  However, a man that made a Residential School apology to all those that survived a shameful part of Canadian History (Harper's minority government) is now attempting to develop our resources to the highest bidder, so that Canada can grow into a capitalist, every man for them self society.

Harper at Residential School apology (June 11, 2008)

Harper getting his face painted on the Blood Reserve as a show of mutual respect!

This runs deeper then just the neglect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights, Bill C-45 deliberately tells all Canadians that the current administration is willing to destroy the environment, the drinking water and the beauty of Canada without consulting, being accountable or caring about the voices of all Canadians.

When I am travelling and representing proudly overseas my identity as a Canadian, I am informed by many new friends that they love Canada's nature and the beauty of the environment.  Much like the Scandinavian countries with amazing nature, especially Norway and governments that better represent a functioning democracy bound on protecting their lands for future generations; most Canadians stand "Idle", scratch their heads and start pointing fingers at the First Nations people (often time in generalizations).  First Nations people are referred to this because of their diversity as nations, as their eco-systems change from the Northwest Coast to the Eastern Woodlands, the political structures, needs of the community and traditions are different.

However, instead of some Canadians understanding what our capitalist conservative government (that has ran a deficit into the billions over the last 6 years) envisions for this great country; they start to point fingers at First Nations leadership and start attacking the personal finances of Chief Theresa Spence.

In my opinion, Chief Spence is a symbolic figure of this grassroots movement, she is an individual that put herself forward to gather the attention of the international community.  Whether or not people believe she is on a real hunger strike, her symbolism is gathering responses to the issues of environment, nation to nation relationships and treaties.  Indigenous people have always been intricately connected to Mother Earth and have emerged as leaders against capitalism, corporate greed and consumerism to ensure all Canadians understand what exactly is at stake.

It is easy for ignorant people to make this about race, ignoring the concept of "national solidarity".  However, my people the Metis fought hard to protect Canada, as they brought Manitoba into confederation (against a Prime Minister that wasn't even Canadian, but Scottish).  They fought gallantly for their rights in 1885 as Canadians against a paramilitary police force (NWMP) made up of  "foreigners" that had no connection to this land.

John A Macdonald (Born in Glascow Scotland)

However, our people got deemed terrorists, rebels and traitors and our patriotic Canadian born leader (was hung by a Scottish Prime Minister).  I am a patriotic Metis Canadian that embraces the idea of "functioning democracy", but what is happening at the moment is not a country based on equal, or equitable rights, it is a conservative country based on division, generalizations and capitalist greed.

Canadian Patriot Louis Riel (Born in St.Boniface, CANADA)

It is easy for certain Canadians to point the finger and generalize Indigenous leadership, it is easy to start bashing Chief Therese Spence, it is easy to express your words in an anger and hate filled way, but if you decide to speak against the movement, at least have the courtesy to be informed, aware and open-minded.  That is why I am "Idle No More", I am encouraged to see the youth rise up with a modern day grassroots movement to bring all Canadians together to say in a democratic way to our government "it is time to start governing for Canadians (all Canadians) and not just the 1-2% that will benefit from corporate greed in the development of our natural resources".

I am proud of my First Nations brothers and sisters for standing up for the rights of all Canadians, now it is time for all Canadians to fight with us to protect what we love most about Canada (the nature).

Roy Pogorzelski

Saturday, January 12, 2013

K'naan Waving Flag ~ Official Video + Lyrics

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Rally Calling for Genuine Peace for ALL Ethnic Nationalities in Burma

 Event Notice:

Theme: To Put a STOP on Burma Army's Offensive War against the Kachins, and Genuine PEACE for ALL Ethinc Nationalities in Burma

Date: Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Time:(noon) 12:00pm – 2:00 pm
Protest locations: Sidewalk of Nathan Phillips Square (City Hall)

Dear friends and colleagues of peace loving citizens of Canada,

Since the outbreak of armed conflict between the Burmese government forces and Kachin Independence Army (KIA), in Northern Burma on June 9th, 2011, there has been over 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), to date. The ongoing fierce aerial assaults, the use of combat helicopters, fighter jets, and shelling indiscriminately on unarmed citizens by Burma Army, have cost many lives.

So far, President Thein Sein’s administration and Members of Burmese Parliament have failed to stop this genocidal war against its own ethnic citizens.

Kachin Canadian Association (KCA) would like to invite you to join the peace rally in Toronto, to raise awareness for armed conflict and humanitarian crisis in Kachin State, Shan State, and other ethnic States.
In solidarity, we stand together as one people and plea the Canadian government to:

1. Urge Burmese government to initiate genuine political dialogue
2. Demand immediate stop to all kinds of offensive attacks, especially aerial bombardment by Burmese Army
3. Demand Burmese government to open aid to IDPs, ALL victims of this conflict
4. Urge United Nations to conduct commission of inquiry on war crimes and crimes against humanity
5. Urge Canada to help engage in a process to establish everlasting peace in Burma.

Contact Info:

Kachin Canadian Association(KCA)

(For the Peace rally Info) Tel: 416 910 8475 / 647 702 6725

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We Must Stand Together (IDLE NO MORE)

We Must Stand Together!
 By: Christine McFarlane

The Idle No More Movement that began in early October 2012 is more than just a passing movement that had its initial beginnings on facebook. It is about everyone fighting for his or her rights. It is about standing together and righting the wrongs that the Canadian government has put upon us all through their legislative and colonialist practices.

It is about everyone gathering together and standing united on core issues that will affect all Canadians now and in the future. It is about grassroots voices, treaty rights and sovereignty, and about Bill C-45.  Bill C-45 is a 457-page omnibus budget legislation bill (also known as the Jobs and Growth Act) that will make changes to several Canadian laws and enactments that include the Indian Act, the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the Navigable Waters Act.

It will see just 97 of Canada's approximately 32,000 major lakes protected by the stripped down act. The changes it will create to the Fisheries Act and the Hazardous Materials Information Review Act will wreak havoc on our ability to maintain a sustainable environment, and have clean water and healthy oceans for all Canadians.

It also exempts companies behind major pipeline and inter-provincial power line projects from needing to prove that they won’t damage or destroy navigable waterways in Canada. Exempting companies from accountability is not only dangerous to First Nations people and their ability to continue a traditional lifestyle of hunting, trapping and fishing, but it will also affect Canada’s waterways and put our water and environment in danger for us and the seven generations behind us.

For First Nations people, the passing of Bill C-45 eliminates treaty rights. It will allow First Nations to lease out/surrender reserve lands based on votes taken at a single meeting, rather than a majority vote from an entire first nation (aka. community consent), eliminate the need for Governor in Council to approve this vote, and changes to approval of Band Councils and Members.

Stephen Harper and his government have blatantly disregarded consultation with First Nations peoples and their leadership in regards to these amendments. These amendments are outlined in our treaty rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In particular, I quote
Article 8 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

"1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture, and

2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d)  any form of forced assimilation or integration;
(e) any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them." [1]

We as Canadians need to stand up to our Prime Minister Stephen Harper and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 

Please, if you haven't already, become as informed as you can about the facts regarding Bill C-45. Take a stand to protect not only your rights, lands, waters and future, but take a stand for everyone!

For further reading please visit the following links:

and another key site to visit is Dr. Pamela Palmater’s (a key organizer in Toronto’s Idle No More movement) blog Indigenous Nationhood which can be viewed at:

[1] United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved January 9, 2013.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What Will It Take For PM Stephen Harper to Meet With Chief Theresa Spence?

What Is It Going to Take For PM Stephen Harper to Meet With Chief Theresa Spence?:
By: Christine McFarlane

What will it take for Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to sit down and speak with Chief Theresa Spence? Will it take all First Nations and allies to continue stand- ins and protests, staging blockades or will it take worse before our PM Stephen Harper finally admits to himself that what he is currently doing, (which is nothing) isn’t working.

It was December 11, 2012, that Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation began a hunger strike that has largely become a focal point for the Idle No More Movement that is currently sweeping across Canada and the international stage. It was also a year ago that Chief Theresa Spence and Attawapiskat First Nation were thrust into the limelight with their housing and infrastructure crisis, where we all saw Harper famously stepping in, removing management of the community from the Chief and council and announcing third party management, which was later ruled by the courts as “wrong to do.”

Spence says “many First Nations communities face impoverished conditions despite assurances from the government that progress is being made to alleviate poverty,” and her hunger strike is not only about putting focus on First Nations issues, supporting the Idle No More Movement, highlighting concerns about Stephen Harper and his Conservative governments omnibus Bill C-45, but also striking a national discussion with First Nations leadership, the Prime Minister and Canada’s Governor-General and getting them to agree to a sit down, to talk about Canada’s treaty relationship with First Nations peoples.

Staying in a teepee, warmed by a wood stove, across from Parliament Hill, Chief Spence has entered Day 22 of her hunger strike, and subsists on lemon water, medicinal teas and fish broth once a day, nothing solid. Yet, there has been no word from our Prime Minister Stephen Harper or a sign of him showing a conscience.

How is it that he can tweet nonsensical things like “mmm..bacon..” when just mere steps away, Chief Spence is starving to get First Nations rights heard. How can he in good conscience, let Bill C-45 be passed, when he knowingly did not consult First Nations people and their leadership. We are the original owners of this land, we all call Canada.

This is a man, who on June 11, 2008 on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians offered an historic formal apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools and sought forgiveness for the students’ suffering and for the damaging impact the schools had on First Nations culture, heritage and language.

As noted on the Canadian government website, Prime Minister Harper states “The treatment of children in Indian Residential Schools is a sad chapter in our history,” and within his apology, Harper noted that “we recognize this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country. The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”[1]

As a First Nations individual who has been following the Idle No More Movement since it began, I have to ask, will Stephen Harper grow a conscience and meet with First Nations people and their leadership, will he meet with Chief Theresa Spence, or will he continue on the path he is on now-blatantly disregarding First Nations peoples and their rights, to feed his need for ultimate power.

When Chief Theresa Spence first set out for Victoria Island, Idle No More was a regional protest movement that was started by four women who met on Facebook. Since then, it has ultimately exploded. It has spurred dozens of protests, blockades and has inspired thousands to demand a more equitable relationship between the federal government and First Nations peoples.

This is a note to Stephen Harper “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

For more reading on Idle No More and Stephen Harper’s First Nation Termination Plan please visit the following links:

Please note, this post will be cross posted on Shameless Magazine's blog at

[1] PM offers full apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools  system-Prime Minister of Canada.
 June 11, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2012