Little Buffalo Cree Naton goes Solar. writer, Michelle Strutzenberger

published on Social Enterprise Canada,

On another brilliantly sunny day in the northern Alberta hamlet of Little Buffalo, history was being made earlier this week. The home to about 500 people was abuzz with a kind of activity not seen there before – the installation of a brand-new 20.8-kilowatt solar panel system.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, who is from Little Buffalo, described the scene at one point. “We have the (solar) panels on the ground; we’re just going to be putting them up with the racking system today. We’re really excited about it,” she said.

The Piitapan Solar Project installation in process this week in Little Buffalo, Alberta.

The new solar-panel system is a pole-mount model, meaning the panels sit atop a pole looming about 15 feet into the air.

Electricians, solar contractors and community members are on-hand all week to complete the installation and/or train, learn and observe.

The goal is to have the system, called the Piitapan (Cree for Sunrise) Solar Project, installed by Aug. 21.

This will be followed by a Solar Feast this weekend, in which all generations of the hamlet will have an opportunity both learn more about what this new feature to their place means, as well as celebrate its installation as a truly historic moment.

For Melina, a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, seeing the solar-panel system take shape has special meaning.

She was born in Little Buffalo, which is encircled by oil and gas development and large scale industry. Little Buffalo is part of the Lubicon Lake Nation.

via Newsroom – Social Enterprise Canada.

13,800-year-old Haida site found underwater in Canada | Ancient Origins

Estimates of people’s presence in the Americas have ranged from about 12,000 to 50,000 years. A new study by a team of archaeologists that has been researching the subject, has found a site dating back 13,800 years, now underwater in the Juan Perez Sound off British Columbia in Canada.

The underwater area they examined was once dry land, inhabited by the Haida people. The Haida have an old flood tale on Frederick Island that tells of how the peoples became dispersed in the New World.  Frederick Island is a different site than the one recently studied.

The team, led by archaeologist Quentin Mackie of the University of Victoria, found the site this past September near the Haida Gwaii Archipelago. They found a fishing weir, a stone channel structure that was probably used to catch salmon, the CBC reports.

via 13,800-year-old Haida site found underwater in Canada | Ancient Origins.

John Ralstan Saul calls for all Canadians to be idle no more | On First Nation Issues, Events, And Environmental Issues On The West Coast And World Events.

John Ralston Saul at home: ‘Just transfer the power and money, and get on with it.’Joe Friesen | The Globe and MailIn the winter of 2012-13, John Ralston Saul watched as the Idle No More movement swept across the country, bringing thousands of aboriginal people into the streets to draw attention to a wide range of issues.When the round dances stopped and the media moved on, he decided to write something – a pamphlet or manifesto that would help explain to a non-aboriginal audience what had just happened. According to Mr. Saul, when aboriginal leaders speak, many Canadians tend to misinterpret what they are saying.The result is his new book The Comeback, the story of a movement that has been building from a low point a little more than a century ago to where it’s now poised, he says, to reclaim a central place in Canadian affairs.The author begins by dismissing sympathy, the lens through with which many Canadians view aboriginal issues. That’s just soft racism, he argues. Sympathy is fine as a point of entry, but it obscures why things are the way they are.“The actual problem is they have rights, and they’ve been removed,” he says during a conversation in his Toronto living room this week. “If they had their rights back in the full sense of the word, you wouldn’t have to feel sympathy. Sympathy is a way of not dealing with the central issues of the treaties.”The treaties are at the heart of The Comeback. The opening page is dedicated to an image of the Peace of Montreal of 1701, signed by the Iroquois, more than 30 other first nations and New France, which Mr. Saul calls the beginning of the Canadian idea of “treaty.” These agreements to share the land are what make modern Canada possible. “We are all treaty people,” Mr. Saul says. “Every Canadian is a signatory to those agreements, and those agreements have a meaning.”

via John Ralstan Saul calls for all Canadians to be idle no more | On First Nation Issues, Events, And Environmental Issues On The West Coast And World Events..

RCMP tracked movements of Indigenous activist from ‘extremist’ group: documents » APTN National News

“When you read the document closely it shows an intimate surveillance,” said Monaghan. “The documents show the breadth of and the normalization of the regular systematic surveillance of protest groups, of people who criticize government policy and critics of energy policy. You have national security bureaucracies, agencies, focused on domestic protest groups and it has nothing to do with terror, but with the energy economy.”

via RCMP tracked movements of Indigenous activist from ‘extremist’ group: documents » APTN National News.

Ontario First Nations prepared to lay down lives to protect lands

TORONTO – Aboriginal people in Ontario are prepared to lay down their lives to protect their traditional lands from any unwanted development, a group of First Nations chiefs said Tuesday.Five aboriginal chiefs served notice on the Ontario and federal governments, developers and the public that they’ll assert their treaty rights over their traditional territory and ancestral lands.That includes the rights to natural resources — such as fish, trees, mines and water— deriving benefit from those resources and the conditions under which other groups may access or use them, which must be consistent with their traditional laws, said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.“All those seeking to access or use First Nations lands and resources have, at a minimum, a duty to engage, enquire and consult with First Nations with the standards of free, prior and informed consent,” he said.“We will take appropriate steps to enforce these assertions.”

via Ontario First Nations prepared to lay down lives to protect lands.

Fragile Freedoms – First Nations and human rights | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio

John Borrows is an Anishinabe scholar and expert in Indigenous law. He presents a lecture on the connections between First Nations and human rights. Its from a series called Fragile Freedoms: the Global Struggle Human Rights presented at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg.

via Fragile Freedoms – First Nations and human rights | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio.