Category Archives: Community Development

Attawapiskat, Revisited: While Many Indigenous Communities are Economically Impoverished, They Are Far From Poor

By Leanne Simpson. Leanne is of Mississauga Nishnaabeg ancestry and is the author of Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence. She is the editor of Lightening the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations and This is an Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Blockades, all published by Arbeiter Ring Publishing in Winnipeg.

As usual posting this should not be taken as an endorsement of the line of Leanne Simpson.

At the time of writing this, three months have passed since Attawapiskat became a household name in Canada. Three months, and the band-aid solution of 22 homes has not been delivered and the community remains virtually unchanged. Three months, and the issues this community brought to the consciousness of Canadians have been all but forgotten.

We all like to believe that things are shifting in Indigenous-state relationships. We like to believe that things are getting better, that we’ve moved on from the circumstances that created flashpoint events like the Oka Crisis, Ipperwash, and Caledonia. Read the rest of this entry

Mohawk Nation News: Something for Nothing

Is Kahnawake Mohawk Community being Las Vegas’ized? Who’s trying to eat our brains, to get us to produce a get-something-for-nothing society?

A casino will affect almost every aspect of our lives. Jealousy, competition and gluttony should not rule our culture or economy. Why live unnaturally and unequally, beyond our means?

We should be strengthening our family and community ties, producing our own energy and food and keeping the soon-to-be desperate foreign interests out. Coming is hunger instead of plenty, cold instead of warmth, violence instead of peace. To survive we have to take care of each other.

Many of us elders remember the modest and meaningful life we once had. The men went away to do ironwork and the women and children stayed home and took care of our community.

Having worked in an Indian casino, the harm is easy to see. The house always wins. The work force will be mostly non-natives. Many of us don’t qualify for jobs due to our backgrounds, non-criminal records and not speaking French. Read the rest of this entry

The Power Of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens.

It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call “The Special Period.” The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.