Decolonizing MMIW Campaigns and the Spectacle of Sexual Violence:
Further to our post on Twitter, we are concerned about the rise of campaigns, like Spirit of Our Sisters, that position themselves as supporting and raising awareness about MMIW, but are created by photographers who themselves participate in further sexualizing young Indigenous women through media representation.
This is both hypocritical and deeply problematic. We need to be attentive to how easily these narratives can be co-opted. Images are the currency of internet culture and we shouldn’t allow this double standard to be perpetuated without us calling image makers to account for their work—on all platforms and projects.
Decolonize the spectacle of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Look what just arrived. Black and grey in effect. #Decolonize
Here, then, we see the fruition of the ideological approach to Canada and First Nations that has been developing since IdleNoMore. MLI and the non-Indigenous contingent in CFNP are not in direct cahoots, but they are clearly ideological partners working toward the same goal: a new neo-liberal era of resource-driven Canadian market dominance that seeks to defuse ‘feasibility’ of resistance by including Indigenous peoples as accomplices and rewarding them.
Aboriginal politics of recognition in action.
An important read.
As the Globe and Mail reported earlier today, “A wide-ranging group that includes former prime ministers Paul Martin and Joe Clark is launching what it calls ‘a major new organization’ that will focus on aboriginal issues.”
This “major new organization” will be officially announced on September 4th, with a splashy new website, press conference, live stream on nationtalk, and presumably much self-congratulatory applause, so let’s take a second to look at what we know thus far about this “new partnership” and advocacy organization for First Nations in Canada.
THE ADMINISTRATION: "Stephen Kakfwi is currently the President and CEO and is being paid through contract. The second is Michael Laughton who is performing administrative and program and policy coordination services for CFNP."
Acting directors also include:
- Stephen Kakfwi (President & CEO)
- Mandee McDonald
- Phil Fontaine
- Don Barraclough
- Kyla Kakfwi Scott
- Whit Fraser
- Dr. Philip Oxhorn
- Chelsea Vowel
- David MacDonald
- Ismo Heikkila
- Larry Innes
- Heather Lynn Nakehk’o
- Deneze Nakehk’o
- Dr. Robert Joseph
- Eugene Boulanger
- Karen Joseph
- Dave Porter
- James Scott
- Kostas Andrikopoulos
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
- Miles Richardson
- Sheila Watt-Cloutier
- Maria Campbell
- Mary Simon
- Scott Serson
- John Kim Bell
- Tim Brodhead
- Melody Morrison
- David Courchene
- Rt. Hon. Paul Martin
- Daniel John T’seleie
- Rt. Hon. Joe Clark
- Nina Larsson
- Frank Iacobucci
- Yvon Dumont
- Allan Gregg
- Tony Belcourt
- Ovide Mercredi
- Shelagh Rogers
- Thomas Johnston
- Sheila Fraser
THE MISSION: CFNP’s goal appears to be to “establish and support a broad-based, inclusive, leadership initiative to engage Canadians in dialogue and relationship building aimed at building a new partnership between First Peoples and other Canadians. This initiative holds the promise of better living conditions, education, and economic opportunities for First Peoples, which must be the tangible results of that new partnership.”
THE PLAN: CFNP plans to develop a “Speaker’s Bureau”, a national “Lecture Series”, public research and reports, an Indigenous youth engagement strategy, and diverse “networking” opportunities and “and brainstorm collaborative solutions with First Peoples”.
THE MONEY: Last year, “CFNP secured $330,000 for a period of two years from the J.W McConnell Family Foundation for its activities as well as an extra $5000 from the Foundation in the very early stages of the organization.
CFNP has also received $5000 and substantial in kind support from the Canadian Boreal Initiative.
The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation provided $10,000 for the first meeting of the organization.
McGill University has also contributed $2000, volunteer time, as well as hosting meetings of the organization.
TE Wealth has also given $10,000 for a second meeting of the organization.”
THE MEDIA: CFNP is working in partnership with the following media organizations
- Zoom Media
- CBC / CBC Radio
- Bell Media
- 680 News
- Astral Media
THE DECLARATION: To wrap it all up, CFNP is issuing a declaration that invites “all Canadians” to “declare our resolve to build a new partnership between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples of this country - a partnership based on the principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and equality”.
THEIR GOAL: “to bring a new energy and reconciliation to the project of building a better Canada”
* * * * *
We’ll see what the public response is like tomorrow. But this should give us pause to consider what kinds of organizations, individuals and institutions — with what goals, ethics and values — we want to represent us in our struggle for decolonization, freedom and liberation. Who is leading the conversation, doing the organizing, and where is the money coming from?
CFNP is the new face of the reconciled future: where government, industry, Aboriginals and Canadian citizens set aside their respective “historical” disagreements and work, hand in hand, to build Common Prosperity For All Canadians. Just don’t talk about taking back land or asserting autonomous nationhood and governance. The energy companies and investment firms might get upset…and then who’s going to fund the revolution?
It’s time for community to build our own structures independent of government and institutional funding. The purpose of this database is to our honour our women and provide family members with a way to document their loved ones passing while asserting community control of our own record-keeping.
The database will document Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and Trans people who have gone missing, or died as a result of violence. This could include murder, manslaughter, ‘accidental’ and suicide, as well as deaths which families and communities have deemed suspicious and are unsolved or for whom answers or justice have yet to be found.
W̱SÁNEĆ territory — Members of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation and allies in the community will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the reclamation of PKOLS (the name of the mountain formerly known as Mount Douglas) with a community picnic on Thursday May 22, 2014.
The public is invited to gather at the base of the mountain (where Shelbourne meets Cedar Hill Road) at 5pm, walking to the summit for the picnic at 6pm.
“We want to make sure that people remember that the name PKOLS was put back on the mountain,” says Eric Pelkey, hereditary chief and treaty officer for the Tsawout Nation, part of the broader W̱SÁNEĆ Nation whose territory includes the Saanich Peninsula and southern Gulf Islands. “We want to keep it in the forefront of people’s minds. We don’t want it to be forgotten.”
“For us, it is the re-telling of the history behind the signing of the treaty. The treaty is still there. People still have rights under the treaty,” Pelkey says.
Members of the W̱SÁNEĆ Nation are working with other Coast Salish Nations and indigenous and non-indigenous allies to commemorate PKOLS and other indigenous place names in the territory.
“The thunderbird is a spiritual entity,” says Charles Elliot, an artist, carver and community activist from Tsartlip Nation who designed the thunderbird on the wooden sign installed at the PKOLS summit in a ceremony attended by 800 people on May 22, 2013. “It is a high-up symbol which we think is fitting for the action that we are taking. The thunderbird symbolizes the importance of what we are doing.”
People are welcome and encouraged to attend the community picnic on Thursday May 22nd.
For further information, please contact:
Eric Pelkey, Tsawout Nation, 250-480-8526
Charles Elliott, Tsartlip Nation, 250-652-9564
Download the announcement here and spread the word.
Use the #PKOLS hashtag on social media to share your photos, videos and solidarity!
Featuring contributions from: Leanne Simpson, Luam Kidane, Brandy Nālani McDougall, Sandra Collins, David Winfield Norman, Celeste Pedri-Spade, Jenell Navarro, Susy J. Zepeda, Jade E. Davis, Susan D. Dion, Angela Salamanca, Wanda Nanibush, Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández.
And interviews with Rebecca Belmore, Tania Willard, Tom Greyeyes, and Walter Mignolo.
Cover art: “Yikáísdáhá” by Tom Greyeyes (Diné). Follow him on Tumblr: greyeyesart
Check out this amazing issue featuring Indigenous media, art, music and activism in struggle!
DECOLONIZE YOUR READING LIST.