November 2010


There’s a story I know. It’s about the earth and how it floats in space on the back of a turtle. I’ve heard this story many times, and each time someone tells the story, it changes. Sometimes the change is simply in the voice of the storyteller. Sometimes the change is in the details. Sometimes in the order of events. Other time’s it’s the dialogue or the response of the audience. But in all the telling of the tellers, the world never leaves the turtle’s back. And the turtle never swims away…

[The truth about stories: a Native Narrative]

There’s other hadithi I know, like how I discovered this series of stories a few days ago, that reminded me that around dis time last year, a manifesto of revolushunary intent was quite magically (re)born through the collective wisdom of warrior kings and queens, archived in dis world wide web that we find ourselves meeting in again en again, en practised in many villages en urban spaces..

These articles made me so happy, not because of why they were written (in direct response to the African Commission for Peoples and Human Rights denying ‘observer’ status to the Coalition of African Lesbians) or their content per se, but quite simply because there were so many of them (TEN!) coming from a place of (anti-oppressive) solidarity, which is where the I,Sista.In.Solidarity manifesto came from……

These articles triggered me to reflect much more on the tasks we have of harnessing the power of our intersecting interests and resources.

 It made me so happy to consider that it was inevitable that I would read these articles, coz I have to admit to stalking Pambazuka news for the latest on the shifting boundaries of our social movements…the bigger point is, I’m ever more grateful for bredrin en dadas around the world, and significantly, on the continent, who are speaking BACK and working on the necessary elements of truth, justice and peace, with big love.

Check these stories out, and if you are, like me, in the diaspora, consider how you/we could share more resources with our bredrin and dadas on the continent, what strengths can we harness over here to build solidarity not only with LGBTI movements in Afrika, but all progressive social movements? Where do we position ourselves as allies?

Consider what it means as we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, for queer & trans women in Afrika, for the indigenus women & trans folk of Turtle Island….

Recently Indian writer and activist, Arundhati Roy spoke of the Indian state:

‘Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.’

We say pity that 53 African nation states – and we really need to emphasise this because a few people are deciding about the validity of our lives – feel they have to silence the voices of their innocent citizens who ask for justice and the rights shared by their sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers while ‘communal killers, mass murderers, corporate and political scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free’!
………..

  1. The day the African commission disavowed humanity  Fikile Vilakazi and Sibongile Ndashe

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68947

2.  African commission should reconsider decision on Coalition of African Lesbians

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68946

3. The fallacy of human rights at the African Commission

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68949

4.    Are we not human?

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68955

5. If not, why not?   Doublespeak  on LGBTI rights at the African Commission

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68956

6. Face Down   

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68948

 7. Sexual orientation under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68953

8. Where can we find refuge and justice?

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68957

9. Lesbians can no longer be silent  Rose Wanjiku

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68958

10.   Let this group find comfort and safety here  Asha Ramgobin

Statement at the 48th Session of the African Commission on Human And Peoples’ Rights

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68960

  
[BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS]

 

 ase……

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 “Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

Born in the womb of two brothas that (not only) I love, respekt en admire so, there’s a story I know that goes like El-Farouk Khaki en Troy Jackson seeded Human Positive last year, in response to the backlash that the brothas received for publicly standing in support of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian rights, and criticising the state of Israel. Or so one version of the hadithi (story) goes…

Dis grassroots organisation has been nourished in expanding el-tawhid families (of loving ‘mis-fits’) en evolving collectives of muslim (identified) folks, and is rooted in principles of big love like salaam and ubuntu. Or so another version of the hadithi goes….

The bigger point is, big tings a gwaan with H.P’s programming for next year…..

These are some of the (s)heroes of the Q_t werd: a doc exploring (as ) many intersections of our diversity (as we can), and the possibilities of building revolushunary solidarity, in dub: in a caravan of us-people hadithi of (our vision) quests.

The riddle of the sphinx is in the connecshuns among the legends of GALCK, Human Positive, Fahamu, The People Project, Bredrin en dadas in solidarity, Nneka and Nneke Dumela

check dis…where I learned, that this is American Indian Heritage Month

http://imperfect-black.blogspot.com/2010/11/native-american-history-in-north.html

check dis too…..

Toronto Indigenous Sovereignty Week 2010 – Resistance and Renewal

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21

 5pm-7pm

Ceremonial opening

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto – 16 Spadina Road, just north of Bloor.

Join us as we open Indigenous Sovereignty Week with drum, song, and food, and an opening address by Lee Maracle (Stó:lō) and Derek Bressette. Performers will include Zainab Amadahy (Tsalagi) and a big drum (TBA).

 

7pm-9pm

“The Scars of Mercury”

A film about Grassy Narrows

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto – 16 Spadina Road, just north of Bloor.

Please join us to watch a documentary film about Grassy Narrows, and to mark the opening of Indigenous Sovereignty Week.

‘The Scars of Mercury’ explores the processes that threaten the destruction of a traditional and contemporary Indigenous hunting, fishing and gathering way of life, through residential schools, relocation, treaty violations, and clear-cutting, with a special focus on mercury poisoning.

The Grassy Narrows community has fought decades for justice on mercury issues, and is home to the longest running blockade in Canada – established to stop clearcut logging of their forests.  Grassroots people are working tirelessly to heal their community, revive their culture, and take control of their lives and territory.

See the film website.

 

Stay informed and to take action in support of Grassy Narrows

 

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22

7pm-9pm

Fighting for Indigenous education

UTS, 371 Bloor Street West, between Huron and Spadina (to be confirmed)

Speakers:

Joanna Anaquod (Anishinaabe), organizer of the 1989 hunger strike  to protect post-secondary education funding for status Indians

Ruth Koleszar-Green (Kanienkehaka), Academic Support Advisor at Aboriginal Student Services, Ryerson University (on leave)

Others TBA

Moderator: Lee Maracle (Stó:lō), well-known poet, thinker, feminist, elder-in-residence at U of T, and long-time Indigenous sovereignty activist

Canada’s education system has been a pillar of Canadian colonialism – it has been a primary weapon of cultural genocide in Canada; it has shaped racist images of Indigenous peoples in public discourse; and it has disappeared Canada’s history of colonialism, so that non-Native people do not see or understand their role in Canadian colonialism.

Generations of Indigenous people were forced to go to residential schools, where they were brutalized and forced to forget their languages, customs, and cultures. Today, the reality of most education for status Indians is that it is underfunded and inadequate. Governments spend much less on education for on-reserve Native students than they do for non-Natives. And they are doing little to address issues of language loss and cultural alienation. Meanwhile, post-secondary funding for Indian students is being threatened for the first time in 20 years.

Learn about the history of education in Canadian colonialism, and about how Indigenous people are fighting attacks on their access to education, while at the same time creating Indigenous models of education that are part of a process of decolonizing Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike.

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23

7pm-9pm

Every inch of our land is who we are: protecting mother Earth, protecting traditional knowledge

Fitzgerald Building, Room 103, University of Toronto – 150 College Street

Land, life, and language are inseparable from the identity of First Nations. Many First Nations still live in a traditional subsistence economy – gathering food and medicines, hunting and trapping for food and clothing, and building shelter on their traditional territories. Over thousands of years of living on and caring for the land, Indigenous Peoples have developed a vast and sensitive knowledge of their territories and the beings that live within them. Destruction of traditional food sources threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge – but destruction of Indigenous Peoples also threatens the survival of the planet.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation, in Chemical Valley near Sarnia, has been devastated by toxins produced in the petrochemical plants near the community. The Wet’suwet’en First Nation in Northern BC is fighting the building of a pipeline to carry tar sands oil through their territory. Our speakers will talk about the struggles for environmental justice on these territories, and on strategies for preserving traditional ecological knowledge for future generations.

Speakers:

Ron Plain (Aamjiwnaang), has been a leader in environmental justice struggles by First Nations, particularly in his home community of Aamjiwnaang

Toghestiy Wet’suwet’en (Wet’suwet’en), hereditary title holder in the Wet’suwet’en nation

Leanne Simpson (to be confirmed), professor of Native Studies at Trent University

Moderator: Sylvia Plain (Aamjiwnang), organizer with the Native Students Association

 

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24

6pm-9pm

Igniting resistance through Indigenous Bodies: Sexuality, Two-Spirit and Creativity

Native Canadian Centre of Toronto – 16 Spadina Road, Toronto

This evening will focus on a discussion and a workshop around resistance through Indigenous bodies in the creative spaces that they exist. Topics will include self-determination, youth empowerment, sex and the crucial role of two-spirit people in the fight for sovereignty. Join us for refreshments, intense conversations, and fun!

6:00pm-7:30pm

Erin Konsmo (Saulteaux), Indigenous feminist, artist, and Alberta representative on the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV/AIDS (NAYCHA).

Krysta WIlliams, Lead Youth Advocate for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, an Indigenous Feminist and Turtle clan from Moravian of the Thames First Nation.

Louis Cruz (Mi’kmaq)

7:30pm-9:00pm

Dana Wesley (Cree)

Shanee Qua (Plains Cree) Two-spirit Trans Aboriginal who speaks on behalf of Two Spirit, HIV/AIDS, Trans and Native Issues.

Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee)

Cosponsored by the Centre for Women and Trans People (U of T)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25

11 AM – Peaceful march on child welfare issues

Meet at Queen’s Park at 11AM. There will be a feast at the end of the march.

Hosted by Grass Roots Committee of Ontario

A call out to all supporters, warriors, leadership and community members for accountability and changes to the subsequent attacks on native people in this society. We want CAS (Children’s Aid Society) off our communities and replaced by our own services as developed by our own people both on/off reserve level. Do our First Nation leadership have control of these programs? No, so we demand answers.

7pm-9pm

The Privatization of Reserve Lands: the Conservative shortcut to assimilation of status Indians?

Music Room at Hart House (University of Toronto), 7 Hart House Circle

Accessible: Yes, for more information, see: http://www.harthouse.utoronto.ca/accessibility

Speakers:

Arthur Manuel (Secwepemc), veteran of the Sun Peaks struggle, former chief of Neskonlith First Nation, and spokesperson for Defenders of the Land and Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade

Armand Mackenzie (Innu), Innu Lawyer for the Council of Nitassinan, has been defending his nation from low-level military flights and hydro projects for over 15 years.

Bertha Wilson (Coast Salish), continues to fight the Tsawassen treaty which privatized her people’s land

Pamela Palmater (Mi’kmaq),  chair in Indigenous Governance and Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University

Moderator: Heather Dorries (Anishinaabe)

Since the 1800s, Canada has been seeking to terminate Indigenous Peoples and extinguish their title to their lands. From the 1850s on, a favoured strategy has been the conversion of reserve lands into “fee simple” lands that can be bought and sold like other lands – including to non-Native people. This idea was most clearly put forward in the infamous White Paper of 1969, and the Buffalo Jump memo of the 1980s, a cabinet memo that described how “fee simple”, among other policy tools, would channel Indigenous Peoples to voluntary termination and extinguishment. Today, in a massive push by the Department of Indian Affairs and high-powered Conservative thinkers close to Stephen Harper – including the Fraser Institute and Harper’s mentor Tom Flanagan – the idea of fee simple is again being peddled to Indians as a panacea.

Despite the legacy of colonialism and racism surrounding the creation of reserve lands, reserve lands have served to anchor Indigenous Peoples in their traditional territories. Fee simple has only one goal – the alienation of reserve lands, the extinguishment of Aboriginal title, and the termination of Indigenous Peoples. Hear how the government is trying to roll out this policy, and how it can be stopped.

Sponsored by Indigenous Law Journal, University of Toronto Initiative on Indigenous Governance, Aboriginal Law Students Association, Barriere Lake Solidarity

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26

1pm-3:30pm

Tkaronto – Film Screening

University College Room 179, 15 Kings College Circle

… a reflective and provoking exploration of two Aboriginal 30-somethings, Ray and Jolene, who make an unexpected connection at the pinnacle of a common struggle: to stake claim to their urban Aboriginal identity…

Director Shane Belcourt will be in attendance!

Sponsored by the departments of Geography and Planning and Canadian Studies at the University of Toronto

4pm-6pm

The Aboriginal City – panel discussion

University College Room 179, 15 Kings College Circle

What does it mean to work with, for and/or in the Aboriginal city? What would a decolonizing city look like? How do we get there?

Panelists:

Shane Belcourt (Director, ‘Tkaronto’), Heather Howard (University of Michigan), Evelyn Peters (University of Winnipeg), Lee Maracle (University of Toronto)

Moderator: Shiri Pasternak (University of Toronto)

Light refreshments will be provided.

Sponsored by the departments of Canadian Studies and Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

7pm-9pm

Indigenous Law, Justice, Governance

Wilson Hall 1016, New College, University of Toronto

Speakers: Toby Decoursay, elder, Algonquins of Barriere Lake; others TBA

Aaaron Mills, (Anishnabe – Couchiching First Nation)

Moderator: Dawnis Kennedy (Anishinaabe – Roseau River)

Join us for an evening of learning about the legal, constitutional, and justice systems of Indigenous peoples. While some of these customary traditions were buried throughout periods of colonial repression, unbroken lines of knowledge continue to pass along between generations and continue to govern the social orders of communities across this land.

Sponsored by Indigenous Law Journal, University of Toronto Initiative on Indigenous Governance, Aboriginal Law Students Association, Barriere Lake Solidarity

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27

11am-2pm

Mobilizing support for Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the RIghts of Indigenous Peoples

Bowing to intense political pressure, Canada has finally signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – with caveats and provisos. KAIROS Canada has chosen to make the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples its major focus for 2010-2011. Come learn about the UNDRIP, its background, and how you can be part of the campaign to get Canada to implement it.

Speaker: Arthur Manuel (Secwepemc), Defenders of the Land & Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade

2pm-5pm

Great Indian Bus Tour

The Native Canadian Centre

16 Spadina Road – north of Bloor

Get on the bus! A real tour of the Indigenous history of Toronto!

HOSTED BY THE TORONTO NATIVE HISTORY PROJECT

The Toronto Native History Project at The Native Canadian Centre in partnership with Indigenous Sovereignty Week is proud to present The Great Indian Bus Tour.

2:00pm to 5:00pm (Arrive 10 minutes early to get seated)

The Bus tour will depart from and return to The Native Canadian Centre (NCC) on Saturday Nov. 27 located at 16 Spadina ROAD, north of Bloor.

Seating must be reserved and paid in advance by contacting Tannis Nielson at the NCC 416-964-9087 ext. 326. We recommend booking and paying for your seat early to guarantee your spot. Payment must be made to Tannis no later than Thursday Nov. 25.

Ticket cost is $20 per person

Cash payment only

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148694568510339&num_event_invites=0

7pm-10pm

MUSKRAT magazine Launch & Creation Tales

Walnut Studios, 83 Walnut Avenue (near Bathurst and King)

With Special Guest Storytellers:

Come sit around the fire and listen to The Anishinabek Creation Story (inspired by Muskrat) and told by Mnijikining storyteller, Mark Douglas

Witness Creation, a Video Performance by Métis Visual Artist, Tannis Neilson

New Works showcase by:

Visual Artist Travis Shilling & Filmmaker & Photographer Keesic Douglas

The MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture, and living magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28

9:30am-5:00pm

Symposium on building new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and working in solidarity, including:

Canada’s termination policy – an overview by Roger Obonsawin (Abenaki)

Building Indigenous unity -a workshop with Roger Obonsawin

Learning lessons from the past and present of solidarity organizing with Ed Bianchi (KAIROS)

Indigenous Solidarity for people of colour

Closing debrief circle

Further details TBA

CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE REGULARLY FOR UPDATES: http://www.defendersoftheland.org/toronto

FIND US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=170827162936733

 Jus one of the many revolushunary organisations that we love, respekt and admire so, the ones that we have grown with en learnt so much from on building communities of (good) practice and the struggle for Afrikan liberation….

http://blog.trustafrica.org/blog.php?/archives/45-Hakima-Abbas-reflects-on-African-philanthropy.html

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68376

these are (some of)  the hadithi of the q_t werd [ on the ground]…

the ones that haven’t been published (yet)….

Proposal – Queer African Reader

Project Consultant: Sokari Ekine
Proposed Editors: Sokari Ekine, Hakima Abbas

We are writing to invite you to participate in the publication of an African LGBTI Reader to be published by Pambazuka Press in June 2011. The African LGBTI Reader is being published in response to the increasing homophobia and transphobia across the continent which aims to silence the voices of African Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people.

The African LGBTI Reader [Working Title] seeks to make a timely intervention by bringing together a collection of writings and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance. The book seeks to engage with primarily an African audience focusing on intersectionality and will include experiences from rural communities, post-conflict situations, religious experience as well that of immigration and displacement.

We are proposing an alternative framework for the book based on a participatory model in which we ask prospective contributors and the broad queer activist community to discuss possible topics to be included that will push analysis and thinking within this distinct and diverse movement across the continent writing from the standpoint of both personal stories and experiences as activists. We feel this is important because of the multi layered issues which exist historically, regionally and politically with regards to sexual orientation and gender variance in Africa as well as the overall struggle for African liberation.

We hope to facilitate the writing of key African LGBTI leaders, activists and thinkers by providing a two week retreat where activists can create the space to reflect, share their ideas and writing, peer review each other’s work, have access to sources and resources provided by prominent academics and the institution. The writing retreat will be fully sponsored and contributors will be provided an honorarium for their writing which will enable them to take the time away from their activities to provide a critically reflective piece.

Possible Topics – not including personal stories, poems, stories

We have identified eight themes which are listed below with a brief summary of each. We are suggesting each of you think about the theme[s] that interest you and suggest specific topics on which you could write or would like to see addressed.

1. WHAT’S IN A LETTER:

We repeatedly use the terms lesbian, gay, bi-sexual transgender and intersex but what do these mean in your own experience, your own community and country? How limiting or inclusive are these labels? Are they appropriate and do they reflect your own experiences? Does the identity cause more problems than the behavior? Does gender variance or gender non-conforming provide a more appropriate entry point for discussion in Africa given silence around all sexualities? How do we organize across definitions? Why should we?

2. RESISTING OPPRESSION – TOWARDS LIBERATION:

What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge queer oppression?

Should we be talking about movement-building? What conceptualisations, experiences and visions of movements do we have / should there be?

Should the struggle for LGBTI Rights be framed within a Western construct which sees Rights as instruments and legislation or should the struggle for rights be constructed within a framework of movement building around which the oppressed organise?

How has the reliance on the NGO Industrial complex supported or hindered movement building? If the latter, what possible alternatives are there to organising and fund raising? How can we move towards more collaborative and collective ways of working which support movement building? What kind of strategies have been used or could be taken up to resist / challenge criminalisation and homophobia including that coming from religious institutions and the media? How should we understand and transcend the limits of the NGO-dominated activist space?

3. PINK COLONIALISM AND WESTERN MISSIONARIES:

What are the problematics of internationalising campaigns and how do we work with allies in the West? How do we overcome donor dependence as a movement? Do the donors and bilaterals save us from ourselves? How do we measure victory e.g. in Malawi and Uganda?

4. A CHANGING WORLD: SOUTH AFRICA AND THE BRICS:

Does South Africa have a particular role to play in supporting queer liberation in Africa? Does the shift in global power create opportunity or threat for African queer liberation? What other geo-political factors determine the course for queer liberation?

5. AFRICAN QUEER LIBERATION AND CLASS STRUGGLE:

What are the intersections between the broader social justice movement in Africa and the movement for queer liberation? Why should one care about the other?

6. ARE GAY MEN FEMINISTS?

What political frames are useful in our movement building? While LBT activists have tended towards feminism does it exclude GT men? How do we address patriarchy and sexism in our movements and personal relationships even among women-identified folks? Why do many straight identified African feminists resist taking on queer issues as a feminist issue in Africa?

7.         GOD AND QUEER –

INCOMPATIBLE OR INSEPARABLE IN AFRICA

Does the movement have to come from a secular space? Given that many African queer folks identify as religious how do we overcome fundamentalism?

The US right wing church are using Africa as a battleground for queer bashing – why is this effective?

What of countries with majority Muslim populations or Islamic law for queer liberation?

What is liberation theology today from a queer liberation and broader social justice perspective?

What are our strategies here?

Are there existing experiences of this, and what can we learn from there? What are the conceptual, spiritual and strategic challenges that the concept of liberation theology throws up to religious queers?

8. RECONCILING THE PERSONAL WITH THE POLITICAL:

What particular role has been/can be played by those engaged in activism through the creative arts? What has been/is the personal cost to working as social justice activists often working in relative isolation and in hostile environments? How can we better balance our lives as social justice activists with that of social people and the need to care for ourselves?

Submissions can be any of the following: essays, case studies of lived experiences on any of the suggested themes, personal stories, poems, art work, photography, short stories, short plays.

Submissions are welcome from Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora.

Download the Concept Note here.

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/Announce/67004

This blog is strategically mystic, personal and political.  I’ve been sharing pieces of a doc that we (a couple o’ dadas) officially started shooting dis’ summer, these bios of some of the 32 (en then some) folks that we love, respekt and admire so,  are a tapestry of all the brilliance and intersections in our diversity, en real tox on the struggle for afrikan liberation.

Dis blog is  the (un)official home of “The Q_t werd”: A caravan of us-people stories exploring bio/myth/ologies of (our vision) quests. The riddle of the sphinx is in the 4(+1) bredrin and dadas that are the crux of dis doc’