Welcome to AMMSA.COM, the news archive website for our family of Indigenous news publications.

Sweetgrass Briefs - May

Article Origin


Compiled by Shari Narine







Buffalo Skull Lodge re-dedication acknowledges thriving culture Piikani Traditional Knowledge Service had a re-dedication service for the Buffalo Skull Lodge to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the development of a resource to keep Piikani culture and traditions thriving. The ceremony incorporated traditional Piikani customs including a Blackfoot Tipi transfer ceremony, customary Blackfoot validation ceremony, ribbon cutting, official acknowledgements and a community feast. The objective of the Buffalo Skull Lodge is to provide programs and resources that aim to promote Piikanissini — the way of life of the Piikani that identifies characteristic values, principles, and integrity maintained from ancient Piikani culture. Fire claims home on Paul First Nation A fire swept across more than 400 hectares of dry bush on the Paul First Nation, forcing 150 residents from their homes late last month and destroying one house. A number of small buildings were also burned down. The fire, caused by a garbage blaze that got out of control, was contained almost immediately, but hot spots flared up two days later and were spread by wind and dry conditions. A fire ban was issued in the beginning of April for the reserve. Alberta Sustainable Resource Management has lent crews and equipment to help fight fires in Enoch, Alexis, Strathcona County and Little Smoky River. B.C. dam raises concerns in Alberta First Nations in both Alberta and B.C. are opposed to the new B.C. Hydro dam being proposed on the Peace River in British Columbia. Opposition comes in part because of the original dam’s impact on the Peace-Athabasca delta in northeast Alberta, which dried up lakes and ponds that were critical to wildlife and fish. The $6.6-billion project, west of Fort St. John, B.C., still needs to go through an independent environmental assessment. The B.C. government is hoping the dam will start producing power in 2020 supplying 900 megawatts of power. This would be the third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. The government of Alberta is seeking intervenor status in the approval process for the dam. The Calgary Herald reported that Environment Minister Rob Renner said the province isn’t necessarily opposed to the dam, but needs assurance that it won’t pose problems for Albertans downstream. Movie director interested in visiting oil sands Opponent to oil sands development George Poitras, and member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, has spoken with Oscar-winning director James Cameron about visiting the oil sands. Poitras reported that he met with Cameron in the director’s hotel room in New York City. Both Cameron and Poitras were attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where a special screening of Cameron’s environmental-themed movie Avatar had been arranged. Cameron, who hails from Ontario, also took part in a panel discussion on Indigenous issues. No details have been worked out on Cameron’s potential visit. Aboriginal artists to speak May 26 will mark the inaugural New Sun Conference to be held at Blue Quills First Nations College. The day’s events will feature the three surviving members of the Indian Group of Seven: Daphne Odjig, Alex Janvier, and Joseph Sanchez. They will talk about the movement that led to the creation of the Indian Group of Seven, originally known as the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation. Also featured will be guest speaker Lee-Ann Martin, curator of Contemporary Indian Art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Lethbridge youth identify discrimination as a concern Youth 16 and up, meeting at the University of Lethbridge recently as a preliminary session for a fall event, identified bullying, sexism and discrimination toward First Nations people, as key issues in southern Alberta. The main event will be hosted by the Edmonton-based John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, as part of its “Ignite Change Now!” youth assemblies in Alberta. The fall event in Lethbridge will be the John Humphrey Centre’s first conference outside a major centre and is expected to attract as many as 200 people aged 16 to 28. Residencies for emerging Aboriginal writers The Banff Centre now has placements for emerging Aboriginal writers. Residencies are intensive two-week programs led by established Aboriginal writers and are designed to develop and define the writing and storytelling voices of the successful candidates. The programs will include one-on-one editorial assistance, mentorship, individual studio writing time, guest speakers, Internet and archival research and a cultural component. The Banff residency takes place from September 13 – 25. The Banff Centre program includes prominent and award-winning writers Marilyn Dumont (Edmonton) and Lee Maracle (Ontario), and Witi Ihimaera from New Zealand (author of Whale Rider), along with an opportunity to consult with Elder-in-residence Beverly Hungry Wolf, who will live on site during the two weeks. Upon return to their respective communities, writers will continue to receive encouragement, support and feedback through a 10-week online residency for the English program. The new residencies have been made possible through funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. Wireless devices for monitoring diabetes Members of the Alexander First Nation are testing a new wireless body-monitoring device that sends real-time data to doctors, nurses and other caregivers. The device was developed by Kanata Health Solutions with help from funding by the province’s Innovation Voucher Pilot Program, which aims to get products closer to market. Kanata worked with Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro-Nano Technology Products Commercialization on the project. The Alexander First Nation has a chronic diabetes problem, Bhavin Rawal, a consulting physician to the Kanata Health Solution, told the Edmonton Journal in a recent interview. The device, worn on the wrist, monitors glucose levels, pulse and other functions and transmits the information via Bluetooth to a base. Sentence given in shooting of toddler Christopher Shane Crane, 20, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in the shooting of a toddler on a reserve near Hobbema. Asia Saddleback was 23 months old when she was hit by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting in April 2008. The bullet remains lodged in her spine. Crane pleaded guilty last year to aggravated assault, robbery, use of a firearm during an indictable offence and possession of a firearm during an indictable offence. Crane has been credited for four years for time spent in custody. Compiled by Shari Narine