Holistic Human Rights

•February 21, 2019 • Leave a Comment

In Re-enchanting the WorldIndigenous Peoples’ Rights as Essential Parts of a Holistic Human Rights Regime, Siegfried Wiessner–chair of the International Law Association Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples–says, “The mission of the law should be to answer responsibly to the totality of human aspirations in the crucible between individual self-realization and the need for belonging to groups, entities larger than self.” As he argues, law ought to “promote a public order of human dignity.”

As Wiessner observes, the aspiration to live in communion with others in accordance with one’s traditions and culture have to be recognized by the state in order for Indigenous communities to live safely in such communion. The loss of these key spiritual elements of these inherited orders in favor of unrestrained and unguided materialism and individualism, he notes, means that Indigenous peoples are in particular need of protection due to the fact that

survival of their languages, rituals, and cultural identities is often in mortal peril.

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Punitive by Design

•February 12, 2019 • Leave a Comment

There is no greater threat to a child’s emotional well-being than being separated from a primary care giver…In Canada, 52% of children under 14 in foster care are Indigenous youth, despite representing 8% of that age group.

As noted in The Tyee, this racist state policy is “punitive by design.”

Criminal Manipulation

•January 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Banks and casinos have to report sources of funds to the federal government, but hedge funds and private equity firms are exempt from rules meant to fight crime, despite repeated warnings that it is vulnerable to criminal manipulation.

Clark Gascoigne, an advocate for financial accountability and corporate transparency says,

You’ve got several trillion dollars, the management of which nobody is required to ask any questions about where that money is coming from. This is very problematic.

Hedge funds and private equity funds for elite investors have allowed the ultra-wealthy to destroy the public interest, convicted inside-trader George Soros and the Carlyle Group being two notorious examples.

On the Border 2.0

•November 1, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Operation Faithful Patriot, the latest White House-initiated terrorism, is a clear signal to the armed forces as well as armed vigilantes, i.e. Christian Patriots, that these militia members are welcome to mobilize against those who oppose Christian white supremacy. Christian Patriots, for those who weren’t around in 1995, were responsible for the mass murder at the federal building in Oklahoma City.

They were last mobilized in 2005, when the Republican Party campaigned nationwide on anti-immigrant propaganda in order to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cultural Cues

•October 18, 2018 • Leave a Comment

After reading the New York Times special report on the self-made billionaire whose father gave him $413 million to kick-start his empire of fraud, I recalled that the current President of the United States isn’t the first to project fantastic self-imagery on the psyche of the American voter. Two of my favorites, also Republicans, are Gerald Ford–who made a video of himself toasting his own English muffin in the White House kitchen–and Nelson Rockefeller, who as presidential candidate ran as ‘Rocky’, despite his little resemblance with Sylvester Stalone. No one, perhaps, will ever top George W. Bush in his fly-boy outfit on an aircraft carrier, but then, he had PTSD from drinking and snorting away his military “service” down south in the Lone Star State.

Critical Thinking

•October 2, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Language is not neutral. That is one of the lessons drawn by Paige Raibmon, professor of history at the University of British Columbia, in As I Remember It: Teachings from the Life of a Sliammon Elder–the K-12 textbook she co-authored about relations between Indigenous Peoples and Europeans.

As Raibmon observes, assumptions are not universal, but rather, culturally specific to a people, place and time. Many assumptions presented by Europeans as universal, she says, unwittingly promote continuity of the racist concepts these assumptions are based on.

As Raibmon notes, We all believe at some point that our particular ideas and practices are the norm. Those of us who benefit from various forms of privilege can retain that illusion because the world around us endorses our perspective. This is why the “First Peoples Principle of Learning” that “Learning requires exploration of one’s identity” applies to all learners of all ages. It invites non-Indigenous learners to start with themselves, rather than the Indigenous “other.”

Partisan Journalism

•July 24, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Transnistria is not the United States, but lessons about journalism there can be informative about the ‘ethics’ and ‘fidelity to the facts’ largely absent in mainstream American media. Particularly in regard to an increasingly monocultural journalistic situation, where self-censorship and compliance come to characterize the profession. As the federal government of the US seeks to control journalism and the Internet through intimidation, these lessons become warnings of possible future developments.