'We're not naive' about who's behind 'sabotage' of Nord Stream pipelines, Joly says

WATCH: Joly, Blinken announce new sanctions on Russia, discuss Ukrainian referendums and Nord Stream pipeline explosions

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says the world is “not naïve” about who may be responsible for the apparent bombings that damaged Russia-built natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, calling the acts “sabotage.”

Her comments on Friday marked the latest insinuation by NATO leaders that Moscow may have intentionally sabotaged the twin Nord Stream pipelines between Russia and Germany. The West has not explicitly blamed Russia, which has pinned the blasts on state-sponsored “terrorism” committed by the U.S. and its allies.

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The West sabotaged Nord Stream pipelines, not Russia, Vladimir Putin says

Asked by CNN anchor Jim Sciutto during a conversation in Washington, hosted by the Atlantic Council, who was behind the damage, Joly did not mention Russia by name but pointed to allies’ assessments that the attacks were deliberate.

“At this point we’re still investigating, but obviously we want to make sure that we do things the right way, but we’re not naïve,” she said.

“You’re not naïve as to who’s behind it?” Sciutto responded.

“As I said, we won’t speculate but at the same time, we want to make sure that — the world needs to understand that this is very important European infrastructure that was sabotaged,” the minister added.

She added no gas was flowing through either pipeline at the time the leaks occurred.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline has laid dormant since August as a result of European sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Its long-planned twin, Nord Stream 2, has yet to come online and was effectively cancelled by Germany when the war began.

On Thursday, Swedish officials discovered a fourth leak along the Nord Stream gas pipelines, vital energy links for Europe that have been spewing methane into the Baltic Sea since Monday following two underwater explosions.

NATO said in a statement Thursday all evidence suggests the pipelines between Russia and Germany were likely damaged by “deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible” acts of sabotage.

Speaking earlier Friday in Moscow at a ceremony marking the annexation of four regions of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin claimed that “Anglo-Saxons” in the West have turned from imposing sanctions on Russia to “terror attacks,” sabotaging the pipelines in what he described as an attempt to “destroy the European energy infrastructure.”

He added that “those who profit from it have done it,” without naming a specific country. Moscow has previously suggested the U.S. is the only country that would stand to gain from the pipelines shutting down by bolstering its own energy supplies.

Read more:

Nord Stream pipelines: 4th leak reported in Baltic Sea 

At a joint press conference with Joly Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken refused to dignify Putin’s comments with a response — but he also stopped short of pointing fingers.

“We are supporting the investigation into these attacks on the pipelines and working to be able to determine who’s responsible, but I don’t want to get ahead of those investigations,” Blinken said.

“I really have nothing to say to the absurd allegation from President Putin that we or other partners or allies are somehow responsible for this.”

U.S. President Joe Biden dismissed Putin’s pipeline claims as outlandish.

“It was a deliberate act of sabotage. And now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies. We will work with our allies to get to the bottom (of) precisely what happened,” Biden promised, adding that divers would be sent down to inspect the pipelines. “Just don’t listen to what Putin’s saying. What he’s saying we know is not true.”

U.S. officials said the Putin claim was trying to shift attention from his annexation of parts of eastern Ukraine, which Canada and its Western allies have vowed not to recognize.

“We’re not going to let Russia’s disinformation distract us or the world from its transparently fraudulent attempt to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said Friday.

Denmark and Sweden said Friday in a letter to the United Nations that the explosions that rocked the Baltic Sea ahead of the huge methane leaks from the pipelines “probably corresponded to an explosive load of several hundred kilos.”

NATO has warned it would retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure of its 30 member countries and joined other Western officials in citing sabotage as the likely cause of damage. Denmark is a NATO member, and Sweden is in the process of joining the military alliance.

Moscow says it wants a thorough international probe to assess the damage to the pipelines. Putin’s spokesman has said “it looks like a terror attack, probably conducted on a state level.”

Read more:

Leaky Russian gas pipelines draw accusations of sabotage amid energy crisis

European nations, which have been reeling under soaring energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine, have noted that it is Russia, not Europe, that benefits from chaos in the energy markets and spiking prices for energy.

Since the invasion began in February, the U.S. has become the leading supplier of liquid natural gas to Europe, and also issued historic releases of oil from its strategic reserves earlier this year, Blinken noted — a move that was aimed at easing the upward pressure on energy prices that has been causing economic and political pain both around the world and at home.

“My own sense … is, look, there’s a lot of hard work to do to make sure that countries and partners get through the winter,” he said. But Europe has already taken “very significant” steps towards the transition to renewable energy.

“Ultimately, this is also a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy, and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs.”

Joly said Canada, too, has increased its energy production in response to the crisis. She pointed to longer-term solutions as well, including a new $18-billion LNG export terminal under construction near the B.C. coast, expected to be operational in 2025, as well as a new hydrogen facility in Newfoundland.

“We want to be there short-term, with the existing context we know,” Joly said.

“We (also) want to be there in the middle-term, and we want to be there in the long-term. We’re obviously very seized of the energy security situation in Europe, and that’s why we’re in solution mode.”

— With files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'We Are Still Here': New mural in London, Ont. honours residential school victims

A new mural has been unveiled outside of the N’Amerind Friendship Centre that intends to honour survivors of Canada’s residential schools system and remember the children who died.

Presented in part by the Friendship Centre, London, Ont., city officials and the London Arts Council, the two-story, seven-panel mural is the result of a collaboration between Ojibwe educator and artist Mike Cywink, residential school survivors and Indigenous youth artists.

Read more:

Truth and reconciliation an ‘ongoing process,’ Indigenous voices say

The unveiling was held on Friday afternoon to mark the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The artwork is titled We Are Still Here, but each panel carries its own name and meaning.

The seven panels, as seen from left to right when looking at the southern wall of N’Amerind Friendship Centre from Horton Street, are titled Story Tellers, Where We Were, Our Creation Stories, 215, Breaking The Cycle, Now and Great Tree of Peace.

Friday’s unveiling also included speeches, prayer, Jingle Dress dancing, songs and a gathering of at least 200 people at corner of Colborne and Horton streets.

It was a day filled with mixed emotions for Cywink, the lead artist behind We Are Still Here.

“I know we’re here celebrating the good things and the work and stuff, but it was still a heavy morning for me. I think about the kids, the children, the ones who never made it home from residential schools,” Cywink said.

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Cywink, who is from the Whitefish River First Nation near Manitoulin Island, describes his art as storytelling and says speaking directly to residential school survivors was especially important for the narrative behind We Are Still Here.

“I’m telling a story that’s partially mine – I never attended residential schools, but a lot of people I care about and love have… I think that consultation (with survivors) was pretty important in terms of me wanting to make sure that I tell the story correctly,” Cywink added.

“I think there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with public artwork, especially Indigenous artwork, because I feel like I’m partly representing a big chunk of the Indigenous community, so that was why making sure I tell the story correctly was such an important factor for me and then just making sure we did a good job.”

Ojibwe artist and educator Mike Cywink, who is from the Whitefish River First Nation.

Ojibwe artist and educator Mike Cywink, who is from the Whitefish River First Nation.

Andrew Graham / Global News

Sir Frederick Nicholas, 16, is one of the three Indigenous youth artists who were selected to help out with We Are Still Here, an opportunity that the young artist considers a great honour.

“I didn’t quite know the scale of the project and how big it would be in the community, I just knew I’m making paintings, they’re going to go on the side of the building, everybody’s going to see them, but being here today, I start to realize just how much this means to everybody,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas, who is a Turtle Clan member from Oneida Six Nations of the Grand River, describes Cywink as someone he looks up to and hopes to work with again in the future.

As for the work, he said he felt a lot of pressure leading up to the finished product, but is proud now that all is said and done.

“Now that they’re up, we know for a fact that we got it right.”

Sir Frederick Nicholas wears a shirt modelled after one worn by his late great-grandfather during Friday's unveiling of We Are Still Here.

Sir Frederick Nicholas wears a shirt modelled after one worn by his late great-grandfather during Friday's unveiling of We Are Still Here.

Andrew Graham / Global News

During Friday’s unveiling of the mural, Nicholas wore a shirt modelled after another one worn by his late great-grandfather. The symbolic garment was made by his mom within a single day, a feat Nicholas describes as “not easy to do.”

“He wore a shirt just like this, he was buried in it. When I put it on, I feel like I just got that much more connected to him … I have his name and now I have one of his shirts,” Nicholas said, adding that this connection was echoed in his contributions to We Are Still Here.

“Not only did I leave a piece of myself in these pieces of art, I feel like I also left a piece of him in there too, a way for him to be remembered.”

Both Cywink and Nicholas hope the artwork will inspire observers to learn more about Indigenous history and the history of Canada’s residential school system.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'They're here listening': Wolastoqey gather to honour children of residential schools

The Wolastoqey First Nations says talks with NB Power on an accommodation agreement over the Mactaquac dam have ceased. Nathalie Sturgeon has more.

On the banks of the St. John River, known to Indigenous people as the Wolastoq River, groups gathered to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

As children dressed in orange watched, the community remembered the trauma of residential schools in Canada.

Part of the path for many is recognition that the land is unceded and the return to traditional names.

Elder Maggie Paul attended the commemoration.

“Just stop and look at it, that water. The Wolastoq is so beautiful. She talked to me, she said I want my name back.”

Read more:

‘Stripped of love’: Mi’kmaw woman shares story of years in residential school

Paul said on Friday she is also there to honour the survivors of residential schools, and those who never made it back.

“That’s what I want to acknowledge this morning, those children. They’re here,” she said. “They’re here listening. They’re here listening to us.”

It’s the second official National Truth And Reconciliation Day, observed federally, the first one marked officially by the province.

New Brunswick Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Arlene Dunn said people have had a long year to reflect on the importance of Truth and Reconciliation Day, and what it means to Indigenous Peoples.

She said recognizing it in New Brunswick is a step in the reconciliation process. “I do hope that in the near future I will have the opportunity to talk about some of the stuff, in terms of how we’re trying to repair the relationship,” Dunn said.

“I think it’s a step in a positive direction… When the decision was made, I was humbled to the point where you had to really just stop and think for a moment, ‘this is really happening.'”

Though New Brunswick is acknowledging the holiday, Sitansisk First Nation Chief Allan Polchies says there is much work to be done. Indigenous voices need to be at the table, he said.

Read more:

Wolastoqey chiefs want return of Indigenous artifacts from New Brunswick Museum

“It’s folks, leaders like myself, and leaders across this country that will embrace the allies that come together and continue to educate one another on the stark history,” Polchies said.

“And of course, look at what reconciliation is about but more importantly it’s reconciliation action, and how we do our part, you and I, and of course everyone across Turtle Island.”

Polchies said for many, the horrors of residential schools are still present.

Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers says there are critical roles that local governments play in truth and reconciliation.

“We share this territory, so it critical that we do this work and I would say all municipal governments, when you look at the acts of truth and reconciliation, there are certain calls to action that are specific to municipalities and I think that we all as Treaty peoples need to honour those and fulfil those recommendations,” Rogers said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Blue Jays plan to celebrate playoff berth

TORONTO – Win or lose, the Toronto Blue Jays were planning to celebrate on Friday night.

The Blue Jays clinched a playoff berth Thursday afternoon when the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Boston Red Sox 5-3. That defeat mathematically eliminated Baltimore from the playoffs and guaranteed Toronto will be in the post-season but the Blue Jays had Thursday off, meaning they couldn’t celebrate together as a team.

Toronto opened a three-game series with the Red Sox on Friday and Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said his team would celebrate its post-season berth regardless of the result.

“I think whenever you have a chance to do that you have to embrace it. You have to not ignore it,” said Schneider in the dugout at Rogers Centre before Friday’s game. “That doesn’t happen all the time and I can’t wait to have a good time with that group.”

The Blue Jays have six more regular-season games. Toronto is still playing for home-field advantage in the American League wild card series. After the three-game set against Boston, the Blue Jays will travel to Baltimore to close out the regular season.

All-star Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette said he thinks it’s important to celebrate the accomplishment, even though home-field advantage hasn’t been secured.

“All the hard work paid off, we put a lot in and we had high expectations of ourselves and we were able to accomplish it,” said Bichette, who watched the Orioles’ loss with Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal. “There’s still more work to do, obviously, and we expect more but we definitely need to enjoy this.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

S&P/TSX composite ekes out barest of gains on day but down for the quarter

A volatile trading day capped the quarter as an early rally evaporated to leave the S&P/TSX composite index with the barest of gains, while U.S. markets swung deep into the red.

The trading, which saw North American markets give up what were gains of more than one per cent in morning trading, was emblematic of recent sessions that have been scattered but weighted to the downside as investors fear for the economy because of the determination of central banks to make borrowing money more expensive.

Read more:

S&P/TSX composite jumps along with U.S. markets as U.S. Treasury yields retreat

“There’s been a handful of Fed speakers all week that have been out again today, reinforcing this message that they remain firmly on the path of fighting inflation, they keep coming back to that message,” said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager with AGF Investments Inc.

U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard was the latest, insisting Friday that the bank won’t pull back on rates prematurely.

“That seems to continue to throw a little bit of cold water on any rally attempts that the broader market has had,” said Archibald.

The reminder of the Fed’s resolve, along with an indicator of inflation in the U.S. running hotter than expected, was enough to erase the early rally Friday.

In the end, the S&P/TSX composite index closed up 2.38 points at 18,444.22, marking a second negative quarter in a row. The index is now down 15.7 per cent since the end of March.

“It’s certainly been a challenging market for investors, obviously inflation has been elevated, the bond market has been a challenge as well, so hasn’t been a lot of places for investors to hide here in 2022,” said Archibald.

The Toronto market was buffered from further losses as it recorded modest gains in information technology, utilities, health care, and especially the materials sector as investors poured into gold stocks.

“The gold price isn’t really up all that much, however, gold equities are having a really nice day. I think there’s just a bit of hiding at the end of the quarter,” said Archibald.

The S&P/TSX global gold index was up 2.5 per cent, including gains of 5.5 per cent for Kinross Gold Corp. and 3.5 per cent for Barrick Gold Corp.

The December gold contract itself was up US$3.40 at US$1,672.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was down a penny at US$3.41 a pound.

Read more:

S&P/TSX composite down more than 100 points, U.S. stock markets also lower

The S&P/TSX composite index faced pressure from industrials, financials, and especially energy as the November crude contract closed down US$1.74 at US$79.49 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down nearly 11 cents at US$6.77 per mmBTU.

New York fared worse, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing down 500.10 points, or 1.7 per cent, at 28,725.51. The S&P 500 index was down 54.85 points, or 1.5 per cent, at 3,585.62, while the Nasdaq composite was down 161.89 points, or 1.5 per cent, at 10,575.62.

Stocks were under pressure as U.S. Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar were on the rise again. That put pressure on the Canadian dollar, which was trading for 72.45 cents US, according to XE.com, compared with 72.96 cents US on Thursday.

There will need to be a reversal, or at least a slowing, of the ascent of the U.S. dollar to change the risk appetite of investors, said Archibald.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, he expects to see caution going into the earnings season with the potential for more downwardly revised guidances, as happened with Micron Technology Inc. Thursday evening.

The overall market sentiment is, however, low enough that even a glimmer of good news could turn the tide, said Archibald.

“The level of bearishness in the market is excessively high, so it won’t take a lot of good news to change in the narrative, to probably spark another pretty significant rally in equities. What that happens to be remains to be seen, but the bar is very low for for something good to happen right now.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Residents of Kingston, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory mark Truth and Reconciliation Day

Groups gathered in Kingston and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory to mark the solemn occasion of Truth and Reconciliation Day in a variety of ways.

On a solemn day of reflection for Canada’s Indigenous community, there were gatherings of all sorts  to commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day.

People in Kingston started early in marking the day.

A Truth and Reconciliation walk began in the morning, starting at the Kingston Police station and going to various spots in the city

All participants donned orange shirts, walked, talked and shared their thoughts on the lasting legacy of colonialism and, in particular, Canada’s residential school system.

Read more:

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Down the road in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, the indigenous community held their own walk.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory resident Carol LaVecque said the show of support is overwhelming.

“People are understanding it. The kids in Belleville and the surrounding areas, they’re all wearing their orange shirts. It’s just.. it’s just.. mind blowing, honestly,” she said.

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Don Maracle spoke about the tragedies of the past, and finding the way forward, together.

The group walked from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Band Council office down the road to the Mohawk Community Centre and back while reflecting on the lives lost.

Back in Kingston, at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Indigenous communities’ connection to the land is on display.

Read more:

Truth and reconciliation an ‘ongoing process,’ Indigenous voices say

Since July, the art centre has hosted an Indigenous art exhibit called “Land Protectors”.

“It’s about honouring the indigenous peoples who, since time immemorial, have fought to protect the land and all of its precious resources,” said guest curator Paige VanTassel.

According to Delores Maracle-Whalen, an attendee at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory walk, those precious resources need to be protected by all of us pulling in the same direction.

“Getting along. Working with one another, and coming to agreements in a good way,” she said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Russia vetoes UN resolution condemning Putin's annexation of Ukrainian territory

WATCH: Putin declares annexation in 4 Ukrainian regions, calls for Kyiv to stop fighting

Russia on Friday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United State and Albania condemning Moscow’s proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine, and China chose to abstain from the vote.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russian rule over four regions that make up 15% of Ukraine’s territory – the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two. The move has been firmly rejected by Western countries and even many of Russia’s close allies.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced the resolution that called on member states not to recognize any altered status of Ukraine and obliged Russia to withdraw its troops.

Read more:

Russia claims 4 ‘new regions’ as Putin declares annexation in parts of Ukraine

She argued in the council’s chamber that the attempted annexation of a sovereign nation’s territory went against the founding principles of the United Nations, and said Putin was celebrating “this clear violation of international law” with a concert held after he proclaimed the annexations on Friday.

“He threw a party on Red Square to pat himself on the back for these illegal referenda,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Ten nations voted in favor, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstained.

Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, who raised his hand to give the only vote against the resolution, argued the regions, where Moscow has seized territory by force and where fighting still rages, chose to be part of Russia. Kyiv and Western leaders denounced the referendums as a sham.

“There will be no turning back as today’s draft resolution would try to impose,” Nebenzia said.

Following the vote, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said Russia had become a “tumour” within the Security Council that must be removed.

China, which has given Russia diplomatic cover since Moscow’s February invasion of Ukraine, abstained from the resolution, but raised concerns about “a prolonged and expanded crisis” in Ukraine.

China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun argued that while “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be safeguarded,” countries’ “legitimate security concerns” should also be taken seriously.

Read more:

Assaults on annexed Ukrainian territory will be an attack on Russia: Kremlin

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier on Friday that Washington would look to the U.N. General Assembly, the majority of which voted to condemn Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, if the resolution failed.

“If Russia blocks the Security Council from carrying out its responsibilities, we’ll ask the U.N. General Assembly, where every country has a vote, to make clear that it’s unacceptable to redraw borders by force,” Blinken said.

Thomas-Greenfield reiterated the plan ahead of the vote, saying the General Assembly would “show that the world is still on the side of sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity.”

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Franklin Paul, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

—Additional files from Global News and the Associated Press

© 2022 Reuters

Arid September for many communities across B.C.

It’s been an arid and record-breaking September for many communities in B.C.

Preliminary data from Environment Canada from Sept. 1 to 27 shows that Victoria plus Abbotsford and Chilliwack had their driest September ever, with those communities receiving less than one per cent of their normal, monthly precipitation.

Victoria received just 0.7 per cent of its total precipitation for September, while Abbotsford / Chiliwack was at 0.8 per cent.

Read more:

Most of B.C. is suffering conditions of drought, water scarcity, province says

Five other areas – Campbell River (5.4 per cent), Kelowna(8.6 per cent),  Smithers (13.0 per cent), Fort Nelson (5.2 per cent),  and Victoria’s airport (2.6 per cent) – had their second driest September ever.

In the Lower Mainland, Vancouver had its seventh-driest September with just seven mm of rainfall. That translates into 13.8 per cent of its normal precipitation.

Environment Canada also noted that 81 of the 118 climate stations across the province are classified as ‘way too dry.’

Six weather stations in B.C. — Vancouver, Victoria (city and airport), Comox, Campbell River, Abbotsford and Williams Lake — recorded their hottest September ever.

The mean temperatures for the month were close to three degrees above average in some cases.

It was a warm September for many communities across the province.

It was a warm September for many communities across the province.

Global News

The province’s website on drought information shows that five B.C. basins are at Drought Level 4 out of 5. Those basins are Fort Nelson, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, west Vancouver Island and east Vancouver Island.

The province says at Drought Level 4, conditions are extremely dry and adverse effects to socio-economic or ecosystem values are likely.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

London, Ont. honours National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

In marking the second annual National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Londoners gathered on The Green at Wortley Village to share their respects for those affected by Canada’s residential school system.

Atlosa Family Healing Centre, along with Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre, and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, invited those across the city of London to honour past and present relatives.

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J. Todd Cornelius, chief of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, thanked all those who attended Friday’s event.

“While today is an important day of truth and reconciliation, it is only one day of 365 in remembering the children who were taken from us,” he said.

“The journey has been long, traumatic and intergenerational for many, but there is much to be done in achieving reconciliation, and the strength of our ancestors to our loved ones is needed more than ever.”

Surrounded by some residential school survivors, jingle dress dancers performed in front of a gathering crowd of orange shirts. The dance represents healing, pride, as well as a spiritual form of wellness and celebration in linking the past to present in helping to “move forward with strength and hope.”

Organizers of the gathering said that the dresses, also known as Prayer Dresses, are lined with rows of metal cones, creating a melody as the dancers move to “mimic the sound of falling rain.”

Debwaywin and Tahlalmna Miskokowa said they have both been dancing for years and commented on the amount of people who attended in support.

“It feels not only welcoming but feels amazing for myself and a lot of other Indigenous people,” Debwaywin said.

“The more events we have, the more awareness is spread, and the change gets bigger, which says a lot,” Tahlamna added.

Jingle dress dancers Debwaywin and Tahlalmna Miskokowa on Sept. 30, 2022.

Jingle dress dancers Debwaywin and Tahlalmna Miskokowa on Sept. 30, 2022.

Amy Simon / 980 CFPL

The gathering also featured singing, prayer, traditional Indigenous food and various information booths.

Jake Martell, literacy coordinator at Nokee Kwe London Employment and Information Centre, stood at a booth of his own, expressing the importance of striving toward reconciliation through education.

“I’m glad that Canadians have taken action to try and make this a bigger day because, hopefully, we reach more people,” he said.

Read more:

Indigenous art in London, Ont. shared ‘worldviews and experiences’

Established in 1987, Nokee Kwe is a charitable non-profit organization that works to deliver employment, training and transitional services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, as well as adults in London and the surrounding community.

Displayed across his table were books titled In Memory of Feast by Judy Reuben, Mohawk from the Turtle Clan, a collection of “childhood food memories” of residential school survivors.

According to Martell, this book shows children detailing and remembering pleasant times with their family by gathering around the dinner table in sharing traditional Indigenous food prior to entering the school system.

“It gives them an opportunity to speak their truth which is what today (National Day of Truth and Reconciliation) is all about,” he said.

“In Memory of Feast” by Judy Reuben, Mohawk from the Turtle Clan, is a collection of “childhood food memories” from residential school survivors.

“In Memory of Feast” by Judy Reuben, Mohawk from the Turtle Clan, is a collection of “childhood food memories” from residential school survivors.

Amy Simon / 980 CFPL

For Lori George, of Oneida of the Thames First Nations, speaking her truth is exactly what she plans to do.

“It’s hard for me to come out and I don’t think people really understand the effects of residential schools,” she said.

George said that her father was not only sent to a residential school, but later sent to prison just like “a lot of young Indigenous adults at that time.”

“My mother passed away before I could get the whole story, but I didn’t even know what residential schools were until I was about 14,” she said. “I cried and I didn’t understand.”

Having recently lost her brother to suicide, George said that while her family, like many others, continue to grieve, she feels compelled to show up to these events and gatherings in support of herself and others.

Lori George, of Oneida of the Thames First Nation, wearing a pendant in honour of her brother she lost to suicide.

Lori George, of Oneida of the Thames First Nation, wearing a pendant in honour of her brother she lost to suicide.

Amy Simon / 980 CFPL

“When I see those coming forward with their orange shirts, people asking questions, people coming out to these booths, it shows that people want to learn,” said Elyssa Rose, Indigenous advocate and anti-human trafficking co-ordinator for Atlohsa.

“We really want to break down those barriers to have open communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Atlosa Family Healing Centre booth including (left to right) Biine 'kwe, Elyssa Rose, Sadie Hammer, Shenoa Simon, and Madison Alexandra.

Atlosa Family Healing Centre booth including (left to right) Biine 'kwe, Elyssa Rose, Sadie Hammer, Shenoa Simon, and Madison Alexandra.

Amy Simon / 980 CFPL

Read more:

London, Ont. community honours MMIWG on Red Dress Day at Ivey Park

“Every single time that someone comes out and they learn anything, they get to be part of something like this,” she continued.

“They’re breaking down that barrier of what was there through colonization, through intergenerational trauma, so having this really allows us to be able to be together and have that connectedness.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Western student group calls for change after law professor uses N-word during lecture

A Western University law professor has issued an apology to her students after she was heard using the N-word during a first-year criminal law lecture earlier this week.

A group representing Black law students at Western, however, argues that isn’t enough, and is calling on the professor to issue a written apology to the broader law community, and for university brass to implement changes.

The professor, Kimberly Gagan, uttered the word on Tuesday while reading aloud from a criminal law casebook about the wrongful murder conviction of Donald Marshall Jr., said Jaidyn McEwen, president of the Western chapter of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA Western) and a third year law student, in an interview Friday.

“There were a few members of the BLSA that were in attendance and the impact was quite significant and upsetting. A lot of them were really upset that nobody said anything at the time in the class,” she said.

Read more:

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McEwen says she learned about the incident Tuesday evening and met with Erika Chamberlain, dean of the Faculty of Law, the next morning to talk about what had happened.

In a letter signed by McEwen, issued later that day to students, faculty and staff, BLSA Western condemned the professor’s use of the word, and it’s use by “a non-Black person in any context, in any form, for any purpose… It hurts us. This word does not belong to you.”

“To be clear – it is not just a ‘bad’ word. It is a derogatory term. It was and still is used to degrade and dehumanize Black men and women,” the letter reads.

“There are arguments for taking the power away from a word. There are arguments for allowing the use to ‘convey meaning’ in academic settings. To be clear – Black men and women do not need a non-Black person to use the word to convey meaning to us.”

The letter included several calls to action, including that Gagan issue a written apology “to the law school community as a whole,” citing her role as executive director of Western’s Community Legal Services Clinic.

Gagan offered an apology to her students at the start of Thursday morning’s lecture, McEwan said, adding that Chamberlain was also present and apologized on behalf of Western Law.

Chamberlain said Friday that she had attended the lecture to also express support for the students and “reaffirm to them that we’re committed to making sure that our classrooms are inclusive spaces and that we will work with (BLSA) to address their calls to action and move foward from here.”

Though she apologized to her students, Gagan has not issued a written apology as sought by BLSA Western in its call to action.

“I think that’s something that we’re going to be working on next week as we talk about the, kind of, overall response to these calls to action they had,” Chamberlain said when asked if Gagan planned to issue a written apology.

Gagan did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

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Among the calls to action sought by BLSA Western is for the university to implement mandatory equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training, offered by a person of colour, for all Western students, faculty and staff, and to make available to students a list of professors who refuse the lessons.

The letter also calls on Western Law to hire a BIPOC counsellor to tend to issues specifically facing non-white law students, and for non-Black students to “speak out and condemn racist acts when they happen.”

“A big issue is the fact that as soon as the word was said, non-Black students turned to look at the Black students in the classroom to sort of take direction,” McEwan said.

“It can’t always fall on POC students to stand up in these situations, and to look to us for direction or to comment or call it out.”

The group says it’s also calling on Western law to implement a “Black pathway in Admissions” to make sure the number of Black students at the law school increases every year rather than decreases.

Chamberlain says some of the things the group is calling for are already in the process of being implemented, including the creation of a Black admissions category, and Western-wide EDI training which is expected to roll out this fall.

“We also have an anti-racism working group here at the law school and their report is going to be issued sometime in October. Some of their recommendations, I think, will overlap with what BLSA has already called for,” she said.

“At that point we can look at all those recommendations and come up with a plan of action, and that would include some fairly short term things and also some longer term goals.”

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Nov. 1, 2019: Western University launches working group following professor’s use of N-word

Since BLAS Western issued its letter on Wednesday, McEwan says she has received messages from students as well as some faculty expressing support.

“There are people that are backing this and that realise that this is not okay, and that want to work with us to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.

“But I will say the training part is a huge concern and we want to see that implemented as quickly as possible, and to have a list of professors who refuse to take the training so that students are able to control what classes they take.”

It’s not the first time that a Western teacher has come under fire for using the N-word during a lecture.

In October 2019, English lecturer Andrew Wenaus issued a public apology for using the term “house N-word” during a discussion about the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s pilot episode, in which Will Smith is addressed as “Master William,” to his discomfort, by Geoffrey the butler when they first meet.

Days later, an anti-racism working group was struck by Western President Alan Shepard, to “better understand and target issues of racism on campus,” after a Black student was bombarded by racist emails and messages for calling out the professor’s use of the word.

The working group’s report, made public in June of 2020, affirmed there were “systemic problems embedded within the University’s colonial history, traditions, structures, practices and policies that normalize ‘whiteness,’ that ‘other’ racialized groups, and that perpetuate racism.”

Chamberlain says she commissioned Western Law’s anti-racism working group in the wake of the report to look at issues specific to the law school, and to look at diversifying the student body and faculty, and embedding anti-racism and EDI principles into the curriculum.

The report also prompted the appointment of an EDI advisory council, and the creation of an EDI Office on campus. Last year, the university named Opiyo Oloya as the office’s inaugural associate vice-president.

— with files from Jacquelyn LeBel

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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