Showing posts with label indigenous. Show all posts
Showing posts with label indigenous. Show all posts

Thursday 11 November 2021

March for Climate Action Day Glasgow COP26! - Scotland’s motto is “Bairns not Bombs”

The Real Voices for Climate Justice speak out! - Scotland’s motto is “Bairns not Bombs”

Over 100K, by far the biggest march during COP26 in Glasgow, took place Saturday 6th November 2021, as part of the Global day of Action for climate change. If the diversity, enthusiasm, belief and energy of those marching, and chanting for change to insistent drum beats could be bottled we’d have change immediately!

The march was good natured and fun with people of all ages and from all corners of the world who want their voices heard! They marched morally for a just transition. Many different activist groups took part – indigenous peoples group, Scottish green party, All Under One Banner (AUOB) for Scottish Independence, for a greener, sustainable, inclusive, well being Scotland free of nuclear weapons. And many more besides. 


It seems that world leaders and democracy is failing us. Some might ask how urgent is the climate crisis, our planet now faces? We only have to look at the images of grey, dead coral reefs (once multi-vibrant colours), ice caps melting, violent storms and floods – to see we are reaping the devastating aftermath of careless Global “growth”


There are many voices calling for action now – later will be too late, telling us we have no time to loose now. Vague promises are of no use anymore. I see my grandchildren’s faces and I hope there is a future for them.

How ironic that the UKs Trident nuclear subs are housed just up the road at Faslane naval base and peace camp. Scotland’s motto is Bairns not Bombs and we don’t want to store these disastrous weapons near our largest city.

A majority of Scots don’t want Trident in our waters, we don’t want Brexit, we want fairer welfare and pensions, investment in renewables and we don’t want a Tory government. So why do Scots have to be the caterers and not have a seat at the table of the Climate Conference? Why are Scots alone in not wanting independence? Scots my once have been the engine of an empire but now we’re not even partners.


Many now believe climate is the top of the agenda and cannot be ignored. its complex too. There are several issues to address - Biodiversity, forests, energy supplies, the oceans, reducing meat, using local, transport, and giving back to indigenous peoples. The Covid pandemic showed us that the world can act when it decides to – with all nations putting money into their pots to deal with the crisis. People are now not asking, but demanding change.  


We must address our own actions, science and the land and oceans.

The question is how do we change?


We must develop Renewables much faster! Ban private jets, massive yachts,

And the indigenous peoples of the world, cannot be ignored. In the developing nations morally we know greed is a sin and we need to give back to save our planet. There is many lands under threat because of the industries of the developed world. Time to pay back.

Do we fight Big Business. Democracy is failing us…One way is for our politicians to stop fooling us and to stop talking about this growth. 


Instead we need cleaner air, better quality of life. After this moving Glasgow march for social justice and part of the Day for Action to save our planet, on the train I passed the pristine white village of the COP26 climate conference, where the world leaders were in a ring of steel. And I thought our only hope is for People Assemblies for change, made up of civic groups, academics, scientists and the professionals – who can see the answers and understand the urgency. 

Cop 26 Protesters include - Pacific climate warriors, Ocean Rebellion, Greenpeace, Green Party, 

Extinction Rebellion


Wednesday 30 June 2021

Unmarked graves of children: suppression of The Marieval Indians


**Today I heard two desperately sad, separate stories of the deliberate suppression and persecution of a racial kind by British imperialism

 The first was in Canada, once a British colony. Imperial policies, begun in Ireland and Scotland, led to the destruction of indigenous peoples way of life – their laws, culture, history and language. Reading history of the late 16th century and the Tudor expansionism, followed by James Stuart (I & VI) who believed in bringing the British isles together in a united religion and culture. That didn’t work!


In Canada 751 unmarked graves of children have been found beside a Catholic run residential school and are part of Canada’s cultural genocide

An indigenous nations in Canada has found graves at the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan. The Cowessess First Nation said the discovery was "the most significantly substantial to date in Canada". It comes weeks after the remains of 215 children were found at another school in British Columbia. The Marieval Indian Residential School was operated by the Roman Catholic Church from 1863 to 1997 


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "terribly saddened" by the discovery . "a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced". 130 boarding schools funded by the Canadian government during the 19th and 20th Centuries, were run with the aim of assimilating indigenous youth. An estimated 6,000 children died in these schools, due to the squalid conditions. Chief Delorme said. Technical teams will now work to provide a verified number and identify the remains, 


More than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada. The children were not allowed to speak their language or to practice their culture, and many were mistreated and abused. 

"They made us believe we didn't have souls," said former residential school student Florence Sparvier at a press conference on Thursday. "They were putting us down as people, so we learned to not like who we were." 

II   The second story was the partition of Pakistan and India in 1947, when 17 million people were displaced and I million died – after 200 years of British rule. I watched a program by on this partition presented by Gurinda Chadha: before partition Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims lived together peacefully ad in Delhi there are mosques,  The British government in India followed the deliberate policies of divide and rule. They employed Sikhs as their military to do their dirty work. So before India’s independence, the Indian leaders all encouraged religious division in order to advance their own political advantage. At this time some believed that some races were superior to others.

Indian partition 17 million people were displaced and I million died


Then there is the partition of Ireland, which is a story in itself! The Normans who settled Ireland, after 1066, assimilated into the Irish culture and for a long time only the Pale was under English control (area around Dublin). The problems began with the Tudor expansion, first under Henry VIII and then under Elizabeth, which led to the 9 years war (1594- 1603) and the flight of the Earls from Ulster – and afterwards the Plantation of the north – alongside the suppression of Irish laws, language and culture. Henry VIII was a bully and tyrant and appears to be upheld up as a model English hero. It’s a sad day that Brexit and the Irish sea border and the Northern Ireland protocol is now causing all these tensions to resurface. 

And in Scotland - Since the enforced Highland clearances, to bring sheep grazing, deer stalking and grouse shooting estates for the Victorian elite - who saw Scotland as empty moorlands and glens for their holiday retreats – there has been deliberate policies of exploitation and the destruction of Scotland economic life. Kilts and Scots language were banned. The Scottish highlands and islands are the most depopulated areas in Europe - with desolate glens and only 4% natural forests, which compares to 37% average for forests in Europe. the rewilding Scotland is a crucial project. We need people to return.


All this led to centuries of emigration, exploitations, violence, bloodshed. In recent times in the EU has led to peace and prosperity across Europe and in Ireland. Religion should not be part of government or schools, but a private matter. 

I used to believe that religions were a cause of divisions – but I begin to wonder now is it ignorant, ambitious leaders who exploit and exaggerate difference for their own political gains? Brexit was led by the blaming and dislike for the ‘other’.


Imperial policies, begun in Ireland by Henry Tudor, and later the Highland and Lowland clearances, lled to the destruction of indigenous peoples way of life across the world and their laws, culture, history and language. Reading history of the late 16th century and the Tudor expansionism, followed by James Stuart (I & VI) who believed in bringing the British isles together in a united religion and culture. That didn’t work!

The time for empire and imperialism has now past. More and more, culturally we are recognising the rights of equality and difference .... I hope. In fact difference and debate are necessary for democracy. We are also recognising the dreadful crimes of the African slave trade. 

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Celebrating indigenous languages

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 “We loose colour and diversity”\\
Some of the most popular concerts at Celtic Connections festival are the concerts by Gaelic singers. 
Jeremy Dutcher, was awarded Canada’s Polaris Music Prize in 2018 for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Dutcher, an indigenous artist from  New Brunswick, performed in the Wolastoq language 

This year at Celtic Connections 2019, as part of  2019 Unesco International Year of Indigenous Languages and to give artists space and time to interrogate how Scotland and Canada’s shared colonial histories manifest within contemporary creative practice. 
Jean Cameron in her article, ‘How our Scotland-Canada collab is celebrating indigenous languages’ writes about how she looked at Scotland’s colonial past after working with artists at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games cultural programme: folk who scrutinised Scotland’s imperial history. …..The Indian Act brought in by Macdonald in 1876 resulted in 100,000 indigenous Canadian children being forcibly sent into the residential school system that removed and isolated them from the influence of their homes, families, languages, traditions and cultures. For too many, these schools were sites of colonial violence where children were subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the people supposed to “civilise” them. 

Support from Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government in Canada and The High Commission of Canada has enabled us to bring 15 or so artists together, including Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk) curator Greg Hill from the National Gallery of Canada; Kevin Loring, the first artistic director of indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada; Scottish composer and former Young Gaelic Ambassador of the Year Pàdruig Morrison; author Donald S Murray and creative producer Seona McClintock. 
Let us remember why they are smaller and fragile: often due to oppression, cultural imperialism and economic disconnection. These themes will undoubtedly emerge during this exchange. It’s vital to remember language adds colour and tone to life, place, belonging and perspective. If we lose any, we lose that colour and all that it reflects. Nuances and idioms shape us, some words don’t translate, they are untranslatable.”

Language makes us who we are and there is renewed interest in both Scots and Gaelic. Tellingly for the course of the British power in Ireland (the DUP) continue to fight against the acknowledgement of the Irish language, even while original Scots/Irish settlers there spoke Irish Gaelic. In the past century Scots culture was portrayed by an out of touch caricature – of Donald wheres yur troosers, bagpipes and the White Heather Club dancers.
The European project on the other hand values all its regions and understands that EU success depends on the health and diversity of all its constituent parts and the remotest regions and small farms are sent decent grants and support.