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Mid-Week Round Up: October 8

October 8th, 2014     by Caitlin Blennerhassett     Comments

Illustration: Erin McPhee

We have singled ourselves out in Canada once again as the only country to reject a landmark United Nations document re-establishing the protection of the rights of Indigenous people last week. New York hosted a special UN General Assembly meeting of more than 1,000 delegates and heads of state for the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on September 22 and 23rd. Notably, the United States reversed its position from its previous opposition (along with four other nations, including Canada) of the adoption of a similar document four years ago by supporting the current document in September. Canada was the only country to file an objection, noting the wording of “free, prior and informed consent” as problematic, stating that it could function as a veto for Indigenous groups, representing a perceived violation of Canadian law. Canada rejected the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 for similar reasons. The government’s decision-making gets even murkier as in 2010 the federal government issued a statement saying, “We are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the Declaration in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.” The Canadian government’s flip-flopping is confusing and potentially damaging. Additionally, the government failed to consult with Indigenous groups prior to attending the conference, further troubling the issue. James Anaya, a UN human rights investigator, in his report on Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous people found: “The well-being gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Canada has not narrowed over the past several years; treaty and aboriginal claims remain persistently unresolved; indigenous women and girls remain vulnerable to abuse; and overall there appear to be high levels of distrust among indigenous peoples towards the government at both the federal and provincial levels.”

Direct action by activists across south western “Ontario” in slowing down construction contributed to the denial of Enbridge’s “Leave to Open” application for its Line 9 pipeline. The denial was related to the company’s cancellation of more than 100 “Integrity Digs.” Activists utilizing blockades have collectively delayed work on the line for at least 18 days. Rising Tide Toronto has issued a statement celebrating the denial and emphasizing their continued support for Indigenous communities across “Ontario” and “Quebec” who were not consulted on the pipeline project, and have to live with its toxic effects. In order to support their work, check out their petition and help keep up up pressure on the National Energy Board.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri have not stopped rallying against the murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. This week a group sat in on the St. Louis Symphony where, during the intermission of a performance of Brahms’ Requiem, the 23 protestors sitting in various parts of the auditorium stood up and sang “Requiem for Mike Brown.” Many in the audience and symphony itself applauded and protestors left after about a minute and a half of singing while chanting “Black Lives Matter.”

Jennifer Lawrence has spoken out about the series of explicit and personal images were stolen from her and released to the public on August 31st. Other victims include Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton. The images appeared on 4chan and Reddit on August 31st and were confirmed by Lawrence’s representatives as authentic. Lawrence told Vanity Fair: “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime.” She states: “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame. Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don’t want to get mad, but at the same time I’m thinking, I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body.” ”Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this,” she says. “It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world. ”

Tags: activist report, body politics, indigenous, media savvy, news flash, race and racism, recommended reading

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