The Daily GRRR! - Feb. 26, 2015 - “Thank Gaia It’s Thursday” Edition

Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! on the air every weekday morning from 9-10 a.m. here at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and SoundFM.ca on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Thursday morning show for February 26th, 2015.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Feb. 26, 2015
1. Mount Polley disaster ignored as B.C. government gives go ahead for new mine
2. B.C. Chiefs decry anti-terror bill’s “explicit natural resources development agenda”
3. Lakehead makes indigenous knowledge course mandatory for all degrees
4. Residential school survivors fight federal gov for documents that prove abuse
5. Racism plagues indigenous students at Ontario high school on Manitoulin Island
6. Biracial actress rocks dreadlocks at the Oscars, calls out E!’s racist Fashion Police
7. New female Thor packs a feminist punch to challenge misogyny in comic books

1. Mount Polley disaster ignored as B.C. government gives go ahead for new mine

As many of our listeners already know, Imperial Metals' Mount Polley mine caused B.C.'s biggest-ever mining disaster last August as a result of its own negligence and bad design. Now, as reported by SumOfUs.org, B.C. Premier Christy Clark has given Imperial Metals a temporary permit to open the Red Chris mine, a new copper and gold mine with a much bigger, more toxic tailings pond in the pristine Stikine River watershed. A final investigation on the Mount Polley disaster came to light recently, confirming that the tailings pond’s poor design was to blame for the environmental disaster. Imperial's negligence caused a massive spill of toxic waste into the Mount Polley Lake, which will take years and millions of dollars to clean up, and even then there may still be lasting effects to the local ecosystem. Imperial Metals has provided little reassurance that an even worse catastrophe than Mount Polley won't happen. An independent review of the Red Chris mine plans revealed a host of problems with the tailings pond design, including serious risk of seepage and leakage, and vulnerability to landslides. The review found there were no emergency response plans, no operating, maintenance and surveillance manuals for the tailings facility, and no studies to detail what would happen if the dams collapse. In short, the Red Chris mine is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, and the B.C. government just gave it the go ahead.

2. B.C. Chiefs decry anti-terror bill’s “explicit natural resources development agenda”

As many of our listeners will undoubtedly know, last week, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-51, Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. Bill C-51 will radically and dangerously expand the powers of Canada’s national security agencies and greatly infringe upon the rights of all residents without making us any safer or secure. In the words of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, “The Union of BC Indian Chiefs believes the sweeping scope of Bill C-51 directly violates the ability of all Indigenous Peoples to exercise, assert and defend their constitutionally-protected and judicially-recognized Indigenous Title and Rights to their respective territories.”

He continued, “It is absolutely appalling that as Indigenous Peoples protecting our territories we may be faced with the many insidious, provocative and heavy-handed powers that are granted by this omnibus Bill C-51. The Harper Government has dramatically changed internal government practices, policymaking structures and decision-making processes to serve an explicit natural resources development agenda. We have witnessed the gutting of environmental legislation, clamp-down of scientific analysis and comprehensive surveillance programs of Indigenous and environmental opposition.”

He concluded, “As an act of civil disobedience, I was arrested at Burnaby Mountain because I believe mega-projects, like Kinder Morgan and Enbridge pipelines, do not respect the Indigenous laws and inherent authority of Indigenous Peoples to protect their territories, land and waters from the very real potential and increased risk of oil spills and increased coast tanker traffic along our coast. I believe under the draconian measures of Bill C-51, I would be identified as a terrorist. Regardless, I will continue to do what is necessary to defend the collective birthright of our grandchildren.”

4. Residential school survivors fight federal gov for documents that prove abuse

As reported by APTN News, survivors of a residential school that used an electric chair to torture students are returning to court in another effort to force the federal government to release uncensored documents from the investigations and criminal trials of former school staff. Lawyers representing the survivors, who as children attended St. Anne’s Indian Residential School in St. Albany, Ontario, filed a “Return of Request for Directions” in December in order to clarify a previous ruling from January 2014, when the Ontario Superior Court ordered the Canadian government to disclose documents it held in its possession from an OPP investigation into physical and sexual abuse at the residential school. Ottawa initially denied it had the material, but eventually handed over 12,300 electronic documents related to the OPP investigation. However, according to the most recent court filing, the documents from Ottawa have been heavily redacted.

These documents are important for St. Anne’s survivors who are involved in the Independent Assessment Process (AIP), which was set up to hear claims and issue financial compensation for sexual and physical abuse suffered by residential school survivors under the multi-billion-dollar Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. St. Anne’s survivors need the documents to prove their claims of abuse to IAP adjudicators. Naturally, the redactions by the Canadian government are making it difficult for survivors to use the documents in their cases, and the fact that the federal government acts as an additional party involved in the IAP hearings indicates that this could well be a deliberate measure to sabotage any chance for the survivors from St. Anne’s Residential School to receive financial compensation, which in and of itself can likely never make up for the trauma inflicted on them at the direction, ultimately, of the Canadian government itself.

5. Racism plagues indigenous students at Ontario high school on Manitoulin Island

As reported by the website Before It’s News, Manitoulin Secondary School student Nekiiyaa Noakes was sitting in the school’s main office when a teacher came in and asked an employee for a replacement homework agenda for a fellow Anishinaabe student. Staff in the office told the teacher that the student couldn't have one, because he had already lost several, and the teacher then left. According to Noakes, one of the school employees then turned to another one and said, “These damn Native kids, they're always getting stuff for free. They don't care about anything. Just like all the other Natives.” Later, Noakes told the school's principal what she had heard, and in response, she said the principal “just said that she was going to talk to . That's all she said.” Noakes didn’t feel reassured by the interaction with the principal and said, “I felt like she wasn't really going to do much about it.”

Noakes reports that while it was unusual to hear something so blatant from school staff, hearing anti-Native racism is not unusual in the school environment. “There is a lot of racism that goes on,” she asserted, mostly from other students. Manitoulin Island sits in Lake Huron and it is home to somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 people, almost 40% of whom are First Nations. There are six Anishinaabe reserve communities on the island, and only the largest of those has its own high school — youth from from all of the other communities on the island, reserve and not, go to MSS. When Noakes spoke out on Facebook later that day about what she had witnessed, one of the many people to respond in support was D'Joni Roy, whose daughter spent a year as a student at MSS several years ago. Roy said her daughter's experiences at the school were also pervaded by racism. Roy said she could recall one instance when her daughter talked about a teacher who pointed to her and a few other students from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. According to what Roy's daughter told her, “He said to them their parents chose to send them to MSS because of all the STDs and teen pregnancy and dropout rates in Wikwemikong. And he went on further to say that all the STDs and AIDS were coming from Wikwemikong.” Roy said she tried to address the racism her daughter was experiencing by taking it up with school officials but their consistent response was “dismissing my concerns.” The next year, she enrolled her daughter in the high school at Wikwemikong, which she was able to do because her daughter is a member of that community, and now her mother says, “She’s a happy kid.”

6. Biracial actress rocks dreadlocks at the Oscars, calls out E!’s racist Fashion Police

As reported by Mic.com, on Sunday night, 18-year-old actress and singer Zendaya Coleman glided down the Academy Awards red carpet in a pink satin gown, wearing her hair in long, flowing dreadlocks. In response, one of the hosts of the celebrity show “Fashion Police”—an Italian-American woman named Giuliana Rancic—said that the hairstyle indicated that Zendaya probably smelled like "patchouli oil" or "weed”. In associating Zendaya's appearance with drug use, Rancic played into deeply entrenched stereotypes about people of color and drugs. Though perhaps made in passing, the comment was reflective of systemic biases that impact the lives of people of colour and therefore cannot be taken lightly. As many enraged Twitter users noted, Rancic's comments also exemplified a double standard when it comes to women of colour and their hair: When another celebrity named Kylie Jenner—a white woman this time—wore a similar hairstyle featuring dreadlocks, Rancic deemed it "edgy” instead. But Zendaya herself countered the racist ignorance Monday night by tweeting an eloquent response to Rancic's comments:

“There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful. Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect. To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or “weed” is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive. I don’t usually feel the need to respond to negative things but certain remarks cannot go unchecked. I’ll have you know my father, brother, best childhood friend and little cousins all have locs. Do you want to know what Ava DuVernay (director of the Oscar-nominated film Selma), Ledisi (9 time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and actress), Terry McMillan (author), Vincent Brown (Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University), Heather ANdrea Williams (historian who also possesses a JD from Harvard University, and an MA and PhD from Yale University) as well as many other men, women, and children of all races have in common? Locs. None of which smell of marijuana. There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of colour that our hair is good enough. To me, locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane. I suggest some people should listen to India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” and contemplate a little before opening your mouth so quickly to judge.”

7. New female Thor packs a feminist punch to challenge misogyny in comic books

As reported by Raw Story, over the summer, Marvel announced that the long-running character of Thor was going to be replaced by a woman in their comic book universe. The writer, Jason Aaron, made it clear that this woman is not going to be like a She-Hulk or Spider-Woman, both of which are entirely separate characters who co-exist with their male counterparts, but an actual replacement for Thor: “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR,” he wrote in the Marvel press release. “This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.” For people who read a lot of Marvel comics, this wasn’t too surprising. It’s common for superheroes to die or retire or get promoted and leave their mask and mission to someone entirely new, much as you see with your ordinary desk jobs where different people can hold the same title over the years. But since it’s a lady and there’s a loud and shameless sexist corps in the geek world, there was a major and irritating outcry from some fans. Fortunately, the misogynistic woman-haters and anti-feminists aren’t going to be too happy to see the new panels that Marvel has released as teasers for the upcoming comic. Thor isn’t just a lady superhero but a feminist, and her nemesis, the Absorbing Man, has dialogue that could have been culled from the offensive comments section underneath any feminist article on the internet. We’ve linked to them here on the podcast page for today’s show so you can take a look for yourself.

New female Thor panels show how much online anti-feminists destroy their own cause: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/new-female-thor-panels-show-how-much-...

Midway Music: Glory by Common, John Legend

Feature: “Not Murdered and Not Missing” by Leanne Simpson

Closing Song: Mind of an Ogichidaa Kwe by Valeen Jules

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