Last Full Moon walk for 2019

Last Full Moon Walk for 2019 led by Donna Powless. It was slushy snow outside. We gathered around a sacred fire to hear teachings on the Little Spirit Moon and the Winter as the dream time. Lena kept fire for us and Lisa Lavoie carried the Hiawatha flag around the circle. It was slippery out so Jenny recreated a nature walk indoors with tree bows, bouquet’s and hanging branches. Donna Powless gave teachings on: white pine, cedar, witch hazel, sumac, wild strawberry… We made pine cone decorations and processed prairie sage from the Friends of Watkinson Park native plant/pollinator garden. We hand painted little bags and wrote tags of affirmation for the Winter season and filled them with the sage and tied them with a ribbon – Joce Two-Crows Tremblay will bring them to the Native Women’s Resource Center to distribute among community. We sang and danced, had an delicious Feast of fish stew, corn bread and lentil salad (By Catherine Tammaro) welcomed a new spotted turtle into a circle of stuffed critters, and gifted all the volunteers who have been so important to putting on these Full Moon gatherings. Thanks to all who help put on this gathering. Looking forward to continuing in the New Year!

 

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THPS meets with Arif Virani

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THPS meets with Arif Virani

Sept 2018.

THPS met with Liberal MP Arif Virani. His office had contacted us with the desire to talk about our work. Virani expressed to us that he is taking Truth and Reconciliation very seriously and that he would like to support the work of THPS in the future.

THPS also met with Selina Young from the new City of Toronto Indigenous Affairs office. Her mandate is to work with city officials to institute Truth and Reconciliation.

THPS is cautiously hopeful that we will have some support for upcoming projects from both these offices.

 

 

Treaties and Agreements Relevant to Tkaronto and beyond

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Nanfan Treaty of 1701

Map of Peace Treaty of 1701 Sig

English Version Peace of Montreal

English Version of Great Peace2

English Version of Great Peace3

English Version of Great Peace 4

English Version of Great Peace 5

Royal Proclamation of 1763

Gunshot Treaty 1792

Gunshot Treaty from Bay of Quinte to the County of York

CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: Calls to Action

Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society back to work!

After the passing of  David Redwolf (Rastia’ta’non:ha) who was a central force in the work of the THPS it has taken some time to for the THPS to regroup and be publicly active. Much of the activity is to monitor the mounds, to keep them clean of litter and watch for erosion as well as having ceremony for the ancestors. However, the THPS is gearing up for a new phase. We are working on a pamphlet which outlines the Indigenous history of the park and area, hoping to continue with the archeological work to have the mounds recognized in a good way, as well as manifesting new future projects. The website will also be re-activated as David had collected many files containing knowledge of mounds and their builders which we will continue to archive on the site.

Snake Mound New Fence Looking North July 10, 2011
Snake Mound New Fence Looking North July 10, 2011

Burials Recognized in British Columbia

B.C. Government Cancels Housing Project at Historic Musqueam Village and Burial Site

After standing strong for more than 140 days, the Musqueam People are celebrating a decision by the B.C Government to cancel a controversial 5-story condominium project at cusnaum, an historic village and burial site located in the heart of Musqueam’s Traditional, unceded Territory.

“Musqueam is pleased that the proposed development is no longer authorized by the permits issued by the Province and that the ancestral remains are to be restored to their original condition,” the Musqueam said, in a September 28 Press Release. “Their disturbance caused great anguish to the community and the proposed development would have desecrated an ancient and sacred burial place and destroyed a site precious to the Musqueam as representing one of the few links to our heritage extending back thousands of years. It would also have destroyed a Canadian historic site and a heritage site that should be protected for all British Colombians.”

For updates and more information, visit the facebook page Protect the village and midden site of cusnaum (Marpole).

Read full story here:

Dr. Peggy J. Blair writes about the legalities of burial ground protection

The Non-Protection Of Canadian Aboriginal Heritage (Burial Sites And Artifacts) by Dr. Peggy J. Blair

Dr. Peggy J. Blair (2005) gives and excellent outline of the history of how scientists have felt entitled to desecrate Indigenous peoples burial sites. Her article gives a legal overview in the Canadian context speaking about many sites which have been destroyed due to archaeology and development. This article was written for the Scow Institute: The Scow Institute is a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing public misconceptions about issues relating to Aboriginal people and Aboriginal rights. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.scowinstitute.ca.

ARTICLE EXCERPTS:

“For several centuries, Western scientists have disinterred Aboriginal human remains and cultural items for collection and study. Often, the everyday and sacred objects found in burial grounds have been retained in private collections and museums rather than being returned to or re-buried in their community of origin. Under current federal legislation, unless those holding such items agree to return them voluntarily, little can be done.” (1)

“To Aboriginal peoples, burial grounds are not archaeological sites, and human bones are neither artifacts to be displayed in museums, nor scientific resources to be mined; the remains of ancient ancestors are to be accorded proper respect. For many Aboriginal cultures, the belief that a spiritual ‘essence’ remains bound to the body after death means that remains should never be disturbed. The Anishnabe of south-western Ontario traditionally believed that humans consisted of three parts – a corporeal body that decayed and disappeared after death, a soul that traveled to the land of the souls, and a shadow spirit that roamed around the earth but generally remained with the grave. According to these beliefs, a disturbance of the grave disturbs the shadow spirit.” (3)

“In Ontario, both the Cemeteries Act and the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act require that once an ‘unapproved Aboriginal cemetery’ is discovered, negotiations must take place resulting in a site disposition agreement.27 Section 68 of the Ontario Cemeteries Act prohibits the disturbance of a ‘burial site or artifacts associated with the human remains’ except on the instruction of the coroner or under one of these agreements.” (6)

“Litigation to prevent development has generally been unsuccessful. For some Aboriginal peoples, their inability to protect burial sites has resulted in blockades and occupations, even violence. As the Royal Commission has pointed out, Aboriginal groups often have little influence in deciding priorities for development or preservation. As the commission concluded, ‘[a]ll too often, Aboriginal peoples’ desire or need for access to traditional sites for traditional activities has led to conflict with officials’.41 A new ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada calls on provincial governments as well as the federal government to consult with Aboriginal peoples and to accommodate their rights. The impact of this direction from the Supreme Court on Aboriginal burial grounds is still not known.” (10)

“An Onkwehonwe in Kanada; Listen, all of you” Toronto is Tkaronto – it’s a Mohawk word.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Listen, All of You

Sewatahon’satat.
That’s how we always start a story. Tonight I want to tell you my story, my deep dark confession about being Kanien’kehakeh in 2011. About living here in Tkaronto, this place you call Toronto.
This word means, “There are trees standing in the water.” Our elders argue about what the actual translation is, but I like this particular version.  The Haudenosaunee, or as you name us, the Iroquois, had moved south of Lake Ontario to consolidate our considerable power in the wake of the Beaver Wars. When we would return to Tkaronto in our war canoes, the giant elm trees that grew to the edge of the lake would mirror themselves in the water and you could see their reflection for miles out. This image manifests even now. When you cross the waters of Skanadariio, the Handsome Lake, you can see the towers of the city shimmering in the water.
People think this is Mississauga territory. The joke’s kind of on you. The Mississauga were here as our tenants. You paid them all that money for hanging out here while we were fighting the Americans for the British in their revolution. We could have beat them too, but for the British deciding to cut and run. And then what would the history of this country and this continent be?
This city is on Haudenosaunee land. The remains of our villages slumber beneath the streets of this city. To this day when a new subdivision is built or a street is dug up, shards of our pottery and our particular arrowheads keep surfacing. It is a reminder that this place is where we used to walk, where we sang and held our ceremonies and dreamed our waking reality into life, in the process called Ondinnonk.  When this city dreams, it dreams in Mohawk. Even when it names itself – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – all of these are Mohawk words. You speak Mohawk whenever you name this place as your home. You speak it and you don’t even know that you do.
Sewatahon’satat . Listen, all of you.
I want to tell you my story. I moved here to Toronto in 1981 when I was 17 years old, almost 18, to go to York University. When I first started there at the school I spent nearly three months pretending I wasn’t even an indigenous girl, trying to erase my own identity. I pretended to be just a normal white girl from somewhere south of Hamilton. I got away with it, too. It’s not that I was embarrassed by who I am, I just didn’t want to have to explain over and over again, to tell the history that I know that is so woefully untold by your education system and left out of your colonial history. I didn’t want to face the questions. I was fearful of being perceived as different. I knew instinctively that I could reinvent myself, and I didn’t want anyone trying to define me. I needed to define myself first.
One of the many things that people don’t know about the Iroquois is this; our people have long been a cultural melting pot. We are not merely a nation of people bound by blood – we are a political, cultural and spiritual entity. There are six Nations in the Iroquois Confederacy – the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca, and the Tuscarora. Over time we had absorbed other tribes that had populated this area, people like the Petun, the Erie, the Tobacco, the Susquehennock, the Wendat, the Abenaki.
You called us “the Romans of the New World”, but we call ourselves the Children of Sky Woman, the original inhabitants of Turtle Island.  The Mother of us all fell from the Sky and landed on a Turtle’s back and give birth to us and every living thing here. We buried our hatchets at the roots of the Great Tree of Peace and promised to join a confederacy that gave us a constitution, the Gayanashagowah, the Great Law. This is not just a story. This is fact.We were bound together by the powerful and spiritual voice of the Peacemaker, and his faithful friend and companion, Hiawatha. The story of how this came to be is beautiful and powerful, and so amazing. It is the story of how a people overcame the deep terrible sadness of the grief and pain of the Mourning Wars. For generations we had fought each other in bitter, unending war, killing women and children in an endless cycle of vengeance. The Peacemaker gave us the Condolence Rite which stopped our tears and cleared our grief, and with this, we became whole again.
And none of you know it.
The founding fathers of the League of the Iroquois lived by three principles: first, the peace within individuals and between groups that comes from a healthy body and a sane mind; secondly, justice that comes from correct actions, thought, and speech. And lastly, the spiritual power that comes from physical strength and civil authority (meaning the power of the chiefs to make the decisions and the authority of the women who appoint the chiefs). Peace. Power. And Righteousness. These were the overriding principles that governed our nations and our Confederacy.
My people have always been interested in power. We even have a word for it – orenda, or the “soul of all things” – which I am given to understand is kind of a bad translation, as this is one of those purely Haudenosaunee concepts that really doesn’t have an equivalent in English. It is the philosophy that every human being is invested with his or her own power, a life-force that is equal parts aura, destiny, force of will, strength of character, and personal charisma. Men and women equally are expected to develop their personal orenda, to follow its pathways and exercise their abilities in the pursuit of peace, power, and righteousness – and ultimately for the benefit of the entire nation. There is also the expectation that a healthy orenda leads to balance and equanimity among the people.
We Iroquois replaced our numbers with adoption and the voluntary membership of several other nations. There is a clause of the Gayanashagowah that states, “If anyone comes to sit beneath the House of the Long Leaves and swear his or her fealty to the Great Law shall be admitted.”  If you were to run DNA tests on us we would be an amalgamation of many different bloodlines. Because of this, we Iroquois incorporate so many different people into our cultural and political entity we look like any number of those who were our ancestors. Some of us even look white.And though I can count an unbroken line of Mohawk women back to the pre-Contact shadows of the Mohawk Valley, our ancestral homeland, I don’t look like what you think an indigenous person should look like.
Thus can I get away with denying what I am.
While I was at university, I nominally studied English and political science. How is that for embracing a colonized course of study? But while I was there I had my own personal rock and roll rebellion. I embraced punk rock, with its emphasis on individuality in a community, in the us against them, in the wild thrashing guitars and the smokey clubs at night. I hung out in Kensington Market. I danced in clubs along Queen Street West. I ate Cambodian and Thai and Mexican food in the Annex. I rode my bike through the city and pretended to be invisible, just another girl on the verge of being a woman, clinging to an extended adolescence and walking the bleeding edge of alternative cool. My identity was hidden. I was only “out” as an Iroquois, as a Mohawk, to my closest confidantes. I was too cool for all those questions of identity.
Sewatahon’satat . Listen, all of you.
But this denial, this turning away, was not sustainable for me. In due course I became a mother and then a wife. I had two beautiful children and this awoke in me my sense of myself as an indigenous woman, of this place, and this time. In them I ingrained my heritage and my culture. How could I not? This line cannot be broken. I am a Kanien’kehakeh, born of a long line of Mohawk women, all of us imbuing our children with the sense of who we are. It had to come out.We are not a passive people. We are warriors, men and women alike. We resist. We made treaties and agreements with the colonizers, agreements that predate this nation that calls itself Canada.  We demand that our agreements be respected. We demand that our place on Turtle Island be left to us, for us to administer in our own way and as faithful to our traditions as we can be. We demand to be the People Building a Longhouse together, to be Haudenosaunee.
These days when I meet people I am very forward about who and what I am. I refuse to minimize myself any longer, to deny what I am. I was doing what the colonizer wanted, to make me ashamed of my bloodline, of my heritage, of my culture.I will not do this any longer. I will decolonize myself. I will rip out by the roots those ideas that are not mine, those ideas put there by a culture that wants to erase mine, to erase our memory and our claim as the true Keepers of the Land. Your culture would crush mine. We resist. Your culture would erase our memory from the very stones of this place. These stones remember and lift up our artifacts to remind you. Your culture tells itself that it has the right to place limits on our numbers, on how we govern ourselves, tries to tell us we are as Canadian as you are are. We know that is not true. We are the Haudenosaunee, the onkwehonwe, the real people. We are the People Building a Longhouse Together and our memory of this place, of this city that you call Toronto is older and longer and still remains ours.
There are only eighty thousand of us in the entire world. But the thing to remember is this; fifty percent of our current population is under the age of 25, and our numbers are resurging. And all of us, every single one of us, know more about you than you do about us. Every one of our territories lives in resistance and demands our rights under those agreements that we made in good faith with your colonial ancestors and with you.
Sewatahon’satat. Listen, all of you.
This electric city, so infused with its global yearnings of cosmopolitan splendour, its busyness, its competitiveness, its sky-high real estate prices, its glass towers, its modern rhythms and its ancient bones, this place sings. And the song it sings to itself beneath the humming of the subway and the honking of the cars isn’t a English folksong, or a French courier song, or an Italian or Greek or Chinese song, or the songs of all the people who have made this place its home…The song this city sings is a Haudenosaunee one. This song is remembered in the very granite that binds this city to the back of Anowara, the Turtle. It’s sung to the beat of a water drum and a deer horn rattle. It is the song that my people dance in pow-wows to.
I will sing it for you now. It’s called the Smoke Dance.
Sewatahon’satat. Listen, all of you.                                                                       
Smoke Dance Links:

No-hawk occupation of Toronto

The No-hawk Occupation of Occupy Toronto

The No-hawk Occupation of Occupy Toronto

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author: Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right

Two Aboriginal men and one Scottish trouble-maker claiming to be Mohawk warriors really did it this time. Jayson Fleury, a Saulteaux-Cree from the O’Chiese reserve in Alberta who lived most of his life in Vancouver, told news reporters on the first day of Occupy Toronto that he was a “Mohawk from Alberta.” He claimed to be a “Mohawk warrior” and that as an Aboriginal he/his group did not need a fire permit from the City of Toronto for starting an open flame fire in St. James Park in the Occupy Toronto camp. Fleury said that he and his fellow “warriors”, Rick MacRae and John Fox were “planning to have a sacred fire, to keep everybody’s hearts warm.” Several anonymous donors already dropped off plenty of firewood. The gesture sounds nice on the surface and one can be easily swayed by Fleury’s good looks and magnetic charm, but there are several problems here.

Even though a small fortune for a permit and a myriad of bureaucratic forms are required by the city for all Aboriginals wishing to have a small sacred fire as a vital part of their ceremonies at their sacred sites, many which are located in Toronto’s High Park, have had to abide by these public park bylaws or else their sacred fires would be abruptly and unceremonially extinguished. Yet, Jayson Fleury incorrectly told news reporters that “Aboriginals don’t need permits for their sacred fires.”

According to a Facebook IM chat from Krystalline Kraus, the Aboriginal liaison facilitator for Occupy Toronto, Jayson Fleury lied to her by promising her he would not light any sacred fire without a legitimate Mohawk elder being present in keeping with territorial protocols and custom. But when Kraus had to leave the camp for a doctor appointment, Fleury lit the fire anyway — inside his tent/tarp structure, less than 6 feet away from bales of straw and other flammables. This was after he accepted an offering of tobacco from Kraus to honor her request that he not light the fire.

In most Aboriginal communities across North America, tobacco is regarded as a sacred medicine offering and if the recipient cannot grant what the giver of the tobacco is asking, they must refuse to accept the tobacco. Since Jayson accepted Krystalline’s offering of tobacco, he was obligated to grant her request by holding off on lighting any sacred fire. But this is not the only protocol that Jayson Fleury violated.

As a Saulteaux-Cree, he lied to reporters and everyone else at Occupy Toronto in claiming to be a “Mohawk from Alberta” and saying that he was a “Mohawk warrior” when he is neither. This sort of thing has caused residual problems for the real Mohawks and the rest of the Iroquois Confederacy nations as well. Jayson Fleury’s misrepresentation of himself splashed across the major news media outlets in Canada and the US — as did his claim that Aboriginals don’t need permits for sacred fires in public parks. Apparently, the City of Toronto does not enforce its own laws uniformly as other Aboriginal groups have had their sacred fires put out by the police and fire department if they could not produce proof of the requisite permit.

If Aboriginals don’t need a fire permit, then the City of Toronto owes several Aboriginal groups some huge refunds for all the permit fees over the years that they had to fork over for their religious ceremonies at their sacred sites and burial mounds in High Park for a tiny two-stick fire for offering up tobacco as part of their prayers. But the issue of selective enforcement and fire permits is not the only problem here.

Ezra Levant of  Sun Media, the Canadian equivalent of America’s Fox News, fomented public panic and racially motivated hatred when he said that “Mohawk warriors took over Occupy Toronto and Torontonians should brace themselves for “an urban Oka” — referring to the famous dispute between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada which began on July 11, 1990 and lasted until September 26, 1990. At least one person died as a result. The Oka Crisis was the culmination of a dispute when the town of Oka proceeded to expand its municipal golf course onto Mohawk lands, known as “the Pines”, which contain a Mohawk cemetery.

Out of all the First Nations communities, the Mohawks are disproportionately singled out and targeted by police and for negative publicity in the press. Non-Indigenous reporters like Joe Warmington of the Toronto Sun took it at face value when Jayson Fleury, sporting a Mohawk warrior flag, claimed to be a Mohawk warrior from Alberta and that Rick MacRae (who is Scottish) and John Fox (an Ojibwe and head of AIM Ontario) were also Mohawk warriors.

Had Joe Warmington done a cursory 2-second Google search on Jayson Fleury and John Fox, whose AIM flag was present at the camp, Warmington would have seen that Jayson Fleury is a Saulteaux-Cree whose younger sister, Mona Wilson, was the final victim of Port Coquitlam, BC serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton. He would have also seen that John Fox is the outspoken Ojibwe activist dedicated to pursuing justice for the 60’s Scoop survivors and other victims of cultural disruption courtesy of Canada’s Children’s Aid Society. Instead, Joe Warmington ran with the story that all three men were “Mohawk warriors” who took over the Occupy Toronto movement. This has already produced a backlash from many in the non-Native community who are still seething with resentment over the Oka crisis and the most recent incident in Caledonia.

Warmington made inferences to Ipperwash and Caledonia in his October 26th article in the Toronto Sun, and implied that Aboriginals get too many special privileges at the expense of other Canadians — like having an open fire in a public park without a permit, which not only costs a lot of money but is also a real bureaucratic hassle to get. This has raised a lot of resentment from non-Aboriginals who often take out their frustrations on Aboriginal people, escalating racial tensions between communities where the Aboriginal community usually gets the worst of it.

The Toronto Sun article insinuated that Aboriginal culture and spiritual practices and beliefs are all just a ruse to pull one over on the public, saying, “a First Nations sacred fire that no one will have the guts to extinguish” means that the public won’t have access to the park and that the park will be destroyed — and all that will be the fault of the “Mohawk warriors” of course, who “declared St. James Park to be sacred ground” with signage, and that “the next Ipperwash or Caledonia could happen right in downtown Toronto.”

Many readers weighed in with their comments to Warmington’s article online. They called for police repression on Aboriginals, calling them “militants” who think they can do whatever they like and claiming that Aboriginals get everything handed to them on a silver spoon. YouTube posters responding to Ezra Levant’s televised rant oozed with toxic vitriol, calling for “cowboys to saddle up” and “scalp” the Indians. This is the kind of heat and negative public opinion that is coming down on the real Mohawks and by extension, other Iroquoian nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and against all Aboriginals in general — all because of three socially imbecilic miscreants who aren’t Mohawks but who are claiming to be.

As a result, selective enforcement by the police can be counted on to target Iroquois-operated smoke shops while turning a blind eye to renegade unlicensed archeologists who traffic Indigenous cultural property across Canadian borders to various universities and museums, and who submit fraudulent reports to the Ministry of Culture to aid greedy land developers and mining interests in grabbing more Aboriginal lands from all Aboriginal communities for profit-making ventures that have had a deleterious effect on the environment and on the whole of society.

It’s bad enough that the Mohawks get bum-rapped for their own justifiable resistances against land theft and other injustices. They shouldn’t have to suffer more because of No-hawks who misrepresent themselves as Mohawks. So now that every major news media outlet across North America has picked this story up and ran with it, everyone who is not “in the know” regarding Jayson Fleury and Rick MacRae has it all wrong about Aboriginals and Occupy Toronto participants.

The Three Stooges — Aboriginal Style

Rick MacRae, the self-proclaimed “Mohawk elder” is not recognized as a Mohawk under Mohawk tradition and custom. Like Jewish tradition, one’s Mohawkness is determined matrilineally. Rick MacRae’s mother was a Scottish war bride. He made no secret about feeling resentful that he was not recognized as a Mohawk, and had previously told others that he was an Iroquois elder and a “backwards medicine man.” He had been gently corrected several times over the past year or so by elders and Clanmothers in the Iroquois community. But he is stubborn. This is not the first time that MacRae has caused problems for the Haudenosaunee, the Mohawks in particular. Rick MacRae has clashed with other Aboriginal activists because he always wants to be the boss, and life just does not always work out that way.

Nor was this current brouhaha over a sacred fire the first for MacRae. This past May in the High Park peace and restoration camp, he refused to listen to the Haudenosaunee community regarding another sacred fire incident. The peace camp was temporarily set up in High Park at the Snake Mounds — an ancient Iroquoian burial mound — to dismantle illegal BMX dirt jumps and keep vigilance and restore the site until the Parks and Forestry Dept. put up a fence to safeguard the area. Rick MacRae started a sacred fire, but did not follow instructions from Haudenosaunee elders and repeatedly argued with their persons of authority over such matters and they had no choice but to eventually call the cops to escort him out of the peace camp because he was disruptive. They also forbade him from conducting any more sacred fires or ceremonies on Haudenosaunee sacred sites — a directive that Rick MacRae disregarded when he conducted an unauthorized ceremony at Tabor Hill on October 16th, using an expired fire permit from 2010 that had previously been issued to the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society.

Now, MacRae is embroiled in another sacred fire mishap in a tiny park at the Occupy Toronto camp. Since Toronto sits within Haudenosaunee territory, which spans from southern Ontario to upstate New York, most of Pennsylvania, part of the Ohio Valley, and reaching as far south as Mingo County, West Virginia, there are protocols that must be followed regarding sacred fires that are lit by someone claiming to speak for the Iroquois peoples. Some people apparently think that the rules don’t apply to them.

Jayson Fleury comes from a long proud lineage of Saulteaux-Cree medicine people. His mother, Linda Bigjohn, was very well-respected among the Cree, Saulteaux, and Blackfoot as a medicine woman. Jayson inherited strong medicine from her. His Cree medicine was apparently strong enough to charm the pants off the Toronto cops: He convinced them into letting him have a “sacred fire” as a “Mohawk warrior” at the Occupy encampment without a permit — even though there are bales of straw all around and huddles of tents and blankets in close proximity to one another, which makes St. James Park a big tinderbox that could easily ignite, resulting in utter catastrophe. If such a disaster happens, it will probably be unjustly blamed on the real Mohawks because Jayson Fleury told news reporters that he was a “Mohawk from Alberta” and a “Mohawk warrior” even though he is neither. He’s a Saulteaux-Cree storyteller. And this time, he told one hell of a whopper.

But Jayson Fleury has a history of telling whoppers. After his younger sister, Mona Wilson, was found in pieces at serial killer Robert “Willie” Pickton’s pig farm, many said he used the tragedy as a platform to get money and sympathy and sucker many unsuspecting women into financing his cross-continent partying lifestyle. It was through his prominence in the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women campaign that he reportedly conned women into driving him across North America, only to leave them high and dry after bleeding them for their last nickel.

One woman whom he conned into opening her home to him was Jennifer Tourand, a Red River Valley Métis living in London, Ontario who had just completed a grueling bout of chemo treatment for ovarian cancer. He not only took over her house while he was there, he even forced the dying woman to give him her bed while she was made to sleep on an uncomfortable couch. When he had long over-stayed his welcome, the only way she was able to finally get rid of him was to pay for a first class Amtrak ticket for him to get back to Vancouver. Jennifer Tourand is now at death’s door. She says could desperately use the $2,000 that Jayson mooched off of her in food and party money, and the first class train ticket. Tourand now struggles to afford transportation from London to Toronto for the last cancer treatment option available to her since the cancer has returned. It is doubtful that Jayson Fleury will repay her for everything she’s out, now that she really needs it. It’s doubtful that he even cares.

He certainly didn’t care about an utterly impoverished long-term unemployed 43 year-old woman with glaucoma from the states with no income whatsoever and no access to medical care whom he took to the cleaners for the only money she had left when he abducted her under false promises of friendship and love, only to leave her stranded and abandoned in the middle of downtown Toronto with no money, no gas, no food, no way to get home, and no way to financially recoup. Being without remorse for the irreparable harm inflicted on others is the hallmark of a sociopath. So is being a habitual liar. And this time, the lie was that he’s a “Mohawk warrior.”

Since most of the Occupy Toronto participants are middle class white college kids and well-heeled union leaders, they don’t know who’s who in the Aboriginal community. Most of them don’t even know how it is to live as a marginalized poor white person from the dominant society, let alone grasp what it means to be a marginalized Aboriginal person. And they don’t know about all the different protocols that can be involved in situations like this. It’s pretty easy to pull the wool over their eyes. These well-meaning middle class liberal activists wanted the Aboriginal community to feel welcome and included as part of a social justice movement. Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It looks like Jayson Fleury and Rick MacRae used the well-meaning and very welcoming Occupy Toronto facilitators for their own agenda under the guise of Aboriginal rights. John Fox, the leader of AIM Ontario who is looked upon as the leader for their group, never denied that their claim of being Mohawk warriors, even though he knows better because he knows Jayson and Rick. Fox also abused the goodwill of Occupy Toronto participants when he grew belligerent on the first day because he felt they had slighted him by cutting him off when he ran over the microphone time limit per speaker that event organizers had already predetermined. He lambasted the group for his perceived disrespect on their part, threatening to ban them from Native lands. “When you march, you’re gonna run into me!” Fox screamed at Occupy Toronto organizers. Being an Ojibwe, Fox had no right to threaten to ban the others from Haudenosaunee territory because under the protocols, this would be up to the Haudenosaunee community to do. But the non-Native Occupy activists don’t know this. And they genuinely did not want to offend the Indians. They wanted them to be present and have a voice just like everybody else.

Unfortunately, the antics of the two self-proclaimed Mohawks and AIM Ontario’s John Fox made front page news all across Canada and the US. As a result, supporters of neo-Nazi Gary McHale came out of the woodwork in droves, fueling the fire of racism and rekindling the dying embers of Caledonia, Oka and Ipperwash.

Bonfire of occupying vanities for city

Ominous occupation- Rant by Ezra Levant

Arrival of Mohawks takes Occupy up a notch

Occupy Toronto – Day One – by Lawrence McCurry

What’s going on in the park? by – Lawrence McCurry

Solidarity For The Few

The Occupy Movement and Other Views- Jacqueline S.Homan

A Haudenosaunee Observation of Occupy Wall Street- By Ray Cook

On state violence, white male privilege and ‘Occupy’- by Nancy A. Heitzeg

OCCUPY WALL STREET: The Game of Colonialism and further nationalism to be decolonized from the “Left”- by Jessica Yee

Unity With Whom in the 99%?- by Jacqueline S. Homan

Request to Stop BMX/Skills Park in High Park by THPS, FOSM and Six Nations Grandmothers

Please sign the petition to help stop the proposed BMX Park in High Park.

No BMX Park in High Park Petition

Nya:wen Sge:no;

At the meeting tonight I believe we made our position quite clear, that a BMX/Skills Park is not sanctioned by the Six Nations Confederacy in High Park. a Faithkeeper and a Clanmother from Six Nations was present to also ask that ” there be no BMX Park in High Park.” Those words should have been respected and instead an apology made to our people for making them feel that they or their ancestors are not important.  I saw how the balance was tipped by a few towards youths and adults who are undeserving of a place in High Park as this would be a reward for the many years of bad and destructive behavior as well as deliberately breaking the law to get what they want.

I also don’t believe that the other options outside of the park were really seriously looked at, as it was also told tonight that a man who lives in the Humber Bay area, which is not even a 10 minute ride from High Park, has tried to get a BMX Park there for years. Since this man is willing to work with the city on developing the area near the Humber Bay as a site, then we strongly suggest that you pursue that option, because we will do everything possible to stop a BMX Park being put within High Park. It is not within the High Park Management Plan to include such destructive activities to the environment as well as our many sacred sites in which there are 57 left. And none of them will we compromise for the use of a bmx park or any other such activity that is destructive as BMX/skills parks are. We also don’t buy the excuses that the Kids would not cross the Lakeshore if the park was located there. As I have seen many so called kids and adults crossing the Lakeshore with their bikes, to use the bike trail that leads from Toronto to Niagara on The Lake and eastward to the Scarborough Bluffs. If the kids need to exercise so greatly then they can use the Lakeshore trail to ride their bikes on and they would get plenty of exercise. So crossing the Lakeshore and not having a place where they can exercise are not viable excuses.

And again the statement that was made by Councillor Sarah Doucette ” That Laurie Waters mentioned in the last meeting she attended, that she had no problem with the BMX Park being placed in the parking lot in the South East Corner of the park, as there is nothing sacred about a parking a lot”. Unfortunately for Councillor Doucette, no such statement was ever made by Laurie Waters at any meeting. The meeting that Doucette was referring to was the May meeting of former HPACC, and there was no mention of a BMX Park in the parking lot or any other meeting with the HPACC until tonight. Again Councillor Doucette will have to face up to what she said in front of Laurie in the future, and Doucette should not have made statements that Laurie did not say when she was not there to defend herself.

In a meeting that Laurie and I had with Div 11 at the end of May, we were made aware of the city wanting to put a BMX Park in the parking lot. We BOTH said “no” to the police and wanted them to take our alternative idea back of converting the parkette at Keele and Glenlake into a BMX Park to the city. Tonight people at the meeting claimed that park is over used by the neighbourhood kids. I used to live around that area a number of years ago, and had never seen that park being over used as people claim.

Another fallacy about the parking lot is that it isn’t used. I asked Scott Laver if he had been to that end of the park on the Weekend to see how “underused” the parking lot is. He said he had not been there at all on the weekends during the summer. The parking lot is used so much that there is not enough parking for those who want to use the south end of the park, and many times people have to park illegally in order to park at all.

It has also been our experience that the BMXERS will continue to use areas illegally no matter what is done to prevent it. As even since the fence has gone up and signs up, they still continue to jump the fence and bike where they are not supposed to. So mounding up the earth around a parking lot or planting bushes isn’t going to keep them “contained” as it has not kept them contained when they have been using other areas throughout the park illegally.

The best way to deal with this whole issue, is to provide them a place outside of High Park, that is not going to interfere with any environmental concerns or disrespect any of our sacred sites. That would satisfy the majority of the park users which from my many years of experience in High Park, are not the BMXERS or MTB community. And if there is a concern of them destroying other areas of the park because they don’t get their way, then the by-laws need to be enforced to put an end to this.

Another very important issue is the fact that when High Park was bequeathed to the City by John Howard is that the Six Nations would continue their custodial care and responsibility over the sacred sites in High Park. That is conditional and means that Six Nations Confederacy are the primary stakeholders of High Park. And when they say no to a BMX Park in High Park, that needs to be respected by all. Otherwise the experience of the Snake Mound will repeat itself and get even uglier this time. We will be taking further action to stop this BMX Park in High Park as such an activity does not belong in High Park. Please stop this now , take this BMX Park outside of High Park now and respect the words of our Grandmothers.

This is the kind of community that the City of Toronto is catering to: an example who these people really are…

THIS is how the “Indigenous People” who restored the Mounds and removed the Illegal Dirt Jumps in High Park are viewed by the BMX Community:
“high park recently torn down by Native Mohawk “canadian” liars. or pricks as I call them.) but only for a short time”
Sure shows the character of these who want a Skills park in High Park!
May 30, 2011
Full post by “Ghotet”: (pic on link, has 3 piereced lip rings; can’t copy)
hey! so im currently in the city, I have everything from Mississauga’s residential cyclist (mostly road) friendly stuff, to downtown Toronto at my disposal (short of the dirt park in high park recently torn down by Native Mohawk “canadian” liars. or pricks as I call them.) but only for a short time. Im at beginner stage, for sure. Always been a rider, was always intimdated by street and park bmx til recently though. focused on XC and drops for the most part, and as of last fall a bit of flatland.Anyway i’ve always been intrigued by stunts/tricks, the whole works. everything BMX, i loved and decided, finally to pick it up for myself. I’m 20 now and have major balls so im ready to take on the pain, and thus far, me and my bike(s) have both done so.So, im movin back to my home-town area, which has a skate park, city scape, aswell as major offroad sht that I found when i lived there. I’m really trying to find out what type of stunts I can do in any terrain.In this thread id like to kno what kind of stuff I can do on a bmx regardless of where I am. chances are the park will be the last place I hit. I dont like groups of ppl watching me learn. by learn i mean mess up royaly lol.So what can I do between dirt and reg street obstacles to get my techniques and tricks down? thus far, iv had no luck finding a rail (or other grind-able object) thats suitable for a beginner, which may not be the case when i move next month. Grinding has always been a high priority to me cuz it looks fun as hell. any suggestions on regular obstacles that others have found would be awesome. around here i only find rails goin down steep sets of paved steps, which i dont want to attempt yet, and unwaxed paved oversized curbs. wrecked a set of pegs on those.Ill build dirt jumps if need be. should be easy since im moving outside of a small city. but if i have to hit the city, ill do it. All suggestions welcome! (other than quitting)sry this is long, just thought d list off my experiences thus far. :p
(This should be brought into evidence along with the other 3 pages and blogto which shows the kind of people High Park would be dealing with: punks & thugs)
High Park Pink Bike; shows the attitude and who these guys area. (From Sept. 2010)
“Redstone” asks them to not use High Park Illegal jumps, and they threatened him or her.
Then contrast that with this:

HIGH PARK, TORONTO

Home to Endangered Habitats & Remarkable Biodiversity

Welcome to High Park, home to one of North America’s most endangered habitats – a Black Oak Savannah, a remnant of the sand prairie systems that used to cover much of southern Ontario. Majestic black oak trees tower over tallgrass prairie plants like big bluestem, little bluestem, butterfly milkweed and wild lupine.
This park is perfect for adults and children looking for a place to explore nature right in the city. It’s remarkable how many different species of birds, mammals, insects and plants you can discover. Take a walk along the nature trails. Or visit the park’s ponds and creeks and watch quietly for wildlife.
Remember how precious the park’s natural areas are and please treat the park with respect, so many more people can enjoy the wonderful legacy John Howard has passed along to us.
(It’s about PRESERVATION, not DESTRUCTION!)
The site states then links to this:

RESTORATION UPDATE

The City’s Urban Forestry team initiated restoration of a degraded hillside in the south area of High Park in May after a staff assessment concluded that continued use of the site as a BMX skills park was not sustainable. READ MORE
Urban Forestry initiated restoration of a degraded hillside located in the south area of High Park on May 18, 2011.
High Park Restoration Location

erial view of the High Park Oak Woodland Restoration Site

Urban Forestry assessed the site in consultation with Park staff, concluding that continued use of the site as a BMX skills park was not sustainable and that continued recreational use would destroy the remaining trees on the site and lead to continued soil erosion. A decision was made to restore the site to a forested condition by relocating soils on site, enhancing vegetation cover and eliminating cycling use.

The restoration area on the hillside is part of a small oak deciduous forest, with remnant populations of oak, black cherry, maple leaf viburnum, witch hazel, choke cherry, dogwoods and bush honeysuckle as well as trilliums, upland bent grass, poison ivy, false solomon’s seal and other wildflowers.

As a result of continued recreational use, the site has experienced many years of extreme soil movement.  Some areas of excavation exposed tree roots and created unnatural depressions, while in other areas high mounds of soil were piled up against trees. Bike jumps had been constructed over top of downed woody material like stumps and limbs, as well as on soil mounds. Urban Forestry staff and community volunteers redistributed soil to fill areas of excavation and removed unnatural mounds.

Plug stock from the High Park native plant nursery were planted in May and about 500 shrubs purchased from a local grower and a mix of herbaceous plants were planted in the second week of June. Remaining unprotected soil was seeded with buckwheat as an annual cover crop to bind the soil. Additional planting is proposed to be completed in future years when stock is available from the High Park native plant nursery. Oaks will be allowed to naturally regenerate.

The first phase of the restoration project is now complete, with soil relocation and plantings finished as shown in one of the areas in the pictures below. The area is closed to public use to allow for the plantings to establish.

Before soil and planting

After soil and planting

High Park - Before Soil and Planting
High Park - After Soil and Planting
Restoration Planting (photo taken June 2011)
High Park - Restoration Planting - Photo taken June  2011

In 2008, the City was advised that the site was believed to be an aboriginal burial mound.   The City contracted a licensed archaeologist to conduct an archaeological assessment in accordance with the Ministry of Culture’s standards and guidelines. The assessments, completed in September 2009, determined that there is no evidence of archaeological materials. In May 2010, the province accepted the conclusions of the assessments. Based on information provided from these assessment, the City does not recognize the land as a burial ground. The group claiming the site to be culturally significant have been invited to participate in the restoration process.

Spring 2011 – Planting List:

  • Shrubs:
    Alternate leafed dogwood
    Round leafed dogwood
    Bush honeysuckle
    Common chokecherry
    Smooth Rose
    Purple flower raspberry
    Beaked hazel
    Maple leaf viburnum
  • Herbaceous:
    Pennsylvania  Sedge
    Upland Bent Grass
    Buckwheat

Related Information

Downloads

Niawen skenon! Oneh!

In peace,

Rastia’ta’non:ha

Request to Stop BMX Skills Park
Request to Stop BMX Skills Park

Stepping Into the Twilight Zone of Cultural Racism and the Oppression of Unearned Privilege

By Jacqueline S. Homan, author: Classism For Dimwits and Divine Right

Twilight Zone  ~ Golden Earring

“Help, I’m steppin’ into the Twilight Zone
Place is a madhouse
Feels like being cloned
My beacons been moved
Under moon and star
Where am I to go Now that I’ve gone too far
Soon you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone”

On Wednesday September 28th 2011, I entered the Twilight Zone. The High Park Resources Group which oversees the activities of Toronto’s High Park met to discuss Scott Laver’s agenda for a proposed BMX “skills building” park in High Park on the Owl Mound and the parking lot contiguous to the Owl Mound and the Snake Mound. Both of these mounds are of cultural significance to the Native community. The meeting was chaired by Jorge Ture, the supervisor of High Park.

Scott Laver, a Parks Department employee and liaison for the BMX community, came to the meeting — not to present a polite request for a BMX park in High Park, but to ram this plan down the Native community’s throats with no regard whatsoever for the Indigenous people’s threatened and endangered culture. Laver said that the kids involved with BMX “skill building” will continue their recreation on the Native mound sites and wooded areas of High Park anyway — implying that city might as well accommodate them by sacrificing a Native sacred site so the precious darlings don’t mess up the rest of the park or interfere with other people’s peaceful enjoyment of the park.

Laver apparently had already decided to foist this upon the public without any intention of seriously considering alternative sites, three of which were suggested by Graham Seaman, Vice President of the Toronto Off Road Bicyclists Association (TORBA):

Option 1 – Open grassy area in Kings Mill Park
Option 2 – Open grassy area in Humber Marshes Park
Option 3 – Open grassy area in South Humber Park

Laver insisted that High Park’s current permissible uses be changed to allow for a BMX park to be built, saying, “Emerging demands of BMXing is incompatible with High Park’s current uses.”

He said that the parking lot next to the Owl Mound and Snake Mound “had been identified to accommodate a professionally designed skills park facility” that would offer technically challenging riding in a controlled environment. He also said that the City of Toronto’s Parks Department had hired a BMX park designer, Jay Hoots from BC, for the project.

Had the city checked out Jay Hoots, they would know that Hoots got his panties in a wad over losing the contract to build the Kitchener BMX park because he overcharged and then allegedly harassed the actual builder for out-bidding him. Jay Hoots will cost Torontonians more money — twice as much — for the same type of park that could be designed and built by locals with equipment and experience. Why aren’t the taxpayers of Toronto getting a say in whether or not a local contractor hiring local labor is used to plan and build the park?

Rastia’ta’non:ha, Director of the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society (THPS), previously said “no” to this same proposal given by the Parks Department back in May and that this position remains unchanged. Laver argued that “the kids have nowhere else to go.”

Adrian Rhodes challenged that claim, pointing out that there were other more suitable areas that many BMXers also were agreeable to, including a small parkette just north of High Park and that there already were three existing BMX facilities, including the Wallace & Emerson BMX park.

Additionally there was an old unused hockey rink that could be converted for BMXing. But Laver said the existing places were unsuitable, that the kids had set fire to the ramps at Wallace & Emerson rendering it unusable, and that the hockey rink was a no-go because the kids want a BMX park in a natural terrain.

When it was suggested that the BMX park could be built in the Humber Bay area, which is a natural environment, Laver rejected that idea as well, saying “If we build it there, they won’t come. It has to be in High Park” — which implies threats of mayhem from the tantrum-throwing BMX community who bully others in order to get their way. Catherine Tammaro of Huron-Wendat descent and THPS Board member responded by asking why children and adults who had virtually destroyed a large area of forested oak savannah in the park and a sacred space, should be placated as a preventive to further illegal and destructive behavior on their part, in fact seemingly rewarding them for such behavior. She also suggested that all mounds in the park be preserved and protected which would bring admiration from the global community, rather than serving the wants of a very small, ill-behaved group.

Posts from the BMX community at Dropmachine.com forums suggest that BMXers are not the sort of people who believe the law applies to them. One of the posts states that “No one but the riders, ourselves, can determine what will make the park fun and desirable. Not the city.” These aren’t exactly the types who are willing to observe any ordinances and stay in their areas allowed by the city, regardless of what is built for them or where.

If these kids and young adult BMXers have such little appreciation for one of the sites they already had that they set on fire, why should these punks and thugs be rewarded for arson and vandalism by getting another one built for them on taxpayer money just so they can eventually destroy that one too? That money would be better spent on the poorest of the poor who have nothing, to give them a chance for something resembling a nice life.

Dirt jumps or BMX style tracks take up a LOT of room, disturb the landscape, and are not aesthetic. They also require regular maintenance — which costs money. Who will be forced to pay for that? Dirt jumps and pump tracks are pretty much dedicated to BMX. The price of a BMX bike ranges from $350 and go as high as $1,500. A used 2007 Gary Fisher Mullet BMX bike in good condition needing only the rear brakes fixed is going for $380 or best offer. So that leaves out poor kids who are lucky to be able to afford a $100 bike from Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire.

In the states, where tens of millions of poor people struggle just to stay alive, suffering without healthcare or any economic safety net, the price tag for one BMX bike that will only end up getting wrapped around a tree or dashed to bits on rocks could easily keep a family mired in poverty with no hope and no end in sight from freezing to death this winter by paying for utilities, firewood, or biomass pellets.

If a bunch of spoiled rich kids can afford the high-priced ticket of a BMX bike for their aggressive and dangerous sport, then they can afford to pay the costs of buying and building their own BMX facility without looking to Toronto taxpayers to foot the bill for this high-risk activity that is classist at its core since poor youth can’t afford to even get into the game. Any park subsidized by the public should not exclude society’s underprivileged; it should be accessible to all. Poor kids from Toronto at least could enjoy the free zoo at High Park, which the city is shutting down because it “can’t afford it.”

Is it fair that, owing to budget cuts and limited funds, one of the only recreational facilities that poor kids have should be shut down while monies from the public get diverted to pay for the designing and building of a BMX park that caters only to society’s more privileged teens and adults?

This is exclusionary and smacks of elitism and classism against Toronto’s poor youth. That issue alone outweighs any perceived advantage to a publicly funded BMX park that only affluent kids will benefit from. The adage of “live simply so that others can simply live” is apparently lost on the selfish BMXers, and on the city officials supporting them — due in no small measure to the dynamics of unearned social class privilege (who their affluent parents rub elbows with).

It’s also ironic that having a natural terrain BMX park is a non-negotiable “must have” when Scott Laver’s proposal was to put it in the tiny parking lot in High Park’s south east corner — especially when all of the other areas suggested were much bigger than a parking lot barely big enough to turn a car around in; a parking lot that many park-goers use — including members of various Native communities when they drive into Toronto for their ceremonies at the sacred sites.

Passing around a color-printed handout about Hoots Inc., a company located in BC, Laver said, “They’ve compromised on the activity side, and we’ve compromised on the nature side.” Rejecting all of the very reasonable suggestions for alternative sites because the BMXers must have High Park is no compromise by any definition. Laver’s demands that the Native community “be fair” about this was a slap in the face.

“Fair” means that everyone gets what he or she needs. The BMXers already have three existing places to go, plus many suggestions for additional alternative sites. But the Native communities, the Haudenosaunee in particular in this case, are not getting what they need. They cannot simply move their 3,000 year-old burial mounds and sacred sites — and they should not have to!

The majority of their burial mounds and sacred sites were utterly destroyed and desecrated when High Park was built up over the past 150 years — especially when Bloor Street was constructed and an untold number of ancient Native skeletal remains were unearthed. None of these remains and funerary artifacts were ever repatriated to the Native community. No one seems to know what happened to them. The cultural disruption caused by colonization followed by brutal assimilation policies have nearly wiped out all vestiges of Aboriginal people’s cultures. The continuity of a threatened population’s culture is a need; destroying yet another Native sacred site for someone else’s fun is not. The architects of the UN Declaration would agree.

All of this seemed to fall on deaf ears. Councillor Sarah Doucette, who supports Laver’s plan for the BMX park in High Park, said “Mothers don’t want their young children to have to cross Lakeshore Boulevard” in response to another suggested BMX site nearby outside of High Park.

But BMXing is a sport not engaged in by little kids. It’s a high risk activity enjoyed by teens and young adults up through their 30’s — hardly a demographic that wouldn’t be able to cross a busy street without their mommies at one of the designated cross-walks. BMXing has an injury rate that is high enough to result in being surcharged for health and life insurance, if not declined. BMXing is a very dangerous, high risk sport. Crossing Lakeshore Boulevard is not. People of all ages cross Lakeshore Boulevard all the time to catch the streetcar.

Matti Lehikoinen, a pro Downhill Mountain Biker and BMXer from Finland, suffered serious injuries more than once. In 2008, he fractured both wrists while BMXing, needing extensive reconstructive surgery because the fractures were so bad. 12 screws, 3 metal plates and 3 pins later, Matti was back on the BMX trail. He was injured again while racing at the Nordic Downhill Championships in Kungsberget-Sweden over the September 24th and 25th 2011 weekend. He was hospitalized and had to have brain scans. His partner Anna said, “Matti’s jaw, cheekbone, teeth, and nose are pretty badly damaged, and he will have surgery on Wednesday.”

Native rights to cultural preservation are only one of the major issues; liability issues for injuries and risks to public safety are another — passersby can be injured by BMXers. Is Toronto willing to cut off its nose to spite its face just to shove the Native community aside?

Cheryl Hart, who was also present at the meeting, sits on the High Park Resource Group’s board representing the Colburn Lodge which is concerned with maintaining High Park’s Anglo history, particularly the memory of John Howard — the wealthy British official who bought the land and established the park in the early 1800’s with the proviso that the Iroquois community remain stewards of the park among many other conditions.

In response to concerns about the destruction to the Native community’s long, rich history in the area and the loss of sacred sites, Cheryl Hart said, “there’s no historical value to the land.” Apparently, “historical preservation” doesn’t count when it is Aboriginal people’s history, traditions, and culture.

Councillor Doucette added that at a previous meeting, Laurie Waters, a Cree and board member of the THPS, said there would be no problem with putting a BMX park where Laver wants to put it because “there’s nothing sacred about a parking lot.” Yet, Laurie Waters states that she never said this. High Park is a very special place to Laurie as an Indigenous person who comes to the burial mounds for ceremonies honoring the ancestors.

BMXers won’t be content to remain within the area Scott Laver proposes; not with the tempting wooded and hilly terrain of the Owl Mound and Snake Mound right there. But that didn’t seem to concern Jorge Ture, who said that “there are procedures for getting Native burial grounds archeologically designated.”

But Toronto has a track record of using unlicensed archeologist Ron Williamson — an Indiana Jones wannabe who doesn’t have any love for Native people and who has engaged in shady practices. Toronto has a very ugly long-standing history of wiping out all traces of Aboriginal history and burying any evidence that it ever existed. There is plenty of archived information that proves a strong indigenous history of a vibrant and rich culture. Archived old newspaper articles cite the burial mounds in High Park and an ancient Indian tombstone — a petroglyph rock — which mysteriously disappeared during the late 1800’s when Bloor Street was put in.  It seems that Toronto’s non-Native city leadership is behind burying Native history, including the burial mounds, deliberately.

The attitudes displayed by Jorge Ture, Scott Laver, Sarah Doucette, and Cheryl Hart — all of whom talked dismissively of Aboriginal history — reveal an undercurrent of prejudice thinly masked beneath a veneer of polite civility. They acted like Donna Powless, Josephine Sandy, Catherine Tammaro, and Rastia’ta’non:ha and his helper, Sean (a shy Métis kid) weren’t even there. This shows just how bigoted Toronto’s city officials and upper-middle class civic leaders are against the Aboriginal community.

After the meeting ended, Scott Laver was asked why he felt no shame for what he was demanding of the Native community and told to look three of them in the eye and explain to them why he felt no shame, he refused to answer. He did not look at the Faithkeeper. He did not look at the Clanmother. He did not look at Rastia’ta’non:ha who is one of Chief Arnie General’s helpers. He did not see these three very real human beings standing right there in front of him.

One can only conclude that comfortably off teens and adults who can afford to spend $350 – $1,500 for a bike that will only get busted up or wrapped around a tree are spoiled, self-important brats with entitlement attitudes who think their “right” to fun supersedes a threatened community’s human rights to culture.

The following Internet forum posts from the BMX crowd say a lot about the sort of group that the City of Toronto is catering to and what these BMX people really are:

“Hey! So I’m currently in the city, I have everything from Mississauga’s residential cyclist (mostly road) friendly stuff, to downtown Toronto at my disposal (short of the dirt park in High Park recently torn down by Native Mohawk “Canadian” liars, or pricks as I call them)…”

The full post by “Ghotet” can be seen at: http://www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/?threadid=118755

And these posts on another BMX forum in response to “Redstone” who asked why the BMXers couldn’t pick a different spot and insisted on High Park on a Native burial mound last year. (One of the posters, “j-teeple” threatened “Redstone”): http://www.pinkbike.com/forum/listcomments/threadid=107390&pagenum=2

“I’d love to see you start moving dirt. I can honestly say you will not get too far into it without something happening. I know a LOT of people who would like to see you become part of the jumps. But I invite you to go ahead and try. Just try. You’ll see what happens…I gave you fair warning.”

Followed by this one from “recklessness”:

“I live in Toronto and would love to set up a meeting to discuss this issue rationally in person. If you want to go ahead and post your full name and address, I would be happy to drive down and mock you in person. I will even bring my shitty car because it will probably get stolen in your hood. Hell, I can even lend you a shovel because you are obviously poor.”

“Recklessness” deserves an A+ in Economics of Racism, Classism and Unearned Privilege 101. Are his parents proud of raising such a self-centered spoiled brat whose carbon footprint is larger than that of 100 poor people combined? How nice that the rest of society gets to put up with him, and all the others like him who have no consideration for anyone else because they think everything is all about them.

And the day after the High Park Resources Group meeting, this comment was posted by “Ajmckerihen” on the Pinkbike forum:

“Hello mountain bikers and BMXers, This is to inform you that the City of Toronto staff have recently closed an informal BMX freestyle  area(skills park) in High Park to restore an ecologically sensitive area. The site has been replanted, fenced off and is currently being monitored for any further cycling activity. A new skills park, offering technically challenging riding in an accessible and controlled environment, will be built on the site of the existing parking lot in the south east corner of High Park. City staff are currently working with accomplished skills park designer, Jay Hoots www.hoots.ca, to develop the new site that will include appropriate off-road cycling features, skills areas and landscape amenities. Please join Jay Hoots and City of Toronto staff on Wednesday, October 19th from 6:00 – 8:30 PM, at the Rousseau Room, Swansea Town Hall, to participate in the design consultation for the new skills park in High Park. Jay wants to hear from you.”

Natural Environment Trails Program

www.toronto.ca/trails

That post says almost verbatim what was written on Scott Laver’s outline that he presented at the High Park group’s meeting on September 28th. Is “Ajmckerihen” Scott Laver? The post’s signature gives a good clue: the Natural Environment Trails Program, which Scott Laver is involved with. Following the link and perusing the site, it is interesting to note that the City of Toronto paid for a study on the feasibility of installing a bio-toilet in the park. (One must be environmentally correct in matters of defecation; but a tree-destroying, soil-eroding upper-middle class white male “sport”— well, that’s a whole other story.) It is also interesting to note the backdoor meeting scheduled for October 19th between these rich kids and the City of Toronto’s staff and policymakers.

Several attendees at the September 28th meeting voiced concerns about the BMX park provoking a conflict with the Native community.

Jerry Hodges told Laver that if he and the BMXers stubbornly go ahead with their BMX park plans it would ignite a very unpleasant confrontation with the Native community that could get very ugly, and nobody wants that.  Kim Jackson of Friends of the Snake Mounds said, “I’m just shocked that there is so much concern for these BMX kids, but there is none at all for the Aboriginal community.”

It is easier to relocate the plans for a BMX park than it is to relocate a 3,000 year-old burial mound. The Native community has, over the past several decades, been forced to compromise far more than anyone else has had to but the BMXers don’t care about that. Maybe the whole BMX issue isn’t really about a sport. If it was about a place for a recreational activity, then Scott Laver would not have summarily rejected all of the reasonable suggestions of alternative sites without fully exploring them. There is only one logical conclusion: This is about a lot of beneficiaries of unearned privilege who want Aboriginal people to fade away into oblivion.

Apparently, Native culture is something they only care about so long as they can exercise total control over it by restricting it to museums. A living, breathing, vibrant Native community freely enjoying their culture and traditions — a thriving people whose human rights are equally valued and respected as everyone else’s — is anathema to many, including the BMXers. They don’t want to deal with Aboriginal people who refuse to be pushed around and relegated to the silent, stoic role of iconic wooden cigar store Indians and mascots consigned to the ash heap of Manifest Destiny.

Stepping Into the Twilight Zone of Cultural Racism and the Oppression of Unearn

Map of Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavonia , Toronto On
Map of Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavonia , Toronto On

Map of Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavonia , Toronto On, location of meeting on Oct.19,2011 6:00 pm-8:30 pm Roseau Room with City and BMXERS.

ed Privilege

Spring Road Parking Lot 1100 am Oct 09, 2011b closeness to Owl Mound
Spring Road Parking Lot 1100 am Oct 09, 2011b closeness to Owl Mound
Spring Road Parking Lot 130 pm full Oct 09, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 130 pm full Oct 09, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 130 pm full Oct 09 b, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 130 pm full Oct 09 b, 2011
Proposed High Park BMX Park sign at South Duck Pond near Spring Rd. Parking Lot. Oct.09, 2011
Proposed High Park BMX Park sign at South Duck Pond near Spring Rd. Parking Lot. Oct.09, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011 b
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011 bProposed High Park BMX Park sign at Grenadier Restaurant Oct.09, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011 a
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011 a
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011
Spring Road Parking Lot 500 pm full Oct 09, 2011