Joe Elkerton of Project417 – First Nations Survivor

My good friend Joe Elkerton was recently interviewed and shared the challanges he faced growing up as a First Nations child in Toronto. A true survivor, Joe works tirelessly out on the streets of Toronto with Project417  to help the homeless, the disenfranchised and the vulnerable, forgotten people trapped in the sex trade. Worth watching – share it widely.

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Homeless Aboriginal Man’s claims of beating at St. Mike’s in Toronto

St. Michael's Hospital torontoFollowing up on the recent Missionlog posting about the death of a homeless man in a Winnipeg hospital after 34 hours in the ER , there were news reports just last week from Toronto. A homeless First Nations person has claimed he was beaten severely by in house security staff at St. Michael’s Hospital (according to cbc.ca).  Officials dismissed the allegations as an isolated incident. But following those reports a nurse has come forward to refute the claims it was an isolated incident – providing details of a similar beating of an aboriginal visitor at the hands of security.  More details of the shocking reports are available online at  –

Aboriginal Man Alleges Beating , Racial Slurs by hospital security guards

Nurse Alleges previous incident of beating by St. Mike’s staff

In other homeless news, a study by a York University graduate student has focused on the glaring difference between government promises of funding for housing and homelessness and the lack of money actually being spent. She estimates homelessness costs Canadians $6 billion dollars each year. The results of her investigation and many other leading sociologists will be presented at the annual National Homelessness Conference this week in Calgary.

‘The federal government is throwing $7 billion at bridges and roadways, and $2 billion at housing. I’m thinking that perhaps the homeless are now going to have new bridges under which they can sleep.’

—Social work professor Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff

Check back to the Missionlog blog for more updates or visit project417.com to find ways you can help to end homelessness.

National Chief Phil Fontaine’s Response to Canada

First Nations, National Chief Phil Fontaine responds in parliament to the formal apology offered by the Canadian government for the abuses of the residential schools inflicted upon Canada’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. An important day for aboriginal rights. Just the beginning, will the government of Canada follow up and treat our original peoples on a nation to nation basis?

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Assembly of First Nations in Canada – 7 Point Plan

The Assembly of First Nations in Canada issued a seven point plan to the government of Canada to address reconciliation with aboriginal peoples, redress injustices and improve the quality of life for all native people. The majority of First Nations children live in abject poverty. Although aboriginal people are only 2% of Canada’s population they represent more than 25% of the nations’ street homeless AND 50% of the federal prison inmates.

read more | digg story

Canada’s Injustice to First Nations

Canada votes against UN declaration on aboriginal rights

From Yahoo! Canada News & CP

By Steve Lambert

(CP) – Aboriginal leaders, human rights groups and the opposition blasted the Conservative government Thursday after Canada voted against a United Nations declaration on aboriginal rights.

They accused the government of trying to sweep aside an important show of support for aboriginals that took 20 years of negotiations among UN countries.

“By opposing this declaration the Conservative government has signalled to aboriginal Canadians that their rights aren’t worth defending,” Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said in a statement.

“This is a stain on the country’s international reputation,” said Phil Fontaine, head of the Assembly of First Nations.

“It is disappointing to see this government vote against recognizing the basic rights of Canada’s First Peoples.”

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples passed easily Thursday, 143-4. Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States voted against and 11 countries abstained.

Canada said it could not support the document because its broad wording appeared to give native communities sweeping powers that could contravene existing law.

“It’s inconsistent with the Canadian Constitution, with Supreme Court decisions and with our own treaty negotiations and obligations,” Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said from Ottawa.

Among the many problems with the document, Strahl said, are sections that say laws that affect aboriginals should only be passed with the prior consent of First Nations.

“We’d have to consult with 650 First Nations to do that. I mean, it’s simply not doable,” he said.

Another section of the UN declaration says aboriginals “have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions.”

That is also unworkable, according to Strahl.

“Some people … say that means we can have our own legislatures, our own council in our own language,” Strahl said.

“But no one’s quite sure, and that’s the trouble with language like that.”

Critics argued the UN declaration is not binding on any country, and is more of a symbolic commitment to aboriginal rights.

“It’s an aspirational document…it wouldn’t contravene laws that are in place,” NDP Indian affairs critic Jean Crowder said from Nanaimo, B.C.

“I think (Canada’s vote) is a very cowardly and, I would say, un-Canadian approach to human rights.”

Aboriginal leaders, however, felt the document was more than just a vague expression of support.

“It recognizes who we are, that we have these fundamental rights,” said John Paul, executive director of the Atlantic Policy Congress, which represents 35 aboriginal communities

“To us it’s like the U.S. Declaration of Independence, because it lays out a number of inalienable truths about us as aboriginal people in the world.”

Visit Project417 to help

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