pam palmater

pam palmater.png

intro’d to Pam via this tweet by Mark:

Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) tweeted at 6:44 AM – 1 May 2018 :

I was going to be all nice and in my talk then @Abbeycatluvsme got me thinking about WWPD (what would @Pam_Palmater do) and now I am torn. For reference, this is Pam’s talk at @CAEHomelessness and is the most honest talk I have ever heard in this sector

46 min talk (dec 2017):

9 min – how did this happen.. our nations were in balance.. that’s what balance looks like.. what i’m describing.. many of you might think .. well that sounds utopic.. it is..  it is utopic.. but it’s not mythical.. it’s not a myth/legend..t

utopia ness.. undisturbed ecosystem..

10 min – we were so firmly planted/rooted in our place/home.. we were well equipped to handle any challenge before us..

holmgren indigenous law

good and bad shared collectively..  our concept of nationhood/id/citizenship was never tied to resources.. and whether there was enough.. because simply existing meant that everything would be shared..and there would be inherently.. enough..t

have/need ness

11 min – we were never alone in what we did

the conversation was never around rights/benefits it was around rights and obligations.. everything had balance..

rights ness

12 min – the story of us and our home can be found in every single indigenous person.. it runs in the blood w/in their veins..t

let’s go this deep ((problem deep enough)).. holmgren indigenous law.. narrative/story .. already in each one of us

no matter where i go on earth i take mi’kmaw w/me.. i take the home and the land with me

home ness: we carry our homes w/in us which enable us to fly.. each moment presents what happens.. John Cage

unfortunately i have another story to share.. one that has clouded/tried-to-replace the story of us

undisturbed ecosystem..

16 min – mother homeless.. children in foster.. father in jail.. and all the loopholes you have to go thru to prove you are a loving/capable mom.. mom commits suicide.. dad out of prison.. homeless.. no idea about wife/children.. he’s learned in prison how to survive on streets.. no one would give him any info about his children.. kids living in a foster hotel.. girl gets abused in this group home.. people right outside hotel are traffickers.. never heard from her again.. so brother ran away to look for her.. lived on streets.. as child..

20  min – sad thing about it.. the son.. now living in shelters.. has never heard the story of us.. he doesn’t know how special he is and that our nations need him..

that’s the story of colonization..

schooling the world

21 min – you don’t truly know colonization until you get down to the personal level and look at a family and the impact that it has

colonization if more than just a legacy of history.. it’s more than just accumulative effects of what has happened in the far away past..

the most concerning thing about colonization.. the reality.. is that it’s ongoing.. it has never stopped and in many ways it’s getting worse..t

here’s colonization by the numbers.. because you can w statistical specificity predict how many people will die this year.. on the streets..  how many will not have drinkable water.. get diabetes..  commit suicide.. because that’s how federal/providential/territorial govts operate.. they make decisions on the value of our lives in the most colonial way possible: how much it costs..t.. so our lives are valued based on money..

22 min – by the numbers: 5% of pop but 48% of those in foster care..  90% of all in foster care are indigenous.. suicide rates 2-10x higher.. more than conflict/developing countries.. canada has highest..  leading cause of death for our youth.. 38% … suicide.. think about what that says in terms of hope or lack thereof


23 min – 60% of indigenous children live in poverty.. which sounds staggering until you pull out manitoba’s stats.. and it’s more like 76%.. life expectancy is 5-15 yrs less and all of the forecasts say it’s getting worse..

24 min – all research shows that the number one group that is targeted for human/sex trafficking and child porn industry are indigenous women/girls.. (missing women/girls higher in indigenous.. 16%.. then to manitoba or sash 50%.. then to 60% .. ) 7x more likely to be targeted by serial killers..why.. because they can.. and they can do it w/almost complete immunity..

25 min – more than 25% of federal prisoners are indigenous men.. but indigenous women.. 36%.. 41% of all intakes in youth detention centers are indigenous.. but the fastest growing prison population are indigenous girls.. 53%.. straight from foster care..

and if we fixed everything today.. equalized all the funding..  it would take 28 yrs to close the ed gap

oh my.. don’t go there girl..

and 63 yrs to close the income gap

let’s try something diff.. because.. ed and money are that ongoing colonization.. they are big parts of the disturbance to our ecosystem..

26 min – what a monumental challenge.. that’s why first steps don’t cut it anymore.. we’re long past that..

we now have a means to listen to all the voices.. as it could be..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

at last count 160 first nations that don’t have clean drinking water..

27 min – in 2010.. a housing backlog of 110 000 units.. 7 yrs later.. our population’s increased by more than 40%..

40% of homeless people on turtle island are indigenous.. 9x more likely to be homeless.. depending on where you live.. could be 30x more likely

31 min – (on solving homeless ness w house less ness).. colonization has a magnification effect.. expo ness..

32 min – take foster care for ie.. could use any issue.. becomes a pipe line.. to prison.. 2/3 of all indigenous children in prison were in foster care.. targets for sexual abuse.. esp indigenous children.. 4x more

33 min – sex abuse in foster care.. 2/3 indigenous girls.. majority reports say social workers knew it was happening.. it was reported to them and they did nothing.. which paved way for it to continue..

34 min – colonization’s magnification effect.. creates amplifies and maintains w vigilance the status quo/homeless ness.. therefore homelessness is never going to be addressed by simply providing homes..

35 min – indigenous homelessness can only be prevented by ending colonization..t



because at the end of the day.. you simply cannot end homelessness w/o ending child-theft/over-incarceration/gender-discrimination.. you can’t end homelessness until you give us our home back.. and home is not a house it’s our land..

but that means that there has to be substantive/profound changes.. legal/political/social/cultural.. and we have not seen a willingness for govts to make this kind change..

systemic ness..

36 min – reconciliation is still playing at the level of superficiality.. it’s about putting our artwork up.. et al.. but i don’t hear any talk about giving our land back.. they’ll acknowledge it (we know we’re on your stolen land).. but i don’t hear anyone giving it back.. and that’s what real reconciliation is about

38 min – what is really being proposed is incremental equality.. which is not equality at all.. it’s maintained/sustained colonization/discrimination/violation..t

begs we leap .. to global equity (everyone getting a go everyday).. can’t go part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake

provincial govt: manitoba is ground zero for just about every socio/econ issue there is.. they have hid behind jurisdiction.. ie: i can’t deal w that.. that’s fed govt.. there is no law that prevents any govt in this country from doing the right thing.. t.. it is the epitome of denial of basic humanity

too much.. aka: B and b

it’s not about jurisdiction.. it’s about what’s right..

41 min – here’s the thing about reconciliation.. if it feels good.. that is not reconciliation.. there’s lots of feel good reconciliation going on right now.. it’s important but not real reconciliation.. more than an apology..  you promise to never do it again..we have to move beyond the superficial and address the substantive..

moten abolition lawi also know that what it is that is supposed to be repaired is irreparable.. it can’t be repaired. the only thing we can do is tear this shit down completely and build something new

42 min – we have to move beyond what works for everyone.. ie: wait till everyone agrees and is on board.. and move toward justice.. we need to put social back in the justice system.. we have to stop w incremental remedies..t

perhaps working on the justice system is an incremental remedy as well.. since today we have the means to let go of all that.. ie: gershenfeld sel.. et al

can’t go part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake

43 min – let us control our own lives.. there is no way on earth we could do a worse job .. than what govt/provincial govts have done to us

44 min – we want to bring our people home..


indigenous peoples

find/follow Pam:

link twitter

Mi’kmaw Citizen/ Lawyer/Professor/Mom/Sister/Auntie and member of Eel River Bar First Nation – retweets do not mean I agree w content

toronto ontario

 am a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. I have been a practicing lawyer for 16 years and currently an Associate Professor and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

book – beyond blood – requested to library

wikipedia small

Pamela Palmater (born 1970) is a Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, activist and politician from Mi’kma’ki, New Brunswick, Canada. A frequent media political commentator, she appears for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s InFocus, CTV, and CBC. She is an associate professor and the academic director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.


beyond blood.. notes/quotes:


status or non status, we are all affected by the second gen cut off rule in the indian act.. there are many diff ways in which the indian act has discriminated against non status indians..  (can’t learn language/dance)

this is crazy

2nd gen  cut off rule.. stipulates  that two successive gens of an indian parenting w a non indian will result in no status for their descendents..  this kind of discrimination is based on a kind of notional blood quantum allocation or descent based criteria for determining who is really an indian that is not reflective of actual blood quantum, descent or culture..

registration as an indian has become a significant part of indigenous identity on an individual and communal level.. despite our best efforts at maintaining our cultural id’s..  an individual’s proof of indian status more often than not equates w that individual’s acceptance by others as being truly indigenous..  status affects and membership for the majority of bands in canada whose membership is determined by the indian act..  status also affects one’s ability to be included on treaty beneficiary lists.. land claim rolls, and self govt citizenship enrollee lists..

while status under the act is controlled solely by canada, some bands have enacted their own membership codes that are just as exclusionary as the rules provided under the act.. they exclude people based on lack of indian status, choice of spouse, lack of residency on a reserve, ill health, poor finances, and /or inadequate blood quantum..


the term indian lumps all the diff indigenous individual san nations in to one group, and ignores the fact that they all have their own cultures, histories, languages, traditions, customs, and practices..


indigenous people hae suffered direct and arbitrary interference in virtually every aspect of their lives


the survivors of residential schools are commencing a process of telling their stories. they speak of the loss of connection to their families, friends, and communities, a swell as the loss of knowledge about their traditions, customs, practices and languages. few would blame them for having lost some of their cultures, language, or communal connections. how then could one blame non status indians or status indian women, for their loss of status, id, and membership?

1 – legislated id: control, division, and assimilation


the reasons are varied and complex.. but they always lead back to some form of federal interference.. my children will continue to be excluded form their individual and communal id’s as ‘indians’ and therefore as mi’kmaq peoples because canada determines who qualifies


many give preference to indian men..

lack of status and membership means we cannot live on the reserve, nor participate in our band’s governance activities.. .. excluded from land claim negotiations and benefits, treaty entitlements and regular access to our elders and community based mentors..


purpose of this chapter is to examine the historical and legislative context in which canada has asserted jurisdiction over indian id and belonging..


in recent decades, indigenous peoples have started to use canadian laws and adjudication processes to address their grievances, but these mechs often require that they bring forward each issue separately and usually in isolation form the larger context form which the issue stems..


canada has acknowledged that its policies were wrongs.. on june 11 2008, the pm offered an apology on behalf of canada to former students of the indian residential schools: ‘two primary objectives of the residential school system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions, and cultures and to assimilate them into the dominate culture.. these objectives were based on the assumption that aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. indeed, some sought as was infamously said ‘to kill the indian in the child’.. today we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country..’

it is hard to imagine that an official assimilation policy designed to legislatively eliminate a people would be acceptable in a liberal democracy after such an apology..but the registration system that divided indigenous peoples and diminished access to their cultures decades ago was just as destructive as the residential schools and it is still active..


i use the word indigenous to refer to fist peoples, such as the mi’maq, mohawk and maliseet. although aboriginal is a constitutional term, it includes metis and inuit, who are not the subject of this book..

2 – the right to determine citizenship


in this chapter i argue that indigenous nations have the right to be self defining .. ie to determine their own communal id’s.. w/o interference from canada.. who gets to decide who is an indian..

3 – the right to belong: charter equality for indigenous peoples

4 – band membership vs self govt citizenship

the bulk of the book now.. seems to be fighting policy w policy


connection to one’s culture and id is not only part of the good life, but its denial may also risk the lives of the youth in our communities. children receive their id and culture from their parents. when this natural process is blocked, some youth cannot find a proper context for their lives, and suicides can be the devastating result. one need only look to the youth of a nation to see how healthy the nation is as a whole..


ie: aboriginal media age 27 yrs… non aboriginal.. 40 yrs..  suicide rates for aboriginal youth far surpass that of any other canadians..  higher than those of any culturally identifiable group in the world..  .. the reasons for this are many and complex, but researchers have emphasized the fact that if one’s cultural id has been marginalized because of colonization, or ‘the trustworthy ways of one’s community are criminalized, legislated out of existence, or otherwise assimilated beyond easy recognition, then the path for those transitioning toward maturity becomes much more difficult..


it is important to note that these high rates of suicide are not prevalent in all first nations communities, and in fact, ‘nearly 90% of suicides occur in less than 10% of communities’..

it would seem prudent then to find solution that ensure that indigenous youth are included in their communities and nation,s and that their id’s as indigenous peoples are recognized, legitimized, and encouraged..

there’s a nother way.. for all of us


the more difficult issue is how to ensure that the concept of ancestry is not misconstrued so as to reinforce the notion of racial purity thru blood quantum

let’s just go w this.. nationality: human

data that never really needed to be collected… and so we have inspectors of inspectors et al.. too much.. aka: B and b

measuring things is killing us

graeber f&b same law


if indigenous people are to preserve and protect their id as individuals and communities, borrows argues, we must also adopt a more fluid way of defining our id, esp since one in every two aboriginal people marries a non aboriginal

or we quit defining altogether.. again nationality: human

just label daily curiosity

labeling is killing us.. there’s a nother way .. via cure ios ity

marsh label law

identity et al


cornet’s solution is somewhat similar to that proposed by lawrence, who argues that the transformation of how we think about indigenous id does not have to wait until every indigenous nation has signed a self govt agreement w citizenship codes..

why wait for anyB..?


for lawrence, the focus i not so much on the entity (bands, nations, or confederacies) as on the criteria that determine who is in and who is out..

? us & them


not only does th report recommend that a ‘total reworking of the law’ be considered, but that other laws, like the elections law, be consistent w the membership law

no more law..


*loyalty, commitment, sacrifice, volunteerism, and civic duty will come freely from indigenous citizens who have their **individual and communal id’s recognized, supported and protected..

i think today.. we can go deeper than *that.. (ie: eudaimoniative surplus.. from the energy of 7bn alive people).. and deeper than **that (ie: maté basic needs.. as it could be.. via gershenfeld sel.. et al)


while a thorough consultation and info process would be necessary in each community to work out these varying priorities and a complete community membership code or self govt citizenship code would be much larger tha i can offer in this book, what follows is how i would start the discussions in my community

we need a means that has no training/prep.. codes/laws.. no strings

rather than discussions.. let’s leap frog.. to 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…] .. a nother way


an ie of meeting this criteria would be applicants who can demo that they speak the traditional mi’kmaq language, that they are willing to learn the language, or that they will promote the language in other capacities.. such as sending their children to langue classes or supporting the use of mi’kmaq language use w/in their communities/govts and ed systems..

we need to let go of so many word rules as well.. ie: idio-jargon.. it’s not just beyond blood.. it’s beyond words.. et al


other key aspects of the citizenship process will have to be addressed such as the application process itself,

oh man.. we gotta let go of that.. nationality: human.. imagine all the time/energy/people/souls we’d save..


i must clarify that , in contemplating problems and offering potential solutions, i am not suggesting that the mi’kmaq nation or any first nation is any more or less likely than the fed or provincial govts to enact discriminatory codes or apply the unjustly..

exactly.. we shouldn’t be spending our days judging each other.. none of us..

beyond blood


at various times when i was growing up, i started to wonder what being indigenous meant if so man others appeared not to like indigenous people

however, those moments were countered by the times when i was surrounded by my own family/community members.. .. often trailing after my family to meetings.. i did not always know what they were talking about but i knew it had to be important .. because .. would stand up when they spoke and often yelled or cried while making their points…


the recurring theme in our meetings was that we would continue to fight for our rights and those of our children..  and that no matter what the govt did, they could not deny the blood that ran thru our veins…. i heard that phrase repeated over and over again.. i was told repeatedly that the blood connection we had to our ancestors formed the very basis of our ties to our traditional communities.. and so long as we had that we could never be denied our rightful id’s as mi’kmaq and maliseet peoples..  this would become a recurring them in years to come..

see.. imagine it’s more about.. simply being human.. less about rights..


i had to reconsider everything i had been taught in the past in order to see where we as indigenous people could go in the future.. ie: beyond blood ties..


what is the one true connection that makes me mi’kmaq.. if i were to give up the concept that my blood determines my id, will i still be mi’kmaq.. the fact that some people hae no answer to that question is often what makes them cling so hard to blood as the ultimate determinant of id..

as hard as it was for me to consider abandoning this concept, once i saw that it causes more harm to our id’s than it does to support them, my fear started to subside…. my fear completely left me when i realized that, when our ancestors spoke of the blood that runs thru our veins, they were not talking about the actual blood, but were referring to our deep connections w our past thru our ancestors.. w our present thru our families and communities.. and to our future thru our generations yet to come…  this circle of life..

if we as individuals, families, communities, and nations looked beyond superficial measurements of blood and looked deeper at what makes those connections between individuals/nations/communities so strong.. we would see that blood is not only unnecessary as an indicator of our id’s’ it is completely irrelevant

same w all the laws/rights.. we have to stop measuring things..

my search for the one true connection that makes me mi’kmaq was never really a search at all.. been there all along.. i had just been too affected by .. laws/policies/stereotypes to be able to see thru the shame and the pain to celebrate those aspects of our id’s tha our ancestors fought so hard to protect.. i am a mi’kmaq because i have multiple, deep rooted connections to the nation and no one connection defines me…. no amount of indian blood could either reinforce or destroy those connections…  had i been adopted.. i would still have all these connections..

huge.. let’s focus on that..


thru my research, i came to realize that a balancing of interest between the right of individuals to belong and the right to be self defining as a nation is necessary..

let’s go simpler still .. and sans rights et al: maté basic needs.


it has been a long journey for me to discover that our id’s hold not be tied to racist concepts like blood..  at times, this left me feeling uncertain about my own id.. however.. discovered that principles underlying my my’kmaq id had always been there

let’s go deeper.. humanity.. already there.. let’s try focusing on just that..