Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Upcoming CPT aboriginal justice delegations to northwestern Ontario, Canada

Here's an opportunity for peace witness work here in North America.  - sm


25 January 2011
CPT INTERNATIONAL: Christian Peacemaker Teams announces Aboriginal Justice Delegations to Treaty #3 Territory (Northwestern Ontario) March 31-April 11, August 12-22 and September 24-October 5, 2011.

Corporate clear-cut logging of Asubpeeschoseewagong traditional territory has destroyed hunting, trapping, and food and medicine gathering activities.  The legacy of  Indian Residential Schools have deeply impacted families and communities.  Mercury contamination discovered over forty years ago continues to poison residents.  Explore what it means to live in right relationship with the earth and each other.  Find out what it means to be an ally to indigenous communities engaged in healing, resisting colonialism, and struggling for sovereignty.

From a base in the city of Kenora, and visits to Asubpeeschoseewagong traditional lands, the delegation will meet with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders and residents.  Delegates will develop an analysis of colonialism, participate in undoing racism training and plan a public witness/nonviolent action as appropriate to confront issues of structural violence. Some physical rigors may be involved, such as camping in basic conditions, and stretches of time outside in unpredictable weather.

Fundraising expectation: $525 Canadian or US.  Delegates make and pay for their own travel arrangements to Winnipeg, Manitoba or to Kenora, Ontario.

CPT is a faith-based group that seeks participants who are interested in human rights work, committed to nonviolence and to undoing racism, and willing to participate in team worship and reflection.  Delegates should have plans to share about the trip upon return to their home communities and congregations.  All on-ground travel, two to three meals a day, simple accommodations, and all honorariums and delegation fees are covered.  Most CPT delegations involve some physical rigors.

English language fluency is required for full participation.

Funding support: CPT has limited funds available to assist applicants who otherwise could not participate.  CPT is committed to undoing racism and will give preference for funding support to applicants from communities that have been disadvantaged by racism.

For more information or to apply, contact CPT, PO Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; phone 773-376-0550; fax 773-376-0549; e-mail delegations@cpt.org, or see CPT's website at: http://cpt.org/participate/delegation.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What are your favorite feminist blogs?

What are your favorite feminist blogs?

Some suggestions I've received so far, some of which I've known about, some of which are new to me:

from Amy S: 

A few other suggestions I received:  

What are your suggestions?  

A quick web search turned up some of these. What's your experience with them?

I had to dig hard to find any blogs at all by women of color, much less feminist ones.  Even in this day and age.  This sucks.  

Update:  How could I forget Geek Feminism???

What feminist blogs do you suggest? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

from CPT: ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: USA and Canada sign UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Christian Peacemaker Teams

from Christian Peacemaker Teams

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: USA and Canada sign UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Christian Peacemaker Teams

5 January 2011
ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: USA and Canada sign UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
by Peter Haresnape

“We owe a very great debt of gratitude to those who remember the old ways to live and honor the earth. And yet, we have ignored them, oppressed them, and even stripped them of the land that is their life. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an important step toward protecting these vulnerable members of our human family, of giving them the dignity and the respect that they so richly deserve.”
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

On 12 November 2010, Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The U.S. followed suit on 16 December. Both countries, along with Australia and New Zealand, initially voted against the Declaration when the UN General Assembly adopted it on 13 September 2007, but with these recent endorsements, the Declaration is now unanimously recognized by the international community.

The Declaration is the result of more than twenty years of discussions and negotiations, making it one of the most carefully designed instruments to support human rights on an international level. According to Amnesty International, “The Declaration does not create new or special rights. Instead, the Declaration provides urgently needed guidance in applying existing international human rights standards to the specific circumstances and needs of Indigenous Peoples.”

It remains to be seen how the Declaration will affect the attitudes and actions of the U.S. and Canada towards Indigenous Peoples. Prior to his announcement of support for the Declaration at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, President Obama gave many examples of recent endeavours to amend past wrongs and improve current conditions for Indigenous communities in the United States. He did not refer to specific articles of the Declaration that would connect to such endeavours, but he did say, “What matters far more than words […] are actions to match those words. And that’s what this conference is about.”

The Declaration sets out minimum standards expected of governments towards Indigenous Peoples. Canada has yet to move toward meeting these standards, but the Declaration provides a tool for Indigenous communities seeking justice in Canada. On Monday 13 December 2010, Barriere Lake First Nation delivered a copy to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as part of their campaign against Canadian interference in their traditional governance.

Implementation, not endorsement, will be the true test of the Declaration’s value. Canada and the U.S. must demonstrate respect for Indigenous knowledge and law, and understanding of their nations’ colonial history and present. “Only through continued use will its provisions become our reality,” writes aboriginal and human rights law expert Robert T. Coulter. We must start citing the Declaration at every opportunity as we call our governments to account for their actions across the world, and as we—both as individuals and as nations—build relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Text of the Declaration

Robert T. Coulter’s analysis of the new U.S. position

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Music from circle at Winter Solstice/Yule (but probably not what you think)

In my Tradition's Winter Solstice ritual, we spiral into the Darkness, spend some time there, discover a number of gifts in the Darkness, and then spiral back out into the Light.

Several pieces of music have stuck with me from circle this year.

Lorna Kohler's "Spiraling into the Center" 

Spiraling into the center
The center of the Wheel
Spiraling into the center
The center of the Wheel
I am the weaver,  I am the woven one
I am the dreamer, I am the dream
I am the weaver,  I am the woven one
I am the dreamer, I am the dream...

(I learned this with "shield" and "wheel" interchangeable (ah, folk process...).  There are times when "shield" makes sense to me, and times when "wheel" makes sense to me, too.  Sheet music for this can be found on p. 251 of Songs for Earthlings.)  

Clara Scott's "Open My Eyes, That I May See"

When I had walked a counter-clockwise spiral into the center of the circle, into the Darkness, I spent some time in worship there.  And one of the things that came to me were lines from this hymn:

Open mine eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me...
Open mine eyes, illumine me
Spirit Divine!

Yes, it's a hymn!  Like a lot of women of my generation, I spent many years thinking that was simply the opening to Cris Williamson's "Song of the Soul."

But at FLGBTQC Mid-Winter Gathering a few years ago, when Willie Frye was our keynote speaker, we sang hymn #166 in the Quaker hymnal Worship in Song in worship one morning.  And I learned there's a whole hymn behind those opening bars...  Clara Scott's hymn "Open My Eyes, That I May See."

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me...
Open my eyes, illumine me
Spirit Divine!
Open my ears, that I may hear...
Open my ears, illumine me
Spirit Divine!
Open my mouth, and let me bear...
Open my heart, illumine me
Spirit Divine!
Open my mind, that I may read...
Open my mind, illumine me
Spirit Divine!

Cris Williamson's "Song of the Soul"

During the rest of ritual, then, "Song of the Soul" was of course stuck in my head.  During singing, I snagged my wife's copy of Rise Up Singing (there are occasionally advantages to casting a circle in your own living room), and my circle sisters indulged me by singing it enthusiastically with me.

In harmony.

They rock.  

And we can sing this song
Why don't you sing along?
And we can sing for a long, long time
And we can sing this song
Why don't you sing along? 
And we can sing for a long, long time
May you, too, always find gifts of magic in the blessed Dark.