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*** Please Note: I have shifted my blog to http://juliecomber.com. My new posts are there! ***

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Bonjour!

L’organisme Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) – Les Familles des Sœurs par l’Esprit, en français, est en train de faire une vidéo musicale ! Découvrez notre projet en ligne: http://igg.me/p/201877?a=1011401

Au Canada, les femmes autochtones sont cinq fois plus susceptibles que les autres femmes de mourir à la suite d’actes de violence. Désirant changer cette statistique, la FSIS est une organisation bénévole, populaire et à but non lucratif dirigé par des familles de femmes ou de filles autochtones disparues et/ou assassinées.

Les objectifs de la campagne de la vidéo musicale For Our Sisters (Pour nos sœurs) sont les suivants:

1. Sensibiliser et promouvoir le développement d’une inspiration pour agir au sujet de la problématique des femmes autochtones disparues et/ou assassinées au Canada,

2. Promouvoir le FSIS et le travail que cette organisation accomplit,

3. Promouvoir les deux grands événements annuels du FSIS sur la Colline du Parlement : la Veillée du 4 Octobre et le Jour de la Justice le14 Février.

Nous avons donc besoin d’argent! Votre contribution permettra de financer un magnifique et fascinant vidéoclip, ce qui aidera la FSIS à assister plus de personnes. La chanson “For Our Sisters”, par Julie Comber, est un appel à l’action pour tout le monde afin d’aider à stopper la violence contre les femmes et les filles autochtones.

Vous pouvez consulter la page http://igg.me/p/201877?a=1011401 pour en savoir plus sur le projet. Nous vous remercions d’avance de vos généreuses contributions!

S’il vous plaît partagez ce lien pour la vidéo avec votre entourage.

À partir de la page de la Campagne Indiegogo, vous pouvez utiliser l’outil «partager» pour faire passer le message sur Facebook, Twitter, email, et plus encore!

Merci beaucoup ! Nouveau “teaser” de la chanson: http://snd.sc/NCUkVg

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As the feather falls, my heart falls. The pain and sorrow of Algonquin Grandmother Louise Wawatie and her brother Joseph, in a video of them just released from prison, radiates off the screen. They were imprisoned for 8 days, and the Land they stood up for has been logged in the meantime.

While I suppose it is fitting they were released on International Day for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the fact they were arrested at all and held for so long is proof Canada has a long way to go when it comes to respecting Indigenous Rights.

Louise and Joseph were arrested on charges of mischief and breaking an injunction forbidding them from protesting the clear-cut logging by Resolute Forestry Products near Lac Poigan. They both refused conditions of bail, asserting their sovereign rights over their unceded territory where Resolute continues to clear-cut. The sister and brother were held in Maniwaki, Quebec, until this morning when they appeared in court and were released. The video of Joseph explaining the conditions of his release means he can’t even go home, and of Louise dropping the feathers, were shot outside the courthouse.

Louise’s brother, Jacob (Mowegan) Wawatie explains that “the meaning of the feathers falling is: Who is going to stand up for the collective nation that walks upon Mother Earth? This Grandmother is calling to all Nations to stand for the future generations. It is for the world of the future and may the youth of this world voice their own destiny.”

While our hearts sink to see Elders treated with disrespect, and to see beautiful Land destroyed, this is a call to action, not to wallow in despair. The feathers must be picked up, and we must fly together to a future where we live in harmony with the rest of Creation, a future where we can each flourish.

Will you answer this call and stand up for future generations? One small but important step: share the video and Louise’s message, far and wide.

Keep Shining,

Julie

Note: see this post for more background, and a video illustrating why they sought to protect this Land.

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puppy rescue

I only find two of four puppies when I get home at 4:30pm. I need to get some work done, but the front yard is not puppy-proof in my opinion, so instead I start searching.  The mother, Sheba, finally leads me to one, well hidden in the underbrush of the front yard plants.  But still one missing.  I keep searching, and notice that there is a small opening in the drain/trench next to the wall, at the front right corner of the cement fence.  “Hope its not there,” I think, in what seemed like a dead end old sewage canal, covered with a 2 inch think slab of concrete along its length.  It seemed unlikely since the puppy would have had to get over a few obstacles.  But they were all getting around a lot, so it is possible.

Then I hear the cries.

I can just fit my hand and then my arm up to my elbow into the opening.  Although I really don’t want to put my hand in there, no telling what nasty stuff is down there besides the puppy! 

Its damp mud, snail shells, I can feel the wall on either side.  No telling quite how far into the puppy has crawled, but he sounds close to the entrance.   I can hear him, but can’t touch him.

Unless the puppy crawls back within reach, how else to get him out?  I figure a sledgehammer could make the opening bigger so I can reach further back.

I go rouse my landlord from the breezy balcony.  He can’t think of much else.  He calls the chairman of the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals, but getting anyone to help on a Sunday afternoon in Georgetown was unlikely.  He can’t think of anyone with a Sledgehammer.

So I bend a coat hanger to see if I could touch the puppy, maybe pull him out.  Manage to scratch my arm up, but not even sure if touched the puppy.  It makes me think its like I’m doing some back-alley abortion with a coat hanger in a mucky smelly womb.  But in this case, trying to save a life.

I don’t know why the puppy won’t come within grabbing range.  Frightened? Stuck?

The puppies’ eyes are still closed (one wek old), ears seem to be, too.  I figure the only way to attract him is by smell.  hoping the puppy can move, I milk the mother so my fingers will smell of her milk.   I wait, my arm wedged into the rough crevice, muck under my fingers, sweaty, neck at an impossible angle.  I get poor Sheba back to milk her more and get in on a rag to place near entrance, hoping the smell will attract the puppy.

My Landlady brings home an iron rod to try to break open the hole more.  She and I manage to knock off some chunks, but in the end it just makes the hole smoother and less likely to cut me.  There is a rod sticking out of the wall that I manage to bash my eyebrow into.  She tells me to take care of it, but I’d rather concentrate on the task at hand.  I draw a heart with my blood on a tree while she takes a turn bashing the concrete.

I keep going back and forth, trying with the coat hanger. And keep asking my landlords about a sledgehammer.

An hour and a half later, its 6pm and getting dark., so now mosquitoes and darkness to add to the discomfort.  I’m wedged in place again.  The puppy had not been crying for a while, I’m wondering about euthanasia options, but they seem even less likely than a rescue.  Text messages are coming from a fan, the whole situation seems surreal.  Or maybe I’m just lightheaded.

He starts yelping again.  I wonder why I have to notice these things.  Life would be easier if I didn’t notice things like missing puppies.  I know his cries will haunt me if I don’t save him.  Forehead against rough stone wall, I’m pretty close to tears.  Why notice suffering and distress if I can’t help?  I think of the Beaver Pond Forest, and other times I’ve fought for things and lost.   Will this be the same?

Back inside racking my brain, power goes out.  Finally, my landlord says the neighbors might have a sledgehammer.  They do.

We get it, in a few minutes, he has managed to make the hole much bigger.

I reach in…and touch the puppy!  Very wedged in, so could not have crawled back to the entrance.   I realize they can’t backup at this age, so they can crawl into trouble and not be able to back out of it.  The small furry legs are warm and limp, no sound. I wonder if the sledgehammering crushed him.

But then there’s movement and yelping.  And slowly slowly, I manage to pull him out, like a second birth for this pup, a breach birth out of a very different womb than the one he exited the first time.

Besides some stinky muck, the puppy appears to be fine. It takes a bit to convince Mom to nurse, which the pup desperately needs.

It took two frustrating, hot, sweaty, bloody hours.  But its great to see him and his siblings all nursing off Mom.

I guess its not so bad that I notice things.

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This is a rally to demand that the City of Ottawa, National Capital Commission (NCC), or Province of Ontario step up and do their job: order Urbandale/KNL to prevent all cutting and blasting of the Beaver Pond Forest at least until spring. This is for ecological, archaeological, cultural and humane reasons. All levels of government could halt development based on new evidence that the archaeological assessment needs to be redone. But the City isn’t taking responsibility. The province isn’t taking responsibility. The NCC isn’t taking responsibility. So we are going directly to City Hall and the NCC to remind them that the greed of one company should not trump the long-term Public Good.  It is their job to make the City of Ottawa a better place to live.  For us now, and for future generations. 

We need to convince them it is better for everyone that they spare the most ecologically sensitive part of Ottawa.  They must respect the requests of the local community and Algonquin communities to do a full archeological assessment of possible medicine wheels and artifacts.

PLAN
– 12pm (noon): Assemble at Human Rights Monument at City Hall
– statements will be read, hard copies of letters and petitions delivered, songs shared.  Exact schedule TBA.

– Bring your own signs, we also have some made which will be used in a subsequent Activist Art show (first come, first serve 😉

– Bring hardcopies of your letters to City Council and NCC.  We will ask the Mayor to come out to receive them!

– Be musical (bring instruments & noisemakers!)
– Main Message to City Hall, NCC, & Province: Take Responsibility! Do the Right Thing: Stop Urbandale from Cutting or Blasting Beaver Pond Forest
MORE INFO

Location: google maps
On the Forest: http://www.ottawasgreatforest.com/
http://www.southmarchhighlands.ca/

Details on inadequate environmental assessment & storm water management plans: http://renaud.ca/wordpress specific page

Community voices: http://the5thc.blogspot.com/
https://candle4kindness.wordpress.com/

Petitions: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Do-Not-Cut-Beaver-Pond-Forest-or-SMH/

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Rugged and beautiful, the Beaver Pond Forest is scheduled to be clear cut and blown up to build a subdivision in Kanata North. Just a 20 minute drive from Parliament Hill, this urban wilderness has 679 known species including over 160 bird species, and 18 species at risk. It is rated as a Provincially Significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). It has archaeological and cultural significance that has not been adequately assessed.

And yet, the developers who own the land are poised to destroy it. And the City of Ottawa is standing idly by.

Through a series of short-sighted decisions over the years, the part of the South March Highlands now known as the Beaver Pond Forest was zoned for development, and eventually was bought by KNL, a partnership of Urbandale and Richcraft. They want to build houses as soon as possible.

In November 2010, the outgoing Ottawa City Council considered the grass-roots, community created Stewardship Plan – an alternative to KNL’s subdivision plan – as realistic, innovative, and inspirational.  The stewardship plan demonstrates excellent vision, such as establishing an Education, Research, Peace and Eco-tourism centre, attractive to scientists as well as schoolchildren and tourists.

The community has not been given the chance to make this plan a reality. Instead, on 15 December, the new City Council decided to “save” an ecologically meaningless corridor between the Beaver Pond itself and the protected Trillium Woods through a land swap. And let the rest of the 70 acres of irreplaceable Forest be destroyed. Urbandale plans to start cutting it in early January.

How can the City of Ottawa allow a forest with 18 species at risk to be cut down when missing storm water management and environmental issues remain?

How can the City of Ottawa allow this destruction when we are so close to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing on January 31st on this issue?

How can the City of Ottawa refuse to require a new Archaeological Assessment in the spring time – when this has been requested by leaders within the First Nations Anishnabe/Algonquin Community?

It is time for the City of Ottawa to take its role as the Steward of the development process seriously. The City must ensure the developers follow each of the conditions of the subdivision plan and the laws of Ontario. These laws can fully protect this land – if they are actually followed. However, City Council is being told by City Staff that these conditions have been met. They have not and our proof is being ignored.

What can you do?

First, go visit the forest. Then you will understand why it should be saved and cherished. You may be inspired with your own ideas on how to save it. But to get you started:

– Write to Mayor Jim Watson and your City Councillor. Ask them to ring in the International Year of Forests by saving what should become Ottawa’s Great Forest.

– Write to Urbandale. The company can be a Hero or Villain on this.

– Write to the media. Why hasn’t there been more coverage? The City’s own documents posted at OttawaLeaks.ca show problems with how Ottawa makes decisions. We need the media to get the word out and follow-up.

– Write to the NCC and Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

– You can email me at julie.comber@uottawa.ca if you are interested in volunteering. We also have a Facebook group: “I want to save the land North of Beaver Pond Park in Kanata Ontario”.

Thanks for reading this. It’s never too late to do the right thing!

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i told friends i was going with my dad to Jane Goodall’s talk at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival on 12 April to “recharge my inspiration batteries”.   but maybe to “add fuel to my inspiration-candle” would have been more apt.

i had the incredible privilege to meet jane at her Dar es Salaam home when i volunteered for Roots&Shoots (R&S) in 2007.  one of the perks of volunteering with R&S in Dar is you stay in jane’s home.  she’s only there a few days a year since she travels over 300 days of the year to share her message of hope, kindness, and the urgent need for environmental responsibility.

jane was warm and kind, but also razor-sharp, and ready to debate points.  i realized she had a warm heart linked to a sharp mind, and that this was a winning combination to achieve positive change in our world.   we need to care about others to motivate us to act, but we also need to be smart about how we do it, or else we won’t know the best way to help.

i came across this quote from the Buddha today:

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

and it struck me how the same goes for inspiration.  over the years, jane has met and influenced thousands of people, and lit thousands of inspiration-candles.

but while people like jane inspire us, they then go off to the next talk, the next event.  following them might help keep us inspired, as i feel when i go to jane’s talks.  but they are best at sparking the fire, while it is our friends and family who are best at helping to nurture and sustain our precious flame.

so let’s help keep each other’s candles burning bright!

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