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Native groups protest in Toronto on eve of G20

Posted by Tomasz Bugajski / June 24, 2010

G20 Toronto Protest.Native groups and their supporters took over downtown streets on Thursday afternoon to bring attention to issues facing First Nations communities across the country. The protest began at Queen's Park with speeches denouncing the G20 and Canada's Conservative government. Protest leaders were fiery and angry but encouraged everyone to remove face coverings, stay peaceful, and not head towards the fence. They even arranged their own security for the event.

The Toronto Community Mobilization website lists the protesters demands as follows:

  • that Canada sign the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights
  • justice for missing indigenous women
  • respect for aboriginal land title and treaty rights
  • that a stop be put to the tar sands project
G20 Toronto protest NativeThe march proceeded down University Avenue, turned east on Queen Street, went north on Bay, and then wound its way across Wellesley, down Yonge, and finally across Gerrard to Allan Gardens.

The marchers stopped at several intersections to perform Native music, forcing traffic to grind to a halt.

G20 Toronto Protest NativeDespite the congestion, the rally was a peaceful affair. Maybe all the talk about protester violence and police harassment was an exaggeration? Hopefully, but we'll have to wait until the weekend to find out.

G20 Protest Toronto

G20 Protest Native

G20 Protest native

G20 Protest Native

All images by the author except for the last, which was sent to us by June Avila.

Additional photos from the protest in the slide show below:



Elizabeth / June 24, 2010 at 08:31 pm
Awesome photos! I really wanted to go to this but couldn't make it so I'm thrilled to see all these great images. First Nations get a raw deal in Canada. We are the ONLY country that hasn't signed the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights - what a joke!

Looking forward to more great G20 coverage on BlogTO over the coming days.
Hmm / June 24, 2010 at 08:32 pm
Looks like another cacophany. Many voices, but no clear message.

And raising the flag of the Mohawk Warriors society makes as much sense as the flag of the Tamil Tigers. Glorifying a goon squad? Thanks but no thanks. Keep your money raising through smuggling operations to yourselves, there's no honour in it. It does nothing to advance native rights.
Joe replying to a comment from Hmm / June 24, 2010 at 08:42 pm
The Mohawk Warriors have a loooong history of protesting the actions of the Canadian government against the Six Nations/Haudenosaunee and other First Nations, and that is EXACTLY what the march today is about. Did you see the list of demands the organization running the march posted? They're in the article above (and linked). These are specific clear messages, in my opinion. Just because there's lots of signs doesn't mean there isn't a clear message. And they are NOTHING like the Tamil Tigers!
coco / June 24, 2010 at 08:45 pm
I'm not a native and I don't know the first thing about the native rights issue.

All I care about is the treatment and welfare of all Canadians (including first nation and aboriginal peoples).

The conditions on the reserves of northern ontario are artrocious. 3rd world in our own backyard and no one cares. We can raise a billion dollar for Hati, but we turn a blind eye to 12 year old kids up north that are so desparate and destitute that they kill themselves.

This issue is the greatest shame of Canada and it's about time the yuppies living in the 416/905 and other major cities in Canada started caring.
Hmm replying to a comment from Joe / June 24, 2010 at 08:52 pm
Please inform yourself about the way the Warriors do "business". I'll give you a hint: guns, alcohol and tobacco. And they don't carry AK-47s for nothing. If you think the Warriors society has anything to do with the original Mohawk warriors (who actually do have a sense of honour) then you flunked middle school history.
Joe replying to a comment from Hmm / June 24, 2010 at 09:12 pm
I actually have a PhD in aboriginal history, and guns, alcohol and tobacco have been a part of "business" for centuries.
Steve replying to a comment from Joe / June 24, 2010 at 09:40 pm
You have a PhD in aboriginal history!? Lol what a waste of life.
stopitman / June 24, 2010 at 09:41 pm
erm, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that was the flag of the Mohawks, not necessarily the warriors themselves...

either way, Western countries have or have had a lot of business that falls under weapons, liquor, and tobacco. Of course though, we should group all 12,000 Natives who live at the Six Nations reserve into smugglers, just as every person who lives at Regent Park/St. James Town/Jane & Finch are gangster thugs who live off welfare and nothing else but that.
picard102 replying to a comment from coco / June 24, 2010 at 09:43 pm
I grew up in the north, surrounded by reserves. The biggest barrier to their growth and prosperity is their leadership.
Hmm replying to a comment from Joe / June 24, 2010 at 09:47 pm
Along those lines I presume you subscribe to the theory that "might makes right?" And so I suppose you didn't mind the way the Six Nations used those guns to decimate the Huron seeing as the French didn't give the Huron access to those guns the way the English did with your "protesting" Mohawks. Just "business" I suppose.
pukipsy / June 24, 2010 at 09:55 pm
Hmm is an idiot. Let's ignore.
mojavecactoid / June 24, 2010 at 09:55 pm
First Nations were dealt a raw and bloody deal many, many years ago, but that is no excuse whatsoever for derelict parenting and AFN-sponsored victimhood. Look at the immigrants who have come to our shores and prospered despite hardships that would put First Nations' complaints to abject shame. Only they can help themselves, not governments.
Hmm replying to a comment from pukipsy / June 24, 2010 at 09:57 pm
Heh--is the conversation over your head, because I'm making points. You're the one who is trolling.
Hmm replying to a comment from stopitman / June 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm
Sure, Western government get involved in sins, but at least sin taxes are made to go to infrastructure, not to line the pockets of a small segment of society (which speaks to your second point about tarring everyone with the same brush--I have no beef with the Mohawk nation, only with militant warriors who use aborigial rights as an excuse to do their business).

And in case anyone starts bringing up things like OLG and gov't corruption, at least there are mechanisms to weed out corruption. The warriors are in control on the reserves to no such mechanisms exist there.

Man, this is getting way off topic.
saltspring / June 24, 2010 at 10:26 pm
Yeah.......I'd love to see a debate between a Canadian aboriginal team and another team composed of recent arrivals from third world nations where rape, murder and other mayhem are served for a daily diet. My dear God, the aboriginals would look like the classic whiners they are. And guess which team will win the award for success? What?? You want to know what success is?? Well, let's just say that it doesn't involve welfare, blame, child abuse, and God knows what other travesties of social justice.
gadfly / June 24, 2010 at 11:02 pm
Well, perhaps it's too bad that the British and French didn't treat the natives the same way the Euros did THEIR indigenous peoples: just wipe them out and then 2,500 years later perhaps WE could tsk, tsk and look down our noses at our former colonies.
At least then MY taxes wouldn't be going to support a bunch of whiny cry babies who are just looking for a free ride on the public teat. I mean good gawd - look at the riff raff in those pictures! Who would hire any of them?
Derek / June 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm
The state of discourse here is degrading quickly. Please bear in mind our comment policy. Racist comments will be deleted.

Keith / June 24, 2010 at 11:51 pm
I have lived on and near aboriginal reserves in northern Manitoba. I have flown into reserves across the north. There is poverty in some places and others are doing fine. This issue is not solely about money coming from the government to save and fix everything. As picard102 mentioned - part of the problem is leadership and mismanagement amongst Aboriginal tribes. Protests like these need to happen at Band council meetings - they have to hold their own people accountable. It's not always a problem created by the government of Canada.
Jjjj / June 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm
Humans come from africa. They migrated to europe, Asia, Americas and australia during the ice age. So how far back you want to go. This is all about money money money, so please save your whining. Anyone with a brain knows this.
Feldwebel Wolfenstool / June 25, 2010 at 07:55 am
Are'nt we all so glad that my native friends don't cop a Muslim attitude?
stopitman replying to a comment from saltspring / June 25, 2010 at 08:52 am
Erm, there were thousands upon thousands of Aboriginals that were raped, beaten, and molested at Residential Schools on our soil. They were beaten for using their real names, speaking their native tongue, and for using any of their traditions. At some schools they could only use their number as their name.

Of course, we should just ignore the government sponsored cultural genocide (yes, it is cultural genocide, check the UN guidelines/rules on it) to literally "kill the Indian in the child". I'm sure if any of us were forcibly taken from our homes when we were a child to be beaten and not learn anything at school (some didn't even learn the alphabet and only sang hymns all day), we would be horrible parents too. If you grow up being beaten, how are you supposed to take care of your kids properly?

As Feldwebel Wolfenstool says, we're lucky that an incredibly vast number of Aboriginal protests are peaceful and only small, unofficial splinter groups do stupid things.
mark / June 25, 2010 at 09:41 am
It was so many years ago.
Get over it, move on, and contribute to society.
Numerous ethnic groups have been subjected to atrocities all over the world.
The world and Canada doesnt owe you anything.
sjf1969 / June 25, 2010 at 09:42 am
Is GADFLY Rob Ford?
sjf1969 / June 25, 2010 at 09:44 am
Is GADFLY Rob Ford?
AK / June 25, 2010 at 09:52 am
This whole banter just proves how many disgustingly racist, ignorant colonizers there still are here in Turtle Island. And this is why we have a racist, ignorant conservative government!
For the record, the genocide carried out against Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island is one of the largest and most horrendous holocausts in world history! and it continues today!!!
1)Through environmental racism, reserves are targeted for placement of toxic industry. (read about Grassy Narrows where an entire community suffers from Mercury poisoning)
2) Continued destruction of territory that Indigenous people rely on for their livelihood kills Indigenous communities through slow death measures (part of original definition of Genocide). Read about Sun Peaks ski resort built on unceded land in BC where traditional peoples rely on the land for hunting and gathering.
3) Continued intervention in Native families by a racist child 'welfare' system.
4) Failure to address the devastation of Indigenous communities by the residential school system.
5) Failure of the 'justice' system to address the disproportionate disappearances of Indigenous Women.
6) Targeting of Indigenous peoples by racist police and 'justice' systems.

So, is it any wonder that abused populations display signs of unwellness.
Let's start asking questions about European depravity. What was it that caused our ancestors to go around the world raping and pillaging Asia, Africa, north and SOuth America, Australia and New Zealand. Do we have some kind of inferiority complex that means we feel the need to go around asserting our control over everyone. Do we have a disease that makes us inclined to stealing, raping and carrying out genocide??!! Let's figure that one out before we make RACIST statements about Indigenous people and Black people. That would go a lot further toward helping the world out of the downward spiral of environmental and social devastation that Europeans have created!
Whoever replying to a comment from Steve / June 25, 2010 at 11:11 am
I don't understand why they can't just get jobs like the rest of us? If they are living in 3rd world conditions, why not take some of the money the government gives them, move to wherever, pump gas, get a job a McDonalds....whatever it takes. You can't tell me that you live in Canada and can't make a go of it, unless you have alcohol, drug, or mental issues. How about make a change and take advantage of all the flipping government education programs, get an education and go some where??? If they had enough money to go to toronto to protest, then why not through in a couple of resumes???????????
Mike W replying to a comment from mark / June 25, 2010 at 11:11 am
Wouldn't it be ironic if a stranger breaks into your house and kills your family, kicks you out, there's no police to do anything, and tells you to "get over it".
mark replying to a comment from Mike W / June 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm
'Get over it' would make sense after a certain period of time. like 100 years. We have to draw the line somewhere. Today sounds good. Paying them forever is just ridiculous.
mark replying to a comment from Whoever / June 25, 2010 at 01:07 pm
So true man.
I mean, if the living conditions really are that bad, then do what any of us would do and clean it up! Go to Home Depot and buy some plants and lawnmowers and building materials-tax free of course-and fix it up!
Its like me protesting cause my house is messy. What a joke.
Hemmingford / June 25, 2010 at 01:16 pm
Yeah, I don't understand why these people don't get a job. Hell, my barely capable nephew works at a McDonalds and he does just fine. There are Starbucks everywhere, send out some resumes for peace sake.

*shakes head in disgust*
keven / June 25, 2010 at 01:30 pm
Good ol racism! What a bunch of un-educated dimwits we have here.

I'd join in this discussion, but trying to explain to a cretin how to tie their shoes is frusterating, it's just easier to tell them to use velcro.
Mike W replying to a comment from mark / June 25, 2010 at 01:36 pm
I can't tell if you two are trolling now, but that opinions like those expressed by yourself and Hemmingford exist at all are a blight on the human condition, and that is not hyperbole.

The reality of this situation escapes you two to so much of a degree it's not even worth bothering with anymore.
mark replying to a comment from Mike W / June 25, 2010 at 02:08 pm
A blight on the human condition? Hardly buddy.
While I dont condone the unethical treatment of people, the fact remains that this is in the long ago past, and we as taxpayers have long since paid out the ass for it.
You must be out-of-your-mind if you actually think these people are actually that pushed down by society that they cant get jobs...and that is not a hyperbole either.
mark replying to a comment from Mike W / June 25, 2010 at 02:09 pm
A blight on the human condition? Hardly buddy.
While I dont condone the unethical treatment of people, the fact remains that this is in the long ago past, and we as taxpayers have long since paid out the ass for it.
You must be out-of-your-mind if you actually think these people are actually that pushed down by society that they cant get jobs...and that is not a hyperbole either.

Anyway, thanks for the convo. Im done with this now.
keven replying to a comment from mark / June 25, 2010 at 02:11 pm
you are an idiot. Learn something before you open your hole.

The first residential schools were established in the 1840s with the last residential school closing in 1996.
mojavecactoid replying to a comment from keven / June 25, 2010 at 02:45 pm
No, Keven, you are the idiot. Who cares about the residential schools? If you keep that monkey on your back, then you will never be free. And if your leaders insist on flogging the horse of victimhood and blaming everyone around them for their sorry situation, then they too are idiots. No other demographic in Canada has such a legacy of "poor me, poor us, give more money, it's your fault". You say it's the government's fault that the reservations are the way they are? Give me a freaking break. Wake up, take ownership, get over it, and move on.
mark replying to a comment from keven / June 25, 2010 at 02:51 pm
Idiot hey? Ouch. That hurts man.
Here's something for you to learn: 54% of natives dont complete school anyways.
More fun facts here:
L. Fisher replying to a comment from Steve / June 25, 2010 at 02:53 pm
That's absolutely awesome and fantastic to have a PhD in Aboriginal history. Congratulations, you are part of a team of Instructors/Professors at schools and Universities. You make great living$ for all of your hard work, knowledge, dedication and education. Aboriginals are one of the proudest peoples in this world!It's sad to see others try to put down such a proud Nation. It's clear the ill comment came from someone who has no proud roots or foundation of his own:(
L. Fisher replying to a comment from gadfly / June 25, 2010 at 03:05 pm
Who the hell would hire you? You can't even spell the word, God. Next resume please! Thanks.
dopey replying to a comment from L. Fisher / June 25, 2010 at 04:40 pm
'Gawd' is slang. Way to date yourself fool.
AETT / June 25, 2010 at 05:39 pm
Go protest somewhere else for goodness sakes! you're affecting people that live around there! How the hell can we get to work and go home if you people keep fulling up the streets damnit!
Nimkii replying to a comment from mark / June 26, 2010 at 10:29 am
In regards to it taking place "a hundred years ago" for your information, my mother in law was taken from her home, her family, her way of life, as were her siblings with NO CHOICE. (which by the way, is only one generation from me and as I am still young, places it not that long ago) Placed in a boarding school which was several hours from their home. Weren't able to see their friends and families until school was out in the summer. Strapped if they spoke their language or displayed anything from their culture. She was one of the lucky ones that didn't get raped. And you say this happened so long "buddy", maybe you should check your history and get your facts straight before you post your uneducated comments.
Mac / June 26, 2010 at 02:40 pm
Seriously? How many billions of dollars have we handed to so-called "First Nations" only to see most of it wasted. Have alcoholism rates dropped? Have high school graduations increased? Nah, but the number of big-screen TVs and rec centres sure have shot up.

For as long as natives continue to whine and state that it's everyone else's fault that they live in misery, nothing will get better for them. Sure, they might get more money thrown at them, just to shut them up and appease a few white consciences, but they will continue to wallow in sub-par conditions. Once they improve their own leadership, earn a reputation for honesty and hard work, stop depending on constant hand-outs, they have a chance.

If each of the "First Nations" protesters took the time used to participate in G20 events and used it to work behind the counter at a Tim Hortons or sweeping floors at a local high school, they'd EARN enough money to send a few individuals to rehab. And honestly, wouldn't that have more true impact for the better than all this ridiculous shouting in the streets.

And - a side note - G20 protesters are filthy. You should see the trash littering the streets where they've marched! It's truly disgusting...
smartenup / June 26, 2010 at 09:55 pm
Any of you who do not understand the dynamics of internalized oppression and self-loathing, keep your nonsense to yourselves. 400 years of colonial pressure keeps a nation in survival mode, and it is this mode that our strong warriors, elders, and youth are resisting when they take to the streets to celebrate our onkwehonwe philosophies and ways of life. In other words, you who comment in such degrading terms should see the efforts of our brothers and sisters yesterday for what they were--a great revival, a show of love for community, and for our lands. We will take rightful responsibility for our traditional territories once again. You can either be a part of that, or you can fight the wave. Your choice.
ThkUforsharingyourland / June 27, 2010 at 08:15 am
The ignorance written by some on these pages only reinforces the need for the federal and provincial governments to step forward and deal with the atrocities that have been and are still being inflicted on First Nations people. This is generational, how does one be a parent when role models were rapists priests, when their language traditions and families have been destroyed. Spend some time learning the FACTS! To the governments of Canada at all levels take the swastika off the Peace Tower and honour their Treaty Rights. Honour the people that have so generously allowed us to share their land!
LU replying to a comment from Joe / June 27, 2010 at 08:15 am
dear Ntiv People if I ever know how much problem you are have in Canada, I never have been requst to came in Canada, my heart with you, the proper justice WILL BE ALL NO NATIV PEOPLE GO HOME INCLUDING ME THIS LAND BELONGING TO YOU NATIV PEOPLE
hm replying to a comment from mark / June 27, 2010 at 09:30 am
you are in ther land and wolking on ther blood and you are advising them what they have to do, you are pay tax to your government
lu replying to a comment from AK / June 27, 2010 at 09:46 am
you are right but do not compare europe with north A. one part of europe has high level of conscinence and respect abut human being
zljnj replying to a comment from mark / June 27, 2010 at 10:12 am
what you MARKKK think about ISRAEL taking land from PALESTINE because in B I B L E SAID THAT IS ISRAEL LEND before thousands years, but you are think 100 year to far and time for NATIV PEOPLE TO GIV UP ON THER LEND
Jonathan / June 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm
Having lived in two cities with very large native communities (Duluth, Minnesota & Winnipeg, Manitoba) , just SEEING these groups organize and show some public form of solidarity gave me chills. I was in grade 9 when I first saw 'Where The Spirit Lives' - low budget film about the conditions in Minnesota, Manitoba & Alberta Boarding Schools. The only place to find it today is to do a search on YouTube. I highly recommend watching this to gain some insight on what this has done to generations of native people. I am not native. But I am gay. And because we share a very similar history of being shamed, ostracized, abused and treated horribly by so-called people of God, I will always support native rights.

Aside from the street theater of the protests - remember that alone we can't do much. But together, we all can link our experiences of injustice (as well as empowerment) to become a force to be reckoned with. Strength in numbers. Get to know others and discover how MUCH we have in common. You'll see.
ArrowheadRd / June 27, 2010 at 05:29 pm
In order for Fist Nations to be a Sovereign Nation the politics law states that they get to have proof I believe from archeologist findings that they did have a settlement. They did find these archeological artifacts and burial grounds, but the mainstream archeologist run by the Elite are denying the proof or trying to cover or erase First Nations history. Same thing happening with the Govt system and Canada refuse to sign and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Stop The genocide.
Cha1n5aW / June 28, 2010 at 02:04 pm
I'm all for natives having fair and appropriate privileges in Canada, but let me tell u this, every native has a right to a government grant to build a new house, every native has a right to a 5 year college grant. As it is, the first nations residents of Canada are exempt from ALL sales taxes, yet they still get the rebate cheques for taxes they don't even pay. The reserves I've seen first hand are a far cry from the slums of Kibera Nairobi (Kenya) or the slums of dhobi ghat in Mumbai India. These claims of living in 3rd world conditions are extremely inaccurate and exaggerated. I rather doubt those making such claims have ever seen the living conditions in places like Somalia or Mozambique.
thewhiteman / June 28, 2010 at 05:58 pm
its all fucking bull shit we give them what ever they want non of them work for there fucking money its all the white man.
Wooman / June 29, 2010 at 02:45 pm
White man got free handouts in the first place and trying to take credit what they didn't create.
Rupesh / July 16, 2010 at 05:06 am
And raising the flag of the Mohawk Warriors society makes as much sense as the flag of the Tamil Tigers. Glorifying a goon squad? Thanks but no thanks. Keep your money raising through smuggling operations to yourselves, there's no honour in it. It does nothing to advance native rights.
D.D. diabetes diet / October 23, 2010 at 11:12 am
Love the main page. Will it always be this way?
Canadian Government Grants / November 11, 2010 at 09:20 am
I am going to form my very own activity since there aren't any nice jobs ?n existence.

Could any one provide any ideas or sites about how to get government grant money to begin with my personal small business? I have been looking on the internet but just about every website requires for money and I've been told by the unemployment office to avoid the websites that ask for cash for grant related information because they are scammers. I'd personally be really grateful for any advice.
Vakeesa / June 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm
Speak up more about the genocide

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