Caledonia activists to address ‘New Directions in Aboriginal Policy’ forum

UPDATED 2023 April 29/10 — Mark Vandermaas (founder of the Caledonia Victims Project, and editor of VoiceofCanada) and Gary McHale (Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality) have been invited to speak at the 2010 ‘New Directions in Aboriginal Policy’ forum at Mount Royal University in Calgary on May 05/10 by the co-author of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry, Dr. Frances Widdowson.

Other speakers include Don Sandberg, Albert Howard, Tom Flanagan, David Newhouse, Joseph Quesnel, Ron Bourgeault, Andrew Hodgkins and Joseph Lane, a researcher from Australia.

About the Program

The program and a sample of writings from the speakers can be found on Dr. Widdowson’s website.

Campaign against Vandermaas & McHale results in positive outcome

A storm of controversy that was ignited by an internet  petition aimed at intimidating Mount Royal University into revoking the invitation to speak has now, unexpectedly, brought about some very positive results for the people of Caledonia and Six Nations, and the future of debate in Canada:  

  1. The petition was voluntarily taken down by the Australian host due to libelous statements against Mark Vandermaas & Gary McHale.
  2. Christie Blatchford was drawn into the firestorm when a Mount Royal professor announced he planned to sign the petition, and then suggested that she be invited to speak instead Vandermaas & McHale. Blatchford sent forum organizer Dr. Widdowson a lengthy email explaining that she was too busy to come because she was writing a book about Caledonia, and that the allegations against the two – based on her personal knowledge – were untrue. She also gave Dr. Widdowson permission to publish her email. Widdowson reports that the professor is now reconsidering his position.
  3. For months Dr. Widdowson has attempted – without success – to find someone on the pro-aboriginal sovereignty side to challenge the non-native Caledonia perspective advanced by McHale & Vandermaas. I am pleased to report that a resident from Six Nations – Wes Elliott has now agreed to participate. This will be the first time in nearly four years that a civil public debate will take place between those who support the actions of native protesters and those who have tried to speak out for their victims. We look forward to Mr. Elliott’s presentation and his critique of ours.

For more information, please see:

Pre-forum Caledonia townhall meeting – Tues, April 27

CANACE and the Caledonia Victims Project held a well-attended ‘Caledonia’s National Voice Meeting’ to discuss the Mount Royal forum and to seek input from the community. Jeff Parkinson of CANACE recorded the event, and we hope to post clips from it in the coming days. Mayor Trainer was in attendance.

One of the key messages shared, which will be emphasized in Calgary, is the need to reach out to partners for peace on Six Nations who are willing to help convince that community of the need to begin the healing process with an apology for the terrible things done in Caledonia. A copy of the ‘Reconciliation: the CANACE Path’ diagram (first presented to Brantford Council in Sept 2008) was distributed to help residents understand that there is a way forward that does makes sense. You can download a copy here:

  • CANACE diagram: Reconciliation: the CANACE Path [PDF]

Residents have already answered the call for victim impact statements which will be posted here on the Project, and a number of people provided input in writing for us to consider when speaking in Calgary.

To those of you who have provided comments and your (heartbreaking) impact statements, I will do my best to post them before we leave for Calgary once I have completed my presentation preparations. If not, I hope you will understand.

Thank you so much for helping to record the history of Caledonia. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future, some of which we shared, some of which we cannot.

Mark Vandermaas, Founder/Director
Caledonia Victims Project
info@caledoniavictimsproject.ca

Dr. Frances Widdowson, New Directions in Aboriginal Policy Forums

References

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