Indigenous communities speak out in KW

Indigenous Sovereignty Week, Oct. 25 to 31, is being marked in Kitchener-Waterloo by a series of events hosted by the local group Anti-War at Laurier (AW@L). The event is aimed at raising awareness among local municipalities of the Six Nations communities along the Grand River.

“It’s basically education and awareness that get more people across the country and this community specifically aware of indigenous rights,” said Alex Hundert, Laurier alumnus and representative of AW@L.

The communities along the Grand River are currently under disputes in the land claim process. The week’s events will address such issues, and work to improve relationships between the indigenous and municipal communities.

Events during the week will include speakers Melissa Elliott, co-founder of Young Onkwehonwe United (YOU), and Jim Windle, co-founder of Two Row Understanding through Education (TRUE), which will be held at the KW Community Centre of Social Justice (KWCCSJ) in Kitchener.

Indigenous Sovereignty Week was initiated by Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities and activists in land struggle across Canada; it is organized in partnership with other supporting activist groups.

Canada has been criticized for lagging in improving relations between Natives and the state. It is also one of three countries in the world that have failed to sign the United Nation’s declaration of Indigenous rights.

“One of my hopes coming out of this is that we actually start to build a movement internal to Canada to pressure the government to sign that and to start settling some of these land claims,” said Hundert.