National Chief Atleo Attends Nelson Mandela Services in South Africa

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo is among the official delegates from Canada attending services for Nelson Mandela.

He, along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and 18 other political leaders including premiers and members of Parliament, are en route to South Africa for the memorial service to be held in Johannesburg on December 10, as well as Mandela’s lying in state in Pretoria on December 11.

The human-rights icon died on December 5 at age 95. He had served both in prison, for 27 years, and as president, for four, as the country began dismantling the system of segregation known as Apartheid. Known as Madiba by his people, the son from a line of hereditary Thembu chiefs spent most of his life fighting discrimination and racism, and championing human rights.

RELATED: Remembering Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

“The life, work and spirit of Nelson Mandela—or Madiba, as he was called by his people—was deeply connected to First Nations in Canada not only as a fellow indigenous leader but also because of his incredible struggle for justice and reconciliation that resonates so deeply with the struggle and aspirations of our peoples,” Atleo said in a statement on December 8, upon the delegation’s departure. “Our traditions call upon us to always be mindful of the importance of such commemoration, celebration and respect to be shown to the family and to the people united in marking this loss. I will travel to South Africa as a humble representative of our indigenous traditions to pay our respects and to stand in honor of this great leader and inspiration for Indigenous peoples and for the world.”

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Also part of the delegation are Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski. The NW territories will lower their flags to half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday.

“Much will be said about the character, influence and strength of Nelson Mandela in the coming days,” McLeod said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to reflect on our own experience and those around us who have carried great personal burdens. Our experiences in the North, particularly those related to residential schools, require strength and a true spirit of reconciliation for all northerners. I will be taking this week to reflect on how we can continue to work together to reconcile our past and our differences as we move forward.”

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, who worked with him as a young lawyer during the 1990s as part of a team that was laying the groundwork for a post-Apartheid South Africa, is also part of the delegation.

“Nelson Mandela was a towering icon, a giant of a man and an enormously inspiring individual who courageously spent his life fighting racism, oppression, and injustice,” she said in a statement upon his passing. “He used his days walking this earth to bring freedom, equality and human rights to his people, his country and to the world.”

RELATED: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013): The End of an Era

Redford’s grief, both personal and professional, echoed the appeal that Mandela held for Natives and non-Natives alike.

“I will always remember him as a dignified and kind man with a sparkle in his eye, who used humor to diffuse tense situations,” she said. “He taught me that the best advice comes from people who have been working in the trenches, and that leaders have to sacrifice. I remember his wisdom, his optimism and his patience. He knew that no matter what he had accomplished that there was always another challenge ahead of him and another hill to climb, and that his work was never done until he breathed his last breath.”



Marysville offers local domestic violence services

Source: Marysville Globe

MARYSVILLE — Mayor Jon Nehring has proclaimed October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Marysville. Police and other city officials are donning purple ribbons on their uniforms and on their vehicles in support of raising awareness about domestic violence.

Behind all of the ribbons and proclamations are two women who work specifically to help domestic violence victims in Marysville and other communities. Legal Advocacy Director Lisa Nicholson and Victim Advocate/Prevention Educator Alyssa Morgan have been on the front lines, combating the issue, through Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County in Everett.

The city of Marysville began contracting for their services last February. Nicholson and Morgan share an office in the Marysville Municipal Court building where they provide social service support to victims.

In the past fiscal year, the agency has served 128 residents in Marysville. Services range from legal assistance in criminal and civil courts, to support groups, shelter and transitional housing for victims. Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County also runs the New & Again Thrift Shoppe, through which all proceeds go toward helping victims, and residents of the shelter and transitional housing can receive items at no cost to them.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes. Annually, domestic violence affects more than 4 million Americans, one in three people have witnessed a domestic violence incident, and children who grow up in violent homes are believed to be abused and neglected at a rate higher than the national average, according to statistics.

Nicholson and Morgan hope their broad range of services will reverse the trend.

“Victims should know that, if they call 911, they will be supported,” said Nicholson, who added that victims can also call their free and confidential 24-hour hotline at 425-252-2873. “Know you’re not alone. We’re here.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides an opportunity for citizens to learn more about preventing domestic violence, and to show support for the numerous organizations and individuals who provide critical advocacy, services and assistance to victims. Both women see it as a collective effort between their office, Marysville Police and other city officials. They praise the city for making the domestic violence issue a priority, and believe that Marysville sees the benefit of having legal advocates in the community.

“Marysville is an example to other jurisdictions,” Nicholson said. “We’re a blend of systems-based advocacy, and community-based advocacy, and that offers a more comprehensive set of services.”

Nicholson and Morgan hope that Domestic Violence Awareness Month will not only bring awareness to the issue, but better understanding.

“Victims need support through the process, because it’s not as simple as saying, ‘Just leave,’” Morgan said.

“There are other dynamics,” Nicholson said. “Fear of being hurt, fear of your children being hurt, income, no resources — it’s not easy to pick up and leave.”

They also hope awareness brings more funding for prevention programs, including education as early as elementary school, to help children learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships, and an emphasis on not glamorizing teen violence.

“If more people are aware, more victims are willing to call,” Morgan said.

Limited Services Provided by Indian Affairs During Government Shutdown

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

With the government shutdown now in its second day and around 800,000 non-essential government workers being furloughed, some offices working directly with Indian country will have limited services.

RELATED: Government Shutdown Frustrates Tribal Leaders

The Department of the Interior – Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) will provide limited services to tribes, students and individuals during the shutdown of the federal government. Of the total 8,143 employees, a total of 2,860 will be furloughed.

The BIA that provides direct services to 566 federally recognized tribes that include contracts, grants and compacts will continue functions that are necessary to protect life and property. These services include law enforcement and operations of detention centers; social services to protect children and adults; irrigation and power – delivery of water and power; firefighting and response to emergency situations according to a BIA press release.

As for the BIE, school operations are forwarded funded meaning operations should carry on as normal during the shutdown. BIE funded schools will remain open and staffed; transportation and maintenance of schools will continue. Other schools that will remain open are tribally-contracted schools that are also forward funded. Education services are provided by BIE to approximately 41,000 Native students through 183 schools and dormitories and providing funding 31 colleges, universities and post-secondary school according to the release.

Additional information on Indian Affairs’ contingency plan for operations during the government shutdown can be found at: