In the Body of Nature


UPDATE:   BILL C-262 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (May 30, 2018) – PASSED!

An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Congratulations to Romeo Saganash ( NDP) who introduced Bill C-262 as a private member’s bill.  [Member spoke in Cree] “I remember very clearly when, in September 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It was such an important moment in the history of the United Nations, and also in the history of 400 million indigenous people throughout more than 70 countries. Today, I would suggest, is an equally important moment for this Parliament, for indigenous peoples, and indeed for all Canadians in this country.

Featured Story: The Return of the Earth Keepers-Indigenous Rights and Coal Mining, Black Mesa, Arizona.  Thanksgiving Caravan.

In the Body of Nature draws inspiration from Susannah’s experiences traveling, pursuing an artistic career promoting body positivity, natural beauty and the sovereignty of women’s bodies through art, photography, and writing. With a feminist agenda, Susannah’s work captured the imaginations of readers and viewers of her work that encourages women to maintain a sense of body-pride regardless of shape or form.

In the Body of Nature, Susannah invites her readers to think differently about bodies. Stated simply, we do not HAVE bodies, we ARE bodies. We are bodies, made of the same stuff as all other life forms on our planet. As such our human bodies parallel to the body of nature such as the body of a mountain, heavenly bodies, or oceanic bodies (etc.) and although we seldom think of trees or plants as bodies – they are! Therefore loving and honoring the body, our own bodies, and the bodies of all other life-forms on the planet set the premise for the essay.

Women’s oppression and the degradation of nature is parallel to each other. Degradation of nature contributes to women’s degradation because, in an area where the environment is devastated, women are primarily those who are affected. Radiations, chemical wastes, and other pollutants have unfavorable effects on women’s reproductive system. Hence, to preserve nature means to preserve women and next generations.

Therefore, Nature is a feminist issue!

In the Body of Nature will further expand upon the environmental degradation we see today that leaves women more exposed to being taken advantage of and treated as mere objects. “This same kind of actions leads to enslavement and forced labour that exploits women and children and abandonment of the elderly who can no longer be taken care of, or worse, human experimentation for profit. This begs us to wonder, what limits are placed on modern-day crimes such as the trafficking of persons and body parts, selling your body for the advancement of biotech, organized crime, the commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species?” [Pope Francis]

To attack the problem of violence against women, nature and indigenous cultures requires us to attack the mythic justification of such violence. To do so, the essay refers to ancient text, myths, and origin stories to enlighten readers on how we arrived at this point and how to move forward. To effect change, one must understand how the system works. To do this the essay will analyze the intersections between religion, politics, and economics with violence against women, nature and indigenous cultures. This is not a faith-based essay rather it seeks to show a pattern of Christianity’s origin stories and today’s way of thinking because these origin stories are Western society’s paradigmatic foundation myth. In other-words Christianity’s origin stories have formed the basis of our society, culture, art, law, policies and our nation’s politics.

In the Body of Nature concludes by highlighting Susannah’s personal theory on her disenchantment with the idea of feminism being the answer to resolving our differences. The conclusion outlines and provides the setting for her second essay, What Now? that explores the urgency to look beyond the gender divide seeking a more modern and inclusive definition of humanism that explores and unifies the human condition.

Table of Associated Blog Contents:

The Reconciliation Manifesto: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy

Book by: Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson

In this book Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson challenge virtually everything that non-Indigenous Canadians believe about their relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the steps that are needed to place this relationship on a healthy and honorable footing.

Manuel and Derrickson show how governments are attempting to reconcile with Indigenous Peoples without touching the basic colonial structures that dominate and distort the relationship. They review the current state of land claims. They tackle the persistence of racism among non-Indigenous people and institutions. They celebrate Indigenous Rights Movements while decrying the role of government-funded organizations like the Assembly of First Nations. They document the federal government’s disregard for the substance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples while claiming to implement it. These circumstances amount to what they see as a false reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

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November 2017 – Book Launch at Ryerson University Student Centre, Toronto

Instead, Manuel and Derrickson offer an illuminating vision of what Canada and Canadians need for true reconciliation. In this book, which Arthur Manuel and Ron Derrickson completed in the months before Manuel’s death in January 2017, readers will recognize their profound understanding of the country, of its past, present, and potential future.

Expressed with quiet but firm resolve, humor, and piercing intellect The Reconciliation Manifesto will appeal to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are open and willing to look at the real problems and find real solutions.

Overview By: Google Books 

Purchase: Amazon Books.


Fiduciaries of Humanity and International Law

FiduciariesPublic international law has embarked on a new chapter. Over the past century, the classical model of international law, which emphasized state autonomy and interstate relations, has gradually ceded ground to a new model.  Under the new model, a state’s sovereign authority arises from the state’s responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights for its people.

In Fiduciaries of Humanity: How International Law Constitutes Authority,  Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent argue that these developments mark a turning point in the international community’s conception of public authority.  Under international law today, states serve as fiduciaries of humanity, and their authority to govern and represent their people is dependent on their satisfaction of numerous duties, the most general of which is to establish a regime of secure and equal freedom on behalf of the people subject to similar fiduciary obligations.  The authors apply the fiduciary model to a variety of current topics and controversies, including human rights, emergencies, the treatment of detainees in counterterrorism operations, humanitarian intervention, and the protection of refugees fleeing persecution.

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