Jun 21, 2014 - Peoples’ Social Forum 2014: building good relationships by Ana Collins

Indigenous histories teach us that we are all part of an intricate creation; where all beings carry their own bundle of gifts and responsibilities to creation. Our bundles help us at all times of our existence and give us tools in order to live a sustainable and fulfilling life. Creation is formed in a universal order that facilitates balance, interconnections, and happiness for all life. Essentially, creation is based on a relationship-making structure to maintain that balance and mino bemaadziwin: good way of living.

The Peoples’ Social Forum, to be held in Ottawa, August 21-24, 2014, is about relationship building, bringing people together who don’t usually work together but who might be working on common causes, changing the nature of future relationships, honouring treaties, changing the structure of how things are done on this land, and respecting the teachings that the land has for us.

This historic 4-day gathering will open with traditional Algonquin ceremony on Victoria Island. At the University of Ottawa, and other sites in the city, at hundreds of workshops, presentations, panels, movement assemblies, demonstrations and arts and cultural events we will all teach and we will all learn. We will see the interconnectedness of all our struggles and we will build a better future together in good relationships.

To participate in the Peoples’ Social Forum register yourself and your family, apply for billeted housing, and hop on one of the many caravans travelling to Ottawa from all around the land. We are committed to helping people from all geographic regions, Indigenous, youth, elders, People of Colour, and low income.

Anyone can propose an activity or workshop– to share knowledge, ideas, strategies, and inspiring stories of resistance. We are interested in all kinds of workshops: anti-­‐oppressive work, protecting public services, decolonization, children’s activities, radical politics, resistance and the arts, alternative economic systems, land defence, youth leadership, treaty education: all activities that build a better future.

Movement Assemblies are community gatherings, held during the Peoples’ Social Forum, designed to develop action plans in order to work together across issues on local, regional, and national fronts. Many Assemblies are already planning their activities at the Forum: Climate Change, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Alternative Media, Water, Democracy, and many more. Everyone is welcome to join and share their ideas.

To do all this and to learn more, please visit the website: www.peoplessocialforum.org

Many organizations, nations and individuals are currently facing serious challenges that are undermining inherent Indigenous rights, and the treaty relationships that form the basis of this country, and the values we hold as a society. Our movements continue to be fragmented, each fighting their own battles: we react to disasters, funding cuts, resource development and violence.

The time has come to build a strategic broad coalition to defend and protect land, communities and creation by taking up our bundles and honouring our responsibilities. We must build good relationships with public service unions, non-governmental organizations, scientists, recent migrants, students and all groups and individuals who want to build an alternative future based on mino bemaadziwin.

Ana Collins
Indigenous Coordinator for the Peoples Social Forum
Unceded Algonquin Territory,
Ottawa, August 21-24, 2014

Last Real Indians