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WARNING: This story has disturbing details about residential and boarding schools. If you are feeling triggered, here is a resource list for trauma responses from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition in the U.S. The National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline in Canada can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

Deusdedit Ruhangariyo
Special to ICT

Around the world: Two more women stepped forward with allegations against a retired residential-school priest charged in a 50-year-old case in Canada, Australia swears in the first-ever Aboriginal Supreme Court judge, a Guarani community unites over farming traditions in Brazil, and Indigenous wrestlers take the show to young fans in the Canadian Arctic.

CANADA: New allegations surface against former school priest

The arrest of a priest on charges he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl at the Fort Alexander residential school in Manitoba, Canada has brought two additional allegations of abuse, CBC News reported on June 24

Three women have now accused retired Father Arthur Masse, 92, of indecent acts at the residential school, CBC News reported.

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The latest allegations surfaced after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police earlier this month charged Masse with indecent assault of the 10-year-old girl more than 50 years ago, shortly before the Fort Alexander school closed in 1970.

Maureen Fontaine, 67, a citizen of Sagkeeng First Nation in eastern Manitoba, where the Fort Alexander school was located, said when she heard the news, she felt it was time to finally publicly share her story. She had previously only told a therapist.

"He did things to me that a little child shouldn't have gone through," she told CBC News. "I still get nightmares, and I get anxiety."

Fontaine contacted the RCMP and was told she would be contacted by the lead investigator in Winnipeg, she told CBC News.

Another woman from Sagkeeng told CBC News that she has also filed a complaint.

"I can confirm there have been further reports made to police since the news of the arrest,” said Tara Seel, a media relations officer with the Manitoba RCMP.

AUSTRALIA: First-ever Aboriginal Supreme Court judge sworn in

A Warramunga man has become Australia's first Indigenous Supreme Court judge, National Indigenous Television reported on June 13.

At his swearing in ceremony in Brisbane, Lincoln Crowley said he didn’t take any classes in legal studies in high school in the 1980s and didn’t spend much time thinking about the court he would later sit on.

"But I knew what was fair and what was not," he said, according to National Indigenous Television.

"I knew it was not fair when I applied for a part-time job after school at a local shop and later found out that the manager threw my application in the bin, while saying, 'They're Aboriginal, aren't they?'

"And I knew it was not fair when teachers suggested that I wouldn't amount to anything and when others judged me, and my worth, and potential, without even knowing me."

Crowley, who was admitted to the bar in 2003, worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Legal Service and the New South Wales Crown Solicitor’s Office. He has been a Crown prosecutor for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in Queensland.

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Crowley said he was inspired by his father, a retired Army officer and one of the Australian Defence Force’s first Indigenous majors. He said his father urged his children to be educated, work hard and make something of themselves.

BRAZIL: Guarani unite over reclaimed farming tradition

A Guarani community in southern São Paulo, Brazil, has returned to traditional farming after reclaiming degraded land once used for eucalyptus, Mongabay.com reported on June 21.

The Guarani collected seeds from other communities, and now have more than 200 varieties of native plants, including nine types of corn, 15 types of sweet potatoes, four types of peanuts, and fruits, Mongabay.com reported.

The Guarani society is built around agriculture, Mongabay.com reported, and the farming project is bringing the community together.

“I had never seen these colored types of corn until I was 22 years old,” said Jerá Poty Mirim, a farmer and teacher who is the leader of the Mbya Guarani people living on the Tenondé Porã Indigenous Territory, at the southern tip of São Paulo .

“I’d only seen Tupi corn, the yellow kind you find in the city.”

Mirim’s village of Kalipety is one of 14 on the 40,000-acre reserve, which was formally demarcated in 2012. The community was given full rights to the territory in 2016.

Planting seeds is meaningful to the Guarani because it signifies the strengthening of the body and the spirit. The elders have a saying that the juruá, or non-Indigenous food, doesn’t nurture, and that the only real nutrition comes from ancestral foods that the gods have in their heavenly homes.

CANADA: Indigenous wrestlers take their show to the North

An independent wrestling organization aimed at Indigenous fans is working to bring wrestlers into the Canadian Arctic, CBC News reported on June 22.

Dez Loreen, an Inuvialuk wrestler from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, co-founded the Totally Arctic Wrestling league in 2019 with his friend, Wade Blu Gruben, CBC News reported.

“There’s nothing better to me than getting booed by a crowd,” Loreen told CBC News. “Just feeling a connection to them and letting them know, ‘I don’t care what you think… I’m here and I’m going to win.’”

Loreen said he has traveled across Canada and the United States to see his favorite wrestlers, and wanted to make the sport more accessible for young people in the North.

“A really big thing for us has been connecting with the kids, connecting with the families here in the region,” Loreen told CBC News. “Nobody thought that we could ever have a pro-wrestling league in the Arctic that’s actually just dedicated to being in the North.”

Final thoughts

My final thoughts are about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the 50-year-old Roe vs. Wade. According to Native researchers, Indigenous women and women of color are up to three times more likely than White women to die from complications of pregnancy, and this ruling could make things worse for them. I hope fairness will eventually prevail.

And finally, let me share with you Article 44 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Article 44
All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female Indigenous individuals.

Global Indigenous is a weekly news roundup published every Wednesday by Indian Country Today with some of the key stories about Indigenous peoples around the world.

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