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Defenders for Human Rights
The Community of Defenders
Karihwakè:ron Tim Thompson

Karihwakè:ron Tim Thompson Equitable Education for All

GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Four 60 minute class periods

El Jones

Halifax’s poet laureate since 2013, El Jones, is an Afro-Métis spoken word activist who found solidarity with “the political, prophetic tradition of Afrikan (sic) Nova Scotia.” Jones’s activism came to her through her craft – she got involved to bring sincerity to her words. Finding her focus in prison outreach and youth engagement, Jones has developed a brand of slam poetry that aims to empower African Nova Scotians and match low reading comprehension levels. In 2014, she released her first book of poems, Live From the Afrikan Resistance! which seeks to both empower and educate.

Idle No More

Initiated by Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon’s Saskatchewan teach-in in late 2012, Idle No More is a national grassroots movement to build indigenous sovereignty. It aims to do so through peaceful protest pressuring the Canadian government to protect treaty rights and the environment. The movement gained national attention with its first Day of Action on December 10, 2012, which urged the federal government to protect indigenous land and rights, and to abandon the Northern Gateway pipeline project. Through media coverage and social media, Idle No More has spread across Canada, and continues to raise discussion about indigenous rights.

Chief Darcy Bear

Chief Darcy Bear was first elected as chief of the Whitecap Dakota First Nation in 1991 at age 23, into a band office with a deficit. With a focus of indigenous development and self-determination, Bear has worked for more than 20 years to improve economy and quality of life in his community. Among his more notable achievements are a reduced unemployment rate, from 70 per cent to 4.1, a self-governing land code, and increased transparency of band expenses. Under Bear’s leadership, the band now runs a golf course – allowing for the community to have more jobs than community members. He works with the goal of fostering First Nations economies from within as a part of the general Canadian economy.

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi is a Dene activist, musician, former politician, and residential school survivor. Known for his direct approach, Kakfwi worked to guide the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Territories to an ability to engage in political matters, particularly the issue of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline and in the establishment of Nunavut as a territory. He has served both as the Dene Nation President and as the premier of the Northwest Territories. Kakfwi works with the goal of balancing preservation of indigenous culture, language, tradition, and environment with full indigenous participation in the political and economic mainstream. He received the Aboriginal Achievement Award for Public Service in 1997.