Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From Our House To Yours....

House Famous Inc. would like to wish all our friends a carefree Christmas, a humourous Hanukkah, and a krazeee Kwanzaa. Best of luck in the New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

In House Famous news these days, a new website has been made by The Simple Way community in Philadelphia called 'Community of Communities'. This is an exciting website as it will help all the communities in North America to connect and learn from one another.
The website can be found here:
Make sure to look for us on the site!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

On Hospitality

"5) I commit to making our house a house of true hospitality. I will strive to make our house welcome to all. This means I will do all I can to serve our guests and our members by keeping the house clean, daily dish washing, cooking, providing meals and shelter, as well as creating welcoming conversations and activities, etc." Romans 12:13

When I first heard about The House Famous I thought that it would be a lot different than it is now. I had this image in my mind, somewhat similar to the later half of the movie “Fight Club”. I envisioned homeless people coming in and out. Everything being a mess, people talking everywhere, laughing and joking abounding, and just having general chaos everywhere.

Having moved in, I have found (with mixed feelings) that this is in fact, incorrect. People move around a lot, but it’s not as chaotic, nor as full as I originally thought it would be. We don’t have homeless folk and friends coming in and out at all hours of the day, and it’s not really like the last part of Fight Club.

This may seem like I’m going on about a very simple revelation but I’m actually going somewhere with this. What I found after living here for a while, is that things seem to go in stages. We generally work with one homeless or needy friend at a time. We spend some time getting to know one friend, we invite them over, and they spend some time with us. Then sometimes that’s where it stops, and sometimes it continues.

But right now, we’re still in that first stage. We have a homeless friend that we’ve spent some time getting to know, and now he trusts us enough to come over and visit us every evening. Almost every night, just after supper, a knock comes at the door and we hear our friends voice of greeting. He comes in, removes his coat and shoes, and takes a seat in our living room. We offer him food or drink, and he usually asks us for a glass of orange juice. After drinking his juice we spend some time asking him about his day and how things are going. In the course of our conversation he usually tells us some amazing facts about things like serial killers, or a story about how Dan Akroyd (“Dan”) nearly ran him over with a car. We all laugh along and enjoy his stories and his company. Then when he feels he’s stayed long enough he’ll remark “Well, I better go” and then he’ll get up, put his coat back on and head back outside.

This isn’t what I was expecting, but regardless of my expectations, whenever our friend leaves, I feel as if in some way Jesus has just left our home.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something Ain't Right Here.

Like most Canadians I have spent most of my life knowing our interactions with our Aboriginal peoples were not as they should be, but that most of the problems were in the past and that they weren't really my problem. But since my trip with CPT to Ardoch I've started to see things differently. First off, the problems of the past have not been resolved. Canada and the First Nations have signed treaties that outline our relationship with one another. In the treaties Native Canadians were supposed to be consulted on any decision that involved extracting resources or building stuff on the lands they let the settlers use, and they were supposed to be able to fish and hunt on those lands. These treaties were never honoured. Many times, the land that was not even given over to Canada was taken, moving the people that had lived there for thousands of years unceremoniously to less valuable lands. This is how we as Canadians 200 years later are still involved in the problems. Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, and the wealth that has been gathered over the last 200 years has been from extraction of natural resources. Natural resources are gathered from the land. In many cases the land was not even ours. In best case scenerios we did not honour our end of the treaty, ignoring our responsibility to consult First Nations groups about whether we could proceed with exploiting the land. As a result, 200 years later, the average Canadian enjoys comforts unheard of throughout much of the history of the world, while most First Nations communities remain poor. And we continue to benefit from this situation by sticking to archaic laws that work to our advantage and the disadvantage of Indigenous Peoples.

This injustice is manifesting itself again in Algonquin Territory of Ardoch First Nation and Shabot Obaajiwan First Nation. Despite all the environmental concerns about uranium mining, the negotiations, blocking the gate, and doing just about anything to keep Frontenac Ventures from drilling for uranium, on December 1st, money talked and drilling was accepted as a possibility by the Shabot/Obaajiwan First Nation. The situation was made to look like a beautiful collaboration between Frontenac Ventures, Ontario, and First Nations groups; however, Ardoch First Nation has still not agreed to the terms, and Shabot Obaajawin made its deal with 77 million dollar lawsuit hanging over their heads. The deal looks a little more like coersion than collaboration to me.

Bob Lovelace says it better here.

My delegation with CPT

From November 15-23 I had the blessing to be sent by the House Famous to participate on a Christian Peacemaking Teams delegation in Algonquin Territory supporting Algonquin First Nation groups' attempts to keep a Frontenac Ventures Uranium Mine off of their traditional lands.
Throughout the very busy week we met with Ardoch First Nation leaders including Bob Lovelace and current co-chief Mireille Lapointe who taught us much about their claims to the land and how Canada has continued to ignore First Nations claims throughout our history. It seems our province of Ontario has been especially bad with honoring treaties, placing economic interests above right relations with Aboriginal People. We also met with the OPP who taught us about their ART and MELT teams which were developed in response to Dudley George's death at Ipperwash, and have improved the OPP's interaction with First Nation's groups. Finally we met with settlers in the area, some who support the mine and many who were against the mine. It was interesting to learn the full perspective on the situation as too often I read about injustices such as these and then wonder how much of what was said was true, and most often I end up doing nothing. This time will be different.

It seems to me that at the very least, the uranium mine should be stopped for the sake of right relations with the Algonquin people who have claim to the land. They never gave up the land to Canada with any treaty. They have the right then to determine whether a mine should exist.

Numerous towns and cities including Kingston, Ottawa, and Perth have declared a moratorium on uranium mining and it's clear that uranium mining is an environmental disaster. By attending this delegation I was able to look on the area that would be affected by the extraction of uranium, and it includes the whole Mississippi River (of Ontario!) watershed. I went on my first canoe trip with Camp IAWAH on the Mississippi and my memories are marked with the stunning beauty of the land we passed as we paddled. That land needs to be protected from being poisoned by uranium byproducts. Some things are more important than economic development.

I learned a lot on my trip about right relations, my own white privilege, racism and even spirituality. I spent a lot of time reflecting on ways I have benefited from ignoring Aboriginal Rights. I then spent a lot of time lamenting and repenting. At that point I was also blessed to learn that guilt will only keep me doing nothing, that moving forward to establish right relationships is far more important than feeling bad. A huge lesson.

is a report on our delegation from Christian Peacemaking Teams

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Barriere Lake: is this Canada?

As all of the recent media headlines worry over the economy, the political posturing of the "coalition" vs Harper, and of course all of the festive preparations for Christmas, there is one story that has not made it to the headlines. But it should.

Peaceful protesters, with children and elderly people present, are tear gassed and beaten by a riot squad. This happens frequently. The issue and the images are shocking, it seems hard to believe that this kind of thing is happening in Canada. The conditions that the Barriere Lake community is forced to live under are at third-world levels; no power, no water, no services such as hospital access, random arrests and puppet leaders installed to be in power with no consultation from the residents. It is sickening and shameful. But we can do something about it.

Watch the video. Check the website. Take Action. Don't allow this insane oppression to continue unnoticed.