Spirit Builders

Spirit Builders

Charles Catto, Frontiers Foundation and the Struggle to End Indigenous Poverty

Book - 2016
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The people who were living here on Turtle Island (North America) before us have been pushed aside from their own land for years. Mining companies, lumber companies,railways, government, fisheries have all taken away their land and resources while dishonoring the treaties that were supposed to protect them.

This is the story of aboriginal peoples in Canada, their ruined villages, and the many diverse people of Operation Beaver, the Frontiers Foundation, and their thousands of friends across Canada and around the world who helped when they were asked.

The culmination of seven years of research, James Bacque's new book addresses directly and unflinchingly the dangerous deprivation and shame that haunt Canada's aboriginal reserves. He also shows how the media get it wrong: they criticize Chief Spence of Attawapiskat for demanding a meeting with Canada's Governor-General, whereas in fact, as representative of the Crown, he has a serious role to play. According to a recent finding of a judge of the Federal Court of Canada, James Hugessen, "In virtually all aboriginal rights cases, the honour of the Crown is at stake." Deep and original research such as this is critically important in these discussions.

Spirit Builders is the story of Charles Catto and Frontiers Foundation, which has been building houses and educating students on reserves and M#65533;tis land across Canada for 60 years. This volunteer and cooperative movement has built over 2,000 houses, community buildings and schools as a practical way of addressing and solving many of the problems that aboriginals and M#65533;tis around the world face as they seek to create a new relationship with the colonizing societies around them.

The success of Frontiers Foundation is grounded in its requirement that the prospective owners of houses contribute work themselves, while Frontiers Foundation's head office organizes outside volunteers, grants and machinery to help create the building materials on aboriginal land. Over the years, the Foundation has also come to operate successful educational programs in Canada, Haiti and Bolivia.
Publisher: Victoria, BC :, Rocky Mountain Books,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781771601368
Branch Call Number: 970.00497 BAC
Characteristics: 302 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 22 cm

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u
undereli
May 05, 2017

This was a really enjoyable and uplifting, if bittersweet, book to read. I was particularly interested because it looks at indigenous poverty, particularly in Canada, but elsewhere in the world as well. Charles Catto's indomitable spirit and hope were the primary force behind the Frontiers Foundation. For 60 years, the Foundation and other organizations similar to, or which sprang from it, built new, affordable housing and infrastructure in many remote communities across Canada and the far North, in ways the federal government had never accomplished, despite this country's early promises by The Crown to honour its agreements with First Nations. Time and again, with the help of hard-working and persevering volunteers from around the world, Frontiers helped to turn First Nations communities on the brink of hopelessness around, curb high suicide rates, support education and learning trades, and return hope and pride to their people. Overall, this is a heartwarming and easy-to-read piece of modern Canadian history.

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