Posts filed under ‘In the media’

Tribal Canoe Journey by Haley McClure

It was a proud week for Native people as Squaxin Island Tribe hosted ingenious Nations from the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Canada and New Zealand and beyond, as well as over 12,000 visitors on their ancestral land. The Squaxin Island Tribe named this year’s Canoe Journey: “Teachings of Our Ancestors”.

The Annual Canoe Journey has strengthened the ties of Pacific Northwest coastal tribes since its creation in 1989, when nine canoes participated in the Suquamish Tribe’s “Paddle to Seattle.” Now, more than 100 canoe families—from Port Gamble S’Klallam, Swinomish, Makah, Suquamish, Cowichan, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Elwha, Chemanius B.C., Tulalip, Quinault, Squamish B.C., Songees B.C., Ahousaht B.C., Puyallup and LaPush—make the annual voyage to celebrate the revival of traditional travel on the ancestral highways of the coastal Pacific Northwest. Cedar canoes are the traditional mode of transportation for Pacific Northwest Tribes on inland waterways.

Each summer, a different tribe hosts the canoe landing. This year, hundreds of canoes descend upon the Port of Olympia where Squaxin Island Tribal dancers and drummers welcomed the paddlers, many of whom have traveled weeks.

The Squaxin Island Tribe named this year’s Canoe Journey: “Teachings of Our Ancestors.”

The Squaxin tribe are descendants of seven tribes that prospered among the inlets of south Puget Sound, and are known as “The People of the Water,” because the waterways were their highways for hunting, fishing, trading and potlatching with other tribal families.

The canoe journey is about healing. For tribal people, it’s about reconnecting with their history and teaching new generations of tribal members about their traditions and culture that for a long time were in danger of being lost.

Charlene Krise, a member of the Squaxin Island Tribal Council and executive director of the tribe’s Museum Library and Research Center, says the revival of the canoe journey has rejuvenated tribal nations to reclaim their traditions. For the South Sound nontribal community, it was also healing in the building of stronger bridges between cultures.

Hundreds of people worked together to organize the largest canoe journey in its recent reincarnation. Given the Squaxin Island Tribe’s historic and cultural reliance on its natural and traditionally used resources; the Paddle to Squaxin Green Team was committed to upholding the teachings of our ancestors to care for Mother Earth.

A tremendous amount of waste is generated with over 12,000 visitors to the Squaxin Island Tribe Reservation. The Green Team planed intricately with Mason County recycling and Thurston County Natural Resources for low-waste canoe journey. When visitors were celebrating and camping Green Team members diligently and with smiles on their faces picked up and sorted hundreds of pounds trash. It was a dirty job but the support of all visitors, volunteers, and community members the bins became full and the reservation sparkled. This event is another sign that efforts to protect the environment, human health, and community welfare and above all cultural exchange uplift us.

For more information and pictures visit: http://paddletosquaxin2012.org/

Haley McClure works with Marigold Fair Trade and is currently creating a video about the Canoe Journey and her experiences volunteering on the Green Team.

Haley McClure and Sonny George

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August 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

Update on BCWS: Kalpona Atker arrested

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the labor rights struggles happening in Bangladesh.  I told you about the great work that the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) has done, but that they were struggling with the government to maintain their organizational rights. I am very sad to report that on August 13, 2010, a main figure head of the BCWS, Kalpona Atker was arrested for “inciting worker unrest.”  She was doing her part by advocating for garment workers’ rights, but has paid the price for her dedication to the cause and was taken to jail by 20 officers. Read more and take action HERE.

Discussion:

Wal-Mart is Bangladesh’s biggest customer. Knowing that, and the power behind the mega-brand, do you think Wal-Mart has an obligation to help the workers? Why might they not to choose to step in? Do these in-actions by corporations make you think twice about purchasing from them?

This is a follow to my recent post: $24 per month: The salary of 3 million garment workers in Bangladesh

August 27, 2010 at 6:58 am Leave a comment

Reaping the benefits of certification labels

You can read The Omnivore’s Dilemma to get the full story about how industrial agriculture came to be in the US, but it’s actually a recent development. For years, people have farmed exactly the same way: at a low yield to feed the family and a few townspeople, with the help of animals to pull plows and provide fertilizer, always growing and rotating a variety of crops. With the invention of modern farm equipment and techniques, the application of patent protection to high yield seeds, government subsidies, and the wide-spread use of pesticides, farming in the last 50 years has become more of a cut-throat political game then anything.

Organic farmingOrganic farming has become quite fashionable, and many producers have jumped on the band wagon in order to capitalize on the ever-growing and affluent LOHAS segment.  This is a marketing term that refers to a particular group that focuses on sustainability, makes thoughtful decisions about what products they buy, and that relies on food certification labels to at the point of sale. But some independent farmers have always used organic techniques, not just in the past few years when the industry has boomed, but have been unable to label and sell their products as such because of government restrictions. The kicker is that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages the organic labeling of foods in the US, and like any certification, it involves a lot of time and money to obtain and maintain the status.

But the economic downturn has affected everyone, including small, independent farmers who already operate on a low margin. Many who have been “hold outs” for the organic label are reconsidering their ban, and are now coughing up the yearly fees and royalties necessary to sell their “officially organic” products to grocery chains like Whole Foods. Even though organic techniques have been at the core of these producers’ values since the beginning, the competition, including large conglomerates, have taken the segment by storm and reaped the increased sales due to their USDA organic-labeled foods. At this point, giving into more government involvement in the food system is the only way that they can compete.

So what does this sudden change of heart tell us? Despite what your opinions are about the industrial food system, one thing is clear: certification labels matter. All consumers, not just the ones in the LOHAS segment, are starting to ask more questions about their products, including where it was produced, by who, and under what conditions. However scary they may be, scandals in the marketplace are driving the demand of increased supply chain transparency. No one wants to get salmonella from eggs they purchased at the corner store, or serve contaminated food to their dogs, and certification labels, although confusing at times, do help the consumer to make reliable decisions.

Changes in the food system are just the beginning, and conscious consumerism is beginning to pop up in other industries including apparel and footwear.  Transfair USA, the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the US, will soon be fully launching its Apparel and Linens pilot.  What this means for you is that for the first time in history, you will be able to choose an ethical tee shirt over one that was made in a sweat shop.

Marigold Fair Trade Clothing is part of this program (more news to come later…), and while you have come to trust and love our company through our stories and transparency, you will soon have an official certified label to verify what you have always known: that buying a product from Marigold connects you to the producers and offers you a chance to be part of an alternate trade system that respects human dignity and sustainability.

Discussion:

What are your thoughts on certification labels? Do they affect your purchase decisions, and if so in what categories? If one clothing item was labeled organic and fair trade, and the one next to it did not have the certifications, how would your thought process change? Do you think a label can help to increase sales?

Source: Seeing ‘Gain’ in the Label Organic, The New York Times, August 7, 2010

August 23, 2010 at 4:25 am Leave a comment


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