Vale Inco, Nuclear Waste Management Organization Once Funded Centre in Indigenous Governance At Ryerson, But Corporations Are Funding Almost All Universities Now So Why Does This One Matter More?
by Daniel Johnson
Ryerson University's Centre in Indigenous Governance At Ryerson features long time Idle No More spokesperson Pam Palmater overseeing the First Nations public administration program, "which provides a university credit program in public administration to Aboriginal administrators across Ontario through a partnership with the First Nations Technical Institute." according to a graphic that has been spreading around the internet, taken from an old sponser ad regarding funding arrangements that involve major resource companies with known histories of dishonest and secretive tactics when dealing with First Nations, their own employees and sometimes customers, including Hydro One, The Nuclear Waste Management Organization and metal mining giant Vale Inco.
But it turns out that this is old, out of date information that has been dredged up, along with mis-leading accompanying information and spread around to create further division in an already fragmented movement.
Further checking of sources has shown:
1) Pam has not been the Director of CIG for sometime now, 2) FNTI is completely separate from CIG and does not take corporate funding, 3) CIG's mandate is to build knowledge on nationhood, land-based economies and community resurgence - it does not offer courses, 4) NWMO and Vale were dropped as funders of CIG and their resources given back soon after the partnership was struck.
These kinds of conspiritorial pseudo-connections by opponents are being used to discredit the work of environmentalists in general, and INM in particular, among their grassroots supporters, even though the facts don't discredit Pam Palmater or INM at all.
Even if the false implications in the graphic were still totally current, valid fact, it still wouldn't be a statement against her work or INM in any way.
Essentially, the accusation is that Pam Palmater had a job at a university and the university gets funding from corporations.
Corporations are offering money just as governments, answering to lobbyists from those same corporations, are reducing funding, so universities have to accept and Pam Palmater was a capable organizer and administrator who has put a lot of work into mobilizing First Nations against Harper's overall agenda as well as the most immediate and severe environmental threat which we know the pipelines will present.
You would have a hard time finding any university in Canada that doesn't have corporate funding, this is a major crisis in academia, but isn't used to smear the reputations of other professors at other universities who voice concerns about important causes that might relate to the private sector.
The way that this is being spun against Pam Palmater and INM in many online discussions is damaging, and yet one has to ask why the implication is being made.
Noam Chomsky is a linguistics professor at MIT, who have research partnerships with major corporations through things like the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center and the Aerospace And Astronautics Center, which involve, among other things, military contractors, but he is paid as a linguistics professor in a world class linguistics department, his political lecturing is outside that sphere. Why has Noam Chomsky never been accused of being paid by biotechnology or aerospace firms?
Is it racism, as the knee-jerk reaction might suggest, or just an attack of opportunity to discredit one of the movements more competent advisors?