Sunday, March 26, 2017

Protest Signs: Pro-seal hunt demonstration by Nunavut Sivuniksavut

Last March 17, rather than spending St. Patrick's Day drinking green beer like other students, the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut held a demonstration on Parliament Hill to show support for Inuit right to hunt seal.

The students wanted to raise awareness about the importance of the seal hunt to Indigenous communities. Even many animal rights activists who argue for a ban on the seal hunt often indicate that they are willing to make an exception for Indigenous subsistence hunting and mainly want to focus on commercial seal hunters. However, it's important to know that the majority of the commercial seal hunt is actually done by Inuit hunters, whose main source of income is the commercial seal hunt, including income to buy the gas, ammunition and other hunting equipment to get the seal meat to feed their families. It's not so easy to separate the two notions, and the seal hunt bans have had a huge devastating effect on the local economies of Inuit communities, even with a supposed Indigenous exception.

You don't need to take my word for it; there's a thought-provoking film by Nunavut filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril called Angry Inuk which does a thorough job of looking at the issue in an informative yet interesting way. It's definitely worth checking out, no matter what your thoughts on the subject are. There's also a great essay analyzing the colonialist aspects of the issues (although, like I said, you gotta watch the movie!)

The rally involved demonstrations of traditional Inuit throat singing, dancing, and even a sealskin fashion show.  I'm always impressed by Nunavut Sivuniksavut students' strong political engagement and eagerness to share their cultural pride with the rest of the world.

Traditional dancing with drums and singing

Acting out a typical seal hunt, including preparing the sled
Sealskin fashion show

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Protest signs: Islamophobia counter rally

Checked out the counter protest to the Concerned Coalition of Concerned Citizens' March for Freedom, Liberty & Justice that was supposedly planned today. Saw only one guy turn up for the original March; the rest of the crowd seemed to be rallying against Islamophobia.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Protest Signs: Women's March on Washington in Ottawa

From January 21, 2017 at the Human Rights Monument, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, while cities around the world marched at the same time.

feminist families

Musician Jamie Anderson performing at the rally
Poet Roua Aljied sharing her poetry at the rally

Monday, February 6, 2017

Protest Signs: Human Chain Demonstration around the American Embassy in Ottawa

Human Chain Demonstration around the American Embassy in Ottawa - January 30, 2017

Some of my photos were also featured on Apt613's coverage of the event.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Protest Signs: Solidarity against Islamophobia Pan-Canadian Day of Action

Lately I've been taking photographs of signs at rallies and protests, because it's an interesting way to capture messages people are expressing. Today I attended the Solidarity against Islamophobia Pan-Canadian Day of Action.

failed self portrait

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

On my last day in Tucson, I got to visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, which turned out to be my favourite part of the trip. So many magical moments. It wasn't like the museums in Ottawa - most of the Desert Museum was outdoors, in the desert! These are things you can do when you don't have to deal with snow storms for what feels like half the year.

This is a museum?

To be clear, the Desert Museum is more than a museum: it's walking trails, botanical gardens, zoo, and, of course, gift shops.

I loved getting a chance to see the animals - I had never even heard of some of them before.
A coati, hanging out on his own

Alan! Alan! Alan! Steve?

There was a coyote that seemed to be posing for an artist that happened to be painting there.

Magical moments with coyotes

They had a cute little home for bees, which was pretty cool, if you like bees and aren't terrified of being swarmed by Africanized bees like I am.

There was a really cool special exhibit where you could pet stingrays.  Usually I don't care for petting zoos, or, for that matter, animals that have killed the Crocodile Hunter, but these were baby stingrays that had their stingers filed down, and these ones loved being stroked by friendly hands. You would just stand at the side of the pool and the babies would swim right up to you and snuggle their bellies over your fingers for a little rub, just as though they were house cats.

The museum also featured a wide variety of colourful birds that live in the area....

...including raptor birds of prey that would fly so close over your head, you could feel the wind from their wings on your face. It was incredible!

This owl had the cutest hoot

The museum also featured a cool venomous reptile show, where we got to meet a Gila monster and a diamondback rattlesnake....from a safe distance, of course.  I'm thankful that this was my only encounter with rattlesnakes in Tucson, considering that this is the rattlesnake capital of the United States.

Look, a monster!
Rattlesnake, ssssaying hi

Trying out my Parseltongue

enjoying the desert view with my agave bowl lunch

In the end, there was just not enough time for me to see all of the things there were to see there. I'd highly recommend spending the whole day if one has time.

I did make sure to go on the desert trail loop, which was full of gorgeous views of the desert landcape...and also cactus plants. Lots of those. They're pretty cool to look at, but pretty serious to get pricked by. I found out the hard way when I accidentally walked into one while I was trying to take a selfie. Those cactus needles are pretty painful. They stuck right through my jeans and into my skin. Pretty tricky to take out. Now I know: always carry tweezers when walking in the desert.

selfie was still totally worth it, cactus or not