Category Archives: Turtle Island

Coastal Gas Link Continues Work Despite COVID 19

As people around the world are taking social distancing measures to keep their communities safe Coastal Gas Link and the RCMP continue to bring in workers from all over Canada during a pandemic putting both workers and entire northern communities with limited medical staff at grave risk.

At the same time the the oil and gas industry are mobilizing to get government bailouts as the crash in oil prices has made much of their production unprofitable and made the economics of projects like LNG Canada even more dubious.

Many investors have already pulled away from CGL, but KKR an American investment firm has stated plans to buy 65% of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Today Rising Tide North America has organized a digital communications blockade to flood KKR executives with calls, emails, and tweets, and demand they back away from financing such a destructive and risky project.

*****

Over the past five years, TC Energy (formally Trans Canada) has tried to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en land, defiantly ignoring assertions from the hereditary chiefs of their rights and title and their lack of consent for the project.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline threatens Wet’suwet’en land, water, air, and people.

KKR has plans to purchase 65% of the Coastal GasLink pipeline with Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo).It’s is a US-based private equity firm with an atrocious record of putting profits over employees, people, and the environment.

If we #ShutDownKKR, we can stop the financing of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline — but we need to mobilize online together right now.

Here’s what you can do to join the KKR communications blockade TODAY and #ShutDownKKR:

  • Email KKR today by using our easy messaging tool by clicking here.
  • Call KKR by dialing 1-888-593-5407 and following the instructions you hear from us.Need some talking points for your call? No problemo. See below.
  • Tweet at @KKR_Co and tell them just how awful they are for ignoring Wet’suwet’en concerns about their rights, the climate, land air and water. Need some tweet inspiration? See below!

Why is this important right now? Well, this fight got even worse last week.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, TC Energy is still going ahead with Coastal GasLink pipeline construction and sending more workers and federal police officers onto Wet’suwet’en territories, putting communities at even more risk. Billionaire oil and gas CEOs see the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to push through whatever they can when the world is looking the other way.

KKR must be held accountable for ignoring the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, putting Indigenous land and people at risk, endangering Indigenous women by building man camps along the route, and fueling the climate crisis.

Thanks for taking action online today and let us know how it goes by replying this to email!

Vanessa and the rest of Rising Tide North America

 

Callout for Ongoing Support

Despite a widespread media narrative spreading incorrect information, NO agreements have been made on the Coastal Gas Link Pipeline, and the call for solidarity actions remains firmly in place!

This is Not Over – Message to Supporters

“As Canada and BC have proposed an agreement to recognize Wet’suwet’en title on our unceded lands, Coastal Gaslink and the RCMP continue to violently trespass against our will.

A message to our supporters: This is not over. We want the RCMP and CGL off our lands.

This proposal from BC and Canada is long overdue, following decades of denial of Wet’suwet’en rights and title after the 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa court case. Our ancestors proved what we have always known – that these lands belong to the Wet’suwet’en – and thanks to thousands rising up across so-called Canada, the government is forced to acknowledge this.

We need to keep the pressure on.

The proposal will be reviewed by our clans, and decided upon by our nation in our bahtlats (feast hall) in accordance with Anuk nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law) in the coming weeks.

Stay strong. #Wetsuwetenstrong

#ShutDownCanada #ReconciliationIsDead

Callout for Solidarity: http://unistoten.camp/alleyesonwetsuweten

Gidimt’en Call to action: www.yintahaccess.com

Solidarity actions have continued at pace with new rail blockades going up across the country today, longstanding blockades remaining in place, and Indigenous youth hitting one full week of occupying the BC Legislature!

The widespread media misinformation that a deal on the pipeline has been reached is likely to have an impact on how people understand ongoing action. Please help get the truth out that no deal on the pipeline has been reached and the call for solidarity remains in place!

More public actions and educational events are planned around the country and this Wednesday students are organizing a nation wide walk out in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en!

Keep the pressure on! Gidemt’en spokesperson urges Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement to not let up!

20 min Interview with people holding down the Kahnawake Rail Blockade

New rail Blockade in St’at’mic Territory Today

Xinca Parliament and Maritimes Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network Solidarity Statement

We support and stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders, who are resisting the incursion of the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline on their unceded territory.

We – Xinka people and Xinka Parliament in Guatemala – have been engaged in a similar struggle against the Escobal mine, in opposition to the BC-based company Pan-American Silver (previously Tahoe Resources) in our territory. Through numerous municipal consultations, we’ve voiced our opposition to the project. For defending our territory, our people have been met with violence, including murder and the shooting of peaceful protesters, military occupation, threats, intimidation, as well as criminalization.
We know full well the risks faced by Indigenous land defenders when state forces and the legal system are mobilized in defense of resource extraction. We’ve seen this throughout Guatemala and we’re seeing this today in Wet’suwet’en territory.

Love and Rage,
Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade

Trudeau’s Demand: “the barricades must come down”

(Coastal GasLink Pipeline Map. Photo: APTN File)


Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has called the imbroglio between the Wet’suwet’en nation and Canada a matter to be decided by the rule of law.1 However, the Wet’suwet’en have refused to back down and have defied the British Columbia Supreme Court injunction allowing pipeline work to continue. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were sent in to enforce the injunction. After that Trudeau seemed to have ducked the issue of the Wet’suwet’en’s opposition to pipelines through their territory until growing solidarity actions shut down ports, railways, bridges, and highways.

On 21 February, Trudeau appeared before the media and claimed,

We have gone through exhausting every possibility for dialogue, for engagement, for finding peaceful solutions to deescalate this every step of the way, and we remain open to that but we are waiting for Indigenous leadership to show that it also understands; the onus is on them. We will be there to discuss, but the barricades must come down. [italics added]

Do Trudeau’s actions match his words? Does the presence of a heavily armed RCMP strike force on Wet’suwet’en territory speak to a peaceful solution every step of the way? Does the RCMP strategizing to shoot Indigenous activists speak to a peaceful solution every step of the way? Does the setting up of RCMP barricades to control road access in and out of Wet’suwet’en territory speak to a peaceful solution every step of the way? Do the arrests of Wet’suwet’en matriarchs speak to a peaceful solution every step of the way?

Trudeau’s questionable phraseology that “we2 are waiting for Indigenous leadership to show that it also understands” comes across as condescending. The Trudeau government’s waiting for a show of understanding, appears to call into question the intellectual capacity of the Indigenous leaders.

Trudeau has a demand: the Indigenous leadership must see to the removal of the barricades. Does such a demand show respect for a nation-to-nation dialogue? The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs likewise have a demand: the RCMP must leave Wet’suwet’en territory before discussions will be entered into. The two sides are at loggerheads.

Ask yourself, who among us would willingly agree to meet a foe with a gun ready to shoot them? Why should the Wet’suwet’en accept meeting anyone while armed RCMP are on their territory?

Does the have the RCMP even have the requisite stature, reputation, and respect to engage with First Nations? The RCMP has admitted to racism against Indigenous peoples, but state that they want to fix the relationship. This admission came after a lurid 2013 report that alleged widespread RCMP abuse of Indigenous women and girls. Perhaps symptomatic of the racism toward Indigenous peoples is highway 16, dubbed the Highway of Tears, a 725-kilometer highway in northern British Columbia where many cases of missing or murdered Indigenous women remain unsolved.3 Amnesty International holds governments accountable for the epidemic of Indigenous women’s deaths. Rewire News was highly critical stating, “The real epidemic is the criminal way in which the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women has been historically overlooked.” It pointed a finger at White journalists.

One could continue to provide myriad examples of RCMP malfeasance; however, given that this is the case, can the RCMP’s declaration of intent to rid the RCMP of racism be trusted?

The RCMP is known, from their own utterances, to engage in disinformation and smear campaigns: “Smear campaigns are our specialty.”

The words in the above video were spoken during Operation Wallaby, a tightly controlled media disinformation campaign against the Ts’peten Defenders, launched by the RCMP and political officials.4 It is important to understand that disinformation is not simply a deliberate lie; it is far more sinister, having been declared a crime against humanity and peace at the 2004 Halifax International Symposium on Media and Disinformation.

The settler-colonial court framework that the RCMP operate within has also been alleged to be criminally biased.

On 8 August 1995, dr. Bruce Clark — a lawyer for the Ts’peten Defenders, wrote to RCMP staff sergeant Martin Sarich:

The domestic courts from the Supreme Court of Canada on down are just refusing to address the law because it finds them personally guilty of complicity in treason, fraud and genocide. Those courts have assumed a jurisdiction that clearly and plainly they do not lawfully enjoy, and have exercised the usurped jurisdiction to implement domestic laws which are in fact not laws but crimes.5

Nonetheless, Clark called on the RCMP “for protection against a legal establishment that in willful blindness has set its face against the rule of law.”5

One major media noting the long terrible history of the RCMP vis-à-vis First Nations asked, “The RCMP was created to control Indigenous people. Can that relationship be reset?”

*****
A question I have not heard posed by any media in Canada: Upon what basis does Trudeau claim jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en territory? How did colonial-settlers — relative newcomers — gain title, legal and political control over a territory where the Wet’suwet’en have lived for millennia? How is it that colonial-settler law takes precedence over Wet’suwet’en law? One can no longer refer to the Doctrine of Discovery; it has been thoroughly discredited.6

Is there an iota of morality backing Trudeau’s professed conviction that the settler-colonialist government has jurisdiction in unceded territory? It seems axiomatic that a first step to resolving this dispute is to settle who has jurisdiction. The Wet’suwet’en believe that this has already been settled in the settler’s own Supreme Court case of Delgamuukw v British Columbia 1997.7

Does Trudeau understand Delgamuukw? Granted, confusion is easy given the notorious pedantry rife within the legal realm.

Nonetheless, Trudeau says he has been pursuing a plan to bring about reconciliation.

I think we have engaged on a new road map over the last five years, one that is a difficult journey of reconciliation, one where we engage as partners with Indigenous communities, leadership, and peoples to move forward on resolving historic land claims, on closing gaps in investments between provincial education systems per students and in Indigenous students, investing in infrastructure, housing, health services, and doing so in ways that puts Indigenous leaders at the center of that path forward. Reconciliation is a journey, and there are going to be difficult moments on that journey because it represents a significant shift in the way Canada works. But our capacity to work together requires us to engage, to yes, recognize the historic wrongs but to be present, fix them, and move forward.

Trudeau’s statement that “we have engaged on… investing in infrastructure, housing, health services” for Indigenous communities addresses a notion that should be thoroughly discredited. Turtle Island has been inhabited by Original Peoples for millennia. It was only after the arrival of Europeans who came seeking gold and other riches, seeking land, seeking conquest, and having transmitted many infectious diseases against which the Original Peoples had little immunity that political control over the land was wrested from the Original Peoples. It calls into question: where did the capital that Trudeau said was being invested into First Nations come from? Was it not the money derived from the land and resources usurped from First Nations? Is it then correct for a thief to say that money returned to the victims of theft is an investment in the victims?

It is difficult to comprehend on a logical or moral basis how colonialists through acts of genocide, such as deliberate dissemination of biological agents,8 starvation,9 cultural genocide,10 police and military force,11 and legal chicanery12 — not only have eluded punishment, but have profited from the genocide and have retained dominance over land that has been inhabited by several other First Nations since time immemorial.13

Does not the racism; dispossession of land; longstanding, drinking water advisories for First Nations;14 disproportionately higher rates of incarceration;15 and poverty among other crimes heaped on Original Peoples by the Canadian state not call for atonement by the settler-colonial society?

On 8 December 2015, Trudeau told First Nation leaders,

[I]t is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation. [italics added]

As Chief Woos of the Wet’suwet’en Grizzly Bear House pointed out: “There is a difference between inconvenience and injustice.”

*****
Many questions lay before Trudeau. Does Trudeau believe that historic wrongs can be fixed by invading police forces? Does he think that reconciliation can be accomplished by having the RCMP invade Wet’suwet’en territory? Do the rights of a company to lay a pipeline trump the human rights of Indigenous peoples?

The imbroglio may continue to simmer as breaking news informs that the BC Environmental Assessment Office has rejected Coastal Gaslink’s technical data report “due to the omission of significant economic, environmental, social and health impacts.”

  1. For more background on Canada’s professed adherence to the rule of law and the Wet’suwet’en’s struggle to maintain title and jurisdiction to their territory, see “Canada’s Respect for the Rule of Law and Its Sacred Obligation to First Nations.”
  2. We being the government that is acting to secure access to Wet’suwet’en territory for a pipeline company.
  3. “No one knows who the first Indigenous girl or woman to vanish along the highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert was, or when it happened. Nor does anyone know how many have gone missing or been murdered since…. The RCMP has put the number of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada at about 1,200, with about a thousand of those being victims of homicide. The actual number is likely higher…” In Jessica McDiarmid, Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, (Doubleday Canada, 2019): 3.
  4. See full video of Above the Law (Part 2) for how Canada prosecutes the ongoing genocide against and dispossession of First Nations.
  5. Quoted in The Autobiography of Dacajeweiah [Splitting the Sky] John Boncore Hill: From Attica to Gustafsen Lake — Unmasking the Secrets of the Psycho-sexual Energy and the Struggle for Original People’s Title with She Keeps the Door (Sandra Bruderer) (John Pasquale Boncore, 2001). Review.
  6. “You cannot discover lands already inhabited,” is a maxim that permeates an excellent book by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah, Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery (InterVarsity Press, 2019). See review.
  7. This writer does not agree that colonial-settler law should take precedence over Indigenous law.
  8. Tom Swanky, The Great Darkening: The True Story of Canada’s “War” of Extermination on the Pacific plus The Tsilhqot’in and other First Nations Resistance (Burnaby, BC: Dragon Heart Enterprises, 2012). Review.
  9. James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (University of Regina Press, 2013).
  10. Tamara Starblanket, Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State (Clarity Press, 2018). Review
  11. See Splitting the Sky with She Keeps the Door, The Autobiography of Dacajeweiah, Splitting the Sky, John Boncore Hill: From Attica to Gustafsen Lake (John Pasquale Boncore, 2001).
  12. See Bruce Clark, Ongoing Genocide caused by Judicial Suppression of the “Existing” Aboriginal Rights (2018). Review; Bruce Clark, Justice in Paradise (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999).
  13. See Arthur J. Ray, I Have Lived Here Since the World Began: An Illustrated History of Canada’s Native People, Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2005.
  14. See Kim Petersen, “The High Cost of Lousy Water,” The Dominion, 22 November 2006. “Oil Versus Water: Toxic Water Poses Threat to Alberta’s Indigenous Communities,” The Dominion, October 15, 2007. “Boiling Point!The Dominion, 30 July 2008. It must be noted that during the Trudeau government the number of drinking water advisories for First Nations has been whittled the number of drinking water advisories for First nations has been whittled down to 61 and an end date for boil water advisories has been set for March 2021.
  15. See Kim Petersen, “Land and Jail,” The Dominion, Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Shut Down Canada Until it Solves its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem

Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.

This is a demonstration of nothing less than a superior alternative to war, not just because the war weapons of the militarized Canadian police may be defeated by the resistance of the people who have never been conquered or surrendered, but also because the Canadian government could accomplish its aims in the wider world better by following a similar path, by abandoning the use of war for supposedly humanitarian ends and making use of humanitarian means instead. Nonviolence is simply more likely to succeed in domestic and international relations than violence. War is not a tool for preventing but for facilitating its identical twin, genocide.

Of course, the indigenous people in “British Columbia,” as around the world, are demonstrating something else as well, for those who care to see it: a way of living sustainably on earth, an alternative to earth-violence, to the raping and murdering of the planet — an activity closely linked to the use of violence against human beings.

The Canadian government, like its southern neighbor, has an unacknowledged addiction to the war-oil-genocide problem. When Donald Trump says he needs troops in Syria to steal oil, or John Bolton says Venezuela needs a coup to steal oil, it’s simply an acknowledgement of the global continuation of the never-ended operation of stealing North America.

Look at the gas-fracking invasion of unspoiled lands in Canada, or the wall on the Mexican border, or the occupation of Palestine, or the destruction of Yemen, or the “longest ever” war on Afghanistan (which is only the longest ever because the primary victims of North American militarism are still not considered real people with real nations whose destruction counts as real wars) , and what do you see? You see the same weapons, the same tools, the same senseless destruction and cruelty, and the same massive profits flowing into the same pockets of the same profiteers from blood and suffering — the corporations that will be shamelessly marketing their products at the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa in May.

Much of the profits these days comes from distant wars fought in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, but those wars drive the technology and the contracts and the experience of war veterans that militarize the police in places like North America. The same wars (always fought for “freedom,” of course) also influence the culture toward greater acceptance of the violation of basic rights in the name of “national security” and other meaningless phrases. This process is exacerbated by the blurring of the line between war and police, as wars become endless occupations, missiles become tools of random isolated murder, and activists — antiwar activists, antipipeline activists, antigenocide activists — become categorized with terrorists and enemies.

Not only is war over 100 times more likely where there is oil or gas (and in no way more likely where there is terrorism or human rights violations or resource scarcity or any of the things people like to tell themselves cause wars) but war and war preparations are leading consumers of oil and gas. Not only is violence needed to steal the gas from indigenous lands, but that gas is highly likely to be put to use in the commission of wider violence, while in addition helping to render the earth’s climate unfit for human life. While peace and environmentalism are generally treated as separable, and militarism is left out of environmental treaties and environmental conversations, war is in fact a leading environmental destroyer. Guess who just pushed a bill through the U.S. Congress to allow both weapons and pipelines into Cyprus? Exxon-Mobil.

Solidarity of the longest victims of western imperialism with the newest ones is a source of great potential for justice in the world.

But I mentioned the war-oil-genocide problem. What does any of this have to do with genocide? Well, genocide is an act “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” Such an act can involve murder or kidnapping or both or neither. Such an act can “physically” harm no one. It can be any one, or more than one, of these five things:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Numerous top Canadian officials over the years have stated clearly that the intention of Canada’s child-removal program was to eliminated Indigenous cultures, to utterly remove “the Indian problem.” Proving the crime of genocide does not require the statement of intent, but in this case, as in Nazi Germany, as in today’s Palestine, and as in most if not all cases, there is no shortage of expressions of genocidal intent. Still, what matters legally is genocidal results, and that is what one can expect from stealing people’s land to frack it, to poison it, to render it uninhabitable.

When the treaty to ban genocide was being drafted in 1947, at the same time that Nazis were still being put on trial, and while U.S. government scientists were experimenting on Guatemalans with syphilis, Canadian government “educators” were performing “nutritional experiments” on Indigenous children — that is to say: starving them to death. The original draft of the new law included the crime of cultural genocide. While this was stripped out at the urging of Canada and the United States, it remained in the form of item “e” above. Canada ratified the treaty nonetheless, and despite having threatened to add reservations to its ratification, did no such thing. But Canada enacted into its domestic law only items “a” and “c” — simply omitting “b,” “d,” and “e” in the list above, despite the legal obligation to include them. Even the United States has included what Canada omitted.

Canada should be shut down (as should the United States) until it recognizes that it has a problem and begins to mend its ways. And even if Canada didn’t need to be shut down, CANSEC would need to be shut down.

CANSEC is one of the largest annual weapons shows in North America. Here’s how it describes itself, a list of exhibitors, and a list of the members of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries which hosts CANSEC.

CANSEC facilitates Canada’s role as a major weapons dealer to the world, and the second biggest weapons exporter to the Middle East. So does ignorance. In the late 1980s opposition to a forerunner of CANSEC called ARMX created a great deal of media coverage. The result was a new public awareness, which led to a ban on weapons shows on city property in Ottawa, which lasted 20 years.

The gap left by media silence on Canadian weapons dealing is filled with misleading claims about Canada’s supposed role as a peacekeeper and participant in supposedly humanitarian wars, as well as the non-legal justification for wars known as “the responsibility to protect.”

In reality, Canada is a major marketer and seller of weapons and components of weapons, with two of its top customers being the United States and Saudi Arabia. The United States is the world’s leading marketer and seller of weapons, some of which weapons contain Canadian parts. CANSEC’s exhibitors include weapons companies from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

There is little overlap between the wealthy weapons-dealing nations and the nations where wars are waged. U.S. weapons are often found on both sides of a war, rendering ridiculous any pro-war moral argument for those weapons sales.

CANSEC 2020’s website boasts that 44 local, national, and international media outlets will be attending a massive promotion of weapons of war. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Canada has been a party since 1976, states that “Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.”

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are routinely used in violation of laws against war, such as the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact — most frequently by Canada’s southern neighbor. CANSEC may also violate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court by promoting acts of aggression. Here’s a report on Canadian exports to the United States of weapons used in the 2003-begun criminal war on Iraq. Here’s a report on Canada’s own use of weapons in that war.

The weapons exhibited at CANSEC are used not only in violation of laws against war but also in violation of numerous so-called laws of war, that is to say in the commission of particularly egregious atrocities, and in violation of the human rights of the victims of oppressive governments. Canada sells weapons to the brutal governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Canada may be in violation of the Rome Statute as a result of supplying weapons that are used in violation of that Statute. It is certainly in violation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. Canadian weapons are being used in the Saudi-U.S. genocide in Yemen.

In 2015, Pope Francis remarked before a joint session of the United States Congress, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

An international coalition of individuals and organizations will be converging on Ottawa in May to say No to CANSEC with a seris of events called NoWar2020.

This month two nations, Iraq and the Philippines, have told the United States military to get out. This happens more often than you might think. These actions are part of the same movement that tells the Canadian militarized police to get out of lands they have no rights in. All actions in this movement can inspire and inform all others.

Reconciliation Is Dead: RCMP Invade Unist’ot’en Territory

Canada invades. Invades on behalf of industry. Invades during ceremony. Canada tears us from our land. Tears us from our families, from our homes. Takes our drums away. Takes our women away. Jails us for protecting the land, for being in ceremony, for honouring our ancestors.

On February 10, RCMP invaded unceded Unist’ot’en territory, arresting and forcibly removing Freda Huson (Chief Howilhkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), Dr. Karla Tait, and four Indigenous land defenders from our yintah. They were arrested in the middle of a ceremony to honour the ancestors. Police tore down the red dresses that were hung to hold the spirits of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two spirit people. They extinguished our sacred fire.

We have had enough. Enough dialogue, discussion, negotiation at the barrel of a gun. Canada comes to colonize. Reconciliation is dead.

It is time to fight for our land, our lives, our children, our future.
Revolution lives.

Outpouring of International Solidarity as RCMP Arrest Unist’ot’en Matriarchs

As of now people in the Healing Center are safe and not being threatened with arrest, and the four brave land defenders from 44 were released today after spending the weekend in jail.

Rail lines continue to be blocked and people have poured into the streets, banks, and Government offices outraged by the RCMP’s arrest of Unist’ot’en Matriarchs and grotesque violation of Wet’suwet’en Law.

Indigenous Youth who have been occupying the ceremonial entrance to the BC Legislature with an encampment since Thursday are calling for people to join them as police action has been threatened in advance of John Horgan’s speech from the throne happening tomorrow!

Freda and Brenda before being arrested yesterday

Police Van Forcibly Removing Freda Huson from her home in Wet’suwet’en Territory. Coastal Gas Link Workers who have built a Man Camp in Unist’ot’en Territory Removed Red Dresses Symbolizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women from Unist’ot’en Bridge

Despite over 30 people being arrested at the Port of Vancouver early Monday morning, people returned and shut down the rail line into the port yesterday.

Indigenous Youth are hosting open meetings Wednesday to organize a shut down of all government Ministries in Victoria! This can be replicated elsewhere!

In London, New Zealand, WA DC, Seattle, The Bay and more people are shutting down Canadian Embassies and Consulates: Find one near you here.

Red dresses symbolizing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women hung at BC Legislature in Victoria after CGL removed Red Dresses from Unist’ot’en Bridge! Join the Encampment!

Bank of Montreal (CGL financier) Office Shut Down by over 500 people yesterday

Rail Line into Port of Vancouver Shut Down yesterday

Action at Canadian Consulate in Seattle: Find a consulate near you here

Round Dance in Intersection in Downtown Winnipeg

“Reconciliation Bridge” in Calgary Shut Down yesterday

Indigenous Youth and Supporters Occupy Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Crown and Indigenous affairs Office.

The ongoing occupation of the BC Capitol

Keep up the Pressure! This fight is just getting rolling!

By What Right Does Canada and Its Gendarmerie Invade Wet’suwet’en Territory?

Over 20 #Wetsuweten and supporter vehicles have amassed at 27km mark, effectively blockading the exit route to RCMP paddy-wagons leaving the territory. They’re holding a ceremony and ensuring the safety of those arrested.
Reports state Hereditary Cheifs at 27 KM are now being surrounded by RCMP.

In the nineteenth century, Gilbert Sproat, a colonial official, wrote an account of his time among the Nuu Chah Nulth people on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He noted that the original inhabitants have “known every inch of the west coast for thousands of years.”1

Despite this acknowledgment of long-term habitation, the mindset of settler-colonialists toward the Original Peoples was condescending. This comes across clearly in a conversation between Sproat and a Tseshaht chief:

Chief: “We see your ships, and hear things that makes our hearts grow faint. They say that more King-George-men will soon be here, and take our land, our firewood, our fishing grounds; that we shall be placed on a little spot, and shall have to do everything according to the fancies of the King-George-men.”

Sproat: “… [I]t is true that more King-George-men (as they call the English) are coming: they will soon be here. But your land will be bought at a fair price.”

Chief: “We do not wish to sell our land nor our water; let your friends stay in their own country.”

Sproat: “My great chief, the high chief of the King-George-men, seeing that you do not work your land, orders that you shall sell it. The land is of no use to you…. The white man will give you work and buy your fish and oil.”

Chief: “Ah, but we don’t care do to as the white men wish.”

Sproat: “Whether or not, … The white men will come. All your people know that they are your superiors…”

Chief: “We do not want the white man. He will steal what we have. We wish to live as we are.”2

Sproat was fine by the outcome. He and other settler-colonialists

often talked about our rights as strangers to take possession of the district [of Alberni]. The right of boná fide purchase we had, for I had bought the land from the Government, and had purchased it a second time from the natives. Nevertheless, as the Indians denied all knowledge of the colonial authorities at Victoria, and had sold the country to us, perhaps, under fear of loaded cannon pointed towards the village, it was evident that we had taken forceful possession of the district.3

In a paean to white supremacism,4 Kleecoot, a large lake on Vancouver Island,5 was renamed in Sproat’s honor.

This colonial past points to widespread racism and an egregious moral mindset of white ancestors. This belongs to the distant past. Or does it?

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

A 7 February email from the Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade headlines with: “RCMP Have raided the Gidemt’en Checkpoint with Helicopters, Snipers, Police Dogs, and Tactical teams.”

The invasion was carried out by heavily armed RCMP despite the Wet’suwet’en having made it clear that they are unarmed and peaceful.

They have also made it clear through the unanimity of the hereditary chiefs that they do not want a Coastal GasLink pipeline going through their unceded territory.

The state and corporate media in Canada do not delve into how it is that Indigenous peoples who have never relinquished their territory or their rights to the territory have, nonetheless, had their territory claimed by settler-colonialists.

If Martians landed on Earth and populated Turtle Island with Martian colonies, and if the Terran resistance succumbed to superior Martian weaponry and epidemics caused by Martian pathogens, would the unsurrendered territories now belong to Martians? What if the Martians had a Doctrine of Discovery that recognized Terrans as uncivilized savages?6 Morally? One would think not. Legally? Depends on whether Martian law now trumps Terran law.

Why then does the Canadian state and corporate media refer to BC court decisions as requiring the Wet’suwet’en to allow Coastal GasLink to lay a pipeline across their unceded territory? Why is Wet’suwet’en law not primary?

Is this what Canada means by reconciliation? Is this what prime minister Justin Trudeau meant when he said,

It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation. [emphasis added]

Resistance

Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade has issued a call for support: “While the actions of the RCMP have been grotesque and unconscionable the power on the frontlines and in the streets has been beautiful! Keep up the pressure!”


People are holding all three entrances to the Port of Vancouver for the third day in a row

  1. Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, The Nootka: Scenes and Studies of Savage Life (Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1987; originally published in 1868): xv.
  2. Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, 4-5.
  3. Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, 7.
  4. As evidenced by Sproat’s own words: “The mind of the savage then appears to rock to and fro out of mere weakness, and he tells lies and talks nonsense. I do not doubt, however, that in the course of time the mental powers of the Indian could be greatly improved by education. The chief difficulty is that the people would vanish from before the white man during the polishing process, as so many tribes of savages have done in other parts of the world.” (p 84-85)
    “In one part of his character the savage resembles the lowest members of civilized community — such as outcasts in large cities. But another part of his character, inherited through the long succession of moral degradation, unchecked by any surrounding counteracting influences, is unlike anything that can be witnessed even in the most brutalized individual in civilized community.” (p 103)
  5. George Vancouver, another imperialist who immodestly named the island after himself, although he magnanimously included the name of a fellow navigator, the Peruvian-Spaniard Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.
  6. The United States Supreme Court has used the Doctrine of Discovery to support the superiority of white Europeans and their right to dispossess the Original Peoples and to slaughter them. In Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah, Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery (InterVarsity Press, 2019): 104-116. Review.

Time to Rise Up: RCMP Invade Wet’suwet’en Territories

Early in the morning on Feb 6th, the RCMP launched their long anticipated raid on Wet’suwet’en land defenders. Six supporters have been arrested, at the 39 km marker of the Morice West Forest Service Road, and a large contingent of RCMP trucks and heavy equipment have moved onwards towards the Gidimt’en Access point at the 44 km marker. The time has come for supporters to rise up and #ShutDownCanada.

Unist’ot’en Day 31: We’re Not Leaving

We’re not leaving.

As Canada prepares to violently invade our lands, we have no fear. We are peacefully living on our lands and upholding our laws, as we always have.

31 days after Coastal Gaslink was evicted from Wet’suwet’en territory, RCMP helicopters circle the Unist’ot’en healing center several times a day.

Busloads of police have taken over local community halls, airport hangers have become RCMP training grounds, while armored pickup trucks and police dogs have been spotted in the area. Canada is preparing to use militarized force to steal our lands and destroy them, with the world as witness.

Our ancestors are with us. We will win.

These lands will always be Unist’ot’en.

RCMP Harassment at 39KM Gidimt’en Checkpoint

January 30, RCMP attempted to enter the Gidimt’en supply and monitoring post, attempting to walk in to our camp which is outside of the injunction area. Police have undertaken a daily harassment and surveillance campaign against our supporters, and have even threatened to arrest those monitoring the road. While RCMP have publicly stated they will stand down for 7 days while our Chiefs speak with the Province of British Columbia, they continue to harass and threaten us daily.