The Land Defenders who presently and for months prior to now have been occupying our traditional territories in a desperate attempt to defend them against clear cut logging wishes for you to know that presently the forest still lives despite recent attempts to destroy it!
There also has been more news shared that there will be a court date in Vancouver, not Vernon thankfully, this upcoming Thursday, so tomorrow which very well may see this injunction overturned. Do not sigh a breath of relief yet, this has been going on for months and one court order can follow another. The Defense Camps will stay in place.
The Land Defenders are inviting people to keep coming to the camps, stating they have ample food to share and sleeping bags for those who wish to spend some time in the forest. They are open to people just coming to visit, or to observe the actions of police and they want everyone to know that they will not be put in danger of arrest unless they so chose to take such a position. Also this is not a criminal matter, it is a civil matter and none of the Land Defender’s, myself included have nor do we receive criminal records. In order to get a criminal record in Canada you still have to commit a criminal act, if you are protesting, walking, plant gathering, cycling, photographing or participating in any other benign act in the forest you are not doing anything legal and your rights to exist are enshrined in the constitution.
The forest in question is an important area to the communities here, there are well used trails, medicine plants are gathered, berries, mushrooms and you will find bark stripped from some of the cedar trees, that bark is still how we make our super cool hats and regalia, we do these things in the present, our culture and people did not go extinct! We are using our resources presently, we and the people who live on our territories need them so clear cutting any where on this coast is not going to be welcomed. Harvesting must be done with care and consideration, this may perhaps cut into profits but that is not our priority nor is it our responsibility to allow our resources to be stripped away for the economic gain of a few.
For many of us this is not a battle to expand park boundaries, this is not a battle to create more recreational spaces for the privileged to enjoy, this may matter most to some of the community members but parks are of no interest to me.
What does it feel like to return home to find it gone? Just because you are not human does that mean you do not get a part of what you were born a part of because foolish human belief systems. Can human beings survive very long with only our egos and delusions to sustain us? No, we have created terrible systems which are best discarded.
For may of us this is about everything, our trees, plants, water, fish, birds and all the other creatures that inhabit them, including the people. This is about ensuring that we have enough resources to maintain the life that currently lives here, and right now we do not. The logging has been creating water shortages in the communities, the people who water the decorative planters in the communities do so with large signs ensuring people that the water they are using is not drinking water to ease the tensions. These water shortages make it difficult for other people and their business’ to function properly, it has set people on edge, you can see it in the communities, people are frustrated by the situation, it has been an unresolved issue in this area for fifty years.
For some this is also about money, many of us are tired of having to foot the bill for those signs that the water trucks must now carry, and the ongoing policing for industry, that is an outrageous expense that is being dumped on the tax payer. There were reportedly ten RCMP officers dispatched to arrest seven people, they were all on site for four hours and wasted even more hours and tax dollars processing community members who are going to be forced to attend a trial, more expense on a civil order that was created without considering both sides of the matter, one that violates everyones rights, for most of us this is all a bit much.
For many of us this is also about our rights and freedoms, peaceful protesters, walkers, joggers, picnickers and berry pickers are not in any way violating any laws much less anyone else’s personal rights or freedoms. That is who you will find in the forest however for some reason the RCMP went to the bother of paying regular visits to the now disputed area long before the injunction was issued so you can tack that on top of the other expenses accrued by the tax payer so far with this one logging company. Visits by the RCMP at this and other community based actions which are made on behalf of the community do a great deal of harm to the community members. I have witnessed the distress that this cause to many people, they are very much terrified of the police. I cannot help but think at times how ironic it is that we are now paying for the forces that our oppressors use to control us yet we claim to be an advanced civilization to those that came before. At least the ruling elite paid for their own armies back in the day, our new systems of picking up their expenses for the well to do are far less impressive than they are made out to be.
For many this is about Douglas and Emily, it is about the recent senseless destruction of the a community created housing project where people who could not find housing because none is available in this community fixed the problem by creating their own. They had solved their own problem with ingenuity at their own expense and they were not doing any harm in the process, in doing this the community gained because we need strong young people to work in our communities and all of these young people do work in our communities and we are failing to provide places for many people to be able to live. The housing crisis is not just a headline, it is a reality that is harming a lot of communities, and we certainly have the resources to house everyone and I really do not see why we should not just go a head and do just that because the forests are already being lived in by people who cannot find homes here. How is it wrong that they create safe, harmless homes for themselves in areas that impede no one, yet it is okay for them to live in a tent or a shelter and still hold down full time jobs or go to school.
For many of us this is about Myles Gray, his loss haunts this coast, the campaign for his justice rages alongside the battles to save the forests and watershed’s. A local thirty year old business owner Myles Gray was beaten to death by Vancouver Police officers in a back yard, in the middle of the afternoon on a hot summers day in August 13th, 2015. Myles had been making his business deliveries that day when he came across a person who was watering their lawn during the drought. Myles told that person that that was not permitted and that person phoned the police, they responded and Myles was killed a short while later. Myles Gray was a good person who never did any harm to anyone and that should never have happened to him. His loss is a terrible loss that effects this whole community. It often comes to my mind when I see his images that only if we had saved that one cut block that time the water crisis would not have gotten so severe that Myles would not have been put in that situation, in part I do feel responsible because I am as a fellow human on our Mother. I feel we must all do as much as we can to create a society where no one leaves in fear of the state or each other. What also weighs heavily on so many minds is that Myles was a good person, a harmless person, the type of person you enjoy having in your community if that could happen to him you realize it just as easily could happen to many other innocent people, including yourself. Myles is the type of person I want in my community, we do not want anymore innocent, good people violated or killed by any state agents. The community continues to mourn while Myles death is being investigated, along with nineteen other police related deaths which occurred in a one year period. Crime rates may be down but there has been a rise in deaths caused by the police so we will be in mourning for quite some time!
For many it is about the failing economies, about rising poverty, about the rising number of homeless, about how the most vulnerable people in our communities are being made to suffer, about the lack of housing affordable or otherwise, the lack of proper health care and medical professionals, the lack of proper nutrition, the fact that we are providing virtually no mental health care or support, that the jobs being created pay so low that workers have to rely on food banks and other support to survive and we grow every so weary of the constant, irritating, harping from politicians and media about LNG, pipelines, about the great riches that are to be made from selling resources markets that do not exist. When people are constantly stressed, hungry, overworked, underpaid and constantly facing threats of homelessness and destitution there is nothing a spin doctor can do or say to make them feel better, trust me.
We are not isolated either, we are not alone in our struggles, people are rising up all across the Mother, in her defense and in defense of each other and that is truly the only way out of this mess, through unity and with a common goal, freedom and rights for all. To all land defenders, activists, protesters, rabble rouser’s and good people who have sacrificed so much and who are bravely putting themselves at risk for the rights of others I raise my hands to you in reverence and respect. ?úl-nú-msh-chálap to you all, you are what we all need, you are the future and from what I am witnessing the future could well turn out to be very bright!
Arrests and Potential Violations of Canadian Constitutional Rights and Freedoms Transpiring on Unceded Shishalh/Skwxwú7mesh TerritoriesPosted: September 10, 2016
For the past few years, fifty to be precise a very twisted battle formed on top of the already twisted colonial occupation that is also an still an ongoing issue, the primary one in fact.
This lesser struggle which effects both indigenous and settlers alike is one against logging, which is not only destroying lands and is not only offensive due to it being visually less preferable. This logging is aiding in destroying waterways which is causing severe water shortages in the communities and is destroying fish spawning habitat and the only success’ that has ever had any success in preventing the destruction has been through direct civil disobedience and that is what is happening once again.
Yesterday a stand off once again occurred between the community members vs. Peninsula Logging who brought with them the RCMP who were there to enforce an Interim Ex-Parte Injunction Order!
What that means is Peninsula Logging applied for and received an Ex-Parte court order which is a court order which is one sided, the decision has been made with only the knowledge and input from one side, Peninsula Loggings side. The two men in the above photo whom I have never seen before are the recipients of the injunction ‘protection order’ against the community.
However with an Ex-Parte Court Order “Persons applying ex parte to the Court must use the utmost good faith, and if they do not, they cannot keep the results of their application.” and they are temporary, they only can be upheld for ten days.
Ex-Parte Orders were designed to be used in emergency situations in order to prevent injury to people or their property, basically they are created to provide Emergency Restraining Orders which to protect people from harm after threats, assaults, rapes, murder attempts and other horrific events.
An Ex-Parte is a stopgap which must be made on strong evidence that it is preventing serious irreparable harm and these claims must be made in good faith however both parties are expected to settle their dispute at a later date which is how is reasonable in emergency situations which involve potential violence from violent people.
I have not as of yet read the document however the injunction, (restraining) order which Peninsula Logging took out to protect themselves from the residents of the sunshine coast that the RCMP are actively carrying out does not appear to protect their homes or business offices as far as I know so we are allowed to do business with them, just not to prevent them from doing business. The RCMP are only arresting people who are within the boundaries of the area that Peninsula Logging is planning to clearcut, not only protesters but also people out for a walk, people gathering medicine, people praying will all be arrested within certain areas on our territories. The RCMP will be used for the next ten days at tax payers expense to protect unceded indigenous land from the people in the community who do not want the forest destroyed without fair and reasonable consultation and their very serious concerns to be addressed transparently.
Orders like this are very dangerous because they completely strip everyone of their rights and freedoms and that is suppose to only be allowable if someone does indeed commit or threaten to commit a serious violent act against another party. If such an actual threat was made to anyone at Peninsula Logging then I would hope that that person be singled out and punished however the community at large is very peaceful and do have constitutional rights and freedoms which cannot be erased without their having committed a legitimate criminal act, exercising your constitutional rights is not a crime. The injunction that is currently tearing a part this community was issued by a Justice who sits 500 km away in Vernon which is always the case. I have found no evidence of a local Justice ever signing such an order and I have found evidence of people who have been detained during one of these out of the blue police actions against the community that come from a Vernon Justice have had those charges overturned immediately by other Justices because they are unconstitutional. This is how the game is being played, the courts and police are being used by business and violating the rights of the members of the communities. Personally I would rather not have my tax dollars wasted subsidizing bad and unethical business practices which are distressing and weakening the community especially when I contributed in good faith and expect those resources to be better used to directly help the community. The RCMP clearly do not act in that capacity, I have not found any evidence that they are a positive factor, the mere presence of them triggers trauma in many people, so unhealthy.
At this time I have been informed that there have been seven arrested and one elder had to be attended by paramedics after police attempted to physically remove him, he was not arrested.
The contested area is still occupied by community members and they are asking for more supporters and witnesses to come and help with this struggle which will continue for the next eight days while the temporary order is in effect. The side which was not included in this decision would very much like a day in court to decide the issue before the forest is destroyed, not after.
Today the sacred fire was lit, in a forest which will soon be no more.
The ceremony I held for the beautiful people who have been so diligently and bravely living on the site in order to protect it is over and now we all wait until they come, it will not be long.
It is very hard to hold such a ceremony, to keep spirits high at such a time when so much life is slated to be destroyed.
It is very hard to find positive words to give these wonderful people who have made such a sacrifice in order to save the forest when only hours from now the police will be returning in order to remove the people, violating our constitutional rights, taking us away and locking us in jail cells, unkindly of course. This is a pretty horrible thing to have to happen to you, trust me but it is worth the sacrifice because what they are planning to do, what they always do to the forests is so incredibly horrible and having such devastating effects on these communities that people are willing to be violated by the police in order to stop them. This is how very desperate it is here, there is no hope, there is no reason.
This battle has been raging on for fifty years, the logging is causing serious issues with the water shed, there are severe water shortages and the spawning beds are being destroyed. The stress this has had on the community is evident, people are angry, frustrated and thoroughly perplexed as to how they can have the best society in the world yet suffer so much injustice, the ones who are in denial of colonialism that is. Those of us who are aware are just as stressed and frustrated but our words are always ignored and our rights, bodies and lands are always violated.
I tried to find the words to lift this group up and give them the power to face what will be coming but honestly we haven’t a chance because the civil court order which the corporation obtained to violate our rights came from Vernon.
Geographically Vernon is over 500 kilometers away from our territories, it is in the mountains, where very few people live, we are on the coast where most of the population resides. We do have a courthouse here, in fact the bulk of the courthouses and legal professionals are in this region. The funny thing is the last time mass arrests of settlers and Indigenous people, including seventy nine year old elder Xwu’p’a’lich was due to a justice in Vernon signing a civil order which resulted in many innocent people being detained, until another local Justice over ruled the Vernon Justice’s decision because it violated all of our constitutional rights. The truth is Xwu’p’a’lich herself was almost transported to Vernon to stand before this person who is known to not let the constitution interfere in his decision making. Had Xwu’p’a’lich been forced to stand before him she could have been as harshly sentenced as the Secwepemc people were when they tried to protect their territory .
Technically we are in the right, however that is not something that particularly matters, it never has. The fact that the land is unceded, the fact that those of us who will be arrested will have our charges overturned because they are unconstitutional and a violation of our rights will not matter nor fix anything. What matters to me know is that the hour is late and morning will soon be here and I want to spend a little time with my bed because after tonight I may not be coming back to it for a while if all goes according to Canada and the Crown, and it always does.
Although many of us would rather not be being manhandled by the RCMP tomorrow, or the next day, or the one thereafter but we will be because from Vernon come the injunctions which ignore the constitution and result in arrests so the loggers will come and destroy it all, long, long before the legal system gets around to what was. So by the time you see this realize the trees, the plants, the fish, the birds, the animals, the reptiles and the people who celebrated in that forest today will very likely all be gone!
Island Timberlands attempts to restrict all people from accessing unceded Shishalh Skwxwú7mesh territories!Posted: April 12, 2016
My attempts to journey to the site of destruction of the homes and property of land stewards as well as doing my hunter gatherer thing, which is kind of necessary for my survival was prevented by the same unpleasant entity that created the destruction who have blockade all access to all citizens and have been posting these signs as well having barricaded access roads. Did I mention that they also destroyed recreational bike paths and ramps as well as the homes, Island Timberlands does not want you to get healthy and enjoy yourselves on our territories either. I do want you getting healthy and enjoying yourselves on my territories, to do so is necessary and entirely human, so go for it.
Island Timberlands is now attempting to block all access to all people un-unceded indigenous land including a public park that the community fought hard against the logging to preserve. They now claiming the right to decide who gets to hunt and gather on our territories, apparently they are more than just a logging company, they now assume to have the right to be our overseers on our own un-ceded territories, how quaint.
But I think not, our ancestors have been using those territories for over ten thousand years until the genocide perpetrated against us prevented that from happening. Corporations and companies do not and should not have greater powers than human beings, this is looking much more like a kleptocracy than a democracy from where I am standing. Am I alone in this, is any of this feeling democratic to anyone?
To make you understand how horrible this seemingly benign act is against indigenous people is for us realize that most of the elders here remember the starvation that they endured when their families were not allowed to leave the reservation in order to hunt and gather on their own lands. They remember all to well how it felt to be confined in a concentration camp ghetto where they apply for a permit from the Indian agent in order to obtain permission to leave to be able to find food for their children. Many of my family also remember how hungry they were in the residential schools were they worked growing food for others yet only received half a turnip daily as their share.
The colony keeps playing this nasty little game, they restrict and prevent us from being able to access to our territories and then claim we abandoned our territories which makes them available for exploitation and destruction. When things like this happen the question that first comes to my mind is how vile is this going to get again, can I soon expect members of my family to be rounded up and taken away again? Will I soon be kept in solitary confinement within and again as I was as a child? Will this happen to my grandchildren? I have to admit that multi-generational terrorism is not really working for me, it is actually a terrible burden and stress to carry around, and I also know many of the settlers are not liking to have to carry the shame around with them. None if this is equating into healthy or productive communities for anyone and if this is not stopped it will only get worse and that we can not allow to happen.
We see your sign Island Timberlands and we will raise you a Canadian Constitution Act!
Also thanks for the offer but we are not currently looking for new Indian agent to issue permits and violate our rights on unceded Salish soil, we have had quite enough of the genocide. Despite what this sign says the Canadian Constitution Act says otherwise and I do not fear signs but I do fear fascism.
“The “west”-what curse has fallen upon it that at the term of its trajectory it produces only these businessmen, these shopkeepers, these racketeers with their blank stares and atrophied smiles… is it with such vermin as this that a civilization so delicate and so complex must come to an end?”
― Emil Cioran
Not long ago, less than a fortnight actually, while I was doing my hunter gatherer gig as well assessing the massive environmental destruction that people are perpetrating against the Mother and ourselves, (this is never fun for me but can’t be avoided because it is everywhere I go) I happened across something unexpected by me but something that made my heart lighten, a new cabin taking shape on land that had fairly recently had been clear cut.
The owner graciously invited me in and allowed me to freely examine the structure and answered all my questions about, water, heat and waste and I was completely satisfied of about the quality, safety and soundness of the cabin.
I will even go further than than I admired the ingenuity and environmental consideration that the builder had implemented in the design and I am not the only person who felt the same about this cabin, its construction was supported by members of both the native and non native communities. I do not feel that way about the nearby settlements that are serving as mostly gluts for energy consumption, consumption and are producing far to much harmful and needless waste, this cabin was a valid and comfortable alternative which I am pleased that the owners chose to create. When I departed I did with a hug and promise to return for tea once it was done however on April 4th Island Timberlands with the aid of the RCMP took my host and his partner into custody while they commenced with destroying their home along with several others in the area.
They were not charged with any crimes, because they had not committed any and were released once their home was completely destroyed, it was smashed like all the others but did not have to be. My host and friend you see had gone to the expense and trouble of constructing the cabin to disassemble for easy removal to protect the environment, now broken glass, insulation,metal screws, smashed lumber and the remains of this young couples hard work, hopes and dreams are now littering our mountainside.
Island Timberlands is claiming in the media that they caused this environmental destruction in order to prevent potential environmental problems from this ingenious, little, green cabin built with the Native Elders approval and support. There was no urgency to do this, the tenants were causing no harm and have been living off grid in that area for more than three years. The forest had already been destroyed so industry was not being impeded, they were not preventing access to anyone. They were doing less harm than they would have been had they lived in the government created and approved communities, that is why they chose to live like this. Their home should not have been destroyed ever, they could have had their day in court and if they lost they would have willingly moved their home. The way this was carried out has to change big time, in my opinion as far as environmental stewardship Island Timberlands earns a big F, they have violated the rights of people who are invited guests on our lands, they have destroyed their property and caused environmental damage to our lands and by doing this they have raised my ire!
The local colonial media claims erroneously that Island Timberlands owns the property, this is not uncommon in the mainstream media, research everything you read or hear, there are even environmentalists utilize this belief to aid them in their fund raising efforts so be wary. They do not own the land, all they possess is a tree farm license from the province of BC who have not even made a treaty with our nations. Language matters as do facts, Island Timberlands does not own property on our still un-ceded lands, they do not pay property taxes like the rest of us are forced to do. What right does Island Timberlands have to declare that un-ceded indigenous land is not designated for dwellings? This type of belief that a company had won the right to control indigenous territories because of a trade monopoly established in a foreign country is what started this greed motivated occupation in the first place. Those, as we have be amply shown are not the solid foundations we need to build a healthy and productive society upon. We do not need corporations or anyone else violating our rights to live in non harmful peaceful communities, practice our own traditional cultures which includes sharing our abundance with other people if we so chose too.
The fact that they committed this act of destruction without showing a court order requesting it much less allowing the administration of due process of law to address the issue in a civil court so all sides could state their cases publicly and openly is not sitting well with too many people in and around these communities. The fact that the police who are paid through their tax dollars and resource extraction, are being utilized in this way while ignoring criminal activity and are even being proven to be participating in harmful activities that contradict the purpose they are suppose to serve.
Local resident Roger Lagassé posted this comment, it is the best example from many messages and offers of support for this young couple and this cause. ‘We need to take away the huge tracts of land that were given as Tree Farm Licenses to big forest companies by the government and return them to First Nations. Now today, there is no shortage of land in Canada. Greed makes land unavailable for young people. This needs to change. Hats off to Emily and Douglas who kept a positive attitude through this ordeal. You two are amazing! It takes vision to change this obsolete system. You have vision…’
The fact is settler youth are coming here for many years now reaching out to natives and elders because they too are very much being marginalized by the same systems that are violating our rights. They are far less eager than their parents to support their own enslavement to corruption and ongoing unchecked criminal behavior within our banking systems, they don’t want fiat dollars, many do not want currencies involved in any trade system. They do not want gmo foods, pesticides, unclean drinking water, destruction of environment or minimum wage service industry jobs that provide less than they need to cover their basic expenses. They are not in favor of having a police force that acts to protect corporate interests while violating the rights of the people who pay them their salaries through their tax dollars. They do not want police forces which ignore the suffering and terrorisation of the people that they are suppose to be protecting, they do not want misogyny involved if their sisters, mothers or daughters are violated, they do not want ignorance and humiliation applied this if their brothers, fathers or sons are violated either. It happens. They do not want to be ashamed, nor do they want anyone else to be made to feel to be ashamed due to their skin colour, disabilities, sexual orientation or spiritual beliefs. They want to work and help the communities they live in through their efforts, not harm them, nor do they want to harm the global communities and they particularly do not approve of making wars for economic or any other reasons. They want to live in communities where people are protected from harmful or mentally unstable people, who doesn’t? I sure wouldn’t mind a little of that myself. They have dropped out of the colleges and universities, or refused to apply at all, big pharma is completely out of favor, capitalists are not loved, two party partisan politics and hegemony’s are very much despised, gnu/linux is being installed as their operating systems and anti colonialism is trending big time. They do not want the genocide of first nations cultures, lands and people. They know that civility is direly lacking in present day civilization and they are taking part in its reintroduction.
These are the youth, they are the future, and with the current economic and political situation it is pretty much guaranteed that they will keep coming to us and other marginalized people to stand along side us. From all this darkness, this misery that has been created for our benefit comes the motivation to create something better and that equates to hope for us all so they are very welcome here by me unlike Island Timberlands!
A peaceful anti logging blockade on unceded Shishalh territory has been subjected to ongoing assaults and abuse from person or people unknown. This blockade was destroyed by an person or people in a vehicle, fortunately none of the land defenders have been harmed so far.
This blockade which has been personed for over a month has been constructed due to an ongoing, fifty years, problem with logging in and around watersheds which has been destroying the terra firma, causing landslides and is destroying the fish habitat and spawning grounds.
This fifty year problem is the result of colonial occupation of unceded indigenous territories, which is the root cause of all the discord, genocide and corruption.
The blockade is only protecting a small area which is within the water shed, outside of this area there is a great deal of active logging taking place unimpeded yet the assaults and threats against the community and land defenders continues unabated.
The land defenders have been subjected to theft and destruction of property as well attempted assaults which fortunately failed. The person or persons unknown have been attempting to run down the activists with their vehicles, fortunately so far only the blockade has been damaged as it was yesterday.
Both the settler and indigenous communities are suffering due to the water quality, quantity issues that the logging has caused and have been actively fighting against this for fifty years now, to no avail. The blockade has been created and is supported by the people who live here so it is suspect that any local person or people would attempt to destroy what has been created to protect them.
These practices have already destroyed the salmon spawning beds, which due to the low water levels caused by the logging cannot be accessed by the salmon anymore. So oxygen, food and water are all being destroyed in order to fulfill human greed and ego, yet we claim to be a superior life from, when it is quite obvious that by willingly destroying the basic neccesities of life in order to fulfill fantasy’s we have constructed about ourselves that we are not.
The following photos of a still standing forest near the watershed will give you just a little glimpse of what will no longer exist thanks to human kind!
by Stop Pacific NorthWest LNG/Petronas on Lelu Island, March 29, 2016 Since August 25, 2015, we have been occupying Lax U’u’la :”place where the seals are” (Lelu Island) & Flora Banks, territory of the Gitwilgyots Tribe, House of Gwishawaal, to practice our Aboriginal rights and title. By doing this we legally prevent and slow surveying, […]