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!