Not long ago I was honored to be present at an assembly of Warriors, Land Defenders and Settler Supporters which took place in Pánkúpa (so called Vancouver). Indigenous Warriors came from many different Nations Occupied North America to share their wisdom with us all. It was good to be in their presence and to be able to share knowledge, support and advice with other all of the other Indigenous Warriors, Land and Water Defenders and Settler Supporters at these extremely troubled times. I would like to thank the organizers and volunteers for their hard work and the excellent job they did juggling so many events people into those few successful days.
There were a great number of people present but this is hardly surprising considering the looming threats being directed at us by the oil and gas industry’s! Presently there are many Indigenous Land Defense Actions that are in need of supporters, some of them urgently so in order to appeal on all their behalfs as well as our own I have created a list of links to Land Defense and support groups created to aid Indigenous People’s in their struggles. This list will be updated regularly and any additions that people wish to add can be shared in the comments section of that page.
The corporations are relentless, and the oil and gas industries are not the only problem, they are simply amongst the most looming. The fentanyl crisis is also looming, on top of the already long list of terrifying substances that have been created for our well being many of which are still being distributed to the population despite their deadly effects. Why is it still assumed that the way to tackle these health care created issues is through violence and incarceration rather than through offering the afflicted person proper support and aid them in their recovery? The housing crisis is far beyond looming it continues to grow by leaps and bounds which is hardly surprising as it was spawned from the colonialism and genocide which have continued unabated since their conception. The looming issues with police violence and corruption along with the looming issue of ongoing war, bombings and terror being inflicted upon innocent people all in the name of greed. Ironically all these problems have been brought to you by the government’s who allegedly serve the population’s and are funded by your tax dollars. We all know live in a reality in which corporate welfare is the norm and the population’s are under serviced and over taxed, not just in a monetary sense but also physically, mentally and spiritually, and this reality effect quality of life, things could be so easily done so much better.
We have all witnessed the great deal of energy, resources and time that growing numbers are being forced to commit in order to attempt to protect Our Mother from being destroyed by corporations who are being backed and supported by their own elected officials and their military agents, this is absurd! We have witnessed ongoing assaults against peaceful, non-threatening, frightened people being perpetuated by agents of the government and it is the horror of witnessing these and the injustice behind in to become involved in working to put a stop to these practices and help preserve life instead of allowing it to be destroyed for greedy agendas. I would like to offer my appreciation to all of the people who are putting themselves at risk and through hardship in order to protect our Mother from more senseless destruction and contamination.
There are many different ways people can get behind these actions, one way is by becoming being a front line supporter, a camp supporter, through donations of goods and supplies, in fund raising for Indigenous and Land Defenders legal expenses, arranging and/or participating in rallies in your area, sharing information on social media, pressuring your elected officials, boycotting key players and the banks funding the destructive project. Any and all efforts are needed so please continue doing all you can, together we can and will overcome any obstacles.
For those of you who are able to and would like to join in as Land Defenders at active camps you need to contact the Traditional Nation and obtain their consent first. You should also do research first, regarding the history of the camp, of the Nation or Nations the camp represents, on colonialism and its effects and about the threat to their territory as well as the parties involved. Do not fail to spend sometime looking into the legal issues regarding the situation, if you are an activist in so called BC, Civil Disobedience: A Legal Handbook For Activists has been provided for your use courtesy of the UVIC’s Environmental Law Center, it is a good guide for any who are planning to protest the pipelines or any other resources extraction on any of our unceded territories. It is also very important to consider your psychological, spiritual and mental fitness as well. Look for guidance as to what to expect through the shared experiences of other people who have been on the front lines. Use this knowledge to prepare yourself for whatever may come, and by prepare yourself make sure that you will be able to take care of your spiritual and emotional support needs when the time comes.
As to what to expect when you arrive in a Land Defense Camp, expect to contribute your labor for the betterment of the community. Also I am not aware of any Indigenous people calling our for colonizers to come help them, you will be expected to learn and follow the cultural, protocols and adhere to laws of the Nation who are the true custodians of their lands you are defending. Land/Water Defense is not a vacation, if you do go you will be required to help out with the daily work load in this camps. This means cutting and hauling firewood, hauling water, cooking, cleaning, hunting, fishing, construction all while maintaining respectful relationships with other people and the world around you.
We have all had the common experience at all Land and/or Water Defense actions where people show up unprepared, unskilled and at times unwilling to share in the workload. This of course creates a greater burden on the rest of the community who really do not need added responsibility of taking care of you while we are also struggling against colonialism and genocide.
So please before you take this step consider your physical condition, will you be physically capable of participating in the types of work and survival activities that will be required of you? Also ensure that you have the right clothing and equipment which will aid you in your survival on the territory you are defending. Consider your skills and abilities, will you be able to perform your share in the work, what are you best at that will be beneficial to the community. Perhaps you can cook but will require training in other areas, that should not be a problem as long as you come willing to learn new skills. Your research and communications with the Nation you are interested in supporting will provide you with the information you will need to have on their territories. Do not ever attempt to invite yourself to one of the camps, you should make contact and follow the traditional people’s protocols in order to gain legal entry to their lands.
In most traditional cultures the people who stand the front lines are the Warriors. Our responsibility is not create harm or do harm but instead to protect harm from being committed against others as well as to care for the other members of our communities. This definition and these practices will be applied at the camps so you should expect to respect and follow them in practice while you are there, do not bring your definition of other peoples nation and attempt to impose it on them.
These are very dire times indeed but there is nothing that we cannot overcome if we work together respectfully and with the common goal of righting the wrongs of colonialism, imperialism, inequality and put an end to the destruction and harm being committed against Our Mother for our Grandchildren.