Kwáḵwíy was sitting quietly, too quietly which is what drew us closer. We sat by ḵwáḵwíy calmly, trying to determine what was the matter without frightening them. Soon ḵwáḵwíy rose to stretch and we quickly discovered what the problem, cords were tightly wrapped around both legs. We worked together to remove the cords, remaining calm and working quickly so we would not distress ḵwáḵwíy anymore than they already were. Kwáḵwíy was not happy and bit one of their rescuers several times, but none of us could really blame ḵwáḵwíy for this, I would be in a nasty mood if I was suffering that badly. It was sickening to see how deeply that cord had cut into ḵwáḵwíy’s leg, almost right to the bone. After ḵwáḵwíy was freed they flew a short distance to the water and set to washing themselves but none of us are sure if ḵwáḵwíy will survive but we are hopeful. Personally I have a great respect for ḵwáḵwíy, we share the same territory. Sadly due to the reality of modern life and loss of natural habitats and foods, more and more of them forage in landfills along with the eagles and ravens which is far from ideal. Please take great care with what you send to the landfills, remember it is now a source of food for many creatures.No one knows for sure how many of these beautiful and important creatures suffer and die to this failure in humans to comprehend the potential harm that something seemingly benign can cause. This happens far too often so please take the time to properly dispose of all cords, wires, strings and ribbons by cutting them into tiny little bits that cannot become entwined around the legs and wings of ḵwáḵwíy or any of the other beautiful creatures we share our Mother with. Ulnumsh
Black Seed issue 5 is now available at Little Black Cart. This journal is free however Little Black Cart does charge a small fee for shipping and handling.
This issue includes my contribution ‘The Bones of Mayuk’ along with much more good material created and shared by some very excellent people.
Republished from Unsettling Canada 150
In honour of Arthur Manuel, we call for a National Day of Action in support of Indigenous self-determination over land, territories and resources
JULY 1, 2017
On January 11, 2017, our mentor, colleague, friend and brother, Arthur Manuel passed onto the spirit world at the age of 65.
Arthur Manuel was organizing to defend his Secwepemc peoples’ and all Indigenous Peoples’ Rights up to the day he was admitted into the hospital. In the last article he wrote before his passing he referred to the Canada 150 celebrations by stating: “I do not wish to celebrate Canada stealing our land. That is what Canadians will be celebrating on July 1, the theft of 99.8% of our land, leaving us on reserves that make up only 0.2% of the territories given us by the Creator.”
As part of his campaign against the 150th celebration in Canada, Arthur was also planning to go to Geneva to appear before the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in August 2017 when Canada is scheduled to report on its treatment of Indigenous Peoples. He was preparing a counter-report to inform the world that the Trudeau government is maintaining the colonial Indian Act and its immoral, illegal land claims policies that deny Aboriginal collective title, treaty rights and our right of self-determination. We will send our own delegation to, in Arthur’s words, “escalate the assertion of our rights from a purely domestic strategy to an international strategy across nations.” (http://redrisingmagazine.ca/what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it/.)
JULY 1 NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
In the spirit of Arthur Manuel, we want to make July 1 a National Day of Action. This day of action is to celebrate our Indigenous and human rights to self-determination, our lands, territories and resources. It is also to educate Canadians about how their constitutional framework, first established 150 years ago in the British North America Act (1867), illegally confiscated our lands, territories and resources, spawned the post-confederation Indian Act and attempted to write Indigenous jurisdiction— and Indigenous Peoples— out of existence.
This assault has not stopped. If anything, it has accelerated under the current government. Prime Minister Trudeau has been approving pipeline projects and continues to bank on the exploitation of our resources. He does not want to recognize Indigenous land rights. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls continues to fall short and fail many families. We will be demanding that the Trudeau government respect our internationally recognized right of land and body self-determination, including our absolute right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent to any activities in our territories, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This is a grassroots movement that will never accept any behind-the-scenes attempts to weaken our rights, like the closed door meetings of the Cabinet and a Ministerial Working-Group now underway with the three National Aboriginal Organizations (Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Metis National Council), led by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Instead of backroom manipulations, we demand:
1) a new open truly Nation-to-Nation recognition process that begins by fully recognizing collective Indigenous rights and Title, and our decision-making power throughout our territories.
2) full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action, including rejecting the colonial doctrines of discovery and recognizing Indigenous self-determination.
3) full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the ground.
We recognize and affirm that jurisdiction over our lands, territories, and resources is inseparable from the issue of self-determination over our peoples. Violence against women, trans, and two-spirit Indigenous people is connected to the loss of authority over our lands. It is worsened by extraction industries that attempt to claim ownership to our lands and our people through acts of violence.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
We ask that you, your community, and your organization join us to send a loud and clear message to Canada and the world that we will no longer accept the colonial system of dispossession, dependency and repression that Canada has imposed on us for the past 150 years.
1) Join a national action – find one near you
2) Take Local Action
Host an event, such as a rally, or a public forum. Email us to let us know what you are planning. Use the subject “Indigenous Day of Action Event.” We’ll promote it on our Idle No More events calendar and post your pictures on social media on July 1, 2017.
3) On July 1, 2017, wherever you are in Canada, take to social media
Tag us @IdleNoMore4 & the Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau and any other government official or agency related to your issue (see attached list)
Change your Facebook banner to promote this campaign and your activism (see attached banner)—keep it up as long as you like!
Wear Indigenous Rights red & post a picture of yourself taking action to the Idle No More Facebook page.
NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION (JULY 1, 2017) ENDORSED BY:
Family of Arthur Manuel
Defenders of the Land Network
Idle No More Network
Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade
The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Climate Action
Secwepemc Women Warrior Society
No More Silence
The Shuswap Lake Coalition
No One Is Illegal – Toronto
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Coast Salish territories
Rising Tide North America
Immigration Legal Committee – Law Union of Ontario
Algonquins of Barriere Lake First Nation
Wolastoq Grand Council
Dr Lynn Gehl
Barriere Lake Solidarity
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Water is Life: Coalition for Water Justice
Red Nation (Albuquerque)Eagle and Condor Community Center
Decolonize this Place
NYC Stands with Standing Rock Collective
The Latinx, Afro-Latin-America Abya Yala Education Network (LAEN)
The Great Lakes Commons
Fossil Free Guelph
Native Land 150
Critical Race Relations Consulting
Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP)
Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, Mi’kmaQ territory
Indigenous Women’s Association of the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Territories Inc.
Justice for Migrant Workers (J4MW)
The Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu and Mining Injustice (WCCC)
The Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network
Silence No More
Metis Empowered Together In Solidarity
The LEAP Organizing Team
Between The Lines Press
The Council of Canadians
International Human Rights Association
of American Minorities (IHRAAM)
Jean Arnold – The Analog Forestry Network
The Punch Up Collective
Canadian Dimension magazine
In Solidarity with all Land Defenders
We Love This Coast .com
Graphic History Collective
Toronto Network of Engaged Buddhists
Buddhist Civil Liberties Association
Toronto Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Divest Mount Allison University on Mik’maq territory
Climate Justice Montreal
IPSMO (Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement -Ottawa)
Have your group join us by endorsing the Day of Action!
Beatrice Hunter is an Innu Grandmother who had been battling with the community against the crown corporation Nalcor Energy to protect her traditional territory of Nitassinan. The community has been protesting over flooding as well with concerns over methylmercury contamination. Beatrice was sentenced to 10 days for participating in a protest on May 22nd of this year.
Despite the fact that Beatrice is serving a very short sentence for non-violent peaceful protesting and exercising her constitutional rights the crown has relocated her 1,000 kilometers from her community and placed her into a maximum security men’s prison.
The following message is from Beatrice Hunter who is presently incarcerated in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, St John’s Canada.
Please show your support for Beatrice Hunter and all other imprisoned activists, revolutionaries, warriors and other political prisoners.
Thank you Matthew Behrens for creating this graphic and post (from Ottawa: Make Muskrat Right)
Following statement was issued from the Labrador Land Defenders on May 29, 2017.
While Trudeau tries to make it look like he cares about Indigenous people while meeting with the Pope, back at home, an Indigenous woman, Beatrice Hunter is thrown in jail for trying to save the future of her land and people from a Trudeau-backed megaproject at Muskrat Falls.
Please write and call the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Dwight Ball, who is ALSO Minister of Labrador, Intergovernmental, and Indigenous Affairs
Demand of Premier Ball
1. Immediate release of Beatrice Hunter
2. Dropping of all charges against Labrador Land Protectors and lifting of the anti-democratic injunction against land protectors brought by NALCOR Energy
3. Cancel the Muskrat Falls hydro project because it is too dangerous in the short and long term, whether from catastrophic collapse of the North Spur (which is built on quick clay, which moves) or from methyl mercury poisoning.
“This is what I believe, if any of the Labrador Land Protectors server jail time than it’s to show that we’re fearless and to make us stronger, it’s not to teach us a lesson.” – Beatrice Hunter, May 26, 2017
“I am going to the gate tomorrow at 10 am hope to see you there, have to stand by a good honest man, Darren Hill, he’s put his job and livelihood on the line for his people. Stand beside him. I will not live in fear of court or arrest anymore, we are doing the right thing, saving lives, and babies who aren’t even born yet, innocents.” – Beatrice Hunter, May 19, 2017
A petition demanding the release of Beatrice Hunter can be found here.
Links to the Labrador Land Defenders page as well as their legal expense fund raiser can be found here.
Following statement issued from the Unist’ot’en People, traditional Wet’suwet’en Territory on May 24, 2017.
Image courtesy of Unist’ot’en Camp
‘And so it begins! the skies are busy above camp today. The Construction Crew who are working on the Healing Center are constantly being interrupted by chopper activity flying overhead.
To date we know that TransCanada (with the Coastal Gas Link pipeline) as well as Chevron (with the Pacific Trails pipeline) have issued public notices stating that they intend to survey for their pipeline projects and construct service roads to the proposed pipeline Right of Ways. The BC government issued a letter about 2 months ago to the Unist´ot´en People stating that they wanted the steel gate removed from the bridge so that they can access ¨their¨ resources. Despite the Final Investment Decision for the LNG Plant facilities in Kitimat being put on hold indefinitely these pipeline companies want to force unwanted work onto the unceded lands of the Wet´suwet´en.
Doing so would be ignoring Supreme Court of Canada case law as well as (and more importantly) breaking Wet´suwet´en Laws on occupied territories.
If you had thought about coming up to offer your support please visit the https://unistotensolidarity.com/page or if you want to help us protect these lands from Oil and Gas but cannot find the time or logistical support to physically join us please visit us at the https://unistoten.camp/support-us/page to look over ideas on ways that you can employ to join us in our fight.
End of statement!
From what I understand Wet’suwet’en Territory does not get much if any air traffic so this is highly unusual, however sadly it is not unexpected. The Unist’ot’en Camp is something I have long supported because preventing pipelines from reaching our coastline is something I am very much in favor of as well as something I am presently benefiting from and wish to continue doing so. I am not in favor of having tanker traffic or oil spilled on our traditional waters, not many are.
The Unist’ot’en have not been shy in regards to expressing their opposition to having any pipelines, bitumen or lng, on their territory. That is exactly why they constructed that gate, to keep oil and gas employees from accessing their territories without their consent as it seems they are fully intending to do.
The Unist’ot’en are not alone in their position either, globally there is a massive amount of opposition to these industries, the products they produce and the destruction they cause! There is far too much for us to lose to allow these projects to proceed, they will harm our communities, ecosystems, industries and economies.
The Unist’ot’en do not have a treaty with the government’s that are claiming ownership of their territories and resources as they have been doing for the past 150 years. The Wet’suwet’en People have also established title to their territories through the Canadian Supreme Court’s Delgamuukw decision. Despite the Wet’suwet’en People’s legal rights it appears as the government are intending to force these pipelines upon the Wet’suwet’en People’s territories, violating their constitutional rights and a Supreme Court of Canada decision in the process.
Are these people who are spinning ‘reconciliation’ as part of their big ‘150’ celebration going to actually apply the UN declaration on rights of Indigenous Peoples and cease with their colonial nonsense as they promised they would? Or is this ‘reconciliation’ spin nothing more than the manufacture of consent for a relationship in which no consent has actually ever been given?
Well if you consider the heavy RCMP presence at the Imperial Metals Investors Meeting in Coquitlam yesterday and the fact that they used force against Secwepemc People in order to prevent them from attending the meeting my guess would be it is only spin, don’t get your hopes up. When you consider the fact that the taxpayers had to foot the forty million dollar bill for Imperial’s Mount Polley Disaster you have to wonder where all those normally angry taxpayers are? Whatever side you stand on it is not in anyone’s interest that this type of corporate welfare continues. It is harming our environment, contaminating the water, destroying our economies along with our communities, the responsibility to stop it falls upon all our shoulders.
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 homelessness, 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!