The First Nations of Canada are still waiting for the colonial era to end

The government continues to ignore the sovereignty of indigenous inhabitants, even though it was granted in 1763
theguardian.com, Monday 21 October 2013

The Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, recently made a throne speech, in which he spoke of the settlers who founded the country: “They dared to seize the moment that history offered. Pioneers … reached a vast continent. They forged an independent country where none would have otherwise existed.”

Police cars explode in an anti-fracking protest

Police cars explode in an anti-fracking protest

This genocidal logic finds its companion image in the photos released last week, of 700 heavily armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers in a stand-off in New Brunswick with the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation and their allies, who are currently defending their lands from the predatory activities of a Houston-based company conducting shale gas explorations. Over the past days, peaceful protesters have been pepper-sprayed, shot at with rubber bullets, and more than 40 people have been arrested.

Earlier this month, a group of First Nations elders travelled to London to mark the 250th anniversary of the royal proclamation of 1763. They did so, in part, as a reminder of the existence of promises made by the British crown to the First Nations of Canada. Issued by King George III at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, the proclamation recognised that all unceded lands of Indians would be left as such until they were ceded by way of treaty with the British crown. The document thus recognised indigenous rights to their land and, at the same time, asserted the underlying crown title to all of Britain’s colonial possessions in what was to become Canada. The proclamation emerged at a time when the British crown and First Nations were negotiating treaties on a nation-to-nation basis. And in this paradox lies the heart of settler colonialism today: the recognition of indigenous rights on the basis of their prior occupation of the land, now enshrined in section 35 of the Canadian constitution, along with the ongoing assertion of colonial sovereignty. Continue reading

Canada: The Settler Colonial-Security State’s Eyes on the First Nations

[The colonial suppression of indigenous peoples is at the foundation of settler-colonial states from Azania, Polynesia, Palestine, and on and on from South Asia to and through the Western Hemisphere.  At the foundation, and continuing, without respite.  Here, a report on the surveillance and efforts to suppress the risings anew of the First Nations in the land the settlers call Canada. — Frontlines ed.]

CSIS, Aboriginal Affairs kept close watch on First Nations protest movement

 Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Idle No More protesters march in Ottawa Jan. 11, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Stephen Spencer Davis, Canada.com

Published: August 11, 2013

A federal department and the country’s spy agency closely monitored the activities of the aboriginal “Idle No More” movement in late 2012 and early 2013, with the intelligence agency claiming it was doing so not over fear of protests getting out of hand, but to protect the activists from potential violence by others.

A series of “weekly situational awareness reports” from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada reveals a rigorous cataloguing of Idle No More’s activities.

Each report begins: “This is a weekly report that provides current information and the status of activities that threaten public safety in relation to issues affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.” Continue reading

Seattle, Washington: Lummi Tribe leads anti-coal protest at Seattle port

IdleNoMore protests coal trains

by , The Seattle Globalist,  March 22, 2013

In Canada, the birthplace of the “Idle No More” movement, six members of the Cree tribe are nearing the end of a 1000 mile trek to the nation’s capital to protest the enduring poverty of indigenous Canadians.

For marchers closer to home, the protest route on Thursday was barely four miles long. But the cause was no less urgent. About 300 of them walked drummed, chanted, and sang from downtown to the Port of Seattle. “It’s like a more profound, righteous version of Occupy,” one of the protesters remarked.

Members of the Luumi tribe, who led the march, say their ancestral burial ground at Cherry Point, near the Canadian border, is threatened by SSA Marine’s plans to build a coal shipping terminal to China on the land. The march ended at SSA Marine’s office.

Brit Reed, a 24-year-old Evergreen College student who hails from the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma, listed off the reasons she came to protest: the coal will expose the surrounding community to health risks, including asthma; the environment will become more toxic for fish and wildlife; burning coal causes global warming. “And it’s just really disrespectful, digging up someone’s sacred site,” she said. Continue reading

Canada: First Nations’ artist Zig Zag on the resistance movements today

Zig Zag interviewed about Idle No More: “In any liberation movement there are internal and external struggles”

by kersplebedeb

We are living in exciting times, with large numbers of people clearly fed up and taking action, no longer content to wait for the right moment or the right ideas or the right leadership to tell them what to do. Whether we think of Occupy, the Arab Spring, or the current Idle No More upsurge, spontaneity and taking a stand seem to be the order of the day. For those of us have lived through less exuberant times, it is a welcome change. That said, this new environment that clearly comes with its own potential pitfalls and weaknesses.

In order to try and understand this better, i asked some questions of Zig Zag, also known as Gord Hill, who is of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation and a long-time participant in anti-colonial and anti-capitalist resistance movements in Canada.  Gord is the author and artist of The 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance Comic Book and The Anti-Capitalist Resistance Comic Book (published by Arsenal Pulp Press) and 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance (published by PM Press); he also maintains the website WarriorPublications.wordpress.com.

Here is what he had to say…

K: What are the living conditions of Indigenous people today within the borders of what is called “canada”?

ZZ: Indigenous people in Canada experience the highest levels of poverty, violent death, disease, imprisonment, and suicide.  Many live in substandard housing and do not have clean drinking water, while many territories are so contaminated that they can no longer access traditional means of sustenance.  In the area around the Tar Sands in northern Alberta, for example, not only are fish and animals being found with deformities but the people themselves are experiencing high rates of cancer.  This is genocide.

K: Dispossession has been a central feature of colonialism and genocide within canada. Can you give some examples of how people have resisted dispossession in the past?

ZZ: Well in the past Native peoples had some level of military capability to resist dispossession, which ended around 1890.  More recently there have been many examples including Oka 1990, Ipperwash 1995, Sutikalh 2000, Six Nations 2006, etc.  At Oka it was armed resistance that stopped the proposed expansion of a golf course and condo project.  At Ipperwash people re-occupied their reserve land that had been expropriated during WW2, and they still remain there to this day.  At Sutikalh, St’at’imc people built a re-occupation camp to stop a $530 million ski resort. They were successful and the camp remains to this day.  At Six Nations they re-occupied land and prevented the construction of a condo project.

K: The canadian state has an army, prisons, police forces, and the backing of millions of people – not to mention the fact that it is completely integrated into world capitalism, both as a major source of natural resources and as an imperialist junior partner, messing up peoples around the world. What kind of possibilities are there for Indigenous people to successfully break out of this system, and resist canadian colonialism? What is the strategic significance of Indigenous resistance?

ZZ: Indigenous peoples must make alliances with other social sectors that also organize against the system.  The strategic significance of Indigenous peoples is their greater potential fighting spirit, stronger community basis of organizing, their ability to significantly impact infrastructure (such as railways, highways, etc, that pass through or near reserve communities) and their examples of resistance that can inspire other social movements. Continue reading