The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

DESMOGBLOG, NOVEMBER 2, 2014, a guest post by Shiri Pasternak.

 

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources.

A “Critical Infrastructure Suspicious Incident” report was triggered by Thomas-Muller’s trip in 2010 to the Unist’ot’en camp of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, where a protest camp was being built on the coordinates of a proposed Pacific Trails pipeline.mikmaq

The Unist’ot’en clan continues to hold their ground along these GPS coordinates today. Not coincidentally, they are members of a nation that took its assertions of jurisdiction to the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in 1997, establishing in Canadian case law the underlying proprietary interest of Indigenous peoples to their unceded lands.

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First Nations lead the way in Victoria protest against pipelines and oil sands

October 23rd, 2012
First Nations are leading the way in British Columbia’s opposition to pipelines, tankers and exploitation of the climate damaging oil sands

Protesters trickled in like salmon heading home—a few signs on the Canada Line at 5:30 in the morning, a big line up at the Bridgeport bus stop, a ferry full of protesters, all ages, a few costumes, lots of signs. I asked a man on the ferry if he planned on committing civil disobedience. “They’re having trouble figuring out what to do,” he said. “They’ve been given permission to protest on the lawn. Now they’re thinking about driving stakes into the lawn because that’s illegal.”

Eric Boyum, an eco-tourism operator in the Great Bear Rainforest offered a ride to several of us so we could avoid the over packed buses in Schwartz Bay. Boyum stated that tankers would destroy his business, Ocean Adventures, without an oil spill.

“The tankers would travel right through where I operate. They won’t be attractive to tourists.” Protecting his business is not his primary motivation.

“The First Nations in the area are like family to me,” he said. “They’ve subsisted there for thousands of years. Tankers are the biggest threat to their way of life that they’ve ever had.” He also feels responsible for the natural world. “Someone has to speak out for the animals,” he said. “The whales, bears and salmon don’t have a voice in this, but we can fight for them.” Continue reading

Canada: On the ongoing colonial repression of Aboriginal First Nations

Attawapiskat and colonialism: Seeing the forest and the trees

Attawapiskat

Attawapiskat protest

By Robert Lovelace, rabble.ca

December 6, 2011

If you can cut through the racism, ignorance, and half-baked opinions of pundits, politicians and sound-bite media, most folks will realize that Attawapiskat and many other First Nations have been labouring under the repression of colonialism far too long.

The antidote for poverty is self-determination and no one can give you that. You have to stand up and take action yourself to make it happen. Colonialism does not give way on its own; it must be defeated through vigorous and enlightened opposition.

It is difficult in the face of human suffering to turn attention to the systemic and structural reasons that have led to this catastrophe, but this is the very time when thoughtful analysis is needed. The homes are small and cold. The tedium of poverty bears down day by day and those who have stolen your children’s future call the daily bread on your table a “handout”. It is difficult to feel anything but shame through the numbing that is required to get by every day.

But there are reasons behind this suffering. There is a history. There is a structure to oppression, denial and indifference that houses this suffering and there is a system that perpetuates it. Continue reading

Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to dominate UN racism conference

9 September 2011

The September meeting is the third review conference of the Durban Declaration; the second was held in Geneva in 2009.

UNITED NATIONS, (IPS) – A high-level UN meeting on racism, scheduled to take place later this month, looks set to be dominated by questions relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Expressing fears that the meeting might turn out to be anti-Israel, several Western states, including Canada, Germany, the United States, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Australia, have indicated they will not participate.

The boycott is the result of an intense campaign by Israel, which has branded the meeting “anti-Semitic” even before it could get off the ground.

Still, an overwhelming majority of the UN’s 193 member states — along with dozens of human rights activists and organizations — are expected to actively participate in the meeting, scheduled to take place on 22 September during the 66th session of the UN’s General Assembly. Continue reading