Rosa Parks famously occupied the seat of a Montgomery bus, an action that sparked a revolution in U.S. racial relations. The Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en now defiantly occupies territory whose location is critical to a proposed new pipeline route. They experience daily surveillance by helicopters that sometimes buzz close over the main cabin of the occupation.
Ten years ago, the provincial government made the welcome decision to provide greater opportunities for First Nations to participate in and benefit from forestry operations in British Columbia. The result was a flurry of new resource and revenue sharing agreements between the government and numerous First Nations that underscored the government’s commitment to enter a “new relationship” with the province’s First Peoples.
A lawsuit the Coldwater Indian Band filed against Kinder Morgan could set precedent for a series of other legal battles, said both the pipeline company’s lawyers and an environmental lawyer. Matthew Kirchner, who is defending the band, argued on Wednesday that Kinder Morgan was illegally operating the Trans Mountain pipeline on the reserve. Coldwater is seeking a judicial review of an assignment to a right-of-way that Kinder Morgan has applied for to expand the pipeline’s production three-fold by twinning it.
First Nations fear they are being cut out of a potential $2.5 billion windfall from the development of B.C.'s liquefied natural gas and mining sector and want the provincial government to mandate at least a quarter of those projects to use energy from B.C.'s independent power producers.
The image of burning police cars played endlessly on the evening news. Television and talk radio blared out reports of "clashes" between police and indigenous protestors. Last Thursday in New Brunswick near the Elsipogtog First Nation, we were told the government had enforced an injunction against a blockade of a US shale gas company. There was nothing about the roots of a conflict years in the making. An appeal to the stereotype of indigenous violence was enough: once again, the natives were breaking the law; the police had to be sent in.
After a Throne Speech that pledged a focus on the North, Environment Minister and Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq is Yukon-bound to kick off Canada’s term at the helm of the international Arctic Council. She’ll use it to push for expanded resource development and more indigenous involvement in research on subjects such as climate change.
Canada's colonial past is present, however much Prime Minister Stephen Harper seeks to obfuscate the reality of the history of this land. This week has served as a prime example of how denial of past colonialism helps to perpetuate ongoing colonial relationships. The current flashpoint is the small town of Rexton, New Brunswick, where the Elsipogtog First Nation and their supporters are facing down massive RCMP repression of their protests against activity by SWN Resources, a company that is carrying out seismic testing for proposed oil and gas fracking operations in the area.
Yesterday, the RCMP launched a violent assault on a blockade protest against a shale gas fracking company on the outskirts of the New Brunswick village of Rexton, just north of Moncton. The protest action has been led by the Mi’kmaq people of the Elsipogtog First Nation. A symbolic protest that was slowing traffic on a nearby highway has been in place since Sept.
Urgent call for solidarity and support
Support #Elsipogtog and Mi'kmaq anti fracking blocakde
Friday October 18th
3:30 pm, gather at the South side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
March leaves at 4 pm sharp
Unceded xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.
Across Turtle Island, a powerful resistance is rising. As corporations attempt to enter a new era of even dirtier fossil fuel production, indigenous communities are standing up to take direct action to protect Mother Earth. From Fort Chip to Beaver Lake, Red Lake to Lakota, communities are organizing. Some are pursuing legal challenges against violated treaties. Others are creating internet-driven mass movements such as Idle No More. Others still are reclaiming their roots by going back to the land to assert traditional law.