VANCOUVER – Early this morning four Burnaby Mountain Caretakers have locked themselves to the Supreme Court entrance in Vancouver. The action was taken to draw attention to the role of the courts in ongoing colonial occupation of Indigenous territory on Burnaby Mountain and across the country.
An injunction and a $5.6-million civil suit in damages is what corporate energy giant Kinder Morgan is seeking against blockaders at a court hearing this week.
Since August of this year, a determined group of Burnaby residents have been stopping Kinder Morgan work crews at a designated conservation area within Burnaby Mountain. SFU professor and defendant Stephen Collis explains, "Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change, issues relating to Aboriginal title, and the erosion of our democratic rights."
With the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline on June 17, 2014, there arose a chorus of angry disapproval from many people in BC. Some talked about waging a “war against Enbridge,” while others proclaimed the beginning of the “battle.” Predictably, the political parties opposed to the Conservative government promised to put a stop to Enbridge, if elected. Those who have worked to oppose Enbridge over the past 5 years renewed their pledges to carry out court cases, referendums, voting campaigns, as well as civil disobedience.
On the surface, these strategies seem progressive in the sense that they are focused on the redistribution of wealth though revenue sharing, but they are really a containment strategy akin to the transition from wildcat strikes to national labour legislation in the 1930s.
Just as the the right to strike was contained within the right to labour peace in collective bargaining, the demands of First Nation for sovereignty, and all the land rights and decision-making power that go with sovereignty, have been contained in the new social contract.
The scale of the devastation only became apparent from the air. A dam at a waste pond on the site of a British Columbia open-pit mine had burst, releasing 10m cubic meters of water and 4.5m cubic meters of potentially toxic slurry into virtually untouched forest, lakes and rivers into an area of Canada populated mostly by the indigenous First Nations peoples. Soda Creek First Nations chief Bev Sellars took a helicopter tour to assess the scale of the disaster. “It looked like an avalanche, but avalanches don’t have toxic waste in them,” she said.
Rising Tide North America is part of the global movement against climate chaos and for social and environmental justice. We believe climate change can only be addressed by exposing the intersections between the oppressions of humans and the earth. No effort to create a livable future will succeed without the empowerment of marginalized communities and the dismantling of the systems of oppression that keep us divided.
LIKELY — A group of Tahltan First Nation elders is adding to the opposition of mining projects in British Columbia following the Mount Polley tailings-dam failure calling for a blockade today of the Red Chris mine project near Iskut in the far northwest.
BACK IN June, President Barack Obama made a presidential visit to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, located in North and South Dakota--his first such trip since becoming president.
The people of Standing Rock are part of the Hunkpapa band of the Lakota (Sioux) tribe and are ancestors of Sitting Bull, one of the most famous Native resisters to expansion--he was a leader in the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho victory over the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.