“I’m challenging my non Indigenous friends to stand up against racism when you see it.” -Violet Baptiste
Leadnow.ca· March 2 · Since the beginning of the Coastal GasLink blockades, Indigenous people have been attacked with racist slurs, trolled with online harassment and threatened with bombs and hit and runs.
Time to stand against racism.
As protests in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders continue to sweep Canada, hate experts say anti-Indigenous racism and violence is on the rise and should be addressed.
There’s a sea change at foot, with white supremacists and hate groups re-directing their attention to Indigenous people, says Evan Balgord of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
“So in the last two weeks or so, with the Wet’suwet’en crisis and with the solidarity demonstrations happening across Canada, we’ve seen a marked uptick in far-right activity,” said Balgord.
He’s tracked multiple social media posts calling for the murder or assault of demonstrators, with the primary targets both Indigenous people and their allies.
Balgord says race-based violence needs to be addressed by exposing those who commit it and he called on law enforcers to take a firmer line against those who threaten violence on social media.
It’s not just protesters who have been the target of hate.
Wendy Nahanee was dropping her 14-year-old son Kiona off at school in Vancouver at 9 a.m. last Monday when the two faced a man yelling racist slurs at them.
“He said ‘you stupid Indians, you hurt people and now you’re going to get hurt,'” said Nahanee, who is of the Squamish Nation.
She believes she was a target because of her car, which is decked out in First Nations decals and motifs, and because she is visibly Indigenous.
Rise in anti-Indigenous racism and violence seen in wake of Wet’suwet’en protests. CBC, February 27, 2020
Violet Baptiste, a Cree woman living in Winnipeg, says she was waiting for her bus after work when a group of white people—who she said were issuing racist commentary about the nearby Wet’suwet’en rally—ambushed her and started hurling racist, anti-Indigenous insults.
In a five-minute video that went viral, a teary-eyed Baptiste recounts the story, detailing several prejudicial comments allegedly issued at her.
Baptiste said that a pro-Wet’suwet’en rally, which took place on February 10, inspired the vitriol, because it forced several bus routes to change course, delaying commuters. Baptiste stood at her transit stop while others started venting about the Wet’suwet’en supporters.
Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 19-year-old Wet’suwet’en supporter and advocate, has been mobilizing in Victoria for nearly two weeks. She said she’s noticed heightened racism taking place away from protest sites—and people are scared.
“False and misleading and inaccurate depictions expose us to white supremacists and threaten our safety,” Blaney told VICE on Friday.
Indigenous activists say they’re staying strong despite a steady stream of racism.
Indigenous Peoples Report Racism Surge as Wet’suwet’en Rail Blockades Grow. A Cree woman from Winnipeg went viral after posting a tearful video detailing racism she experienced last week. By Anya Zoledziowski, VICE, Feb 20 2020