These are perilous times for many reasons. The health and economic dangers of the coronavirus pandemic have upended our societies and our lives. As the message below from Sovereign Likhts’amisyu warns, “during disasters, colonial and imperialist states use the chaos as momentum to go through with plans which would otherwise get widespread push-back and oppositional organizing.”
I remember the hasty passage of the “Patriot Act” after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Many legislators said they hadn’t even read the act, which contained numerous infringements on our civil rights.
Those opposing the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; the permission given to law enforcement to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order; and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records. Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.Wikipedia, Patriot Act
Similar concerns are expressed by the Wet’suwet’en peoples and their supporters. That the Canadian response to the coronavirus will include suppression of Indigenous rights and justifications to allow construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline. Bill-1 in Alberta, criminalizes protesting “critical infrastructure”. We’ve seen numerous states pass, or are considering passage of similar legislation in the United States.
17 hrs · March 13, 2020
Masih cyoh @abolishicesf #Repost
Bill-1 in Alberta, criminalizes protesting “critical infrastructure”. 7 states have passed similar legislation. BC has now banned mass gatherings (due to c19)… however – we watch as these things have been normalized in the past, and there is less resistance to it when the bill is presented. Stay safe out there, but keep your eyes open at all times.
During disasters, colonial and imperialist states use the chaos as momentum to go through with plans which would otherwise get widespread push-back and oppositional organizing. These tactics move under the cover of the disaster shock, or even as a “solution” to it.
During this COVID19 situation, every frontline is at much higher risk of violence and unprecedented repression. While taking precautions to protect our communities at risk of contracting COVID19, we can’t let ourselves be so persuaded and entranced by the chaos that we take our eyes off the frontlines.
The Wet’suwet’en frontlines haven’t gone away. Wet’suwet’en and Indigenous land defenders of all nations are at the highest risk of these shadowy state movements. Our solidarity work is both most essential and most sparse at this moment. We can NOT stop organizing for our relatives now.
The state will use this crisis and chaos to their advantage. Pay attention to their “solutions” of shuttling our community members who sleep outside into isolated camps. Pay attention to detention centers where illness is already a life and death crisis. Pay attention to evictions, rent strike repression, and rapid property purchase. Pay attention to dead of night ICE raids. Pay attention to pipeline development.
All eyes on the frontlines. If they wont stop, we can’t either. #WetsuwetenStrong #TogetherWeRise #OnlineProtest #ShutDownKKR
(Click below to see video)
“There’s only so many lands that we can go on that’s pristine and we really, really need to fight hard to protect those things because they’re under attack for profit, and for industry and for colonialism.” –Victoria Redsun
Victoria Redsun says it is difficult to be a young, Indigenous person in an urban environment right now.
“We see our people on the streets and hurting,” says Redsun who adds that residential schools are still fresh in her memory and the issues around violence and genocide against Indigenous women is still happening.
The 20 year old Denesuline poet, performer, filmmaker and activist is based in Winnipeg.
She says you only have to walk down the streets of Winnipeg to see the ongoing effects of colonialism.
But Redsun says she felt safe and accepted during her time at the Unist’ot’en healing centre in British Columbia.
It’s where Redsun spent most of the winter up until her arrest during an RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory in early February.
The RCMP cleared out the road leading to the healing camp after a Dec. 31 injunction was granted against supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are fighting against construction of the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline on their territory.
The arrest of Redsun and others at the camps in Wet’suwet’en territory spawned solidarity actions and blockades all over the country.
“I’m really happy to see everybody rising up after all the arrests as well after that week of invasion on Wet’suwet’en land,” says Redsun who adds that it was traumatizing to be arrested off the territory that has and continues to heal her.
During her time at the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, Redsun says she learned about traditional foods, who she is as a person and how to break toxic cycles of trauma and colonialism.
While Redsun was at the camp to heal, she was also there to help stop the CGL pipeline.
“People can say its about a pipeline but there’s so many pipelines that are trying to go through native lands right now. So, it’s much more than a single pipeline,” says Redsun.
“It’s about the land and it’s about our rights as humans,” she said. “And I think we’re all recognizing and waking up as a people together to fight for those things because there’s only so much fresh water in the world right now because its all being polluted.
“There’s only so many lands that we can go on that’s pristine and we really, really need to fight hard to protect those things because they’re under attack for profit, and for industry and for colonialism.”
Redsun says it’s been hurtful to see the racism brought out over the issue from people saying they want to run people over with trains and trucks to bomb threats.
Lands under attack ‘for profit and for colonialism’ says artist and activist. Face to Face, National News | March 10, 2020 by Dennis Ward