It is sad during this season that is supposed to be about peace on earth, to know state sanctioned violence continues in the lands called Canada and the United States.
I was alarmed early this year when I began to learn about the violence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) against the Wet’suwet’en peoples. The reason I became aware of the Wet’suwet’en was because of their struggles to stop the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline from being built through their territory in British Columbia. Much of my life work has been to reduce fossil fuel use. For the past eight years that has been related to trying to stop pipeline construction.
I’ve studied and written a lot about the Wet’suwet’en. (see https://jeffkisling.com/?s=wetsuweten)
It was at a vigil last February, supporting the Wet’suwet’en peoples (referred to in the statement below) that I met Ronnie James, who works at the Great Plains Action Society and Des Moines Mutual Aid. That meeting changed my life since as I began to learn about Mutual Aid. And participate in Des Moines Mutual Aid’s food giveaway.
So I was already familiar with some of the violent oppression mentioned in the statement and video below. And one of things that results from Mutual Aid is building solidarity with other justice efforts.
As a white person, I need to be working on decolonizing myself. Decolonization involves education and healing. Education is problematic because one piece of white supremacy is controlling the narrative. We have to work to discover the truth. Also problematic when there is so much deliberate misinformation and suppression of truth. We have to find sources we trust to tell the truth.
I trust and support my friends at Great Plains Action Society, including Sikowis (Christine Nobiss), Trisha Cax-Sep-Gu-Wiga Etringer, and Alton and Foxy One Feather. We began to get to know one another during the eight days of the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in 2018. The purpose of the March was to begin building a community of native and nonnative people who would be able to work together. I’m glad to say that has been happening.
The other part of decolonization is healing. I’m not aware of clear guidelines for how we go about that. I believe this should involve those who have been wronged and the perpetrators of those wrongs. Care must be taken not to try to force when, how, or even if those wronged participate in the healing. Some parts of the healing may need to be done by each group separately.
For all of these reasons, I’m sharing this statement and video. We have been asked to “please share this powerful video made by a collective of Indigenous organizers in KKKanada and see how hard Natives can go when pushed.” This is an opportunity for white people to do some work to decolonize ourselves, to be educated. And beyond that, search for a way for healing. Finding or starting a Mutual Aid group could be one way.
Great Plains Action Society
Great Plains Action Society supports our relatives up north. Please share this powerful video made by a collective of Indigenous organizers in KKKanada and see how hard Natives can go when pushed.
For the past 370 years, colonial policing has been present on stolen lands, known as “canada”. Although they have been present under the guise of being here to “protect & serve”, Indigenous people know this is not the case.
We have been subjected to consistent attacks, forcible confinement, and violent oppression at the hands of colonial police forces. Things have not changed.
Many have seen, what appears to be, an escalation of violent attacks by entities such as the police and/or military. “Appears to be” is the key phrase though. From coast-to-coast, we still have always witnessed the colonial state’s reaction to Indigenous resistance and existence. Wet’suwet’en & Secwepemc people are STILL heavily monitored by the rcmp. The rcmp stood by and allowed for violence to occur in Mi’kma’ki (at the hands of non-Indigenous fishermen). Haudenosaunee peoples currently face the threat of attack by the Ontario Provincial police.
In the past we have seen the Kahnasatake Resistance (Oka), Ipperwash, Burnt Church, Gustafson Lake, Kahnastaton, Elsipogtog, and many more. We have witnessed the violence enacted at the hands of the state, and how far they are willing to go to suppress and oppress Indigenous peoples.
We can not sit by in silence, and choose to ignore the facts… the Canadian government does not give a fuck about Indigenous peoples. If they did, all nations would be able to have clean water – versus the overpolicing & violent tactics used on Indigenous peoples… people who just want our basic rights, as sovereign peoples, protected.
We aren’t asking for a lot, just to ensure that these acts of violence do not go unnoticed, and are not forgotten.
We must stand together, and together we will be stronger.
Music by Lucifena