Truthsgiving

I was going to say more non-native people are becoming aware of the true history about Thanksgiving, but I’m not sure that is true.

Some ways to educate ourselves and others can be found in the following resources from my friends at the Great Plains Action Society One way to begin conversations is to point out that many Indigenous peoples refer to the holiday as Truthsgiving. “The truth will not be whitewashed”.

It is said we should avoid talking about religion and politics at family gatherings to avoid conflicts. But avoiding these topics continues the whitewashed versions of relations between non-native and Indigenous Peoples.

Besides being the right thing to do, it is becoming increasingly clear that politics in the land called the United States is breaking/has broken down. The capitalist economy is showing signs of collapse. Capitalism puts a price on everything, including natural resources.

Increasingly frequent and severe storms and environmental chaos mean, among other things, that we need a different approach. Which is why I looked for opportunities to get to know and learn from Indigenous peoples. This is a diagram I’ve been working on for over a year to try to give an overview of relationships among White, Black, and Indigenous cultures and systems.

When I asked my friends what I could do that would be most helpful, they told me to learn about the concepts of #LANDBACK and share what I learn. Several months ago, I built a new website, landbackfriends.com, that discusses these issues from my perspective as a White person.


Wet’suwet’en peoples

Last week, for the third time in as many years, heavily militarized RCMP invaded Wet’suwet’en territories to remove land defenders so construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline could continue. Following is some of the latest news.

https://www.yintahaccess.com/news/calltoactionnov

This time ‘round what’s more frustrating is they want to hide the corruption that they’ve been doing. They got exposed the last time, so heaven forbid they get exposed for their violence and using militarized police so now they’re holding media people in jail and that is so wrong. It’s like there’s no freedom of the press anymore and it almost doesn’t even feel like we’re in so-called Canada anymore when you don’t even have freedom of the press. And who knows if they’re keeping their footage and deleting footage to make sure they cover up the corruptness that is happening, which I feel it is so wrong. And people need to know. There’s corruptness all around and all I know is it’s not going to last. It will not last and they will be their own demise because you can’t keep going on with evil and corruptness. It’s going to find you out, it’s going to be exposed into the light. My family’s a praying family and we’ve been praying for this project and their corruptness. It’s going to all be found out and I don’t believe their project’s gonna go. 

Natural disasters happening down south and they should have been down there helping the poor people in all the floods and yet they send, what, 60-80 cops up here to arrest peaceful protestors when people are struggling because of climate change which this project has been contributing to it. And they’re here protecting industry because all their pensions are invested in it and the federal government has to pay back every one of those investors because of the Harper deal that he made with investors. If they invest money here, if it doesn’t go, they have to pay them back that money. So that’s why the Trudeau government is backing these projects and amending and changing all the legislation so that these projects go through. So, eventually they’ll be found out.

Canada’s Standing Rock

CONTENT WARNING: POLICE VIOLENCE

In the early hours of Friday November 19, Gitxsan land defenders set up a railway blockade in the town of New Hazelton (situated about 130 kilometres north of Houston) in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en under siege by heavily armed RCMP forces.

On Saturday November 20, Gitxsan land defender Kolin Sutherland-Wilson told journalist Brandi Morin: “We are here in solidarity with our Wet’suwet’en allies with whom we have a mutual defence pact going back millennia.”

Kolin further noted: “As a result of their incursions onto Wet’suwet’en territory, their invasion of a sovereign nation using the militarized RCMP, we have set up a railroad blockade here in New Hazelton.”

Significantly, he also highlighted: “As a result of that railroad blockade, Coastal GasLink personnel and equipment brought out RCMP units … to New Hazelton where they displayed assault rifles, tactical units, a swarm of RCMP officers, helicopters.”

That same day, Sunday November 21, RCMP officers violently tackled and arrested Kolin’s brother Denzel near the railroad tracks.

As the police piled on him, Denzel shouted: “I can’t breathe!”

You can also hear Kolin telling RCMP officers on the bridge over the rail tracks: “What you are doing to the Wet’suwet’en is unacceptable. Those are our family. That is the land we survived your genocide to protect. We are still here, and you are still coming at us with guns and that’s absolutely disgusting.”

When I asked Kolin what he thought of the green-garbed, heavily armed RCMP Emergency Response Team in New Hazelton, he replied: “It’s terrorism.”

He added: “It’s meant to frighten us, but we are still here.”

PBI-Canada affirms that defending rights is not a crime. We share the call that the criminalization of Indigenous land defenders must stop.

Gitxsan land defender Kolin Sutherland-Wilson to the RCMP: “We are still here, and you are still coming at us with guns!” Published by Brent Patterson, Peace Brigades International-Canada, November 23, 2021


See “I can’t breathe” for story about Denzel’s arrest



Canada’s Standing Rock

If you’ve been with us for some time, you’ve witnessed our struggle at Standing Rock to stop the Dakota Access pipeline and the Anishinaabe resistance to the Line 3 pipeline. You’ve been a friend to us, and you’ve come to know many Indigenous water and land protectors fighting for our sacred lands and waterways. What you may not know is that, for years, our Wet’suwet’en relatives have undertaken a similar struggle in their own territory, to our north in what we now call Canada. They need our attention and support, too.

On Friday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided an Indigenous-led blockade with dogs and assault rifles. They arrested two journalists and at least 13 others at the frontlines, the latest in a series of arrests dating back to 2019. The Wet’suwet’en are doing all they can to stop construction of TransCanada’s 670km Coastal GasLink pipeline, because a third of this pipeline would cross their homelands on its way to a facility in coastal Kitimat. 

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have refused to give consent for the project, and, crucially, they have never signed a formal treaty with the provincial government or relinquished their land. Much like our #NoDAPL fight, this is both an environmental and a sovereignty issue; the Wet’suwet’en are also attempting to protect sensitive headwaters. 

In September, they put out a call for support, and this newsletter is an amplification of that call. I ask that, for now, you please visit their page to get more up to speed. As we go forward, the Lakota People’s Law Project will keep our eyes on things, and — just as so many did for us at Standing Rock — we’ll stand with our First Nations relatives in the best way we can.

Wopila tanka — thank you for supporting our struggle against Big Extraction!
Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director and Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

I can’t breathe

CONTENT WARNING: POLICE VIOLENCE

I first learned about the concepts of #LANDBACK and the work of the Wet’suwet’en peoples’ work to protect their pristine land and water from construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in January 2020. One of the first things I saw was the following video. In it Denzel Sutherland-Wilson talks about land back.

Our culture and our tradition is the land. We are directly connected to the land. It’s our spirituality. We cannot be forced to be away from our land.
Nine days since we took the land back.
It feels like something you don’t normally do. (laughter) Its revolutionary, right?
I don’t think anyone’s ever really evicted like a 6 billion dollar pipeline before.
People get confused about what we want as Native people. Like “what do you want?”

Just like, “land back!”. Don’t need any reconciliation, don’t want money, like I don’t want programs or funding or whatever.
(whispers “land back”)
Funny though, when I said that to my Dad, Wet’suwet’en people, if you tell them about LANDBACK, they’re like “we never lost the land, anyway.” Which is true.
Wet’suwet’en have never given up title to their 22,000 square kilometer territory.
Denzel Sutherland-Wilson

Not long after the video above was taken, Denzel had RCMP snipers pointing guns at him.

[ WARNING: This video contains graphic images of an armed threat on the lives of land defenders Denzel Sutherland-Wilson (Gitxsan) and Anne Spice (Tlingit). It may be traumatic for many to see. But we feel strongly that it should be available to witness. Denzel, Anne, and all the land defenders are now safe. These events took place during the RCMP raid on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory on February 7, 2020. The video was filmed by Gitxsan land defender Denzel Sutherland-Wilson from atop this tower. ]

I am reminded of that today as news continues about the latest Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raids and arrests. In the following video Denzel says “I can’t breathe” as RCMP tackle and arrest him.

Denzel’s brother, Kolin, has also been a leader in the Wet’suwet’en struggles. He was arrested in October.

It is an honor to be here on behalf of the Gitxsan people in support of our brothers and sisters of the Wet’suwet’en people. And I stand here as a diplomatic prisoner of the Gitxsan nation of the Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit  people and I stand fully behind the Likht’samisyu clan government and all those who stand up to support of the traditional laws of the land. Much love to all the people of the world. Thank you again for your support.

See: “I trust you to back up the people who are protecting the land.

Kolin talks about the current situation below.

“Having a relationship with all these things is the basis of us wanting to protect it,” he (Denzel Sutherland-Wilson) says. “We have a relationship with all these plants and species that our ancestors have kept up for thousands of years. And now it’s our responsibility to keep up that relationship.”

He says he’s not completely opposed to logging, and points out old stumps in the bush, explaining his grandfather logged in the area. But there’s a big difference between dragging a few choice trees out of the bush and punching in a road to provide access for heavy machinery, which can clear vast sections of forest in days or weeks. 

“When he’s logging, he always thinks about the future generations and leaves materials for them to create their houses and their cradles and bent boxes. And that’s the opposite of what’s going on.”

Seeing the forest for the trees: searching for solutions in the Kispiox Valley. As the province reviews the timber supply in a northwest B.C. forest district, locals explore options for non-timber forest products and work together to support sustainable forestry opportunities By Matt Simmons (Local Journalism Initiative Reporter), The Narwhal, May 8, 2021.

On the day of the illegal militarized raid on Coyote Camp Dinï ze’ Woos along with media were blocked from accessing unceded Wet’suwet’en land. Meanwhile the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) facilitated unfettered access of the territory to Coastal GasLink.

“From what I understand there’s a military style raid that happened up on the drill pad site and that machine guns and sharp shooters were pointing right at the cabins. This is Giditmten territory.” -Dinï ze’ Woos (Gidimt’en)

This project does not and never will have the consent of our hereditary chiefs. RCMP upholds colonial laws and utterly disregards Wet’suwet’en law. We will uphold Wet’suwet’en law. No pipelines will go through our yintah.

Take Action:
🔥 Issue a solidarity statement from your organization or group.
🔥 Host a solidarity rally or action in your area.
🔥 Pressure the government, banks, and investors. http://yintahaccess.com/take-action-1
🔥 Donate. http://go.rallyup.com/wetsuwetenstrong
🔥 Spread the word.#WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa #ShutDownCanada #FreeSleydo #Wetsuweten
More information and developing stories:
Website: Yintahaccess.com
IG: @yintah_access
Twitter: @Gidimten
Facebook: @wetsuwetenstrong
Youtube: Gidimten Access Point
TikTok: GidimtenCheckpoint

Criminalization of Indigenous land defenders

Just prior to COP26, more than 120 organizations signed the Call to Action from the Global Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice that states: “We call on all governments to respect the right of freedom of expression and peaceful protest, and to immediately halt the criminalization of land defenders, whose efforts are central to a climate-just world.”

That statement calling for an end to the criminalization of land defenders was echoed by Global Witness, Fridays for Future and others.

The UN Human Rights Council also passed a resolution in March 2019 that affirms defenders “must be ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement.”

Third RCMP raid; Canada ignores UN resolution

The RCMP raid on November 18-19 is the third RCMP assault on Wet’suwet’en territory in support of the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline being constructed on their territory without free, prior and informed consent.

On January 8, 2019, the RCMP arrested 14 Wet’suwet’en land defenders.

Notes from a RCMP strategy session prior to that raid show that RCMP commanders stated that “lethal overwatch is req’d” and that officers were instructed to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock established by Wet’suwet’en land defenders.

In December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory and to remove the RCMP from those lands.

Ignoring that resolution, a second RCMP raid was launched just weeks later on February 6, 2020. Twenty-two land defenders were arrested at that time.

This week Amnesty International Canada called on the governments of Canada and British Columbia, as well as the RCMP, to: “comply without delay with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s 2019 recommendation that Canada withdraw security and policing services from Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.”

Canada was required to submit a report to the UN Committee on Monday November 15 on its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Instead, Canada delayed that until an unspecified date in 2022.

RCMP arrest Wet’suwet’en land defenders days after COP26 summit by Brent Patterson, rabble.ca, November 21, 2021

Sleydo’, the Wet’suwet’en spokesperson for Gidimt’en Checkpoint, discusses an Indigenous-led campaign to stop investors from funding Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada. Sleydo’ says that they are giving investors formal notice that they are violating Wet’suwet’en law and are demanding immediate withdrawal of all financial support. Sleydo’ notes that this campaign is requesting full cessation of this pipeline’s production.

Wet’suwet’en updates 11/20/2021

Following are updates from the Wet’suwet’en territory that was invaded again yesterday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on behalf of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Militarized RCMP came with assault rifles and dogs. Three accredited journalists were arrested.

Militarized RCMP raided Coyote Camp today, arresting 14 people including Sleydo’, Chief Woos’s daughter, and three accredited journalists.. 

They came in with assault rifles and dogs, and without a warrant, used axes to break down the door of the cabin Sleydo’ and Chief Woos’s daughter we’re in, and violently removed them from their territory.

Of the people arrested yesterday, most we’re released this afternoon. Five people refused to sign conditions of release that barred return to the territory and are being brought to jail in Prince Rupert where they face court on Monday.

Solidarity actions continued across the country, with rallies, marches, rail blockades, and road closures. 

TAKE ACTION!

🔥 Issue a solidarity statement from your organization or group and tag us.
🔥 Host a solidarity rally or action in your area.
🔥 Pressure the government, banks, and investors.
🔥 Donate. http://go.rallyup.com/wetsuwetenstrong
🔥 Spread the word.      

#WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa #ShutDownCanada

Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade robertages@telus.net
 

During a similar RCMP invasion two years ago, it was reported that the use of lethal force to shoot Indigenous land defenders was discussed.

Notes from strategy session for raid on Wet’suwet’en nation’s ancestral lands show commanders argued for ‘lethal overwatch’

Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

Notes from a strategy session for a militarized raid on ancestral lands of the Wet’suwet’en nation show that commanders of Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), argued that “lethal overwatch is req’d” – a term for deploying an officer who is prepared to use lethal force.

The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock which had been erected by Wet’suwet’en people to control access to their territories and stop construction of the proposed 670km (416-mile) Coastal GasLink pipeline (CGL).

In a separate document, an RCMP officer states that arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing [the] site”.

Wet’suwet’en people and their supporters set up the Gidimt’en checkpoint in December 2018 to block construction of the pipeline through this region of mountains and pine forests 750 miles north of Vancouver.

On 7 January, RCMP officers – dressed in military-green fatigues and armed with assault rifles – descended on the checkpoint, dismantling the gate and arresting 14 people.

Exclusive: Canada police prepared to shoot Indigenous activists, documents show by Jaskiran Dhillon in Wet’suwet’en territory and Will Parrish, The Guardian, Fri 20 Dec 2019

RCMP breach cabins

It is thought this will be the last communication from the Tiny House for some time. And the structure at the drill site (to tunnel under the river) is also being breached.

#ShutDownCanada2.0

Gidimt’en Checkpoint@Gidimten·
2:40pm, Nov 19, 2021:
Tiny House breached w/ axe and K9 unit by #RCMP on behalf of #CoastalGasLink. Cabin breached w/ chainsaw. Unarmed Indigenous women in both structures. No warrants. Heavy machinery, assault weapons. Media, communications blocked. #Wetsuweten#shutdowncanada

RCMP, assault rifles, helicopters, arrest 15

#wetsuwetenstrong #alloutforwedzinkwa #shutdowncanada

RCMP Raid Wet’suwet’en

Here is the latest news about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raid on the Wet’suwet’en territories.

Urgent: RCMP now raiding Gidimt’en Checkpoint

“This is Sleydo over here on Cas Yih Yintah. The RCMP have moved in this morning on Gidimt’en Checkpoint. CGL is enforcing their own injunction order. 

They started this morning on both ends of the blockade at 63 with a bunch of heavy machinery, chasing somebody with a dozer, they had rock trucks. 

Currently right now the state of Gidimt’en Checkpoint is that dozers have rolled in (as well as) Heavy Machinery, CGL workers and RCMP. We just got word that they released K9 units at the bridge at Gidimt’en Checkpoint. Our warriors are down there. Our matriarch is there. There’s a lot of people that are there that are at risk of this police violence.

RCMP deployed to Wet’suwet’en territory

“RCMP raid is on the horizon.” Gidimt’en Checkpoint.

Gidimt’en Checkpoint

11/17/2021 URGENT UPDATE – Dozens of RCMP have deployed onto Wet’suwet’en territory.
A charter plane full of RCMP have landed at the Smithers airport, with between 30 and 50 officers equipped with camo duffel bags. Police loaded onto two buses and unmarked, rental pick-up trucks and headed out towards the yintah. An RCMP helicopter is reported to be heading to the area.
Throughout today, helicopters have circled over our camps, conducting low, deliberate flights for surveillance.
The road into our yintah remains blocked by RCMP at 28km, with hereditary chiefs, food, and medical supplies being turned away.
In the middle of a climate emergency, as highways and roads are being washed away and entire communities are being flooded and evacuated, the Province has chosen to send busloads of police to criminalize Wet’suwet’en water protectors and to work as a mercenary force for oil and gas.
We will not back down.
We need all eyes on Wet’suwet’en Yintah.
We need boots on the ground.
We need solidarity actions throughout Canada.
#ShutDownCanada
#AllOutForWedzinKwa

Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters say inaction from B.C. and Canada left them no choice but to enforce an eviction order against Coastal GasLink workers and deactivate road access to the project, a pair of measures that have prompted the provincial and federal governments to call for a peaceful resolution to the blockades.

“We were sending a clear message to the province, to Canada, and they weren’t acting on it — they weren’t hearing what we were saying — so we had to get a little bit louder,” Gidimt’en camp spokesperson Sleydo’ Molly Wickham told The Narwhal in an interview. “They’re destroying absolutely everything that is important to us in our territory. And they have been continuing to do work, despite the eviction order last year.”

The sole access route to Coastal GasLink project sites and work camps housing some 500 people was cut off after the company failed to act on an eviction order issued on Sunday. Tensions have been steadily escalating in Gidimt’en clan territory south of Houston, B.C., since September as the pipeline company began preparing to drill under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice) River.

The Wet’suwet’en eviction order isn’t new. It was first issued on Jan. 4, 2020, by the hereditary chiefs.

“Anuc ‘nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law) is not a ‘belief’ or a ‘point of view,’ ” the chiefs wrote at the time. “It is a way of sustainably managing our territories and relations with one another and the world around us, and it has worked for millennia to keep our territories intact. Our law is central to our identity. The ongoing criminalization of our laws by Canada’s courts and industrial police is an attempt at genocide, an attempt to extinguish Wet’suwet’en identity itself.”

UPDATED: Wet’suwet’en land defenders say B.C., federal inaction prompted enforcement of Coastal GasLink eviction By Matt Simmons, Energetic City, Nov 16, 2021

When Chief Dsta’hyl arrived on a Saturday morning in October, the big construction vehicles rumbled back and forth over the cold mud. He watched an excavator dig into the soil, its yellow, hydraulic arm moving against the green backdrop of forests that he has called home all his life.

The area that was being prepared for construction lies within the territory of the Wet’suwet’en, a First Nation in what is currently called British Columbia, Canada. As a supporting chief from the Likhts’amisyu clan, Dsta’hyl had been tasked with enforcing Wet’suwet’en law in the area.

The scene he was witnessing — construction crews preparing to build a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory, without their consent — represented a blatant violation of those laws. And Dsta’hyl had seen enough. After warning the on-site construction managers that they were trespassing, he arrived the next day and approached a pair of orange-vested security subcontractors employed by TC Energy, the company building the fracked gas pipeline known as Coastal GasLink, or CGL. He notified them that he would be seizing one of their excavators and then stepped onto the hulking vehicle and disabled it by disconnecting its battery and other components. Though he planned to leave the vehicle in place, Dsta’hyl said he wanted to make a statement to the company, which the traditional leaders decided to evict from their territory last year.

Canada sides with a pipeline, violating Wet’suwet’en laws — and its own. Despite a Supreme Court ruling, Coastal GasLink is on track to be built through unceded land by Mark Armao, Grist, Nov 18, 2021

Minister’s statement on Coastal Gaslink Project

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has released the following statement in relation to current events around the Coastal GasLink project:

“Yesterday’s blockades of the Morice River Forest Service Road have put at risk emergency access and the delivery of critical services to more than 500 Coastal GasLink workers, and the good faith commitments made between the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and the Province of B.C. to develop a new relationship based on respect.

“The B.C. government is calling on all those involved to de-escalate the current confrontation and move quickly to eliminate the blockades through peaceful means.

#DivestCGL #WetsuwetenStrong #AllOutForWedzinKwa