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Another extraordinary day: Indigenous blessings, singing, creative brilliance and connecting with the meaning of time

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April 18, 2018 — As we arrived for our court date in the ongoing battle of the people vs Kinder Morgan, Justin Trudeau and the rest we were greeted by the cadence-like movement of of Will George’s characteristic feathered head dress. He was accompanied by a circle of  drummers and participants in dancing the words and prayers of his ancestors.

Today, it was in honour of those of us attending court.  Their voices and rhythm filled the concrete tunnel linking Vancouver’s  Smithe Street Law Courts entrance despite the sound and fumes of the passing cars. The vibration even through the concrete was powerful.

What a difference then walking through the door and confronting the black and white costumed legal bees buzzing throughout the first floor of the Supreme Courthouse and all the way up to Courtroom 55 where the drawn-out proceedings of the Canadian Legal system were shown to be as confusing as ever.

During the approximate three hours in the courtroom the court was silenced twice, at separate intervals, by two Indigenous people who took space in the court to berate the Canadian legal system for its unfairness in daring to seek punishments and to criminalize people who are fighting to save the land and the water and who are acknowledging the principle and the law of  free, prior and informed consent required in the use of Indigenous held lands. There were no media reports either of the morning greeting nor the episodes of drama in the courtroom.

Those two courtroom episodes, (I apologize for not being able to credit them personally) stopped the court in its tracks.  There was silence as each of those people spoke of long term injustice and growing strength in the face of it.  One spoke in her Heiltsuk language. The other speaker presented with the power that comes from centuries of resistance.

And they gave rise to searing applause and shouts of support from the hundreds in the room who are in the process of submitting to the harsh reality of a legal system that does not accept dissent in any meaningful way! The judge listened without cautioning or commenting.

But none of the above was deemed to be news by mainstream BC or Canadian media.

But what was the news media highlight of the day?.  CBC and other news outlets shouted from the roof tops that Angus Reid that “trustworthy” pollster owned by “no” corporate interests, they say, has stated that based on their most recent on-line poll it’s clear that British Columbians want the pipeline to go ahead.  That was the a.m. news and nothing changed about the top story all day. While callers to the noon-hour BC Almanac mostly berated the polling results and questioned the notion that so much credence is given to polls, the methodology and outcomes and issues reported from the poll were credited as fair by host Angela Sterritt.

 

But in, fact no other activities, no counter polls, hardly a mention of the complex sovereign ownership of the land and sea complete with wildlife and resources that are threatened were counted or reviewed by Angus Reid.  No discussion of free, prior and informed consent related to Indigenous People’s rights.

So today a group of primarily settler resistors, in the courtroom,  backed by some powerful Indigenous voices both inside and outside were, once again, ignored by Canadian mainstream media.

For resisting settlers,  it is not so much a brand new experience as a reminder of how long Indigenous Communities in this country some of us call Canada have been resisting.  It is a lesson in time.

Time flies, they say, when you are having fun.  The time, for Indigenous sovereignty, respect and learning exactly what those will mean for all who live in this territory, has come! It is not fun to be in a constant battle over truth and only truth can lead to healing in this territory.

Its up to every one of us, settlers in particular,  to both change and ignore those polls and join the resistance in forceful but peaceful resistance.

 

 

 

 

Back in BC Supreme Court next week: So what’s next? Ask the “rule of law” judge!

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April 11, 2018, many water and coast defenders went to a first BC Supreme Court appearance for their roles in resisting the Kinder Morgan — Texas oil giant’s current BC/Albert boondoggle.

One particularly interesting observation by an arrestee was the presence of KM undercover, plain clothes security who were allowed into the courtroom otherwise denied to those who were not part of the actual proceedings.

Meanwhile across the country, the games being played between governments increased with the day while they collectively ignore the the leadership strengths and presence of BC’s Indigenous Peoples,  leaders like Grand Chief Stuart Phillips and Chief Bob Chamberlin go virtually unmentioned with focus being instead on interloper governments and ignoring sovereignty.

Thanks  go to CBC On the Coast’s Louise Elliot for a good interview with Chief Chamberlin on the topic of general First Nations leaders absence from mention in the media or among the Ministers — prime and not so prime of Alberta and BC. Unfortunately CBC The Current decided that the Vancouver Sun’sVaughn Palmer was the best journey to represent BC on the tar sands topic.  As with most mainstream journalists in BC they love to describe the polls as reflecting that most British Columbians are in favour of the KM project.  Speak up people and let your voices be heard!!!

Interesting to note that unlike the Canadian and Provincial Governments the Chiefs speak respectfully of each other — even those who have signed with KM. And that came out loud and clear in the interview.

Settler community people involved in the resistance to KM and Site C and fracking and the poisonous fish farming are learning so much from the relationships with these leaders, matriarchs, dancers, singers, story tellers and keepers of traditional knowledge. Respect, prayer and ceremony have taken on so much more meaning to those of us who have become active resisters.

Remember this? Substitute KM … !

 

One 0f 200 arrested for taking a stand against tar-filled pipelines coming to the coast

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On March 22, I became the 140th person to be arrested standing at the gate to the Kinder Morgan disaster that is happening on Burnaby Mountain.  Although i’ve been involved in many and various activities during my more than 50 years as a feminist, labour and cultural activist, I’ve never been arrested before.

Tomorrow about 170 of us have been summoned to court to find out how the system will deal with our refusal to accept Justin Trudeau’s order to let the Texas-based Kinder Morgan proceed with completing a pipeline to transport dirty,  heavy and chemical-laden bitumen through forests and neighbourhoods to the Fraser River and beyond.

I’m proud to have taken a stand.  I will continue to do so.  I’m grateful for the leadership of the Indigenous Coast Protectors (@coastprotectors), for all the Indigenous Matriarchs and for the thousands who have stood up for First Nations rights and the rights of all people to live and breathe without being poisoned.

Thanks to Arthur Manuel for encouraging so many in the settler communities on this journey.

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Many thanks to Ta’ah Amy George, Tsleil=Waututh Matriarch, UBCIC Grand Chief , Stuart Phillips with Naomi Klein  (@NaomiKlein) and Chief Bob Chamberln (@ChiefBobbyc). This is national and international leadership!

 

 

 

Action through Art: Christi Belcourt

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The BC Government Budget did not diffuse the Site C debt Bomb

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Some wonderful things happened with the B.C. budget this February, except for the big Site C debt bomb that did not get defused, instead receiving an additional $2 billion.

Full commentary by Rita Wong  at:  https://www.straight.com/news/1045821/rita-wong-connecting-dots-between-bc-budget-and-solidarity-economy

 

Rita Wong supports the work of Fight C, the Peace Valley Solidarity Initiative, and Poets for the Peace to see justice in our times. A poet-scholar who has written several books of poetry, she has also coedited, with Dorothy Christian, an anthology entitled Downstream: Reimagining Water. She lives, works, and strives for water justice on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, where she has pledged to #ProtectTheInlet.

Peace River Solidarity Night: We all have a stake in the Peace!

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We all have a stake in the Peace River

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Louiseleclair.com

Media Release

Peace River Solidarity in Vancouver

First Nations and Farmers Working Together to Save the Peace

March 21, 2018—Imagine the outcry in Vancouver and across the Lower Mainland if the B.C. government decided to flood the Fraser Valley to produce cheap hydro for Washington and Oregon.

Now imagine flooding Indigenous territory, equivalent to the distance between Maple Ridge and Hope, protected under the Treaty 8 agreement of 1899, and doing so without the consent of those who have lived there for thousands of years.

Imagine flooding some of the most fertile agricultural land in B.C., when proven sustainable alternatives for hydro production are available.

That is the danger facing the Peace River Valley.

On Monday, March 26, between 7:00 and 9:00 pm, First Nations speakers will join with representatives of the Peace Valley Environment Association to share stories of what is happening up north. The event, open to everyone by donation, takes place at the Native Education College, 237 East 5th Avenue in Vancouver.

The evening’s message is “We all have a stake in the Peace River,” and the evening will be one of sharing, learning, solidarity and support. Music, storytelling and more will give attendees a full picture of what’s at stake for British Columbians and Canadians if the Peace River is flooded once again.

Presenters include Connie Greyeyes-Dick, a member of the Treaty 8 First Nations from Bigstone Cree Nation; a grassroots activist from Fort St. John; and a spokesperson from Amnesty International, as well as Ken and Arlene Boon, farmers and members of the Peace Valley Environment Association, a group that has worked tirelessly to protect B.C. from the destructive Site C dam.

The event is a fundraiser to support three Indigenous groups fighting legal battles to save the Peace — the West Moberly First Nation, the Prophet River First Nation and the Blueberry River First Nation — as well as the Peace Valley Landowners Association. To donate online, go to http: www.stakeinthepeace.co

Information:   Rita Wong — 604.653.4006

mailto:rita_wong@shaw.Ken Boon — 250.262.9014 mailto: pvla@xplornet.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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