We’re All Treaty People: Site C, Treaty Power and Power Politics

Join the discussion to explore the social and legal ramifications of Site C                  July 5 at Douglas College Aboriginal Gathering Centre.

 

The social cost of moving forward with Site C, the third major dam on the Peace River in northeastern BC, goes far beyond the obvious cost overruns and rearguard economics.  The tension cracks in the river bank where BC Hydro and the BC Government plan to blast aren’t the only cracks that pose a danger. The project will shatter the entire ecosystem of the Peace River Valley.

We’re All Treaty Peoplewill welcome special guest Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Union of B Indian Chiefs and  eature Dr. Gordon Christie, Inupiat/Inuvialuit ancestry, UBC specialist in Aboriginal law (bio attached) and Julian Napoleon Dane-zaa and Cree (bio attached) from the Saulteau First Nations, dedicated to raising awareness around Indigenous issues of land, water, food and community. Other guests will include Adrienne Peacock, a Douglas College Professor emeritus who was a member of the BC Utilities Commission when it rejected Site C in the early 80’s and Reverend Emily Smith the Parish Priest at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in New Westminster.

On the value of land to culture and survival, Mr. Napoleon does not mince his words, “In its destruction of invaluable farmland, waterways, and ecologically rich and abundant biocultural heritage areas, the Site C dam endangers all of our long-term resilience, sovereignty, and food security.”

Dr. Christie will bring clarity to the evening by presenting Treaty 8, its legal ramifications and who is responsible for its adherence. The West Moberly and Prophet River cases as well as the Blueberry River case will be explained in accessible language. But he will also discuss how every British Columbian has a responsibility to ensure that Treaty 8 is respected. Dr. Christie emphasizes that, “Canadians are treaty partners within the treaty 8 regime, and so should be concerned that promises made in the treaty—on their behalf—are being upheld.”

Each guest will be asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Why should the Site C Dam be halted?
  2. What can we do to stop it.

The evening is a fundraiserand pay-what-you canwith food, videos and a chance to meet people working on-the-ground to stop Site C.  All proceeds of the evening will go to three court cases:  West Moberly and Prophet River Bands injunction request, the Blueberry River Bands Treaty 8 case and the Peace Valley Landowners Association whose members are the farmers and ranchers whose farms fall within the 140,000 square kilometers of land targeted for flooding for the Site C Dam.  That territory is equal to the land between Maple Ridge and Hope.  Just think about it.

The event is sponsored by Aboriginal Services, Douglas College and Fight C.

Slide130-

Information: Mae Burrows   604-526-1956 (h) 604) 916-9026 (c)

 

 

 

Site C: Treaty Power and Power Politics?

Indigenous Rights, Treaty 8 and Reconciliation

Join the conversation:  July 5, 6:30-9:30 pm, a public discussion will take place at Douglas College’s Aboriginal Gathering Centre, to investigate just what is going on when it comes toIndigenous Rights, Treaty 8 and Reconciliation

Featuring special guest Chief Bob Chamberlain,  (@chiefbobby)Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the evening will headline talks by UBC specialist in Aboriginal Law, Dr. Gordon Christie, Inupiat/Inuvialuit, Julian Napoleon, Dane-zaa/Cree researcher on Indigenous Food and Culture, Adrienne Peacock, faculty emeritus of Douglas College, and former member of the BC Utilities Commission and Emilie Smith, Rector at New Westminster’s St Barnabas Anglican Church. (see bios attached)

What is going on?

The West Moberly and Prophet River Bands from Northeast BC and signatories to Treaty 8, will return to court on July 23rd. They are seeking injunctions to prevent BC Hydro from going ahead with work on the Site C Dam, at least, until the conditions of Treaty 8 are settled by the courts. BC Hydro and the BC NDP government are contesting the injunction. The Federal Government recently stated that it will not contest the injunction. International groups including the UN and Amnesty International are calling on all governments to respect Indigenous Rights and the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights (UNDRIP)

Meanwhile, the Blueberry River Band, also from Northeastern BC and a Treaty 8 signatory, will be in court, this summer, as well, in a case brought by the Band against the BC Government, charging that the cumulative impact of industrial development on its traditional territory has breached the government’s obligations under Treaty 8.

Dr. Gordon Christie says, “Canadians are treaty partners within the treaty 8 regime, and so should be concerned that promises made in Treaty 8 – on their behalf – are being upheld.”

Christie emphasizes, “Besides being an economic boondoggle that will only serve to provide cheap power to the oil & gas industry as it goes about fracking in the northeast, flooding caused by the dam will make the exercise of constitutionally-protected treaty rights impossible”

Mae Burrows, Burnaby resident and long-time activist with Fight C is one of the of the July 5thevent organizers, “The Crown signs Treaties with First Nations on behalf of the people of British Columbia and Canada. It’s time we step up to the plate and demand that Governments respect those treaties.”

“What is it with all these court cases?” says Burrows. “British Columbians want to know why First Nations have to go to court to have Treaty rights respected. Why are First Nations still being treated as colonial subjects?”

Last year, the Blueberry Band lost its court petition for an injunction to stop work on Site C however, the judge ruled that “irreparable harm” had been done by industry.

Territory in Northeastern BC and extending into Alberta, has been the scene of an unbelievable amount of destruction as a result of industrialization from mining to gas and oil extraction in the last century.

West Moberly, Prophet River and Blueberry River Bands say again, “enough is enough!”

What can Canadians do to help stop Site C? Julian Napoleon is clear, “If people could come to an understanding of the major threat to our economy, environment, human rights, democracy, and the public institution of BC Hydro, that Site C presents I believe that no rational human being could continue to support the project.”

“Public interest is served by information sharing and open discussion.” concludes Burrows, “and that is what this event is all about.”

The evening is a fundraiser and pay-what-you can with food, music and the chance to meet face-to-face with people who are working on the ground and in the courts to try to convince the BC Government of John Horgan and his local MLA ‘s some of whom are cabinet ministers: Judy Darcy, Mike Farnworth, Selena Robinson, Jodie Wickens, Bruce Ralston, Harry Bains, Raj Chouhan, Janet Routledge and Anne Kang.

All proceeds of the evening will go to three court cases: West Moberly and Prophet River Bands injunction request, the Blueberry River Bands Treaty 8 case and the case being brought forward by the Peace Valley Landowners Association* whose members are the farmers and ranchers whose farms fall within the 140,000 square kilometers of land targeted for flooding for the Site C Dam.  That territory is equal to the land between Maple Ridge and Hope. Just think about it.

The event is sponsored by Aboriginal Services, Douglas College and Fight C.

-30-

Information/Interviews:  Mae Burrows  604-526-1956 (h) 604) 916-9026 (c)

Peace Valley Landowners Association(PVLA The PVLA consists of landowners who are impacted by the proposed Site C dam. The 70+members reflect a cross section of Peace River Country residents from farmers to oil patch workers and retirees many of whom lost their homes when the WAC Bennet Dam was built in the 1960’s.   http://peacevalleyland.com/

 

For Information on the resistance to the Site C Dam  https://witnessforthepeace.c

Slide1

Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way Vancouver, Penticton, Toronto, Winnipeg

Cast and Crews
Cast, writers, directors, designers, producers — the whole crew of WROW

Last Thursday night the long-awaited production of Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, a play co-written by Renae Morrisear\, Rosemary Georgeson and Savannah Walling and directed by Morriseau opened at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre in East Vancouver/Coast Salish Territories to a circle bursting with friends and guests.

The play cum multi-media performances including  storytelling, traditional and personal songs as well as drumming and games–one game in particular Slahal–features some of the finest actors from various parts of British Columbia and across the county.

Stephen Lytton, Sophie Merasty, Jonathan Fisher and Sam Bob join Delhia Nahanee, Latash Maurice Nahanee, Tai Amy Grauman, Tracey Nepinak Vern Bevis and Tania Carter in sharing  life experiences and and the stories of how one Indigenous family’s healing process defines reconciliation.

Its not what some might expect if people are looking at the play to shed light on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s proposals about reconciling between First Nations and Canada.  Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way  (WROW)is deep and its personal. it is more about how one Indigenous family’s healing process defines reconciliation

Morisseau says this about reconciliation “As Indigenous people we have been ‘reconciling’ for a long time within our own communities and in our families. We are living with the impact that Canadian policy and legislation has had on us. It’s generational and continues today.”

And (WROW is funny.  As with many communities, sometimes you just had to be part of it to get the humour but the uproar at various parts of the play hit the heart and the funny bone of every single person in the house.

Sam Bob Slahal

And audiences in every performance since opening night have been raving.

 Here are just a few early responses: 

Amazing, amazing AMAZING.  So SO powerful.
I felt lucky to be in the room.”

Excited to experience indigeneity in this way. Please keep up the amazing work. THIS IS CANADIAN HISTORY.”

Thank you so much for this beautiful, humorous, tragic, hopeful tapestry.

Watching the play, I believed that each story represented the lived experience of each actor. The sharing of the stories, intertwined with other stories, intertwined with past injustices, intertwined with other injustices, give light to the complexities of the process of reconciliation with Indigenous families.

Awesome play. Funny, sad – the actors are great!”

The show continues in Vancouver until May 26 with performances at 7:30 each of May 24 and 25 and one performance at 2:00 pm on May 26.

Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way travels to:

Penticton/Sylix Territory  for a performance on Thursday May 31 at 7:00 pm and a Friday matinee at 12:30 pm at the En’owken Centre

Toronto/Treaty 13 on June 6-9 Wednesday through Friday 7:30 pm and Saturday manatee at 2:00 pm Aki Studio Theatre

Winnipeg/Treaty 1 and Metis Homelands June 13 -16 Wednesday through Friday 7:30 pm and Saturday matinee 2:00 pm Theatre Circle Molière

 

Don’t mss Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way!

Tomorrow i’ll post another piece on Les Filles du Roi  (the King’s Daughters) an extraordinary musical/drama about the 800 women famously sent from France to “populate” the New World between 1663 and 1673.  Staging, music and story extraordinaire.

 

Environmental Justice As Liberation: No Consent, No Pipeline, No Kinder Morgan

The headline above is for a piece posted by 

As someone whose SFU Masters Thesis focused on the importance of creativity in resistance I find it exciting and hopeful to see the  Carnival playing out right here, in British Columbia. People’s resistance taking place in so many venues — Indigenous rights and consent, housing affordability and availability throughout the province, pipelines, fracking, massive hydro power dams, fish farms and more.  British Columbians and Canadians right across the country are speaking up and doing so with creativity.

In the Lower Mainland of British Columbia the battle to stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline is heating up.  This piece by Sarah Beuhler gives an excellent overview of the strategy involved in mobilizing and fighting this project.

Stop KM
Burnaby Mountain, April, 2018

Against the power of governments who were falsely elected on the basis of new, community driven strategies with collusion from corporate driven mainstream media,  the Kinder Morgan pipeline battle in BC, as well as the Fight against Site C and ocean-based fish farms and fracking are  examples of  mobilizations  to protect land and water and the beings who depend on them. They are led by Indigenous leaders from the BC Union of Indian Chiefs to hundreds of small communities whose lives and livelihoods are historically and legally tied to the unceded territories. And settlers are following — finally.

Across Canada, in North and South America and throughout the colonized world, Indigenous Communities are fighting back with vigour and great creativity and are being joined by thousands, millions of settler communities who have learned to respect and understand that without the full and prior consent of the Indigenous in traditional territories , the land’s truth keepers —  sustainable progress will not ensue.

Sarah’s piece invites the public to understand the story of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline currently in an expansion mode that could increase the flow of Bitumen by 7 times what is currently transported via pipeline from Alberta.

It would then be loaded onto huge tankers 7 per week and carted off to who knows where.  Bitumen is described in Cambridge English dictionary as  “a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for road surfacing and roofing.” Thin that out for easy flow with toxic chemicals and imagine what is travelling through the mountains across the lands, under the rivers and under the inlet and could increase to the point of danger.

Sarah’s Coast Protector story is the full story of the project and the strategies that have been developed, used, set aside and re-considered.

I hope you find it as instructive as I did.  As for the Carnival, think of the massive strategically organized resistance against the Dakota Pipeline, of the thousands of actions organized by Indigenous people against Canadian and other mining companies in their territories and the demands to stop massive dams, stop polluting rivers, stop exploiting for profit without thought of human survival. Think of all the tiny houses being built along the Trans Mountain Pipeline route, think of the years and years of protests ongoing against the Site C Dam. The songs, performances, cyber actions,  public arrests, the displays of respectful resistance are all marks of the carnival.

In my brief look at carnival I examined resistance against a backdrop of social and political movements whose histories were linked to the carnival through their disdain for power from above and their creative means of subverting that power.

At Kinder Morgan, Site C and throughout the world of resistance, let the carnival continue with thanks.

 

THE SOUTH LAWN (click here to read Sarah’s piece) 

Watchouse
The Watch House

 

Continue reading “Environmental Justice As Liberation: No Consent, No Pipeline, No Kinder Morgan”

For those who think young

Before its too late. Harper ’s got to go!

I’m concerned that many young folks in my own family, particularly my great-nieces and nephews, don’t understand what a serious threat Stephen Harper and his Conservative government in Ottawa pose to our way of life in Canada.

Since Harper became Prime Minister, his government has screwed up things up in every important area of our lives, from health, education, workplace security and the environment to the cost of housing.

These days, how many of you can afford to go to college or university, learn a trade, or develop a technical or creative skill without applying for a giant bank loan that will take years to pay off? And given what is happening in the work force today, do you think you’ll have enough money to support your own kids over the course of their education? For the first time in Canadian history, you will likely have a lower income than your parents did.

How many of you today have health plans through your workplace that pay health premiums, with or without extended health? Who pays for your dental work? Can you afford to go to the dentist on a regular basis?  How many of you—or your parents or grandparents—need  prescriptions you can’t afford to fill?

Right now, the government in Ottawa is looking for ways to make the oil companies richer while they gut the Canada Health Act. Our tax dollars used to support one of the best health care systems in the world. No more! The Conservatives today are cutting  $36 billion dollars from Canadian Medicare. Every person who buys anything from books to shoes to a muffin and coffee has to pay the GST.  But how come banks get bailed out, corporations squirm out of paying taxes, and those who have money make more money as a result?

The next federal election will be held sometime in 2015. We’ve got one year to make some choices about who is going to manage our country. Think about it carefully. What kind of future do you want for yourself and for your kids and grand kids?

I’ll be blogging about these issues in more detail over the next few months.  Stay tuned!