Articles Indigenous Politics

  • The Hauntings of Colonialism

    The publicity attending a showdown in the early 1980s between logging interests and Indigenous peoples in British Columbia drew attention to the ecological ideals of the Fourth World. That showdown took place in Haida Gwaii, the legendary archipelago also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The controversy attracted the attention of a science broadcaster who was then emerging as one of the most effective voices in the emerging global community of environmental activists. David Suzuki has described his production of a 1982 CBC documentary on the future of the Queen Charlotte Islands as a turning point in his development as a scientist, broadcaster and author. In making the film Suzuki developed lasting collaborations with a number of Aboriginal friends from the region, including Miles Richardson, Guujaaw and Patricia Kelly. As Suzuki describes it, “Guujaaw changed the way I viewed the world and sent me on a radically different course of environmentalism.”

  • Pathways to an Ethic of Struggle

    My discovery of what colonization really is took a long time in coming. It took a long time because you can’t understand the impact of these powerful forces of disconnection upon our people until you work within this system and try to make change. That’s the reason why this understanding is the sum of my own political experience, my lived experience. But it took a really intense effort over the past ten or twelve years to come to an intellectual understanding of it, and really to find a way to articulate it.

  • Caledonia’s “Lord of the Flies” Strategy at Six Nations

    We brought an interesting video to the Six Nations information session at the Montreal Native Friendship Centre. The land and historic issues behind the reclamation of land at Six Nations were well explained. The video showed how, early in the dispute, hundreds of young people from the nearby non-Native town of Caledonia were lured to the Indigenous barricade by such enticements as beer, marshmallows and hot dogs. At first the kids were reasonable and talked about how they wanted to organize things. As the night wore on, things started to break down. The crowd became loud and raucous.

  • Polluted Water Hits First Nations, but doesn’t stop there

    Grassy Narrows First Nation gets a boil-water advisory from the Medical Services Environmental Health Worker for Treaty #3 First Nations. My first thought was: “I thought we were safe.” To say the least, it’s very inconvenient to boil water for two minutes to kill any bacteria that live in it. But if we do not boil the water, the elders, infants and children, and weak adults are susceptible to severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and/or vomiting.

  • The Power and the Peace is in the People

    During the days of Six Nations activism to reclaim our land near Caledonia, we received thousands of e-mails and calls from people all over the world. The support and ideas that we’ve received have been tremendously gratifying and helpful. Without this solidarity from Natives and non-Natives, the Ontario Provincial Police would have had their way. Blood would have been spilled. Never mind the return of our land – though we are still waiting on that one.

  • What are we going to eat?  Gold or Diamonds?

    In December, 2005, indigenous Asian communities from the most marginalized scapes took to the streets to reclaim their livelihoods and eco-culture, redefining food sovereignty and environmental space for themselves. The resistance from the peripheral grounds against the Sixth Ministerial Conference (MC6) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the essence of decentralized grassroots small movements.

  • Raising Our Voices Against Violence

    Listen. Women are speaking across the land, and around the world. We want to be safe. We want our sisters to be safe. We expect justice in our communities. Will anybody listen?

  • What’s Up at FNUC?

    The day begins with the smell of bacon, sausages and pancakes cooking on the grill outside the new First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) Regina Campus building designed by Douglas Cardinal. The atrium is packed with students, staff and community members participating in the annual Winter Festival. The high spirits and laughter are slowly quelled, however, when news arrives that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) vice-chief, Morley Watson, has taken over the campus.

  • The Wolf Has Begun to Howl

    Ovide has sauntered off to get some ducks. The rest of us sit and chat, idly, nurturing the fire and snacking on bannock. A few jokes are tossed around: Mayor Robbie Buck, a large man with a quick wit, keeps everyone’s spirits high. Although when we hear shots a few comments about whether the Chief has injured himself are tossed around, no one is surprised when he returns with two ducks for two shots. The duck soup I’m eating, it turns out, comes from the Chief’s catch the day before.

  • Struggles of the Tahltan Nation

    On September 16, 2005, the RCMP arrested a dozen members of the Tahltan First Nation, nine of them Elders, for blockading a road into their traditional territory to bar Fortune Minerals from coming in to drill. Members of the Tahltan Nation have been blocking the road to the Mount Klappan coalfields since July 16.

    The protesters are standing against the intensive course of resource development being negotiated by the Tahltan Central Council, the elected body that governs the Tahltan First Nation. The blockaders question the sustainability of development and assert the community and Elders must participate in decision-making. The community is deeply divided on the issue.

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