Saturday, December 4, 2021

Violence against Indigenous land defenders must stop


aboriginal land defenders Oka ancestral lands sovereignty violence betrayal treaties unceded territory Canada colonialism

Reconciliation cannot happen as long as the colonial project, and the violence it inflicts, exists

"Do you think there will be another Oka Crisis?"

After the 1990 siege of Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawake, commonly known as the “Oka Crisis,” I was asked this question over and over again by journalists.

I quickly grew tired of it. I hoped no other Indigenous people would have to live through what we had endured, because even though the physical barricades came down, the root causes remained. Canada was supposed to be a safe country, one that prided itself on human rights, but I knew the possibility of a parallel event was real. Canada has never repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery on which it has based its false and racist claims to Indigenous lands. We are still tethered to the Indian Act, the colonial chains that created the 1990 siege of Kanehsatà:ke.

Having survived the 1990 Kanehsatà:ke siege that attacked not just my community, but Kahnawake as well, I can honestly tell you that you do not want another so-called “Oka.”

During the siege, I felt like I was submerged in quicksand. Once the adrenaline wears off, you find yourself swimming in unfathomable depths of despair, uncertain of whether you will survive an armed attack by state paramilitary squads. This despair is not about your own safety, but the unthinkable possibility that someone you love and care for will be tragically hurt or killed. Or that all that you have been fighting for will be lost as the colonizer spits out words in a media it controls and in its history books. The “Indian problem” is repackaged, criminalizing you and your loved ones.

The post-traumatic stress caused by state violence grates against your peace of mind, causing bullet-like holes in your psyche and well-being. It is another level of multigenerational trauma on top of that which we have inherited from our ancestors. It isn’t our choice; it is our reality. All this pain because of the economic greed of the colonizer Canada and the corporations that control it.  (more...)

Violence against Indigenous land defenders must stop

Katsi'tsakwas Ellen Gabriel from End VAW / Contre VFF on Vimeo.

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