Category Archives: Idle No More

Clayton Thomas-Muller on his hopes for The Peoples’ Social Forum

The Peoples’ Social Forum will be held in Ottawa, Ontario from August 21st through the 24th. According to its website:

The Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) is a critical public space aimed at fostering activist involvement of individuals and civil society organizations that want to transform Canada as it exists today. It is a space for social movements to meet and converge, for the free expression of alternative ideas and grassroots exchanges. It seeks to inspire practical involvement in social movements and develop networked action strategies aimed at fostering the convergence of struggles, toward building a broad strategic alliance against neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies in Canada. Social justice, Original Peoples rights, sustainable development, international solidarity and participatory democracy at the centre of its concerns.

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The PSF is part of the global movement of social forums that have emerged at different levels since the first World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in January 2001.  The last World Social Forum was held in Tunis in March 2013and the 2015 one will also be organized in the same city.

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference.  Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller leads the march out at the Copenhagen climate conference. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC

Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of our board of directors and a speaker in our New Voices Speakers Bureau, wrote an excellent essay for rabble.ca on his hopes for the Peoples’ Social Forum. Clayton is a facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental justice and Indigenous rights. He is the co-director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign of the Polaris Institute and is an organizer with Defenders of the Land and Idle No More.

As social movements, we have a shared intention to walk away from the Peoples’ Social Forum with serious commitments in terms of resources from unions, who have always been a great partner to the First Nations. Harper has been a revolutionary who has moved aggressively to implement his destructive neoliberal vision on many fronts. First Nations have been one of the key targets of this government, as it cannot abide the idea of collective rights that impede the power of governments, corporations, and private wealth alike. Whether it is in education, land rights or self-determination, Harper’s government is desperate to fast track its assimilation agenda.

We all know what kind of movement it will take to confront this vision — a movement that is like Idle No More was when it first started, but deeper, sustained, more focused and more strategic. We know from wide-ranging consultations with the member communities of Idle No More that they are ready to fight, as long as it is strategic, intelligent and effective. We have an incredible legacy of collaboration to build upon. We need to shift the narrative. We need to lay out a clear and strategic movement that can tactically build a strong base. At this year’s social forum, Idle No More, the Quebecois Student Strikers and Canada’s labour movement can do just that.

Read the whole essay at rabble.ca

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Events, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples

“Protect the Sacred:” Indigenous people unite against Keystone pipeline

From left: Casey, Dwain & Carter Camp at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Activists at the opening ceremony of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance Action Camp, near Ponca City, Okla. (Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance/Girard Oz/ Waging Nonviolence)

Indigenous people in Oklahoma took a united front against the Keystone XL pipeline, whose proposed route will trespass upon sacred ritual and burial grounds. Already many of these people, especially those living in Ponca City, struggle daily with pollution-related health issues from nearby refineries. The repercussions of another pipeline, especially one that threatens to degrade their heritage, are simply unfathomable. Interviewed in an article by Crysbel Tejada and Betsy Catlin on the website Waging Nonviolence, longtime activist Casey Camp-Horinek states:

Of the maybe 800 of us that live locally, we have averaged over the last five to seven years maybe one funeral a week. Where we used to have dances every week, now most people are in mourning.

A massive ConocoPhillips oil refinery towers over Standing Bear Park, named in honor of the  Ponca chief who led his people on the Trail of Tears. Every year, that refinery pumps 2,000 lbs. of chemicals into the air.

“We live in a situation that could only be described as environmental genocide,” said Camp-Horinek. Beyond the refineries, she explained, “We also have had the misfortune of living on top of a spider web of pipelines as a result of ConocoPhillips being here.”

The toxins released are filled with benzene, which the CDC lists as potentially causing leukemia, anemia and can decrease the size of ovaries. In response to these issues and the Keystone threat, the Indigenous people of the area are planning their resistance and have drafted a new treaty called “Protect the Sacred.”

They have also created the “Training for Resistance” tour, “which is making its way across Greater Sioux nations, territories and reservations to educate and equip people with the necessary tools for resistance. The trainings, which began in March on the Pine Ridge reservation, focus on direct action and teach-ins on tar sands and the Keystone XL, with roots in the Lakota way and tradition.”

Read the full article here and discover how Indigenous people plan to fight back against the Keystone XL, another form of genocide — environmental genocide — faced by nations of people whose history is riddled with the same unjust treatment.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Keystone XL, Tar Sands

Standing our sacred ground: First Nations, Tribal leaders, and land owners send message to Canada, stop tar sands at the source

April 24, 2014. Source: Idle No More

Photo: CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES

Washington DC – Northern Plains Tribal leaders and land owners representing the Cowboy and Indian Alliance joined in cross-border solidarity yesterday with their First Nations counterparts on the steps of the Canadian embassy. Their aim was to send a clear message to the Canadian and US governments to Honor the Treaties. Representatives of the Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Ponca, Ojibway, and Cree Nations stood alongside ranchers and farmers to hold up huge letters spelling out “Honor The Treaties” and blown-up images of Treaty 8, Treaty 6, and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which cover Indigenous people’s lands affected by the controversial Canadian tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.

It’s time for our people to start developing our own policies and enforcing our inherent Treaty rights. It is time for us to start defining what that relationship looks like for our visitors and remind our visitors that they came here and we are the ones, as Indigenous people, that gave them the permission to settle here on Turtle Island,” said Crystal Lameman, member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation.

The Beaver Lake Cree Nation is currently engaged in a landmark constitutional Treaty rights challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada that has named tens of thousands of Treaty rights violations of Treaty 6 by the provincial government of Alberta, the federal government of Canada, and dozens of oil companies operating in the controversial Canadian tar sands. The Beaver Lake Cree Nation case represents a growing understanding that through Aboriginal Title and Inherent and Treaty Rights, the Native rights-based strategic framework is the strongest legally binding strategy to stop the expansion of the tar sands at the source, including all of the associated pipeline infrastructure coming out of Alberta to bring this land-locked resource to international markets. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

Take action to stop the Energy East pipeline!

April 15, 2014. Source: Idle No More

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013. (TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling (2nd L) announces the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta, August 1, 2013.
(TODD KOROL/REUTERS)

Last year, TransCanada announced their intention to build a 4,500 km pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta, already devastating many Indigenous communities, to New Brunswick, where communities like Elsipogtog had to fight to stop dangerous fracking last year.

A group of concerned Indigenous activists recently met in Winnipeg to discuss how Indigenous Peoples across Canada could work together to stop this pipeline (watch them on APTN here).

This pipeline passes through major cities including Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Montreal, but also through the territory of over 150 Indigenous communities.Mi’qmaq women took action against the #EnergyEast pipeline proposal and shut down the Maritime Energy Association meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia on March 31, with the support of hundreds of young peoples who were converging for the  PowerShift Atlantic conference. Check out the photos here and read their press release here. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal

By Martin Lukacs, March 4, 2014. Source: The Guardian

A man waves a Mohawk flag at a Montreal demonstration in support of the indigenous Idle No More movement in January, 2013. Photograph: Oscar Aguirre/Demotix/Corbis

A man waves a Mohawk flag at a Montreal demonstration in support of the indigenous Idle No More movement in January, 2013. Photograph: Oscar Aguirre/Demotix/Corbis

The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.

Yearly government reports obtained by the Guardian predict that the failure to manage the risks could result in more “adversarial relations” with aboriginal peoples, “public outcry and negative international attention,” and “economic development projects [being] delayed.”

“There is a risk that the legal landscape can undermine the ability of the department to move forward in its policy agenda,” one Aboriginal Affairs’ report says. “There is a tension between the rights-based agenda of Aboriginal groups and the non-rights based policy approaches” of the federal government.

The Conservative government is planning in the next ten years to attract $650 billion of investment to mining, forestry, gas and oil projects, much of it on or near traditional aboriginal lands.

Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

A look back: Indigenous resistance in 2013

Source: Reclaim Turtle Island

Winter 2012/13: Akwesasne Border Closing. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Winter 2012/13: Akwesasne Border Closing. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Reclaim Turtle Island is dedicated to spreading the word on the Indigenous Insurrection in 2014, and we look forward to continue to lift up one another’s voices on the frontlines against colonial-capitalism, reservation apartheid and industrial genocide. Please support our crowdfunding initiative so we can get the basic equipment needed to continue to produce Indigenous-led grassroots media, and continue production on several exciting upcoming projects.

All across Turtle Island and around the world Indigenous peoples are taking direct action to protect their lands by any means necessary. Together we are resisting colonialism by defeating corporate Imperialism, preventing resource extraction, asserting our sovereignty, and fighting White supremacy and legacies of racism. So much has happened and Indigenous peoples are rising up!

Below is a brief synopsis of Land Defense and Sovereigntist struggles across Turtle Island that burned bright this 2013. It is in no particular order and by no means complete. From disrupting tar sands megaloads and pipelines infrastructure, to mining blockades, logging blockades, kicking out Nazis, rescuing our kidnapped children, continued Idle No More demonstrations and reclaiming territories, our spirits of survival and responsibility are so strong. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples

Mi’kmaq speaking tour appeals for solidarity with New Brunswick anti-fracking struggle

By Roger Annis, February 5, 2014. Source: Rabble.ca

Suzanne Patles and Coady Stephens speaking in Vancouver, January 24, 2014. Photo: Rabble.ca

Suzanne Patles and Coady Stevens speaking in Vancouver, January 24, 2014. Photo: Rabble.ca

It was standing room only in downtown Vancouver on January 24 as 250 people crowded into a meeting room at Simon Fraser University to hear two Mi’kmaq activists describe the ongoing fight in against gas fracking in the eastern Canadian province of New Brunswick.

Suzanne Patles and Coady Stevens are two veterans of the battle that has fought the frackers to a standstill and inspired continent-wide solidarity actions. The January 24 event was the beginning of a lengthy speaking tour that has them speaking across British Columbia and then moving on to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in the coming weeks.

In B.C., they will speak in six cities and First Nations territories. In addition to Vancouver, they will speak in Squamish (Vancouver region), Victoria, Nanaimo, Kamloops (Neskonlith First Nation) and Moricetown (Wet’suwet’en First Nation, in north central B.C.).

On February 1, they joined the anti-fracking, Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en territory for three days. The camp was established last year to act as a spiritual and physical barrier to the proposed Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline and multiple, proposed gas fracking pipelines that would converge on the northern coast of B.C. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Hydrofracking, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Stand with the Oglala Lakota Nation against Keystone XL pipeline

February 2, 2014. Source: Idle No More

1798819_284387205057791_1102326687_nIdle No More and Defenders of the Land stand with the Lakota Nation, Owe Aku, Protect the Sacred, Honor the Earth, and all land defenders opposing Keystone XL.  We stand with our neighbours to honour the treaties, protect sacred water, and to defend the Indigenous ways of life.

Below is a statement from Honor the Earth that has been developed in collaboration with the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred.  Check the information links below and organize a vigil in your community in solidarity with the Lakota resistance to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“The Oglala Lakota Nation has taken leadership by saying “NO” to the Keystone XL Pipeline. They have done what is right for the land, for their people, who, from grassroots organizers like Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred, have called on their leaders to stand and protect their sacred lands. And they have: KXL will NOT cross their treaty territory, which extends past the reservation boundaries. Their horses are ready. So are ours. We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline. WE ALL NEED TO STAND WITH THEM. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples