By Jenny Uechi, January 6, 2014. Source: Vancouver Observer
Photo: David P. Ball
Moments after Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the stage at the Vancouver Board of Trade event downtown, Shit Harper Did activist Sean Devlin and another protester, Shireen Soofi, from No One is Illegal, appeared holding black and white signs reading “Climate Justice Now” and “The Conservatives Take Climate Change Seriously”.
Onlookers gasped in shock as security stormed up and threw the protesters down from the stage, then violently pushed them through a black curtain behind the stage from where the prime minister entered.
“I just had on black clothes and an apron that I picked up from Value Village,” Devlin said, when asked how he and Soofi managed to get into the room. “I was arrested with mischief, but then they let me go. No charges…but it felt like we were supposed to be there. We were supposed to be there.”
“They weren’t wearing a lanyard issued by the Board. They appeared to be dressed as serving staff. We had no idea they were there,” said Vancouver Board of Trade CEO and President Iain Black, who asked Harper questions about the Canadian economy and environment at a Q&A event at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.
Note: The following was sent to Global Justice Ecology Project by our good friend and board member Clayton Thomas-Muller. Thomas-Muller is the National Campaigner with Idle No More/ Defenders of the Land #SovSummer Campaign, and is the Co-Director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign.
-The GJEP Team
July 1, 2013
Activists with No More Silence and Idle No More unveil surprise banner at Canada Day celebration in Toronto, call attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
At this evening’s Canada celebration at Mel Lastman Square, a group of activists as part of Idle No More’s Sovereignty Summer campaign, scaled the main stage at Toronto’s official Canada Celebration and ‘dropped’ a banner reading, “Oh Canada, your home on Stolen Native Land.”
Also, members and supporters of the group No More Silence were on hand at Mel Lastman’s Square handing out educational flyer’s about Idle No More and also No More Silence’s campaign to call attention to the tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Silvia McAdams, a spokesperson for Idle No More says, “there is a deep interconnection between the ongoing extractive industries based economy of Canada and the violence that industry represents against our most sacred mother earth and this country’s ongoing failures to address and resolve the murdered and missing First Nations women’s and girls’ crisis. Sovereignty Summer calls for an immediate national Inquiry led by grassroots Indigenous women to develop a national action plan.”
Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is a good friend and Global Justice Ecology Project board member.
-The GJEP Team
By Laura Stone, June 27, 2013. Source: Global News
Demonstrators with the Idle No More movement block an intersection in downtown London Ontario, Thursday, March 21, 2013. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Aboriginal protesters involved in an Enbridge pipeline occupation are vowing more action this summer.
Clayton Thomas-Muller – who speaks on behalf of the Sovereignty Summer group, an extension of last winter’s Idle No More movement – said the group plans more protests in Ontario, including a proposed 4,400-kilometre pipeline that would carry between 500,000 and 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.
“The Energy East TransCanada pipeline proposal is problematic. We’re very concerned about it. They should expect resistance to that proposal,” Thomas-Muller said in an interview. He also said they’re targeting a fracking project on a First Nations reserve in New Brunswick.
On Wednesday morning, 18 people were arrested and five charged criminally following a week-long occupation of an Enbridge pumping station outside Hamilton, Ont. Thomas-Mueller said the group opposed a plan to reverse the Line 9 pipeline from the Great Lakes to Portland, Me.
“We don’t want dirty tar sands crude flowing through southwestern Ontario,” he said.
Note: Clayton Thomas-Muller is a good friend and member of Global Justice Ecology Project’s Board of Directors.
-The GJEP Team
By Michael Woods, June 20, 2013. Source: Canada.com
Members of the Haisla First Nation march in Kitimat, B.C. as part of a rally in support of the Idle No More movement in 2012. Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Robin Rowland
Indigenous rights activists are aiming to “increase tension” this summer to oppose the Harper government’s agenda, which they say ignores aboriginal rights and weakens environmental protections.
Friday, National Aboriginal Day, marks the launch of the so-called “Sovereignty Summer” in which the grassroots indigenous Idle No More movement says it will band together with other activist groups to plan “non-violent direct action” across the country.
“The point is to increase tension,” said Sheelah McLean, one of Idle No More’s four co-founders. “To raise awareness and increase tension between people who are wanting to assert their rights and people who are unjustly forgetting about the rights of indigenous peoples.”
At play are many of the same issues that helped galvanize the indigenous movement in December and January when protests reached their peak: matters such as implementing historic treaty rights, the federal government’s changes to environmental protections, and consultation with aboriginals regarding resource development on their traditional lands.
“The one thing that’s going to stop this resource hyper-extraction is the rights of indigenous Canadians, and Canadians have to stand behind them,” McLean said. “Pressure on the government is essential.”
By Erin Flegg, April 20, 2013. Source: Vancouver Observer
Photo: Erin Flegg
In the latest step toward opposing oil pipelines at every port in Canada, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation of Burrard Inlet signed on to the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred yesterday. The nation held a press conference at the Sheraton Wall Centre where newly elected Chief Maureen Thomas signed the document, witnessed by the president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs Stewart Phillip and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo.
The West Coast Oil Pipeline Summit followed the signing. The theme of the event was urgency, with several leaders touching on the need to oppose development at a grassroots level.
Stewart Phillip told reporters and community members assembled that the First Nations of BC are committed to using the legal system to defend their constitutional rights, but that’s not the only strategy they’re using.
“More importantly, we have committed to standing shoulder to shoulder on the land itself.”
April 11, 2013. Source: APTN News
Photo: AP/Jeff McIntosh
The chief of an Alberta First Nations battling a tar sands expansion on its territory says he is considering joining Idle No More’s call for a “Sovereignty Summer” campaign after the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed its case.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation went to the Supreme Court with a section 35 Constitutional challenge in hopes of forcing a regulatory review board to rule on whether there had been adequate consultation on Shell’s bid to expand its Jackpine tarsands project.
The First Nation turned to the courts after having its challenge were turned down by the Alberta Court of Appeal.
As is its practice, the Supreme Court gave no reasons as to why it refused to hear the Athabasca Chipewyan’s case.
Chief Allan Adam said the ruling leaves his First Nation with little options. With plans for an Idle No More-Defenders of the Land Sovereignty Summer campaign of direct action in the works, Adam said it may be the route his First Nation will have to take.
By Kristy Kirkup, February 25, 2013. Source: Toronto Sun
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence wants the United Nations to intervene on the federal First Nations file.
Spence, who ended a high-profile, 43-day personal protest in Ottawa in January, is now appealing to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
Spence, the International Indian Treaty Council and the Mushkegowuk People of Attawapiskat First Nation have filed an ‘urgent action’ submission with the CERD.
It makes six recommendations to the Canadian government, including a call for an “immediate meeting” with the Crown, federal government, provincial governments and all First Nations to discuss treaties.
Spence previously called for a joint meeting as part of her protest but feds agreed to meet with some First Nations leaders, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.
By Kyle Carsen Wyatt, February 11, 2013. Source: The Walrus
Sometime this year, the federal government is expected to introduce legislation that will pave the way for fee-simple (read: private) land ownership on First Nations reserves. According to its champions—former Kamloops chief Manny Jules and on-again, off-again Harper adviser Tom Flanagan—the new law will generate business efficiencies, investment opportunities, and individual prosperity for the 300,000 Native people living on reserves in Canada.
Editorial boards and political affairs observers have commended the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative, a working proposal crafted by Jules and Flanagan, along with Christopher Alcantara and André Le Dressay, in their 2011 book, Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights. Proponents, who include a handful of First Nations, dismiss the alarms raised by most of the 600-plus Native communities in Canada, as well as Native studies scholars and the Assembly of First Nations. The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson has summarized their objections thusly: “The first is that native land is traditionally communally owned. Private property is yet another assimilationist Western concept being imposed on native culture. The second is that once reserve members own their land, they can sell it to non-natives, eroding the land base.”
Ibbitson rejects these concerns out of hand, arguing that “the legislation will be strictly voluntary. Only those first nations that want to embrace the concept of private property will do so.” This line of reasoning presumes that communities and individuals driven to desperation can freely engage in decision making, when in fact many of them will succumb to a coercive land grab that has been 500 years in the making. He also contrasts the proposed legislation with the US General Allotment Act of 1887, better known as the Dawes Act, pointing out that it was involuntary. He is not alone in dismissing the nineteenth-century law. Backers of the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative regard its dismal legacy as a trivial aside, a laughable historical analogy: different time, different place. But as Cherokee novelist and 2003 Massey Lecturer Thomas King observes in his new book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, “When we look at Native–non-Native relations, there is no great difference between the past and the present.”