So Much for 'Reconciliation'

Instagram May 01, 2020 · 3 mins read
So Much for 'Reconciliation'
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The latest conflict between the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their supporters, and those supporting the Coastal GasLink Pipeline has revealed that Canada remains set in its role as a colonizer. Before the beginning of this year, it may have been easy to deny that Canada remains a colonizing power, but no longer can that appeal to ignorance be made. 

For those unfamiliar with the situation, here are the main events. At the beginning of this year, following a Dec. 31st injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court, militarized RCMP officers raided a camp of First Nations land defenders, arresting people on their sovereign territory. In reaction, protesters led demonstrations and blocked railways across the country. 

The actions of these protesters and the original Wet'suwet'en land defenders have been highly criticized across Canada in ways that are misguided and problematic. The record must be set straight.

An RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en land amounts to an invasion of a foreign nation. According to the Canadian law and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, these land defenders have the right to self-governance and territorial sovereignty. 

This is an act of colonial exploitation. Canada is a colonial power. Canada was created to extract natural resources. To do this, the Canadian Government along with private corporations killed, ethnically cleansed, and commited cultural genocide against First Nations people. We saw this in Residential Schools, in the Sixties Scoop and we continue to see it today. This was done to free up land for both resource extraction and settlers to do the work. It is inherently racist and morally abhorrent in every way. 

A common misconception is that the pipeline is legitimate and accepted because the elected band council system has okayed it. It must be recognized though, that the elected band council is a system put into place by the Indian Act to make band councils more similar to other colonial governments. According to the traditional Wet'suwet'en system of government, the Hereditary Chiefs are the true and legitimate leaders. This has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Finally, putting all this aside, there should be no pipelines. At all. Anywhere. We are in a climate emergency. Arguments are made about the economy and the need to slowly ease off fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the time for that is long gone. Science says we need to stop producing oil and natural gas now.

Many Canadians are unaware of these issues, but it has become increasingly important in political discourse in recent years. Recent movement towards “Reconciliation” would have the average citizen believe that Canada and its government have ceased colonial actions and are working to right the wrongs done over the past 400 years. This most recent conflict clearly shows that the government cares not for Indigenous Peoples’ rights when there is money to be made. Reconciliation is a farce while colonization continues. Knowing this, when you stand for O Canada, ask yourself: Do you stand for colonialism? Do you stand for cultural genocide? Do you stand for ignoring human rights? If not, consider staying seated. 

*Opinion Piece *

Image source: “Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Event - Rail Yard near Pioneer Village Station Blockaded - Vaughan, Toronto, Ontario - February 15, 2020.” By Jason Hargrove from Flickr