rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Indigenous rights activist Chris Thunder arrested for allegedly breaching his bail conditions, seeks community support

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Often forgotten in the midst of exciting direct action campaigns is what can happen to activists if they get arrested. Court support has always been the unsung work of activists who also happen to work in the field of law and justice or of groups such as the Movement Defence Committee.

I can't tell you how important jail and court support is to the movement, but may I just remind my gentle readers of the police crackdown surrounding the G8/G20 organizing. Individual lives and communities were ripped apart as Canadian law enforcement sought to make an example of certain high profile -- and thus targeted -- activists.

Indigenous rights activists and their allies were especially targeted by the police.

Back in 2010 I wrote, [activists who were arrested before the G20] "Hundert and Henderson are confident that the goal of the Crown and the police to repress social movements and break apart networks of activists is one that will fail. During the G8/G20 protests in Toronto, more than 40,000 people took to the streets to challenge the G20 agenda and to stand up for Indigenous sovereignty, migrant justice, women's rights, environmental justice, queer and trans people's rights, economic justice, and against the government's and police's increasingly repressive attacks on people's rights and freedoms."

According to Leah Henderson, "We are being targeted for the ideas we advocate as anarchist organizers including decentralization of power, non-hierarchical and non-coercive community structures, active resistance against oppression, and real freedom and equality. The Crown has singled us out specifically as anarchists, but also as allies to Indigenous land defenders."

The idea and necessity of court support started taking root within the Canadian activist community who were preparing for the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) demonstrations in April 2001. Fast forward more than a decade and the G20 demonstrations saw the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.

Idle No More is a movement that is constantly respecting the future by respecting the past. There were certain topics in the past which are still being debated today -- including the need for road or rail blockades or occupations. Again, let me remind you that this fight for Indigenous rights just didn't start on the first day of Idle No More.

What I also like about Idle No More is its intimate knowledge of history as a motivator to move forward; sometimes that motivation was filled with historical hate, and other times with historic hope.

More recently, Indigenous rights activists in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick, have been arrested and found guilty of various charges after police raided an anti-shale blockade camp in July 2014.  

Right now, social media is drawing our attention to another activist who has come into conflict with the law: Chris Thunder.

According to his Go Fund Me account, Thunder was arrested on August 20, 2014 and still remains behind bars where he has been charged with alleged breach of his bail conditions -- he was alleged found to be without the presence of his sureties -- as he tried to make his way to the Peoples' Social Forum.

His allies claim that Thunder was directly targeted by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Regarding activism, "Direct Action is very important to Chris, and also likely the reason that he has been targeted. He is not trying to run away from his legal responsibilities to go to court, but is rather embracing his responsibility as a Haudenesaunee to protect the land."

You can keep up to date on Thunder's situation or donate to his legal fees here.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.