I am, like most of you, a strong supporter of First Nations land and title rights. Increasingly, the international community is waking up to the rights of Indigenous people and their justified desire for sovereignty and self-determination.
This struggle is playing itself out very publicly as First Nations on the west coast of Canada have drawn a line in the sand regarding dangerous pipeline projects. That is the context for the canoe gathering this weekend in the Vancouver harbour, organized by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the the Squamish Nation.
Protecting the waters is a sacred trust
In the face of enormous destruction and intimidation, it is crucial to assert what one values, and why. The third annual Tar Sands Healing Walk met this challenge head on with courage and wisdom, as Indigenous communities asserted that it is a human responsibility to protect clean and healthy water, air and land for future generations.
Walking together on August 4 through the 14-km epicenter of the Alberta tar sands, roughly 250 people witnessed the immense industrial devastation and conducted ceremonies for the healing of the land and waters.
Last week in Montreal, clanging cookware and red squares became symbols of solidarity with an Indigenous community defending its land rights. On Wednesday, July 18, about 200 people demonstrated at the Montreal headquarters of Resolute Forest Products, the logging company currently locked in a stand-off with Algonquin protestors near Poigan Bay, Quebec.
Banging pots and pans, the crowd denounced Resolute for continuing to log in the territory of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake despite staunch opposition from the people living there.