Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

COLONIALISM NO MORE SOLIDARITY CAMP

Posted by strattof on June 25, 2016

Perhaps you’ve seen it. For over two months, the Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp has been outside the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) offices at 1827 Albert Street.

The Solidarity Camp was set up on April 18, following INAC occupations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Gatineau, and Vancouver, in response to news of the youth suicide crisis in Attawapiskat. The camp is occupied day and night.

An autonomous group, the Regina Solidarity Camp calls for

  • An end to band-aid solutions to the state of perpetual crisis facing First Nations across Canada—including overcrowded and substandard housing; drinking water advisories;   underfunded education, child welfare, and healthcare programs; as well as youth suicide.
  • A commitment to face the real issue: COLONIALISM.

COLONIALISM NO MORE! SOLIDARITY CAMP STATEMENT

APRIL 19 2016

This camp was set up on Treaty Four territory in solidarity with the requests of Attawapiskat youth. They know what they need and they need to be listened to. This camp is an autonomous group of individuals who come together under one banner: COLONIALISM—NO MORE!

Attawapiskat is in crisis as are hundreds of other First Nations in Canada. Flying out to one community, and acting like that will solve the problem is wrong, and it is a showy distraction from the real problem: COLONIZATION. From broken Treaty promises to the latest election promises, Indigenous peoples are left waiting as the government works in crisis mode. Always working through Band-Aid logics, the government is always treating the symptoms and not the root cause. The root cause is:

  • 500+ years of colonialism.
  • Not listening to the communities and what they need.
  • Not recognizing the right to self-determination.
  • Not honouring the spirit and intent of the treaties.

We ask that you join us in resistance to ongoing colonialism.

COLONIAL AMNESIA

Many Canadians, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, believe Canada is not, and has never been, a colonial state. In Harper’s words, Canada “has no history of colonialism.”

How, then, do we account for:

  • The 1876 Indian Act which enshrines white settler domination and supremacy and Indigenous subjugation?
  • The forced dispossession, displacement, and containment of Indigenous peoples under Canada’s reserve and pass systems—systems that made Indigenous lands available for European settlement?
  • The genocidal residential school system, for which Harper himself apologized?

COLONIALISM TODAY

Canadian colonialism is not only a historical fact. It is also a present reality.

  • White settler supremacy remains intact. In education, housing, employment, the justice system—indeed, almost everywhere in Canadian society—whiteness is an advantage and Indigenous identity a disadvantage.
  • 51% of First Nations children live in poverty. The rate rises to 60% for children who live on-reserve. The numbers are even worse for Saskatchewan where 69% of on-reserve First Nations children live in poverty—compared with a non-Indigenous child poverty rate of 13%. (These figures are taken from a May 2016 report by CCPA: Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada.)
  • Canada’s dispossession of Indigenous peoples is ongoing, as the Canadian state continues to grant corporate access to Indigenous land and resources.

SOLIDARITY CAMP DEMANDS

The camp has a number of demands, including:

  1. That Regina’s INAC office provide data on conditions for Saskatchewan First Nations—drinking water, housing, health, education, child welfare—and that this data be made easily available to the public.
  2. That the federal government pay attention to Indigenous issues on the Prairies, rather than overlooking them, as is currently the practice.
  3. That the situation of Indigenous children in state care be addressed and remedied immediately, with the recognition that children need contact with their own communities and families, and that properly resourced communities have the ability to address and remedy these issues on their own.
  4. That the true spirit and intent of the Treaties be upheld.
  5. That the Treaty rights of urban, off-reserve Indigenous peoples be respected and upheld.
  6. That the Indian Act be revoked.

SUPPORT THE SOLIDARITY CAMP

Camp members are not planning on leaving anytime soon. They have already weathered freezing temperatures, scorching heat, driving rain, and gale force winds. They are prepared for the long-haul—until they get concrete action on more of their demands.

But they need our support. Here’s how we can help:

  • Drop by the camp and hang-out for a while.
  • Bring food to the camp. Fruit and snacks are always welcome.
  • If you would like to provide a meal, contact Shannon: colonialismnomore@gmail.com

Learn more about the camp. Visit the camp’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Colonialism-No-More-Solidarity

We need poverty to end. We need suicides to end. We need clean water. We need adequate housing. We need, finally, for there to be justice. And we need to do this together. This camp is modelling that.”—Su Deranger, camp member, from a video made at the camp’s May Day BBQ by Miranda Hanus

 

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