Indigenous Peoples rise up to protect resources
by Jason Logan When it comes to the land and its natural resources, Indigenous Peoples have always fought to protect it.
That sense of duty, and tensions boiling over, can be seen from recent demonstrations at Standing Rock to Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick fighting against fracking in 2013.
Now the battleground is shaping up in B.C. Saturday in Burnaby thousands of people marched against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the flow of oil from 300,000 barrels to 890,000, Rueben George of the Tsleil-waututh First Nation reportedly told the crowd.
The number of people who came out to protest this pipeline, both Indigenous and non-indigenous, shows me that maybe this project isn’t being built in the interest of Canadians.
I personally don’t agree with pipelines — I think they’re short-term investments that do more harm in the long run that isn’t made up for with shortterm benefits like jobs that don’t last.
But I do understand where pro-pipeline people are coming from: The project could create work and help our economy. But at what cost? The income won’t last a family for a lifetime, but the repercussions might extend that long, and beyond.
No matter how safe or environmentally friendly they attempt to make this pipeline, it could burst and harm wildlife and the environment. To me it’s not a question of if, but when.
Even the beloved Bill Nye (The Science Guy) thinks the pipeline is a bad
STEPHEN KING idea, telling reporters after speaking on a panel with Justin Trudeau that, “The pipeline is, in the big picture, bad.”
But as this pipeline project goes on, so does the conflict.
And history tends to repeat itself when Indigenous Peoples want to protect the land, often leading to shows of force from those who want to build.
About 200 people participated in a pro-pipeline event on Saturday. And on Friday, the B.C. Supreme Court granted an interim injunction to Trans Mountain to prevent protesters from coming within 50 metres of two terminal construction sites.
During the protest on Saturday, Indigenous leaders spoke to the crowd telling them for the future, they should be prepared to “cross the line” and face possible arrest.
That’s not to say protesters are looking for a fight. Many are employing traditional tactics and peaceful means to make their point.
Protesters built a “watch house” on the pipeline path over the weekend, employing a tactic the Coast Salish First Nations traditionally used to watch for enemies, protesters told The Canadian Press.
Late last year, protestors dubbing themselves the Tiny House Warriors set up mobile homes on the pipeline’s route through the Secwepemc Nation, in an attempt to deter the construction.
But if, or when, these peaceful protests go south with violence, like they did in Standing Rock and Elsipogtog, will anybody be surprised?
is an Ojibway journalist based in Toronto, originally from Seine River First Nation.