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Archive for the ‘Blockades and Land Defense’ Category

Dene Suline of Cold Lake First Nation win interim injunction

In Blockades and Land Defense, Cold Lake Blockade, News, Occupations, Uncategorized on May 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Originally Posted in: http://www.rabble.ca

Author: Krystalline Kraus

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/krystalline-kraus/2011/05/activist-communiqu%C3%A9-dene-suline-cold-lake-first-nation-stop

The Dene Suline of Cold Lake First Nation (CLFN) Alberta  have won an interim injunction to halt construction on campground improvements to be made on Sacred Land — Sacred Land that was being occupied by a “cultural camp” set up on May 6, 2011 by the Dene Suline to prevent the construction of an RV park on their traditional territory.

The interim injunction was granted by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Don Manderscheid and will continue until the courts can hear an injunction application that was filed by the Cold Lake First Nations back on May 10, 2011. As part of the injunction, members of the cultural camp must remove all signs or blockades from the road into the campground and allow representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation to access the area.

“We’re not going to relinquish our access or our rights to this land,” said Chief Cecil Janvier. “We’re going to voice our opposition to their proposed development.”

The contested campsite in the English Bay Provincial Recreation Area, locally know as Berry Point, is on territory used by the Dene Suline for fishing, hunting and gathering medicines since time immemorial. The earth also cares for the bones of their ancestors buried in gravesites there. For these reasons, the area slated for construction holds tremendous cultural and historical significance for the CLFN.

On the location, a small campground has been operating since the 1950’s, which the Province of Alberta seeks to expand into a larger and more extensively developed campground suitable for large recreational vehicles (RVs).

The expansion project was stopped soon after it began in 2006, when historical artifacts were discovered on the land — some over 4,000 years old — which prompted a wider archaeological study of the site. The project received the go ahead again earlier this year.

While the Alberta government did perform some local consultation, it was not described as extensive or in good faith. Described by the Dene Suline community, the new construction “would include extensive surveying of the area, further removal of natural resources such as trees, plants and wildlife, the creation of a modern road into the area, large gravel pads and paths throughout the park as well as any other number of disturbances which may arise from the expansion.”

“The Province will also impose barriers upon the Dene Suline. For instance, fire bans will interfere with smoke houses; gates and fences will physically restrict Dene Suline access; and payment of fees may be required.”

CLFN has this message for its allies in the struggle to protect Indigenous Sacred land:

“Attention all Nations:

We the Dene Suline of Cold Lake Alberta are presently occupying a proposed provincial park on our traditional territory.

We are asking the nations for verbal support on our position. We are denying contractors and the Alberta government access to our territory.

We are protecting burial sites and many other cultural significant areas.

We may be forced by the RCMP to leave or worse.

We need our people across country to support our position.

We are being supported by CLFN chief and council

In the spirit of total resistance CLFN.”

**

The CLFN is asking for supporters to write letters to:

Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation (Alberta)
Cindy Ady

Phone: (403) 256-8969

calgary.shaw@assembly.ab.ca

Sample Letter:

To the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation Cindy Ady:
cc’d Premier Stelmach
Phone: (780) 427-2251
fortsaskatchewan.vegreville@assembly.ab.ca

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Len Webber
Phone: (403) 288-4453
calgary.foothills@assembly.ab.ca

I want to register my support for the Cold Lake First Nation and their right to full consultation before any development occurs on their traditional territory. The area that the Province is seeking to develop, the English Bay Provincial Recreation Area, holds tremendous cultural and historical significance for the Cold Lake First Nation. The expansion of recreational areas is not as important as respecting the rights of First Nation peoples. Every level of government must acknowledge and protect the constitutional rights of Aboriginal peoples.

I hereby urge you as Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation to suspend all development of this area until proper consultation has been conducted with the Cold Lake First Nation and their concerns have been properly addressed.

Thank you for your attention in this matter and I look forward to your reply to my concerns.

Sincerely,
<your name & address>

Kahne:koteh! People are speaking out in defense of the land! Get involved now! NO Melancthon Quarry

In Blockades and Land Defense, News, NO Melancthon Quarry on the Haldimand Tract!!, Uncategorized on May 6, 2011 at 3:24 am

(The above photo is of the Hanson Permanente Quarry in Western California, which is the traditional territory of the Muwekma Peoples (the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, the Amah-Mutsun Band of Ohlone/Costanoan Indians and the Ohlone/Costanoan Esselen). 1/3 of the cement used in Western California comes from this cement quarry.)

Originally Posted: May 5th, 2011

Author: Thomas Powless

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

http://www.waterkeeper.ca/2011/04/19/waterkeeper-objects-to-melancthon-mega-quarry/

Waterkeeper Objects to Melancthon Mega Quarry Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, April 19th, 2011

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has filed a formal objection to the application by 3191574 Nova Scotia Company (aka The Highland Companies) for a Class A licence to remove more than 20,000 tonnes of aggregate annually from a pit or quarry in Melancthon Township. Our objection reads as follows:

BY MAIL

Craig Laing, Aggregate Inspector

Ministry of Natural Resources, Regional Operations Division

Southern Region, Midhurst District

2284 Nursery Road

Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0

3191574 Nova Scotia Company (The Highland Companies)

477476 Third Line

Rural Route Delivery 2

Shelburne, ON L0N 1S6

April 19, 2011

Dear Mr. Laing and Directors, 3191574 Nova Scotia Company:

Re:

EBR No. 011-2864 (Melancthon Quarry)

Objection, Aggregate Resources Act s. 11(3)

Application for Class A licence to remove more than 20,000 tonnes of aggregate annually from a pit or quarry, Aggregate Resources Act s.7(2)(a) 

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper objects to the application by 3191574 Nova Scotia Company for a Class A licence to remove more than 20,000 tonnes of aggregate annually from a pit or quarry in Melancthon Township. Waterkeeper makes this objection pursuant to s.11(3) of the Aggregate Resources Act.

Waterkeeper has been an active intervenor in the proposal by Nelson Aggregate to expand that company’s Burlington Quarry since 2005. We are currently participating in the joint Ontario Municipal Board and Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into that proposal.

Nelson’s proposed quarry expansion was the subject of a Joint Agency Review Team [JART] Report, which examined the potential impact of the quarry on the environment, surrounding land use, and social and recreational value in the area. It provided invaluable information on the expected effects on hydrogeology, aquatic life, and ecology, including threatened species discovered on the site by local residents. New information continues to arise in the context of the hearing, indicating the inadequacy of relying solely on proponent-produced and commissioned reports for a project of this type.

The proposed Melancthon Quarry would occupy 937.1 hectares of land just outside of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s watershed. The proponent’s application indicates that one billion tonnes has been identified for extraction. Like the proposed Nelson quarry, the aggregate that would be extracted in Melancthon is part of the Amabel Formation, a layer of dolostone that constitutes a valuable aquifer. The bedrock includes karst features, which are formed when groundwater moves through limestone or dolostone bedrock, slowly dissolving the rock and increasing its permeability.

The proposed quarry would reach depths of close to 60 metres or 200 feet, requiring extraction below the water table. The proponent would be required to dewater the quarry to keep it dry for excavation, causing drawdown of surrounding groundwater and potentially impacting local surface water courses. The floor of the existing quarry would continue to be dewatered in perpetuity to allow it to be used for farming post-extraction.

The proposed Melancthon Quarry is many times larger than Nelson’s proposed expansion site. No detailed, site-specific external review of the potential impacts of a quarry of this size and depth has been conducted.

Waterkeeper is concerned about the potential impacts of this project, both during extraction and during the proponent’s proposed post-extraction quarry floor farming operations. The dewatering and pumping that will be required to facilitate the project could have devastating effects on the flow and supply of ground and surface water to lakes, streams, and rivers within and beyond the watershed.

Waterkeeper objects to the approval of this application and respectfully requests that 3191574 Nova Scotia Company’s proposal be denied. In the alternative, Waterkeeper requests that the proposal be referred to a hearing to allow for the examination of scientific evidence by an independent decision-maker and for meaningful public participation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please contact Joanna Bull, Counsel for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, if you have any questions or concerns about this objection.

Sincerely,

Mark Mattson

President and Waterkeeper

*Launched in 2001, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper works hard to create a watershed where you can safely swim, drink, and fish. Our charity engages in legal processes to enforce environmental laws and help to inform wise decision-making. We educate and mentor people who want to learn more about water quality challenges and environmental law, including student volunteers from many of Canada’s top law schools. We conduct research to identify threats to water quality and natural habitat and to monitor trends in environmental law. We celebrate Lake Ontario and its history by promoting arts events and opportunities.

Our emphasis on due process stems from our strongly-held believe that clean water depends on an empowered public. Too often, citizens are shut out of decision-making, cannot access important information, or cannot appeal to impartial judges. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper triggers or creates new forums for public participation. We train citizens to contribute. We collect, publish, and disseminate the vital information they need. At all times, we fight for just decisions.

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a grassroots, non-profit, public interest organization. We rely on our membership and the support of individuals and organizations who share our vision of a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. All contributions are tax-deductible according to Canada Revenue Agency’s rules (#86262 2750 RR0001).

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is also a member of the internationally-recognized Waterkeeper Alliance. This New York-based group is led by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and provides a link between the world’s 180-plus independent Waterkeepers.

California: Day 18 Update From Spiritual Encampment At Glen Cove

In Blockades and Land Defense, Glen Cove Encampment, News, Occupations, Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Originally Posted in: Protectglencove.org, May 1st 2011.

Author: SSP&RIT

http://protectglencove.org/2011/day-17-may-day-update/#more-1624

*** Day 18 update – May 1st, 2011

It was a very social Sunday. Internationally acclaimed actor Michael Horse and his partner Pennie Opal Plant from Gathering Tribes Art Gallery in Berkeley paid us a visit and donated much needed supplies. Artists from Oakland donated two spray-painted banners. A limo pulled up to the gate, full of DJs from a local radio station, who visited and brought us fruit. Then a trio of Mormons appeared–after being informed that proselytizing to our participants was forbidden, they joined us for a short while.

Doug and Clayton Duncan from Robinson Rancheria and Gary Thomas of the Elem Pomo Roundhouse shared the story of the massacre of their ancestors at Bloody Island and offered songs. Their family members sang healing songs and danced in honor of the women, accompanied by prayers offered by a Taino Elder from Puerto Rico.

The Security Committee, which includes youth from several California tribes, introduced the new “Sogorea Te” song to the group circle. People from our encampment spoke at May Day rallies in San Jose and San Francisco, distributing flyers and getting the word out about our spiritual defense of these sacred grounds.

Local Glen Cove Residents showed up to support our vigil and provided us with BBQ meat and lasagna for dinner. Phil Klasky, American Indian Studies professor at San Francisco State also brought generous dinner donations. The Red Boy Singers offered Prayer songs at the end of this hot Sunday.

Prayer and attention is being directed towards our friend and long time activist John Powers, who despite deteriorating health, has been participating in our ongoing ceremony to protect Sogorea Te.

We again wish to express our gratitude to everyone who has participated in our struggle, on the land or from a distance.

*** Announcements:

– A Mothers Day / Honoring Mother Earth event will take place this coming Sunday, the 8th at Sogorea Te. Details TBA.

– A walk to visit Oakland Shellmounds will take place on Saturday May 7th at 9am, Starting at Union Point Park – 2311 Embarcadero, Oakland. Bring comfortable shoes, a sack lunch and water to carry.

– The Twelth Annual Bloody Island Memorial in honor of the Pomo Indian people that perished and those who survived the Bloody Island Massacre will take place on Saturday, May 14th in the Clear Lake area.

– Also, a reminder that ride-sharing from the Bay Area is being coordinated by these two supporters – let them know if you need, or can offer, a ride out to Glen Cove: Casey – 609-317-3480 casey.romanick@gmail.com Dylan – 415-810-9930 dylcooke@gmail.com

For more information & updates: http://protectglencove.org/

Why We Wrote the “Statement of Apology” We Wish Had Been Written by the Defenders of the Land Organizing Committee.

In Blockades and Land Defense, News, Uncategorized on April 28, 2011 at 6:33 am

Originally Posted in : Indigenous AntiCapitalist, April 27th 2011.

Author: Indigenous Women in the Movement

(Image from the Alcatraz Takeover, 1969-1971)

Why We Wrote the “Statement of Apology” We Wish Had Been Written by the Defenders of the Land Organizing Committee.

It has been seven days since we published a satirical “statement of apology”,  from the organizing committee of Defender’ of the Land. A group of women and grassroots land defenders wrote the statement, because our voices had been silenced. We feel that what we have to say here must be heard, and so we will continue to speak, despite being silenced again when our account on Facebook was disabled (it has since been reactivated) and when Rabble.ca refused to publish the Statement of Apology. For those who have not read it, it follows this letter.

In Spring 2010, we blocked consensus of a “June 24th Day of Action” call-out for a march during the G20 week in Toronto. We were ignored and silenced. That march was the only indigenous-led event for that important week of public dissent. We had one day for our voices to be heard in the streets. We believe in consensus as a traditional way of guarding against elitism and privilege in our communities, and we believed that by blocking consensus, especially as a group of native women, we would at least be given the chance to speak and be heard. Not only were we ignored and silenced, but the organizing committee blocked communication between us and several native communities. We were told they were “afraid” of us, as though indigenous peoples need protection from each other when our voices speak different opinions.

We blocked consensus because we felt that the call out for the “June 24th Day of Action” (which was sent out by Defenders of the Land) would criminalize and disempower grassroots land defenders and erode our autonomy to defend ourselves and our land and communities. We felt that the heavy use of “non-violence” wording was a slippery slope toward co-operation with the Canadian government and police…who also desire us to be “non-violent” so that we are less of a threat to the realities that we face daily: our children being stolen, our lands being exploited for profit, murder and brutality at the hands of police and racist settlers, the disappearance and murder of thousands of indigenous women.

We felt that this was not an issue of semantics, that this was deliberately being taught to our peoples, our youth and our communities by the interests of government and corporations, who we began finding out more and more, were actually helping to fund well-paid activists who ran well-funded workshops, training and retreats on “non-violence” and “civil disobedience”. Some of this was traced back to funding which came from “ethical oil” strategies, and that’s when we started realizing the sickening accuracy of our premonitions.

The June 24th “Day of Action”, although well attended and successful in bringing people together to demonstrate resistance, was also extremely compromised. Undercover police and informants who came to the organizing meetings were “justified” in being there, people were told that because of “trouble makers”, we should cooperate with the police. These “trouble makers” were several indigenous people who were standing up and questioning the way the organizing was being increasingly straitjacketed.

“Non violence” was used to narrow the parameters of our ability to speak and express our struggle: we were barred from wearing camoflage, barred from wearing masks, barred from carrying the Unity flag or from any “warrior” images or symbols. On the day of the march, undercover police were permitted by the organizers to infiltrate the march, and those of us who had questioned the organizers were told that we would be turned over (by the march’s own security team) to the police.

Members of the Defenders of the Land organizing committee were present at these meetings, they helped to organize and promote the march and they did not speak up in defense of those who were criminalized and targeted, just as they did not listen to the voices of women who had blocked consensus of the original call out.

That has been our experience and involvement with the organizing committee of the Defenders of the Land, a network that began with the dream of a woman: a clanmother and Elder from one of the most exploited communities on Turtle Island which has been devastated by mercury poisoning and logging: Grassy Narrows.

We believe in honouring the dreams of women, in freeing ourselves from judgement and bias, decolonizing our minds and our hearts. We believe in being action-oriented, not paper-oriented. We don’t need Canada’s approval or consent, and we don’t need government or corporate funding. We have always had what we will always need: the Kaianerenkowa, the Medicine Wheel, our teachings, our clan systems, our languages, our ceremonies.

We can empower ourselves, we don’t need to wait for an NGO or a suit to tell us how to feel empowered. We aren’t the ones who need “non violence training”, the ones who need to stop using violence are the ones in power: police, government and corporations.

We absolutely believe in non-violence: when the cops lay down their weapons, the mining and logging companies abandon their industries, when the government returns the land to the people who belong to her, when racist settlers lay down their racism and patriarchy, when we vomit up the internalized racism from generations of abuse and torture at the hands of the government and can feel good in our own skin, can feel loved by each other, comforted, proud of and nourished by our beautiful brown skin, instead of vying for the attention of white thighs, settling for the white lie.

When the violence against us stops, maybe then we can begin to return to a time of peace. But to adopt a strategy of non-violence during a time of war is suicide: and we already have enough children and youth killing themselves because their innate resistance to genocide is stifled by white Canadian education, media, foster homes, jails and poverty food. Native children and youth do not need to be taught how to defend themselves: they need to be given the freedom to do what their spirits already understand is necessary.

Nonviolence as a mass political strategy was never part of our traditional ways of being on Turtle Island. We laid siege to forts, we picked up arms, we mounted riots and uprisings and full scale guerilla wars against colonial governments, militaries, corporations. We ate the hearts of our enemies. We did not curry favour from rich white men, we fought and killed them.

The most successful military campaign against Amerikkka was waged and won by the Oglala Sioux at Little Big Horn in 1876 and in 1973, they defended it again against the FBI, military and goon squads. Our people were often were masked in ceremonies and in battle, just look at the indigenous Zapatista movement–“masking up” is a practice rooted in indigenous movements and indigenous resistance.

Non-violence may be one strategy, and true to our nature, if it works, we’ll use it. If it doesn’t, we won’t. The bottom line is that we defended our land and our families with whatever we could. We owe our very existence to our ancestors who resisted total extermination and genocide by fighting back, and we will continue to honour those who gave us life by resisting the ongoing colonization of our lands and our peoples. If we have breath, we owe each one not only to our ancestors but to the land they fought and died to protect, and to the next seven generations.

-Indigenous Women in the Movement

Support the South Fraser Protection Camp NOW!

In Blockades and Land Defense, News, South Fraser Protection Camp, Uncategorized on April 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Originally Posted in: Vancouver Media Co-op, April 24th 2011.

Author: Stop the Pave (www.stopthepave.org)

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/7047

The Wave Against the Pave is rising! The South Fraser Protection Camp has been established. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW.

The longer we stay, the longer the bulldozers can be stopped, and an education campaign about the real impacts of this project can grow in the surrounding neighborhoods.  The political climate is more unstable than ever, and THIS IS NOT A DONE DEAL, so now is the time to stand together for climate justice and for the health of our community.

On Earth Day Friday, around 200 local residents and concerned citizens from far and wide met in Delta to rally against the proposed South Fraser Perimeter Road. We marched to a site on the Fraser that has recently been deforested to make way for the freeway, and established our camp there. The camp is a truly inspiring place. It is located high on a bluff overlooking a historic fishing port, with a spectacular view of surrounding mountains and river. This is a strategic spot to stop this pave. We have planted a number of trees in the middle of the road. There is a free kitchen, a medic tent, hygiene facilities, art-making, a solar-powered media tent, and a real full-sized teepee for meetings.

There has been minimal police presence, however, work crews are expected to return to the site on Monday or Tuesday and we MUST have a strong onsite presence.

If you can join our camp for any length of time, your support would make a difference. There will be music and a fire circle discussion tonight (Sun) & Monday evenings. We’ll host a tour of the camp at about 2pm Monday, and a press conference at 3pm.

MOST VITAL RIGHT NOW is to have people onsite through tonight, and possibly Monday night. If you can’t come and camp, please come as early on Monday or Tuesday morning as possible (the first #640 bus leaves Scott Rd. SkyTrain station at 6:10 am, and it is 10 minutes from there).

WE CALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT NOW. Come for a visit, stay for a short time, or camp for a while. Bring food or supply contributions if you like, but most importantly, just come.

The site is easy to reach. The main entrance is on River Road, Delta, just west of Brooke Road (10675 River Rd),  – look for the signs and banners. Drive, bike from SkyTrain, or catch the #640 bus from Scott Rd SkyTrain station (or if westbound, from Ladner Exchange). Our Info Line is 604.355.2771, or call 604.588.4203.

We thank you for all your support, and hope to see you in camp soon!
In gratitude and solidarity,

StopThePave.org

For a good description of the action and the campsite see pictures  The Tyee OR Vancouver Media Co-op, W2TV or The Province.  Some background and an invitation to the Camp is in this video.

<< a bulletin from http://stopthepave.org >>

An Open Letter to White “Indigenous Solidarity Activists”

In Blockades and Land Defense, Glen Cove Encampment, Migrant and Undocumented Persons Movement, Nazi/Islamophobic/Anti-Native Hate Watch, News, NO Melancthon Quarry on the Haldimand Tract!!, Occupations, South Fraser Protection Camp, Tar Sands, Uncategorized on April 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Dear Well-Intentioned White People:

Ahniin,

Miigwetch for getting in touch! I’d like to ask you to tell me a bit more about your organization, since we are really interested in connecting with indigenous peoples and communities out that way. But I need to communicate something to you first, which I hope you can hear with an open mind and heart.

Many of us are beginning to see the extent to which as native peoples, we depend on indigenous solidarity groups (which are largely controlled by white/non-native folks) and in taking on this project, we’re seeking to give into and take from within the strength and skills of our own peoples and our own communities. Much like Black Power in the 60’s, we need to build this struggle with our own hands, we need to write our own shit, and we need to connect directly with each other across our territories, as sovereign peoples.

When these relations and connections are mediated or facilitated by non-native peoples, it actually weakens and disempowers us, and that is why we feel that this balance of power needs to shift and be transformed into something new, more parallel than “inclusive”.

Government seeks to “include” us (assimilation policies), militaries and police seek to “include” us (recruitment programs), public school systems seek to “include” us (tokenizing and consuming our histories), and all these, one way or another, want us dead, either in body or in spirit. Is this also what we should expect of solidarity groups, or the movement?

So while we appreciate the support of solidarity groups, and would really love to connect with people of colour and poor communities, because we do face a lot of the same struggles, what would be much more appreciated are the contacts of the indigenous peoples/communities and organizations you have come to know. We’d really like to connect with them directly.

One thing you can do, which there is a very great need for, is to take this message and communicate it (talk about it, start conversations about it, organize around it, think about it, collectively reflect on it, do a workshop/education night on it) to the many well-intentioned white and non-native folks you work and live with, because it should never be the responsibility of the oppressed to educate the oppressor. Or you could just give back the land. That would be GREAT!

(not) Yours,

the Original Peoples.

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