By Gwaaiina CROW
This speech was given at the Defend Our Coast rally in Victoria, BC, October 22, 2012.
Defend our coast.
Defend our coast from who? For who? Indigenous people and the land have been under assault since contact.
Industries that brought species including us to near extinction
Brought devastation to ecosystems
Government and industry work hand in hand to contaminate the land water air and all life including the human animal
Government and industry who have exploited indigenous people of their land and as slave labour
Industries that have flourished and profited unchecked left to police themselves
Industries that have built this province this country on the backs and the blood of indigenous people and the lands they are tied too.
This country that sits on the world stage as a model of what a successful industrial nation should be.
This country built on oppressing the indigenous.
This country built on exploiting the impoverished.
This country built on extracting every natural resource with no care for the land water air or life.
THIS SYSTEM WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR US
What is happening within this province this country where government and industry make backroom deals – with no transparency, with no inclusion of people or regard for environment.
Well citizens of bc citizens of Canada, who truly are concerned about the environment and the future.
WELCOME TO OUR WORLD.
How long have the indigenous people had to witness our traditional territories be devoured by industry how many times have indigenous people had to be removed from their home lands to make way for the government corporations, so industry, can profit from our land.
Assault after assault after assault, over and over. Government and industry partnered until the land the water the air are left contaminated and exhausted.
THIS SYSTEM WAS NOT DESIGNED FOR US
And then it becomes our own people our own leaders, within native lands that adopt the traits mentality and behaviours of the oppressor.
Native leaders and the communities they rule become consumed by greed. This is what happens when our leaders allow industries to come into our territories. Believing that if they are part of the process and consulted share in the profits then it becomes acceptable.
Are we to believe that contaminating the the land the air the water is less devastating to our lands if we put a native face on it and native people are now part of the system?
Native leaders and their communities say it is their right to do as they please within their traditional territories or hahoolthlee. That it is the right of the people to create revenue, profit on economy off the land. Cause this is what the government has been doing for 200 yrs.
Harvesting extracting exploiting the land for profit. Native communities say it is not the business of neighbouring nations, it is not the business of environmentalists, that is not the business of the citizens of this province to decide to what goes on within our traditional lands.
This is a bastardized concept of native rights
When native leaders and their communities feel empowered by becoming part of the very machine that has devastated our lands our way of life
When native leaders native communities adopt the traits of the oppressor then we become an endangered species
This is the poisonous toxic by product of this industrial machine this machine of oppression of greed of contaminating mother earth
Being true stewards of the land should never mean harming the land when will the sacredness of the land be of greater importance then profit.
There are many voices of opposition towards industry within native country. Native people who don’t support the community or leadership in allowing industry within their territory.
Native land defenders, native people who believe strongly in protecting the land. Protecting the people on the land and protecting our way of life. Yet government native leaders and industry continue their assault on the land.
Backroom deals are made with industry without any transparency or inclusion of the people. Native communities accept industry into their territory because they feel there is no economic alternative. They will compromise their belief in the land because they need to feed themselves. House themselves. Clothe themselves.
This is the poison of industry, this is the lies of the government this is the weakness of the leaders this is how the oppressor exploit’s the people.
This land this ocean has always provided for my people
Our blood comes from the land
Our history comes from the land
Our teachings come from the land
Our culture comes from the land
The land the ocean has always taken care of the people now it is our duty our role to protect the land
To honor the ancestors
To honor the children
To honor the future generations
In the spirit of resistance
All my relations