The spring of 2020 saw one of the largest Indigenous mobilizations since the Kanehsatà:ke resistance in 1990. The Wet’suwet’en nation’s opposition to the Coastal GasLink project currently being built on their territory has inspired many other communities, both Indigenous and non- Indigenous, to take direct action across Canada, thereby blocking the national rail system, the backbone of Canadian colonial capitalism. The brutality of the military deployment by the various Canadian police forces used to repress these mobilizations and defend colonial capitalist interests is a testament to the fear and fragility of the colonial state. The struggle for self-determination of Indigenous peoples is today one of the most important threats to the unbridled capitalist exploitation of territories.
While these struggles, radically challenging the extractive and colonial mode of exploitation, have been largely erased by the colonial media in the context of the health crisis, they are now being rekindled. Indeed, in the last few months alone, several communities have had to deal with the resumption of extraction on their territories, with the massive arrival of workers from the cities threatening the local population with an outbreak of Covid in Indigenous communities, historically neglected by public health services. From the Inuit communities mobilized against the Baffinland mine, to the opposition of the Algonquin of Barriere Lake and the Anishinabeg of Kitigan Zibi against sport hunting on their territories, to the mobilization of Mi’kmaq fishermen (and the racist and colonialist reaction that followed), Indigenous peoples are regularly at the forefront of struggles to protect the environment, in order to address the imperatives of capital. The mainstream society thus periodically watches unresponsively as the colonial state does violence to Indigenous peoples in its name, in the interests of big capitalist corporations.
As we speak, the Wet’suwet’en Nation is facing another invasion of its territory by CGL and the RCMP. Activists from the Gidimt’en camp are once again calling for the disruption of the Canadian economy in order to stop the colonial invasion of the Yintah. It is necessary to recall that the presence of extractive companies on their territory has been identified as a major risk factor for the disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and girls. The man camps where white workers from the south come to exploit the territory are indeed places marked by toxic masculinity and patriarchal violence, racism and complacency in the face of gender and racial violence. Thus, the presence of these companies threatens not only the territories of Indigenous communities, but also the physical integrity of their members.
While it is not up to us, as non-Indigenous people, to determine the path of decolonization in so-called Canada, we believe that it is imperative to fight against the colonial state and to stand in solidarity with Land defenders in order to ensure the abolition of the colonial and capitalist state that does violence to all of us!