Statement from Defenders of the Land and Idle No More: Ottawa, Canada Respect to Reoccupation Activists for Embodying the Spirit of Unsettling150 Campaign
June 29, 2017 – The organizers of the Unsettling 150 campaign wish to offer our sincere respect and admiration for the young leaders who were arrested, rough-housed, and confronted by police on Parliament Hill last night but still persisted until the early hours of the morning to erect a ceremonial tipi on the lawn.
Local Indigenous organizers and their allies welcomed the Bawating Water Protectors last night and led a march to Parliament Hill. As the organizers’ statement reads: “The main message of this reoccupation is that Canada’s 150th anniversary is not a celebration for everyone; with the honest history of ‘Canada’ so routinely overlooked, many people will need direct interaction to understand the depth and pain caused by the casual dismissal of Indigenous narratives.”
It is sadly appropriate then that this gesture to open space in the narrative of Canada’s 150th celebration should result in arrests of Indigenous peoples. "We strongly condemn the trespass charges against individuals and demand these be immediately dropped, as well as the repressive conditions that arrestees be banned form Parliament Hill for six month," said Russell Diabo, Defenders of the Land spokesperson.
The Reoccupation of Parliament Hill was done in response to our call to action. In the spirit of Indigenous leader Arthur Manuel, we are calling for July 1 to be a National Day of Action. This day of action is to celebrate our Indigenous and human rights to self-determination, our lands, territories, and resources.
It is also to educate Canadians about how their constitutional framework, first established 150 years ago in the British North America Act (1867), illegally confiscated our lands, territories, and resources, spawned the post-confederation Indian Act and attempted to write Indigenous jurisdiction— and Indigenous Peoples— out of existence.
"The fact that our people are still not welcome to intervene in the story of Canada – and are criminalized for doing so – shows how much work still needs to be done," said Diabo.
On July 1, actions will be taking place across the country as part of Unsettling Canada 150: http://www.idlenomore.ca/unsettling_150_a_call_to_action