Friends, one of my more recent columns in News/North was about Chipewyan Dene Chief Gerry Cheezie’s brave but lonely fight to save his Smith Landing from Teck Resources.
In a not-so surprising turn-around, the giant industry picked up stakes at the last minute and simply withdrew its application for a $20.6-billion operation in northern Alberta.
Needless to say, this is indeed the best for all involved. The thousands of jobs promised come and go, but the land itself is irreplaceable.
All of this points to a deeper situation, in terms of how the Mola, white people, see themselves in comparison to all others.
For instance, the title here, People of colour, is one we hear quite often. Even those other than Europeans use it.
The idea is a rather medieval and, for that matter, biblical one.
Up to the time universities were first established as places of serious learning, the only people who had access to books were the monks in their monasteries, busy making copies of the bible.
The idea at the time was that, according to Christianity, man was at the very top of all creation and according to self-serving ideas set forth in church law, like the Doctrine of Discovery, about the time of Columbus so-called “discovery” of America, all lands belonging to Native Peoples not then converted were automatically Christian property, period.
People of colour, then eventually became anyone not white.
Of course, anyone can guess that white is also a colour.
There are actually no people of colour. Rather it is a weapon used by an oppressor to exercise forces like settler colonialism.
And forces like these are to eventually take all Native lands, one way or another.
Any form of oppression, like the use of the RCMP to move Wet’suwet’en land defenders off of their land is a blatant example of this kind of continued oppression.
Concepts like reconciliation is more of the same, a political tool to lull the average Canadian into believing we have already moved beyond our duty to the Natives.
The one thing an oppressor counts on is that people will automatically jump on the bandwagon, especially if they are already settler colonialists and just want to get the show on the road.
Unfortunately, history itself has a way to clearing up past injustices. That is if you want to remain human and learn what really happened to get you to where you are now.
Canada was set up as a nation state by Britain, just in time for its birthday, in 1867. To this day there is no official document anyone can produce saying any of this is “Canadian” land!
What we are seeing now is history catching up to us.
In the case of Teck Resources stepping back out of the picture, the province of Alberta, where it wanted to set up shop, had gutted former NDP Premier Rachel Notley’s environmental safeguards, making it quite possibly impossible to get the go-ahead from Ottawa.
Long story, short, there are no people of colour. We are ALL in this together, sink or swim. Mahsi, thank you.