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INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY REFLECTION: Being wise as serpents amidst the politics of (w)rec(k)onciliation

 

On 30 May, participants of the Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights sat with anticipation in the classroom of University Blue Quills – a former residential school – as we waited for Members of Parliament to cast their vote for Bill C-262 for the 3rdvote in the House of Commons. Admittedly, my excitement for the passing of Bill C262 in the House was dampened by listening to PM Justin Trudeau defend the controversial plan to purchase the Transmountain Pipeline for $4.5 billion as he vehemently argued that it’s in “Canada’s national interest.” 

Rewind a month. Steve Heinrichs and I traveled to Burnaby Mountain on the invitation of Will George, project leader of Protect the Inlet and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. He extended a call for spiritual leaders and people of faith “to stand with us in our defense of the land and the waters… for the sake of reconciliation and decolonization.” While there, we visited the Protect the Inlet encampment and planned our action with a small group of CPT- and church-affiliated folks to stop vehicles from entering the Kinder Morgan Tanker Terminal on Burnaby Mountain.  

On 20 April, our small group engaged in prayerful civil disobedience and prevented vehicles from entering the terminal for over 6 hours.  I was able to walk away scot-free, but my friend Steve was charged – along with another 170 land protectors previously charged – and he has come under scrutiny from people in the Mennonite Church he faithfully serves (see http://www.canadianmennonite.org/stories/both-ends-pipeline). Unfortunately, not everyone fully appreciates the important role of civil disobedience, the right to free, prior and informed consent, and the threat fossil fuel industry poses to climate, the land, and its peoples. 

Video Introduction

 

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About CPT

Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God's love. We believe we can transform war and occupation, our own lives, and the wider Christian world through:

  • the nonviolent power of God's truth
  • partnership with local peacemakers
  • bold action

CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict. These teams seek to follow God's Spirit as it works through local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression.

CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression. We are committed to undoing oppressions, starting within our own lives and in the practices of our organization.