More than a dozen actions are happening around the country alongside others in the United States, including a round-dance in Toronto, a picnic for the Peace River in Vancouver, a healing ceremony at the site of Muskrat Falls in Newfoundland/Labrador, and rallies in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and northern Ontario.
The actions come on the heels of Trudeau back-tracking on a pledge to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), approving mega-projects like the Site C dam, the Petronas LNG terminal, and promoting tar sands pipelines, maintaining discrimination against First Nations children on reserves, and continuing policies that deny the land rights of Indigenous peoples.
“Justin Trudeau has made big promises on Indigenous issues, but his actions have revealed an agenda that continues violating our rights. It’s time for Indigenous peoples to demand not just pretty words from this government, but deeds,” said Russ Diabo, a member of the Defenders of the Land organizing committee.
The demands of the national day of action include that the Liberal government implement UNDRIP in Canadian law, respecting Indigenous Peoples’ right to say no to development on their land; stop pipeline, gas, and oil mega-projects without Indigenous consent; introduce a bold climate plan that respects the 1.5-2 degree temperature target that Canada helped negotiate in Paris; and fully fund Indigenous-owned and controlled renewable energy projects.
“Indigenous women are spiritually connected to the water and we take that role very seriously. Indigenous grandmothers are standing up and will continue to stand with our allies against the destruction of our water sources,” said Cheryl Maloney, president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association and a member of the Defenders of the Land women’s committee.
The national day of action was initiated by the Defenders of the Land women’s committee, a network of rural Indigenous activists fighting for land rights. The action is supported by a broad network, including Idle No More, Greenpeace, 350.org, No One is Illegal groups, and the Leap Manifesto.
“We don’t want a share of the profits from pipeline, oil, and mining projects that are devastating vulnerable communities, our lands, and all living things on this planet. We reject endless extraction because we know that the ground beneath our feet is not a commodity – this is our home,” said Erica Violet Lee, a spokesperson for Idle No More.
This network of activism by Indigenous communities builds on years of protest against destructive resource projects, and the Idle No More movement.
Stop Alton Gas/Defenders of the Land Women’s Committee: Cheryl Maloney [email protected] or 902.751.0077
Defenders of the Land: Russell Diabo, 613-296-0110 (can speak to federal policy on land issues, UNDRIP, funding)
Idle No More: Erica Violet Lee – [email protected]
Eriel Tchekwie-Deranger, member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, can speak on pipelines, climate change, and Indigenous Peoples: 780-903-6598
Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson University (can speak to federal policy on land, UNDRIP, funding) – [email protected]