It is winter, but only a 12-hour drive from Edmonton, there are still fires burning in B.C. The news of the summer told us about physical fires burning up forest and threatening towns and residences, but the news of today speaks of a different threat. The fires burning today are that of struggle and resistance by the Wet’suwet’en Peoples. It is a struggle that I am learning more about, as many other Canadians are, but have largely been ignorant of for almost a decade now.
Parts of this current struggle date back to 2010 and there have been two elections since then, where the federal government has promised better relations and conditions for Indigenous Peoples. In the meantime, the B.C. provincial government has supported UNDRIP on paper but we are not seeing how that is being lived out practically. In a time when government and organizations talk of reconciliation, it does not seem like the talk and words put on paper match the actions observed in real time and place on Unist’ot’en territory.
It is a complicated situation and many factors and people are involved. I do not even pretend to know the full story or contribute much by way of direction or support for either side but I do know, the simple fact is, voices that do not hold the conventional power of our society need to be heard. So, I am watching the footage, reading the reports and considering what I can do to contribute to a level field of mutual honor and respect. I would encourage you to not just dismiss news about this under the pretense that it has nothing to do with us in Alberta. We are all connected and it is closer to “home” than we may think. To learn more, check out some of the stories and videos at this link... unistoten.camp and consider what you can do today and for the time to follow.
Since the new year, I have been letting a book I got for Christmas guide some of my prayer times each day. It is a compilation of prayers by Walter Brueggemann called Prayers for a Privileged People and it speaks to many of our realities and my own context. This excerpt below struck me today when thinking and writing about the Wet’suwet’en People.