Sustainable Concordia’s coordinators and board condemn in the strongest possible terms the removal and arrest of three Mi’kmaw grassroots grandmothers from their treaty territory by police this past Wednesday. We condemn the colonial powers of Alton Gas and the industrialized structures of power who have made a clear decision to support the interests of capital and colonialism over the interests of the land, the people, and the women shouldering the sacred role of protecting them.
The removal of Darlene Gilbert, Madonna Bernard, and Paula Isaac from their territory is not only a moral and ethical abomination, but a clear violation of Canada’s own treaty law, and a reinforcement of the notion that Canada’s legal concerns lie in protecting financial interests and not in protecting the land, water, humans, or non-human lives to whom it is responsible. It is a reinforcement of the idea that the goalposts of colonial capitalism move wherever the whims of the powerful want them to, whenever they want them to, in order to prevent the marginalized from exercising legal rights that would pose a threat to systems of power. We are unsurprised, but no less horrified to see that once again, a human-designed system of assessing value is being privileged over our habitat, our neighbors, and our planet.
As a collection of Indigenous and other peoples, we would like to recognize that we occupy Kanien’kehá:ka territory as uninvited guests, and profit daily from a legacy of genocide. We recognize that the foundation of our every privilege is the legacy of murder, exploitation, and betrayal that has birthed and shaped the colonial occupation of modern-day Turtle Island. We recognize that along with the privileges we have inherited from previous generations, we also inherit the burden of reconciliation and reparation. As such, we refuse to turn a blind eye to further instances of exploitation. Our stance remains that the interests of the earth, the people on it, and the sacred ties of interdependence cannot be measured against capital value. Our stance remains that Indigenous peoples are sovereign on land they have occupied and protected since time immemorial.
Shame on Alton Gas, and shame on any and all people or systems supporting them.