Here’s Some Resources

Samantha Marie Nock
Feb 13 · 7 min read
Photo by Chloe Leis on Unsplash

Over the last couple days, I have been asked a lot of questions and have been sending a lot of resources to folks who want to know what’s happening; because we can all agree, something is happening. As much as I love having these conversations, talking to people, and sharing what I know, I’m at capacity right now. I wanted to utilize my platform and my access to information to share some resources around what is happening in Wet’suwet’en territory, why folks are “protesting”, some historical context, and some information to keep in mind if you’re wanting to participate in direct actions. I will continue to keep having these conversations with folks in my life who I feel reciprocity from. Sorry internet strangers, that’s not you right now.

What I will not be sharing is the following:
- Social media handles of folks involved in organizing and sharing direct action plans. If I know you and trust you, I will share some stuff. Otherwise, this is information I will not share publicly. There are easy-to-find facebook events that organizers are willing to share.
- An neutral opinion.
- My opinion or what I’ve witnessed the last couple days with the media.
- Names of anyone actively participating in direct actions.
- Any information to a cop.
- Any of my personal witness/legal observer accounts.

Disclaimer: I don’t know everything, I barely know anything. But I do have the immense privilege of a university education, access to information, and the immense privilege of time. This is by far not everything I could share, and I am by and large not the first person to do this work.

This is going to be a long document so I wanted to create a list of contents to make navigation easier.

Contents:
What’s Happening and Why
Selected articles and other media explaining the current situation.

Historical Context
Some resources explaining the history of Indigenous land rights and title, and information regarding Delgamuukw v. British Columbia [1997] and why it’s really important, specifically right now.

Indigenous People, the Resource Industry, and Cops
A selection of resources that help provide context on the precarious relationship between the resource industry, resource extraction, and Indigenous land rights, and cops.

Direct Action Information (So You Wanna Frick Shit Up)
Information regarding civil disobedience and the law, what happens if you’re arrested, your rights as a protester, your rights when you’re confronted by a cop, information on how to be a good legal observer, and what information on how to conduct yourself at an action.

To The Moniyaw (white people): ally vs accomplice
Some resources specifically for the white ppl in our lives.

Self care
Some resources on taking care of yourself when you’re witnessing some hard stuff and exhausting your body on the line.

Bibliography
Some books and other reports to check out to continue your learning.

Okay, let’s get into it.


What’s Happening and Why

Historical Context

For many Aboriginal cultures, land means more than property– it encompasses culture, relationships, ecosystems, social systems, spirituality, and law. For many, land means the earth, the water, the air, and all that live within these ecosystems. As scholars Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua point out using historical examples, “to separate Indigenous peoples from their land” is to “preempt Indigenous sovereignty.” Land and Aboriginal rights are inextricably linked.

Aboriginal rights and title are not granted from an external source but are a result of Aboriginal peoples’ own occupation of and relationship with their home territories as well as their ongoing social structures and political and legal systems. As such, Aboriginal title and rights are separate from rights afforded to non-Aboriginal Canadian citizens under Canadian common law.
(from UBC Indigenous Foundations)

What is Delgamuukw?

Delgamuukw v British Columbia [1997] has to date been the most comprehensive decision about Aboriginal title. Delgamuukw set out how the courts will deal with Aboriginal title, by setting a test to determine if Aboriginal title still existed and, if so, how the Crown might justifiably infringe upon it. The Court further ruled that Aboriginal title is different from merely land use and occupation, as it had previously been defined, but also incorporates Aboriginal jurisdictional authority over how the land is used. Delgamuukw also acknowledged Aboriginal collective ownership of the land that includes a cultural relationship to the land.
(from UBC Indigenous foundations https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/aboriginal_title/ )

Indigenous People, the Resource Industry, and Cops

Direct Action Information (So You Wanna Frick Shit Up)

**** You do NOT have to answer a cops questions, you have the right to silence and legal council. Just don’t talk to cops.
-> Cops can only detain you if there are reasonable grounds. If you ask if you’re free to go and the cop says no, you have the right to ask why you’re being detained.
- > If you are being placed under arrest, you must give your name and address to the cops, if they ask. You have the right to know why you’re being arrested and they MUST tell you.
-> If you are arrested, the cops can search you.
- > Do not resist arrest, going limp does not constitute resisting arrest.

If you MUST talk to a cop, here’s what to know:

  1. Consider being polite. De-escalating for your safety isn’t a bad thing.
  2. Ask: “am I free to go?” if yes, go.
  3. Ask: “am I free to go?” if no, ask: “am I under arrest?” if yes, ask: “why”.
  4. If you’re under arrest, don’t talk to the police. Say: “I want to remain silent. I want to speak to a lawyer”. If they ask, give your name and address. Get the officer’s name and badge number.
  5. If you are NOT under arrest, but you CAN’T leave, ask why. Get the badge number and name of the cop.

As a legal observer you:

  1. Monitor the policing of protests, especially during times of increased tensions and police interference.
  2. To act as a deterrent to police misbehaviour.
  3. To monitor arrests.
  4. To record assaults on protesters be police.
  5. Record arrest times, names of people arrested, police badge numbers, video, notes. Try to focus on recording police and not the faces of individuals involved in the action.

When you’re taking part in land back demonstrations, and Indigenous solidarity rallies, etc. etc. etc. always always always defer to the Indigenous organizers. Follow their leads.

To The Moniyaw (white people): ally vs accomplice

Self care

These are stressful times and putting yourself and your body through long hours in direct action can take a toll on your well being. It’s important to work in a community of people so the work can be shared.

Witnessing police violence is traumatizing, especially for BIPOC. Take time to process with loved ones you feel safe with. Rest. Take care of your body and your spirit.

The world feels like it’s on fire, and it is, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to find moments of joy and pleasure. Focus on the beauty of what’s happening, long with understanding the pressures of reality.

Check in with yourself. (Images borrowed from @The_Queer_Counselor instagram)

Self care is personal, find what fills you up.

This is the end (of this document)

This is all I have to share. Like I said earlier, this is by far not an all encompassing thing. There’s lots missing, there’s always more that can be added, but these are resources I’ve been sharing with folks who have been asking. Please let me know (twitter @ / sammymarie) if there’s anything I can add, especially for the bibliography portion. I haven’t read everything. Shoot me a DM and I’ll add your suggestion. I’ll also keep growing this.

take care of one another.

ekosi,

Sam.

Bibliography

  • The Unjust Society — Harold Cardinal
  • Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada — Paulette Regan
  • Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Issues in Canada — Chelsea Vowel
  • As We Have Always Done — Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
  • Unsettling the Commons: Social Movements Against, Within, and Beyond Settler Colonialism — Craig Fortier

Samantha Marie Nock

Written by

Samantha is a Cree-Metis writer and poet. Her family is originally from Ile-a-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan. Catch her tweeting @sammymarie or on insta @2broke4bingo.

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