In his video on Witchcraft, Gender, and Marxism, Ollie Thorn of Philosophy tube presents the perspective that the medieval witch hunts and the terrorist lynching campaigns waged against black people both ended not because society “got better” and realized they were wrong, but more because the campaigns achieved their goals in one way or another, and so the bloodshed ended for that reason.
I think the same can be said of the history of colonialism, and colonialist aggression against indigenous people. In the United States, for example, there is no treaty made between the government and any Native American tribe or group of tribes that was not later broken when doing so seemed useful to the U.S. government, or to Euro-American business interests. This continues to the present day, with things like gas pipelines, water rights, and more, and it is by no means limited to the United States. It’s true throughout the Americas. It’s true in European countries where corporations and governments come into conflict with indigenous groups.
While Canada may have an international reputation for being “nice”, from what I can tell that has never been the experience of the First Nations people still living there. I’ve talked briefly before about the ongoing struggle over corporate use of Wet’suwet’en land, but unfortunately it’s safe to assume that it’s never just happening in one place.
The Mi’kmaq First Nation of Sipekne’katik recently decided to assert its legal right to establish a livelihood lobster fishery, currently totaling 7 licenses, allowing up to 350 traps total. For an idea of the scale of this, the overall “settler” lobster fishery consists of over 367,000 traps. Despite the fractionally small impact this would have on the lobster fishery, and the livelihoods of commercial fishermen, the Sipekne’katik fleet has been met with an intense and violent reaction.
The situation in Mi'gma'gi is escalating.
— Agent NDN (@TheAgentNDN) September 18, 2020
(Below is from the threadreader app unroll of @TheAgentNDN‘s thread)
Now you tell me who is the bigger threat to lobster stocks and marine conservation in general? I’m no bigshot mathematician, but it seems to me like ONE average Nova Scotia lobster fishing vessel is working with many more lobster traps than all Mi’gmaq vessels combined.
Keep this discrepancy in mind when you read about settlers cutting lines on Mi’gmaw traps, when you see videos of them shooting flare guns at us, when you hear stories about gas stations refusing to serve us because we’re Native.
Whenever someone directs violence, intimidation, and threats at us in the name of “conservation” remember that settlers take more lobster using a SINGLE BOAT than our entire fleet does.
If settlers are so worried, they should ask their neighbors to stop fishing so much.
The fact of the matter is that we’ve been fishing these waters for thousands of years and we’ve never had any problems. The fishery has never been on the verge of collapsing under our watch.
Can settlers say the same?
Follow that twitter thread, and Ku’ku’kwes News for more updates on the story, and check out this google drive for ways in which you can help the Mi’kmaq fishery. They’re just trying to make a living on their ancestral land at a very small scale, and they’ve come under assault for even that minor assertion of their rights.
The colonization of the Americas never stopped. The marginalization and brutalization of Indigenous Americans never stopped. It only appeared to stop, at least to white folks like me, because we were taught that all that was in the past, and because, as with the destruction of many European indigenous cultures, much of the job had already been done. The greed and bigotry driving the atrocities of the past have gone nowhere, and the system in which we live retains all the physical and cultural infrastructure needed to resume any campaign of violent oppression required to maintain the supremacy of capitalism and the suicidal pursuit of endless growth.
Help out if you can, contribute to Agent NDN’s patreon if you can, and be on the lookout for others around the world whose struggles you might be able to aid, even a little. The only way out of the mess we’re in is to commit to global solidarity in word and in deed, and to act collectively for the collective good. This means doing our utmost to repair the damage done by previous generations, prevent that damage from being perpetuated, and to lift everyone up so we can all fight the same fights together as one species. There is no path to a sustainable future that does not address the need for social, economic, and environmental justice.