Rigged Game

While Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was publicly going through the motions of “consulting” First Nations on the Kinder Morgan pipeline fiasco, high level officials were privately instructing staff to find a way to justify approval by his cabinet. Ignoring a 150 -page report from Tsleil Waututh First Nation on the devastating impacts of Tar Sands shipping through the Salish Sea, government officials–after meeting with Kinder Morgan lobbyists–expedited review of the contentious project. The matter is now being reviewed by the Federal Court of Appeal.

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Mission Impossible

Even as the Quebec Canadian relations minister warns the Canadian Prime Minister that his heavy-handed approach in British Columbia–over the Kinder Morgan Tar Sands pipeline–could put federalism in peril, Trudeau forges ahead on his Big Oil mission. Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, says Trudeau has made a “big mistake” not inviting First Nations rights and title holders to the decision-making table.

On Our Own Terms

While reconciliation is all the buzz with Canadians, restitution is the agenda of the Heiltsuk First Nation of the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. With 700 generations of accumulated knowledge of how to live well–without polluting industries–the Heiltsuk people have formed a ‘rich cultural, social and spiritual relationship’ with their territory.

As Heiltsuk Nation member Saul Brown states,

The times of government officials deciding solutions for Indigenous people, without Indigenous involvement, are over. We have taken it upon ourselves to define the parameters of “turning things around and making them right,” on our own terms.

Cowboys vs Indians

The American West–home to the Cowboys vs Indians psychodrama–is mustering for a final confrontation, this time over the looming extinction of the iconic Pacific salmon. While the original conflict featured action-packed, blood and gore slaughter of millions of bison and massacres of the Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on them, this time around it is a slow-motion train-wreck.

As major salmon stream polluters such as the Farm Bureau and Cattlemen’s Association–along with state attorney generals and white newspaper owners–line up to attack the treaty rights of Northwest Treaty Tribes like the Swinomish, the apathetic citizenry is being asked to take sides.

Will so-called progressive moral authorities speak out, or maintain silence out of fear?