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Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-Determination

Opening panel from Building a Solidarity City

by Tim McSorley

Ellen Gabriel, far right, speaking at the panel on Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty and Self Determination. Also on the panel were (from right) C. Munge, Andrea Figuoera (translation), Chelsea Vowel, Amanda Lickers, and Jaggi Singh (moderator). Not pictured: Bridget Tolley.
Ellen Gabriel, far right, speaking at the panel on Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty and Self Determination. Also on the panel were (from right) C. Munge, Andrea Figuoera (translation), Chelsea Vowel, Amanda Lickers, and Jaggi Singh (moderator). Not pictured: Bridget Tolley.
Audio from the opening panel of the Building a Solidarity City conference in Montreal on Nov. 23, 2013.
 
Panelists included:
 
* Ellen Gabriel: Ellen (Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, Turtle Clan) is an Indigenous human rights activist, former head of the Quebec Native Women’s Association, chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be spokesperson during the 1990 “Oka” Crisis.
 
* Amanda Lickers: Amanda is an anarcha-queer Onkwehon:we cis-woman. She belongs to the Turtle Clan of the Onondowaga nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Focusing on combating ecocide, hating the police, and harvesting medicines, Amanda hopes to work towards dismantling all systems of oppression, slashing at their social, cultural and material infrastructures.
 
* C. Monge: Mr. Monge is a displaced Indigenous (Nahuatl) person from Mexico who has been an asylum seeker in Canada since 2008. He works closely with undocumented migrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries in their fight for inclusion in Canadian society, through the process of regularization of their migratory status. Mr Monge is active with Mexicans United for Regularization (MUR) and the Status For All campaign.
 
* Chelsea Vowel: Chelsea is Métis, Plains Cree from Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She teaches Inuit youth under Child Protection and blogs as âpihtawikosisân. Chelsea is passionate about law, culture and language, and trying to deconstruct harmful myths with the hope that there can be a restructuring and renewal of the relationship between Canadians and indigenous peoples
 
From the Status for All Indigenous Solidarity Statement: “We believe we cannot speak meaningfully about apartheid globally, and unjust migration policies, without first speaking about the realities of apartheid here in Canada.
 
From its very foundations, Canada has been based on the theft of Indigenous lands, and the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples. In crucial ways, the Canadian state’s treatment of Indigenous peoples, historically and currently, is an apartheid system – from the imposition of the Indian Act, band councils and reservation system, to stolen children and residential schools; from the continued theft of lands and resources by governments and corporations, to the cultural appropriation of native traditions and culture.
 
Today that legacy continues, whether through the disproportionate rate of incarceration of Indigenous peoples in the racist Canadian prison system; through the complicity of Canadian authorities in the disappearance or murder of hundreds of native women in the last three decades alone, through Children’s Aid Societies taking the place of residential schools to continue the theft of native children; or through resource extraction projects such as the Alberta Tar Sands, which contribute to the ongoing environmental devastation of Indigenous territories. Canada’s genocidal past is celebrated in the names of our streets, towns, and cities, while continuing to erase the genuine identity of the original peoples of this land.”
 
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