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Stop the Criminalisation of Indigenous Resistance: Free Shawn Brant!

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Ryan Bodman, from Auckland, Aotearoa, is currently living in Coast Salish Territory - Turtle Island, Canada and has written the following piece to advocate for international solidarity around the case of Shawn Brant.

Indigenous resistance that takes any form other than that defined by the coloniser is a criminal offense. If an indigenous population wishes to seek redress for past/present wrongs it is at the state's negotiating table and with the settlers' legislation that redress must be found. And if any indigenous activists dare to pursue means to defend their mana/land base/community/culture et al. in any way not stipulated by the powers that be, said indigenous activists will be removed from the scene to neutralize the threat they present.

This reality is succinctly highlighted by the Mohawk activist Shawn Brant who is currently facing 12 years imprisonment: "This is it, justice for first nations communities: lock us up. Anybody who speaks out, lock em up. KI-6, Bob Lovelace: lock em up… Don't fix the problems, lock em up."

Brant is a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, a community in the Canadian province of Ontario that is struggling to have their land returned. The cruel irony being that Canada has already acknowledged that the land is Mohawk and moreover that it was never surrendered. However due to economic interests, the Ontario provincial government continues to approve development on the disputed land and has refused to revoke the license for quarry operations.

This impasse resulted in negotiations taking place but as Naomi Klein explains, 'the negotiations are meant to take decades. And as the time passes, the land disappears. Forests are clear-cut, mountains are carved up, suburbs creep outward. Ineffective negotiations do not hold the line on an already unacceptable status quo - they contribute to the losing of very real ground' (very real ground referring to the 100,000 tonnes of gravel per year which was being removed from a quarry in the disputed area). [More]

Links: Tyendinaga Support Committee | Free Shawn Brant Petition | Friends of Grassy Narrows |
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