19 October 2011

Militarization, Decolonization, and Indigenous Sovereignty

(1) Winona LaDuke on the Militarization of Indian Country

(2) More on Domestic Counterinsurgency in Canada: Military Intelligence Unit Keeps Canadian First Nations Under Surveillance

From: "Military intelligence unit keeps watch on native groups," by Steve Chase, The Globe and Mail, 12 October 2011:
The Canadian military is keeping a watch on aboriginal groups through an intelligence unit that is meant to protect the Forces and the Department of National Defence from espionage, terrorists and saboteurs. 
The Canadian Forces’ National Counter-Intelligence Unit assembled at least eight reports on the activities of native organizations between January, 2010, and July, 2011, according to records released under access to information law. 
When told of the documents, one aboriginal leader said the thought of the military keeping tabs on natives was “chilling.” 
The Department of National Defence denies it obtained the intelligence itself, and says the information, which cites confidential sources with apparent inside knowledge of native groups, came from other government agencies. 
Referred to as Counter-Intelligence Information Reports, the documents alert the military to events such as native plans for a protest blockade of Highway 401, and the possibility of a backlash among aboriginal groups over Ontario’s introduction of the harmonized sales tax.
Continue reading here

This is an issue that we continue to monitor at AJP--see our previous posts on this subject:
  1. Counterinsurgency: From Afghanistan to First Nations Resistance in Canada - Jul 2, 2010 - Speaking at a senate hearing in May, Canada's top general in Afghanistan suggested that the country's counterinsurgency war in Kandahar and its "whole of government" strategy has helped prepare Canadian forces and its civilian partners for such eventualities. "If Canada were having an issue of insurgency," said Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance, "there would be a multi-discipline, multi-department operation with the government managing and directing carefully what its military and police forces would do". "We experienced a little of that ... with the events at Oka." But now, said Vance, "the government is engaged".
  2. First Nations Under Surveillance: Harper Government Prepares for First Nations “Unrest" - Jun 8, 2011 - Internal documents from Indian Affairs and the RCMP show that shortly after forming government in January of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had the federal government tighten up on gathering and sharing intelligence on First Nations to anticipate and manage potential First Nation unrest across Canada.
  3. Spying on Indigenous Groups, Defending Mining Companies: The U.S. and Peru, What Wikileaks Tells Us - Jun 11, 2011 - A Wikileaks cable reveals the US Embassy in Lima, Peru, identified Indigenous activists and tracked the involvement of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivia Ambassador Pablo Solon, prominent Quechua activist Miguel Palacin Quispe and community leaders. 
  4. Domestic Counterinsurgency in Canada - Jun 14, 2011 - We have previously posted on Canadian counterinsurgency with an article by Jon Elmer--see: "Counterinsurgency: From Afghanistan to First Nations Resistance in Canada." Now we want to feature extracts from the controversial 2005 draft Counterinsurgency Operations manual (leaked in 2007) and the final 2008 version, both produced by the Department of National Defence (and available below). We will also underline some key points of public discussion that have transpired, which we think help us to understand the significance of these documents, and add some further analytical considerations of our own.
  5. For the Sake of Mining Interests and "Security": Canadian and U.S. Surveillance and Suppression of Indigenous Communities in the Americas, as Revealed by Wikileaks - Jun 29, 2011 - How Canada and the U.S. worked globally to undermine indigenous rights, engage in surveillance of aboriginal communities, and protect corporate mining interests, as revealed by Wikileaks.
(3) Decolonize Wall Street

“The ‘OCCUPY WALL STREET’ slogan has gone viral and international now. From the protests on the streets of WALL STREET in the name of ‘ending capitalism’—organizers, protestors, and activists have been encouraged to ‘occupy’ different places that symbolize greed and power. There’s just one problem: THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY BEING OCCUPIED. THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for quite some time now,” stated Jessica Yee (Mohawk), the executive director for The Native Youth Sexual Health Network, in a blog post originally posted on Racialicious.

“I also need to mention that New York City is Haudenosaunee territory and home to many other First Nations, ” Yee wrote.

Still, Yee clarifies that she supports the mission and integrity of Occupy Wall Street. “I’m not against ending capitalism and I’m not against people organizing to hold big corporations accountable for the extreme damage they are causing,” Yee wrote. “Yes, we need to end globalization. What I am saying is that I have all kinds of problems when to get to ‘ending capitalism’ we step on other people’s rights—and in this case erode Indigenous rights—to make the point.”

Yee goes on to excerpt a blog post from “An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activist” published by JohnPaul Montano in Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory & Practice. Montano describes himself on his Twitter account as a “Nishnaabe-language acquirer na├»vely believing that multilingualism, JavaScript and respect for indigenous sovereignty lead to less crabbiness and more peace.”
I hope you would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you – that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless ‘-isms’ of do-gooders claiming to be building a “more just society,” a “better world,” a “land of freedom” on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land—never mind an entire society.
The blog People of Color details the history of the occupation of Wall Street, in which enslaved African peoples constructed the wall “that barricaded the land white men had seized from native peoples.”

(4) Indigenous Sovereignty Week


Celebrating community victories - standing up to the Harper threat

Indigenous Sovereignty Week 2011, scheduled for Nov. 14-20, will be the third annual week of educational events on Indigenous issues called by Defenders of the Land, a network of First Nations in land struggle. This year we call on communities and supporters to celebrate, remember, and learn from community victories, recent and historic, while looking forward to discuss how best to organize against the threat to Indigenous Peoples posed by Harper’s anti-Indigenous rights agenda.

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