In this episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient, we take a look at land rights and some of the people on the front lines of these battles. These are the land defenders fighting to protect land against invasive development. Both our guests have stood up to armed forces to protect land.
Their work is about protecting the environment. But it is much more than that: it is fundamentally about survival and about the right to live openly on what is stolen land.
Ellen Gabriel has been resisting land encroachment for 31 years. She was at the centre of the 1990 Kanehsatake resistance, (known as the Oka crisis), a 78-day standoff to protect ancestral Kanien’kéha:ka (Mohawk) land in Québec.
It was a moment in history that many say helped wake them up to Indigenous issues.
Anne Spice is a professor of geography and history at Ryerson University. Anne, who is Tlingit from Kwanlin Dun First Nation, was recently on the front lines in the defence of Wet'suwet'en land. After she was arrested on Wet'suwet'en territory last year, a viral video showed the RCMP pointing a gun at the land defenders.
Anne can be heard shouting, we are unarmed and we are peaceful.
These are the moments that capture our collective attention. But Ellen and Anne’s work goes well beyond what the cameras show.
For a full transcript of this episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient, go here.
Every week, we highlight articles that drill down into the topics we discuss in the episode.
Janelle Baker tells us how the Bigstone Cree First Nation in northern Alberta is resisting logging companies operating on traditional lands.
In case you missed it:
The Wet'suwet'en aren’t just protecting ‘the environment’, by Anne Spice.
Ellen Gabriel on the 30th anniversary of the 1990 ‘Oka Crisis’, by Ellen Gabriel.
Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, Alanis Obomsawin, 1993.
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This podcast is produced by The Conversation with a grant for Journalism Innovation from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
It is hosted and produced by Vinita Srivastava. The producers are: Nahid Buie, Ibrahim Daair, Anowa Quarcoo, Latifa Abdin, Vicky Mochama, Nehal El-Hadi. Sound engineer: Reza Dahya. Audience development: Lisa Varano.
Theme music by Zaki Ibrahim. Logo by Zoe Jazz. Saniya Rashid is our research assistant supported by MITACS. Our CEO is Scott White. Thanks to Jennifer Moroz and Haley Lewis for their advice. Launch team: Imriel Morgan/Content is Queen.