Submitted by STEVE DA SILVA
In recent years, resource extraction has intensified under the Harper government in Canada, as capitalist profit-making is increasingly “fueled” by the rape and plunder of the land and its resources, especially the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples.
As part of its work to defend land defenders and build people’s power, the ILPS-Canada Commission in Support of Indigenous People’s Struggles is supporting grassroots women from the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen located in northwestern Ontario, Canada.
This part of Ontario has been tagged the “ring of fire” for the intense resource exploration and extraction activities unfolding on stolen and colonized land. As signaled by the Idle No More movement in Canada – a movement that forced the world’s attention onto Canada’s internal colonialism – there is a rising movement against colonialism across “Turtle Island” [the traditional name for North America shared by many Indigenous nations]. And the most important fronts of these struggles are directly on the ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples and nations, like the women of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.
Conditions on their reserve are intolerable. Members of the community face extreme poverty and homelessness, while mining and forestry companies profit off destroying their land and traditional food sources. In organizing to excercise treaty rights by building homes on their traplines off-reserve, the group of women are led by Darlene Necan, a hunter and trapper, and spokesperson for off-reserve members
They calling for support from people within and outside her community to help Darlene in building a log cabin that can also serve as a gathering place. She will then lead the building of homes for other young homeless families who want to return to living on the land.
The ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People’s Struggles is stepping up to meet Darlene’s call for material support. We are now organizing a two week trip to Darlene’s community to bring activists from a variety of different communities and organizations to help in this direct form of people to people solidarity. It is not just the home that were building – we are also building the all-important personal and political relationships upon which a political movement to seek social justice requires.
We are asking for $5,000 – as an acheivable online goal – to cover the cost of building materials and transportation in order to start and complete the cabin build in two weeks. However, we need another $5,000 to sustain this homebuilding movement work during and beyond the trip. Please help us surpass the goal on this site!! The money will go to the ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People’s Struggles, which will purchase all the supplies and organize the transportation to the territory.
We have beautiful gifts to offer for your much appreciated donations! We have a variety of hand-made Native crafts made by a young family in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, as well as by an Ojibway woman who is helping to organize this cabin build project. We are offering back issues of the Upping the Anti Journal – a Journal of Theory and Action. We can also offer the Land Defenders Mixtape – a mix of revolutionary tracks from Native and non-Native artists who all speak to the need to defend the land.
Your contribution will help address one of the most fundamental injustices created by colonialism. It will go directly to a struggle to address homelessness and protect the land. A fight for social justice and Mother Earth, is a fight for all of us.
The grassroots group of Saugeen women and the ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People’s Struggles are experienced in leading and supporting strong efforts to seek justice for Indigenous communities.
Faced with continued inaction from local, regional, and national leaders, Darlene and other women decided they had to take action themselves. In 2011 – without institutional or government support – they came together to build a log cabin for Ameila Skunk, an elder in the community who was suffering frostbite year after year due to living in a building originally built as a chicken barn in 1911. Thanks to the efforts of Darlene and her friends, Amelia Skunk now lives in a safe, warm, and well constructed log cabin home. For more info and photos:
Before the Idle No More Movement came on the scene and before the journey of Nishiyuu, Darlene led a walk with Saugeen women, men and youth for 28 days from their community to Parliament Hill in Ottawa in September of 2012 to inform government of the lack of housing in their community.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are not able to contribute funds, we would also greatly appreciate donations of tools and camping supplies. Email: email@example.com
And of course, please spread the word about this important project far and wide!