• Vigilance

Fairy Creek: Far Beyond Politics.

Updated: Sep 15, 2021


Text & Photography by Karen Moe aka Tanager





Glossary of Terms:


The Rainforest Flying Squad (RFS): a volunteer driven, grassroots, non-violent direct action movement that is committed to protecting the last stands of globally significant ancient temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island.

Soft blocks: barricades made of rocks, logs, piles of dirt or trenches.

Hard blocks: barricades that Forest Defenders lock themselves into.

A Sleeping Dragon: a hard block where a forest fefender puts their arm in a hole, locks themselves in and lies on the logging road to block industry.

The Sleeping Dragon Trench: forest defenders lie down at the bottom of a deep trench dug across a logging road and lock themselves into sleeping dragons.

The Lorax: a hard block where a defender lies on top of a big log that is placed across the logging rood. They wrap their arms around it and insert them into pipes that are drilled into the sides of the log and lock themselves in.

Exclusion Zones: illegal blockades set up by the RCMP far from the sites where they extract the Forest Defenders from their hard blocks so that neither the media nor the public can witness their increasingly violent behaviour. Exclusion Zones have been proclaimed illegal by the BC Supreme Court, but the RCMP are not obeying these orders.

The RCMP: mercenaries for industry.

Blues: RCMP officers in blue uniforms.

Greens: RCMP SWAT team/paramilitary who wear green camouflage and race around on ATVs (some of the ATVs now are painted in camouflage). These officers are typically the most aggressive and lead the raids on the forest defender's camps.

Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP: servants to industry and the exploitation of the land for short-term profit.

Teal-Jones: the logging corporation that the BC government granted a 25 year license to clear cut 60,000 hectares of Southern Vancouver Island, including 2080 hectares of Old Growth.

Settlers: Canadians, like myself, whose ancestors immigrated from other countries (primarily Europe) and who have benefited from the colonization of the Indigenous people and the exploitation of their unceded territory. I feel that, as a settler, it’s my responsibility to support Indigenous people and help to end the exploitation of their unceded territory for the benefit of all, including other species and the earth.

The Sacred Red Dresses: an installation of red dresses hung in a clear-cut in honour and memory of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women world-wide and that connects the raping and murder of women to the raping and murder of the land. Everything is connected.





I arrived heart-broken, but, unlike last time, I didn’t leave elated. This visit to the frontlines of Fairy Creek was different from the absolute triumph of Saturday, August 14th. It wasn’t the joyful seven kilometer march of two-hundred and fifty people, led by Haida Gwaii matriarchs in song, and greeted with tears and dancing at the frontline. This time, on August 29th, I witnessed sixteen young people psychologically preparing to lock themselves into sleeping dragons in four to five foot deep trenches and lie there for days. I witnessed two others perched on top of approximately twenty-four foot tall tripods awaiting extraction. I witnessed the frontline defenders building all night, their footsteps going back and forth along the three or so kilometer stretch from Land Back Camp to the frontline, selflessly transporting whatever was needed. I witnessed laughter and singing as they built. I witnessed the resilience required to maintain the frontline as the RCMP—with their hypocritical proclamation of “Honesty, Compassion and Integrity”—serve the rapacious logging corporation with its ravenous loggers who are all fired up to get as much old-growth as they can while they can. I witnessed the result of an indifferent NDP government whose silence proves they don’t care about old-growth, biodiversity, the future, or the well-being of young people. I witnessed people living the power of never giving up because the fight to save the ancient forest is the right thing to do. But, perhaps most poignantly, this time I witnessed how the absolute commitment of the frontline forest defenders is tinged by a pathology that they have to be there in the first place along with the absurdity that law enforcement has to be there too, to (attempt to) dislodge people who aren’t going to abandon their undying determination. I witnessed a stalemate between madness and logic.




It was a Sunday, a day of rest in this Canadian-style gorilla-warfare that still has some human rights to the point that there is a time-out. The frontline forest defenders were catching up on their sleep wrapped in sleeping bags on the side of the logging road or cuddled up in tents, and a few RCMP were sitting out their shifts in their trunks. We got through no problem. But, regardless of the ease with which we arrived, I could feel the tension as the frontline prepared for another all-nighter of re-building and an impending Monday morning storm.

Thanks to the parade of one hundred protesters led by Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones that had marched up Granite-Main the day before, the frontline had been able to take back the chunk of road from Land Back Bridge to the Sacred Red Dresses that had been lost during the week. As on August 14th, the large group had no problem getting past the police because they had wielded the weapon of ‘it’s all about the numbers.’ That night, after music and dancing, those who stayed helped dig trenches and build soft blocks. The forest defenders had also, humorously, captured the RCMP’s excavator and cherry-picker; both machines sat, emasculated, decorated by the forest defender’s laundry, fossils of just the day before.


Because of these gains, there was a good chance the RCMP would deploy an aggressive offensive when this twenty-first century war-in-the-woods resumed—like the beginning of just another work-week—on Monday morning at 8 a.m. And so, on Sunday night, all night, the forest defenders continued to build what was, by morning, an epic of never-giving-up.


You never know what to expect when you go to Fairy Creek. And you never know what to expect from RCMP enforcement that fluctuates from civility to so-called safety-checks to pepper-spraying, to punching, to driving an excavator over a land defender's car, to grabbing land defenders by the neck as they needlessly grapple with compliant bodies under arrest. [1] In contrast to what had been expected, though, Monday August 30th was a day of surreal civility. Perhaps this was because of the international attention gleaned by the en masse pepper spraying of fifty-odd protesters the week before; perhaps it was because of the RCMP is being taken to court for contempt on September 14th for police brutality, the denial of access to the media, the continuation of the illegal exclusion zones [2] and the reams of footage to prove it; perhaps it was because they are being called out on their racist behaviour; perhaps it was a strategy of calm before the storm; perhaps it was because there were seven members of the media there, three of them mainstream; perhaps it was because that particular shift of RCMP were less programmed to shut down their emotions; perhaps it was because the forest defenders decided to let the RCMP through that morning so as not to experience more violence and they knew they had the advantage of sixteen trench dragons between Red Dress and the pristine forest. Whatever the reason or combination or all of the above, the RCMP were on their best behaviour.



A forest defender's car that was driven over by the excavator during the seige of Land Back.



The liaisons from both sides greeted one another on the frontline and discussed the day, and the forest defenders found out what to expect. Despite these seemingly amicable relationships where, on the surface, it appeared as though there was a negotiation between tyranny and justice, the RCMP, backed by the colonial state and the injunction as a legal tool that favours resource extraction,[3] their propensity for violence, the fact that they carry the guns, the cuffs, the zap straps, and the pepper spray and their historical impunity that gives them the ability (if not the literal legality) to drag citizens across the gravel and shove them into the paddy wagons, the RCMP always has the upper hand.


As is usual, the police carried out their morning inspection of the camp. These morning inspections (or safety checks as they call them) are an enactment of the RCMP’s farcical duty of checking on the well-being of the people whom they will soon take prisoner.[4] Today, though, one of the main concerns of the RCMP was the well-being of their excavator and the cherry-picker. Or so they said.





A brigade of greens and blues began to saunter along the logging road through the clear- cut towards Land Back Bridge and their captive equipment. They were accompanied by the legal observers and the RFS police liaison. Everything was strangely calm, as though what was being fought for, the reason the young people were locked into trenches or chained high up in trees, had been reduced to just another day at the office, the walk but an opportunity for the officers to take the air. As they walked, the RCMP saw what they were up against with a combination of bemusement and annoyance as they surveyed the extent of the soft and hard blocks the forest defenders had built in fewer than twenty-four hours. They stepped around piles of rocks and meshes of sticks and logs stretched across the logging road that they would have to clear with a bulldozer and bestowed their token: “Are you okay? Do you have water?” upon the young people in the trench dragons. One officer said, verging on admiration,


“They sure are committed.” And another,


“Yup, they’ve been busy.”


Turkey-Tail, [5] high up in a tree-sit, called down: “Check-mate.” The Sergeant stated, the brutality beneath the amicable surface starting to bristle,


“This chess game is far from over.”

Turkey-Tail



There were newcomers on the law-enforcement team that day, an officer and two mechanics. After the RCMP had inspected their captive machinery and started walking back towards the frontline, the 1000+ year-old cedar named “The Grandfather” was spotted by one of the mechanics. [6] They wanted to see it. An officer—ironically a member of the RCMP paramilitary known as ‘green guys’ —had never seen a big tree before. He wanted to go in and see it. The mechanics followed. Lizard King, the police liaison that day, called out as they approached the ancient tree:



The Grandfather Tree. A 1000+ year old cedar in one of Teal-Jones' licensed cutblocks.



“That tree will be cut down. It’s not protected by the two-year deferral.” His utterance floated, just for a moment, held up by the magic of truth; law enforcement looked up at the epic enormity of the Grandfather and, I think, felt the power of its century-filled presence and maybe, even, just for a moment that we could only wish was forever, were humbled by what gives even its destroyers life. A mechanic was the last to leave. I could feel he knew that what he was involved with was wrong. That, somehow, his presence there, his job that day, was responsible for the impending destruction of what is beyond the pathology of everything-has-a-price—even the priceless.


“We need your help,” I called to him, the pitch of my voice a plea, as he reluctantly turned to go back to work. “Please, help us.”






And so the game continued. The RCMP are technically not supposed to hurt forest defenders as they remove them from the tripods, sleeping dragons, loraxes, and now the trench dragons; they can’t all out assassinate them as is the no-messing-around-method in countries like Mexico and Columbia. When questioned about jack-hammers next to flesh and rocks falling on top of people in trenches, the RCMP media liaisons always state: “We extract them as safely as possible.” These as-safely-as-possible extractions blanket the reality of what often is disdain and brutality are not consistently followed, though. Not all defenders are given the same level of so-called safe treatment. After all, the RCMP, as an institution set up at the same time as the Indian Band Councils and the residential schools, is still loyal to its racist beginnings. [7]


Just the night before, as a spectre of hypocrisy on this eerily mild Monday, an Indigenous woman had been picked out of a group of seven and pepper-sprayed and, as is typical, the settlers were left unscathed. On that same Monday afternoon, behind closed paddy wagon doors, Indigenous matriarch, Lady Chainsaw, was assaulted after her arrest. You never know what to expect when you are on the frontlines at Fairy Creek: except for the fact that BIPOC [8] individuals are disproportionately abused and that the forest defenders always have to rebuild, rebuild, rebuild.



Mud & Nymph



With the media placed at a tolerable distance from the extraction zone, the task of the RCMP that day was to extract Nymph and Mud from their tripods. In this inane game of cat and mouse that is costing millions, the RCMP had their work cut out for them. Unlike other extractions where legs of tripods have been sawed off and the land defenders have fallen and ended up in hospital, on September 30th, the RCMP studied the structure, tested its strength and secured the legs with straps. They leaned a ladder against it and the extraction officer started to climb. Nymph raised his arms and called out in triumph while the Frontline Defenders cheered him on: “We love you!” And the enemy looked up, some of the faces disdainful towards these young people who put themselves in danger, while others wore expressions of concern that betrayed their still-humanity. This madness is heart-wrenching: how humans have been pitted against each other for the ideological priority of corporate greed. You can tell not all the RCMP want to be there and, sometimes, some don’t come back at all. [9]



Nymph



As the officer climbed up towards the tripod platform, Nymph decided to elude his grasp and moved out onto the precarious log that connected the two tripods. Everyone held their breath; some RCMP, forest defenders and even a mainstream journalist momentarily lost their pledge to objectivity and called:


“Go back! It’s going to break! You’re going to fall!”


“You’re going to hurt your buddy,” an officer reasoned with him dryly.


“Breathe,” called out Raven from behind the exclusion line. “Focus on your breathing, Nymph, and go back.”


I could see the combination of emotions on the young person’s face: triumph, indignation, confusion, panic, fear. He began to shake. The officer at the top of the ladder took on a fatherly role and eventually coaxed Nymph into compliance and did keep him from falling, breaking the structure and severely injuring himself and his comrade. Nymph was then arrested and transformed from a concern to a prisoner.






Why is this nineteen-year-old risking his life? Why does he feel he has to do this? And why does he, in the big picture beyond our individual selves, actually have to sit up there because so few others are willing to do anything to help save the future for everyone, for everything? Why is there this situation where a young person eludes the hand of the law that is offering help that he didn’t ask for and then, that same helping hand arrests him after it has fastened the safety harness around his waist and lowered him carefully to safety? Why does Nymph finally, after scaring himself by pushing his self-sacrifice too far, take the same helping hand that is the reason why he climbed the tripod that day, sat up their waiting for his extraction to begin, not knowing if it was going to be a violent one or an outwardly civil one like today? Why is the only weapon we have left our bodies and, in the global context where violence is far more excessive, that lack is a privilege?


No, there was no barrage of pepper spray that day for the media to document and show the world—out in the open anyway. What we saw was a farce of civilization, where not clear-cutting is obviously the right thing to do but has been twisted into a ludicrously improbable situation played out every day with varying degrees of violence on the part of the RCMP. And, as our culture spirals into deeper and deeper trenches of greed, all we are asking for is 2080 hectares of old-growth forest to be protected for the future of the planet. Much ado about a nothing that is everything.[10]





Whenever I talk with someone who brings up the necessity to log the old-growth for ‘jobs,’ I tell them that, ironically, the forest defenders are on the loggers’ side. Angry loggers verbally and physically assault peaceful protesters [11] because they claim they are taking away their livelihood, and yet, paradoxically, the livelihood generated by extraction forestry is going to be over as soon as all of the little that is left of the old-growth is gone. The forest defenders are protecting the wellbeing of both the forest and those who are insisting they must cut it down.


Kathleen Code, the Vice-chair and Communications Director for the Eco-forestry Institute Society and a spokesperson for the Rainforest Flying Squad, told me how:


"Industry and the government are claiming that they have to cut the old-growth in order to sustain jobs. But if the province has a truly sustainable model, which they claim to, then theoretically there should be enough second and third growth harvesting to keep them going. What they’re saying now is that maybe they don’t have as much as they would have liked because of climate change, wildfires and pine beetle infestations. They knew climate change has been coming for a long time. All of a sudden, they don’t have enough of what they call an interim supply." [12]


Because of the unsustainable logging practices that started in 1848 when the Hudson’s Bay Company established a mill in the Fort Victoria [13] that have been exacerbated by climate change, even if the remaining old-growth is taken, it is inevitable that the current system has to transition. However, the people tied to the ideology of take-now-and-don’t-think-about-later refuse to hear this; they refuse to hear that the transition to eco-forestry is the only way British Columbia will be able to have any kind of forestry industry at all. All the approximately 35,000 people currently employed by the industry who accuse the protesters of taking away their jobs, will, ironically, lose their jobs anyway.





The majority of the forest defenders and the Rainforest Flying Squad are not against logging per se. They are against an extraction economy. They are calling for a transition to a sustainable system of forest management that extends beyond forestry. Eco-Tourism and education programs, selective logging and the re-opening of local saw-mills, ending the exportation of raw logs to the US and China (along with its neoliberal madness of the milled wood then being sold back to us), local manufacturing and extending the sustainability of the forestry sector into the transition to sustainable power through the manufacturing of solar panels, wind and wave turbines would provide equally sustainable—and most likely even more—jobs for British Columbians. As Secwepemc (Shuswap) Elder Mike Arnouse half-joked in response to the claim that the old-growth has to be logged for jobs, jobs, jobs: “there would be more jobs cleaning up the mess.” [14]


Eco-Forestry is a model that can also be used for organizing society as a community of human beings rather than a culture of individuals; it can be used as a foundation to foster our connection to and reliance on the environment as opposed to an ideology of detachment. Eco-Forestry is a revolutionary transition into co-existing with, rather than dominating, the earth—what Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones calls a spiritual economy. [15]



The Grandfather Tree



As of September 10th, 2021, there have been 962 arrests at Fairy Creek, now the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada well surpassing the 858 at the Clayoquot Protests of the 80s and 90s. [16] But the numbers, along with the cause, are where the similarities end. Since the late twentieth century, the profit-prioritization of capitalism has accelerated into the contemporary rule of neoliberalism where even the governments in relatively functioning democracies like Canada are beholden to corporate greed. What makes Fairy Creek particularly different from Clayoquot is the increase in RCMP violence against the forest defenders (that Elder Bill Jones has described as comparable to the brutalization of the Indigenous throughout the history of Canada) and the imposed rift within the First Nation between the Indian Band Council who are coerced into agreeing with the continued thieving of their territory and the Indigenous peoples who will never agree with the raping of their territory because they believe in the antithesis of individualist greed, short-term thinking and the destruction of the planet and all who live here. Naturally, the colonized are the only ones a colonial government consults with so that they can tell the public their insidious half-truth: “we have consulted with the First Nations.” [17]


Every day at Fairy Creek, more and more forest defenders are arrested and processed through the court system, shifts of RCMP armies and their parades of trucks and ATVs are brought in, their helicopter circles, and their drones hover. As of the writing of this article, no one has been able to gain access to the exact figure that has been spent by the Canadian tax-payer to enforce the Teal-Jones injunction at Fairy Creek (and favour a corporation that will make millions to steal some of the last old-growth forest in the world from unceded Indigenous land). It is known, however, that the RCMP have spent their allotted budget because they are asking for more.



The Grandfather Tree



On August 16th 2021, the Tyee reported that the RCMP has spent almost $20 million enforcing the Coastal Gaslink Injunction on Wet’suwet’en Territory where there have been only twenty-eight arrests since December 31st, 2019. [18] With hundreds more arrests at Fairy Creek in a mere five months and the thousands of dollars being spent every day to process them in this stalemate of round-and-round, one can estimate that the amount spent on RCMP enforcement so far at Fairy Creek is in the millions, money that could have been, and some still can be if this madness is stopped now, used to transition into a more sustainable method of forestry and way of being in the world.



Glow-worm



You never know what is going to happen when you go to Fairy Creek and you never know what is going to happen when you leave. On August 30th, after Nymph and Mud had been extracted from the tripods, there were sixteen trench dragons extending from Red Dress to Land Back Camp.


“These are impossible for the RCMP to get past,” I thought, hopefully. Turkey-Tail’s statement of ‘check-mate’ was maybe a long-lasting last stand.


“I wish more people would care,” said forest defender, Sunflower, from her trench dragon. She proudly explained to me how it was impossible for the RCMP to extract her as the pipe her arm was locked into was literally underneath her body. The RCMP would have to separate her arm from her body to get her out, which they can’t do. Yet.


Forest defenders have been physically extracted from their trench dragons, though. For this to happen, RCMP officers squeeze into the narrow trenches and, if they can gain access to the pipe the forest defender has locked their arm into, use an angle grinder to dislodge the pipe from the concrete and remove the person who transforms from ‘a search and rescue mission’ to a prisoner.





More often, though, as with what most likely happened to Sunflower, the only way to remove a defender is through intimidation, humiliation and trauma. Last week, during the first heavy rain after the record-breaking drought, one of the forest defenders was emotionally black-mailed into unclipping from their dragon with his comrade’s life. The RCMP took the tarp off his comrade’s trench and allowed the rain to fill it until the defender’s head was almost immersed. Both defenders unclipped. Another tactic is to drive the excavator near the edges of the trenches so that rocks fall on top of the forest defenders. They have no protection and eventually unclip. The RCMP always take away their food and water until the defenders are coerced by hunger and thirst into voluntarily unclipping.


A couple of weeks ago, a forest defender aptly named Your Royal Highness stayed in a trench for five days and saved Land Back Bridge. I asked him if he would tell me about that experience. His face darkened. He didn’t want to talk about it. The RCMP cannot literally assassinate land defenders, but they can psychologically terrorize them.


“More people are starting to care,” I half-consoled Sunflower as she lay in a deep trench dug across a logging road with her arm locked into a pipe, waiting for people whose humanity has been shut down and have sworn to uphold “Honesty, Compassion and Integrity,” the slogan proclaimed on the RCMP website, while they are doing whatever they have to do to her except literally kill her to open the road so industry can destroy some of the last stands of pristine forest on earth. Yes, such madness makes perfect sense.


“And more are starting to act on their words,” I continued.

“I think,” I didn’t say.


“I’m not moving.”



Sunflower





About the Artist:


Karen Moe is a writer, visual and performance artist and a feminist activist. She has been published in such magazines as Border Crossings, ArtSpace, WhiteHot and Revista 192. She is the editor and founder of the magazine Vigilance: Fierce Feminisms. Karen has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Her first book, Victim: a feminist manifesto from a fierce survivor, is being published in Spring 2022. Karen lives in British Columbia, Canada and in Mexico City.



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Other Fairy Creek articles in Vigilance:


https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/it-s-all-about-the-numbers-in-canada-it-s-still-possible-to-help-save-the-planet


https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/the-doing-is-the-hope-the-forest-defenders-of-fairy-creek


https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/fairy-creek-resistance-art-says-it-best



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Endnotes:


[1] When questioned about their violent behaviour, the RCMP always respond that when we see the videos, we don’t have the context of the situation. Shaena Lambert from the National Observer was at the en masse pepper-spraying on August 21st, 2021 at the entrance to the old HQ when peaceful protesters were trying to exercise their rights as citizens and cross the RCMP’s illegal exclusion zone of that day. At a press conference on September 1st, 2021, she pointed out the RCMP response of ‘context’ and stated that the context of that day was exactly what is seen on the videos: “Ghandian non-violence” being brutally attacked by the police. [2] In oral remarks on July 20th, 2021, Justice Douglas Thompson stated that the “geographically extensive exclusion zones” used by the RCMP at the Fairy Creek blockades are not “reasonably necessary” and reminded the RCMP of the “necessity of avoiding undue and unnecessary interference with the journalistic function.” https://www.wcel.org/blog/thin-blue-tarp-exclusion-zones-and-public-access-during-civil-disobedience; “My assessment is that the degree of interference with liberties of members of the public and members of the media is substantial and serious … The RCMP has not established that the police actions under examination are reasonably necessary for either of the duties they assert," wrote Thompson. "It follows that the RCMP do not have legal authority for these actions … The actions are unlawful." https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-fairy-creek-court-case-1.6139351; In Fairy Creek, the RCMP has taken it upon itself to set up the exclusion zone, even though the injunction issued by the court does not include such a zone. The RCMP has set up checkpoints which it says are at the boundaries of the “temporary access control area,” and has denied access to members of the public, media and legal observers. Officers have also arrested individuals for being within this zone.” https://www.wcel.org/blog/thin-blue-tarp-exclusion-zones-and-public-access-during-civil-disobedience [3] Unfortunately, the injunction is a legal tool that is currently being interpreted and granted by the courts in a manner that typically favours resource extraction, reinforcing the impossible position that many Indigenous nations find themselves in before Canadian courts. This trend is merely the latest chapter in a history of state-sanctioned violence on people and land to uphold an unsustainable resource extraction practice (such as the logging of old-growth) … The Canadian legal system’s handling of conflicts over resource extraction is in desperate need of reform. There are many issues that must be addressed – including the injunction regime, which currently protects extractive industry profits; the policies permitting the harvest of irreplaceable old-growth forest habitat; and the continued systemic racism within policing that disproportionately criminalizes BIPOC Individuals. https://www.wcel.org/blog/thin-blue-tarp-exclusion-zones-and-public-access-during-civil-disobedience [4] The RCMP actually call the peaceful protesters they have arrested ‘prisoners.’

[5] The forest defenders all have Camp Names that creatively symbolize their personal connection to the forest they are defending and protect their identity from people in positions of authority who often assault them. As RCMP brutality has intensified, the officers stopped wearing their name badges and numbers as required by the RCMP dress code. Because they are ostensibly public servants—not to mention the fact that they have the authority to arrest and deprive citizens of their freedom and they carry weapons—the RCMP are breaking another code of their state-sanctioned power. In most cases, as per the Civil Liberties Association of Canada, even when the RCMP ask you, you are not required to provide your name or identification when arrested. However, not providing the public whom they are serving with their identification is another aspect of how the RCMP are making their own rules in order to serve corporate interests at Fairy Creek. https://ccla.org/cclanewsite/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Know-Your-Rights-Booklet.pdf [6] With the gains made by the RCMP and industry the week of September 6th, this ancient cedar is on the cut block, unless we go to Fairy Creek, support the frontlines and help save it!

[7] https://globalnews.ca/news/5381480/rcmp-indigenous-relationship/?fbclid=IwAR0Ek6q87xnsopHXHaYtZFcad6okSyyNebxiZt4XCiSVXHQzRRDXxAUo81g [8] BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, People of Colour. People are using the term to acknowledge that not all people of colour face equal levels of injustice. They say BIPOC is significant in recognizing that Black and Indigenous people are severely impacted by systemic racial injustices. According to Google Trends, the use of the acronym began to spike in May 2020, coinciding with the growing Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bipoc-meaning-where-does-it-come-from-2020-04-02 [9] A Haida Gwaii matriarch and singer who, along with many other Indigenous peoples who have come to Fairy Creek to support Bill Jones and the local indigenous who are not part of the colonized Indian Band Councils of their Nations, told me stories about two RCMP officers who haven’t come back to enforce the Injunction in favour of industry and short-term profit. In one story, she was given a ride by an RCMP officer the 7 km walk from the old HQ to Red Dress. As she climbed into the truck, she asked him, “Please don’t kidnap me.” He replied, “I’m not going to kidnap you.” They chatted as the drove. When he dropped her off at Sacred Dress, he told her that he was going to go home to his family and that he was not coming back. Another, who also gave her a ride, she told me she hasn’t seen since. [10]This is the Rainforest Flying Squad Responds to the First Nations (read: coerced Indian Band Council and not all of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, and Huu-ay-aht peopole) June 7th 2021 Request to Defer Logging in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran Valley: The Rainforest Flying Squad welcomes this morning's announcement that the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations are calling for logging deferrals on Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran. While it's a welcome step in the right direction, we, and Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, remain concerned that it allows for the status quo of old growth logging to continue unabated across the territory. “No, we must not stand down, as all First Nations are locked into unfair contracts that tie their hands,” Elder Bill Jones stated. We eagerly await details and clarification on the nations’ announcement. As of this morning we have yet to see any precise maps or confirmation that this deferral will prevent road building or active logging of old-growth. Any deferral on Fairy Creek MUST include the entire 2,080 hectare Fairy Creek Rainforest, not just the old growth within the watershed. This would include protecting the hundreds of hectares of at-risk old-growth adjacent to the Fairy Creek watershed in both Granite Creek and in the area known as the ‘2000 Road.’ We hope that the final agreement between the Pacheedaht and provincial government will reflect this. Likewise we are calling for deferral of logging across the entire special management zone in the Central Walbran. As explained today by the Nations, logging will still be allowed on Edinburgh Mountain, in the Caycuse, Camper Creek, the Upper Walbran, Bugaboo Creek, and it may still be allowed to go ahead on the 2000 Road, Granite Creek, and parts of the Central Walbran. So we would see it as a very small victory. This announcement does nothing to address the systemic crisis in the way our forests are managed. Premier Horgan must act rapidly to defer logging across the 1.3 million hectares of at-risk old growth identified by the Sierra Club of BC. The province must come to the table with conservation financing and economic alternatives for First Nations, and create a just transition to a second growth industry. Until these things happen, at the invitation of Elder Bill Jones, the Rainforest Flying Squad will continue to stand our ground to defend our last ancient forests. Referring to the importance of the ancient trees, Elder Bill Jones says: "They are guides, teachers, spiritual beings." Little of this press release was ever included in mainstream media reports which framed the deferral as being the wishes of all of the First Nations and that the NDP government had done their duty and consulted with them. The only part that was included in the mainstream media was that according to the RFS the deferral doesn’t go far enough. None of the numbers were given which would have helped the public understand what is really happening. Of the 2,080 hectares quoted here, only 884 hectares fall under the two-year deferral. Since the writing of this press release, the old-growth forest at 2000 road and the Caycuse have been clear-cut along. Now that the fire season is over, Teal-Jones is headed for all of the other old-growth forest not included in the in the deferral. [11] https://www.victoriabuzz.com/2021/07/three-assaults-reported-at-fairy-creek-blockades-this-week-as-tensions-boil-over-video/ [12] Those who reside in BC are very aware of the fact that one of the campaign promises of the NDP John Horgan government was to stop old-growth logging. He is, tragically, not following through on one of his key election promises. [13] https://legionmagazine.com/en/1997/11/the-evolution-of-west-coast-logging/ [14] Elder Mike Arnouse is another Indigenous elder who has come to support the Pacheedaht and forest defender’s fight to save all of the old-growth in and around Fairy Creek. He spoke at the sacred Circle at Salmon Camp with Elder Bill Jones, Charles Billy (Prinz Charles) from the St'át'imc Nation near Lillooet BC on September 11, 2021. [15] The Eco-Forestry that the forest defenders support is based on the principles of Merv Wilkinson who sustainably logged the forest of Wildwood on Vancouver Island for over sixty years. Like the traditional culture of Indigenous peoples, Merv’s relationship with the land was one of respect; he never took more than was needed. Such a way of being in the world is based in the concept of ‘need’ which exists in absolute contrast to the never-enough of the patriarchal capitalism of the Western colonising culture. Like Merv, the traditions of the first people is centered on the earth, integrated with the forest they are, essentially, a part of. When listening to the Pacheedaht who support the defenders of the old-growth at Fairy Creek, a consistent theme is that the ancient trees are part of their family. Kathleen Code told me how: “Merv was a very intuitive forester. He knew his forest and he considered the trees as his friends and he knew exactly where each tree was. And when it came time to harvest, he would look at the light. He would look at the soil. He would look at the diversity of the trees around him and how it would open up the canopy and considerations of all of the wildlife.” A tree has never had to be planted at Wildwood as the forest naturally regenerates itself. There is no need for re-forestation when a forest isn’t deforested. Like the traditions of Indigenous people’s being integrated with the natural environment, Merv Wilkinson is an example of how the settlers of this territory can join with the first peoples and exist in a relationship of power-with the land as opposed to power-over. For more information on Merv Wilkinson, Wildwood and eco-forestry go to: https://www.ecoforestry.ca/ [16] https://www.citynews1130.com/2021/09/10/fairy-creek-mass-arrest/ [17] For the details of the colonial strategy of the BC government only consulting the colonized Indigenous, see my article https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/post/it-s-all-about-the-numbers-in-canada-it-s-still-possible-to-help-save-the-planet;

At the Sacred Circle held at Salmon Camp at Fairy Creek on September 11th, 2021, Elder Bill Jones said that he had invited both the BC NDP Premier John Horgan and Pacheedaht Indian Band Council Chief, Jeff Jones, to join us and neither came. Elder Bill’s explanation was that they are both “a bit shy.”

[18] https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/08/16/RCMP-Spent-Almost-20-Million-Policing-Wetsuweten-Territory/





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