What do you get when the world's largest environmental organization and the world's largest "sustainable" logging company shake hands? Answer: a half dozen press releases that'll increase donations to the eco-bureaucracy, a green-washed face lift for a rapacious industry and a good old fashioned guilt-free feeling white America is willing to pay extra money for.
Oh yeah, that and the continuation of deforestation and the kind of genocidal colonial land use policies North America is founded on.
Resolute Forestry Products, on the heels of a big fat congrats last month by the World Wildlife Fund for its role as the world's largest manager of Forest Stewardship Council[R] certified forests, has begun illegally logging on unceded indigenous land in the Boreal forest. Despite very clear stipulations spelled out in the UN Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a ruling by the supreme court of Canada that first nations must be notified of any intent to log on their land, Quebec's liberal party government, under the leadership of provincial premier Jean Cherest, sidestepped any negotiations with the original and sovereign inhabitants of the land and permitted the operation.
There is an on-the-ground indigenous resistance effort--an indigenous occupation of colonially occupied land--that has the potential to stave off the cle-arcuts and bolster the cultural life of a First Nation. They need supplies and funding for legal support and camp logistics. They need coffee and food staples. But maybe you had better just close your eyes and give that money to a large environmental organization. I doubt the Barriere Lake Algonquins will send you a bumper sticker for your Prius or an eco-friendly tote bag in return. No, they have far more at stake than the value of their eco-brand.
Tomorrow, they might arrest community members. We don't have any other choice. My grandchildren will ask me, "why didn't you try to protect the sacred site," and my words will be worthless because it's not there, that's what we are facing, what we will lose for our grandchildren, but at least we are going to show that we stood our ground and the spirit was there with us. That's Michel Thusky, an elder of the Barriere Lake Algonquins in southern Quebec and a survivor of the culturally devastating Canadian Indian residential school system. Known to themselves as the Mitchikanibikok Inik, they are yet another tribe of Algonquins in the region, along with the Attikamek, the...