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Indigenous Resistance in the Face of Canada 150

by Ashley CourcheneREOCCUPATION

While many are celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday this July 1, a group of Indigenous grassroots leaders and their allies have organized a series of events to reorient national consciousness towards Indigenous self-determination by Reoccupying Parliament Hill in Ottawa through ceremony and informal education efforts.

The Reoccupation call to action, according to the Facebook event page description, aims to reaffirm Indigenous people’s rightful claim to these lands as the original caretakers of Turtle Island, and to demand the repatriation of the territories illegally seized by the Canadian state.

Freddy Stoneypoint, a lead organizer for the event series and second-year undergraduate student at Carleton University, stated the goals of Reoccupation were to move from theory to action.

“We decided that it was time to stop talking about decolonization and to become agents of it,” he told the Leveller. “Luckily, we found an amazing grassroots organization called the Bawating Water Protectors, who shared our vision for what we want for ourselves as Indigenous people. Since then, the momentum has been swinging into this exciting direction.”

Reoccupation is taking place from June 28 to July 2 and is a larger part of the Unsettling Canada 150 call to action disseminated by Idle No More in early May 2017. It will include a reoccupation of Parliament Hill by the Bawating Water Protectors from Sault Ste-Marie, a four-day fasting ceremony, as well as educational programming in the form of public panels, performance art, and workshops.

“At the pinnacle of the settler colonial moment, the event has major political significance in that as an opposing force to the celebration of colonialism, there will be an Indigenous movement that will be asserting its jurisdiction and sovereignty and unsettling the national discourse,” said Stoneypoint.

For more information on Reoccupation, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1923800771235696/

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