You Should Know, Your ‘New Relationship’ Looks A Lot Like Colonization in Progress

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Dear Rebecca Reid,

    I am a big fan of alliteration and automatically liked your name… but my dear I have seen your name at the end of permit approvals for the Site C Hydro dam. I saw them on ones dated in September of 2015, before the Federal election, and then again just recently on the permits issued to BC Hydro on July 27th 2016.

Rebecca Reid

Regional Director General

Pacific Region

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Who knew a single signature could be so “damming”? Horrible pun intended. I wonder if you held the pen a little tighter in between sweaty hands knowing the gravity of the implications of what you helped sign off on. I wonder if you signed it swiftly without hesitation then promptly left work, with your golf clubs in the trunk and went off to fulfill day dreams of green. I wonder if you even signed them at all, because I went OCD on the permits and the signatures are completely different. Yes. I really compared that shit. Or maybe you just move with whatever government is in power to keep position and thus really are a pawn in this power game but I needed you to know, I seen your name at the end of two crucial permit approvals. Permits that enable construction and preparation for a dam that will flood over 83kms of traditional territory that I belong to, that my son belongs to, that my grandmother belongs to, that my ancestors belong to. Territory where some of these ancestors are probably even buried.  

I thought you should know that I was just down there two days ago picking Saskatoon berries and it is still as beautiful as ever. The land provides. These places will be below the water line of the new reservoir, and my memories of land will be drowning. The places that I intended on sharing with my son and my grandchildren will be underwater. Funny to think I even had a sorrowful thought, thinking about all the fat berries out there that drop to ground that no one gets to pick… what does that even matter in the face of complete loss?

You see it’s not just about the berries either. It’s about being out on the land and what that does for one’s spirit. EVERY year I take my Grandmother out to pick berries and during this time she is reminded of being a young girl in the mountains where she freely roamed, a land not yet spotted by rigs and snaked by pipe lines. Grandma tells me and my son stories during this time. My son learns about things related to his heritage, his culture, and other teachings related to relationship with land during these outings. Land comes down to identity, and a right to that identity.

Your signature reads to me, “Fuck your existence”.

 

Rebecca Reid

Regional Director General

Pacific Region

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

 

And just because I read your name too, not in relation to permits but because I was looking at the organizational flow chart of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Catharine Blewett, appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau…. Thought you should know Catharine, you Blew it. (I had too)

Oh and to Prime Minister Trudeau, I was asked the other day in an interview what my message to you would be. It was simple, if you are going to talk about it, then be about it. Indigenous peoples have been played as pawns and herded like cattle for generations, if you’re going to promise a new relationship with Indigenous peoples then you better damn well follow through because you don’t know what the other side of broken promises looks like or feels like. Broken promises, broken treaties, broken agreements, looks like sitting by the river’s edge knowing full well you can’t eat fish from the river your grandparents did, it looks like the plethora of suicide epidemics and weeping Grandmothers, it’s the continued murdering and disappearance of our loved ones. Yes, a lot of these things are the accumulated impacts of decades and centuries of broken things amassed and swept into corners and beneath already lumpy rugs.  

So the question is, which way are you going to do this? Are you going to affirm the vision of the jaded folk that spoke of new lumps already being herded under the rug? Or are you going to help clean this shit up so that we can have a fighting chance and not suffocate under the debris? I think we are as awfully tired of fighting as you are, but don’t mistake that for complacency. We as Indigenous people will keep standing together and making changes at the grassroots and community level and keep pushing for change at the Federal and systemic levels as we have been for years. But I just thought you should know that I see that the Federal Government issued those permits and your new relationship looks a lot like colonization in progress.

 

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3 comments

  1. Why is Hydro think ing they can proced when issues are in the courts, which in other circumstances means no discusion. hydro is not above the law! Is in fact BREAKING the Law!
    Jean Leahy

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