It’s a funny feeling, to empty yourself into efforts towards the elusive. It’s an even funnier feeling when those efforts have been towards elusive justice. Justice. Not materials, not dreams, not a larger bank statement, not trinkets, nor personal ventures…but Justice. When you believe that the right will always prevail and it does not happen time and time again you can feel a twisting within the cavern of your chest. A wrestling of the heart trying not to give up on itself.
To be Indigenous and in pursuit of preservation of land, water, and inherent rights that belong to those who come after you because of those who became before you – while simultaneously experiencing the elusiveness of justice… is the funniest thing of all. Not funny in the normal satirical dark humour kind of way, the way through which I have learned to laugh at most of life’s maladies and afflictions. But funny in an existentialist “what the fuck is happening, how do I relate to this world in which I am existing in” kind of way.
Why? Because you can’t just simply be in moments of elusion. You have to be something that is aware that it will then be interpreted. We learn to monitor ourselves and our responses to these moments in order to be properly consumed by white audiences and otherwise. Present your grief in a palatable way, don’t throw wild accusations, keep your head, and make sure your pain is tasteful but always balanced with possibility. Perhaps I say “we” too presumptuously but I know that this is the pressure that I have been feeling as of late from multiple avenues.
I’ve never been too fond of censoring myself, and if you have read my blog before you must already know this. But I have an inner dialogue that says, don’t be too sorrowful because it will make “them” think that “they” are winning. Don’t sound defeated, tell people to keep hope and to become louder than ever. Be that warrior, be the fierceness you have witnessed in many other land protectors, be the fire that threatens to consume, be the thunder that makes its presence known. But be honest… always be honest. Just be an honest version of inspiration that is available for public consumption. Well fuck that.
If you’re wondering what this whole conversation is about, I am writing because the Federal Court dismissed the appeal by Prophet River FN and West Moberly FN regarding Site C. I am not going to discuss the details but you can read a basic report here. I went on a cross country caravan to attend the court proceedings for this and for the past year and a half and I have put so much of myself (as well as others) in efforts to keep the Peace River unhindered by a third hydroelectric dam.
In this moment I am heartbroken, stunned, angry, confused, mildly numb, utterly perplexed, and unsure of how to proceed. I had to take myself away from reading my grad-school texts in order to write because the feelings I needed to process kept pestering me and much alike northern bush mosquitos that can penetrate through thick clothing. I couldn’t block it out.
I have a looming question mark above my head that dares to be whispered…
At which point do I weep and walk away?
I hold that question in my hands with full knowledge that I can never walk away completely. This land is my home. The walking away can only be done by those whom remain rootless, and perhaps this is exactly why projects like these get approved. We are dealing with a rootless people that are composed primarily of migration and movement. Home is where you make it.
I have wept my tears into the earth floor of the valley. I have wept from the place deep within myself.
I find that I have had to be perpetually mildly numb to survive the colonial battering ram that is ever present and continual. I feel that there is so much more to existence than just trying to survive and defend existence itself, but these are the times that we live in. To be truly for the people and for all of our relations is to engage in political warfare to some degree, even if that degree is helping other Indigenous peoples love themselves again. We live in a time where we cannot escape this unless we become only for ourselves.
Let’s keep them scrambling and fucking their shit up so that they can never build a way out, but also give them the illusion that the systems that we have created may provide them justice… and provide some small comforts along the way. Enough to pacify and not call it genocide… just yet, says the colonial gatekeeper to the colonial gatekeeper.
In moments like these, when I am overwhelmed and drowning in a substance I cannot name, I have to remind myself that I am here because of those who came before me. There have been individuals marred by fleeting justice who have continued forward in their efforts to make change. There have been people who have sacrificed everything and held on to their last threads of belief in order to keep fighting. I have to remember that ripples caused by a stone are never futile nor entirely done in vain. I have to remember… because I do not want to know what fragmented spirit I would be if I chose to forget. It is fight or be extinguished, and I have never been very fond of the darkness.
My prayers go out to my people, to those blind enough to see this as a victory and to those whom this has caused to weep.
I have wept
My tears, a baptism
I have wept from deep within myself and I have begun again
This time is no different
We are still here. #fucksitec
This photo is exactly why beginning again is necessary. They are the future. They are worthy of the fight.