NEWS UNSETTLED | Reconciliation is dead

News Unsettled Opinions
Two upside-down Canadian flags were flown at the fountain in front of the legislature. Photo by Emily Fagan, Editor-in-Chief

There have been a great number of mobilizations, upwards of 50, all over Turtle Island and around the globe as of late. Indigenous land and water defenders, led in large part by youth as well as allies, have been standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en following an illegal raid on Gidimt’en checkpoint and Unist’ot’en camp. 

These actions have all taken a different form. A significant form of mobilizing has been blockades of many railways all throughout ‘Canada.’ Highway blockades have also been popular. The action that took place here, on Lekwungen lands, was a six-day occupation of the ceremonial steps at the British Columbia Legislative Building. 

On the sixth and final day of the occupation (February 11, 2020), Indigenous youth and our allies soft-blockaded each of the 16 entries to the legislature, effectively making history. For the first time ever, the Lieutenant Governor was unable to use the ceremonial gates or inspect the Guard of Honour. 

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, a Gitxsan person, UVic student, and one of the heads of the occupation, appropriately described it as, “[shutting] down the gross display of [colonial] pageantry that takes place on this very day.” 

No matter the form each action has taken, there has been a common declaration among them: Reconciliation is dead. This is in response to the actions, or lack thereof, by Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, and John Horgan, the Premier of British Columbia. 

Horgan and Trudeau continue to boast about the progress of reconciliation, while completely denying the proclamation that has been made by Indigenous youth. It is no longer the place of settlers, especially settler governments actively participating in genocide, to tell us as Indigenous people what reconciliation means. 

Reconciliation IS dead — killed the moment the RCMP began to move in on sovereign Wet’suwet’en territories. This does not mean the relationship among Indigenous peoples and settlers is unsalvageable. Listen to Indigenous youth when we speak. Support us where we need support. Work with us to expose and denounce the crimes committed by Canada’s government. We can all succeed at creating something entirely different and better than the husk of a word that is reconciliation. All that we need is to work together, closely, and follow the direction and guidance of Indigenous youth. Reconciliation is dead, but its death does not bode the end. Rather, it has left space for all of us, together, to do it right this time.