My hopes for Indigenous rights and allyship in the year 2021

News Unsettled Opinions
News Unsettled Native Students Union column
Graphic provided by the Native Students Union.

The years of 2019/2020 felt like a regression in Indigenous rights and sovereignty. That is not to say that As we move into the year 2021 of the Gregorian calendar, here are some hopes that I have for Indigenous rights in the next year.

The first, that the Wet’suwet’en and their Yintah are finally left in peace. Canada has continuously ignored Wet’suwet’en and Canadian laws trying to force through Coastal GasLink (CGL). There have been two major raids in the last two years, and almost constant harassment of Wet’suwet’en people trying to live and work on their own land.

In the same vein, I hope that there is mobilization in support of the Secwempc people. They are being forced from their land for an entirely different oil and gas project. There were arrests in late 2020, and the situation and tensions are far from being over.

I hope that in 2021, the BC government begins to respect the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Without respecting this document, there can not be the success of any form of reconciliation in British Columbia.

I hope that the Mi’kmaq and the Wolastoqyik continue to find success in their fight for harvesting and other rights on the east coast.

I hope that land defenders at 1492 Landback lane are able to succeed in their battle against the housing development and the hostile Canadian politicians hoping for their loss.

There needs to be serious and drastic changes to Canada’s attitudes towards Indigenous sovereignty. It reached a boiling point in 2020 with the #shutdownCanada movement, but there seemed to be no learning that came from that movement for Canada.

A healthy and stable connection to the land is so important and can not be maintained when nations are being forced from their territories to make way for housing, oil and gas, and the settler fishing industry.

We need to seriously unify in the year 2021, Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies alike. We can not and should not continue to allow industry, police, and the government to run rampant on Indigenous lands.

The #shutdownCanada movement did garner attention, and there needs to be another movement like it in 2021.

That is my main hope for the year 2021. That all people who live on Indigenous lands can come together and hold these destructive industries and governments to accountability. There needs to be the end of silent bystanderism on the part of settlers in Canada. We need to use our voices collectively to ensure that Indigenous people are given back actual stewardship of our lands, and to give us a voice when it comes to our lands and resources being blatantly expropriated by Canada.