We need to keep our focus on Indigenous struggles

News Unsettled Opinions

Without our attention, the Canadian government can do anything without any accountability

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

Although it is almost never in mainstream news anymore, the fight on Wet’suwet’en Yintah has never ended. It is still going. In early Jan. 2022, the Wet’suwet’en warned that the RCMP had begun to gather and prepare for another deployment against them. Despite this, the Wet’suwet’en are not being given the same spot in mainstream news anymore.

This happens over and over, and needs to be changed. An issue temporarily catches the attention from white Canada and gets to be in the news for a week or so, but then is forgotten.

The Mi’kmaq are still facing barriers in asserting their right to moderate livelihood fishing in their territories. The last article about the Mi’kmaq’s struggle in a large news source in Canada, the CBC, was in Oct. 2021, and it details the fact that four moderate livelihood fisheries have been opened. This does not mean the opposition to their fishing has ended, but the popular news about it has.

The Secwepemc people continue to fight the Transmountain Pipeline from going through their unceded territory. Several land defenders have been in court facing charges, while the others have not stopped the struggle and are supporting those being persecuted. This struggle is no longer in the news, and almost all updates come from the Secwepemc people themselves.

This same thing happened with the unmarked graves being found on the grounds of residential schools. For a week, orange shirts were sold out everywhere, and everyone was posting pictures on their Instagram and Facebook in support, but since Sept. 2021, there has been almost no talk of it. Though many cities cancelled their Canada Day celebrations, and the Trudeau government created Truth and Reconciliation Day, these revelations and pains within communities have not stopped. They are still finding unmarked graves. That has not ended. The number is now well over 1000. However, no one is talking about it anymore. No one is concerned.

We need to break this cycle. When reporters stop writing about ongoing struggles, that doesn’t mean they have not ended. They are just no longer the most popular news.

Reporters do not need to control what we care about. If large networks like the CBC are no longer reporting on something, we can still actively search out and share information. There is always a place to find news about Indigenous struggles. The APTN is one source. IndigiNews is another, specific to so-called Vancouver Island and the Okanagan region, news source that is very useful.

For the Wet’suwet’en, the Secwepemc, and the Mi’kmaq, there are social media accounts like, @wetsuwetenstrong, @wethesecwepemc, and @junnygirldecolonized that are often posting updates as they happen.

We can and need to follow these struggles and give them the exposure and spread that they need. Without it, the Canadian government and the RCMP can do almost whatever they want. Without the public focus, there is little to no accountability. We need accountability.