Aboriginal People’s Television Network reporter Ossie Michelin’s iconic photo of Amanda Polchies in Elsipogtog, October 2013
(LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)
In Imperial Canada Inc (2012), Alain Deneault and William Sacher, professors at the University of Montreal and McGill University respectively, explain how Canada has emerged as a paradise for transnational mining companies due to five main factors. First, the permissiveness of the law toward the mining industry and its role in the Toronto Stock Exchange, which speculates mainly on the extraction of “natural resources”. Second, the complicity of Canadian banks; by creating tax havens in Caribbean branches, the profits of the industry never reach Canada but are multiplied in Antillean countries where the mining business has derisory taxes. Third, many Canadians unconsciously invest in mining, on the Toronto Stock Market, through their savings, investments and pension system. Fourth, the colonial imprint of the British Empire on Canadian history, which was built upon the expropriation of indigenous lands and mining in the Northwest Territories and in the Athabasca area. And, fifth, the complicity of the media, which refuses to talk openly about it.
Recently, the Idle No More movement has reminded us that Canadian mining not only affects other countries but the ancestral lands of Turtle Island itself. Between May and October 2013, the Mikmak nation resisted the aggressive advance of the gas shell extraction projects (fracking) in Elsipogtog (New Brunswick). Civil disobedience, the songs of women, and the beat of drums called the attention of activists and independent journalists, and made the front pages of national newspaper. In an episode reminiscent of the Oka crisis of 1990—when the residents of Kanesahtake wanted to build a golf course on a traditional Mohawk cemetery—the Mikmak confronted the Texas Southwestern Energy Co. (or SWN, based in Houston), forcing the company to stop its project of tearing up the land and polluting the aquifer and deep water fields where moose and black bear have lived forever.
According to the statistics of MiningWatch (http://www.miningwatch.ca/), 30% of Mexican territory, 40% of Colombian territory and 70% of Peruvian territory are now under mining concessions and under titles owned by companies such as Goldcorp, Barrick Gold, HudBay Minerals, Pacific Rim, Oceana Gold, Infinito Gold, Gold Marlin, Tahoe Resources. Companies that are, in turn, being sued for multiple human rights violations (Tahoe Resources in El Escobal, Guatemala, with cases of Angelica Choc and Cris Santos Perez and Lot 8 with HudBay Minerals, Guatemala, are some examples).
To exacerbate the issue, some of these companies are now suing the nation-states of Mexico and El Salvador for huge sums of money because they have been unable to carry out their contracts. Today, the model that Canadian mining companies are exporting to the world, according to Jennifer Moore, director of MiningWatch Latin America, can be summarized in the following points: to change the policies of the host countries; to privatize their land; to create lower taxes and expand royalties for the mining sector; and to criminalize public protest.
This week we recommend two videos on indigenous resistance and insistence: the first is the classic “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance” by Alanis Obomsawin (1993) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yP3srFvhKs; the second is “Elsipotog: The fire over water – Fault Lines” (2015), a journalistic documentary by Aljazeera on Mikmak resistance, the Idle No More movement, indigenous sovereignty, and the inconsistencies of the extractivism: https: // www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fleh95UWGo
Until next week!
De Kanehsatake a Elsipogtog: resistencia e insistencia
Esta semana queremos recomendarles dos videos sobre resistencia e insistencia indígena: el primero es el clásico “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance” de Alanis Obomsawin (1993) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yP3srFvhKs; el segundo es “Elsipotog: The fire over water – Fault Lines” (2015), un documental de Aljazeera sobre la resistencia en Nuevo Brunswick, el movimiento Idle No More, la soberanía indígena y las incosistencias del proyecto minero: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fleh95UWGo
Hasta la próxima semana!