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"the picture of intent
- canadian attempts to destroy indigenous peoples"
By Kerry Coast
See "events" to watch and listen to the book launch broadcast
This book is a collection of articles originally published in The BC Treaty Negotiating Times, The St’át’imc Runner newspaper, and the Vancouver Media Co-op, by author Kerry Coast.
The selected articles report on Canada’s modern pursuit of the destruction of Indigenous Peoples. The “picture of intent” brings a multitude of incidents into a composite view. These articles describe the impossible, everyday situations of Indigenous Peoples - which they continue to defy at great pain and cost. The impossible situations are not naturally occurring. They are thoughtfully designed and manufactured by agents of Canada, hand in hand with an ongoing counter-narrative of denial and dismissal in Canadian culture. Such jargon as “reconciliation” and “new relationships” and “modern day treaties” are the velvet glove which conceals an iron fist. The situations stay the same while the settler story keeps being rewritten for posterity. The popular narrative and the actual situations should be considered together.
Canadian actions, official and civilian, against the peoples and nations have been revealed and condemned - one Inquiry or Commission after another - and then the actions are repeated in a new guise, with the same intended consequences of destruction.
If Canadians did not wish to carry out genocide against these peoples, surely they would not be persevering in committing the same genocidal actions; surely they would do something else to achieve a different result.
“Reconciliation” is not a good word to describe the culpability of Canadians and their state in connection to irreparable harms wreaked against Indigenous Peoples. That concept must be understood in its original usage by Canada’s Supreme Court judges, when they explain that the device of “aboriginal rights” is meant to effect “the reconciliation of the prior occupation of North America by distinctive aboriginal societies with the assertion of Crown sovereignty over Canadian territory.” The word is used as a teeter-totter in place of law, basically mitigating outrageous injustices with paltry and conditional concessions.
What Canadians and Indigenous Peoples need is a remedy. A legal remedy. And no one can be a party to the dispute and the presiding judge.
The purpose of this collection is to help Canadians recognize the need for intervention in their affairs. Assistance from an independent, impartial, third-party tribunal to hear the Indigenous complaint and avail international remedy is required.
This collection of essays is a set of challenges for those of us who are living on the shifting edge of an unsustainable world: an urban "First World" that is completely subsidized by forces, people, and places largely unknown to us, and often elsewhere.
This read poses essential questions on food security, big media, poverty, social fabrics we could quilt with... and tools to replace the "keep calm and go shopping" Modus Operandi.
Speeches: Poverty Fatigue ~ History's End (no date) ~ Women's Day ~ The Power Has Too Much Media ~ Colonial Futures: The Devil You Do ~ A $20 Blueberry
Just among the crowd: Letter to Auntie Jean ~ The Crutches ~ Social Needia ~ The Autonomous Nervous System
No treaties were made with the indigenous nations whose territories are now considered a Canadian province called British Columbia. Instead, a breathtaking policy of criminalization and assimilation has been vigorously carried out against them.
Present day governments continue with processes that, although recently re-named and cosmetically improved, are unconstitutional and prohibited by the 1948 Genocide Convention: deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.
The indigenous nations have never joined Canada but had citizenship imposed on them while the province has never fulfilled Canada's constitutional requirements of purchasing their lands before settling. BC's economy is 80% derived from extraction of natural resources from lands and waters that have never been ceded, sold or surrendered to them by their indigenous owners.
The ongoing colonization of British Columbia relies on settler indifference to the indigenous. The Colonial Present documents the colonizer's manufacture of a new mythology to dehumanize the original peoples and strip them of their rightful places in the world.
This book is an exploration of how such a stunning string of events continues unchecked, and British Columbians' continuing attempts to rationalize them.
" This is history as it should be done."
"This fascinating study provides a template not only for understanding but transforming colonial realities throughout North America."
- Natsu Taylor Saito, Professor of
International Law, Georgia State
There is a deep churning within identity,
where the devices of history, of humanity,
One of the grindstones is the place we live
and call home.
There is a growing commonality around the world, among individuals' sense of displacement. The search for belonging ensues. It is often negotiated through that tempest of dust kicked up along others' paths, as their identities suck and whirl and
even offer shelter.
Some of these stories go to the impact of European imperialism on Indigenous peoples here in the west. Some turn back onto upheavals among Europeans which cracked ancient human codes, and dwelling places, in similar fashion. The road home comes up against borders real and imagined; physical and spiritual. Borders are sometimes advanced against us, and sometimes they are nailed up in defense by people who can no longer recognize us.Very often, after all we have been through to finally return, the old place just isn't the same. And neither are we.
Every Final Agreement produced in the BC Treaty Commission's "modern day treaty" process has been the subject of court action and human rights complaints, and has caused searing divisions within the Indigenous community engaged in it.
Why are Agreements which are criticized in UN human rights committees still being sought by Indigenous communities? Because the present day alternative - abject poverty or open confrontations with the police and government - is forcing them to take the only means available to keep their people in houses, to start businesses, to access a small part of the wealth of their own lands.
The BC treaty process affords loans and investment - and then results in the extinguishment of aboriginal title, the modification of all aboriginal rights, and a settlement package too small to sustain even the next generation of people. Meanwhile, Indigenous Peoples have the same rights as any other peoples in the world, and they have the right not to be subject to genocide: "deliberately imposing conditions of life calculated to bring about the destruction of the group."
With excerpts from open letters, UN Human Rights Council committees, and press statements.
Kerry Coast is a journalist, dramatist, co-founder and editor of The St’át’imc Runner and The BC Treaty Negotiating Times newspapers, co-founder and writer for the Úcwalmicw Players theatre company; and author.
Her first book, The Colonial Present, was published in 2013 by Clarity Press. Her second book, The BC Treaty Process: dealing in duress, focuses on the scandalous "modern day treaty process" in British Columbia. A book of essays, Speeches from the Crowd, and a book of short stories, Home to an Empty House, deal with modern dilemmas of globalization - the one through research, the other by imagination.
Coast’s current projects include a tribute to the legendary Secwepemc leader William Ignace, "Wolverine’s Sovereignty"; and "Roadblock" – an encyclopedic documentary of Indigenous roadblocks in British Columbia; and editing "The Fifth World – An Indigenous Off-Reserve Reality," by Tsayskiy, Ron George, of Wet’suwet’en.
Kerry is the founder of Electromagnetic Print.