Your question of the week — “Should Sinixt protestors be permitted to block a logging road in the Slocan Valley?” was improperly worded. A more honest question for our region, our country and our culture, would be “Should settlers be allowed to exploit resources on the sensitive cultural territory of the Sovereign Sinixt Nation (or any other indigenous nation) without their consent?”
The entitled colonial attitude expressed in your seemingly innocent question probably influences the response.
Indigenous people across these unceded territories known as BC are taking enormous risk to their freedom and safety, demanding that our destructive capitalist culture rethink our priorities, reconnect with our land bases and decolonize our minds. The Sinixt are no exception. “Officially” they are no longer even acknowledged as the vibrant living community that they are. In my experience as a settler in the Slocan Valley, the Sinixt Nation work with great courage, integrity and commitment to reclaim a healthy relationship to the land and heal from generations of colonial trauma.
We who worry about the future of our planet, about oil spills in the ocean, climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and the soul-rending devastation of disconnect from the land have much to learn from the Sinixt Nation and other land defenders, and they are generous with their knowledge.
I would encourage anyone who voted “no” in last week’s poll to attend Froggy Fest or the Barter Fair, come on a Walkabout with Marilyn James, take a (guided) tour of the archaeological site, visit a blockade, or attend one of the many other events and fundraisers offered in our community by the Sinixt Nation. There you will connect with the real mission of these brave folks, which is to uphold their cultural responsibilities to this sacred place.