Occupy Talks: Indigenous Perspectives on the Occupy Movement

Repost:

Occupy Talks took place in Toronto, at Beit Zatoun, on January, 23rd, 2012.  It was sponsored by the Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Labour Congress, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy Ryerson University, Environmental Justice Toronto.

Description of the event:

What does it mean to ‘Occupy already occupied lands?’. How does Occupy relate to 500 years of resistance on Turtle Island? Please join speakers Tom B.K. Goldtooth, Clayton Thomas-Muller and Leanne Simpson with MC Tannis Nielson to explore and discuss these dynamics of the Occupy movement.

Below are videos of speakers at the event.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: 

“And so I say to you today, that if you wish to align yourselves with the disposed and the marginalized, reject the language and ideology of colonialism, conquest and exploitation. As my colleague Waziyatawin told Occupy Oakland “distinguish yourselves from the builders and players of Wall Street”. Place decolonization at the centre of your movement and abandon the language of occupation. And if you want to be really brave and radical, place the concerns and the issues of Indigenous women at the centre of your de-occupation.” – Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a writer, activist, and scholar of Michi Saagiik Nishnaabeg ancestry and is a band member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba, is an Adjunct Professor in Indigenous Studies at Trent University and an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has also lectured at Ryerson University, the University of Victoria, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Winnipeg. Leanne has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada and internationally over the past 15 years on environmental, governance and political issues. She has published three edited volumes including Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence and Protection of Indigenous Nations (2008, Arbeiter Ring), and This is An Honour Song: Twenty Years Since the Barricades (with Kiera Ladner, 2010, Arbeiter Ring). Leanne has published over thirty scholarly articles and raised over one million dollars for community-based research projects over her career. She has written fiction and non-fiction pieces for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Anishinabek News, the Link, and Canadian Art Magazine.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s web site – http://leannesimpson.ca/

Clayton Thomas-Muller:

Clayton Thomas-Muller, of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan in Northern Manitoba, Canada, is an activist for Indigenous rights and environmental justice. With his roots in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Clayton began his work as a community organizer, working with Aboriginal youth. Over the years Clayton’s work has taken him to five continents across our Mother Earth. Based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement for energy and climate justice. He serves on the board of the Global Justice Ecology Project and Canadian based Raven Trust. Recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine, Clayton is the Tar Sands Campaign Director for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He works across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states with grassroots indigenous communities to defend against the sprawling infrastructure that includes pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the tar sands, the largest and most destructive industrial project in the history of mankind.

Tom B.K. Goldtooth:

Tom B.K. Goldtooth is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), headquartered at Bemidji, Minnesota. A social change activist within the Native American community for over 30 years, he has become an environmental and economic justice leader, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Tom co-produced an award winning documentary film, Drumbeat For Mother Earth, which addresses the affects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous peoples, and is active with many environmental and social justice organizations besides IEN. Tom is a policy advisor on environmental protection, climate mitigation, and adaptation. Tom co-authored the REDD Booklet on the risks of REDD within indigenous territories and a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change — the indigenous caucus within the UNFCCC.

Film screening: H2Oil

Film Screening: H2Oil
‘Because the Tar Sands and Water Don’t Mix’
Presented by Polaris Insitute
Endorsed by IPSMO

The Film will be screened 4 times at the Mayfair Theatre:

  • Friday, November 27th at 7:00PM
  • Saturday, November 28th at 7:00PM – ***Please note that neither Tony (Polaris) nor Clayton (IEN) will be able to attend this evening’s screening as initially planned. Clayton will however be available on Sunday, November 29th***
  • Sunday, November 29th at 7:00PM – ***Clayton Thomas-Muller from the Indigenous Environmental Network will be available for a Q & A session after the screening***
  • Monday, November 30th at 7:00PM

Admission will be:
MayFair Members $5.00
Non-Members $9.00
Seniors & Children $6.00

ABOUT THE FILM

Ever wonder where American gets most of its oil? If you thought it was Saudi Arabia or Iraq you are wrong. America’s biggest oil supplier has quickly become Canada’s oil sands. Located under Alberta’s pristine boreal forests, the process of oil sands extraction uses up to 4 barrels of fresh water to produce only one barrel of crude oil.

H2Oil follows a voyage of discovery, heartbreak and politicization in the stories of those attempting to defend water in Alberta against tar sands expansion. Unlikely alliances are built and lives are changed as they come up against the largest industrial project in human history.

Ultimately we ask what is more important, oil or water? And what will be our response?

With hope and courage H2Oil tells the story of one of the most significant, and destructive projects of our time.

Tues Oct 27: Fighting For Our Rights

Tues Oct 27, 7:00pm
Fighting for Our Rights: Indigenous Women and Youth in an Urban Context
St. Joseph’s Church, 151 Laurier Ave E. (at Cumberland) [Hall entrance at 174 Wilbrod St]

Indigenous women and youth living in urban areas in particular face many challenges in accessing appropriate services, practicing their culture, in being discriminated against, high rates of violence and social problems. How can we respond many of these problems, from the community level to the political? How can we reverse the trends of violence? How can we stop the cycles of violence and begin healing? How can we empower Indigenous women and youth to confront these challenges directly? What role do allies play? This panel will explore these and more issues.

Panelists:

  • Lisa Abel, Child Welfare and Indigenous Media activist
  • Clayton Thomas Muller, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Claudette Commanda, First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres
  • Speaker from Minwaashin Lodge/Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre
  • Moderated by Ben Powless, Defenders of the Land