No Pipelines, No Tar Sands: Defending Mother Nature and Indigenous Solidarity

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time.  But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

– Aboriginal Activists Group:

(this is the text of the speech that i gave at a demonstration in solidarity with indigenous nations resisting the tar sands, and opposing the tar sands pipelines coming through ontario.)

I want to thank all of you for coming today.  There are so many ways you could have chosen to spend a beautiful saturday afternoon, and you chose to be here to manifest your opposition to the Tar sands and Pipelines.     You chose to be here today to take on some the responsibility that we all have to defend mother nature, the animals, each other and the future generations. 

   You chose to be here to express your solidarity with Indigenous People and communities that are opposing the Tar Sands and the Pipelines.

So far the campaigns to stop the pipelines are proving highly effective.  Pipelines going west to the Pacific Ocean have been blocked.  The Keystone XL has been delayed, and there is a massive movement opposing it’s expansion.  Now the Tar Sands industry is trying to send it’s oil east.  We have to stop them.

   One of the main reasons that these campaigns have been effective is the participation and leadership of Indigenous People and communities.

   While it’s true that EVERYONE IS EFFECTED BY THE TAR SANDS – just think of the impact of the Tar Sands on Climate Change, it is equally true that we need to be taking leadership from those communities that are most directly effected by the Tar Sands and Pipelines.

   For all of us who aren’t indigenous, we have an ethical obligation to work in solidarity with Indigenous People.  Taking leadership from communities resisting the Tar Sands is an ethical obligation, and it also makes sense politically.  It’s how we are going to win this fight, and it is central to fighting environmental racism, and colonialism.

   More than this, those communities that are fighting for Indigenous Sovereignty and Indigenous Rights are also showing us all a way towards a respectful relationship with the environment, the animals, and each other.

   People are dying right now.  Animals are dying right now.  The earth is being devastated right now.  That’s the reality of the Tar Sands industry.  It’s why we’re here today, and it’s why we have to win this fight.

   What this means is that we ahve to raise the political and economic cost of sending that Tar Sands oil through these pipelines.  We have to raise the political and economic cost enough so that it is no longer profitable, or even possible, to send that oil through these pipelines.

   What it means is that we will need to take leadership from Indigenous communities, and all of the communities that are directly impacted by the tar sands industry, and that we will need to use every tactic that is effective in preventing these pipelines, from petitions and lobbying city hall, to direct actions and blockades.


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