Confronting Canada Day Rally and March in Vancouver
By Zig Zag, Warrior Publications, July 2, 2014
Approximately 100 people attended a “Confront Canada Day” rally and march in Vancouver, BC, on July 1, 2014. The rally began at Clark Park in East Vancouver with Natives drumming, singing and speaking against the colonial history of Canada. There was also a contingent of anarchists dressed in Black Bloc and carrying black flags. The group then marched down Commercial Drive behind a large black banner that proclaimed “Decolonize Means Attack”, chanting slogans such as “No pipelines on stolen Native land” and “Fuck Canada” with fireworks and flares being lit periodically.
The event was organized by Beat the Pipelines, the same group that also organized the May Day rally this year, which saw several police assaults and arrests. Unlike that rally, the Confront Canada Day march saw far less police officers deployed, presumably because police resources were focused on crowd control in the downtown area, where tens of thousands of people gathered for Canada Day fireworks. As a result, the Confront Canada Day event had only a handful of cops who stayed back and did not attempt to interfere.
Vancouver has seen several anti-Canada Day rallies over the years, one of the first being held in the late 1970s with punk bands such as DOA and the Subhumans. In 1992 and ’93, Roots of Resistance, a radical people of colour group, also held anti-Canada Day rallies that marched to Canada Place during official celebrations. The ’92 rally saw the first real deployment of riot cops in the city, with brand new uniforms and shields. In 2007, an ad hoc group, the Indigenous Resistance Organizing Committee (IROC), also held an anti-Canada Day rally and march that began in Oppenheimer Park in the Downtown Eastside with a feast and speeches, then marched to Canada Place.
Here is the initial call out for the 2014 Confronting Canada Day rally:
July 1st, the day Canadians celebrate Canada Day is for many Indigenous people and their allies a day that is a very insulting and painful reminder of what Canada represents. The history of Canada is based on the assimilation, enslavement and genocide of Indigenous People across the continent. We are wondering if this is something you think is worth celebrating? We feel we have a lot of work confronting our history. Lets start with not shamelessly waving flags.
Grassroots Wet’suwet’en land defenders have taken action. The Unist’ot’enCamp sits in the path of the Pacific Trails (fracked gas) and Enbridge (tar sands oil) Pipelines as well as several others proposed disasters.
These pipelines will run through salmon bearing rivers, beautiful forests and the habitats of thousands of wild animals. This land has sustained the Unist’ot’en people for countless generations. Relying on their traditional knowledge, communities, and new found affinities with settler allies, they are intent on defending their territories and they will allow no treaty or legal route to do it for them.
From the Hudson’s Bay Co. trading furs over 200 years ago to the logging of old growth forests for the last century to the Pacific Trails Pipeline trying to cut through their sovereign territories today. The government of Canada stands as a stark reminder that the colonization of the Indigenous communities is still on the forefront of the government and corporation’s agendas. The weak attempt at reconciliation put forward by the Harper government was simply a ploy to smooth things over for industry to
continue the destruction and exploitation of the amazing ecosystems they call home.
On this day of nationalist drivel we have decided to take a stand against the Canadian State to say: We are not proud of the history of atrocities against indigenous communities, we are not proud of the relentless destruction of beautiful eco systems in the name of the “economy” and we are not proud of the militarized state we have come to call home. We stand in unwavering defense and confrontation with the Unist’ot’en people and together we will not compromise the land and those it sustains. We will stop these pipelines.
Please join us in opposing this terrible celebration and start standing up for something real and genuine. Join us on July 1st for the second demonstration to celebrate the ongoing resistance of the Unist’ot’en land defenders.
Accomplices Not Allies: