Hockey has long been considered Canada’s national sport, deeply ingrained in the country’s cultural fabric. However, the history and continued existence of the sport have been marred by the exclusion of Indigenous peoples and the erasure of their contributions. There has been a growing call to ‘decolonize’ hockey in recent years, addressing the systemic racism that plagues the sport and promoting inclusivity for Indigenous players and fans. The movement, spearheaded by both Indigenous and settler hockey players and fans, seeks to help reclaim Indigenous identity in hockey and foster an environment where everyone feels welcome.
Addressing Racism in Hockey
Racism in hockey has been pervasive throughout the sport’s history. Indigenous players have often faced discrimination on and off the ice, with instances of racial slurs and harmful stereotypes being perpetuated. Furthermore, the lack of representation of Indigenous players in professional leagues contributes to the marginalization of their communities. The decolonization movement aims to create a more inclusive space for Indigenous athletes by addressing these issues.
Reclaiming Indigenous Contributions to Hockey
Indigenous communities have contributed significantly to the development and popularization of hockey. Early versions of the game were played by the Mi’kmaq and other First Nations in Canada long before European settlers arrived. However, the sport’s history has been predominantly shaped by colonial narratives that exclude Indigenous voices. To decolonize hockey, it is essential to acknowledge and celebrate these early contributions.
Promoting Cultural Awareness and Anti-Racist Education in Hockey
Education is a crucial element in the decolonization process. By raising awareness about the Indigenous roots of hockey and their ongoing contributions to the sport, the movement hopes to challenge the dominant colonial narrative. This can be achieved through educational initiatives, such as workshops and seminars, aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of Indigenous cultures, histories, and experiences in hockey.
Supporting Indigenous Representation and Leadership in Hockey
The decolonization movement also emphasizes the importance of increasing Indigenous representation at all levels of the sport, from players and coaches to executives and decision-makers. By promoting Indigenous voices in positions of leadership, the sport can better address the needs and concerns of Indigenous communities.
Creating Safe and Inclusive Spaces in Hockey and all Sports
Decolonizing hockey involves creating environments where Indigenous players and fans feel safe and welcome. This includes addressing instances of racism, promoting cultural understanding, and celebrating the diversity of Indigenous cultures within the hockey community. Additionally, the movement aims to ensure that arenas and other hockey-related spaces are inclusive and respectful of Indigenous traditions and customs.
The decolonization of hockey is necessary to foster inclusivity and celebrate the diverse histories and cultures that have shaped the sport. By addressing systemic racism, reclaiming Indigenous contributions, and promoting education and representation, the movement seeks to create a more equitable and inclusive future for hockey in Canada and beyond.
Forsyth, J., & Wamsley, K. (2006). “Native to Native… We’ll Reciprocate’: An Examination of the Canadian Government’s Sport Relationship with Indigenous People.” International Journal of Canadian Studies, 33, 77-94.
Kidd, B. (2016). “Decolonizing Sport History in Canada: Indigenous Peoples, Sport, and the Politics of Recognition.” Sport History Review, 47(2), 144-162. doi: 10.1123/shr.2015-0006
Robidoux, M. (2012). “Playing for Change: Reimagining Sport and the Canadian Indigenous Body.” In J. Forsyth & A. Giles (Eds.), Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues (pp. 207-230). UBC Press.
Mason, C., & Koehli, J. (2016). “We Matter: Aboriginal Youth in Canada’s Colonial Context and the Potential Role of Sport for Social Change.” In R. Spaaij, J. Magee, & R. Jeanes (Eds.), Sport and Social Exclusion in Global Society (pp. 87-102). Routledge.
Paraschak, V. (2013). “Sport and Reconciliation: Exploring Contributions from Canadian Sport Stories.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 37(4), 346-366. doi: 10.1177/0193723512466281
The recent incident involving Manitoba NHL player Zach Whitecloud, in which an American sportscaster mocked his name, serves as a stark reminder of the historical connection between hockey and the colonization and assimilation of Indigenous peoples into mainstream Canadian culture. For many, the sportscaster’s insensitive remark reflects a long-standing legacy of racism towards Indigenous cultures that has persisted within the sport of hockey.
Whitecloud Incident Sheds Light on Legacy of Indigenous Racism in Hockey
Sports, like hockey, have been historically used as tools to suppress Indigenous cultures and assimilate Indigenous peoples into dominant society. This approach was particularly evident in residential schools, government-sponsored religious institutions established in the 19th century. In these schools, sports were often utilized as a means to “civilize” Indigenous children, instilling Euro-Canadian values and alienating them from their own cultural practices.
Hockey, in particular, was employed to assimilate Indigenous children and encourage conformity to the dominant society’s norms. The sport was seen as a means to instill discipline, teamwork, and loyalty to a new cultural identity, effectively stripping Indigenous children of their heritage, language, and spiritual beliefs, and replacing them with Euro-Canadian values.
In light of this historical context, the sportscaster’s comment on Whitecloud’s name can be seen as an attempt to diminish his heritage as a member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
However, rather than ignoring the incident, Whitecloud seized the opportunity to educate the sportscaster on the importance of understanding and respecting diverse backgrounds.
During a scrum with reporters, Whitecloud expressed his pride in his culture, upbringing, and the legacy his grandfather’s last name carries, while also emphasizing his desire for the controversy to serve as a learning experience to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In response to the incident, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement emphasizing the sacredness of First Nations names and the legacy of ancestors. Grand Chief Cathy Merrick expressed disappointment over the incident and called on ESPN and the NHL to address racism within the sport more effectively.
The Struggle for Indigenous Representation and Respect in Hockey
The incident involving Zach Whitecloud underlines the ongoing struggle for Indigenous representation and respect within sports like hockey, which have historically been used as vehicles for colonization and assimilation.
As the landscape of hockey transforms, embracing a more inclusive environment, it is imperative to acknowledge and confront the ongoing struggle for Indigenous representation and comprehension in hockey and other sports historically employed as instruments of colonization and cultural assimilation. A wider discourse is necessary to explore the urgency of extricating hockey from its colonial roots.
By fostering greater awareness and education about Indigenous cultures, we can work towards dismantling the lingering colonial legacy in hockey, and sports, to build towards a more inclusive and respectful cultural landscape on Turtle Island, and across the globe.
As the UFC’s influence in Africa and the Global South continues to expand, the intricate ties between colonialism, combat sports, and mixed martial arts have come to the forefront.
The “Rumble in the Jungle,” was a historic boxing match between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, took place on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). While the event itself was not inherently colonial, it is impossible to overlook the colonial connections and implications that arose from its historical and political context.
Zaire’s tumultuous colonial past, having been under Belgian rule before achieving independence in 1960, still cast its shadow over the nation during the 1970s. Lingering social, political, and economic issues served as a constant reminder of the colonial legacy.
Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire’s dictator at the time, recognized the potential of hosting such a high-profile event with two African-American athletes of international renown. He sought to leverage the “Rumble in the Jungle” as a means to elevate Zaire’s image on the world stage, portraying it as a modern and progressive nation despite the nation’s ongoing struggle with the consequences of its colonial past.
The financing of the event also bore the hallmarks of colonial resource exploitation. The Zaire government funded the match using profits derived from the country’s abundant natural resources, particularly its mineral wealth. This mirrors the long-standing practice of colonial powers extracting wealth from their colonies for their own gain.
The racial dynamics at play during the “Rumble in the Jungle” further emphasized its colonial implications. Both Ali and Foreman, as African-American athletes, symbolically reconnected with their ancestral roots by choosing to fight in Africa.
This was especially significant for Ali, who was not only an advocate for black empowerment but had also converted to Islam. The event represented a reclamation of African heritage in defiance of a history marred by European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.
Upon his arrival, Ali was greeted with enthusiastic adoration. To the people of Zaire, Ali was the embodiment of their country’s struggles, It didn’t take long for a chant to form – “Ali boma ye” – which roughly translates to “Ali, kill him” in English.
Conversely, George Foreman was unable to connect with the locals in the same manner as Ali. Upon his arrival, Foreman exited his plane accompanied by his two German Shepherds, the same breed of dogs used by the Belgians during the colonization period, as depicted in the documentary film “When We Were Kings”.
The “Rumble in the Jungle” was not colonial in nature, but its context and implications were undeniably steeped in colonial history. The event highlighted the ongoing struggle for African nations to overcome the legacy of colonialism while simultaneously celebrating and reclaiming their rich cultural heritage.
The Influence of Colonialism on the Development of Modern Sports
There are many intricate connections between colonialism and modern sport. football’s historical development, global expansion, and contemporary organization are significantly intertwined with colonialism, with the sport serving as both a product and an instrument of colonial powers. While hockey’s ties to colonialism are less pronounced, its evolution and global dissemination have been influenced by colonial powers, leaving a visible colonial legacy within the sport.
Baseball, too, has a colonial history that has shaped its development and spread around the world. Initially emerging in the United States, baseball gained traction in numerous countries as a result of American colonial influence and military presence.
Although MMA lacks a direct colonial connection, its development worldwide reaches through the UFC, and these certain organizational traits within the sport, are indirectly influenced by the broader context of colonialism and its enduring effects on global culture and power dynamics. These are all ways in which these sports exemplify the lasting impact of colonialism on international culture and power structures.
English Football: A Product of Colonial Expansion
The origins and worldwide spread of football, known as soccer in the United States, can be traced back to the British Empire. With modern football taking shape in the 19th century, the empire’s global reach facilitated the sport’s introduction to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Football’s global proliferation is, in part, a product of cultural imperialism, as the sport was often used to “civilize” colonized populations and establish hierarchies. Today, the colonial legacy is still evident in national teams and global football organizations such as FIFA.
Baseball: American Cultural Influence and Assimilation
Baseball, with origins in the United States and England in the 18th and 19th centuries, spread globally through the expansion of American influence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The sport’s introduction to the Caribbean, Latin America, and East Asia was often tied to colonial or imperial ambitions, serving as a means of cultural assimilation. Baseball’s role in social structures and hierarchies is reflective of colonial power dynamics. Contemporary baseball still displays colonial influences, with Latin American and Caribbean players joining Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB holding significant power worldwide.
Hockey: Canadian Cultural Identity and Global Imposition
Hockey, while not as closely tied to colonialism as English football or American baseball, shares similarities in its development, particularly in shaping Canada’s national identity and imposing those values globally. The sport emerged in Canada, a British colony, in the 19th century, and spread to other regions through networks of colonial powers like France, Belgium, Sweden, and Germany. Hockey’s spread was often facilitated by socio-political factors related to colonialism, with European powers introducing their sports to establish social structures and hierarchies in colonized regions. The colonial legacy in hockey is still evident in the sport’s organization and the dominance of countries like Canada and the United States in international competitions.
Colonial Impact of Modern Sport
The historical development and global spread of English football, American baseball, and Canadian hockey have been significantly influenced by colonial powers and their cultural impact. The colonial legacy is still visible in various aspects of these sports, including power dynamics and the continued influence of former colonial powers in the contemporary sporting world.
The UFC’s Indirect Ties to Colonialism: A Global Phenomenon
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has become a global sensation since its inception in 1993. While it doesn’t have a direct link to colonialism like other sports, certain aspects of its development, growth, and representation have been influenced by the broader context of colonialism and its lasting impact on global culture.
The Emergence of the UFC in a Globalized World
The UFC was established in the United States as a platform for mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions, featuring various disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Judo. These martial arts have evolved and spread due to globalization, a process significantly shaped by historical colonialism. The UFC itself emerged from this globalized context, blending techniques from different martial arts to determine which discipline is most effective in real combat situations.
The Cultural Assimilation of Martial Arts by the UFC
The UFC’s assimilation of various martial arts disciplines can be seen as a consequence of globalization and the pervasive influence of American culture, which has roots in historical colonialism. As the UFC’s global reach expanded, it unified diverse martial arts disciplines into a single sport, diluting the unique cultural aspects and practices of each individual martial art.
America’s Socioeconomic and Cultural Dominance in the UFC
The UFC’s success can be partially attributed to the economic and cultural dominance of the United States in the post-colonial era. This influence has extended to various aspects of life, including sports and entertainment. The UFC has capitalized on the appeal of American culture and entertainment, using innovative marketing strategies, international expansion, and assimilation of culturally diverse martial arts disciplines to attract a global audience.
Addressing Orientalism and Racist Stereotypes in the UFC
The UFC has faced criticism for perpetuating stereotypes and reinforcing unequal power dynamics, particularly in relation to race and nationality. To challenge and dismantle these harmful stereotypes and power dynamics, the UFC and other combat sports organizations need to promote fights based on the fighters’ skills and achievements rather than race, nationality, or cultural background. Providing opportunities for fighters from diverse backgrounds to tell their own stories and represent their communities fairly can contribute to a more inclusive and equitable representation of combat sports globally.
Unravelling The Colonial Legacies Of Mixed Martial Arts
The UFC’s development, global spread, and certain aspects of its organization and representation have been influenced by the broader context of colonialism and its lasting effects on global culture. This influence is evident in the ongoing dominance of Western culture and values, commercial success linked to Western capitalist systems, and the appropriation of non-Western martial arts.
Mixed martial artists should work towards dismantling harmful stereotypes and power dynamics permeated by Western culture while promoting inclusivity and fair representation in the world of combat sports.
The Impact of Colonialism on Contemporary Combat Sports and Beyond
The echoes of colonialism can be perceived across the spectrum of modern sports, including football, baseball, hockey, boxing, and mixed martial arts, as exemplified by organizations like the UFC. The development, worldwide proliferation, and cultural contexts of these sports have been permanently etched by colonialism’s enduring effect on global culture and power dynamics.
The legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” was more than just an iconic boxing match; it also epitomized the battle against colonialism and the pursuit of identity and independence among newly-emancipated nations. Held in a stadium built by former Belgian colonizers, the event signified the restoration of national pride and sovereignty for the people of Congo. Ali’s victory stood as a potent symbol for the tenacity and resilience of post-colonial societies in their search for self-determination.
As we confront the legacies of our colonial history, it is crucial to identify and acknowledge the complex connections between sports and colonialism. Moreover, we must contemplate the potential role that sports can serve in fostering greater comprehension and collaboration among diverse cultures.
Although some links between colonialism and contemporary sports might be subtle or indirect, they nevertheless reveal the lasting influence of historical power dynamics on present-day society. Recognizing the legacy of colonialism in modern sports enables us to better comprehend the intricate interplay of history, politics, and culture in today’s sporting landscape. It also underscores the necessity to decolonize historically significant sports, such as mixed martial arts and other combat sports, from their dominant colonial-influenced organizations.
By scrutinizing these organizations and their ties to colonialism, we can attain a deeper understanding of how contemporary sports have acted as both a result and a tool of colonial powers. This examination also illuminates the continuing role of sports in shaping international culture and relations. The decolonization of combat sports is a crucial step towards dismantling the remnants of colonial influence, promoting inclusivity, and ensuring a more equitable future for athletes and modern sports fans alike.
For as long as the first fur traders, missionaries, and pioneers, would settle in the lands that would later be claimed as British Colombia, and the country of so-called Canada, the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan people have been fighting for their right to land and sovereignty. 
For more than a century, a rail line, owned and operated by the Canadian-state, has gone through the territory of the Gixtsan people, without any concern for the fact that it is unceded Indigenous land. 
In fact, the Gitxsan people are one of the first land claimants in B.C. history, dating back to the the Skeena Uprising of 1872, which saw Gixtsan land defenders blockade the Skeena River in protest of the ongoing destruction of their territory by gold miners. Now, over a century later, the blockades continue on. 
The Coastal GasLink pipeline, operated by TC Energy, runs from Northeast British Columbia to Kitimat, and will facilitate the export of natural gas to the Asian energy market. 
The pipeline project, which began in 2018, and has faced many environmental assessment violations, passes through several unceded First Nations territories, including that of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people. 
The pipeline is funded by more than two dozen financial institutions, including the Royal Bank of Canada, which is profiting from this, and much more ecological destruction, by the tune of more than $263 billion dollars invested in fossil fuel extraction projects, including the CGL pipeline. 
In late September of 2022, despite years of public opposition from the Hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en, TC Energy began drilling underneath the Wedzin Kwa river. This further ecological destruction resulted in an urgent call to action among settler and non-settler allies made by Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their hereditary chiefs. 
On November 5th, 2022, numerous Indigenous activists and land defenders, along with settler and non-settler allies, participated in a nationwide demonstration of solidarity, in support of the Wet’suwet’en’s resistance against the CGL pipeline. 
In Toronto, amidst a string of public employee strikes, nearly a hundred demonstrators gathered outside of a major branch of the Royal Bank of Canada on Yonge Street, with the group marching to RBC headquarters on Bay Street later that day.
A week later, on November 12th, Indigenous land defenders, climate activists, labour unions and socialist groups marched in the streets of Toronto to once again raise awareness for the cause of Wet’suwet’en resistance against the CGL pipeline. 
Four months later, on March 19th, 2023, Wet’suwet’en land defender Eve Saint, along with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks made a call for mobilization of settler and non-settler allies across all of so-called Canada. 
RCMP Raid Gidimt’en Checkpoint
On March 29th, 2023, RCMP C-IRG authorities executed a raid on the Gidimt’en checkpoint resulting in the arrest of at least five individuals and the deployment of 14 law enforcement vehicles. Prior to the raid, C-IRG operatives had been working to infiltrate the camp, setting up trap line trails and monitoring the area. 
In the 24 hours preceding the raid, police were spotted on these trails, causing distress to the occupants. This tension culminated in the arrival of 14 law enforcement vehicles on the scene.
As officers swept through the camp, they detained everyone they encountered. Some individuals resorted to barricading themselves inside structures to evade arrest, while police made efforts to penetrate these makeshift defenses. It remains unclear whether additional arrests were made. The apparent objective of the operation was to clear and dismantle the camp, as has been the case in previous raids.
In response to the raid, community leaders, elders, and supporters converged on the camp to ensure the safety of those affected and to evaluate the situation. Updates continued to be provided as new information came to light. It is important to note that the Gidimt’en checkpoint was under siege, with law enforcement officers making arrests at the behest of the pipeline company.
Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Mobilize for RBC Annual General Meeting
As the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) approaches on April 5 in Saskatoon, Wet’suwet’en land defenders, and allies from across the nation are gearing up to make their voices heard on April 1st in what organizers are calling ‘Fossil Fools Day.‘ With 1,100 RBC branches and 578 locations nationwide, organizers have encouraged the public to participate in actions and communicate their concerns, in order to foster unity and progress. 
The RBC is known to be one of the top five global banks financing environmentally destructive projects. By attending the RBC AGM, land defenders and settler allies aim to expose the truth of what is happening and to make a real difference.
This movement emphasizes the importance of forging connections, engaging in open communication, and staying true to one’s convictions. Advocates believe that unity is essential for making a significant impact on various aspects of society and the way business is conducted.
The message is clear: working together positively and maintaining unity will ensure that their presence and impact will be felt for centuries to come.
Decolonization involves dismantling colonial systems, transferring power to Indigenous peoples, and seeking redress for past injustices in the pursuit of social justice.
What does decolonization mean?
Decolonization constitutes a multifaceted process that entails the dismantlement of the complex systems of colonialism in a particular territory or region. It involves a substantial shift of power and control from the colonial authorities to the native population, resulting in the creation of independent nation-states. This intricate process can take various forms, such as political independence, economic self-determination, cultural revival, and the acknowledgment of Indigenous rights and sovereignty. Furthermore, decolonization frequently involves struggles for social justice and the redress of historical injustices, including but not limited to, the expropriation of land, the imposition of forced labor, and the annihilation of cultural practices.
Decolonization, as an ongoing phenomenon, has left an indelible impact on the political and social landscapes of numerous countries and regions worldwide. It has provoked significant changes in the lives and identities of Indigenous peoples and has fundamentally altered the relationships between former colonizers and colonized populations. Decolonization represents a vital juncture in the modern history of numerous regions and has contributed to shaping the complex and intricate global landscape of today.
What is colonization?
Colonization represents a complex and multifaceted historical process, characterized by the imposition of political and economic control by a dominant society or nation over another territory, people, or region. The colonizing power endeavors to assert its authority and extend its influence over the colonized society, frequently utilizing forceful or coercive measures to extract resources and labor to further its interests.
The varied forms of colonization include direct rule, where the colonizing power establishes a formal political and administrative structure, and indirect rule, where local elites are co-opted to govern the colony on behalf of the colonizer. Invariably, the process of colonization involves the imposition of a new language, culture, and social system on the colonized population, often having profound impacts on their way of life, traditions, and beliefs.
In particular, Turtle Island, also known as North America, has a history of colonization by European powers such as Britain, France, and Spain, which resulted in the dispossession and displacement of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands. The impacts of colonization on Indigenous peoples have been extensive and long-lasting, including economic exploitation, cultural assimilation, and political oppression, which have significantly shaped the political and social landscapes of Turtle Island.
As the enduring impacts of colonization continue to reverberate in numerous parts of the world, it remains imperative to acknowledge and redress the ongoing legacies of colonialism, particularly those experienced by Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.
Overall, decolonization requires a long-term commitment to structural and systemic change and demands a collective effort to promote social justice, healing, and reconciliation. As individuals, we can all play a role in this process by educating ourselves, amplifying Indigenous voices, respecting Indigenous knowledge and culture, building relationships, taking action, and promoting environmental sustainability.
Decolonization demands acknowledging the impact of colonization, empowering Indigenous peoples, challenging dominant narratives, promoting healing and reconciliation, advocating for environmental sustainability, and supporting Indigenous-led initiatives. It requires a long-term commitment to structural and systemic change, rooted in understanding and respect for Indigenous peoples and their rights.
Why is decolonization important?
Decolonization is crucial because it seeks to address the historical and ongoing injustices faced by Indigenous peoples as a result of colonization. It is a process of returning power and control to the colonized populations and recognizing their sovereignty and rights. Decolonization can help to promote social justice, foster healing and reconciliation, and support sustainable and respectful relationships with the environment and ecosystems.
The potential systemic investigation comes after over 500 complaints were put forth to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC).
Among the complaints, over 100 grievances allege excessive force, illegal tactics, unprofessional behavior, racism, discrimination, and charter violations by the RCMP’s C-IRG.
In the article, the CBC reports a statement made by CRCC communications director Kate McDerby, who confirmed the severity of these allegations against the RCMP.
“The CRCC is aware of the systemic issues raised by many of these complaints and is exploring options to determine how best to address these issues within our mandate,”
The CRCC’s comment to the CBC was in response to RCMP Chief Supt. John Brewer told CBC News he was satisfied with how his unit investigates complaints.
In the article, Brewer is highlighted as suggesting that the allegations against the RCMP are from upset activists making the complaints in defiance of their arrests.
In 2021, the C-IRG was deployed to the Fairy Creek old-growth logging protests on Vancouver Island, which took place on unceded Pacheedaht territory. The resistance action is known to be one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history, with over 1,000 protestors arrested on the site as of February 2022.
In one of the CRCC complaints highlighted in the CBC article, a complainant alleges Mounties, with their name tags and regimental numbers removed, broke their thumb during an arrest at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island on September 9, 2021.
“He twisted, and I felt the bones snap. I was in extreme pain,” wrote the complainant, who provided X-rays from their hospital visit, redacted for privacy reasons.
“I was told I had an extreme fracture of the bones in between my thumb knuckles. The bone was broken into three wedge-shaped pieces.”
These allegations of C-IRG officers breaking bones are a common thread among many who have told their stories of police interaction publicly over the last few years. However, according to the Mountie in charge of the C-IRG, those allegations are often understood as ‘false,’ according to comments made to the CBC.
“I’m aware of allegations made against C-IRG of breaking legs, breaking bones, and when we do the follow-up on that, it turns out to be false,” Chief Supt. John Brewer said.
A few weeks after the CBC article was published, a Fairy Creek land defender became aware of their complaint being highlighted in the news story and wished to set the record straight.
Courtney Chapman, a 38-year-old activist living in Toronto, has faced numerous stalls in resolving her complaint with the CCRC about her treatment at the hands of the C-IRG, which resulted in her broken thumb.
“I submitted a request to obtain the footage of my arrest to the privacy commissioner back last summer, following radio silence on an [Access to Information and Privacy] request, which was long expired, with no reply from the CRCC,” said Ms. Chapman.
Like many complaints made to the CRCC involving the 2021 Fairy Creek protests, Chapman’s case is currently being delayed due to the commission claiming to be actively investigating.
“I’ve been getting stonewalled because the investigation is ‘still ongoing,’ despite the fact that I haven’t seen any movement in the last ten months and keep receiving identical form letters.”
According to Chapman, the C-IRG pushed numerous news media members away from the September 9 arrests, so photography or video of the police interaction remains scarce. However, Ms. Chapman says she and other land defenders have managed to identify the brutalizing officer.
“The Staff Sergeant investigating my complaint has confirmed the officer who broke my thumb is identified/badge number is known,” Ms. Chapman said. “I also have a friend from the blockade who has photos of the individual from a separate interaction.”
Despite attempts at concealing their identity, the officer in Chapman’s complaint may face disciplinary action, but only once the CCRC wraps up their investigation. Until then, she looks to set the record straight about the brutalization she and many other activists endured.
“At the time of my arrest, I was a 36-year-old healthcare worker helping defend the land from resource extraction,” Chapman said. “I have no reason to embellish or exaggerate the fact that they broke my thumb.”
When asked about the comments made by the C-IRG Chief Brewer, suggesting complaints and allegations of officers breaking bones at Fairy Creek were false, Chapman responded to those sentiments as unsurprised.
“We have seen this repeatedly with police officers, and the fact is that cops lie. It’s common knowledge: they hide evidence to obscure their abuse of the public, they act on corporate interests, and unnecessarily escalate legitimate conflict,”
RCMP Police Brutality Highlighted In Latest Legal Action
Photojournalist Amber Bracken was arrested by RCMP in November of 2021 while covering resistance to the Coastal Gas Link pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory. This week, the Narwhal and Bracken announced a lawsuit filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court against the RCMP for wrongful arrest, wrongful detention and violation of charter rights.
Bracken was arrested along with independent documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano, who was on site for nearly a year before his arrest.
Both journalists were detained for days before being released on bail in Prince George, B.C.
The RCMP has been known to target journalists covering environmental resistance and land defense actions in Canada over the last few years.
In May 2021, the RCMP arrested a journalist for allegedly obstructing the work of the logging company. However, video later surfaced of the journalist in question repeatedly asking what they were blocking, with police failing to respond adequately before the arrest.
Besides further allegations of RCMP police brutality, the RCMP came under further scrutiny when several officers were seen wearing ‘thin blue line’ patches while on duty at the Fairy Creek site, despite RCMP guidelines forbidding the symbol.
According to CBC News, since its inception in 2017, the RCMP’s C-IRG has spent nearly $50 million on its operations, which continue on Indigenous territory throughout so-called British Columbia to the present day.
More to come on this story…
If you have recently been a victim of RCMP police brutality and would like to tell your story, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Delgamuukw is a landmark court case in Canadian history that acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal title. Decolonize.ca recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Calder vs. B.C. Supreme Court decision as an important moment in the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights.
decolonize.ca in the Canadian state would like to acknowledge that January 31, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Calder vs. B.C. Supreme Court decision, which rendered the first acknowledgement of Aboriginal title within the scope of Canadian law.
This anniversary also takes place just one year after the passing of Delgamuukw, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief whose name is known in Canadian history for the landmark 1997 Supreme Court decision on Aboriginal title.
The Delgamuukw case saw the term Aboriginal title first established in the 1973 Calder vs. B.C. case, further asserted into Canadian law in 1997. That decision became the legal basis for the first successful declaration of Aboriginal title in Canada by the Tsilhqot’in Nation in 2014.
While the Tsilhqot’in Nation managed to have their land claim recognized, the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people represented in the Delgamuuk case have yet to achieve the same, as a second trial in the case has yet to take place.
Despite that, the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision still holds substantial legal significance for its’ use of oral testimony of Indigenous leaders as evidence of their people’s ancestral inhabitants. This testimony was integral to the Supreme Court’s decision on Aboriginal title encompassing the right to exclusive use and occupation of the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan people’s traditional territory.
The struggle for rights to land, language and culture is not new for the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan people, with the fight for their sovereignty spanning almost two centuries. From the time the first fur traders, missionaries, and pioneers reached the lands that would later be claimed as so-called British Colombia, the Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan people have had conflict with the various settler forces infringing on their territory.
When British Colombia entered Canada’s confederation in 1871, the Canadian government made it illegal for First Nations people to fish commercially. In 1872, a smallpox epidemic that peaked a decade earlier continued to threaten First Nations communities across the territory, wiping out a large portion of the Indigenous population in the Pacific coastal regions.
In 1890, the B.C. and Canadian government established the Kuper Island, Kamloops, and Williams Lake residential schools, which operated as compulsory by the Indian Act for nearly a century.
Some thirty years after the 1894 amendment to the Indian Act made attendance at residential schools mandatory, an amendment in 1927 made it illegal for First Nations communities to raise funds or hire lawyers to pursue land claims.
First Nations people resisted the policies of the Indian Act well into the 20th century. However, after increased expansion of the Canadian state’s colonial project, death and disease would be brought to many Indigenous communities by the time the outbreak of the Spanish Flu hit its peak in the second half of 1918.
Apart from the spread of disease, First Nations people were subject to increased land incursion by the Canadian military and Parks Canada. Indigenous people were also subject to religious manipulation by Papal missionaries like Catholic priest Adrien-Gabriel Morice, with many rivers, lakes and forts in British Colombia still bearing the name Morice till this day.
Modern Age Sparks New Fight For Indigenous Sovereignty
In an attempt to assert position and status in society, many Indigenous people living in Canada willingly joined, or were coerced into fighting for the Canadian state during the first and second world wars. During these wars, Canadian military bases were established on Indigenous territory, with many Indigenous soldiers returning home to find themselves forced back onto Indian Reserves.
In 1945, the Canadian government abolished the pass system, which restricted all Indigenous people with status to those reserves for more than a half-century.
Soon after the second world war, after obtaining once-revoked fundamental rights such as freedom of movement and freedom of assembly, Indigenous people living in Canada became more involved in Canadian society. With these newly established freedoms, First Nations people living in the Canadian state managed to organize and advocate for their rights and claims to land in ways that were once unattainable in the previous century.
In 1946, Canadian Parliament created a special joint committee to assess the effects of the Indian act. By the second half of the 1950s, activism continued to rise on First Nations reserves, with widespread Indigenous rights movements blossoming across the Canadian state.
By the late 1950s, Indigenous people living in so-called Canada could again fish commercially, hold Feasts and pursue land claims in Canadian courts. However, most land claims at that time were delayed, dismissed, or ignored entirely.
In 1959, Indigenous people with status were granted the right to participate in Canadian elections and hold public office. However, just as the Indigenous people of Turtle Island living in the Canadian state began to achieve their own sovereignty, the government of so-called Canada quickly moved to reestablish itself on the same jingo-colonial principles it was founded on.
Later that year, the Canadian government allowed blasting to clear boulders that retained salmon in the Bulkley River. After the blasting, the Hagwilget village fishery would be without fish for more than 50 years, sparking litigation that remained unresolved until 2009, with the Canadian government agreeing with residents on a settlement of $21.5 million.
By the 1960s, a ‘Red Power‘ movement emerged across the Canadian state, inspired by the Black Power movement south of the border in the United States. Indigenous activists called for decisive and aggressive actions, with many land defenders borrowing the famous phrase stated by Black liberation leader Malcolm X, “by any means necessary.”
Throughout the 1960s, Indigenous activists began to publicly detest the noted abuses of First Nations people at the hands of the Canadian state, along with the deplorable living conditions that many Indigenous people living in so-called Canada were forced to endure.
In 1966, anthropologist Harry B. Hawthorn published a crown-commissioned report on the social conditions of First Nations people in Canada.
This class status was attributed to years of abusive government policy, including the residential school system, which was noted to have disadvantaged generations of Indigenous children by failing to provide the essential needs and necessary skills required to succeed and survive in adulthood.
Hawthorne’s report recommended that all forced assimilation programs be abolished immediately and that Indigenous people living in Canada be seen as ‘citizens plus,’ given fair treatment, and given access to the resources needed to establish self-sovereignty
Later that year, as a part of the ‘Just Society’ platform, Jean Chrétien, then Minister of Indian Affairs, was tasked with making foundational changes to the Indian Act.
The following year, Prime Minister Trudeau and Indian Affairs Minister Chrétien issued what is known today as ‘the White Paper‘ (officially entitled Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy).
The White Paper proposed the total abolition of all legal documents on Indigenous matters that had previously existed in Canadian law, including the Indian Act and all other existing treaties in Canada. The statement proposed recognizing First Nations people as an ethnic group would obtain equality among all other Canadian citizens.
Calder v. B.C. Case Forces Acknowledgement Of Aboriginal Title
The same year the White Paper was published, Frank Calder and the Nisga’a Nation Tribal Council brought legal action against the government of British Columbia; with a declaration that Aboriginal title to their traditional territory had never been lawfully extinguished.
The Calder v British Columbia hearing took place in late 1971, with the decision rendered on January 31, 1973. The Calder decision was the first time Canadian law acknowledged that Aboriginal land title existed before the colonization of Turtle Island and that it was not merely derived through treaty or statutory law.
The Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the Nisga’a had Aboriginal title to the lands dating back to before European settlers arrived since the Nisga’a had been “organized in societies and occup[ied] the land as their forefathers had done for centuries.”
In the Calder case, the courts found that if there ever was Aboriginal land title, it was indeed extinguished by the colonizing forces. However, the court was split three to three on whether that title was still valid or had been lawfully extinguished by some means of succession. Due to this split, the two three-justice groups developed competing tests to determine Aboriginal title and ultimately came to differing conclusions.
In the end, the court’s decision concluded that while Aboriginal title within the borders of then Canada could exist, more was required to demonstrate that the First Nations in question held such title to those territories.
While most Indigenous rights advocates at the time saw the ruling as controversial, the decision caused the Canadian government to overhaul much of the negotiation process involving land claims with First Nations people. It was the first of many cases that would go on to definitively assert the right of Aboriginal title in Canadian courts.
Frank Calder was a hereditary chief of the House of Wisinxbiltkw from the Killerwhale Tribe and the founder of the Nisga’a Tribal Council, who spearheaded the litigation effort for his people against the Candian government and continued to fight for Nisga’a treaty rights for decades after the 1973 decision.
By appealing this case to the highest court in Canada, the Nisga’a land claim, which was argued by Thomas Berger, managed to establish that Aboriginal title exists in modern Canadian law, which became the basis for British Columbia’s Nisga’a treaty.
Before the Calder case, Indigenous rights defenders had no transparent process for asserting land claims in Canadian courts. The Calder case clarified that at the time of the decision in 1973, nearly 40% of Canada’s land mass was negotiable with First Nations people.
The Calder decision was a bittersweet moment for Indigenous land defenders like Frank Calder, who had fought for so long to gain recognition and legal claim to their own traditional territory. Though the ruling was understood as an overall victory for many First Nations groups, the court’s decision was still limited in scope and would need to be challenged with more proceedings soon after.
Just a few years after the Calder ruling, the colonizers of Canada were negotiating the repatriation of the Constitution of Canada, which many Indigenous rights advocates saw as an opportunity to codify the newly established legal term Aboriginal title into Canadian law.
In response to the rising of this opportunity, Chiefs and elders from many First Nations living in Canada sent a delegation known as the ‘Constitutional Express’ to travel to England, lobbying for the inclusion of Indigenous land rights and Aboriginal title in the repatriated Canadian constitution.
The campaign garnered great success, and in 1982, the Constitution Act was passed, which included Section 35(1), stating, “The existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.”
In response to the constitutional assertion of Aboriginal title, the legal team representing the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people moved into action and quickly began weighing their legal options. Not long after the Constitution Act was signed, the Wet’suwet’en-Gitxsan people decided to escalate their resistance to a court battle.
Canada’s new constitution was yet to be thoroughly tested in court. With an opportunity to assert their rights, the Gitxsan-Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council began gathering evidence to present their case in front of the highest courts in the land.
The process of litigation that began in 1984 was a long and strategic battle of attrition, with each move made by the Wet’suwet’en-Gitxsan legal team having been highly thought out and in a coordinated effort, with many meetings taking place to discuss strategy for each specific goal.
The Wet’suwet’en-Gitxsan land defenders operated on the principle of a ‘diversity of tactics’ and remained focused on each goal they wanted to accomplish when carrying out their actions. When land defenders put up blockades, they did so with an intention and stated purpose. If those actions were not serving the cause of the Wet’suwet’en-Gitxsan people, they would back down, regroup and diversify their approach.
The Delgamuukw legal team were determined to take the fight to wherever it would lead, and while the last place they wanted the fight to go was the Supreme Court of Canada, they were more than prepared to take it there.
On October 24, 1984, the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs filed their claim to Aboriginal title of approximately 58,000 square kilometres of land in North Western British Colombia.
Just a week later, on November 1, 1984, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in the case of Guerin v. The Queen. The Guerin ruling became integral to interpreting the newly established protections in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, as it defined the principle of “fiduciary duty” and established Aboriginal title as a sui generis right.
Delgamuukw, later anglicized to Earl Muldon, was a Gitxsan Indigenous rights leader, one of the Hereditary Chiefs in the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wetʼsuwetʼen, and a representative for the joint Tribal Council of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en nations. He was 48 years old at the time of the filing in 1984 and was the main claimant in the case.
Meanwhile, Gisday’wa (Alfred Joseph) was a well-known Wet’suwet’en claimant and was advised by long-time Wet’suwet’en speaker Satsan (Herb George) of the Frog-Clan.
From 1984 to 1997, this team of Indigenous rights advocates and litigators took on the spirited fight for the jurisdiction of their territories in the northwest of British Colombia. The trial began in 1987 and spanned 374 days in court, from May 11, 1987, to June 30, 1990, in both Vancouver and Smithers, B.C.
Then in 1991, the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people were handed a devastating blow, as a controversial decision rendered by Chief Justice Allan McEachern ruled that while First Nations people may have held Aboriginal title, that title was legally extinguished in 1871 when British Colombia entered Canada’s confederation.
Many legal and historical scholars immediately criticized McEachern for the decision, to which he referred to the pre-contact life of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en as “nasty, brutish, and short.”
McEachern failed to recognize the presence of pre-contact “institutions,” systems of government, and inhabitance, and devalued Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people’s culture by stating, “they more likely acted as they did because of survival instincts.”
In response to the ruling, the Canadian Anthropology Society stated that the judgment “gratuitously dismisses scientific evidence, is laced with ethnocentric bias, and is rooted in the colonial belief that white society is inherently superior.”
With a new provincial BC NDP government in power, the court was instructed to abandon its previous position taken at trial on the matter of extinguishment and appointed a special third-party council (amici curiae) to assist with the decision.
On June 25, 1993, the B.C. Court of Appeal officially rejected the McEachern ruling due to deficiencies relating to the pleadings and the treatment of evidence.
Chief Justice Antonio Lamer, writing for the majority at the Supreme Court of Canada, acknowledged that Chief Justice McEachern did not have the benefit of the reasons from R v. Van der Peet, which says “courts must not undervalue the evidence presented by Aboriginal claimants simply because that evidence does not conform precisely with the evidentiary standards [applied in other contexts].”
The case was then ordered back to trial, with the appeal case heard in June of 1997.
On December 11, 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada announced its decision to grant a new trial in the Delgamuukw case, citing the court’s error in failing to recognize each of the fifty-one claims individually during the original hearings ten years prior.
“I have arrived at the conclusion that the content of Aboriginal title can be summarized by two propositions: first, that Aboriginal title encompasses the right to exclusive use and occupation of the land held pursuant to that title for a variety of purposes, which need not be aspects of those Aboriginal practices, customs and traditions which are integral to distinctive Aboriginal cultures; and second, that those protected uses must not be irreconcilable with the nature of the group’s attachment to that land.”
The decision published in the appeal of this case left a monumental mark on how Canadian courts define Indigenous land rights. Previous to the Delgamuukw decision, no Canadian court had extensively defined the meaning of Aboriginal title. While the importance of the term Aboriginal title became further defined in Canadian courts in the lead-up to the 1997 decision, the judgment remains a seminal one up until the present day.
The second trial ordered in the Delgamuukw case has never occurred, and the land claim remains unresolved. The decision did not order the government to change any of its positions on Indigenous sovereignty but only clarified what exactly defines the term Aboriginal title.
In the 25 years following the decision, the province of B.C. has maintained less than a status-quo position in its negotiations with many First Nations, with considerable violations of Indigenous sovereignty currently ongoing within the borders of so-called British Colombia and many other Indigenous territories on Turtle Island.
The Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa case did open the door for other Indigenous land claims, like the Tsilhqot’in Nation in 2014, which led to the first official declaration of Aboriginal title in Canada. However, the Tsilhqot’in nation is just one of the hundreds of First Nations that are now being forced to fight for Indigenous land title in the Canadian courts, a fight that many lack the resources to take up on their own, and for some First Nations people, time is running out.
Apart from being a Gitxsan hereditary Chief, Delgamuukw, also known as Earl Muldon, was a world-famous Gitxsan artist who received the B.C. lifetime achievement award for his Indigenous art in 2009 and was given the honour of the Order of (so-called) Canada in 2010.
We raise our fists in gratitude for the courage of both Delgamuukw and Gisday’wa, who carried in their names the strengths of their clans with honour and great responsibility.
It is with great shame that we must acknowledge that both the late Chiefs Delgamuukw and Gisday’wa, along with their people, were forced to face such ill-treatment at the hands of the ethnocentric colonial Canadian government. Only for twenty-five years later, that same government remains in a struggle to uphold the essential findings the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people forced the court to produce.
In 2019, as recommended in the Canadian government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, the provincial government passed the declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) into law.
This, while the colonial government of so-called Canada continues to use instruments embedded in the old thinking used by the colonizers, such as the first Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Joseph Trutch, who believed in Terra Nullus, Manifest Destiny, and the Doctrine of Discovery.
While legal teams representing the institution of the Canadian state continue to use such colonial tactics in court, those same tactics of conflict are being used through colonial enforcement, which continues to take place in British Colombia from the days of confederation until the current present day.
Heavily armed RCMP police enforcement continues on Wet’suwet’en territory, despite numerous government officials formally agreeing on police enforcement being something the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people would no longer face.
Despite the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020, the government of so-called Canada has continued to favour conflict over negotiation, as resource extraction projects continue to be given approval by both the provincial and federal governments. In the simplest terms, if the government of so-called Canada is continuing to allow the destruction of Indigenous territory to take place without consent, then reconciliation is not happening.
Now, after 25 years, what rests in the wake of the Delgamuukw decision is a reflection of the mythopoetic colonial folklore in which the country of Canada was established.
The Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people never gave up their land. They did not lose it in a war or sign it away in any treaty.
Despite what the government of so-called Canada says, the land is still that of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en people, and they are going to take it back.
If they can’t do it in the courts, it will be done in the streets, and it will not be a fight that will be fought on their own.
The anniversary of these land-back decisions should spark a new wave of solidarity protest action across the Canadian-state. decolonize.ca will continue to give unrelenting solidarity and support to the Wet’suwet’en people, their right to sovereignty, and all Indigenous people living on Turtle Island.
There can be no reconciliation between the Canadian state and the Indigenous people of Turtle Island without restitution. This includes Land Back, a seizure of the major resource corporations and their sponsors (such as the Royal Bank of Canada), and returning those resources to the Indigenous people of the common lands.
For more information on upcoming actions associated with this cause, please visit Decolonial Solidarity. In the meantime, if you want to support the Wet’suwet’en resistance today, visit yintahaccess.com.
How I learned to decolonize socialism. Preventing the process of self-replication to counter the rise of oppressive and elaborate neo-colonial frameworks. by Al Content
I became a socialist through the identity of a cishet white settler male living within the Canadian state, with a cultural identity of primarily Scottish, with some French heritage.
Over time as a leftist, I learned more about myself, traced my heritage, and formed an ethnic identity.
After digging deep into my matriarchal lineage, I recognized my ethnic identity as Metis, which I confirmed with genealogical records and databasing. I finally understood myself as a Scottish white settler with Metis heritage. However, something was still missing.
Upon learning more about my Métis ancestry and the history of Métis peoples in the context of settler colonialism, I was struck by the unique approach of French European settlers who arrived on Turtle Island. Unlike other European powers, the French established natural kinship bonds with certain Indigenous communities, ultimately leading to the emergence of the Métis as a distinct people with a unique cultural identity. This history highlights the complexities of colonial relationships and their enduring impacts on the identities and cultures of Indigenous peoples.
While the imperial British settler colonial state enacted its power through ridged segmentation, which included binding various sexual identities into the easily sortable male/female binary, the social colonies of the Metis took on a different approach.
At first, rather than taking the typical colonial pathway of dominating, segmenting, and extracting from nature. The diverse Metis colonies took on a social structure in an attempt to be in harmony with nature and the Indigenous people of Turtle Island.
The unrestrained way of life for the Metis people created a culture that incentivized a harmonious and sustainable social structure that fragmented away at times, only to return shortly after, which acted as a natural means to ward off the emergence of any hierarchal structures.
However, as the British Crown’s colonial project on Turtle Island continued to expand, the Metis colony became entrapped in the rigid social segmentation of the colonial framework and found itself binding to the norms of what we understand as the state and statehood today.
Unbinding the Social Framework
As I understood this phenomenon, I looked at myself. I became fully aware that I do not fit into that colonial binary framework and that my ethnic, sexual, ideological, and interpersonal identity can not be segmented into an easily organizable category or partition.
I came into the journey of this understanding as a cishet male with white settler heritage and came out with a personal understanding that I can’t even begin to describe, nor will I try to in this thread. This is more than that, this isn’t about me, but this is how I got here.
For many of us who identify as settlers, we only understand the oppressive imperialist state we live in through the lens of the state itself. We can only identify and relate to THIS structure through our experience of alienation within it; we’ve never had anything else.
If our understanding of social liberation can only be framed within this oppressive system, any alternative system we form together will only replicate the system we are currently experiencing. We must think far beyond our understanding of how these social structures operate.
Decolonize Socialism, End Self-Replication
The old socialist project, the idea of seizing the means of production to bring about workers’ liberation, stands ultimately as a chauvinistic, ethnocentric, and non-sectional approach to achieving global solidarity.
Confronting The Faults Of A Failed Revolution
To truly begin this process, we must first acknowledge the faults of old socialism without judgment but with empathy and an informed understanding of the phenomena of self-replication.
If we as settlers only understand the concept of liberation and equality in the framework which upholds a system that impedes the liberation and equality of non-settlers, our understanding of this mythical colonial concept that is ‘equality’ will be perpetually flawed.
The state acts as an unconscious collective of the dominating human psyche and will forever replicate the state structure in which that dominating human psyche can exist. Regardless of ideology, if conceived within this framework, it will replicate it.
That framework is a pyramid-shaped hegemonic social process that naturally alienates and oppresses a section of society for a smaller section to prosper.
Any attempt to reform this oppressive system from within will only be a more complex replication.
If we’re going to change society, we must first change our minds and understand the social framework we are currently collectively experiencing. The only way to do that is to unite and break out of that framework with collective collaboration.
Human beings are not naturally meant to be rigidly segmented into binary identities. We’re not meant to live in a world where our only understanding of ourselves is through the experience of how we are alienated and oppressed for the benefit of the system we’re forced to serve.
A system that perpetuates itself on each individual’s own self-exploitation is a system that is defined by its own ultimate self-destruction. Humanity is a collective experience, not a singular one, we have to share our environment collectively, or we’re destined for destruction.
The way to stop this process goes far beyond ‘seizing the means of production,’ but yes, that’s a start.
Revolutionism, socialism, communism, reformism, electoralism, and activism are tools, but they are not a solution. The solution is all of it and none of it.
We can’t comprehend the solution because we’ve only ever been able to understand solutions within the framework of the oppressive social structure we exist in. We must decolonize our understanding of these things and reshape them to form new understandings. We must decolonize socialism.
This is not an attack on any socialist ideologies or practices but an acknowledgment of their functions, what they do that provokes positive change, and what they do that can cause regressive harm. This is how we stop the phenomena of social self-replication and how we decolonize socialism and our politics entirely.
The colonial concept of ‘socialism’ has proven to be an excellent method of understanding for us as settlers to identify how these oppressive systems operate.
However, this understanding of socialism is still ultimately flawed. When implemented, it will replicate as such. Only until we decolonize socialism will our efforts as settlers amount to anything more than self-destruction.
One day we’ll reach a collective understanding of how exactly to bring about a revolutionary post-colonial system that can implement itself without replicating past oppressive systems, but that won’t be done by attempting to achieve colonial concepts like ‘equality.’
It will be done by coming to terms with ourselves, our humanity, and our own self-destructive nature.
It will be done by achieving holistic harmony with the planet and all other living species on earth and, by doing such – ensuring our survival as a species and a planet.
On December 25th, a day of reckoning may finally arrive for those who have been quietly denying the reality of the commercialization of Christmas and its link to colonialism. As devout Christians reflect on their beliefs, they must come to terms with the fact that Christmas, as it is celebrated today, is not rooted in biblical teachings.
A growing body of evidence highlights the glaring absence of any mention of ‘Christ-mass’ celebrations within the Bible’s pages. Furthermore, there is no direct command from Jesus Christ to his followers to commemorate his birthday. This raises questions about the origins of modern Christmas practices and their true purpose.
One of the most striking aspects of contemporary Christmas celebrations is the commercial aspect. Mega-corporations, often with colonial roots, make the most significant profits during the holiday season. These multinational corporations have successfully leveraged Christmas as an opportunity to launch aggressive marketing campaigns and promote new products, perpetuating a cycle of consumption and exploitation.
As awareness of the historical connection between Christmas, colonialism, and capitalism increases, believers must grapple with the uncomfortable truth that their cherished holiday may not align with their faith’s core principles.
Amidst the holiday season, individuals with the noblest intentions find themselves sinking into debt as they strive to fulfill the expectations of their loved ones through the exchange of gifts. The echoes of colonialism reverberate through this consumer-driven culture, as reciprocal gifting becomes a social obligation rather than an act of generosity.
The financial strain weighs heavily upon families as they are swept up in the frenzy of buying gifts for their children, nieces, and nephews, who eagerly anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus. Yet, the true meaning of the holidays is lost amidst the piles of superfluous and often impractical purchases that only serve to tighten the chains of indebtedness.
Colonialism’s Impact on the True Spirit of Christmas: A Shift in Focus from Giving to Receiving
The Bible, a foundational text for Christians, emphasizes the virtue of generosity, stating that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). However, the Christmas season has witnessed a stark contrast to this teaching, particularly in regions shaped by colonialism. Rather than celebrating the joy of giving, the holiday has evolved into an occasion dominated by eager anticipation for material possessions and superficial gifts.
Many devout Christians assert that the path to divine blessings lies in obedience to God’s word, not in the accumulation of gift cards or earthly belongings. The ongoing distortion of the Christmas spirit raises questions about the role of colonialism in fostering a cultural shift towards consumerism and materialism, overshadowing the deeper religious meaning of the holiday.
Colonialism’s Influence: The Unmasking of Christmas and its Pagan Roots
In recent years, the celebration of Christmas has come under scrutiny for its lack of true biblical foundation and connections to colonialism. As critics point out, there is little in the Bible that supports the holiday’s practices or even its existence, raising questions about its true meaning.
Initially intended as a spiritual holiday, Christmas has evolved into a complex web of consumerism, debt, and deception, particularly in relation to the stories told to children about Santa Claus. This divergence from Christ’s teachings and the increasing secularization of the holiday has led some to argue that its observance is not only a distraction but may also be in direct violation of the Ten Commandments.
The origins of Christmas date back to ancient pagan festivities, a fact often overlooked as the holiday became associated with Christianity over time. This conflation of traditions represents a clear example of colonialism in action, where Indigenous customs and beliefs are subsumed through coercion.
Indeed, celebrating Christmas may contravene the First, Second, and Third Commandments, which condemn the worship of false gods and idols. By partaking in these pagan-rooted festivities, critics argue that participants are inadvertently sinning and straying from the true teachings of Christianity.
As awareness of this issue grows, it remains to be seen whether Christmas will continue to be celebrated in its current form, or if a shift back towards its original, more spiritual purpose will occur.
The origins of Christmas have long been debated among scholars, with some questioning its connection to the biblical gospel altogether.
Historical evidence suggests that the early apostolic church did not observe Christmas, nor did they attempt to Christianize any pagan festivals that predated Christ’s birth. Early, pre-Catholic Christians did not celebrate Christ’s birthday at all, let alone on December 25th.
It wasn’t until the year 338 when Roman Catholic Pope Julius I declared December 25th as the official date of Jesus Christ’s birth, despite the fact that the Romans were responsible for Jesus’ execution over 300 years earlier. This declaration marked the beginning of what is now known as Christmas, a holiday that has been widely criticized for its colonialist overtones.
As we delve deeper into the origins of Christmas, it becomes clear that this holiday is not without controversy. While some may see it as a true Christian celebration, others view it as a perversion of Christian teachings, perpetuated by those who sought to assert their dominance over indigenous cultures through forced conversion and assimilation. As we gaze up at the stars, let us not forget the complex history behind this celebrated tradition.
According to historical accounts, the origin of the December 25th date for celebration pre-dates the birth of Jesus and can be traced back to Rome. The day was originally observed as a tribute to the Italic deity, Saturn, as well as a commemoration of the resurgence of the sun god.
According to pagan beliefs, the winter solstice marked the start of lengthening daylight hours, which typically occurred after December 22nd. As per their traditions, it was believed that three days after this event, the sun god would rise from the dead as the new-born and venerable sun.
This belief has been cited as the basis for the alleged deviation and corruption of authentic Christianity.
According to biblical texts, there is no explicit instruction for the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ as a religious holiday. For centuries, December 25th has been marked as a pagan festival in honor of the sun god. It is noteworthy that adherents who seek to serve God are directed not to partake in pagan celebrations or practices that contravene divine statutes. The ancient Romans, infamous for crucifying Jesus, were among those who celebrated “the new sun” on December 25th.
It’s important to note that the widespread acceptance of Christmas as a Christian holiday is also rooted in the history of colonialism. As Christianity spread throughout the world, it often supplanted local traditions and celebrations with Christian ones. This was particularly true in countries that were colonized by European powers, where Christmas became a symbol of the colonizers’ dominance over the colonized.
Critics argue that accepting Christmas as a Christian holiday without acknowledging its colonialist origins is a form of cultural erasure. They suggest that by recognizing the pagan origins of Christmas, and the way in which it was used as a tool of colonialism, Christians can begin to reclaim the holiday as a more inclusive and respectful celebration.
The origins of Christmas have been a subject of debate for years, and many who claim to be Christian may not be aware of the true history behind this religious holiday. The fact remains that Christmas, as celebrated today, has its roots in a long history of colonialism and cultural appropriation.
Despite the Bible’s teachings, many people choose to ignore the true meaning of Christmas and instead, focus on human traditions that have been imposed upon them through centuries of colonialism. This is a stark reminder of the devastating impact of colonialism on indigenous cultures and their traditions.
The true history of Christmas is an eye-opening revelation that sheds light on the ongoing legacy of colonialism and its impact on our world today. It is time to recognize and acknowledge the role of colonialism in shaping our understanding of this important religious holiday and to strive towards a more inclusive and equitable future.
Colonialism has unfortunately left many people with a skewed perception of Christianity, and this is particularly evident during the Christmas season. Despite the pervasive influence of colonialism, few individuals are willing to confront the troubling questions surrounding the holiday’s celebration.
One of the most pressing issues pertains to the appropriation of cultural symbols. For instance, the incorporation of Santa Claus into the Christian tradition raises concerns regarding the portrayal of the birth of Christ. Similarly, the use of a Christmas tree, which originated as a pagan symbol, seems incongruent with the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
These complex issues highlight the profound impact of colonialism on the Christian faith and its practices. As we strive to reconcile these conflicting influences, it is crucial that we engage in critical reflection and thoughtful dialogue to better understand the implications of our traditions.
The tradition of singing carols and decorating Christmas trees may seem innocent and joyous, but a deeper examination reveals a troubling history rooted in colonialism. The origins of the Christmas tree, its ornaments, and the practice of giving gifts during the holiday season can be traced back to ancient Roman festivals, a testament to the enduring influence of colonizing cultures.
Furthermore, the use of the Christmas tree as a symbol of celebration has been deemed idolatrous by some religious authorities, highlighting the ways in which colonialism has imposed its values and beliefs on indigenous cultures. The adoption of these customs, even by those who do not subscribe to the religious implications, perpetuates the erasure of cultural practices and traditions that were suppressed by colonizers.
Similarly, the popular carol ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ romanticizes the nativity story by portraying shepherds tending to their flocks in blooming fields on a mild December evening.
This image stands in stark contrast to the realities of the region, where Jerusalem experiences cold and rainy weather during the winter months. This idealized version of the nativity story perpetuates a colonialist narrative that glosses over the harsh realities of it’s mythical origin.
In light of these troubling histories, it is important to reflect on the origins of holiday traditions and the ways in which they may perpetuate colonialist attitudes and practices.
The holiday known as “Christmas” is a falsehood that should not be celebrated by those who hold true to their spiritual and moral beliefs. This assertion is particularly relevant when considering the historical context of colonialism, a period during which the forced conversion of indigenous peoples to Christianity was rampant. It is therefore understandable why some individuals, especially those who identify as Christian, may feel a sense of unease when engaging in the rituals and traditions associated with Christmas. Ultimately, it is important to acknowledge the problematic roots of this holiday and consider alternative ways to celebrate that align with our personal values and beliefs.
Colonialism has had a profound impact on the way Christmas is celebrated today. From the commercialization of the holiday to the incorporation of pagan symbols, the legacy of colonialism is deeply ingrained in many of our traditions. It is crucial that we recognize the problematic origins of these practices and engage in thoughtful reflection to better understand their implications.