Lack of land, lack of choice
Contribution by Settler: A. Rogers, participant in Settler UX Research, Spring-Summer 2019 (03/20/2019)

In recent months, mainstream coverage that gets into thorny internal indigenous issues has been improving. The Victoria Times-Colonist ran a surprisingly detailed and thoughtful piece on a current dispute over logging on #Saturna_Island. In this case, instead of the usual #settler resource gobblers vs land protectors, the division lies within and among the #Tsawout and #Tseycum, two #Saanich peninsula First Nations, over the decision to #clear_cut a piece of paradise adjacent to a #national_park in order to raise some desperately needed revenue. Green MLA and Tsartlip First Nation member Adam Olsen provided some insight into the difficulties of being #green and being #indigenous and being poor and how providing a good life for people crammed into inadequate #reserves forces terrible choices upon them.

Adam also describes the problems of #settler_splaining noting that sometimes #environmentalists will find areas of #common_ground, and sometimes they won’t. It’s a hard lesson – how many times have I heard settlers say “you see, they’re just as bad as we are” about #economic developments on indigenous lands that look EXACTLY LIKE every other fast food joint and gas station ever built by settlers. Easy to judge. But what should we do instead?

As settlers, we should turn our #criticism to the #colonial #state, the original #theft of #land and the ongoing legacy of #dispossession, #poverty and #oppression that First Nations are left to work with. Clear cuts on reserve lands, that’s on us. Our works lies in #decolonizing the structures that hold people down and back.