Declaration of non-Indigenous Support for Defenders of the Land

I thought that it was important to share this with any who might read and get a better sense that we are working towards a collective in which everyone is equal and we respect the knowledge that is gained in doing so.

We are non-Indigenous supporters of Defenders of the Land, a network of
Indigenous communities in struggle for land and self-determination
across Canada, founded at a historic meeting in Winnipeg from November
12-14, 2008.

As non-Indigenous supporters, we are allies of Indigenous peoples
asserting their rights and sovereignty. We offer our support for the
demands of Defenders of the Land expressed in their Basis of Unity, a
signpost on the path we walk together. We believe in taking leadership
from Indigenous communities, who have the right to determine their
destinies in accordance with their own beliefs, customs, laws, and

As non-Indigenous supporters, we recognize that the history of Canada is
a racist and genocidal one, marked by the forced dispossession of
Indigenous peoples’ lands and resources, the suppression of their
governments and laws, and the assimilation of their cultures and
identities. In the bricks of residential schools and the borders of
reservations, these ongoing policies are a long scar drawn cruelly
across the land. Across the area known as Canada, Indigenous peoples’
territories are subject to unbridled exploitation for profit –
crisscrossed by railroads and highways, carved up by ski hills and
subdivisions, polluted by mineral and oil extraction, and devastated by
clear-cut logging and hydro-electric projects. Canada’s fundamental
agenda remains the same as it was at the country’s birth: the
assimilation of Indigenous peoples as distinct nations, and the
extinguishment of their rights and title to the land.

As non-Indigenous supporters we bear witness daily to the violent
severing of the connection between Indigenous peoples and their lands,
and how it has resulted in the devastation — socially, politically,
economically, spiritually, and environmentally — of Indigenous
communities. Indigenous people disproportionately experience poverty,
illness, homelessness, and imprisonment. Unprecedented numbers of
Indigenous women have gone missing or have been murdered. Despite the
traumas inflicted by generations of colonial policies, Indigenous
communities have always been the first line of defense against
destruction of the land. For their attempts to forge a more sustainable
future for all of us, Indigenous activists have been criminalized by
federal and provincial governments.

As non-Indigenous supporters, we have come from different places and we
have come for different reasons. As multiracial settlers, migrants,
refugees and descendants of slaves, we came across many oceans or
continents, four hundred years ago or yesterday. Many of us feel deeply
attached to places across Turtle Island, but we recognize that our homes
are built on the ruins of others. We are on the lands of Indigenous
peoples: lands unjustly seized, unsurrendered lands, treaty lands, and
urbanized lands. This reality is visible in the names of our streets,
our towns, our monuments – erasing the genuine identity of the Original
Peoples of this land.

As non-Indigenous supporters, we affirm that when Indigenous peoples
stand to defend their land and to protect Mother Earth, we will stand
alongside them. We commit to doing our part to actively decolonize
ourselves by recognizing our own complicity and taking responsibility to
change this society that privileges us. Our role as allies extends to
work within our own communities to oppose unjust practices perpetuated
in our name and to develop customs and structures that will guide just
relations with Indigenous peoples. We believe in the fundamental
principles of social justice and equality, and strive to create a
co-existence with respect for the autonomy and dignity of all groups and
individuals. We welcome the promise of movements that are based on the
recognition of Indigenous self-determination and build an informed base
of support – ranging from anti-poverty groups to environmental justice
mobilizations, from farmers to faith groups, from queer liberation to
immigrant and refugee justice, from working class movements to anti
capitalist and anti imperialist struggles globally.

With deep humility and gratitude, we thank Indigenous land defenders for
their resilience and the knowledge they have kept alive – through
ceremonies and struggle — that has protected the places that we and
future generations hope to share as our homelands.

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