HALIFAX—A outstanding Mi’kmaw scholar says she watched the conflict between Moist’suwet’en activists and RCMP earlier this week and famous that lots of these on the entrance strains have been girls — one thing that made her each hopeful and anxious.
Sherry Pictou, a professor at Mount Saint Vincent College who research Indigenous feminism, spoke to an viewers of greater than 50 individuals who packed right into a small lecture corridor at Dalhousie College Friday afternoon.
The speak was a part of an ongoing feminist seminar collection on the college, which hosts a special speaker every month.
“That is about our wrestle, but additionally about our resilience and our resurgence,” Pictou mentioned, referring to Indigenous girls throughout the nation who’ve taken on main roles in land defence and human-rights advocacy.
Whereas her lecture was poignant, contemplating the occasions on Moist’suwet’en land earlier this week, it had been deliberate lengthy earlier than the battle erupted.
RCMP gathered on Moist’suwet’en territory exterior Houston, B.C., on Monday to implement a courtroom injunction and permit employees to start out development of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Whereas the First Nation’s band council has supported the pipeline, the hereditary leaders and another group members stay staunchly opposed and arrange a barricade to their land.
RCMP compelled a dramatic retreat from that barricade Monday afternoon that garnered worldwide consideration.
Pictou mentioned her speaking factors have been ready nicely earlier than this week’s exercise in B.C., however she discovered some room to handle the battle.
After the lecture, Pictou mentioned she couldn’t assist however speak concerning the Moist’suwet’en scenario due to the confluence together with her work; Pictou has been learning Indigenous feminism, treaty rights and Indigenous sovereignty for greater than 20 years.
To the viewers, she spoke reverently concerning the girls concerned with the Unist’ot’en barricade however admitted she was “somewhat bit frightened” for his or her security.
“We’re at a juncture in historical past the place we’re vulnerable to duplicating and marginalizing girls even additional,” she mentioned.
Pictou mentioned the hazard lies not solely within the violence that may happen on the entrance strains of conflicts but additionally amid the event of pipelines or different tasks that require rural, remoted work camps.
Researchers in Alberta and B.C. have proven a hyperlink between distant work camps and violence towards girls and it’s necessary to do gender-based evaluation in communities earlier than tasks begin.
An impediment to that form of gender-based threat evaluation, in line with Pictou, is that “girls should not sitting on the desk,” particularly Indigenous girls.
On Tuesday, there have been Moist’suwet’en solidarity rallies and counterprotests staged across the nation. Halifax’s rally was led by girls, aligning with Pictou’s assertion that Indigenous girls are, for higher or worse, on the forefront of Indigenous activist work.
Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter specializing in training. Comply with her on Twitter: @tarynalgrant