Voices from the Ancestral Forest Frontlines

Where: Provincial Legislature, Victoria, B.C on Lekwungen territory with gratitude for the blessing of living and working for a healed world on this beautiful land.

When: August 9th, 2021, 3 pm- 10:30 pm (start with March from Blanshard St. courthouse at 2 pm)

 

This gathering is in honour of the 1 year milestone of the Ada’itsx/ Fairy Creek blockades, began one year ago on the night of August 9th on the ridge into the headwaters of the unlogged Fairy creek watershed, where road crews were prevented from breaching the Ridge the next day.

365 days and 500+ arrests later and through the involvement and sacrifices of thousands of conscientous protectors and a massive groundswell of public support, Ada’itsx remains whole! 

It is time to celebrate this 1 year of uninterrupted land-based resistance to the juggernaut of industrial liquidation of the last stands of ancient temperate rainforest and unite with forest defenders across so-called BC to demand an end to old-growth logging once and for all, with a publically-funded just transition strategy for workers and communities!

Join us for a day of ceremony, speakers, performances, photo installations, info tables, film screenings, and testimony from the frontlines.

Be inspired by an action rooted in unity and solidarity with frontline land defenders, forest protectors, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and First Nations and Indigenous community members asserting Title and rights to defend sovereign homelands. The climate and environmental scourge of old-growth logging continues on unceded territories without consent.

The event begins at 2 pm with a street procession from the Victoria courthouse on Blanshard street as we proceed to the Legislature for 3 pm.

ITINERARY

2 pm march from the Blanshard St. Courthouse after a few punchy speakers

3 pm Gather at Legislature for Opening Ceremony including a traditional welcome from Augie Thomas and the Esquimault Singers and Dancers. 

3:30- Kwakiutl hereditary Chief Dave Mungo Knox fighting to end logging destruction on their land will lead a Copper ceremony

Speakers:

*Emcees: W’SANEC land defender Paul Chiyokten Wagner, Tli’amon urban Indigenous activist Grandma Losah aka Rose Henry and frontline land defender Joey

 

5-6 pm: Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones, UBCIC Vice President Chief Don Tom (Tsartlip) and Kukpi7 Judy Wilson Chief Judy Wilson (Secwepemc) and Tla-o-qui-aht Master carver and knowledge-keeper Joe Martin

6-6:30 Musical break with CelloBride and Pat and Laura

6:30-7 :30 pm: Indigenous youth land defenders, frontline forest protectors and RFS reps including Shawna Knight, Ty Cooke, Emily Kane, Okamaw, Carole Tootill and RFS lawyer Noah Ross

7:30-8 pm Hip hop with Nostic and Nicky 

8 pm World-renowned Forest ecologist, UBC Professor and author Dr. Suzanne Simard

8:30-9:15 pm Green Party federal MPs Elizabeth May and Paul Manly

*Bird biologist Royanne Petrell and lichenologist Tasha Ladovsky

9:15-10:pm Musical segment: Andrea Smith; Bill Marshall; Oliver Swain and friends 

10-10:30 pm Film screening including trailer from resident blockade film-makerJen Muranetz’ film ” Standing with the Ancients” and assorted indy shorts 

10:30-11 pm Ecstatic Dance Party

 

BACKGROUND:

This summer an all-time record-breaking heatwave destroyed the town of Lytton and wiped out an estimated billion marine intertidal organisms on the coast in days. BC is burning at the same time logging is approved to obliterate ancient forests when there is less than 2.7% left. Old growth is our best natural defense against runaway climate change yet extraction has increased by 42% to capitalize on the demands of a booming foreign log market.

Over 500 brave and tenacious forest protectors, many representing a younger generation, are literally protecting their future from the grim impacts of a colonial-capitalist economy bent on killing the planet. They have been arrested in militarized RCMP enforcement operations under conditions of egregious civil rights violations for protecting some of the last old-growth forest stands on Pacheedaht territory; an invitation given by hereditary chief, Victor Peter, and respected Elder Bill Jones.

In a country being forced to confront its genocidal history of oppression and forced assimilation of Indigenous people during a climate and biodiversity crisis we gather to support the strong leadership and declarations of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC). This calls for an immediate halt to logging of at-risk old-growth forests on unceded territories and the nations including Kwakiutl, Squamish, Nuxalk, Gitx’san and others that have declared logging moratoriums on their ancestral lands with the voices of elders, youth and matriarchs of First Nations communities ignored by a government that pays lip service to climate action and Indigenous rights. While the NDP drags its heels in delivering promises to work with First Nations towards sweeping forestry reforms, the shocking equivalent of 500 soccer fields of old-growth forests are felled by industry in BC every day!

We say enough is enough! We stand with Indigenous land defenders, activist forest protectors, and sovereign Indigenous nations to stop the colonial violence on the lands, waters, salmon and people to protect these globally significant, irreplaceable forests. In the wise words of Bill Jones these forests are, “our last connection to our pre-colonial sensitivity.”

Please come out to share your love to the people sacrificing on the frontlines and the Indigenous nations struggling for their land back!

UBCIC Protect Our Elder Trees Declaration, July 28:

https://www.ubcic.bc.ca/wildfires_logging_and_climate

 

PROTOCOLS:

Very sadly, there has been a backlash of racism against Indigenous people in the local communities, following recent decolonial events at the Legislature. It is important to remain mindful of how our behaviour can trigger reactions in haters that potentially bring harm to vulnerable communities. This event is under firm protocols from the local host nations for people who are guests on this territory to conduct ourselves in a peaceful way and to refrain from engaging in actions that can bring harm on BIPOC peoples on this territory.

CODE OF CONDUCT:

Look after each other.

Nonviolent.

Avoid engaging abusive people.

Practice Covid protocols.

If you are approached by the media, please ask them to speak first to people who have been on the frontlines, particularly Indigenous people, women and youth.

Avoid smoking for the health of many of our seniors and disabled people

BANNERS:

Please continue the tradition of bringing large colourful banners to share the message of standing with communities who are actively resisting the destruction of life on Earth and holding government responsible for the destructive status quo. Banners are being requested on the frontlines so consider making one that you can leave with us

SELF-CARE:

This will be a long day in what could be more intense sun and heat. Please take good care of yourselves packing a folding chair, blankets, lots of water, food and sun protection. Prepare to picnic. We will be providing port-a-potties and drinking water and during part of the day the RBCM museum washrooms are available as well. We are trying to make arrangements for food trucks on site.

DONATIONS:

Please help us cover the costs of chair, table and tent and other rentals, sound system, speakers’ honoraria, copying, port-a-potty etc. Etransfers can be made to rain4estflyingsquad@gmail.com with a note that the donation is for the A9 event! Thanks!

Supporting groups:

Rainforest Flying Squad

Wednesday Rallies for Ancient Forests+Forest Protectors

Social Environmental Alliance

Elders for Ancient Trees

Urban Actions for Ancient Forests

Friends of Carmanah Walbran

Protectors of the Salish Sea

Climate Justice Victoria

Indigenous Solidarity Working Group

Island Forest Futures

Red Cedar Cafe

Stream of Consciousness ( who will be livestreaming for the day)

 

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to make this event happen and to the courage, tenacity, creativity and never-say-die spirit of the frontline forest protectors, the Indigenous youth, elder Bill Jones, young Chief Victor Peter and the Rainforest Flying Squad for inspiring a new generation of resistance for the ancient forests! 

Voices from the Ancestral Forest Frontlines