Decolonize and (Re)Occupy Winnipeg Statement on Indigenous Struggles
Occupy Winnipeg acknowledges the trail of broken treaties and covenants worldwide left in the wake of ongoing colonization. We are appalled by the neglect and poverty experienced by Indigenous communities resulting from government inaction and paternalist policies based in structural white supremacy and individual racism. We acknowledge that colonization remains the forced settlement and assimilation of Indigenous peoples to western and industrial economies, ideologies, and socio-political structures. We oppose the economic policies of the 1% that are presently continuing the colonization and ecological destruction of Indigenous territories. Occupy Winnipeg commits to the long and hard process of decolonizing the global Occupy movement and reclaiming our shared humanity. We welcome Indigenous peoples as an integral part of the 99%.
Winnipeg sits on the territory of Treaty One (1871), which was negotiated between the Queen and the Anishinaabeg (Ojibway) and the Nehiyawak (Plains Crees). Treaty One territories are also currently home to the Dakota people, and members of the Dene, and Inuit. Treaty One is also the homeland of the Red River Métis, and the traditional territory of the displaced Nakota (Assiniboine/Stoney). The Treaty One negotiations clearly demonstrate that the Indigenous peoples of this territory intended to keep the majority of their lands for their own traditional uses while offering non-Indigenous peoples a new home. Most importantly, they intended to keep full sovereignty and jurisdiction over their communities. The Canadian Government assumed and asserted jurisdiction and its ability to annex the land, demanding the Indigenous sign the treaty or lose everything. Even after gaining Indigenous acquiescence to these demands, the Government of Canada did not live up to the terms of the negotiation process, excluding significant provisions from the written draft, including outside promises for guaranteed income and education. Nor were the Indigenous peoples informed of the intended jurisdiction of the impending Indian Act, which directly breaches Indigenous sovereignty. The Government of Canada has continually broken a treaty it did not negotiate in good faith. The Canadian Government is in breach of Treaty One. To this day the Anishinaabeg and the Nehiyawak maintain they did not surrender and cede their lands to Canada or give up their sovereignty, instead they insist the numbered treaties were peace treaties based in customary Indigenous international law.
Occupy Winnipeg advocates that all Occupy movements engage in a process of decolonization and alliance building with Indigenous communities. In this spirit, Occupy Winnipeg offers our minds, bodies and hearts in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in our common struggle against the policies of the 1%. We respectfully call all peoples to walk together with this spirit and join us at Memorial Park in Winnipeg. We call for a diversity of leadership roles in our own community and in all sectors of society. Please join us in our continuing struggles for justice and decolonization – a revolutionarily beautiful future. We affirm that decolonization will require both personal and collective transformation and liberation.