Symposium: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy

Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sexqéltqin (Adams Lake), Adams Lake Recreation Centre, 6349 Chief Jules Drive, Chase, Secwepemcul’ecw (Secwepmec Territory)

Host: Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade
MC: Ska-Hiish Manuel

This Symposium builds on the work of Secwepemc Ktunaxa leader and author Arthur Manuel and his vision for rebuilding Indigenous economies through the assertion of territorial authority over our lands. Bringing together leaders of Indigenous movements with educators, experts, and activists who support Indigenous self-determination and territorial authority, this symposium will strengthen the collective knowledge-base, skills, and alliances of people working to protect the environment and stop destructive projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP).

Starting with indigenous teachings and ways of looking after the land, it becomes clear that Indigenous Peoples carry the knowledge necessary to rebuild economies in a manner that maintains future generations and the land. Arthur Manuel developed a clear analysis of how colonialism still underpins the mainstream legal and economic system, through the deliberate dispossession, creation of dependency and oppression of Indigenous Peoples that has paved the way to exploitation of natural resources throughout their territories.

The TMEP is a prime example on point, with about half of the proposed pipeline expansion project passing through Secwepemc territory, where Indian reserves make up less than 1% of the overall territory. The resulting economic dependency has been well documented and exploited by the proponent, now the federal government, engaging mainly with Indian bands often caught in poverty. As a result, some have signed benefit sharing agreements or seek to own equity stakes in the pipeline, in line with the colonial divide and rule approach to justify free access to the larger territory. This is in violation of both Western and Indigenous Law. Yet Indigenous land and water defenders who stand up to assert their rights are often subject to oppression through the mainstream political and legal system. Our symposium will create a space to strengthen our grassroots movement to challenge these colonial underpinnings of the system and find a better way to build sustainable economies.

Arthur Manuel’s focus on “getting the land back” motivated him to engage an arsenal of strategies. In this spirit, we are reaching out to land defenders, economists, legal scholars, direct action trainers, journalists, policy analysts, movement leaders, academics, and community members to come together and share our knowledge to sharpen our tactics and networks of support.

Expert Panels & Themes:
* Exclusive Presentation via Video by Naomi Klein
1) Skill Shares on Land & Water Re-occupation & Jurisdiction and Decolonizing Climate Futures
- Freda Huson, Unist'ot'en
- Rueben George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative
- Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, Denesuline, Indigenous Climate Action
- Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc, Tiny House Warriors
2) Re-Building Indigenous Nations and International Protections for Indigenous Self-Determination
- Dr. Janice Billy, Secwepemc Scholar & Educator (Tbc)
- Russel Diabo, Mohawk, Indigenous Policy Analyst
- Dr. Debra Harry, Northern Paiute, Indigenous People's Council on Biocolonialism
- Tupak Huehuecoyotl, TONATIERRA
3) Challenging the colonial underpinnings of the legal system and Settler Economies
- Dr. Shiri Pasternak, Yellowhead Institute
- Dr. DT Cochrane, Ph.D. Economist, York University
- Nicole Schabus, Law Professor/Legal Scholar, International Human Rights/Indigenous Rights
- Chris Albinati
4) Building Support from the Local to the International Level
- Tara Scurr, Amnesty International
- Ed Bianchi, Kairos
- Clayton Thomas-Muller, Senior Campaign Specialist
- Harsha Walia, No One is Illegal