The Wars At Home: What State Surveillance of an Indigenous Rights Campaigner Tells Us About Real Risk in Canada

By Shiri Pasternak, Desmog Blog, 2 November 2014

Recent revelations that the RCMP spied on Indigenous environmental rights activist Clayton Thomas-Muller should not be dismissed as routine monitoring. They reveal a long-term, national energy strategy that is coming increasingly into conflict with Indigenous rights and assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources. (...)

State surveillance of Thomas-Muller falls into a growing net of secret spying on Indigenous groups, leaders, and organizers who seek to uphold Indigenous peoples’ internationally recognized rights of free, prior, and informed consent on their territories. (...)

He finds particular issue with the hypocrisy of calling this surveillance necessary for national security. “Our movements are about justice,” he said. “To criminalize Indigenous dissent, then, is to repress Indigenous rights in Canada, and our responsibilities to protect the land. We are transparent, open, base-driven movements that take a non-violent, peaceful direct action approach.”

“The state is criminalizing Indigenous peoples who are acting within their right to exercise jurisdiction over their lands. This is an abuse of democracy. It is clearly about providing a right-of-way for the mining and energy sector.” (...)

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Photo: Desmog Blog

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