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Christi Belcourt @christibelcourt
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My dad and Maria Campbell have known each other since before I was born. They consider each other brother and sister. When I was getting into a lot of trouble, my dad sent me to stay with her & we have been fast friends now for 20+years.
Maria is one of the seminal influences of my life as an Auntie, Elder, Mentor and friend. Next month I will be taking a road trip with them. I'm hoping they let me record our conversations. I'm particularly interested in their memories about Indigenous movements from 60's-80's.
This past week Deanna Reder and Alix Shield uncovered the excised passage from Maria Campbell's groundbreaking book "Halfbreed" where she recounted being raped at 14 by RCMP members. McLelland and Stewart the publishers edited out that part fearing potential legal repercussions.
Over the years Maria had told me about what happened and how that section had not made it into her book. But I never thought I would see it and be able to read it myself. I'm grateful to Reder and Shield for their research.
Maria Cambell is a powerhouse as a revolutionary, an artist, organizer and defender coming generations. Although renowned as an author, she has never wavered from her roots and grassroots organizing against violence against Indigenous women and defending the lands and waters.
The publishing this week of Maria Campbell's 1973 excised text where she recounts being raped at 14 by RCMP is incredibly important. Especially given rising awareness of police violence against Indigenous and Black people. Here is the link: canlit.ca/article/i-writ…
I think the #MeToo social media campaign has done a lot of good to bring awareness to the mainstream about just how common violence, especially sexual violence is against women and girls. Seeing people support and verbalize that they believe the victims has been heartening.
However, that same courtesy has not yet been extended to Indigenous women, two-spirit or trans people who are speaking about about state violence and the state-supported violence originating from resource extraction industrial "man-camps".
Indigenous people have had more than 300 yrs of state-sanctioned violence perpetrated upon us. Now that Trudeau bought Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, I suppose that means that the man-camps he is planning on setting up will be staffed with Government of Canada employees.
Meaning that while Trudeau looks to extend National Inquiry's mandate to investigate the over 1300 Murdered and Missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada over the last 30 years, he is also going to be setting up man-camps which increases the risk to Indigenous women and girls.
As it has been proven that wherever these man-camps are set up by the oil and gas industry, they bring with them violence towards the Indigenous populations whose lands the camps are set up on. For example: theglobeandmail.com/news/national/…
The Secwepemc people do not consent to Trans Mountain pipeline nor to any man-camps in their territory. In the recent McLean's article, a Trans Mountain spokesperson said "the company acknowledges risks when workers are isolated and lack cultural sensitivity."
According to MacLeans, TransMountain when it was still under Kinder Morgan said they would put their employees through "cultural sensitivity training" macleans.ca/news/canada/ar…
MacLeans: "Fort St. James area experienced 38% increase in sexual assaults in one industrial project’s 1st yr. In same region, along route of 2 planned natural-gas pipelines, a pair of remote First Nations have ensured health stations r stocked w/ rape kits b4 work camps arrive"
Increased violence against Indigenous people brought on by the sudden influx of workers in man-camps on pipeline construction routes cannot be denied when the company itself admits it and FN's are stocking their health stations with rape kits. FFS. #MMIW #ManCamps #TransMountain
As @KanahusFreedom states: “The colonial corporate system of resource extraction relies on the connected violences of destroying our lands and violating our bodies,” Hudson Bay Outposts are what she calls the "original man-camps".
Importantly, the Secwepemc people do not consent to this pipeline or to man camps. It hasn't happened yet. We still have a chance to stop TransMountain and to help the people protect their lands and their people. Donate directly here: 7genfund.abilafundraisingonline.com/donatesnyn
I'm going to end this thread with the excised passage from Maria Campbell's book Halfreed. With a reminder that we don't have to accept the Trans Mountain pipeline. We can & should fight against because the violence towards Indigenous Peoples on Indigenous lands needs to stop.
The excised passage contained a story from Campbell’s childhood, taking place when she was only fourteen years old:

"Dad worked for Bob and poached on the side, and as usual the Mounties and wardens were often at our house."
"One day he was away and Grannie and I were drying meat in the bush. We had a tent set up about a mile from the house. I raced home to get something we’d forgotten just as three R.C.M.P drove up in a car."
"They said they were going to search the house as they knew Daddy had brought meat home the day before. I let them in and said that everyone else was at the store. While one Mountie was upstairs and another in the barn, the third followed me into the kitchen."
"Suddenly he put his arm around me and said that I was too pretty to go to jail. When I tried to get away, he grabbed my hair and pulled me to him. I was frightened and was fighting back as Robbie (my brother) came running into the room."
"Robbie tried to hit the Mountie but was knocked to the floor. I was nearly to the door when the other one came in. All I can recall is being dragged to Grannie’s bed where the man tore my shirt and jeans."
"When I came to, Grannie was crying & washing me off. I must have been in a state of shock, because I heard everything she said but could not speak or cry despite the pain. My face was all bruised and I had teeth marks all over my chest and stomach."
"My head felt as if my hair had been pulled out by the roots. Grannie was afraid that Dad would come home, so she helped me upstairs and put me to bed. She told me not to tell Daddy what had happened, that if he knew he would kill those Mounties for sure and be hung"
"She said that no one ever believed Halfbreeds in court; they would say that I had been fooling around with some boys and tried to blame the Mounties instead."
Let us never forget that the state perpetrated, supported, defended and denied violence against Indigenous women. Let us now come to the aid of the Secwepemc people who are calling on support to protect their lands and people.

#NoTransMountain
#NoKinderMorgan
#Cdnpoli
#MeToo
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