Indigenous land defenders sing “Trudeau is a colonizer” as prime minister opens the COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Published by Brent Patterson on

Emelia Fournier tweeted this video of Indigenous land defenders chanting “Trudeau is a colonizer” and interrupting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s address at the opening of the COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal.

The banner that they are holding says: “Indigenous Genocide = Ecocide. To Save Biodiversity Stop Invading Our Lands. Colonialism Can’t Save You.”

Ali Wines tweeted this video.

Greenpeace Canada tweeted this video.

Jack Graham tweeted this video as the youth left the hall.

And Charlotte Dawe tweeted this video of security attempting to debadge the Indigenous land defenders as the walked out of the building.


Ashley Torres tweeted this video with the text: “After leaving the @Palais_Montreal, indigenous youth delegates were surrounded by police @SPVM who told them that they were under arrest for no reason. They were simply walking on the sidewalk with their regalia after staging a peaceful protest inside the UN events.”

And in her article Another U.N. conference on biodiversity opens with more promises to save the environment, Emelia Fournier writes:

Two of the demonstrators, Ta’Kaiya Blaney of the Tla’amin First Nation and Ace Harry of the Xwe’malhkwu Nation, a sister nation to Tla’min spoke with APTN News prior to the opening ceremonies. They said they are attending to address the industrial extraction happening on their territories in western British Colombia, where forestry and hydro dams have damaged their lands.

“A hundred years ago [the Tis’kwat River] was dammed by Catalyst Paper, and now that mill is shut down and on the market and our generation is trying to mobilize and take this opportunity to push for dam removal and for the restoration of that river to bring back the salmon,” said Blaney.

“I’m not here to fight for recognition, I’m here to fight for sovereignty, and that is different. I’m not asking the United Nations or Canada to recognize our nation as, in all of our belonging and our rights, I’m asking them to stop invading us.

“What we are interested in is the return of our salmon, food security for our people, and historically, ever since settlers arrived on our lands, they have not taken care of us. We have not been a priority. And so really the only path forward in our eyes is taking care of our people ourselves, and what that looks like is the return of our lands, and control of our rivers,” said Harry.

The full article by Fournier can be read here.

Ta’Kaiya Blaney, left, and Ace Harry say they want Indigenous sovereignty respected. Photo: Emelia Fournier/APTN.

Blaney has also posted that she is at COP15 with “a delegation of Indigenous youth from Tla’amin, Xwemalhkwu, Musqueam, Gitxsan, Huu-ay-aht, and Nak’azdli Nations.”

They will be speaking at this event.

We continue to follow this and will add more text as those who participated in this action make further statements and comments.

Categories: News Updates

1 Comment

What does COP15 have to say about environmental defenders? - Peace Brigades International-Canada · December 11, 2022 at 3:43 pm

[…] Further reading: The Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) denounces 30×30 initiative as “fortress conservation” and Indigenous land defenders sing “Trudeau is a colonizer” as prime minister opens the COP15 biodiv…. […]

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