Brock Students for Animal Liberation- BSAL
November 29, 2016
This post is long but about an important local issue, we hope you’ll take the time to read it.
As an intersectional organization, Brock Students for Animal Liberation supports decolonization efforts, including a key component to decolonization – that of Indigenous self-determination. As such, BSAL supports the Haudenosaunee right to self-determination, including the treaty right to hunt deer at Short Hills park.
Supporting the hunt is based on a recognition of power relations that exist between the dominant settler culture and marginalized & oppressed Indigenous cultures across Canada. The act of white settlers challenging the cultural norms of an Indigenous nation contributes to such power relations. We as a group are interested in disrupting these power relations, which includes supporting Haudenosaunee self-determination.
We anticipate a counter-argument along the lines of “at the end of the day it’s the deer who suffer & are unacknowledged victims in our attempt to battle colonialism”. While we can understand where this argument may come from, we offer the following response:
– One of the main messages put out by the animal liberation & animal rights (hereby “AL/AR”) movements is one that questions the dominant cultural norms of speciesism & human superiority. Such norms consider humans to be above all other animal species, & therefore the only animal species whose lives are worthy of consideration. The AL/AR movements challenge such norms by arguing that nonhuman animals are equally deserving of respect, rights, & consideration. Nonhuman animals are capable of experiencing pleasure, pain, & are subjective agents capable of creating conscious thought & decisions. As such, norms that disregard their complex personhood & focus solely on species membership, thereby degrading all species outside of the one we belong to, is harmful, oppressive, & unjust. It is these cultural norms that the AL/AR movements attempt to disrupt & challenge.
– When it comes to questioning Indigenous cultural norms regarding nonhuman animals, it is important to recognize that the norms that determine how animals are treated are very different than the dominant cultural norms most commonly targeted by the AL/AR movements. To question such norms without having prior knowledge about that culture is disrespectful. Even if an aspect of that culture goes against your beliefs – in this case, that killing animals under any circumstances is wrong – this does not justify neglecting to learn about the culture as a whole.
– Since the initial contact between European settlers & Indigenous peoples on this land, the latter have experienced attempts at cultural assimilation from the former. This has always been rooted in settler assumptions that their culture & ways of life are superior to Indigenous cultures & ways of life. While such ideas may be easy to remember as wrongdoings from the past, it is important to acknowledge that such attempts at assimilation are ongoing realities continuously faced by Indigenous nations across Canada today.
– It may seem odd from an AL/AR perspective to think that our message could be considered a form of pushing the dominant settler culture onto Indigenous peoples. The dominant settler culture regularly rejects our message, how could we possibly be considered to represent it? However, when the majority of the members of a social justice movement come from the dominant culture, it is necessary that we understand how our cultural background contributes to our abilities to hold the views we have & live the way we live. When a group of predominantly white settlers challenges the actions of an Indigenous nation – in this case, the Haudenosaunee – this is a prime example of ongoing colonial attempts at cultural assimilation – it is directly saying that the cultural view of the white settlers on “this” side are superior to the cultural values held by the “other” side. The AL/AR side may not be reflective of the entire white settler culture, but it is an aspect of it that is being pushed onto the Haudenosaunee during Short Hills protests. (We recognize that many cultures outside of Western, predominantly white, cultures share values related to animal rights & liberation. However, since white folks holding a large degree of privilege in society are the loudest voices expressing such views, it’s important that we acknowledge how our message conveys the experiences of white settler ways of life).
– Now one might say – “but if I believe that an animal should live & someone else’s culture says that animal should die, I’m okay with the message that my belief is superior. This is about an individual’s life, that is more important than respecting culture”. However, such an argument would be erasing the fact that culture is directly connected to Indigenous survival. Threatening Indigenous cultures is an act of threatening the meanings and dignities of Indigenous lives. We are arguing that Indigenous lives are of equal importance to the lives of deer, & that questioning Indigenous cultures is akin to questioning their very lives & livelihood.
There are some other points that are worth acknowledging:
– Many of the supporters of the hunt have expressed an interest & willingness in supporting protests against factory farms. This shows that respect for nonhuman animals is commonly held by many different people from many different walks of life. While AL/AR values generally hold that all form of animal killing is wrong, even if treatment of the animals is improved, it’s important to recognize this aspect of solidarity amongst seemingly-opposite sides.
– The above is an example of potential forms of allyship & solidarity between movements. With the many social justice issues that exist in the world today, it is of vital importance that social justice movements join together & work in solidarity to challenge dominant modes of oppression in its many forms. Joining with Indigenous groups to challenge issues such as climate change, environmental degradation, animal mistreatment in areas such as factory farms, and various other human rights issues has a huge potential to make necessary changes in this world. When we stay divided, we allow the oppressors to win. When we join together, recognize difference, & work toward solidarity with one another, we can make serious & awesome change.
If you agree with the above statements, we encourage you to join demonstrations at Short Hills park this Thursday & Friday, from 4-6:30pm (sic 2016), to support Haudenosaunee rights to self-determination.
Brock Student Justice Centre Statement of Solidarity
The Brock Student Justice Centre (SJC) is an education, advocacy, and equity hub rooted in social justice outreach and support work at Brock University, which is situated on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral peoples. The SJC is issuing a statement of solidarity as we support Haudenosaunee hunters during this time of harvest, and more broadly, all Indigenous peoples exercising their inherent and treaty rights across all of Turtle Island. The white-tailed deer harvest at Short Hills Provincial Park is a crucial component of the social, cultural, and overall well-being of Haudenosaunee peoples. We condemn anti-Indigenous racism that operates under the guise of concern for animal liberation and public safety. While we recognize the importance of protest, animal welfare, and community safety, specifically targeting Haudenosaunee harvesters is an act of racism. It is a very particular decision to allocate vast resources of time and labour to occupy and disrupt spaces (on stolen land) wherein tractional Indigenous ways of life take place. Attempts to stop or stall Haudenosaunee harvesters from engaging in traditional cultural practices echoes other forms of settler interference that have aimed to erase Indigenous cultural knowledges and ways of being. An anti-hunt stance demonstrates a flagrant opposition to Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. The kinds of rhetoric being employed by anti-hunt protestors reinforces harmful ideas about Indigenous people and constitutes an act of epistemic violence. The anti-hunt initiatives at Short Hills reproduces inequitable colonial relations that have facilitated the historic and ongoing assimilation, subjugation, and genocide of Indigenous peoples for centuries.
The SJC acknowledges the good work of Supporters of Haudenosaunee Right To Hunt who have mobilized a shift in mainstream understandings about the importance of the harvest. We appreciate the important work of Indigenous peoples and settler-allies who have been educating folks about Indigenous inherent and treaty rights to self-determination and food sovereignty. We honour the tireless emotional, mental, and physical labour of Indigenous peoples who have engaged in the struggle to support Haudenosaunee harvesters. The SJC urges all students to educate themselves about Indigenous-settler colonial relations and the harmful implications of taking a position of opposition to the Haudenosaunee harvest. We call on all people to support and uphold Indigenous inherent and treaty rights in pursuit of establishing a genuine path to Indigenous-settler reconciliation.
Christian Peacemaker Teams
“Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is an international human rights and violence reduction agency that works with groups and communities who are suffering from violence and oppression…we heard multiple reports of intimidation, harassment, racist and sexist insults directed from the anti-hunt protesters to the Haudenosaunee hunters and supporters…which featured a barricade set up by anti-hunt protesters in order to impede the Haudenosaunee hunters from exercising their treaty rights…”
Read the full letter below…
Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) Supports Haundenosaunee Inherent and Treaty Right to Hunt
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) supports the Haudenosaunee right to hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park by St. Catharines, organized by the Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority and authorized by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council. The hunts are protected under treaty rights dating back to the founding of European settlement in Niagara and must be respected by all.
We condemn the racist obstruction of treaty rights by those claiming to be protecting animal rights or raising other objections. These actions are in fact perpetuating violations of Indigenous inherent and treaty rights which amount to cultural genocide and is a continuation of the genocidal policies of the Canadian government, as recognized even by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is evident by the racist abuse and intimidation Indigenous hunters have been subjected to by those who have been barricading the hunt. We condemn the Ontario Provincial Police and Niagara Regional Police Service’s complicity with those obstructing the hunt, who must not be allowed to interfere in the Indigenous people’s exercise of their inherent and treaty rights. We also call upon the Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations Affairs to protect the exercise of inherent and treaty rights at Short Hills Provincial Park.
The Communist Party of Canada has long called for respect for nation-to-nation relationships between the Indigenous and settler nations and peoples of Canada, which requires upholding existing treaty rights as well as negotiating a new constitutional framework under conditions of true Indigenous sovereignty. This is impossible under capitalism’s colonial concentration of wealth in private hands and requires socialism. Indigenous nations and peoples must not only be consulted on matters which affect them but must have the right to veto if there is to be true equality.
CUPE 4207 represents Academic Workers at Brock University which is located on the traditional beaver hunting grounds, a shared territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe and other nations.
Our union recognizes the treaty rights of all Indigenous Peoples and the responsibility of settlers to honour these rights as we work and live on colonized land.
We understand that we are in a Nation-to-Nation relationship and that Haudenosaunee are self-determining and sovereign. We specifically recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples to harvest on their traditional lands.
CUPE 4207 commits to standing in solidarity with Six Nations and all other Indigenous peoples. Our Indigenous Solidarity Coalition @ Brock and CUPE 4207 Equity Committee strive to offer events and campaigns that raise awareness and educate our members about upholding treaties through positive and respectful Nation-to-Nation relationships.
CUPE Ontario Statement of Support
CUPE Ontario is Ontario’s community union. As Indigenous peoples and as settler-allies operating on colonized land, our union has a collective responsibility to recognize and honour the inherent rights and treaty rights of all Indigenous peoples.
First Nations are sovereign nations that possess inherent rights to self-determination. This includes the right to food sovereignty and food security. We specifically recognize and support the right of Indigenous peoples to harvest on their traditional lands, and the importance of this food practice as a form of cultural healing.
Education is a crucial part of Truth and Reconciliation. At CUPE Ontario, we commit to continuing our efforts through our Aboriginal Council and Human Rights Committee to integrate Truth and Reconciliation into all of the work of our union. As part of this commitment, we offer our support to Locals in carrying out educational activities to help teach our members about nation-to-nation relationships and the need to follow and respect the treaties.
Hamilton Animal Liberation
“…We stand behind the front-line land-defenders and protectors: struggles which are fore fronted by Onkwehon:we. Placing the conversation of veganism aside, it becomes clear that those fighting for animal liberation would be most effective if we chose to also support those resisting pipelines, mines, clear-cuts, water and air contamination, and the corrupt governments and corporations who instigate these actions. The fact that the Haudenosaunee hunt – which includes a minimal amount of deer once a year – is being protested so ferociously by animal advocates while other larger scale hunts by white settlers are left untouched, as is the effect on wildlife from clear cutting, deforestation, and pipelines, makes it difficult for us to believe that it is not geared by racist ideology…”
To read the full statement click the link below:
Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle
A Letter of Solidarity for the Haudenosaunee Right to Hunt
From the Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle
November 8th, 2017
The IDHC has taken a position of Solidarity with the Harvesters exercising their Treaty Rights in this Region. Game meats are part of our traditional diet and a key factor in the Prevention or management of Diabetes. Food security and keeping the Traditional Knowledge of living in balance with Nature are key to Indigenous health.
Indigenous Solidarity Coalition @ Brock
In recent years, reports of the annual Haudenosaunee deer harvest at Short Hills Provincial Park have claimed that protestors of the hunt are concerned about “public safety” and that their protests are not connected in any way to race or racism. The Animal Alliance of Canada, Niagara Action for Animals and the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance have adopted a colour-blind approach for discussion of hunting in Haudenosaunee territory, stating that the race or culture of hunter does not matter.
The ISC argues that it is imperative to understand how coded language like “public safety” has been used to justify acts of racism and colonial oppression. Adopting a colour-blind approach by removing awareness and understanding of issues of race and racialization at the Short Hills hunt is a disservice to Indigenous people and the struggles that they deal with on a continual basis.
The protesters’ approach is only effective in a society that cannot see or even conceptualize the idea of colour or race. This is not the society that we live in. In fact, in order to apply a colour-blind perspective to the deer harvest we would have to erase: the historical contexts of the development of Canada; colonialism; racism; as well as the methods embedded in social, political, and economic structures within Canada that have come together to perpetuate the genocide of Indigenous peoples and their cultures. Such approaches suggest that we do not “need” to talk about race or racism. However, if we can’t talk about it, we can’t understand it, much less fix the problems tied to racism in our society.
The colour-blind appeal to “public safety” obscures the reality of this harvest, which can be uncomfortable for settlers – that is, the context of who is hunting and why. Haudenosaunee self-determination is rooted in rights to land and culture, which is directly tied to Indigenous survival. As such, we close this letter by asking those who oppose the hunt to consider how integral the harvest is to Indigenous Peoples.
The gift of the hunt came to our people long, long ago, way back to the time of Creation when the two twins came to differences over the use of the animal relatives in the rite of the hunt. The one twin we call Flint, the mischievous one, tried to lock up all of the animals and only use them for his own purpose. The other twin we call Sapling, later to become a part of our understanding of a Creator, the one who made our bodies, released the animals for Flint’s control.
The animals were then given to the people to help us to feed ourselves, use their meat in medicines of healing, and use their skins to keep us warm so that we would not perish. The deer especially were used as a model again to our people, later when the Great Peace was brought into being to show us that we were given the deer for food and that should always stop us from killing human beings.
The Indigenous Solidarity Coalition is a collection of people who stand in support of this way of life that we were given as Haudenosaunee, Anishinabe, and all other nations to abide by, so that the Great Peace can be extended again with its roots of peace once again growing to the four corners of the Earth. We stand in solidarity for the way of life we have been given, as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, so that the way of life will continue and that we continually welcome all of those to stand with us to support the many different ways of living the people of the Earth have chosen to use as their lifestyle. May it always be that way in our minds (Sakoieta Wakathahionni).
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees
November 12, 2017
The members of IATSE Local 461 recognize treaty rights and the Constitutional right to hunting and fishing by First Nations peoples.
We condemn anti-hunting protest actions at Short Hills. While we recognize the complexity of the issues surrounding the annual deer harvest, every attempt to block, barricade, or disrupt the hunt is an act of racism against First Nations peoples and cannot be tolerated.
With respect for the sovereignty of First Nations peoples and in service of Reconciliation, IATSE Local 461 fully supports the Haudenosaunee deer harvest at Short Hills.
LAURIER STUDENTS’ PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP (LSPIRG)
PUBLIC STATEMENT IN REGARDS TO THE HAUDENOSAUNEE SHORT HILLS HUNTS
As the traditional Haudenosaunee Deer hunts take place at Short Hills Provincial Park (located near St. Catharines, ON), LSPIRG would like to issue a statement of support and solidarity.
Indigenous hunts in this area have taken place for many generations and were used as a means to provide for the greater Haudenosaunee community long before settler interference. However, over recent years, these hunts have seen an increase in presence from animal rights activists. Organized protests have become aggressive and confrontational. Including documented accounts of racism and physical violence. They are organized under the guise of “animal rights” but are steeped in colonization and oppression towards Haudenosaunee Peoples, their traditional lands, and their treaty rights.
As an organization, we are always striving to stand in solidarity with the Indigenous nations of this area (and all across Turtle Island). We support the struggle for sovereignty, defense of the land, maintenance of traditional methods of food sourcing, and cultural traditions. We understand that all of these aspects play into each other, and that a vital and important part of ensuring Indigenous sovereignty is protecting traditional food sources. Including hunting and fishing grounds.
We would like to remind those who are settlers on this land, that attempting to prevent traditional hunts from taking place (or harassing and attacking those who are involved in these hunts) replicates colonial patterns of oppression. Impacting food sources (or preventing access to food sources) has long been a weapon of colonial powers. We have seen this from early settler contact, and we are still seeing this happen today.
We stand in solidarity with the Haudenosaunee hunters who are providing for their communities. We stand in solidarity with supports, who are up before the sun each day with the hunters, making sure they see friendly faces and hear traditional songs while having to move through racist and sometimes physically violent spaces. And we stand in solidarity with all Indigenous Nations fighting to continue accessing and preserving traditional food sources.
Mennonite Support for Treaty Rights and Cultural Tradition
This message is written on behalf of many Mennonites in the Niagara Region who align themselves with Indigenous communities. Mennonites have a faith perspective that focuses on non-violence, peace, and justice for the oppressed. Our hope is for the recognition of Treaty Rights for Indigenous peoples and the appropriate and objective demonstration of those claims.
This means that we stand with Indigenous peoples and their right to hunt deer in Short Hills Provincial Park. This support affirms their tradition and cultural expression as Indigenous hunters who harvest the resources of the land. Our community wants to build relationship with their community as we look to healing the wrongs of the past and furthering a spirit of reconciliation.
On behalf of many Mennonites in Niagara,
Douglas D. Schulz –Pastor of Grace Mennonite Church – St. Catharines
Chris Hutton – Pastor of First Mennonite Church – Vineland
Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition
The Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition stands with the Haudenosaunee hunters, and all Indigenous peoples, in their inherent and treaty rights to hunt and fish, and more particularly to hold the annual deer harvest at Short Hills.
We condemn anti-hunt protesting tactics such as anti-Indigenous language, racist language, physical interference, creating barricades and blocking access to the hunting lands, shining flashlights in hunter’s faces, and all other forms of intimidation. There is no room for hate and racism in Niagara.
This is not just an issue of animal rights versus hunters. It is not that simple. We must consider the elements of Indigenous tradition, self-determination, and Treaty rights involved.
The Haudenosaunee deer harvest is protected by law, by treaty, and by the inherent rights of Indigenous people. In order for reconciliation to occur, we must respect and support Indigenous sovereignty and all it entails. The onus is on us as a community to begin a path towards healing the wrongs of the past and wrongs that are still ongoing.
The Niagara Anti-Racism Coalition strongly condemns hate in all forms, and fully supports the Haudenosaunee deer harvest at Short Hills.
Niagara Artists Centre
The Niagara Artists Centre recognizes treaty rights and supports the rights of Indigenous peoples to harvest on their traditional lands. We hope for greater understanding in Niagara about all of the issues that the Short Hills harvest raises and encourage citizens to be informed, including through experiences with the arts.
NRARA Statement on Short Hills Deer Harvest
The Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association stands with the Haudenosaunee hunters, and all Indigenous peoples, in their inherent and treaty rights to hunt and fish, and more particularly to hold the annual deer harvest at Short Hills.
We condemn anti-hunt protesting tactics such as anti-Indigenous language, racist language, physical interference, creating barricades and blocking access to the hunting lands, shining flashlights in hunters’ faces, and all other forms of intimidation. There is no room for hate and racism in Niagara. This is not just an issue of animal rights versus hunters. It is not that simple. We must consider the elements of Indigenous tradition, self-determination, and Treaty rights involved.
The Haudenosaunee deer harvest is protected by law, by treaty, and by the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. We must respect and support Indigenous sovereignty and all it entails. The onus is on us as a community to begin a path towards healing the wrongs of the past and wrongs that are still ongoing.
The Niagara Region Anti-Racism Association strongly condemns hate in all forms, and fully supports the Haudenosaunee deer harvest at Short Hills.
Statement of Support from Niagara Quakers
St. Catharines – November 6, 2017
Pelham Executive Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Niagara Quakers) supports
the right of the Six Nations to hunt deer in the Short Hills Provincial Park.
This is a treaty right; and as such is in effect to this day. Treaties exist between sovereign
nations and enjoin each party to treat the other with respect. This is true of treaties between Indigenous people and settlers. It is especially important to respect the rights of Indigenous peoples today, as that is a core obligation if the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are to bear fruit.
We must always bear in mind that we are all treaty people.
Quakers have a particular interest in supporting the right of the Haudenosaunee to hunt; to pass on traditional knowledge of hunting to the next generation; to provide sustenance to their families.
Quakers have a history of respecting the rights, traditions and religious practices of
Indigenous people, dating back to the covenant between the Quaker founder of
Pennsylvania, William Penn, and Indigenous nations, and continuing up to the present day, where Quakers played a vital role during the drafting and ratification of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. Out of that tradition of mutual respect, we offer our support.
Robert Nunn, Recording Clerk, Niagara Quakers
June Etta Chenard,
RoseMarie Cipryk, Co-clerks, Niagara Quakers
PH: 905 684 9924
Thohahente Kim Weaver
The Unitarian Congregation of Niagara (UCN)
The Right of the Six Nations to hunt Deer
In the Short Hills Provincial Park
In keeping with the Treaty and Land Rights between
First Nations and the Government of Canada.
Accordingly, we call upon All
Indigenous Peoples and Settlers
To treat each other with Respect
In keeping with the word and the spirit of our treaties.
We bear in mind that we are all