Natives Protest Assembly of First Nations in Vancouver
“All Sell-Outs Get the Hell Out!”: Natives Protest Assembly of First Nations
Report on July 11, 2006, Anti-AFN Rally/16th Anniversary of Oka Crisis
On Tuesday July 11, 2006, the Indigenous Resistance Organizing Committee (IROC) held a rally to protest the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) 27th annual general assembly. Our goal was to denounce the AFN & Indian Act chiefs for their collaboration with government & corporations, and to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Oka Crisis.
Ironically, the AFN held their conference at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, and chose to begin with a golf tournament on July 10. Among their most honored guests was BC Premier Gordon Campbell, whose neo-liberal government has made large cuts to social services while promoting corporate invasion into sovereign Indigenous territories through mining, oil & gas, ski resorts, etc.
Approximately 50 people attended the rally. We used speeches, drumming & singing, the Warrior Unity flag, leaflets, banners & placards, to communicate our message: Resist the Assimilation of First Nations (AFN). Members of our local community were invited to speak & express their opinions. Some denounced their chiefs, while others condemned the AFN for its delegation to Israel earlier this year & expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians.
After rallying in front of Canada Place, the group moved to the side entrances directly outside the main conference hall, where many chiefs & Indian Act bureaucrats were gathered. We chanted “All Sell-Outs Get the Hell Out!” and called them collaborators. More speeches were made and then we dispersed.
In preparation for our rally, the AFN & Canada Place brought in extra security guards, who locked the side doors to prevent us from entering the hall. Vancouver police were also on hand to defend the collaborators (including cops on horses). Not one chief raised their voice to defend themselves or their actions: they know they’re collaborators!
Overall, organizing this type of protest against the AFN isn’t easy. First, people need to be informed of what the AFN is and its role as a neo-colonial agent. In urban areas, Natives have less interaction with chiefs & councils. Many have little interest or even knowledge about the AFN, the result of both apathy & the AFN’s distance from the common people.
Despite this, the Resistance Committee felt it necessary to express some form of direct opposition to the AFN & chiefs. Without public & visible opposition, our people will remain ignorant and/or indifferent to the actions of these collaborators. They will think the AFN really is a legitimate representative of Native peoples, when in fact it is a state-funded organization comprised of Indian Act chiefs who work with government & corporations to assimilate our people & exploit our lands. And they do so under the pretext of fighting for our ‘rights & title’.
This confusion must be cleared up in the minds of our people. Our people need to be educated. We must take a clear stand against neo-colonialism & collaboration in all its forms, from the AFN & Indian Act chiefs to a wide array of Native organizations that are literally bought off & corrupted, their resolve weakened. This is why the government & corporations provide so much funding to ‘community’ groups. It’s a form of control & it works!
The Resistance Committee commends the Wasase Movement for its organizing of a public forum inside Canada Place on July 12, under the theme “Do we need an alternative to the AFN?” as part of this educational effort. We also thank all those who attended & participated in our circle. Resist the Assimilation of First Nations!
Long Live the Warrior!
No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!
Indigenous Resistance Organizing Committee (IROC)
Email: IROCommittee(at)gmail.com Tel: 604-682-3269 ext.7424