Jump to content

Yellow Cedar

Writers.2
  • Posts

    10
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

Yellow Cedar's Achievements

  1. I CAME UPON A CHILD OF GOD, he was walking along the road And I asked him, “Where are you going?” and this he told me I’m going on down to Fairy Creek, I’m gonna try and save some trees I’m gonna camp out on the land, I’m gonna try and get my soul free (Stanzas in italics are from Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” about the 1969 Woodstock Festival.) My Vancouver friend Christoph wants to bring some of his friends up to (Ada-Itsx) Fairy Creek. Could I give him the lay of the land? “How can I contribute? What should I bring?” He likes to cook warm meals in the woods, so I suggested he pack his cooking gear, and hike a few hours past the headwaters, through the 2,000-year-old yellow cedars, to Ridge Camp, which blocks the logging road from punching into Fairy Creek watershed. If our old growth is protected, what’s the road for? While politicians chatter, the RCMP showed up yesterday with 37 SWAT team commandoes, using diamond saws to cut chains, and a backhoe to dig people out of concrete and rebar reinforced “sleeping dragons.” Imagine a backhoe blade smacking the earth three inches from your face! Yet every night, new blockaders slip back in from the forest and chain themselves back in. They’re living on ramen and granola bars, so I suggested if Chris made them a warm, savoury stew, it would go down very well. His cookware and skills will be appreciated. But he could show up empty handed and still be welcome. The only thing you need to bring is your self. We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden The Pacheedaht Council, by the way, encourages peaceful protest, outside the injunction zone of 50 metres from active logging. The Council’s statement was required to fulfill their obligations under a colonial “hush money” contract they signed to get at least $300,000 for the destruction of their ancestral forest. That’s all they’ll receive from the conservatively-estimated $400,000,000 street value of TFL 46. A bag of beads and a keg of whiskey all over again. If you want to know more about colonialism at Fairy Creek, please read this. Pacheedaht leader Kati George-Jim invites you to stand by her and the trees at Ada-Istx. Meanwhile, at Ada-itsx people are building true reconciliation with our bare hands and our hearts, inspired by the leadership of Pacheedahts Kati George-Jim, Granny Rose, and elder Bill Jones. Bill was the first to invite us to come up to the woods. I love Bill. In my life, he has become my father, and my grandfather. He is a quiet man, but people ask him to talk, because he comes out with wisdom like this: “You don’t go up to the forest to cut it down, you go up to ask the Great Mother what she wants you to do.” “Camping on the land” is back on. And getting our souls free. Then can I walk beside you? I have come here to lose the smog, and I feel to be a cog in something turning Well maybe it is just the time of year, or maybe it’s the time of man I don’t know who I am, but you know life is for learning Walking to Waterfall Camp in June (photo by Alex Harris) “Walking beside each other” is my favourite part of Fairy Creek. Eyes sparkle. Stories tumble out. Friendships are made and sealed in a moment. Although you can, you don’t need to come to Fairy Creek to spend a week in a tree like Panda and Hummingbird, who were inspired by Julia Butterfly Hill, who sat for two years in a California Redwood she named “Luna.” Just come to Fairy Creek Blockade HQ, now on Google Maps, at Pacific Marine Road and Granite Main, near Port Renfrew, and it will all start for you. Yesterday I met Toucan and her family. Toucan is a “camp name.” Toucan’s sister couldn’t think of another rainforest bird, so she called herself “One-Can.” That, of course, left Mom with “Three-Can.” This lovely family have flocked to Fairy Creek, like planetary T-cells, to help heal a wound. We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden They were mulling over getting arrested. I set them at ease. The RCMP will inform you if you are breaking a law, and give you the opportunity to step back. They actually don’t want to arrest people, because if 1,000 people go to jail, the trees win. The only place you risk arrest is within 50 metres of active logging, or machinery, which would place you in violation of Justice Verhoeven’s injunction. And that’s a choice you can make when you get here. You don’t need to get arrested to stand with the forest defenders and trees. “Cookie” is a beautiful soul in her 70s, who came to camp for three days. She says “I like feeding people.” That was 5 months ago. Toucan was feeling pretty courageous about the whole arrest thing. “I’m nine years old, what can they do to me?” No one knows yet, but I think we’re about to find out! One-Can, at 14, was a little more cautious. Could she get her first job with a criminal record? Filmmaker “Egg” reminded her that committing civil disobedience is a civil offence, not criminal, and suggested “it will look good on your resume for Harvard.” “The RCMP might tack on a criminal “public mischief” charge, but Justice Verhoeven will dismiss that as mischievous. Always practice non-violence. Satyagraha is “holding firmly to the power of truth.” If you get in a situation, just think, what would Gandhi do? You’ll be fine. Three-Can was quietly mulling all this over in her own way. I think she was wondering why her government would send an RCMP SWAT team to chuck her children in jail for hugging a tree. The situation is pretty weird! A lot to think about. Western Trillium in Fairy Creek area forest, early June (photo by Alex Harris) And that, to me, is the gift waiting for us at Fairy Creek, the soul searching. What is our relationship with our planet? What is our relationship with our government? How can we help? What am I ready to do, today? As we think these thoughts, and make our choices, we change inside. In fact, we start to become the change that we want to see. And we are not alone! By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong And everywhere there was song and celebration And I dreamed I saw the bombers, riding shotgun in the sky And they were turning into butterflies, above our nation Human history lurches forward in fits and starts, as good ideas percolate up into people’s consciousness. Bruce Cockburn lamented “Why does history take such a long long time?” But when a threshold number of us catch fire, change just suddenly happens overnight, like bamboo shooting up 90 feet in five weeks after germinating underground for five years. Today, we are ready. Today, in our time, at Fairy Creek, Ada-itsx, the dam is breaking. The arrow is leaving the bow. Fairy Creek is no longer just a watershed of Old Growth trees, it is our moment to build reconciliation between forests, oceans, the clouds that join them, First Nations, their land, and all the people from around the world who have settled here. Bill Jones says “when you go into nature, let her enter you.” At Fairy Creek, we’re settling into the land, and she into us. The most difficult reconciliation is that with our government. Our democracy has lost its way, and we are taking it by the hand and leading it back to wisdom. We are stardust, billion year old carbon. We are golden, caught in the devil’s bargain And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden Joni is so amazing. If Bill is my father, she is my mother. In 1969, she intuitively grasped the significance of carbon, and that we are carbon. Then she rhymed it with garden. Maybe it was a coincidence, but I don’t think so. And even if you can’t come to Fairy Creek right now, imagine this—Joni Mitchell didn’t actually get to Woodstock, she wrote the song after chatting with her boyfriend Graham Nash, who sang there. Even if you can’t make it physically, you can be here, now. Fairy Creek valley, June 2021 (photo by Alex Harris) Yellow Cedar is a Vancouver Island-based writer. So far he’s only been arrested once.
  2. Hi Alistair, my next next post will be a primer on how to "come on down", after I profile two tree sitters. Thanks. JH has no intention of calling a ceasefire to create a peaceful environment for rational discussion. We aren't leaving until we get legislation banning the cutting of any old growth. It won't be over for a while. The police weirdness is settling a bit, as they realise we have resources and backup. 1,500 people came out for the day last Saturday! Not enough paddy wagons in BC for that. Every person I have talked to here has found it a deeply moving, personal experience. Lots of friends to make, and conversations to have. It is a special time. I like your fearless attitude! We have a circle each night to meet up, chat, pat the dogs, and listen to speakers who drop by. Enjoy!
  3. For his absolute betrayal of forests and people, it is time for the electorate to clearcut John Horgan's political career. We'll leave standing the two of his clan who have resisted him, to help re-seed for the future. That's the only way to teach the man just how long clearcuts take to grow back.
  4. Dear Old Human, thank you! Thoughtful is me, and thoughtful is FOCUSmagazine. See you there.
  5. UP AT FAIRY CREEK, known to the Pacheedaht as Ada’itsx, while trying to protect the forest, I find myself bearing witness to the current relationship between Indigenous peoples and our mainstream society. I would like to put some thoughts on your table to help us toward reconciliation. As I file this story, news of the discovered bodies of 215 First Nations children at the residential school in Kamloops is breaking hearts across our nation. If we wish to make peace, we have a long way to go, and must acknowledge that racism in Canada is not all in the past. I hear many of my white middle class family saying: “I feel constrained to come to Fairy Creek because Indigenous people don’t want us there.” I celebrate the soul searching, but people’s good intentions are being manipulated by a “divide and conquer” strategy, an example of which is a letter published by the elected Pacheedaht Council saying we are unwelcome. This letter has been traced back to a request from the Premier’s office for the Council to fulfill their contractual obligations not to interfere with the destruction of their forest heritage, for some cash. Why were they placed in this position? True reconciliation will begin when First Nations get what they have never had in BC: a percentage of the profits from resource extraction, veto power over projects in their territories, and first dibs on the jobs in their communities. Instead, Premier John Horgan, in his new “Modernizing Forest Policy” document, inverts reality by using First Nations as a human shield and blaming them for his job-killing, ecosystem-killing forest policies; by saying he can’t protect old growth or stop clearcutting without consulting First Nations. Sierra Club BC summarized it as “Orwellian” and “talk and log.” Horgan’s “Old Growth Protection Strategy” is a bald lie, as bald as the hillsides of BC. John Horgan’s Old Growth Protection Plan at work near Caycuse (photo by Dawna Mueller) The issues confuse most people, because most Canadians don’t know that hereditary chiefs have traditional control over what happens in their territories, but elected chiefs—a construct of the Indian Act of 1876—have control over what happens on reserves and the cash flow from government. Industry and government throw money at the elected chiefs to get them to sign off on mines, pipelines and clearcutting, but these activities generally take place outside the reserves, in the territories, which should require sign-off from hereditary chiefs. When the Wet’suwet’en elected chiefs signed off on the pipeline, and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs blockaded it, John Horgan refused to dialogue, and used the RCMP to smash their resistance. First Nations are not a couple of elected chiefs. First Nations are a people. And with all his talk about consultation, the premier has rejected calls to sit down and talk with Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones at Fairy Creek. So, on Saturday, May 29, at Waterfall Camp, Pacheedaht leaders Grannie Rose, Kati George-Jim, and Bill Jones brought Victor Peters, whom Jones says is the true hereditary chief of Pacheedaht First Nation, to the police line which denies Pacheedaht citizens access to Waterfall Camp, and declared: “I ask you, police man, to escort my chief to where he needs to go—these territories. He needs access to his lands to care for the old growth. You’ve been draining this territory for 200 years. You have cut all our timber with no remorse. You are invaders. I say to you: Clear the way, to escort my chief.” Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones speaks with RCMP near Waterfall Camp Jones was calling out the RCMP, and John Horgan who sent them, but all around him in the forest, and down in River Camp, 1,500 people, mostly settlers, had come to Fairy Creek in support, to stand with the “tall standing ones” and our First Nations. Bill wrote this invitation, which you can read here. Please read it. It is short, eloquent, and moving. It begins with an exhortation to walk in the woods, and it ends with an exhortation to walk in the woods. You are invited. If you come down to Fairy Creek, you don’t need to get arrested. Come to build relationships with First Nations people, support them, and listen to their teachings. That evening at the 7:00 pm welcome circle at HQ below River Camp, Rueben George (grandson of Chief Dan George), spoke. He is Sacred Trust Manager of the Tsleil Waututh Nation. He urged us to build relationships between ourselves and the land. He told us how he buried the placenta that nourished each of his children in the womb, near their home, and planted a tree over it, so they could come home any time in their lives, to find their roots. Rueben George of Tsleil Waututh Nation I was born in Toronto, raised my children in Guelph, and my daughter lives in the Yukon. Rueben’s words uncovered for me a great sense of loss—that I have no generational connection to place. Our bodies have settled here, but not our souls. But Rueben invited us to join with the land wherever we live, and shared his traditional knowledge of how trees talk to each other and support each other in times of need. He called this a reciprocal relationship. He pointed up to the ridge line of Fairy Creek, and told us that every gift of love we give the land, will give us so much love and strength back. I know this is true, because I have felt it at Fairy Creek. One night around the camp fire I observed how committed everyone was to non-violence. “This has gone up a level from just non-violence—everyone’s hearts are full of Peace.” We puzzled over the mystery of this, until someone said: “I think it is seeping up out of the ground, from the trees.” LIKE MANY, I CRIED TEARS OF JOY watching the BC Legislature sign UNDRIP into law. Maybe humanity was moving forward! A month later, Premier John Horgan’s government created the RCMP Community Industry Response Group (CIRG), a tactical squad, who are authorized to use “lethal oversight” to crush community resistance to industrial resource extraction. UNDRIP was just a photo-op for Mr Horgan. Regular detachment RCMP officers are required to enforce laws as neutrals, without interference from politicians. That is why the civil disobedience at Clayoquot Summer was a relatively “civil” affair. When officers are collected from all over the province into a CIRG, by declaration of a “provincial emergency,” their mandate pits them against communities, on the side of industry. The RCMP have enough trouble with systemic racism, but initiatives like CIRG destroy any credibility they have left. Because where do we do all our resource extraction? First Nations unceded territories. RCMP officers face Indigenous warrior matriarchs at Caycuse (photo by Arvin Singh Dang/ @arvinoutside) This same CIRG group is now at Fairy Creek, using illegal “exclusion zones” that are being challenged by the Canadian Association of Journalists, and false arrest practices that have outraged the BC Civil Liberties Association. They are even turning away biologists documenting endangered species at Fairy Creek, claiming “public safety” as an excuse. While a small minority of the logging community have slashed tires and assaulted First Nations youth, the constant stream of violent, racially-fuelled behaviour from the RCMP is more appalling. I went to Fairy Creek to save trees, but I’ve spent most of my time intervening between First Nations youth and cops. I watched a peaceful young woman, a minor, manhandled so harshly that her shirt ripped open, exposing her breasts to 30 armed male police. Her arrest was unlawful, and the assault on her dignity unnecessary. When she asked “Who are you serving?” they slammed the steel paddy wagon door in her face. I have dug deep to try and understand this behaviour. It is tactically foolish and morally wrong. As a sports coach, I am good at uncovering motivation, but I simply couldn’t understand it until I sat down to write this column. The police didn’t touch the 100 white elders who came down last week. And they were civil while they arrested me. Yet they are repeatedly singling out First Nations for violence. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. First Nations and other marginalized youth don’t have the resources to shadow box with some “complaint commission,” which they know will side with police. Their experience is grounded in the knowledge that Chantel Moore was one of three Tla-o-qui-aht youth from her small village who have been shot to death by police or died in police custody in the last year. Less than 200 population, 3 children dead in separate incidents, one year. This is not random. After the arrests, I said to one young man with quite dark skin, “This is why the RCMP have lost everyone’s faith.” He replied calmly, “This is why they are so hated.” There was no hatred in his voice, just an acceptance of the reality of his life: “Don’t let the cops get you alone.” But reconciliation is being practised at Fairy Creek, by the forest defenders. The Rainforest Flying Squad Legal Support Team is painstakingly documenting dozens of police violations, including “racist, trans or queer-phobic, or misogynistic incidents.” These will be presented to Justice Verhoeven to ask for his help in restraining police while they enforce his injunction, and used to support legal challenges and official complaint procedures. As well, realizing Indigenous peoples need to have control over their own resources, the forest defenders have started a separate GoFundMe page to prioritize protection of First Nation youth from targeted RCMP activity, and give First Nations resources to free them from what Bill Jones describes as “predatory lending and predatory agreements that have shackled his people with unsupportable debt, impoverished his people, and destroyed the forest they consider to be their mother.” The rest of us can accept their invitation and that of Elder Bill Jones to come to Fairy Creek to try and shield the forest and our youth from violence. Myself, I have chosen to go to jail because our leadership has failed us and we have no time to waste. When elected leaders make mistakes, we must listen instead to the voice inside us which knows right from wrong. We are all Indigenous to this planet. We are all family. One more thought on building healthy relationships between our cultures. Some people are uncomfortable with the term “settler.” Being uncomfortable with a term is a good sign. It means we are learning something new. “Settler” is not meant as a pejorative, but simply as an identifier, to bring clarity, to enable dialogue. Here is why the term makes sense to me. Indigenous peoples live for a long time in fixed territories. To regulate their relationships with their neighbours, they greet each other at the boundary. Let me demonstrate, with my own statement. “Hi, my name is Yellow Cedar. My Scottish ancestors came here when the English banned our culture and language, massacred us with superior technology, burned our crofts, and put the survivors on boats for Canada. Needing a place to live, we settled in your territories, for which we are grateful. “In this time of emergency, I respectfully enter Pacheedaht Territory, invited by Elder Bill Jones, to help protect both the forest and people, whom I consider my family, from irreparable harm done by corporations and governments beyond both of our control.” Bringing a gift is a traditional greeting when entering a territory. At Fairy Creek, the gift to bring is your self. True reconciliation is born in people’s hearts, one by one. How can we build this if we are isolated from each other? Rainbow Eyes, the first on the Fairy Creek blockades to be arrested (photo by Dawna Mueller) Rainbow Eyes was the first to be arrested. You can see in her eyes that she knows what she is up against, but also the depth of her resolve. Will you come down to Fairy Creek to stand with her, laugh and cry with her, learn from her leadership, and help protect her from violence? Yellow Cedar is a writer based on Canada’s West Coast. See his earlier entries, including about his first arrest, here and here.
  6. Humans need leadership. Bill Jones is one of our great elders. Listening to his teachings is like drinking water. I love that his invitation to come and join with our family members in Ada'itsx (Fairy Creek) begins and ends with the exhortation to: Walk in the Woods.
  7. I'm sorry to say, that citizens don't have the time, or the faith in the process. I wanted to walk right back in to the detachment and report my abduction by a gang. What we need to be able to do, is lay criminal charges, like assault. Canada doesn't have that option. That was my anguish: "Who ya gonna call?"
  8. My heart goes out to you. I shook and cried for days after. Sure is challenging, especially with so much at stake.
  9. ON SATURDAY, MAY 22, I WAS STANDING PEACEFULLY before an RCMP roadblock set up near the intersection of Caycuse Main and Maclure Main, with 100 citizens. We were warming our hearts around a sacred fire, bearing witness as a young Pacheedaht woman sang in her own language, songs of healing and resistance, in response to being savagely beaten by three male white police. It was a powerful and moving moment. The young woman put her drum down, and explained that she had just been ordered to leave the public space we stood in, because the RCMP had arbitrarily declared it to be an “exclusion zone” around the injunction against active logging in Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 46. Citizens protesting the legality of the RCMP exclusion zone at Caycuse (photograph supplied anonymously) Because the active logging was 9 miles away, and the injunction specifically states “50 metres from active logging and machinery,” she told us that she considered these exclusion zones, which are meant to protect citizens at crime scenes, to be an abuse of police discretion. She wished to exercise her rights and freedoms under the Charter and “stand here.” I asked, “May I stand with you?” She smiled and said “Yes.” Twenty of us got up and linked arms at her side. Thirty armed police engulfed us in an arrest wave from the rear. Moms with strollers scattered, children ran for safety. One seven year old said “Mom, I want to stay.” When two burly officers used unnecessary force to hustle an Indigenous woman still tending the fire away, I stepped forward, and extended my hands out to an officer, to facilitate handcuffs. He said “would you like to be arrested?” What a question! Well, “yes and no.” What I would like, is for Premier Horgan to start practicing sustainable forestry, so we can stop killing 8 loggers a year in clearcuts, and rebuild the 40 percent of forestry jobs we just lost to mechanization. What I would like, is not to be complicit while my species causes an entire bioregion to go extinct. But time was short, so I said “I’m with her.” And so I was. The old-growth at stake—these trees in Caycuse area are likely gone now (photography by Will O'Connell) From my paddy wagon seat, I watched the muscular white male police officer slam the much smaller female Indigenous fire-tender through the small steel-framed opening, and heard the sickly thump of her head hitting the steel wall. I heard him hiss: “You just assaulted a police officer,” so that she would realize if she laid a complaint, he would claim she was “resisting arrest.” Her Indigenous word, against his white male professional word. She knows how that will turn out. She kept quiet, so it wouldn’t get worse. Racist violence is alive and well in Canada. At least in Alabama, it’s on the table, and Black Lives Matter. Here in BC we sweep it under the rug, and RCMP officers at Fairy Creek (Ada’itsx), are wearing Blue Lives Matter ribbons. Nine of us, perhaps five identifying as white, spent the next six hours, the first two without water, being softened up, and having our resistance gauged, by seven different officers. The door would open. “You’ll never be able to cross a border again. Just try getting a job with a criminal record.” Slam. An hour later, “By the way, it’s a long weekend, so you’ll be in jail until Tuesday, but who knows, maybe the judge is busy, or on vacation. And this is no nice little jail.” One of us replied: “Uh, the ventilation fan is broken, and its about 35 degrees in here, can you just leave the door open a crack for air?” “You should have thought of that before you committed a criminal act.” Slam. “Under the uniforms, the RCMP are people, but their military culture has dehumanized them. They suffer from police brutality too.” (photograph by Dawna Mueller) The police had tacked on a criminal charge of “mischief” to the civil charge of violating the injunction so they could threaten us with criminal records. Then the door opens, and “good cop” brings us one tiny water bottle for three, and says: “Hey, if you sign here, you can walk free, once we drive you to Cowichan Lake.” Someone replies, “Can you give us a lift back down the 100 kilometres of logging roads to our car?” “No, that’s Uber.” Despite myself, I smiled. Under the uniforms, the RCMP are people, but their military culture has dehumanized them. They suffer from police brutality too. Most of us were prepared to go to jail, so we could try and convince a judge that our need as humans to slow the rate of species extinction is more pressing than the need of Teal Cedar to profit from that extinction. If we succeed, the judge can use their discretion to “be kind” with the sentence. If we don’t, we can get 90 days in jail for singing in a public road. And while we sat in the wagon deliberating, six species went extinct on our planet. After all of that, and so much more, just before midnight, I walked up to the intake window at RCMP Cowichan Lake, where the local detachment officer stood frozen and mute. Puzzled, I smiled to reassure him, and said words to the effect of “Book’em Dano, TFL 46.” He blinked. The officer who assaulted the Indigenous fire tender said “Get out of here, we’re not charging you.” I asked to be charged. He refused, and hustled me out of the building. Police have discretion to apprehend a suspect, and release them. George Floyd (may he rest in honoured peace), handed a store clerk a counterfeit $20 bill. But was he a counterfeiter? Maybe someone gave him the bill? If things hadn’t gone so wrong, police procedure was to apprehend him, investigate, and decide if charges were warranted, or just record the incident, and release him. But at Caycuse, the RCMP had 30 officers present to witness and testify in court that we were in the injunction zone. We were told to leave, and refused. There was no doubt. Why keep us in a paddy wagon for six hours, and drive us 100 kilometres, to release us? Then the penny dropped. They never had any intention of booking us. If 1,000 citizens go to jail, the trees win. If 20 citizens go to jail, the logging corporation wins. But why are the RCMP spending millions of public dollars to help the logging company win? Why weren’t they just doing their jobs and enforcing the injunction? The betrayal of being lied to by seven police officers all day shocked me more than I expected. And then the bag of pennies dropped. I realized this was not just any ordinary civil disobedience, like the Votes for Women campaign, or so many others, that won us everything good in society. This is a real War in the Woods. After Tzeporah Berman, now director of Stand.earth, was arrested, she said “Compared to this, Clayoquot Summer was the Picnic in the Woods.” After a little digging, I discovered that the Rainforest Flying Squad is facing an elite RCMP “Clearcutting Flying Squad,” led by Dave Attfield, the Gold Commander who oversaw the raid at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory. A BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) press release, which you can read here, details how this Community Industry Response Group (CIRG) was originally created at Premier John Horgan’s request, requiring the declaration of a state of “provincial emergency” under the Provincial Police Service Agreement. A state of emergency, that the public was not informed of. As a citizen, I’d like to know: Is this the same squad, or a new one? Does the “provincial emergency” or CIRG, have an end date? Is the CIRG audited? What are our costs? The name “Community Industry Response Group” makes it sound like a reconciliation effort. To date, the squad’s activities have all been to suppress communities to facilitate industry, at taxpayer’s expense. I consider this deployment to be a conflict of interest, as TFL 46 is in John Horgan’s riding, and the forestry workers who are benefitting in the short term represent votes for John. A judge who owned shares in Teal Cedar would recuse himself from our trials. Using a military group to crush dissent is something I expect from China, not British Columbia. This unit has helicopters and a SWAT team. At Wet’suwet’en, they were authorized to use lethal force, indirectly as “lethal oversight,” as reported in this article in The Guardian. At Caycuse, they have threatened to shoot the tree sitters out of the trees with snipers. In response, some sitters came down, some refused. I watched a tree sitter who climbed down, and was released, lying back in the arms of her support group, sobbing and crying for an hour. “And then they…” more tears… “and then....” She could hardly get a full sentence out until she was completely overwhelmed, her body wracked with convulsive sobs. She poses no threat to life or property. She is not a criminal. The forest defenders are scrupulously non-violent. She’s just a kid, about the same age as my daughter, who climbed into a tree to protect the ecosystem she lives in, full of ancient trees that have no voice of their own. The BCCLA has written an open letter to the Province stating that “the RCMP’s actions are…an inconsistent, arbitrary, and illegal exercise of police discretion to block members of the public, including legal observers and the media, from accessing the area.” Forest defender holds up Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (photograph by Dawna Mueller) The Canadian Association of Journalists is calling on courts to limit the discretionary powers of police to enforce injunctions, because “police have failed again and again” to respect the Charter. Forest Defenders will be asking our judge for this protection in our trials. If we can get a trial! John Horgan has a lot to answer for. I believe he should start by apologizing to the Fairy Creek Forest Protectors, and then: Disband the RCMP Community Industry Response Group. Declare a provincial emergency to protect BC’s Ancient Temperate Rainforest Biome, which is critically endangered. Ensure unrestricted access for media, international observers, and citizens. Come out of hiding and start providing some leadership. Create an environment for dialogue by declaring a temporary moratorium on TFL-46, compensate the families of the loggers for lost time, provide other logs for the Pacheedaht sawmill, and sit down with the Forest Defenders to talk. The tragedy, is that this war in the woods is completely unnecessary. Here in BC, we are lucky to have the foremost forest scientist in the world—Dr Suzanne Simard. She has just published her first book, Finding the Mother Tree, and has initiated the Mother Tree Project to prove that we could have double the forestry jobs by practicing woodlot forestry that preserves a forest’s biomass. She’s putting “Peace In The Woods” on a plate for us by creating a scientific forestry blueprint for healing our ruined clearcuts, and turning them back into old growth, which the Forest Service should have done before they started clearcutting. Eco Foresters call it “single tree selective forestry.” Loggers call it “hand logging.” Hey John—more forestry jobs means more votes for you. Maybe it’s time to park the helicopters, and pick up the phone. Yellow Cedar is a West Coast BC-based writer. His third diary entry is now up at
  10. “HI MY NAME IS DOUG,” the engaging young man at the gate says. “That would be Doug Fir, I presume?” I inquired, echoing the Stanley and Livingston greeting in a forest far away now in time and space. Perhaps his funky home-made tree costume gave him away. The people here have a twinkle in their eye, and fun is never far away. The spirit of Emma Goldman dances in their revolution. I arrived in Camp last night to careful scrutiny as a potential RCMP infiltrator, a warm welcome, and an exhortation to bring my Self to the Movement. There are no mistakes in forest activism. There is no one path, and no Shining Path. Each of us make our own choices about how we are called to civil disobedience, and what our lives can support. I sat around the camp fire with “Rainbow Eyes,” after her first arrest, and before mine, discussing whether we might or might not get criminal records, and whether we should let Fear be the deciding factor, or Courage. “You know what Winston Churchill said about that,” someone chimed in. Myself, the only Fear I have is caused by the 2019 UN Report on Biodiversity telling me that 25 species will go extinct today, in large part due to the clearcut deforestation taking place at Fairy Creek, and all over BC. Clearcuts in the Caycuse River area, near blockades (photograph by Dawna Mueller) Apparently, when we get our day in court, the judge will balance my right to peaceful protest, and the severity of my need, against the right of the Corporation to make profit without interference, and the severity of their need. A human, against a non-human. The non-human seems to win every time. Why is that? And the forest has no rights. The ecosystem has no rights. “The only stream around here with rights and freedoms, is the corporate income stream.” We need to change this. I will admit that I have broken the injunction. I will not sign the “promise not to return” waiver. My promise is to return, and return again, in an endless cycle of Arrest, Court, Judge, Arrest, Court, Judge, until they stop. “Rinse and repeat.” I will rest my defence on the urgency of our need to take action. The “Greta Thunberg defence”—Pawn to Queen 4. I have a daughter just her age—a young ecosystem scientist. I will close my summary to the judge by saying that if an assailant broke into my house at night and threatened my daughter, I would follow the explicit instructions of no less than Gandhi himself, and take him down by whatever means necessary. If I did, the RCMP would arrive and say “good job,” and no judge would take the assailant’s side. Today, I will peacefully attempt to stop an assailant from causing my daughter and her generation imminent and catastrophic harm. The RCMP will hand cuff me and take me to jail. As I calmly and reasonably inform the arresting officers that clearcutting is deforestation, and deforestation is causing species extinction, they might just say: “Tell it to the judge”. And that is exactly what I will do. In fact: “Make my day.” 🙂 Yellow Cedar is a West Coast BC-based writer. Watch for Part II: 6 hours in a paddy wagon. Part II of Yellow Cedar's diary is now available at
×
×
  • Create New...