22 Mar 2009
Harriet Nahanee died fighting climate change, why is she forgotten?
I went for a pint or three with Ian Angus the Canadian ecosocialist back in October 2007 at the George Inn, London Bridge, just a couple of days after the ecosocialist international meeting in Paris.
He was critical of the Canadian Green Party and on the whole did not feel that the left in Canada were active enough on the environment. There are groups like Socialist Voice who are excellent and individuals in the GP or left groups. He was though very enthusiastic about the leadership shown by indigenous people in resisting ecological threats.
I have since been linking up more with indigenous people and it was an important part of my work when I was Green Party Principal Speaker.
Just seen this excellent essay on Rowland's site looking at the struggles of the indigenous for ecology and socialism in Canada.
'A notorious example of this was the punishment of Indian Warrior Harriet Nahanee, a Pedachat elder that found herself sentenced to provincial jail for contempt of court for playing a part in the Sea-to-Sky highway expansion protest at Eagleridge bluffs. Later she passed away as a result of pneumonia and resulting complications at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver on Feb. 24th, one month after her sentence. It is suspected by many in Indian country that Nahanee’s condition became worsened during her incarceration at the Surrey Pre-Trial centre. However, as can and should be expected, Solicitor-General John Les denied any government responsibility in her death and has refused requests from the community for an inquiry.'
Many Greens forget the indigenous, they are doing the work, we should give them solidarity...they give me hope.
For many like Harriet, it is unfortunarely a life and death struggle. I hope Elizabeth May makes indigenous work a priority, this is the issue on which I judge 'Green Party Leaders'.
This is on Harriet's death from one Green Party member. This stuff is central to green politics, yet for many Greens it is forgotten.