Map from the Indigenous Environmental Network:
Report-back on Camp Naivelt’s Peace Tea of 2021
Notes by sue goldstein
Camp Naivelt, the United Jewish People’s Order-Toronto’s summer camp held its annual Peace Tea on Sunday, August 8, 2021. It began as it traditionally does with an historical review by Ester Reiter of its origins: in protest and remembrance of the genocidal nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 by the U.S. This year’s Peace Tea speaker was Emily Green, a member of UJPO member and part of UJPO’s Indigenous Solidarity Working Group (ISWG). Her talk, entitled Healing From Colonialism Through Co-Resistance, focused on her recent solidarity work with the Wet’suwet’en. Emily joined four other people from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) — an organization committed to deepening relationships of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en — in a one-month visit to the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre.
Emily spoke about the feeling of being welcomed on unceded territory, sovereign Wet’suwet’en land, and into a way of being on the land that is different from how we as settlers here relate to the lands we live on. In fact, the act of healing from colonialism entails re-thinking how we exist on the land and in relation to each other and all the life around us. In short, it means not just examining how we exist on Indigenous lands, not just acknowledging Indigenous presence historical and current, and not just acknowledging the genocide that has gone on and continues to this day. No. It means actually moving to action on what we learn and come to know. It means changing the way we live and exist on these lands.
Decolonization is a process, and part of that process is developing relationships with the peoples of the land and with each other, but also with other living and breathing beings and with the land itself. This kind of change essentially demands our discomfort. In an article by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang that Emily shared a link to during her presentation, the authors state that decolonization cannot be a metaphor. They write “When a metaphor invades decolonization, it kills the very possibility of decolonization; it recenters whiteness, it resettles theory, it extends innocence to the settler, it entertains a settler future…The easy absorption, adoption, and transposing of decolonization is yet another form of settler appropriation.”
Emily presented her experience and the information in an inviting way, knowing that we all face the difficult process of truly challenging ourselves and trying to be open to these journeys, and that we are not making them alone.
There were approximately 50 people in attendance, both in-person and online. After Emily’s presentation there was a Q&A. One question to consider was: what can we do, in solidarity and with intention that can make a difference on the ground? What kinds of changes will that require of us?
Naivelt members reminded those gathered that the ISWG is in contact with Margaret Sault, who is the Director of Lands, Membership and Research for the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation, about accessing their river at Naivelt and bringing youth from the Mississauga out for a summer stay in this part of their territory. Ms. Sault did a presentation on treaties at the Winchevsky Centre in June 2019, and the Chief of the Mississauga, Stacey Laforme, was the speaker at the Naivelt Peace Tea in 2018. The work at building relationships is in motion and is an ongoing process.
The Pea Tea was the culmination of a week at Camp themed around Indigenous Solidarity. Emily and Sadie Epstein-Fine put together a list of things to watch, writing prompts, things to read, somethings to listen to, things to do and make, items to prompt discussion, who to follow on social media, and where to donate. The first thing always is to inform ourselves and to share, nurture, and discuss what we are learning with others. Of course, we can’t stop there, but it’s where we start and hopefully move into action. And to remember that if we’re feeling uncomfortable, it’s an integral part of the ongoing process.
Here is a link to the program that Emily Green and Sadie Epstein-Fine put together: http://tiny.cc/ISWGNaiveltProgram. If you are interested in joining the ISWG in any capacity, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 416-789-5502.
Links for Peace Tea 8 August 2021
Learn whose land you are on: https://native-land.ca
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) Reports: https://nctr.ca/records/reports
NCTR Calls to Action: https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
Platform of activist, Russ Diabo, a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake — Truth Before Reconciliation: https://www.russdiabo.com/platform
Clearing the lands has always been at the heart of Canada’s Indian Policy, from the blog of Pam Palmater, Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, and activist: https://indigenousnationhood.blogspot.com/2021/08/clearing-lands-has-always-been-at-heart.html
Land Acknowledgement delivered in Brampton, Ontario by Chief Stacey LaForme on Indigenous Peoples’ Day — 21 June 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7wGkmrPnmk
Indian Residential School Survivors Society: https://www.irsss.ca
First Nations Child & Family Caring Society: https://fncaringsociety.com
Idle No More: https://idlenomore.ca/campaigns-actions
Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit: https://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit2020
Grassy Narrows: https://freegrassy.net/learn-more
Baroness Von Sketch: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1590936291061154
Additional links from the presentation
Shut Down KKR (Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts and Company — Wall Street investment firm that owns 65% of Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline: https://shutdownkkr.com/take-action
Article by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang — Decolonization is not a Metaphor: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/18630
February 2020 Update: Who’s Banking the Coastal GasLink Pipeline? https://www.ran.org/the-understory/2020-update-whos-banking-the-coastal-gaslink-pipeline
Ester Reiter and Emily Green on the monitor during Camp Naivelt’s 2021 Peace Tea.