As Harsha Walia writes in rabble.ca, the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and Wet’suwet’en nations of Ontario and British Columbia have their own laws and traditions that conflict with those of Canada. As such, asserting their jurisdiction over their indigenous territories to enforce their natural law sometimes means running afoul of the Canadian government.
But as Walia reports, assuming their sacred responsibilities by exercising their sovereignty is not up for negotiation. While Canada may continue its policies of coercion and corruption through its Indian Act system, the indigenous activists comprising the hereditary clan system of these First Nations are taking back their inherent power of self-governance by re-establishing their presence on the land.
As they challenge Canada’s corporations and authorities by defending indigenous territories, the clans exercising indigenous self-determination find strength in a return to collective decision-making. While this democratic resurgence might seem threatening to those who’ve been crushed, co-opted or corrupted by Canada’s Indian Act Band Council system, it is a a reflection of a new unity in community generated by the great awakening made visible by Idle No More. As Walia notes, “Their courage and tenacity have served as an inspiration for many social movements struggling against austerity, market fundamentalism and ecological destruction.”