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Nov 24, 21

Canadian Anti-Semites and Far-Right Conspiracy Theorists Try New Tactic: Aligning with Indigenous Communities

An antifascist report from Canada about how some white nationalist and far-Right conspiracy theorists are attempting to make inroads into Indigenous communities.

While the Covid pandemic may or may not be coming to an end, various anti-fascist twitter accounts have been trying to guess where the Canadian far-Right will focus their attention on next. I would like to propose a theory that, whether by design or not, the far-Right has managed to get a foot in the door with Indigenous communities – a development which should greatly alarm antifascists and anti-colonial militants.

The new, more palpable, talking points of fascists that the Alt-Right showcased to the world were very successful in luring an open audience to their messaging. So much so that they managed to recruit some POC allies, proudly displaying these people to deflect from the reality that their movement is fascist and racist. And they have done so with a fair degree of success. In Canada, when the Alt-Right started to become more notable, their propaganda tried to claim nearly all opposition to liberal governments as its own. This included issues such as the unsuitable drinking water on so many reserves in Canada, with articles even being written on the subject by the far-Right propaganda website the Post-Millennial, home to far-Right disinfo troll, Andy Ngo.

The success of this propaganda filtering into Indigenous circles has probably been noticed by anyone in land defense Facebook groups. With videos being shared that feature far-Right conspiracies and some directly from far-Right propagandists. Covid misinformation has also provided a strong vehicle for further infiltration, since those in Indigenous communities are justifiably distrustful of government medical systems.

As the anti-lockdown/mask/vaccine movement rolled into summer, people in Alberta started to see some odd and confusing imagery on anti-lockdown posters. Posters started to display Indigenous themed images. A person in a head dress, an image of turtle island, a medicine wheel, and even the emblems of two nations around the city of Calgary. Early October marked a notable shift in the infiltration however from online commenting to a strong physical presence of support in the form of setting up a camp with Pat King, a well known Albertan white supremacist.

Originally Pat King came to the Alberta legislature demanding a meeting with the province’s premier, in what seems to be an end to a long saga of how Pat King doesn’t understand the law, legal documents, and the confusing bureaucratic structure of Canadian courts. For the first few days of Pat being on the ledge grounds there was nearly no visible Indigenous involvement. Just before the new day for “truth and reconciliation,” Pat put out a call out, without giving a time, for people to come down to “stand with our First Nations.” After that it appears he dropped talking about his legal case. It looks like an event had been planned for that evening but in the afternoon some people had already gathered and a few seemed to know Pat. We must assume that not everyone that came down to the Alberta legislature grounds did so at Pat’s request, but it does seem like some did. Including one person that came to talk with Pat the night before, saying she had heard he was a white supremacist, but was convinced by him that he was not.

Over the next week and a half Pat posted videos saying he was introduced to a member of the keepers of the water, formerly keepers of the Athabasca, Nancy Scanie. It seems like a camp was created with her as a figure head or leader. On October 9th the camp had 3 large teepees set up and various tents. That day also had speakers and performances, all of which were anti-vaccine and quite a few of which were visibly Indigenous. It remains unclear what degree of influence and connection Pat King has in any Indigenous communities, but it is clear there is some and that there is a receptive audience to far-Right vaccine myths and conspiracies.

So far this has only been noticed in Alberta, so it is unclear to what extent this might be indicative of the direction of the Patriot movement at large. But, it would be worth noting and thinking about the ramifications of what such attempts might be. One of the few differences between the Canadian and American far-Right is Canada’s lack of visibly racialized spokespeople. Having Indigenous people either fill this gap or defend prominent people in the Patriot movement will give them better potential to deflect criticism.

Would far-Right infiltration further divide Indigenous communities and threaten important land defense projects taken up by various nations? This situation also brings to mind another question: how can antifascists guard against infiltration of far-Right figures and ideas into specific communities?

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