Filed under: Action, British Columbia, Indigenous
Report back on disruption of RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s speech on restorative justice at North Island College.
On January 24th, 2019 – A balmy evening in late January saw a disruption of business as usual in the Comox Valley, unceded K’omoks territory. A group of community members gathered to oppose the new RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki’s speech on restorative justice at North Island College, in solidarity with those inhabiting their traditional Wet’suwet’en territory, where the RCMP are showing their true colours as the foot soldiers of resource extraction company Coastal GasLink.
We couldn’t stand by and watch the new female (how strategic to mitigate all those sexual assault charges!) big-wig of the RCMP pigs speak to the 1% of this region about how fantastically restorative justice is working to find harmony between First Nations and the law, while up north those very cops are breaking every agreement made with First Nations communities and violently occupying the unceded land, and protecting the extractive industry as it prepares to break ground for this pipeline.
A group of us stood outside as attendees made their way into the theatre for the talk. A large banner was held, leaflets distributed, and general hullabaloo was created, as the space was held with a large presence. There was a tangible sigh of relief from the security guards when the last attendees had trickled in and the doors closed on us. They had done their job and kept us outside!
Meanwhile, a small group of us who had bought tickets to the event waited for the perfect moment to continue the mayhem. The who’s who of the Comox Valley were in attendance, three mayors, many police officers and retired officers, and much of Brenda Lucki’s family. Finally, after a half hour or so of introductions, Lucki was introduced and took the stage in casual, “I’m one of you” attire.
She began by telling us all how nervous she was, garnering sympathetic laughter and comradery amongst the audience. As Brenda Lucki began to pick up steam in her talk, moving onto the subject of how we need to move a step beyond the scripted territorial acknowledgement and into a real reconciliatory relationship with First Nations, we decided we’d had enough of the hypocrisy and stood up with a large banner, walked down the stairs to stand right in front of her, and unfurled a banner reading “We Stand With the Unist’ot’en”. The banner was so large as to completely obscure the stage, and a seething Lucki from the audience’s view. At this moment, others in the crowd stood up and raised their voices in solidarity with the struggle up north, and the hypocrisy of the event.
We could not let the police commissioner’s talk go forward without letting her know that we see through her veil of magnanimity and won’t stand for it.
Security was baffled, and the commotion lasted about 5 minutes before security amped up their presence and physically escorted the banner holders out of the auditorium, with a psychic kick to our back ends as they booted us through the emergency exit and back into the night. Nevertheless:
The resistance and disruptions will continue as long as the state and its RCMP continue to evict Wet’suwet’en people from their traditional territories and act as paid escorts to CGL. No Pipelines on Stolen Native Land!