Friday October 9th, 2020
For immediate release
As a council composed of settler and guest members, the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council (TYFPC) are vocalizing our solidarity with land defenders from 1492 Land Back Lane on Six Nations Territory. We strongly condemn state violence against these Communities, who are asserting inherent rights to self-determination and to free, prior and informed consent. And, we call on our communities to take action to support the Haudenosaunee in their fight for sovereignty.
Our council is privileged to engage in our work on land which is the traditional territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many Indigenous Nations from across Turtle Island, including the Inuit and the Metis. Today, Tkaronto now known colonially as Toronto, is under Treaty #13, or the “Toronto Purchase.” The Mississaugas of the Credit entered this treaty in the spirit of friendship and co-land use, and did not agree to sell or cede the land.
When we talk about Treaties, we must recognize the ways in which the ‘Canadian’ state has used these agreements as mechanisms to manipulate and violate the land and water rights of Indigenous Peoples. What is happening today at 1492 Land Back Lane serves to highlight this violent, unethical, and non-consensual nature of Treaties in the hands of the ‘Canadian’ government. The Ontario Provincial Police’s (OPP) attacks on Haudenosaunee land defenders is yet another reminder that ‘Canada’ continues to perpetrate colonial violence to this day.
The violent and non-consensual invasion of Six Nations Territory demonstrates not only the state’s violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples by neglecting to obtain free, prior, and informed consent from the Haudenosaunee; it also highlights the federal government’s failure to deliver on a ‘nation-to-nation’ relationship with Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised five years ago.
The actions of the OPP, the provincial government, and the federal government have failed to honour Canada’s claims to seek ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ as has been its current track record of making abysmal progress on the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015. These actions taken by the Canadian Government confirm that Reconciliation, Indigenous Sovereignty, and the safety and wellness of Indigenous communities is not a priority. True reconciliation is respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and respecting ‘No’ when Indigenous Nations assert their sovereignty.
The TYFPC joins the Haudenosaunee land defenders and others in demanding that the OPP stand down, and an end to the criminalization of land defenders across Turtle Island. We also call for all levels of the ‘Canadian’ government to recognize and respect Haudenosaunee sovereignty and self-determination over these lands and waters. Finally, the ‘Canadian’ state must honour and respect Indigenous law and rights, and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
At the centre of our work, we strive to centre youth in policy making for food secure futures for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour). However, we recognize that BIPOC folks are disproportionately affected by food insecurity because of historical and present-day colonial displacement from land and communities. We advocate for and promote the sharing and practice of food justice on Turtle Island. It is impossible to have food justice without Indigenous Sovereignty and our conversations must be central around land. This solidarity is at the root of our work.
We call on our own communities to show up for the land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane. We urge you to take action by physically supporting at one of the many rallies happening today across Turtle Island and/or pressuring the ‘Canadian’ state using this digital tool kit, and educating yourself about your responsibilities as Treaty people.
Toronto Youth Food Policy Council