27. Resisting the occupation, here and there.

Retired chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Robert Lovelace will be on the Tahrir, due to embark for occupied Gaza within the next few days.  This morning Robert published a message about his participation in the Freedom Flotilla.  It’s a compelling call from a long-time activist in anti-colonial struggles.

Robert lives with his family in the Algonquin highlands, traditional Ardoch territory.  In 2008 he was jailed for 3 ½ months, a political prisoner for his part in defending the Ardoch Algonquin homeland from uranium exploration and mining.  (I took part in a spirited demonstration at the prison gates, protesting his detention.)  Robert is also an adjunct lecturer at Queen’s University in the Department of Global Development Studies, focusing on Indigenous Studies, Sustainable Development and Aboriginal education.

Earlier this month Robert issued an appeal, which a friend sent on to me. (This blog post is not a funding request, by the way, just a report.)  “The invitation is voluntary,” Robert wrote, “and so is the cost for going.  The total cost of the trip will be somewhere between $2,500 and $3,500 when the flight and all of the ground travel is covered.  I am hoping that you and many of my other friends will help me, because frankly, I can’t afford to go by my own means.  Our commitment to decolonization has meant that Nicole and I are leading much simpler lives growing our own food and working toward sustainability.”  My partner and I were honoured to help.

Robert Lovelace’s message this morning concludes: “Even though the Canadian Boat will be fully inspected by a neutral third party there is a real potential that we will come under attack.  My hope is that you will think beyond the confines of our own colonial cage and counsel the Canadian government to ask for restraint, acceptance and peace from the Israeli government.  Think of joining with thoughtful human beings around the world who would rather share this beautiful creation than destroy it with war and exploitation.”

The full message is here.

About Michael Riordon

Canadian writer and documentary-maker Michael Riordon writes/ directs/produces books and articles, audio, video and film documentaries, plays for radio and stage. A primary goal of his work is to recover voices and stories of people who have been silenced or marginalized, written out of the official version: First Nations (aboriginal) youth, Mozambican farmers, inmates in Canadian prisons, traditional healers in Fiji, queer folk across Canada, Guatemalan labour activists. Michael also leads courses, workshops and seminars for community organizations, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities.
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