“This video is a follow-up on our campaign introduction video, it captures many of the experiences we’ve had so far during Operation Great Bear. Meet some of the folks involved from both the Wildlife Defence League and the Klabona Keepers and watch footage from the frontlines, where we are putting our bodies on the line to defend one of the last truly wild places on the planet. This campaign is about more than just the defence of wildlife, it is also about supporting the Klabona Keepers in defending their culture. A culture that has been sustained by these lands for thousands of years.” – WDL
Operation Great Bear has set out to defend wildlife from the annual, senseless slaughter known as the British Columbia trophy hunt. The Wildlife Defence League has blockaded the only road leading into the Sacred Headwaters from resident hunters to ensure wildlife are not pursued for trophy. We are working in solidarity with the Klabona Keepers, documenting, monitoring and exposing the trophy hunt.
This video introduces the campaign and the folks involved in defending one of the last truly wild places on the planet. We will remain on this blockade for the duration of the hunting season in this area.
BRITISH COLUMBIA, Unceded Tahltan Territory – September 18, 2014
The Wildlife Defence League (WDL) has been invited by the Klabona Keepers to blockade the only road providing access to the Sacred Headwaters. This area is home to numerous species of wildlife, including moose, grizzly bear, black bear, and stone sheep. In recent years these animals have been exploited by resident hunters, mainly for trophy. Moose populations have been most effected, due to no bag-limits that have precipitated a massive decline in the species. Consequently, the Klabona Keepers and the WDL are firm in their conviction that protecting wildlife and safeguarding habitat in the Sacred Headwaters from exploitation is a pressing priority. The Klabona Keepers with the support of the Wildlife Defence League, intend to blockade the entrance to the Sacred Headwaters from non-Indigenous and resident trophy hunters. Tahltan hunters will not be blockaded, as the Wildlife Defence League supports their right to live off the land as they have done for thousands of years.
Wildlife Defence League member Tommy Knowles stated, “It’s taken us 3 days to drive through what feels like the most wild place on earth. We’ve seen Grizzly Bears, Black Bears and Moose living out their natural lives in this unique habitat. It’s disheartening to arrive in the Sacred Headwaters today knowing that this land is a trophy hunters paradise, but it feels amazing to be standing in solidarity with the Klabona Keepers to put an end to this exploitation.”
Not only are the wildlife and the community that is dependant on them being exploited, but so is the land. This past week, RCMP surrounded a group of
unarmed, peaceful members of the Klabona Keepers. The group was occupying a drill site on the mountain behind this blockade because the company was drilling without consultation or consent. The Klabona Keepers had simply requested that the company (Firesteel) meet with the elders prior to releasing the drill. However, in a show of disrespect, Firesteel and the government disregarded that request and arrived by helicopter to remove the drill. They came unannounced and heavily armed. Thereafter, the RCMP prohibited members of the Klabona Keepers from communicating via radio to anyone outside the blockade, cutting the only means of communication they had with the elders and their family in Iskut, to assure them of their safety. They were threatened with arrest if they attempted to use their radios.
The situation unfolding in the Sacred Headwaters is illustrative of the interconnections between these issues; the corporate and political exploitation of the land, resources and animals of this territory and the communities that rely on them. The Klabona Keepers, with support from the Wildlife Defence League, are asserting their lawful authority to defend their territories and both organizations hope that the hunting blockade will raise awareness about the devastating impacts of trophy hunting and will draw attention to corporate and political exploitation of the Sacred Headwaters.
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The National Weekend of Action Against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is September 5-7.
The AETA labels animal activists as terrorists and is one of the most unconstitutional laws since COINTELPRO. In response to new indictments under the AETA, this weekend of action has been called as a show of solidarity, to increase the visibility of ongoing counter-intelligence, and to encourage activists to organize and resist in the face of repression.
In Portland, Resistance Ecology and Oregon Jericho are coordinating an afternoon of presenters and panels to discuss the AETA, and to use it as a platform to connect the more expansive processes and histories of repression that are incurred by systematically marginalized, colonized, frontlines, and resistance communities. We want animal and earth liberation activists to understand that all captivity must be ended. It is important to underscore the reality that many communities are always under state repression, not just so-called “activists” communities. It is imperative to stress the need for communities to show solidarity with each other to increase capacity and resilience against surveillance, state violence, and the prison industry. We must reject the misconception that prison or surveillance serve any sort of positive function and instead recognize repression for what it really is: a process engrained into colonial-capitalist society.
In the Face of Repression: Organizing in Spite of the Surveillance State will be a day of workshops, history lessons, strategy sessions, and solidarity. We invite you to join us and take part!
Lauren Reagan – Civil Liberties Defense Center
Kent Ford- Founder of Portland Black Panther Party and father of Political Prisoner Patrice Lumumba Ford
Saed Bannoura- Editor-In-Chief of the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC)
Peter Bohmer- Activist scholar and former COINTELPRO target
Jonathan Paul- Longtime animal and earth liberation activist and former Green Scare prisoner
Global Climate Convergence & Cross-Movement Organizing by Lauren Regan
Resistance Ecology Conference 2014