"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
— George Orwell, 1984
… This week has served as a prime example of how denial of past colonialism helps to perpetuate ongoing colonial relationships. The current flashpoint is the small town of Rexton, New Brunswick, where the Elsipogtog First Nation and their supporters are facing down massive Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) repression of their protests against activity by SWN Resources, a company that is carrying out seismic testing for proposed oil and gas fracking operations in the area.
On October 17, hundreds of RCMP officers, including snipers and many heavily armed personnel, moved in against Elsipogtog land defenders who have maintained a protest camp and presence in the area for months. Dozens were arrested, and there were reports of rubber bullets fired by police forces. Several RCMP vehicles were set ablaze.
Fracking may have been the latest spark, but Harper’s government has been fanning the flames for years—denying the true colonial history of Canada even while continuing to actively undermine the sovereignty and rights of First Nations.