We are members of the Collectif des premiers peuples défenseurs des terres ancestrales (Indigenous Ancestral Lands Defenders Collective) and we were present on September 22, 2020 at the BAPE hearing in Chicoutimi regarding the construction of the company GNL Québec’s natural gas liquefaction plant.

 

We were present to denounce an evaluation process of an illegitimate project that uses colonial structures such as the BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement) and c

We were present to denounce an evaluation process of an illegitimate project that uses colonial structures such as the BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement) and claims to be able to judge the impacts and admissibility of the project. This evaluation process undermines our sacred responsibility to defend our territory and our people. The colonial governments of Quebec and Canada continue the genocide and assimilation by consulting band councils and ignoring the family groups that still form our legitimate way of governing ourselves on Nitassinan. To date, no free and informed consent to the project was given by the family clans, and none will be given.

laims to be able to judge the impacts and admissibility of the project. This evaluation process undermines our sacred responsibility to defend our territory and our people. The colonial governments of Quebec and Canada continue the genocide and assimilation by consulting band councils and ignoring the family groups that still form our legitimate way of governing ourselves on Nitassinan. To date, no free and informed consent to the project was given by the family clans, and none will be given.

 

The Innuat people have been present on the great Tshitassinu since time immemorial, we maintain a sacred relationship with the Nitassinan, Nitassinan has never been ceded. As Ilnus we have the responsibility to protect this land for future generations, we have always been self-determined on this territory before the British and French crowns or the Canadian colonial structures such as the band council. We have never abandoned our Ilnu utapelitamum (ancestral sovereignty) and we continue to practice our ways and customs on the Nitassinan despite all attempts to exterminate us since 1492. We are a distinct people, with our own culture, language, territory and spirituality.

 

The Collectif des premiers peuples défenseurs des terres ancestrales was created by Ilnuastsh and Abenaki hunter-gatherers to support the struggles of the Indigenous peoples who are on the front lines. Many Indigenous groups are joining the movement to defend their territories and their peoples, because all recognize that water, land, life, plants, are vital things that cannot be negotiated, and must be protected for our children and future generations. We maintain a sacred relationship with the land and the universe, a relationship of balance, respect and sharing. The colonial ecocidal extraction model is an affront to these relationships that we are trying to preserve.

 

All major economic projects signed by the province of Quebec and Canada are illegal, we do not recognize them. The band councils represent the federal entity, their role is assimilation. A natural gas project will never be able to accommodate us. All of them have no jurisdiction over the ancestral territories occupied for millennia by Ilnuatsh families.

 

At this time, many other Indigenous peoples are reclaiming their territories and their rights; we are in solidarity with them and their struggles because we understand that we must fight together.

 

Solidarity with the Anishinabe in their moratorium on moose hunting on their territory!

 

Solidarity with the Mi'kmaq fishermen in their assertion of fishing rights!

 

Solidarity with the Haudenosaunee peoples from Six Nations at Landbacklane who are reclaiming their ancestral lands and opposing real estate development!

 

Solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en who are asserting their sovereignty by continuing their long struggle to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline and remove the RCMP from their territory.