Sunday, April 14, 2024

Protesters to gather at sentencing of Fairy Creek blockade participant this week


On January 18th, the Supreme Court of BC convicted a prominent Fairy Creek blockade participant seven counts of criminal contempt of a court injunction in regards to the efforts to block the old-growth area from being logged by the Teal-Jones Group. 

This week, that activist, Angela Davidson (Rainbow Eyes), is being sentenced in a Nanaimo court. 

Davidson is a Kwakwaka’wakw person and a member of the Da’naxda’xw First Nation who was formerly the deputy leader of the Green Party of BC. 

She has argued through the court proceedings that her actions were supported as she acted as a land guardian in accordance with Kwakwaka’wakw traditions and customs.

The BC Green Party says that the BC Supreme Court’s decision highlights the current difficulties facing the Canadian legal system in disputes between the system and Indigenous interests, customs and laws. 

According to a spokesperson for the old-growth advocacy group Elders for Ancient Trees, the crown prosecutor is asking for Davidson to serve 51 days in prison as her sentence, but they say she should not have to serve time for her non-violent actions. 

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs to the Chief Justice wrote a letter of support for Davidson in which they say “the end of the criminalization of Indigenous land defenders… Rainbow had been adhering to the values her ancestors taught her—to honour Mother Earth.”

Other environmental advocates say that Davidson should be celebrated for her efforts. 

“As a Land Guardian, and biodiversity and climate change activist, we should be giving Rainbow Eyes the Order of Canada, not a jail sentence,” writes Ben Barclay, a forest ecologist.

In total, more than 1,100 protesters were arrested at Fairy Creek and during the standoff, police came under mass scrutiny for their tactics and for imposing restrictions on media coverage in the area. 

For their treatment of journalists, the BC RCMP are being sued by several organizations and journalism advocacy groups. 

On April 4th, supporters of the Fairy Creek blockade and of Davidson’s will be bussing from Victoria to Nanaimo in order to be present at the sentencing and to stage a demonstration during the court’s lunch break around noon. 

Curtis Blandy

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