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How do you spell racist: RCMP!

Brian Champ

January 20, 2024
It's no secret that the RCMP is a racist institution, instrumental in the genocidal policies towards Indigenous peoples that laid the foundations of settler colonial Canada.
True to form, audio recordings played in court on Wednesday, January 17th heard RCMP officers use racial slurs and derogatory language as they ridiculed Indigenous Land Defenders during a violent raid on Gidimt'en land in November 2021 on behalf of CGL.
This was the third RCMP invasion of Wet'suwet'en land since 2019 to remove land defenders who oppose the building of the CGL fracked gas pipeline over their own unceded territory. Opposition to the pipeline is led by the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs who were recognized as sovereign by the Supreme Court in 1997. But CGL sought an injunction from the BC Courts to allow the pipeline to be built - an injunction that ignores the Supreme Court ruling and instead relies on consultations with band councils on Indian Act reserves far from the pipeline route.
In early 2020 during the second RCMP invasion, the Indigenous led #ShutDownCanada blocked roads, rails and ports in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en drawing mass support from settlers including workers. Only the Covid-19 pandemic saved Trudeau from a major crisis.
In November, 2021 land defenders occupied the drill site as construction was poised to go under the pristine Wedzin Kwa (Morrice) River. More than 30 people  were arrested in the violent RCMP raid. They hailed from Wet'suwet'en, Haudenosaunee and other Indigenous communities along with supporters. Criminal charges were laid against a number of the land defenders, leading to the court proceedings happening now. 
Last week 3 land defenders were found guilty of criminal contempt, including Gidimt'en spokesperson Sleydo', Shaylynn Sampson from nearby Gitxsan territory and Corey Jocko, who is Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesasne. The hearings this week are to consider an application to stay the verdicts because of RCMP abuse of process for the use of excessive force during the arrests and for the unfair treatment of Indigenous people while under arrest.
During Wednesday's hearing, an audio clip made during the raid heard officers referring to Shaylynn and Sleydo' as 'orcs' - fictional monsters from the Lord of the Rings described as brutish, aggressive, ugly, and malevolent. Both wore red dresses and had red hand prints on their faces at the time.
"It is especially offensive when that red handprint refers to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls movement, to compare that to monsters from a fantasy series," said defense lawyer Frances Mahon. 
Another clip heard officers ridiculing one of the men arrested, referring to him as "that big f--king ogre looking dude" and suggesting that he is "autistic". Then they described the arrest where officers "just beat the shit out of him" and "grabbed his balls and twisted".
A third clip heard officers reenacting a scene from the horror movie "The Shining" as they broke into the cabin occupied by land defenders with an axe and said "Here's Johnny!" while laughing. They can also be heard lamenting that they did not have approval to use tear gas to clear the cabin.
In the next few weeks we will find out whether these verdicts will be stayed, or the sentences reduced. Whatever the result, socialists must stand with the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief's struggle - and all other struggles for Land Back against the ongoing settler colonialism of Canada.
Furthermore, the disgusting and dehumanizing attitudes of the RCMP, and their violent behaviour towards Indigenous people must be denounced. We should all hold the CGL injunction in contempt for using the settler colonial band council system to undermine Wet'suwet'en sovereignty against the spirit of the 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisday'wa Supreme Court decision. 
This decision, along with others that recognize Indigenous sovereignty over unceded lands, demonstrates the fragile claims of the Canadian state to sovereignty based on the doctrine of discovery, proclaimed by Popes in the 15th century. This held that "Christian" nations had the right to claim land from Indigenous peoples, who were described as "savages" to be removed from the lands they had stewarded for millenia.
The reliance on this dubious, religious based claim is similar to the claims of Israel for sovereignty based on ancient religious texts to override the rights of the Palestinians to the land their ancestors had cultivated for many generations.
Support the Wet'suwet'en legal defence fund and take action in solidarity at
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