The first week of school brings more than just the familiar and notorious whirlwind of welcome back events, parties, and Imagine Day-related hysteria. It also conjures up the long legacy of on-campus colonial violence and misogyny that sometimes rears its head in traditions like Frosh. The Sauder School’s “Pocahontas chants” of 2013 readily come to mind.
Given UBC is on unceded Musqueam land, and most of what we know as British Columbia is unceded too, what are some ways to have some first-week-back fun while also actively, and immediately, grounding ourselves in the land we live, connect, and study on?
Fret you not.
Luckily, there is a Talon-approved event happening amidst this first-week scramble that supports Indigenous land-based resistance to pipelines through Hip Hop, spoken word poetry, storytelling, and visual art. What is this magic, you ask?
For the past 5 years the Unist’ot’en Camp of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in the North have peacefully defended their traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory from pipeline development. Despite a recent increase in RCMP presence near the community, from Wet’suwet’en to Coast Salish territories, support for the Unist’ot’en refuses to wane.
On Thursday, September 10th 2015, visual artists, Hip Hop artists, poets, activists, scholars, and community leaders will come together for FRONTLINES BEAT PIPELINES 2: a fundraiser for the Unist’ot’en Camp’s new project, the Healing Centre for Indigenous youth.
This incredible night of creative resistance will feature an all-Indigenous and POC lineup including:
- An opening by Musqueam hip-hop artist Christie Lee Charles
- Music by interdisciplinary musician Rup Sidhu
- Spoken word by slam champion Jillian Christmas
- Music by Nuxalk & Cayuga Hip Hop artist and 5-time Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards nominee JB The First Lady
- Music by interdisciplinary Filipina artist Kimmortal
- And a closing set by the powerhouse Seattle Hip Hop duo Abyssinian Creole!
The event will also be holding a silent auction featuring Unist’ot’en-inspired artwork by:
- Acclaimed Filipino muralist Bert Monterona
- South-West Asian illustrator and writer Paradise Khanmalek;
- Vancouver-based painter, performer, and Unist’ot’en volunteer Kasha
- Poet and author Stephen Collis
- And many more!
The goal of the night is to raise $10,000 to contribute to the $40,000 that is needed for the Healing Centre’s construction.
The Healing Centre will cater to primarily Indigenous youth, and will include counseling space, meeting rooms, a kitchen, a dining hall, and sleeping quarters.
The Healing Centre is important because it exemplifies how the Unist’ot’en community is is a place of “learning, of healing, of connecting with nature, of breaking with the legacy of colonization” as worded by its website.
The Healing Centre will allow Indigenous youth, the future of the frontlines, to maintain a healthy and strong presence at the Camp.
Financial aid for the Healing Centre and for the Camp overall is also vital at this time because it was announced recently through a letter titled, “We Stand with the Unist’ot’en”, that the Camp is on high alert following rumours of an impending RCMP raid. The safety of both community members and Camp supporters are undoubtedly in question, and the Camp has vocalized clearly on social media their request for solidarity and support at this time.
Over 500 Camp supporters and organizations have signed “We Stand with the Unist’ot’en”. Among the list of names are Anishinaabe scholar and author Leanne Simpson, environmentalist David Suzuki, Greenpeace Canada, and Idle No More. To view the letter, and/or to sign it yourself click here.
Projects like Frontlines Beat Pipelines 2 remind us to be aware of, and to rethink our relationships with, the land we live on. Another great initiative that you can check out, which challenges our relationship with the land constituting UBC in particular, is Knowing the Land Beneath Our Feet, a multimedia project that unmaps UBC’s colonial geography on Musqueam land. Through delivering a digital walking tour that tells the deep histories of certain sites on campus, the project reminds us of both the continued presence of Indigenous peoples on the land known as UBC, as well as our responsibilities to the land, each other, and to the Musqueam people as visitors on their land.
September 10th 2015
Doors 7pm, show starts at 7:30pm
1882 Adanac St BC V5L 4E5
Traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh Nations.
Consent is mandatory as always
Accessibility: There are ten stairs at the front entrance. There is a wheelchair accessible entrance through the rear. The venue, hallways, and both washrooms are wheelchair accessible (via Facebook event page, see Full Accessibility Audit here.)
The venue will have a scent-reduced policy in effect.
If you are unable to attend the event you can still donate here: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/axsMd/ab/24dGu0
Facebook event page:
Sol Diana is a third-year First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS) and Political Science undergrad at UBC.