We'd like to start by thanking the staff, volunteers, guest editors, supportive partners, patient children, interviewees, board members, writers and artists who made what you hold in your hands possible. This issue couldn’t have happened without your contributions and without our readership’s support. It also couldn’t have happened without the generous support of all of our financial contributors, which include GeoGrads, AMUSE, AMURE, QPIRG McGill, QPIRG Concordia, Midnight Kitchen, APIRG, OPIRG York, OPIRG Carleton, KPIRG, NSPIRG, OPIRG Guelph, Dawson Student Union FIAS and the UBC Resource Groups.
We decided to do a special issue on Indigenous land defence because you, our membership, told us this was important. When we held a survey last year on what you would like to see covered, the result was a near tie between austerity and decolonization. While austerity won and was timely with the approaching election, we committed to following up with a special issue on decolonization. While discussing how to fit this broad topic into one issue, we reached consensus on land defence. It is a topic that is engaging, urgent, and foundational to the struggle of decolonizing this land.
We wanted to make sure we took our time to do it right. We didn’t want to be yet another group of settlers talking about Indigenous issues, inappropriately taking up space, and replicating the colonial power imbalances that exist in many media outlets that cover this issue. So we decided that the editorial collective would seek out Indigenous editors to join and guide our collective, and that we would only accept Indigenous contributors to this issue. The result is the amazing collection of voices before you.
We are very proud of this issue. While we wish we could have covered every land defence issue out there, we simply didn’t have the space. Many recurring themes came up throughout the compilation of works, and we think you will find them to be educational, inspiring, and at other times, enraging. We encourage all of you to keep learning about these issues, to heed the sage advice given by many of our contributors, and to get engaged: Warrior Up!
Finally, we would like to dedicate this special issue to Secwepemc Elder William Jones “Wolverine” Ignace who passed on during the making of this issue. We were very fortunate to get one of his last interviews and we wholeheartedly encourage everyone to push the government to act upon his final wishes for an inquiry into what took place at Gustafsen Lake and to grant a pardon to James Pitawanakwat, who received political asylum in the U.S. to escape the Canadian government’s persecution.
We’re excited to share this with you and hope that you will share it with everyone around you. We’ll end this with the words of Christine Jack, “Be the best you can be.”