Letter: Kwantlen First Nation member answers questions posed by pipeline advocates

Editor: I hear lots of over-the-top comments coming from pro-pipeline people.

Usually it comes from people who already work in some capacity in the oil industry.

Their uncle drives a truck, or a husband or wife who services oil rigs, or a son or daughter who owns a business that directly benefits from revenues brought in by the oil conglomerates’ employees.

The statements go something like this, “How did you get to the protest? By car?” or “What is your hand-held device made of?” or “How do you heat your home?” or “Oil is about jobs, growth, and the economy.”

I get it. Those questions are good, but not that good, and here is why:

1) I got to a protest by car because the urban sprawl that has now completely overtaken our unceded Indigenous lands and has been greedily and short-sightedly been built to accommodate vision-less developers.

The epicenters of our once walk-able communities are now so badly subdivided that access to those important communal gathering centres are now swallowed up in the name of colonial ideations of commerce and privatization of common areas.

Space is allocated in such a way that it does not promote or adequately address the needs of society as a whole.

In addition to that, the oil industry has lobbied your beloved parliamentarians to such a degree that they may as well not even call themselves representatives of you as taxpayers.

Those elected officials may as well be known as middle-management of the oil and automobile industry. Yep, they sold you and the rest of us out, and no, you will not be direct beneficiaries of their financial empires.

So you are supporting a bunch of pickpockets who don’t care about you and yet you prop them up.

2) My hand-held device? Well, I don’t have one of those anymore. It was a matter of my own sanity, really. All those crazy trolls creeping my Facebook page and writing vitriolic and racist statements about Indigenous peoples and our issues were getting old.

There are only so many times in a day I can confront prejudice and then I must leave it. Sadly, it is a sickness of our Canadian society, and one I can do without; so I have no more handheld devices that intrude on my every waking moment, and compel me to write voyeuristic comments about the intimate details of my life.

3) I heat my home with good insulation, that doesn’t have to be renovated in a span of a lifetime, and hopefully it will last much longer than what remains of what I hope will be a long life.

But one day we won’t have to worry about heating our homes with anything, because you support a toxic, moribund, and declining industry that you only have lazy and backward arguments to back up your views and lifestyles.

So who is it that you keep saying who can’t get over the past, the Natives?

Yup…OK.

Plastic was cool in the ’50s when there were 3 billion people on the planet, and only one-tenth of the Earth’s population who used these products.

Now there are well over 7 billion people on the planet, and nearly two-thirds use plastics, rubber, and carbon fuels.

We need to change the way we think of community, communications, and what we consider “home.” Sooner would be better.

4) Jobs, growth, and the economy? OK, a run-down, rat-infested home sold for $3.5 million dollars in East Vancouver a few months back. British Columbia has the most overnight millionaires of anywhere on the planet, and you complain about the economy?

A whole industry of real estate has been created on stolen Indigenous land that is still subject to Aboriginal rights and title, and people still buy it despite the risks that will go to the Supreme Court of Canada one day — and it will happen.

Then we have spin-off industries: interior designers, carpentry contracts, moving and storage, and restaurant chains, etc. All those people are charging high rates for their services, and they are spending money like crazy on luxury goods and services.

There is nothing weak about the Canadian economy.

In fact, salaries are high, the cost of living is also high, but it doesn’t seem to have an effect on the wealthy and prosperous nation that Canada is. With or without oil, this country will always have its stolen Indigenous land to exploit resources from.

But guess what? Your time is running out, and the world is watching you act like a bunch of greedy oppressive tacticians on the poorer citizens of this country, and it looks really bad on you.

We as First Nations will no longer give you permission to exploit what is left of this precious finite gift that is our planet.

Are you sure you still want to argue with me about how I got to a protest, or how I communicate, or how I heat my home? Good luck with that!

Brandon Gabriel,

Kwantlen First Nation