Environmental Racism


Editor: “Since July of last year, Brant’s only daughter, 13-year-old Teyohate, has been in Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-moving cancer that Brant believes was triggered by the water on the reserve. Three other children on the reserve, all around the same age, have also being diagnosed with cancer. One of them, 13-year-old Paula Sero-Loft, Teyohate’s best friend and classmate at Quinte Mohawk School, located no more than 600 metres from the controversial landfill, was buried last September.” [Read more at Warrior Publications: Reserve despair hits home for outspoken Mohawk, Shawn Brant]

Intercontinental Cry

by Jay Taber

Feb 7, 2013

Listening to Mohawk activist Shawn Brant describe the apartheid design of indigenous poverty in Canada and elsewhere as a means of creating hopelessness and despair in order to continue colonial resource extraction, I was reminded that contrary to popular myths, there never were any good colonial intentions. Speaking at the Osgoode Law symposium, Brant argues the time is right to defend indigenous territories by denying the legitimacy of Canada and the corporations it represents. Taking it a step further, he says that if Canada and its corporations attempt to overwhelm indigenous nations by force, they should be met with the same.

Meanwhile, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, is seeking information on extractive and energy industries in or near indigenous territories. As part of the UN study of industrial impacts on human rights and indigenous peoples, Dr. Anaya has established an interactive website for comments and information about environmental racism practiced by corporations, as well as by the U.S. military.


[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

Video: Shawn Brant speaks at the Community Movements Conference in Peterborough Ontario on March 3rd 2012. The conference was organized by SAID Trent Students.