The Future of our Nations: Unlearning Colonial Borders in our Canoe

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Rachel Yacaaʔał George

In 2016, the Canadian state moved to be an “unqualified” supporter of the UNDRIP and—in theory—Indigenous self-determination. Despite this move, Canada has continued to assert its presumed authority over Indigenous lands, waters, and bodies—as exemplified by its approval of various extractive natural resource projects like the Trans Mountain Pipeline in BC. These moves strive to marginalize and erase understandings of justice and self-determination that explore the intimate connection between lands, waters, and peoples. As coastal Indigenous nations—as nuučaańuł and Coast Salish peoples—we are intimately connected to our waters. We endure, guided by our kinship and deeply embedded in our relationalities, responsibilities, and reciprocity. This paper explores youth participation in Tribal Journeys, an annual canoe journey bringing together nations along the Pacific, in ways that inherently resist and unmake colonially imposed borders between kin, nations, and waters.