Humanity within the patchwork of life

The Moist’suwet’en defending their land and waters in opposition to the colonial RMCP and fossil gas pipelines.

Here’s what I noticed. I noticed, for the primary time in my life, human beings, the Moist’suwet’en, standing with their setting. Figuring out with it.

Putting the standard of their setting — “you may drink this water proper right here … it feeds all our territories all the way in which all the way down to the ocean” — as their life work, their integrity, their core mission and identification.


And proper there after which, my complete cosmogony flipped the other way up. As a result of these phrases, from Molly Wickam, Moist’suwet’en spokesperson, who’s wrenchingly arrested on the finish of the video, really allowed me to ‘escape the confines’ of my earlier understanding.

In my earlier understanding, people had a troubled, extractive and exploitative relationship with their setting. That historical past had ups and downs, inequalities and differentiated tasks, for positive, however the core reality of an abusive and damaging relationship was unquestioned.

My primary hopes lay in a really speculative and unsure potential change of paradigm, a change of coronary heart. However right here, there was proof of a essentially totally different relationship, one which predates any civilisation I got here from – which is: settlers, colonisers, Europeans approach an excessive amount of in their very own dualistic Descartian heads, as I’ve come to be taught.

And that essentially totally different civilisation had at its core the respect, love, and preservation of the setting they trusted. The folks of that civilisation had been keen to danger every little thing – arrest, hurt, violence – to cease the harm of fossil gas pipelines on their setting.

Fairly merely, right here had been people standing with their world, quite than in opposition to it. The panorama this opened to me was breathtaking: a way forward for life and function in accordance with our world, quite than one in all battle and doomed harm.

Fairly merely, humanity grew to become human. Humanity grew to become potential. Humanity grew to become actual.


I didn’t should exist in battle with others and the air, water, mountains, forests, vegetation and animals that encompass me. I may exist with them. On their facet, and the facet my baby and his buddies. I could possibly be on the facet of life. And everybody else may too: our human cultures may shift to the facet of the residing world we rely upon, that we relate to.

It struck me that the Moist’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have photos of animals on their conventional cloaks. On the highest level of their human position, of their position of “honour” as Aristotle put it, they signify the animals residing within the setting of their territories.

I’m attempting to not fetishize, idealize or applicable a tradition that’s clearly not mine, and that I’m nonetheless so removed from understanding. I’m attempting to elucidate to you, whose tradition could also be near mine, what it means to me to see people, leaders of their communities, marching underneath the banner of the types of life: amphibian, chook, plant, insect.

Scientifically, from the fundamental functioning of ecosystems, we all know we’re not separate from, and can’t dwell with out, different types of life. So seeing a tradition that represents that interdependency, that relationship, on the highest stage, made me realise that humanity has existed — and may exist once more — far past Cartesian dualism.

Embarrassingly, the Moist’suwet’en resistance was not the one YouTube video that modified my life and worldview, within the couple of minutes it took to observe and take it in.


There’s something about seeing and listening to different folks, who will not be mendacity, simply speaking their core truths, that has an emancipatory energy to take us far past the place we had been earlier than.

The second video, unsurprisingly, was of Professor Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist and member of the Potawatomi nation.



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