"Settlers use a number of strategies to maintain the colonial status quo, including distorting or dismissing the past, doublespeak and deceit, divide-and-conquer politics, paternalism, invoking a singular “rule of law,” and, of course, violence and coercion. Our hope is that by exposing some of the discursive tactics in the settler playbook – and putting them in historical context – we can help settlers to see these “moves to innocence” for what they are. As well, we want to show that settlers can choose how to respond in these moments. Instead of treading the familiar paths of colonial hubris that have led to so much pain and damage, we invite settlers to recognize the limits of our knowledge and experience and to listen to Indigenous elders, youth, scholars, and knowledge keepers. In the case of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, their calls are clear: the RCMP must leave their territory and the Coastal GasLink project must pause for nation-to-nation negotiations.
We have heard from the brave people putting their bodies on the line at numerous blockades that they are not there for themselves but for future generations. As Dr. Karla Tait, director of programming for the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, states, Wet’suwet’en women are taking a stand “to protect the lands for all the future generations that depend on it.” Land defenders are acting out of love and are taking risks to protect land and life for us all. Instead of deploying the same old tactics and strategies to talk down to Indigenous people and to justify violence against them, we want to find generative and life-affirming ways to respond that might help shape a new playbook based on respect, good relations, and reciprocity."