seeing red;

the sun starts to set

and the weather gets colder,

and it’s nice until you realize that

the red energy has gone blue,

and that you have gone grey.


the truth is that

it’s exhausting,

shouting at the top of a canyon

and hearing it echo back at you

except softer,


and when you hear a voice from the other side

and you have the audacity to shout a reply,

it is no longer yours.

it is theirs.


there is considered to be strength in shouting

at the top of a canyon,

even if the only voice echoing back

is your own.


but your voice becomes

nothing more than a reply,

and your red becomes weary

and then blue

and then grey

and then silent.

Stop Paying Lip Service

This is the transcript of a speech that we made during the Vancouver student walkout in support of the Wet’suwet’en Indigenous people. For more information, and to donate to their court fund, click here.


Thank you so much for coming!

We just want to begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional, unceded, and stolen territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ Tsleil-Waututh Coast Salish people.

To preface this, we will receive reactions from others for being out here today in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people. The concept of allyship is one that many people in our communities at school, at home, and around the city don’t understand. As a reminder of why we are here … we are here because the voices of Indigenous groups in Canada are once again being devalued, and ignored. We have the capacity to amplify their voices in advocating for the preservation of their wrongfully taken land, and the dismantling of colonial and systemic injustice. Because of this, it’s our responsibility to continually think about whether an Indigenous voice would be more valuable in this call for action—and if so, to stop speaking, and listen.

This issue goes beyond the political, or the environmental, or the economic. It’s yet another concrete example of the words of our governing bodies not reflecting their actions—truth and reconciliation can be thrown around a million times a year, and yet we don’t see any work being done. People in power are refusing to accept that we profit off of our colonial past. Instead, Indigenous communities are overlooked as always, and we are comfortably allowing this to happen.

The premier himself declared that “if we deny that [governmental relationships with Indigenous peoples are] a problem, we won’t resolve it”, yet he was “confident” that there would be a “peaceful resolution” to the standoff at the Gidimt’en checkpoint (Globe and Mail, CBC). This completely undermines what the Wet’suwet’en people aimed to achieve. At the same time, the RCMP’s potential forcible removal of the Wet’suwet’en people violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which both the provincial and federal governments committed to implementing in the summer of 2017.

The Unist’ot’en campaign was created to provide healing for Indigenous peoples. A government that claims to prioritize this same healing, and then invades the area and causes irreparable damage is unacceptable. To quote the Unist’ot’en Camp website: “This fight is far from over.” We will not be satisfied with politicians paying lip service by preaching Truth and Reconciliation, while harming Indigenous communities and our future.

“B.C. premier ‘confident’ for peaceful resolution after arrests at Gidimt’en camp checkpoint.” CBC.ca, 9 Jan.

2019. Web. www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-premier-speaks-to-media-about-arrests-

at-gidimt-en-camp-1.4971774

Hunter, Justine. “Horgan’s acknowledgement of unceded Indigenous territory a milestone for B.C.” The

Globe and Mail, 22 Oct. 2017. Web. www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-

acknowledgment-of-bcs-unceded-territory-part-of-a-path-forward/article36686705.

i don't understand––

i don’t understand

why statements are valued more than questions,

and why money moves are valued more than steps forward,

even if they consist of

steps back.

i don’t understand the immediate disposition

of undermining someone else’s position

because they aren’t the same as you,

and i don’t understand the ability to be openly unkind

even if someone seems backwards or behind,

because that person could be you, too.

i can’t begin to comprehend the conviction that it must take

to pretend you are incapable of making mistakes,

and that everything’s “okay” and really just “fine”.

the reality is that the world is falling out of line

and if that line is sympathy and empathy and compassion,

I guess we’ve never seen any of it in action,

because we pretend we open our minds and open our hearts,

we pretend we know best as we calmly throw darts

at the concepts and people we do not understand,

instead of acting on our potential to expand.

i get it though–it sucks to have to save the day,

and time and time again I wish it wasn’t this way,

but it is.

if we can truly believe in the power of progress,

if we soften our gaze and look into us, not at us,

if we listen and learn, and don’t make up our minds,

saying that everything is “good”, and that everything is “fine”

because the way one sees it is the way we all should––

instead, simply recognizing the beautiful force we all could

be,

i will finally be able to say, rather proudly,

that i had never imagined a world so profoundly

connected, colourful, caring and inspired.

i’ll think back to when they said this was simply how we were wired.

“we weren’t wired to pick left or right,” i’d say,

“and we sure as hell weren’t wired to have only one trying to save the day.

we were put on this earth to unite and pull through

any hardships we’d faced, and to search for the truth.

we are wired to send a current of change through our lives

and into the universe, to watch it all shift before our eyes,

and become stronger, and better––

the best is never stagnant. we were wired to become a masterpiece,

not individual, broken fragments.”

we were wired to become a masterpiece,

not individual, broken fragments.

but maybe that’s just me.

Own Your Roots

When the Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould was asked by her constituency youth council about how she overcame discrimination while working for the position that she holds today, she replied, “I was always taught to remember who I was and where I came from. When I say something in a room, I mean it, and I believe in my words completely.” Being proud of your culture can be extremely difficult when society often tells you not to be––whether this is directly, as I would assume it was in the Minister’s case, or indirectly, as I would say in mine, being a minority and owning your culture can be a feat.

Indigenous peoples have been treated atrociously by the Canadian government, and this has been translated into our society immensely. One example of this is the Colten Boushie case, where a young Indigenous boy was murdered at a farm in Saskatchewan in August of 2016, and the man charged with the murder was acquitted. I cannot even begin to comprehend the implications of being an Indigenous person in Canada, and knowing how privileged I am in my position, I am still inspired by the Minister’s words. I understand how difficult it can be to own your culture and background; there have many times in which the education I was receiving in school and through my peers, conflicted with the education I had been receiving from my culture. As I have grown up, I have been presented with the opportunity to build my own base of knowledge according to what I have been exposed to, and this process can easily be perceived as abandoning my culture, or not remembering where I come from.

Finding the balance between becoming an independent person and keeping in touch with cultural roots is something I constantly work on. However, through trial and error, I have noticed that it is a lot easier to own my roots than to resist them. Although I do not identify completely with what I have been taught in terms of my culture, I have learned that instead of pushing these aspects of how I’ve been brought up away, it is more empowering to acknowledge their existences, and to openly choose not to apply them in my way of life. This can seem impossible when familial pressures are present, and I understand that proclaiming a difference of opinion to family members is an unappealing and sometimes unsafe situation to be in. However, it is okay to take your time in finding who you are. It is okay to not explain why you choose to live your life the way you do. Owning where you come from and figuring out who you are today is a very personal journey, and it is one that has the ability to empower people to be their authentic selves, but there is nothing to gain by rushing the process. Slowly but surely, practice accepting who you were, and practice getting to know who you are.

the odds are against us;

the odds are against us;

it’s been nearly two years of near-constant fear,

just under a month since a heartbreaking choice.

we’re two degrees celsius from an ice-free arctic sea, and

on our way to silencing 1.4 million more voices.

each day takes a bravery unbeknownst to before,

every inaction adds to the core of our apathy,

which prevents us from seeing what’s right outside of our doors.

what they don’t understand—everything is connected,

when one group is neglected, another protects it.

a community grieves, but we will never leave.

if we truly believe in the power of each other,

and include everyone in the us, not the other,

showing up can get another elected.

we need to stick together and take care of everyone,

focus rather than fear, discuss not distrust,

share in despair, vote, lift up, and be fair.

hope is resistance when the odds are against us.

the past weeks may have been dismal, and the future’s not bright, but

in spite of it all we’re bonded in hope,

and we’ll fight.

• • •

We’ve been gone for so long that this is only a shout into the void. I hope you can hear it.