Gendered Impacts of Extractivism and Alternatives: A Convergence of Ideas
On August 11 at the World Social Forum, KAIROS and Mining Watch Canada drew a diverse and passionate group from across Canada, South America and Africa to their panel ‘North-South Dialogue on Extractivism, Resistance and Alternatives’. Jamie Kneen (MiningWatch) along with Ian Thompson and John Dillon (KAIROS) facilitated this event.
Attendees participated in a strong visioning session on the role of Canada’s energy sector, the current economic climate and the realities of a transition away from extraction.
“We came before capitalism. Life itself came before capitalism,” said panelist Gloria Chicaiza of Accion Ecologica Ecuador, who offered inspiring words on the concept of economy and Buen Vivir.
Jacinda Mack of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) in British Colombia discussed the Mount Polley mine disaster. “It’s not about rights; it’s about responsibilities,” Jacinda said.
The day culminated in the Convergence Assembly entitled ‘Gendered Impacts: Indigenous Women and Resource Extraction’. A number of community leaders from previous workshops came together to give their conclusions on the ideas shared over the past four days, including: Jacinda Mack of FNWARM; Viviane Michel, President of Femme Autochtones du Quebec; Elana Nightingale of Pauktuutit Inut Women of Canada; Alma Brooks, grandmother, Maliseet Grand Council, Wabanaki Confederacy; Gloria Chicaiza of Accion Ecologica Ecuador and Connie Sorio on behalf of Beverly Longid, Coordinator for Indigenous Peoples Movement of Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL).
We heard from Gloria about the eco-feminist approach to issues of environmental exploitation. Elana presented findings on the unique experience of Inuit women in Canada, and particularly the increased severity of violence against women in correlation with mining operations. She explained the problematic nature of impact-benefit agreements in Inuit communities.
Facilitator and Executive Director of KAIROS, Jennifer Henry posed questions for reflection: “which land do we call home…which land do we love enough to risk defending?”
One answer came from Jacinda, who ended the assembly. Rather than retell the tragedy of recent events, Jacinda recalled the ‘love story’ of her childhood fishing on the Fraser River at night under the stars and asked: “which story do we want to tell?”