Policing Indigenous Movements: Dissent and the Security State

Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan. Fernwood (Brunswick Books, dist.), $25 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-77363-012-0
Crosby, coordinator of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, and Monaghan, a criminology professor, both at Ottawa’s Carleton University, have put together a disturbing, painstakingly documented exploration of the role played by Canada’s national security agencies in watching, harassing, and criminalizing indigenous people involved in land rights struggles. The authors uncover internal communications that paint an unflattering picture of a Canadian government that, working hand in hand with industry, has adopted an antiterrorism approach in its relationship with First Nations peoples. The language usually reserved for terrorists (extremism, violence, radicalization) is consistently employed by state bureaucracies to describe peaceful indigenous rights blockades and vigils. The book is divided into sections on specific conflicts: opposition to a British Columbia pipeline and shale gas fracking in New Brunswick, resistance from a Quebec Algonquin community to federal attacks on its traditional governance structures, and the decentralized, influential Idle No More movement. It is a well-argued study that clearly contrasts respectful government rhetoric with a coordinated strategy that views indigenous people as a potentially dangerous population who must be watched and, where possible, preemptively neutralized. The prose is somewhat academic in style, but this work is nonetheless an accessible must-read for all Canadians concerned about respectful relations with indigenous people and the decline of civil rights in the war-on-terror era. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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