Louie’s experience is indicative of a widening rift between Indigenous communities and activists over natural resources, particularly in British Columbia, the focal point of major green campaigns generously funded by U.S. interests to thwart oil and gas exports.
The campaigns consistently portray a united Indigenous antidevelopment front and allies of the green movement, but some Indigenous leaders are becoming alarmed that they could be permanently frozen out of the mainstream economy if resource projects don’t go ahead.
In interviews, they said they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas, recruiting token members to front their causes, sewing mistrust and conflict, and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree.
“The best way to describe it is eco-colonialism,” said Ken Brown, a former chief of the Klahoose First Nation in southwestern B.C. “You are seeing a very pervasive awakening among these First Nations leaders about what is going on in the environmental community.”