The Interpersonal is Political: Lessons from Indigenous Solidarity Organizing: Reflections on Union Activism and Indigenous Solidarity Work

Annelies Cooper

I’m in the Home Hardware in Sioux Lookout, nearly 1,750km from my Toronto home, arguing over a pickaxe. I’m overcome with worry as I stare in disbelief at its price tag and mentally calculate what my group has spent so far in the trip and what is left. While I anxiously negotiate our budgeting, the Mohawk land defender who has joined our delegation – annoyed with my hesitance to spend money – seems ready to write us off. It’s obvious to him that we are clueless about what is needed in the bush. Our reluctance to listen to him feels tantamount to writing off his knowledge and putting our own interests before collective needs. It sinks in that the other settler delegates and I had been calling the financial shots for the duration of the trip. I feel ashamed. Although we did end up buying the pickaxe, the situation upset my efforts to express genuine solidarity with Indigenous resistance.

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