Over two years ago, on February 28th 2006, the first tents were erected in a construction site in a small town called Caledonia. From that day onwards, local Natives, upset at plans by Henco Industries to build on their land, have faced institutionalized discrimination from the government, public discrimination from their fellow Canadians, and attacks, verbal and physical, from both police and white supremacists—and yet, they’re still there.

Since the 1990 “Oka Crisis,” there have been several instances of Natives stepping up to defend their rights, their self-determination and their respect, but most have largely gone unnoticed by the mainstream media. Even after two years of resistance, Caledonia is only ever mentioned in passing, leaving most Canadians unaware of what’s really going on, and without access to all the facts. This has led many to see them as nothing more than rebels fighting a lost cause, disrupting the local community and breaking the “law.”

In reality, Natives occupying their own land in Caledonia are justified in everything they’ve done—and would be justified doing a lot more. For hundreds of years now, Native communities have been forced to subdue increasing appropriation of their land by government and private interests, a legacy of a time long gone where British, French and Canadian troops “asked at gunpoint” for their land, in return for piles of fur, chunks of iron and petty cash.

Most arguments against the rights of Natives to defend themselves relies upon this fact—that, a hundred years ago or more when Natives were herded by force into small plots of land, their fields and cattle and all access to natural resources with which to sustain themselves destroyed, they were “traded” for what little land they had left, fair and square. The problem is, it wasn’t so “fair and square,” unless you call extortion fair. Many of these “transactions” occurred at gunpoint, or after the Native communities had been forced to endure years of poverty and starvation at the hands of the infant Canadian state or its British superiors. Not to mention their lack of knowledge about the bourgeois concepts of “land ownership,” “property rights” and “real estate revenues.” If they had known then what they know now, surely they would have refused these “generous offers.”

Native uprisings over the past few decades have shown without a doubt that they “know better” now. They, like many Canadians, recognize the injustices of their treatment, and across the country Natives have risen up to defend the rights robbed from them. Activists at Caledonia should be praised for their resolve, their bravery and their perseverance. Most of all, they should be thanked. All Canadians, and everyone throughout the world, should take and adopt the lessons they have developed, to realize that not only is it right to rise up, but it is absolutely necessary. Natives across Canada are on the front lines of the reactionary forces of oppression which effect us all; the capitalists who take their land are the same capitalists who have forced millions of Canadians into poverty and hardship, who have caused tens of thousands of workers to lose their jobs in the name of corporate profit, who increasingly attempt to erode universal healthcare and employment insurance and who continue to materially and verbally support the imperialist practices of Canada’s armed forces and the global war of terror on the world’s population by the United States.

Native communities in Canada represent great possibilities for workers and suffering throughout the country. The proletariat throughout the country needs to echo their determination in resisting the increasing aggression of Canadian capitalism. Like in Caledonia, we need to rise up and resist this encroachment, occupy property which the bourgeoisie has claimed for itself and above all else put a stop to this vicious cycle of exploitation, and join our voices with millions across Canada in saying “enough is enough!” Enough with being treated like nothing more than the products of our labour! Enough with being manipulated by bankrupt high finance politics! Enough with imperialism both in Canada and throughout the world! Enough with this unrelenting capitalist system! Rise up in Caledonia, in Ipperwash, in Oka, in Toronto and Montréal, in factories and workshops and all other places where capital unleashes its exploitive wrath! As Marx said over a hundred years ago: We have nothing to lose but our chains, we have a world to win!

e p D T F s