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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Resistance to War, Occupation, and Empire-Ward Churchill speak in Vancouver

Below is the text of a speech given by Colorado AIM member, Ward Churchill, on August 8, 2004. Ward is a member of the Colorado AIM Leadership Council and is a highly sought after speaker. I would list some more of Ward's accomplisments but we try to avoid shameless promotion here at Colorado AIM.

Resistance to War, Occupation and Empire
On Sunday, August 8, Ward Churchill was the keynote speaker at the 15th annual Under the Volcano: Festival of Art and Social Change, Celebrating Peoples Resistance to War, Occupation and Empire, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Siyo, oseeju. Hello my relatives, it's good to see you here. And isn't here a beautiful place, and isn't this a beautiful day? It is my honour to be here in this corner of illegally occupied America along with you. Before I go into what is it I have to say, I have to bring you greetings from the elders of the Keetoowah Band of Cherokee, my people, and from the Colorado chapter of the American Indian Movement of which I am a part, and from Gwarth-ee-Lass, otherwise known as Leonard Peltier, who today as I speak to you continues to sit in a cage at the federal maximum security prison at Leavenworth, Kansas; not for anything anyone including even his prosecutor at any point in the past twenty years has been prepared to say that they actually believe he did. But rather as a symbol of the arbitrary ability of the federal government of the United States to repress the legitimate aspirations to liberation of indigenous peoples within its claimed boundaries. And there's a difference between a claim and a reality, and that difference is why Leonard is there.

The difference between that claim and that reality is why I say that this is illegally occupied land. British Columbia was never ceded by the indigenous people who own it; it is still their land. It is burdened under the oppressive weight of colonial laws. But we're all here to oppose a vast variety of things. We're to embrace one another, we're to embrace this day, we're to embrace this festival, but we embrace in opposition, we embrace in opposition to imperialism. We embrace in opposition to racism; we embrace in opposition to ageism, and classism and sexism. We've got lots of 'isms' and they're accompanied by 'ologies' and we're opposing the lot. And we do it in a random fashion, don't we? Each of us has our own little pet project, our own little organization, and we run off and that's the most important thing in the world and we don't understand the nature of our opposition, to what it is we oppose. So let's see if we can get a little clarification on the table here about how this process works. full article


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