Local Indigenous community speak out against “Freedom Convoy” appropriation

Indigenous community members have spoken out strongly against plans for a “sacred fire” in the Kingston area being shared online by far right movements.

With expectations of yet another freedom convoy rolling towards Ottawa, the Facebook page “Ron Clarke Freedom Advocate” advertised plans for the lighting of a sacred fire in the Greater Kingston Area on June 21, Indigenous Peoples Day.

On Monday, Indigenous leaders in the community made it plainly known that in no way was this group given consent to co-opt the ceremonial practice.

The Katarokwi Grandmothers Council released a joint statement condemning the plans of the convoy.

“The actions that are taking place on our Territory (Kingston, ON) is unacceptable. For those who are participating in these actions, the Indigenous Community does not support the setup of a sacred fire in Kingston in support of the “Freedom Convoy”,” the release states.

“The Indigenous Community did not give consent for these ceremonial practices and could cause more harm to who we are as First Nations/Algonquin people. First Nations and Non-Indigenous people should always remember protocol and that permission from us needed to proceed.”

Kingston Police released a statement regarding the convoy’s plans, and noted that Kingston’s Indigenous community has expressed concern about how this group will impact planned celebrations for National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The release assures the community that “all measures will be taken to ensure local celebrations aren’t disrupted” and that resources will be in place to address the convoy’s event as needed.

Abenaki Wliwini, a traditional sacred fire keeper, questioned the motives of Clark and his supporters on Monday.

Clark’s Facebook page eventually limited comments on the post, and deleted the comments of Wliwini and other protesting members of the Indigenous community.

Now deleted comments on Clark’s Facebook post
Deleted comments pt 2
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Wliwini also shared a statement sharing concerns that the event “may be appropriating Indigenous customs and de-centering Indigenous people’s from stewardship of their own Sacred Protocols.”

A location has not been publicly posted for the event, and while it’s unclear at this time if it will proceed, organizer Ron Clark certainly won’t be attending as he shared last week that he would remain in Winnipeg over fears of unwarranted police intervention.

There will, however, be community events taking place for Indigenous Peoples Day, including the grand opening of Tipi Moza and daytime celebrations in City Park.