Many activists and academics are drawing comparisons between the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and the experiences of Indigenous people in North America, though others question this.
Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) activist Ellen Gabriel said there are parallels.
“We live under an authoritarian rule in our communities because of the Indian Act,” Gabriel said.
First Nations people in Canada were forced onto reserves and required a pass to leave until the 1940s. The Indian Act dictates First Nations status and for years it marginalized women and denied treaty rights to many through forced enfranchisement.
Gabriel was the spokesperson for the community of Kanesatake during the 1990 Oka Crisis. The 78-day standoff between Kanesatake, the Sûréte du Québec provincial police and, later, the Canadian military was over a contested area of land known as the Pines northwest of Montreal. Supplies to the community were cut off; there were reports of police beating community members during interrogations.
“We were denied our food, medicine, …