Get Sensible Statement on Indigenous Solidarity
Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) and the Get Sensible team want to meaningfully recognize the ways in which drug policies and institutions that criminalize, punish and ostracize drug users (policing, health care, education) have historically and continue to be tools of violence weaponized against people who use cannabis and especially Indigenous peoples and Indigenous youth on Turtle Island. CSSDP and Get Sensible choose to stand in solidarity with Indigenous land-defenders, Knowledge Keepers and Indigenous youth in their efforts to interrupt the relentless structural and systematic government-led-efforts to further erase, oppress, and genocide Indigenous peoples. Within the cannabis space specifically, policy reform to legalize without broader decriminalization and a path towards reparations and liberation for all incarcerated people serving sentences for cannabis related offenses has also failed Indigenous communities.
Despite having a youth-led and grassroots approach to community organizing, CSSDP and Get Sensible operate within the nonprofit industrial complex, which some argue (and we agree!) is an extension of the colonial project. Please consider this statement as an invitation to the people who engage with our resources to reflect on the work left to be done towards truth and reconciliation, and to promote Indigenous survivance and resilience.
As young people who use drugs we have the responsibility and ample opportunity to push discussions of Indigenous survivance beyond land acknowledgements. By prioritizing Indigenous-led initiatives and standing in solidarity with efforts to decolonize so-called Canada, settlers can help interrupt these cycles of colonial violence.
We recognize that on our small, predominantly settler team, there are voices and perspectives missing in the work that we do. We therefore have a commitment to continuous learning, hearing feedback and striving to do better in our work by recognizing the immense value, knowledge, and expertise that our Indigenous team-members and community-members bring. We also recognize that our project and team are still capable of causing and replicating many of the harms mentioned above. That is why it is imperative for all settlers and especially white cannabis users to think critically about how the cannabis regulation system and cannabis “culture” contributes to harming, excluding and exploitation of Indigenous communities.
Finally, we recognize that treaties have not been honoured, that these lands are stolen and deserve to be given back to its original custodians. We also recognize that so-called Canada’s colonial project, including current drug policies, and the systematic effort to genocide Indigenous peoples continues. Nevertheless, Indigenous survivance goes on, as it always has. May all the missing and murdered women, Two-Spirit and transgender Indigenous peoples taken from their communities too soon find the justice they deserve. May all the children, past, present and future, who were or are displaced be found or reunited and may their families and the generations to come receive the reparations they are entitled to.
For more information on how to adequately acknowledge reconciliation as a settler on Turtle Island, we recommend engaging and reading the Truth and Reconciliation Act and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Two-Spirit Peoples National Action Plan.
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About the Artist
Art by Summer Taylor
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