Supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs block access to the Port of Vancouver as part of protests against the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline [Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters]

It is all well and good until the Indian mascots start talking back.

That has been an observation of mine, after years of public advocacy as a Native woman. Society likes us in caricatured form, they sometimes like us in regalia opening events, but once a Native speaks out in a way that challenges North American society, we are regularly, and sometimes violently, silenced.

We need look no further for an example of this than the current Indigenous-led infrastructure shutdowns in Canada, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who have refused passage of the Coastal GasLink

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