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Music, Video: Indigenous People’s Civil Disobedience to Protect Their Watershed. Rachelle Van Zanten – “My Country”

November 20, 2011

While we work to protect the headwaters, main stems, and tributaries of the Delaware, Susquehanna, Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio, and other great rivers in the eastern U.S., an inspiring and closely related struggle is taking place to defend the Sacred Headwaters of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers in northern British Columbia.

Indigenous people are leading the way with civil disobedience, a form of action which was also critical to the movement’s recent success in blocking the Tar Sands pipeline. This four minute video embodies the dignity and power of nonviolent action.

The Sacred Headwaters is a vast and beautiful alpine basin is where Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill more than 1,000 coalbed methane gas wells. This gas drilling threatens human communities, wildlife, and wild salmon. Concerned citizens from around the world are calling for steps to safeguard the Sacred Headwaters from Shell’s gas drilling.

In honor of the leadership of indigenous people in defending and protecting the environment in British Columbia, in our own Marcellus Shale region, and all over the world — and in  honor of the two Nonviolence Trainings taking place November 20th, 2011 in New York City and in Trenton, which are still happening “despite our victory” in the Delaware River Basin (all victories are temporary, and our fractured neighbors need us) — today we publish this powerful video.  This one’s for your heart as well as for your mind.

Rachelle’s team wrote a few words about this song and this video; her website, and the Skeena Watershed website, are below:

Inspired by images of Tahltan women blockading Shell in defense of the Sacred Headwaters in northern British Columbia, Rachelle Van Zanten wrote the song ‘My Country.’

She was invited to perform it for the Tahltan people at the Iskut Music Festival a year later, where we filmed this video.

One of the Klabona Keepers brought us up to the Headwaters, the birthplace of the Skeena, Nass and Stikine rivers and a traditional Tahltan territory. This area is critically endangered by a number of industrial mega-projects which threaten all 3 watersheds, affecting an area larger than Ireland. Please join us.

Shot on Canon 5D2 & a host of HDV cameras (& 1 ancient Betacam).

(p.s. For this post, abe embedded the video and Iris Marie Bloom wrote the text so any mistakes are mine; anyone who knows more about the Sacred Headwaters struggle please write in to correct us, as we are just learning about this issue. –Iris

One Comment
  1. Northern Momma permalink
    November 21, 2011 3:21 pm

    This video is AMAZING!! What an incredible place.

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