CONSENT + LAND
ASCC operates on the sacred and traditional land of the Anishnawbe, Haudenosaunee, and Neutral peoples. These peoples have existed on this land for 15,000 years. Once European settlers arrived in 1492, they made treaties with Indigenous communities. These treaties were about mutual respect, sharing and consent.
This territory is subject to the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. This land is also subject to the Two Row Wampum Covenant, which denotes that: “We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers. [Our treaties] symbolize two paths or two vessels, travelling down the same river together. One, a birchbark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs, and their ways. The other, a ship, will be for the white people and their laws, their customs, and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our own boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws nor interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other’s vessel.”
We are all treaty peoples. We all have a responsibility to uphold these agreements of peacefulness, respect and non-interference.
This land, along with the rest of Turtle Island (known as North America), has become occupied by settlers over generations using colonial acts such as state-sanctioned oppression, violence, murder, and the attempted control of Indigenous peoples. Control mechanisms such as the creation of reserves, the Indian Act, residential schools, the theft of children from their families, criminalization of ceremonies, stolen land and resources, and ingrained stereotypes in the settler population have allowed a situation where the history of this land is not often discussed. And – when it is – the violent and oppressive nature is too often left out.
Systemic and environmentally-based consent
Resource extraction, land development, and nation to nation interactions all require consent. Yet, national and international extractive industries have non-consensually drilled, mined and fracked on and near Indigenous land for decades. This act is supported by claims of being beneficial for the Canadian economy, but it comes at a significant cost to Indigenous communities. Many communities have become sites of chemical manufacturing and waste dumping (e.g. Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Ontario – which has been dubbed “Chemical Valley”).
How environmental violence leads to gendered violence
Environmental violence not only impacts land, waters and air but has also led to an increase in gendered violence. There are large encampments of men (“man camps”) who work for the oil and gas industry (e.g. Alberta Tar Sands and all across the Dakotas). Rates of sexual violence, domestic abuse, murders, disappearances, and reproductive illness are higher in surrounding communities. Women, children and elderly populations are affected by environmental violence most.
Colonial violence and gendered violence cannot be separated. Supporting decolonization, Indigenous resistance, and Indigenous sovereignty is central to achieving a culture of consent.
LAND + CONSENT COMMUNITY RESOURCES
FERAL VISIONS Podcast ft. Dr. Sarah Hunt
Discussing "resurgent cultures of consent." This podcast is the work of Anjali Lynn Nath Upadhyay, via Liberation Spring, a decolonial, feminist project.
Upadhyay, A., L., N. (Producer). (October, 2017). Dr. Sarah Hunt on Resurgent Cultures of Consent. [Audio Podcast]. Retrieved from
A Digital Story Map
WHAT ARE MAN CAMPS?
A resource guide by SECWEPEMCUL'ECW ASSEMBLY which outlines the impacts of man camps, and extractive industries on the lives and security of Indigenous women, children, trans, and 2spirit people.
GROUNDWORK FOR CHANGE
"designed to provide access to information to help non-Indigenous/settler peoples grow relationships with Indigenous peoples that are rooted in solidarity and justice. The site is meant to support people who are asking questions and looking to learn more in respectful and useful ways." (Welcome page, Groundwork for Change).
Land/Academy/Consent/Treaty is a digital story map which examines the definitions of consent upheld through policy by: University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo and Brantford), McMaster University, University of Windsor, University of Ottawa, Laurentian University, and Lakehead University, and contrasts these definitions with the treaties associated to the land in which these institutions occupy.
Taylor Berzins is a co-founder of ASCC and a Master's candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at University of Toronto. Berzins made this resource as a preliminary project for her ongoing research about consent culture at post-secondary campuses in Ontario.
ABOUT THE STORY MAP:
“Sexual consent and treaties—are they related? Certainly. In fact, I do not believe that they can be separated. Isn’t it strange the way that campuses are so careful to make the concept of consent explicitly sexual (except for informed consent practices) in their policies… heaven forbid these practices of consent manifest in other ways on campus that aren’t explicitly sexual.
What would consent look like for those accessing financial aid, childcare, disability supports, or health and housing services?
How can we begin to think about consent on university campuses in a way that is fundamentally anti-colonial?
This project highlights a prominent gap in the scope of my research that explores how grassroots consent campaigns/sexual violence supports, and student-led campus activism and resistance hold institutions accountable for how they're responding to campus sexual violence.
There are people of various races, ethnicities, abilities, genders, sexual orientations who are subject to this institutionalized, monolithic narrative of consent, (ironically) within universities that occupy land that in many cases was taken without consent. We are all treaty people, and in order to honour that fact, anti-sexual violence work and consent education must take into account the land we occupy. Click below to explore how various Ontario universities and treaties relate."