Their is a tendency I have noticed among us Canadians to look down on the US for having racial tensions, as if we are somehow above it, but while Canada has few riots on the scale of those that can erupt in the United States, we have had our share of rioting over perceived racism by our government.The only difference is that instead of focusing itself around racism against blacks, Canada’s protests and riots will occur because of events related to our Native American populations.The most recent slew of protests that threatened to turn violent involved involved the construction of the coastal gas link pipeline through Native lands without the tribes hereditary chiefs consent (they got the elected band governments consent and decided that was enough).
The protests spread across Canada, shut down railways used to transport pipeline materials, led to many arrests, and at one point involved protesters blockading the Premier of British Columbia in his house.While obviously not as severe as what is going on in the United States right now, it certainly could have been, and if we go a little further back in time we can look at an example where it was worse than Minneapolis.In 1990, a similar controversy over a golf course that was to be built on Native American land led to the tribe erecting a barricade across the area and arming themselves with guns.
When the RCMP arrived and tried to disperse them a gunfight ensued that resulted in one police officer killed and the rest retreating.Over the next several days rioting ensued and the Native tribes numbers swelled up to an estimated 600 armed warriors in addition to the unarmed protesters.They blockaded the highway with police cruisers that were abandoned during the RCMPs unexpected retreat and proceeded to do the same to all the other bridges and roads in the area.
The military ended up being called for and 2500 soldiers were prepared for potential use to end the rioting.When the soldiers advanced to the barricades no shots were fired but tensions remained high as the below photograph shows.This photo was taken while the military advanced and shows a soldier facing down an Anishinaabe warrior near one of the blockades.
Luckily, an agreement was reached with the tribal leaders to end the conflict before any more violence could occur.This event became known as the Oka Standoff and in my opinion, is just as bad as any riots occurring today in America.
What do Canadians think of events happening in Minneapolis, and have there been any such incidents happened in Canada?The events in Minneapolis are far too frequent in the USA.However, they do happen in Canada.
Just a few years ago a white police officer, using reinforced gloves, beat a black man to death in the lobby of his apartment building.It is less common in Canada, but tragic and completely unacceptable none-the-less.