While the rest of the anti-shale gas activists at the site are tucked into their tents, Coady and the Warriors are up doing night patrol, walking the highway, scanning the treeline with a flashlight in hand. Either that or they’re helping to direct traffic, ensuring that kids stay off the recently opened lane of highway that borders the encampment.
It’s a serious commitment, one for which there is no pay or clear physical reward.
On the other hand, it is a path. And like many paths in life, the commitment to it is not necessarily based on financial gain.
“I decided to become a Warrior after what happened in Burnt Church,” says Coady. “As I got older, my perspective of what it was to be a Warrior was different from when I first started. So as I became wiser, my heart became more true for the fight.
“When I was a child we would receive the Warrior Society in my home. My mom would bring them in and feed them supper, while they were fighting. My mother was always the one to make them sandwiches. That’s how I first came to know the Warriors. And as I began to see who they really were, that’s when I knew I wanted to become a Warrior.”
Motivations for joining the Society must surely be of a very personal nature.
Maligned by some, even within their own communities, and often misrepresented from a mainstream, non-Indigenous perspective, the imposing image of the battle-ready, camouflaged, fighter risks injecting fear into the general consciousness.
Especially to an ever-urbanized society no longer used to a fight.
Especially when the image of the camouflaged fighter – dark skinned no less – is removed from the context of the fight itself.