First Nations in the Crosshairs – Canadian Dimension

First Nations in the Crosshairs – Canadian Dimension – In recent years, Canada’s national security has largely been reorganized around securing critical infrastructure from natural and “human-induced” threats. “Securing critical infrastructure” is now used to justify policing and surveillance of Indigenous activism, as “civil unrest” is considered a type of “human-induced” emergency that threatens critical infrastructure. This new language exposes Indigenous people to higher risk of criminalization by broadening the state’s “legitimate” surveillance activities. In its 2009 National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure, Public Safety Canada identifies 10 sectors as comprising Canada’s critical infrastructure: energy and utilities, finance, food, transportation, government, information and communication technology, health, water, safety and manufacturing. This framework implicates Indigenous communities as “threats to national security” where “critical infrastructure” is located on or near First Nations communities, or when the assertion of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction creates perceived insecurities for the state and corporations. Whether through legal challenges or direct actions such as blockades, Indigenous activism can directly and indirectly affect critical infrastructure, especially in the energy and utilities, manufacturing, and transportation sectors. This has become the primary rationale of police forces, intelligence agencies, government departments and private corporations for their surveillance of Indigenous communities, groups, and individuals.

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