In November of 2019 I spoke to Nyla Matuk about colonialism, activism, and resistance poetry for the Fall issue of the Montreal Review of Books. Matuk’s book, Resisting Canada, was just about to come out from Véhicule Press, and I for one was excited to see such a revolutionary book in the Canadian literary milieu.
The book is beautiful and searing, an anthology of voices championing defiance against a settler state that silences and abuses its population while simultaneously praising itself for its image as a progressive and liberal melting pot.
There is never a bad time to honestly discuss Canada’s oppressive tactics and colonialist heritage. But right now, as the federal and provincial governments, RCMP, and Coastal GasLink/Transcanada flagrantly violate Wet’suwet’en, Canadian law, and international law, it feels particularly relevant. To quote Erica Violet Lee, the land defense currently being carried out is “an enactment of Indigenous law and an affirmation of Indigenous life.” As we witness Canada’s assault on Indigenous rights, we must take action.