If you’ve been following this website for long, it’s likely you’re aware of the phenomenon of how the environmental movement all too often appropriates the voices of the indigenous people they claim to support. Kevin Annett is the most obvious example. When he made up stories of Catholic/Anglican/United church clergy murdering 50,000 Indian residential school children, chopping them up to pieces, and burying them in hidden mass graves; socialist obedience cult radicals took his lies to the reserves where they used them to gain influence and speak on their behalf in off-reserve events.
Street level activists like Dave Vasey and Sakura Saunders helped facilitate Annett’s fraud. Shameless websites like Rabble.ca published claims Annett ran an exorcism that caused a tornado to damage the Vatican, or the Media Co-Op who watched Annett pull what he claimed were bones of indigenous kids our of his pockets without questioning how disrespectful his actions would be if the story was actually true, or like the Vancouver Observer’s Linda Solomon who printed Annett’s claims without checking the facts. High-level revolutionaries promoted Annett; Ryerson professor Winnie Ng praised him, UK Marxist George Galloway claimed Annett was given the award for being a “great Canadian”, NDP Socialist Caucus leader Barry Weisleder gave the con-artist a glowing recommendation.
Today we add a new name to the appropriation of indigenous voice hall of shame, and dig deeper into the question of whether it’s safe to send your kids to Simon Fraser University or not. Our subject will be SFU English professor Stephen Collis, a board member at SFU’s controversial Institute for the Humanities who is active with the Council of Canadians. Judged against others whose appropriation was covered on this site, there’s a special place in hell for Stephen Collis- not only did he admit to appropriating the voice of Grand Chief Stuart Phillip, but he did that to help cover-up a criminal act of vandalism against another indigenous activist.
The controversy revolves around a group of signs indigenous activist Webster Wyatt placed on Burnaby mountain- countering the views of the majority of Burnaby Mountain protesters with claims that the oil industry makes a positive contribution to our country. Knowing many of the people on the mountain, and their lack of tolerance to opposing views, the first thing I thought when I saw the banners was “I wonder how long those will last!”.
Fulfilling their reputation of being intolerant, it didn’t take very long for anti-oil protesters to tear down his signs. It was an almost perfect example of how “settler allies” talk the talk about respecting indigenous people but often forget to walk the walk. The only thing the incident needed to be the perfect example was for someone to appropriate indigenous voices.
This is where SFU professor Stephen Collis enters the story. Webster had an audio recording of Collis claiming that Grand Chief Phillip Stuart asked protesters to take down the signs. When Webster approached the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) with this information, they quickly responded saying it wasn’t true. When approached about his lies, Collis tried to weasel out of the situation claiming he was “caught off guard and mid-spoke”.
Holy Texas Twister Batman, this nutty professor really knows how to spin!
Of course (having watched Collis tell many lies over the years) it’s entirely possible his latest statement may also be a lie. It could be that Stewart Philip asked for the sign to be taken down, the UBCIC does self-identify as militant, so it wouldn’t be out of character.
Time will tell. Regardless, something seems inherently wrong about Collis claiming to be a “settler ally” while at the same time working with a group of people who were willing to tear down an indigenous man’s signs. Collis isn’t making-up stories of mass graves- but it’s in the same spirit as Annett’s appropriation, and they both come from the same cult of Marxist faux-revolutionaries.
If the UBCIC want to see freedom, the first step they need to take is to stop working with predators like Annett and Collis who’ve been appropriating their voices. Luckily, we’re both agreeance about Annett…