Article Title

I Could Turn You to Stone: Indigenous Blockades in an Age of Climate Change


Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world have, for years, used blockades and direct action when alternative means of asserting their rights have failed. The Secwépemc First Nation of British Columbia, Canada, has a myth where a character, Sk’elép, encounters strangers who try to “transform” him, but fail. He tells them he could turn them to stone, but he will not. This myth is used as a lens to reflect, from a settler perspective, on the potential for future Indigenous-led blockades, which could reach the point of mass economic shutdowns, in response to a lack of action on both Indigenous rights and climate change. Up until now, the policy of most colonial nations has been to deal with Indigenous blockades by force or at best with localised solutions. This policy will not work regarding climate change. This article proposes that the Western world faces a stark choice: truly embrace “free, prior, and informed consent” (FPIC), or else face the possibility of large scale shutdowns from a growing alliance of Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists, and concerned citizens.


Thank you to the reviewers who took the time to give very thoughtful and helpful feedback. To Emery Hartley and Greg Blanchette for last minute reviews. To Claire, Marion, and Iona for moral support and inspiration. And to Joe David for essential teachings.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This article is intended for general information purposes only and does not convey legal advice.

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