I had the pleasure of meeting John Disney late Friday afternoon at the HSRC offices. We ended up chatting into the evening, as he recounted story after story about life in Old Massett and the challenges they have faced to proactively participate in their economic development. I don’t have a full list here, but John told me of numerous projects they have undertaken in, and around, the village. All of these projects have been designed to align with Haida culture and territorial traditions of stewardship and a deep, abiding connection to the land- and sea-scapes that have sustained their communities for thousands of years.
John made an interesting point, with regards to Haida history, and the people of Old Massett Village, and rising sea levels. There is evidence that the people of Old Massett Village have been aware of, and adapting to, rising sea levels much longer than most recent (the last 40-50 years) reports. These people have stories and empirical evidence that their villages have slowly been moving inland, as sea water levels rise. In terms of the people of Old Massett Village and their efforts to restore ocean salmon pastures while reducing atmospheric CO2 and making their small contribution to slowing rising sea levels, the kinds of statements made by Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, and reported by the CBC, appear ludicrous. Jim Thomas and the CBC (and other publications) would have us believe the people of Old Massett Village are somehow ‘primitive’ in their science, technology and culture. They would have us believe these people were naive, and were somehow swindled or tricked into doing their iron restoration project on the high seas of the North Pacific.
If any of these people had conducted even the most basic inquiry into the life of the people of Old Massett Village and their continuing efforts to create sustainable, environmentally and ecologically balance, economic well-being for their community, they would quickly find published statements made by Jim Thomas, the CBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Globe and Mail (to name a few) as ludicrous. Their statements are unethical in the extreme, publishing false portrayals of these people designed to promulgate negative public opinion. It is shameful that they have been able to get away with it. Where is the inquiry and reportage into the networks of collusion between non-government environmental groups publishing defamatory fictions about the people of Old Massett Village, and the mainstream media? Why was there so little real investigation, and even with first hand statements from John Disney, why were these fictional, false, and defamatory statements allowed to go forward?
This question doesn’t even begin to look into the pseudo science, and the false authority to impose judgements of legal and illegal accusations against the village. Would someone with real journalistic ethics please examine these issues:
1. non-governmental environmental organizations colluding with mainstream media to promulgate negative public opinion against targeted entities – polarizing opinion and contributing to fundraising for the non-governmental organization; causing a spectacle, and raising readership for mainstream media;
2. tautological pseudo-science promulgated as scientific fact produced by an incestuous conflict of interest amongst so-called ‘scientists’, non-governmental environmental organizations, and non-elected government bureaucrats;
3. accusations of illegal activities based on self-interested interpretations of non-binding international resolutions in a self-serving effort to assume legal authority where none exists, these assumptions of legal authority by non-government environmental groups, non-elected government bureaucrats, and non-elected international entities.
The activities of non-governmental environmental groups, in collusion with mainstream media, non-elected government bureaucrats, and elected government representatives have been unethical in the extreme. The case of the people of Old Massett Village, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, ocean stewardship, atmospheric CO2, ocean acidification, international marine politics and science, tautological conflicts of interest amongst non-government environmental organizations, scientists, non-elected government bureaucrats, climate change, and disinformation, defamation, and propaganda, is a complex web with a history that demands critical inquiry and examination.
If we are unable to trust a people who have continuously resided and survived on their territory for thousands of year, adapting, inventing and innovating to ensure their survival the survival of the territories under their care, why should we trust those whose mindsets, and ethics have been forged in corrupt, complicit, and colluding 20th century industrialism?
We have innumerable examples of media manipulation to construct false narratives and work to foment public opinion against certain individuals. What we don’t have is honest portrayals of all the facts of this situation, a thorough representation of all the individuals and institutional entities, and their vested interests in the kinds of webs of constructed fictions they might disseminate about this story.