In a show of support for the demonstrations against police violence in the United States (and elsewhere), a photo was posted to Twitter by Dëneze Nakehk’o, a member of grassroots collective Dene Nahjo, showing aboriginals (and people of other ethnic backgrounds) in Canada holding a banner that reads: “Black lives matter.” It was taken in Yellowknife, the capital city of the Northwest Territories, a very cold place that’s more than 3,000 miles northwest of New York City.
-31 outside but #yzf in solidarity with #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter #Denendeh #Yellowknife #indigenouslivesmatter pic.twitter.com/d6hwKTo9Lk
— Dëneze (@Deneze) December 6, 2014
I contacted Nakehk’o over email to find out more about the photo.
The whole idea came from Eugene Boulanger.
The issue of race and especially white privilege is a North American construct and unfortunately a dark tradition that casts a very large shadow. As Indigenous people, we definitely feel it up here, in what we call Sombah K’e, Denendeh or what is also known as Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. This is a serious issue that is literally killing Black and Indigenous people. I don’t want to put words into Eugene’s mouth, but I think he and others up here wanted to show our support and solidarity with people in Ferguson, New York and all over the world. We are so far away that it is difficult to have any direct impact so we thought the best way was to go outside in -31 Celsius winter weather and take a photo. It is a simply gesture but we wanted people to know that we are thinking of them, especially the families of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and all the other families that live through this everyday.
The photo was taken on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014 at around 1:15pm, outside Yellowknife City Hall in Sombah K’e Park. There were people present from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. But as an Indigenous person. a Dene from Denendeh, my heart goes out the families still reeling from these tragedies and to the people marching the streets for justice.