August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, October 18, 2019

Clayton Thomas-Muller's new film: ' Life in the City of Dirty Water'

The blood is on the ground and Cree Clayton Thomas-Muller has transcended it

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Bioneers Conference Schedule

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Now at Bioneers: Clayton Thomas Muller, Cree from Canada, introduces his new film, 'Life in the City of Dirty Water.'
Clayton is speaking on intergenerational trauma and describing how his parents were abused in residential schools. He said he wanted to do a project to confront what he deals with, including white patriarchy.
Speaking before the film began, Clayton shared a memory from grade school. His teacher made him stand in the garbage can. The teacher made the class chant and respond when she asked, "Why is Clayton in the garbage can?"
"Because he is trash," the children would respond.
Clayton said there was just one more Indian child at the school.
"The only way to confront trauma is to go through it," Clayton told the crowd at Bioneers.
The film drew loud applause tonight.
This is not one of those politically correct films. It is about childhood trauma and rising above it to reclaim one's true self. There is blood on the ground in the snow, and there is also Clayton, in today's world, speaking out against climate change and the tar sands and confronting Trudeau on television.
It's a very well made film. It is not what you would expect. It's better. 

Watching and listening to this childhood abuse, and his survival and reclamation of who he is, I can not help but also think of how he was targeted in recent years because of his ability to reach the masses in an articulate way with the message of climate change and specifically the impact of what is happening as a result of the dirty crude oil tar sands on Cree homelands in Alberta.

Clayton rose from that abuse to become one of the corporate spies' most sought-after climate justice organizers. 

Desmog blog writes, "State surveillance of Thomas-Muller falls into a growing net of secret spying on Indigenous groups, leaders, and organizers who seek to uphold Indigenous peoples’ internationally recognized rights of free, prior, and informed consent on their territories."

Bioneers writes:
Clayton Thomas-Muller is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, located in in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Based in the prairie city of Winnipeg, Clayton is the ‘Stop It At The Source’ Campaigner with as well as a founder and organizer with Defenders of the Land. Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement globally for energy and climate justice. He serves on the boards of Black Mesa Water Coalition, the Global Justice Ecology Project and the Bioneers. He is also a steering committee member of the Tar Sands Solutions Network.

Clayton has been recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine. For the last twelve years he has campaigned across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states organizing in hundreds of First Nations, Alaska Native and Native American communities in support of grassroots Indigenous Peoples to defend against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry. This has included a special focus on the sprawling infrastructure of pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the Canadian tar sands. Clayton is an organizer, facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental and economic justice.

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