Photo: Clayton Thomas-Muller took on the role of co-MC of the opening Unity March of the Peoples’ Social Forum.
Photo Essay from Activist and Photographer, Ben Powless
The Peoples’ Social Forum (PSF) took place in Ottawa (unceded Algonquin territory) August 21-24, 2014, with over several thousand people in attendance. The PSF is part of a larger global movement of social forums that have emerged at different levels since the first World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Porto Elegre, Brazil in January 2001. The idea is to create and curate public space for critical thought and action for social justice, sustainable development, international solidarity, and Indigenous issues with the goal of transforming the state of Canada as it exists today.
The PSF had a focus on Indigenous sovereignty, land rights, environmental justice, and violence against Indigenous women. The forum maintained an exclusive space called, The Indigenous Circle for Indigenous participants to gather, network, strategize, hold meetings, share food, and partake in Ceremony.
On Victoria Island, Traditional Fire Keepers kept a Sacred Fire burning for the four days of the PSF. There was also a Unity March and PowWow, as well as a concert called, The Winter We Danced which featured artists; Frank Waln, Moe Clark and Lawrence Martin. Workshop titles included: Traditional Medicines Wheel Teachings, Songs and Dances with Donna Powless; The Green Red Road: Mino bimadziwin, Natural Law and Indigenous Rights with Kevin Best; and RESIST: The Unist’ot’en’s Call to the Land. There were also screenings of Elsipogtog: No Fracking Way! and Karihstatsi Onienre: The Iron Snake and Honour Your Word: Behind the barricades in Barriere Lake.
Activist and Photographer Ben Powless was in attendance, and MUSKRAT asked him to send us his top moments from the PSF. Check them out below!