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Greens tap Fairy Creek land defender Rainbow Eyes for deputy leader

February 9, 2024

Rainbow Eyes (top left) leads prayers and songs at the base of Big Lonely Doug. Photo by @focus.wandering Listen to article

Canada’s National Observer: The federal Green Party’s leadership team is expanding with the reappointment of an old-growth forest defender as another deputy leader. 

“We are immensely pleased and honoured that Rainbow Eyes, currently standing convicted of criminal contempt for her defence of the old-growth forest of Fairy Creek, has accepted a senior role within the Green Party of Canada,” said deputy leader Jonathan Pedneault. “As they await sentencing, we, as Greens, couldn’t be prouder of Rainbow Eyes for her personal courage, integrity and deep allegiance to our living world.”

In a press release, the Greens said that as the party works toward officially adopting a co-leadership model, it will keep in place the two existing deputy leader positions. The Green Party said Rainbow Eyes, who is also known as Angela Davidson, will work with Pedneault and leader Elizabeth May to build and strengthen relationships with other parties, organizations and individuals. 

“I am so honoured and overjoyed to stand alongside Elizabeth and Jonathan, who I so deeply respect,” said Rainbow Eyes in a statement. “I embrace this position with Spirit and a burning belief in our ability to make a positive impact now. 

“As a Guardian and Protector of Mother Earth, I proudly carry the legacy of my Ancestors and honour the heart of Indigenous culture and way of life.”

Rainbow Eyes, a member of the Da’naxda’xw-Awaetlala First Nation near Knight Inlet on Vancouver Island, is a longtime member of the party’s Indigenous Peoples Advisory Circle and previously served as deputy to former interim leader Amita Kuttner.

May said Rainbow Eyes brings a wealth of experience to the role, and “her dedication to defending the natural world aligns perfectly with the values of the Green Party.”

Last month, she was convicted of criminal contempt by a B.C. court for breaking a court-ordered injunction and bail conditions related to protests against old-growth logging at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.

In 2021, she gave an interview to Canada’s National Observer where she said it is her responsibility to defend the Fairy Creek watershed from resource extraction, pointing to the rich biodiversity.

“This is not land I recognize as belonging to the Crown,” she said. “It certainly does not belong to Teal-Jones (the company logging in the Fairy Creek area).

“Ten years ago, I got cancer. It focused my mind and clarified my priorities,” she said. “Fairy Creek is not my traditional territory, but for decades, Indigenous people all over the island have been asking that old-growth logging stop. When I heard elder Bill Jones’ invitation, I had to respond.

“This is where the line gets drawn, and my body is on it.”

— With files from Patricia Lane