In June of 2020, the board of directors of Arc Poetry Society and the editorial board for Arc Poetry Magazine released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In this statement, we recognized that, as Canada’s poetry magazine, Arc strives to be accountable to our poets and to all Canadian poetry readers. With this in mind, Arc also strives to stand behind the poets whom we publish, especially Black and Indigenous poets who are working against racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and the destruction of our environment.
In early October 2020, Arc learned that Tawahum Bige—a Łutselk’e Dene, Plains Cree, Two-Spirit & Nonbinary poet and contributor to Arc issue 92—was one of three Indigenous land defenders who were sentenced to 28 days in prison by BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick for conducting ceremony to protect the land from the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX). All three were arrested in August 2018 for singing and conducting ceremony for roughly half an hour in front of the Westridge Marine Terminal, charged with criminal contempt, and convicted in October 2019.
The members of Arc Poetry Society and the editorial board for Arc Poetry Magazine are writing this to express their support for Tawahum Bige in their fight against the above-mentioned charges.
We are also showing our support by making a donation to the support fund for Tawahum Bige, Stacy Gallagher, and Jim Leyden, and we encourage others to donate as well.
The editorial board for Arc Poetry Magazine