Occupy Ottawa, the home of the Occupy movement in the Canadian capital, has a new name: Occupied Ottawa.
Since Wall Street was occupied on September 17th, 2011, this global movement was has been known as “Occupy.” However, most of the Ottawa valley is still unceded Algonquin territory and North America is colonized land. Because of this, many in the Indigenous community and others have taken issue with the idea of “Occupying” already occupied land.
To acknowledge this, on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, the General Assembly of Ottawa/Outaouais decided to change the name of the Ottawa group to “Occupied Ottawa.”
Because Occupy has become an international movement, with Occupations around the globe, the desire to maintain ties was also an important factor in our discussions. For these reasons, we chose the name “Occupied Ottawa” over other suggested options.
According to Occupied Ottawa member John Bainbridge, “The name ‘Occupied Ottawa’ acknowledges that this Land is unceded Algonquin Territory and how corporations have occupied the government, the media and our lives, influencing politics, war, news and the economy. However, our General Assembly has been otherwise occupied, with education, networking and actions, working against these influences.”
Since we set up camp on October 15th, 2011, this movement has come a long way in a short time. This name is a symbol of that change and is only the beginning. Occupied Ottawa returns to the streets, on May 12th.
This name is just the beginning. Plans to re-camp on May 12th are under way and we will be hosting “Take Back Democracy! A Conference for Education, Solidarity and Action”, from June 1st to the 3rd.