Council of Canadians chapters, supporters and staff are firmly in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation as they continue to assert sovereignty on their traditional territories and resist state violence.
Land defenders have shared on the Unist’ot’en Camp website: “On December 31, 2019, BC Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church granted an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en nation who have been stewarding and protecting our traditional territories from the destruction of multiple pipelines, including Coastal GasLink’s liquefied natural gas pipeline.” The Wet’suwet’en issued a call for international solidarity actions in response to this escalating situation.
Earlier this month, all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation evicted Coastal GasLink (CGL) from their territories. The company sought and obtained an injunction from the BC Supreme Court, which gave the Wet’suwet’en until 3pm on Friday, January 10 2020 to comply with an order to remove gates and cabins on their own lands.
In early 2019 the RCMP forcibly removed Wet’suwet’en people and their guests from the Gidimt’en checkpoint. This heavily militarized raid included assault rifles and the RCMP were authorized to use lethal force against Indigenous land defenders.
Since this brutal attack in January 2019, BC has passed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law, including the right for Indigenous nations to give free, prior and informed consent to activities on their lands. This right includes the right to say no, which is what the Wet’suwet’en are doing now.
In January 2020, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called upon Canada to halt construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline until the Wet’suwet’en people grant free, prior and informed consent to the project. The committee also urged Canada to cease the forced eviction of land defenders and prohibit the use of lethal weapons against Indigenous Peoples, and to guarantee that no force will be used against them. It also urged the federal government to withdraw the RCMP from traditional lands.
In their own words, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demand the following:
That the province cease construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project and suspend permits.
That the UNDRIP and our right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.
That the RCMP and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimiation’s (CERD) request.
That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by CGL respect our laws and our governance system, and refrain from using any force to access our lands or remove our people.
To support the Wet’suwet’en Nation, you can take this action in solidarity now.
The Council of Canadians supports the demands of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and remains in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders. We demand the Governments of Canada and British Columbia end their violence against Indigenous People immediately and respect the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.