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Hundreds gathered together on the corner of Georgia and Hamilton, Vancouver, for the #UnistotenHeals rally this Thursday, July 30. The event was held in solidarity with the Unist'ot'en clan and support of the Unist'ot'en Camp.
The Unist'ot'en camp was established by the Unist'ot'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en nation to protect traditional territory from unwanted projects.
Eleven companies have proposed to run oil and gas pipelines through Unist'ot'en territory. Several other companies have announced plans to follow suit. Kinder Morgan, Pembina Pipelines, and Endbridge Inc. are among the companies proposing a dual pipeline to transport bitumen, hydrocarbons, and poisons to create flowing mock oil.
Activists in attendance demonstrated against the recent attempts by RCMP to forcefully intrude on unceded Unist'ot'en territory and the murder of James Daniel McIntyre at the hands of police.
James Daniel McIntyre was a First Nations Anonymous member who was shot and killed by RCMP on the Site C Dam, Dawson Creek, B.C. on July 16. First Nations and environmental groups have denounced the hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. McIntyre had helped organized action against the Site C Dam.
The organizers of the #UnistotenHeals rally sought to confront police violence affecting people worldwide.
Referring to the murder of McIntyre and the attempt to forcefully enter Unist'ot'en territory by RCMP, a statement on the #UnistotenHeals Facebook event page reads, "This is not an isolated issue. Police are killing black people everyday across Turtle Island and Bill C-51 and racist policies are helping them get away with it."
Audrey Siegl (ancestral name sχɬemtəna:t), First Nations activist and Musqueam leader, was one of the speakers at #UnistotenHeals. Siegl stressed the importance of taking immediate action and supporting all indigenous communities and oppressed peoples across the world who are fighting for the protection of their own unceded lands.
"Especially at a time like this when the RCMP are circling in, when the Chevron shows up literally at the gate with a gift of bottled Nestlé water -- they are doing their best to be respectful -- but all it demonstrates is that they really don't understand. They will continue to be disconnected and they will continue to prioritize the business at hand for them whether it’s destructive or not."
"They don't care," said Siegal. "So it's our job to care, it's our job to protect, and it's our job to connect, and get it out there in a way that is gentle enough but informative enough that it wakes other people's hearts and minds to figure out what they can do."
The Unist'ot'en Camp urgently needs your support now. Find out how you can help support the Unist'ot'en Camp here.
Lenée Son is a freelance multimedia journalist living in Metro Vancouver and the rabble.ca Blogs intern.
Images: Lenee Son