The five united clans of the Wet’suwet’en have called for a solidarity day of action against the Trudeau government and the RCMP on Tuesday, January 8.
Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals — this includes their current resistance to the TransCanada pipeline, despite the corporation’s claim it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the pipeline route, and LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C. The hereditary chiefs of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have set up two checkpoints — the new Gidimt’en Access Point and the Unist’ot’en camp — to prevent workers from accessing the construction site.
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who claim to speak on behalf of all Wet’suwet’en, have said they are concerned the government and corporations are ignoring the voices of Indigenous communities. On December 14, 2018, the hereditary chiefs issued a statement saying they were deeply concerned by the National Energy Board’s decision to deny their request to participate in a jurisdictional challenge to the permits issued to TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which would cross Wet’suwet’en territories.
Indigenous resistance fighters and their allies are worried that an RCMP raid is imminent, as police have gathered in Smithers, B.C., and Houston, B.C., the two closest towns to the Gidimt’en checkpoint.
Members of the RCMP’s Aboriginal Police Liaison have also met with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs and indicated that specially trained tactical forces will be deployed to forcibly remove people from sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory.
A red alert notice posted by the resistance fighters reads,
“by rejecting the requests for information by the Dini’ze and Tsake’ze, the RCMP indicated that they intend to surprise and overwhelm the Wet’suwet’en people who are protecting their territories on the ground. The RCMP’s ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet’suwet’en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war. Despite the lip service given to ‘Truth and Reconciliation’, Canada is now attempting to do what it has always done — criminalize and use violence against indigenous people so that their unceded homelands can be exploited for profit.”
Canada has signed on to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP’s Article 10 clearly states “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories.” Any move the Wet’suwet’en peoples by the RCMP, by the order of the Trudeau government, would directly violate UNDRIP.
Trudeau also campaigned on his promise of a new relationship with Indigenous peoples across Canada, and promised to follow the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
Further protecting the rights of the Wet’suwet’en is a 1997 legal decision that affirms their sovereignty, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa court case that the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to 22,000 square kilometres of northern British Columbia.
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not made any agreement with the Canadian or British Columbian governments to surrender or permit access to Wet’suwet’en lands for any pipeline corridors or construction activities. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership — who have jurisdiction over 22,000 square kilometers of traditional territories — have not given their free, prior, and informed consent in accordance with UNDRIP to any oil or gas company to build pipelines in their lands and waters.
Wet’suwet’en resistance fighters and their Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies have called for a day of action against the RCMP and the Trudeau government. North American cities participating on January 8 include Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Kitchener Waterloo, Prince George/Lheidli, St’át’imc, Vancouver, Victoria, Whitehorse, and others. A 24-hour sacred fire will also be held in Winnipeg. A full list of all North American and international actions, including those in Europe, is available on Facebook.
For guiding principals on how to support actions, and a fact sheet on the Gidimt’en Access Point, visit the Wet’suwet’en Access Point page on Facebook. Supporters can also donate to Gidimt’en Access Point here or the Unist’ot’en Legal Fund here.
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