Outrageous continued human rights abuses on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, in the name of corporate profits have to stop. Rainforest Action Network stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their efforts to protect their territories this week against destruction and violent law enforcement tactics.
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been defending their land from destruction since time immemorial, and the community has for years been resisting the illegal construction through their land of Coastal GasLink, a major pipeline feeding the largest fracked gas expansion in Canadian history. The Canadian police in past years spent tens of millions on policing and surveillance of Wet’suwet’en land defenders. A report showed that police were prepared to gun down land defenders during a January 2019 raid. This week, during climate change-driven flooding that displaced thousands across the province, the Canadian government once again flew in dozens of police by private charter to unceded Wet’suwet’en land.
We strongly condemn the Canadian government’s militarized raid and arrests of Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders, supporters, and journalists this week, while British Columbia is in a climate-fueled crisis, facing life threatening “one in five hundred year” flooding throughout the province.
Since November 18, 2021, 32 land defenders have been arrested, including:
- Unarmed Wet’suwet’en elders and clan members who faced 50+ militarized police with attack dogs and sniper rifles
- Two journalists illegally arrested and held for days
- A Gitxsan elected councillor tackled and choked by four police
Furthermore, RAN denounces the massive financial support from the investors, banks, and insurers that are backing pipeline builder TC Energy at large and Coastal GasLink directly, allowing for the continued construction of incredibly dangerous projects. By supporting Coastal GasLink, these financiers are backing a project that will not only exacerbate the climate crisis, but is also currently driving major Indigenous rights violations.
TC Energy does not have the collective free, prior, and informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. All of the five Wet’suwet’en Clans have rejected TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline.
By granting the enforcement order to raid the camp and thereby ignoring the jurisdiction and authority of Wet’suwet’en chiefs and their feast system of governance, the Canadian government has violated Indigenous rights enshrined the the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Article 10 of the UNDRIP clearly states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories.” These Gidimt’en members are upholding ancient Wet’suwet’en trespass laws. The Wet’suwet’en legal system predates Canada’s legal system, and has been recognized by the Supreme Court in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia.
This trampling on Indigenous rights in favor of private oil and gas interests and the criminalization of land defenders is unacceptable.
WAYS TO SUPPORT
Legal defense of land defenders arrested: https://go.rallyup.com/wetsuwetenstrong/Campaign/Details
Gidimt’en Checkpoint: https://www.yintahaccess.com/
Unist’ot’en Camp: https://unistoten.camp/support-us/
There is an ongoing call for solidarity actions that communities are responding to around the world. Locations include consulates, banks, and investors. Plan a solidarity action in your own community: https://www.yintahaccess.com/take-action-1