15 Feb All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en
All eyes are on Wet’suwet’en this week, since RCMP forces entered un-ceded territory owned by the Wet’suwet’en Nation to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court ordered injunction. This injunction grants Coastal GasLink access to these lands for the construction of a $6.6-billion pipeline—which would not only destroy the environment, but also the traditional lands of the Wet’suwet’en people.
In the past week, over 20 people have been arrested near Houston, B.C. for blocking access to the project, and the RCMP’s trespassing and intimidation tactics resemble a full-fledged military invasion.
“Blood is boiling, rightfully so, and people need to wake up and grasp the critical nature of this situation.”
This issue is not new, nor is it merely a dispute between the Wet’suwet’en peoples and the Coastal GasLink company. It stands as a symbol for decades of systemic oppression that have been happening since colonial settlers first arrived on the continent, including assimilationist tactics, the violation of rights, and the forceful removal from lands.
Blood is boiling, rightfully so, and people need to wake up and grasp the critical nature of this situation.
In 1997, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia recognized that Aboriginal title had never been surrendered in Wet’suwet’en lands. The recent Supreme Court injunction and the actions of the RCMP are in direct violation of Indigenous land rights, and, instead of aiding the situation through direct communication with hereditary chiefs, the Canadian government is shamefully staying out of it. The lack of governmental action is perpetuating systemic oppression and cultural genocide, yet again.
Thousands of protestors across Canada and around the world, Indigenous or not, are standing up to say that “reconciliation is dead” and genocide is just as rampant in this country as ever.
Despite the activism, the conflict is continuing to escalate. More people are being arrested every day, including Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chief Freda Huson, founder and spokesperson of the Unist’ot’en Camp which is one site of the conflict. Among other matriarchs, Huson was taken into custody yesterday on Feb. 11th, 2020, during a ceremony for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Indigenous peoples are being forcefully removed from their land in the name of environmental destruction and capitalism—and the Canadian government is getting away with it.
However, it’s important to recognize that this fight is not—and should not be—limited to the Indigenous community. In order to be an effective ally, it’s vital to educate yourself, spread awareness, and actively participate in efforts to produce real change. Remaining silent on the issue only favours the reproduction of oppression and injustice.
The Queen’s community has already faced issues this year in regards to showing support for Indigenous communities. I think it’s time we took a stand to show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people.
To show support, it’s critical to understand the root issues behind this dispute. It’s also important to stay updated on the pipeline conflict as it unfolds, which can be done by checking the news, or following the Unist’ot’en Camp on Twitter and the Gidimt’en checkpoint on Instagram for consistent updates. The Unist’ot’en Camp website provides a Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit for those looking to help.
“Support is choosing not to complain about a train cancellation due to protest blockades. Support is not idly standing by. Silence is violence.”
You can show opposition to the Supreme Court ruling by contacting local, provincial, or federal political figures, participating in protests, and having meaningful conversations about the issue. On social media, you can spread awareness by using the hashtags #wetsuwetenstrong and #alleyesonwetsuweten.
Support is choosing not to complain about a train cancellation due to protest blockades. Support is not idly standing by. Silence is violence. In the past, we’ve let so many Indigenous issues slip through the cracks of our social conscience, but allowing the flagrant violation of human and Indigenous rights to go unacknowledged is a significant step backwards in the push for reconciliation.