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“Our rights to these lands have never been extinguished… the jurisdiction of the provincial and federal governments is misleading and false”

By: 
Ryan Schebek

January 22, 2019

Nine days after the military assault, by RCMP, on the Gitdumt’en check point Coastal Gaslink workers can now enter the Unist’ot’en camp site. Although reports by RCMP might suggest the battle is over. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation have been clear, allowing RCMP and Coastal Gaslink pipeline workers to enter their lands does not mean consent is given. Force does not mean consent.

As the Unist’ot’en explained on their website, “the RCMP used excessive and brutal force. We expected a large response, we did not expect a military level invasion where our unarmed women and elders were faced with automatic weapons and bulldozers. While the chiefs have a responsibility to protect the land, they also have a duty to protect our land defenders. Our people faced an incredible risk of injury or death and that is not a risk we are willing to take for an interim injunction. The agreement we made allows Coastal GasLink to temporarily work behind the Unist’ot’en gate. This will continue to be a waste of their time and resources as they will not be building a pipeline in our traditional territory.” The RCMP have strategically timed their raids to be executed during funerals or indigenous celebration, a time when people are most vulnerable.

On January 16 hundreds of hereditary leaders, supporters and allies from across BC gathered on Wet’suwet’en territory to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their opposition to the fracked gas pipeline.

“Our rights to these lands have never been extinguished, the assumed and presumed jurisdiction of the provincial and federal governments is misleading and false,” said Chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en. “Today’s show of support from our neighbours and allies around the world proves the Wet’suwet’en do not stand alone. Our rights to water, air and land are not only Indigenous rights but human rights.”

Chief Kloum Kuhn stated, “The five clans of the Wet’suwet’en will never support the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) project and remain opposed to any pipelines on our traditional lands. There is no legitimate agreement with CGL as reported in the media, and we stand behind the Unist’ot’en and Gitdumt'en. Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en, Wet’suwet’en rule of law, all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and given no authority to Coastal Gaslink/TransCanada to do work on Wet’suwet’en lands.”

Shamefully, but not surprisingly, the provincial and federal governments have decided to side with an injunction, that has not been processed yet, to continue work and demolish any obstacle in their way.

People all over the world continue to support the Wet’suwet’en people and their right to enact their laws on their land despite Coastal Gaslink workers moving in. The world sees what the Canadian government is doing is wrong and reaffirms what the Wet’suwet’en people are doing is right. Legal funds, donated by allies from all over Canada, continue to flood in. In one month since the crowd funding began, legal funds for Gitdumt’en have double their original goal of $100,000 and have set a new goal of $350,000.

To learn more on how to support and donate to the Wet’suwet’en people and their fight against Coastal Gaslink please visit: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/

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