TREATY ONE TERRITORY, MB. – RCMP in northern British Columbia have arrested 14 people where First Nation citizens at the Gidimt’en camp were asserting their sovereignty by barring a pipeline company from access. Although the RCMP say they were enforcing a court injunction for Coastal GasLink to access the road and bridge near Houston, B.C., hereditary leaders stated only they can consent to who has access.
Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs states:
“The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs fully supports First Nations sovereignty over their territories and ancestral lands. The RCMP should not have arrested First Nation citizens and removed them from their own lands while they are trying to protect Mother Earth. What happened yesterday in British Columbia does not advance reconciliation in this country. If Canada wants to seriously address reconciliation then it needs to address the most important part of reconciliation – addressing outstanding land claim issues and abiding by Supreme Court of Canada rulings.
“I’d like to remind Canada that Article 10 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People states: Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
“We stand with our brothers and sisters on the Wet’suwet’en territory who are listening to their hereditary leaders.”