KIIWETINOONG — Sol Mamakwa, Ontario’s Official Opposition critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, released the following statement:
“Reconciliation will only happen when the rights of First Nations are adhered to, respected and not trampled on. The use of militarized RCMP forces to challenge peaceful Wet’suwet’en protestors is uncalled for and unnecessary. The Unist’ot’en camp is a non-violent occupation in the unceded territory.
By passing the federal NDP’s legislation, proposed by Romeo Saganash, to enact the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Canada is duty bound to consult with First Nations and negotiate the use of any lands. The arrest of those maintaining the camp is an affront to the spirit of that legislation, the UNDRIP, and Canada’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can stop any further encroachment of Wet’suwet’en territory. He can direct his government to begin a dialogue, and he is obligated to do so.
This should also act as an instructive moment for other governments in Canada. Here in Ontario, the death of Dudley George at Ipperwash is still fresh in the minds of Indigenous Peoples. The expectation of the communities I represent, and all fair-minded, justice-seeking Ontarians, is that governments not use force in place of dialogue.”