Wet’suwet’en – Reaction from Indigenous Leadership in British Columbia

Wet’suwet’en
Wet’suwet’en Checkpoint - image Wet’suwet’en Facebook with permissiona

Wet’suwet’en – In the middle of the night, the RCMP began aggressively raiding Wet’suwet’en traditional and unceded territories. This senseless violence was carried out under the watch of the Provincial and Federal Governments.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) stated, “We are in absolute outrage and a state of painful anguish as we witness the Wet’suwet’en people having their Title and Rights brutally trampled on and their right to self-determination denied.

Forcing Indigenous peoples off their own territory is in complete and disgusting violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Horgan government recently committed to uphold through Bill 41, and which the Trudeau government has also committed to uphold through yet to be introduced legislation. Indigenous rights are human rights and they cannot be ignored or sidestepped for any reason in the world, and certainly not for an economic interest. We call on the RCMP to immediately stand down, and we call on the Crown to immediately take responsibility for ending this violence.”

“Prayers for the Wet’suwet’en leadership and people, we are standing with you and we always will,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer of the UBCIC.

“We categorically reject the insulting notion that the Crown and RCMP did everything they could to prevent this. There are always options that can be taken by the Crown. It is never an option to have a pipeline go through the territory of the proper Title and Rightsholders who have not provided their consent. Premier Horgan, we have to ask, why didn’t you just go meet with the Hereditary Chiefs when you were invited, and stop this from happening? No schedule is too busy to accommodate a meeting that could have had major impacts on preventing the violence we are all now witnessing.”

Chief Don Tom, Vice-President of the UBCIC concluded “Using armed force to take Indigenous peoples off their unceded and traditional territories against their will is not reconciliation, it is colonialism in all of its ugliness and hypocrisy. We are humbled and inspired by the resolute and unwavering commitment of the Wet’suwet’en people to defend their territories from a resource extraction project that will have dire impacts on their lands and waters and accelerate climate change. I repeat the wise words of Na’Moks, Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en, who stated ‘we remain peaceful and respectful because we are on the right side of history.’”