We Pledge to Stand with Unist'ot'en
The Unist’ot’en camp, a permanent Indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land in northern B.C., is currently on high alert. Coastal GasLink Pipeline has applied for an injunction, as well as served notice for a civil lawsuit to claim financial damages for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” against Unist’ot’en camp on their own unceded territory. Instead of recognizing the collective hereditary leadership of the Wet'suwet'en, the legal notices target two individuals Freda Huson and Warner Naziel.
On December 2018, B.C. Supreme Court issued an interim court injunction granting Coastal GasLink the go-ahead to proceed with their fracked gas pipeline on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. Through this interim injunction, RCMP forcibly and violently invaded the Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gitdumden territory, which was announced in the Wet’suwet’en feast hall with the support of all Hereditary Chiefs present.
Coastal Gaslink's application for an injunction will be heard on January 31. The Wet’suwet’en nation is enacting their laws and jurisdiction on their territories against the violent resource extraction authorized by the federal and provincial governments. Let Unist'ot'en Camp know they are not alone.
TAKE THE PLEDGE
1. WE COMMEND the courage and vision of Unist’ot’en Camp.
2. WE ARE WATCHING across the province, country and internationally.
3. WE DENOUNCE any attempt by Coastal GasLink Pipeline, federal government, provincial government or RCMP to interfere in the rights of the Unist’ot’en to occupy, manage or maintain their lands.
4. WE DEMAND that any and all actions taken by the federal and provincial government, industry, and policing agencies must be consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuk Nu'at'en (Wet'suwet'en laws) and collective Title.
5. WE PLEDGE support to the frontline land defenders of Unist’ot’en Camp and affirm the collective hereditary governance of the Wet'suwet'en who are enforcing Wet'suwet'en laws on their unceded lands.
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The Time is Now
The injunction application and civil lawsuit by Coastal GasLink ignores the jurisdiction and authority of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and feast system of governance. In November 2018, TransCanada tried to enter Unist’ot’en territory to begin work on their fracked gas pipeline. Johnny Morris of the Gidimt’en Clan respectfully turned them away. Supreme Court of Canada decisions, such as Delgamuukw-Gisday'wa and Tsilhqot’in, recognize that Aboriginal title includes the right to use, manage, possess land, and to decide how the land will be used.
Coastal GasLink’s use of injunctions and lawsuits against Indigenous peoples is counter to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which protects Indigenous right to self-determination including Article 10 that stipulates “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.” According to Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, criminalization has become an increasingly common tool against Indigenous peoples: “The rapid expansion of development projects on indigenous lands without their consent is driving a global crisis. These attacks – whether physical or legal – are an attempt to silence Indigenous Peoples voicing their opposition to projects that threaten their livelihoods and cultures.”
For the past eight years the Unist’ot’en have taken a strong stand against numerous proposed pipelines that threaten their territory and community, and till date no pipeline work has been done within Unist’ot’en territory. Contractors from pipeline companies have been confronted by land defenders and peacefully turned away several times over the years. The camp has grown to a whole community in resistance including a permaculture garden, a solar powered mini-grid, and a healing lodge. The Healing Lodge in the path of Coastal GasLink pipeline is currently home to Wet’suwet’en community members who are receiving holistic and land-based treatment for substance abuse. TransCanada’s injunction application is a direct threat to the self-determination, health, wellness, and safety of the residents of the Healing Center, and an extension of the colonial violence from which Wet'suwet'en people are trying to heal.
Coastal GasLink fracked gas project
The TransCanada Coastal GasLink pipeline will run approximately 670 kilometres across Northern B.C. It is part of a recently-approved $40 billion fracked gas project LNG Canada that is the single largest private sector investment in Canadian history. LNG Canada is a fracked gas processing facility run by five companies, of which Royal Dutch Shell is a 40% owner. The NDP provincial government announced tax breaks for this LNG project even though the biggest driver of climate change in the province over the coming decades will be from the LNG industry.
Fracking injects vast amounts of freshwater combined with sand and 750 chemicals into drill sites to break up hard shale formations and release trapped gas below the ground. Fracking also causes large amounts of methane to escape into the atmosphere, which has a serious impact on our climate and public health. Alberta’s tar sands is the top consumer of fracked gas in Canada, accounting for one-quarter of the fracked gas used.
Due to the catastrophic and irreversible impact of fracking on water ways, land, food systems, and cultural practices, ALL the Wet'suwet'en Clans have rejected the Coastal GasLink pipeline. According to Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en Hereditary Spokesperson, "The land is not separate from us. The land sustains us. And if we don’t take care of her, she won’t be able to sustain us, and we as a generation of people will die."
Initial List of 100 Pledges
350 dot org
Alliance Against Displacement
Alliance for People's Health
Appalachians Against Pipelines
Black Lives Matter - Vancouver
Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion
Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office
Civil Liberties Defense Center
Coalition of South Asian Women Against Violence
Community Action Bus
Council of Canadians
East Indian Defence Committee
Idle No More
Indigenous Health Curriculum Action Group, McMaster Medical School
Indigenous Land Defense Across Borders
Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement - Ottawa
International League of Peoples Struggle
L'eau Est la Vie
Liberation Health Collective
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
Mining Justice Action Committee
No Mas Muertes/No More Deaths
No More Silence
No One Is Illegal – Vancouver
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Raise the Rates BC
Retail Action Network
Rising Tide Toronto
Rising Tide North America
Save Aamjiwnaang Forest and Ecosystems (SAFE)
Secwepemc Women Warriors
SFU Institute for the Humanities
Sierra Club BC
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition
Social Justice Studies, University of Victoria
Stand dot earth
Streams of Justice
Sum Of Us
Teaching Support Staff Union
The Red Nation
Tiny House Warriors
Toronto Overdose Prevention Society
Unist'ot'en Solidarity Brigade
Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
Vancouver Tenants Union
Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society
Alicia Elliott, Writer
Ashley Bomberry , Film and Theatre Artist
Aylan Couchie, Artist and Writer
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350 dot org
Brandon Rhéal Amyot, Activist and Pride Organizer
Clayton Thomas-Muller, Indigenous Climate Campaigner
Councillor Rev. Christine Boyle, Vancouver City Councillor
Desmond Cole, Author
Genevieve Fuji Johnson, Professor, Department of Political Science, SFU
Dr. Glen Coulthard (Yellowknives Dene), Assistant Professor, UBC
Harsha Walia, Author
Dr. Hayden King, Executive Director, Yellowhead Institute
Howard Breen, Organizer, Extinction Rebellion
Helen Knott, Author
Isaac Murdoch (Bomgiizhik)
Councillor Jean Swanson, Vancouver City Councillor
Jesse Piedfort, Director - Sierra Club Washington State Chapter
Jess Housty, Heiltsuk Nation
Judy Rebick, Writer
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Author
Councillor Keenan Aylwin, Barrie City Councillor
Dr. Margaret McGregor
Maude Barlow, Author
Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree), David Suzuki Fellow
Micheal D. Sawyer, Environmental Consultant
Migizi Bebaayaa, Artist
Naomi Klein, Author
Nick Estes (Kul Wicasa Oyate), Assistant Professor, University of the New Mexico
Dr. Pam Palmater, Ryerson Chair in Indigenous Governance
Councillor Pete Fry, Vancouver City Councillor, Green Party
Raven Davis, Artist and Community Educator
Robyn Maynard, Author
Russ Diabo, Spokesperson for Defenders of the Land
Dr. Sarah Hunt (Kwakwaka’wakw), Assistant Professor, UBC
Shad Kabango, Artist
Dr. Shiri Pasternak, Research Director, Yellowhead Institute
+ 13,843 Pledges. Add your name and Stand with Unist'ot'en
Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs
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