Statement of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation (and beyond)
November 23, 2021
We, the undersigned, are writing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Dinï ze' and Ts'akë ze' (Hereditary Chiefs), land defenders, and accomplices in their fight against Coastal Gaslink and the RCMP’s unjust and unlawful actions on their Yintah (territory).
We are deeply outraged and saddened by the ongoing and explicit colonial violence that the Canadian state is exerting on the Wet’suwet’en Dinï ze' and Ts'akë ze'. We recognize that the Wet’suwet’en have rights, title and ongoing relationship with their unceded territories, and that these relationships include responsibilities and reciprocities that have been honoured and sustained since time immemorial. We also recognize that the Wet’suwet’en have valid, complex and ongoing legal and political structures that pre-exist the Canadian colonial legal system, and that those laws and responsibilities are being violated by the colonial Canadian state. While the Wet’suwet’en legal system is valid and sufficient, we also recognize that the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the jurisdiction of the Hereditary Chiefs over their traditional territories in the 1997 Delgamuukw v. British Columbia case.
Additionally, free, prior, and informed consent continues to exist as a foundational concept within international Indigenous rights movements; the Wet’suwet’en Dinï ze' and Ts'akë ze' have not given their consent for this project, and the forced removal of Wet’suwet’en Dinï ze' and Ts'akë ze' is an explicit act of colonialism. This violence is inexcusable given the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the historic and ongoing resistance and calls to action of Wet’suwet’en, Gitxan and other Indigenous Peoples and Nations across Canada. This violence highlights the ongoing colonialism that exists in Canada, despite provincial and federal government commitments to reconciliation and the BC government’s recent adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We write as diverse peoples who live and work across the traditional, ancestral, unceded and occupied territories of the Stó:lō Peoples, as well as the neighbouring territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. As we write this, our neighbours and communities are under evacuation order and alert, homes are flooded, critical infrastructure has been damaged and people have died due to catastrophic rain and floods directly linked to climate change. While the acute crisis of floods is worthy of media attention, we also know that the ongoing climate emergency is directly tied to widespread resource extraction on unceded lands, in this province and beyond, and the ongoing subjugation of Indigenous science, expertise and wisdom is a key tool of imperial resource extraction. The climate crisis is here, and it will only get worse if we continue to silence Indigenous land defenders, climate justice advocates, Elders and Matriarchs.
As our communities reel from the rain, floods and slides and look ahead to more extreme weather in the future, the use of finite resources is a clear indication of provincial and federal priorities: To protect a pipeline, through colonial violence, during catastrophic floods.
As we sit in climate grief and anger at the priorities of the state, we also see the connectivity between the floods and wider climate crises, the housing crisis, the drug policy crisis, and the crisis of racism and extractive imperialism throughout the world. These connections can seem vast and overwhelming, but they also hold the strength of community: we keep each other safe. And so, our solidarity is expansive.
We stand with the people of Palestine enduring colonial violence, displacement, genocide and apartheid at the hands of the Israeli State. The destruction of ancient olive groves and the logging of old growth cedars are connected.
We stand with Kashmir and the Kashmiri people as they resist India’s settler colonial violence, occupation and fight for their right to self determination.
We stand with the people of Cuba and the Cuban revolution. The illegal blockade by the United States against Cuba must end now. We stand with Cuba as they resist American imperialism and attacks on their socialist government.
Our world sits on a precipice, with oceans rising and more extreme weather now the norm, with white supremacy, xenophobia and corporate greed continuing to oppress and dispossess people, and with stories of difference and scarcity upheld as justification for cruelty.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
This world is built, on purpose, and we can un-build it, together.
Given this, in hope and anger, we call on the Governments of Canada and British Columbia to reflect on what it means to speak of reconciliation in the context of this colonial violence. While we hope that these events serve as a wake up call that impacts future state behaviour and policy directions, in the short-term:
- We call on all levels of government to demand an immediate withdrawal of all RCMP from their illegal occupation of Wet’suwet’en lands, and for the release—without conditions—for all Wet’suwet’en land defenders and accomplices arrested or detained by RCMP for their engagement in legal and valuable land defense. The CGL pipeline must be cancelled now.
- We call on all people of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Canadian Government to honour their commitments to truth and reconciliation, to join in solidarity with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en, and to respond to their calls for support.
- We call on the media to make clear the connections between colonialism, racial capitalism and the climate crisis, and to hold up and honour the excellent work being done by Indigenous journalists to share these important truths with the world.
There’s no time to worry about the future. It’s happening now. All of these intersecting crises—the climate crisis, the housing crisis, the drug toxicity crisis—these are all symptoms of the root of the problem: settler-colonialism. They’re all here now and we must collectively organize, build power and dismantle all forms of oppression so we can truly be free.
We keep each other safe, and Wet’suwet’en and other Indigenous Peoples around the world are fighting for all of us. We must stand and fight shoulder to shoulder with them too.
Alex Kuhlman on Musqueam, Squamish, & Tsleil Waututh land
Alex McEwin on Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Ojibway Chippewas territories
Alyssa Uebelhard on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land
Amanda Emery on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Angela Quinton on Haudenosaunee territory
Angelina Rose on land of the kwikwetlem Nation
Ariel Dennison-Hardy on land of the Skwah First Nation
Ashley Tanasiychuk on land of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations
Ben Ger on land of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations
Bobbie Vick on Treaty 6 land
C Kilmartin on Wangal land of the Eora Nation
Carla Conradie on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land
Chelle Lussier on hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh land
Citlalli Gonzalez on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Colin Hall S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō territory)
Courtney Liem on unceded Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Watuth lands
Elissa Aikema on land of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam Peoples
Eva Janzen on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Fenrir Cerebellion on land of the Sto:lo Nation, Ts'elxweyeqw Tribe
Gloris Gonzalez on land of the Skwah Nation of the Stó:lō Nation
J Mac on Anishinaabeg territory
Jay Clover on land of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations
Jess Fehrenbacker on land of the Stó:lō Nation
Jordanne Stahl on Matsqui territory
Kay Kassirer on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations
Kay Slater settler on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh land
Keely ryan in so-called “Vancouver”
Kelley Palmer-McGee on land of the Nooksack and Lummi Nations
Kelsey Haugen on Coast Salish territory
Lia Haggquist on land of the Stó:lō Nation
Lucy Wicken on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land
Linda Barton-Robbins on Stó:lō territory
Mason R on Coast Salish territories
Meghan Grant on land of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Nations
Nikki Atsma on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Rabbit Richards on land of the Kwantlen, Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Nations
Rainer Fehrenbacher on land of the Stó:lō Nation
Rami on Coast Salish territory
River Xaxle on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Sarah Pahladsingh on Stó:lō territory
Sasha Cameron on Stó:lō territory
Shelby Reid on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Shaunna Muckersie on the unceded territory of the syilx/Okanagan people
Sho Okano on land of the Stó:lō, Katzie, Kwantlen Nations
Siling Zhang on land of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations
Skylar Bakes on land of the Squamish Nation
Stephane Gallant on land of the Squamish Nation
Steven Krajnyak on Stó:lō territory
Summer O on land of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations
Teuh Bousquet Metis citizen residing on Kwantlen, semiahmoo and katzie first nation land
Tracy D Humphreys on land of the Lekwungen Peoples, the Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations
Veda Chen in the Stó:lō Valley
Victor Wells on land of the Sto:lo Nation
Willow Dennison-Hardy on land of the Skwah First Nation
Holden Milne Pinentel
Natalie Aurora Forsyth
Chilliwack Free Fridge on land of the Ts'elxwéyeqw and Pilalt tribes of the Stó:lō Nation
Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations
The Rent Strike Bargain Campaign
NOTE: Specific ways to further your support include:
- Issue a solidarity statement from your organization or group & email to: email@example.com
- Pressure the government, banks, and investors. http://yintahaccess.com/take-action-1
- Donate. https://go.rallyup.com/wetsuwetenstrong
- Come to Camp. http://yintahaccess.com
- Spread the word. #FreeSleydo #ShutDownCanada
Youtube: Gidimten Access Point
For those who wish to use this solidarity letter, in full or part, to circulate in your own communities, please do.