In the News May 29
Uphold the Right of Indigenous Peoples to
Affirm Their Hereditary Rights
Stand With the Wet’suwet’en!
Over 800 people from across Canada, the U.S. and abroad participated in a webinar on May 26 in support of the Wet’suwet’en land defenders’ call for actions to stop the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline construction. CGL is building a pipeline to carry fracked natural gas from northeastern BC to the LNG Canada plant at Kitimat on the BC coast. It has not received free, prior and informed consent from the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are the administrators of their territory for construction on their territory.
The webinar was addressed by three Wet’suwet’en leaders, Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ and two hereditary chiefs, Chief Woos and Chief Namoks.
The three speakers explained that the hereditary leadership has never consented to the CGL pipeline route across the territory, the Yintah, as it endangers the land and water for the Wet’suwet’en as well as for all the people of the surrounding communities. The camps that have been set up to block the construction have succeeded in delaying it, particularly the drilling under the headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) which the company says will go ahead within days or weeks. The peaceful resistance of the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters has been met with repeated police violence, arrests and charges. The immediate need is for mass support to prevent the drilling.
Both the federal and provincial governments, in spite of the Supreme Court ruling in Delgamuukw and their supposed support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have refused to recognize that it is Wet’suwet’en law that prevails on the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. In 2020 after thousands of people across the country blocked roads and rail lines and took other action in support of the Wet’suwet’en land defenders, the federal and provincial governments agreed to negotiate with the hereditary chiefs but, in the words of Chief Woos, “they lied,” and have not engaged in meaningful discussions and continue to use militarized RCMP and the colonial courts to attack the people. Sleydo’ reported that every day and night, several times, RCMP and its Community-Industry Response Group trespass on private property and harass the people on the land, over 900 times since March this year.
The Chiefs explained that the racist colonial outlook is the foundation of the Canadian state and that this is what underpins the actions of the federal and provincial governments. They called on the Canadian people to continue their support which is critical so that the land defenders are not isolated and to put pressure on federal MPs and Members of the Legislative Assembly of BC to stop the RCMP attacks, recognize Wet’suwet’en law, and meet with the hereditary leaders to resolve the conflict.
Participants were asked to take a number of concrete actions. First, to flood the contractors and investors in the project with tweets and other social media posts telling them that they are involved in a project that violates Indigenous rights and they should withdraw. Secondly, to organize events wherever they are in support of the Wet’suwet’en right to be and to determine what takes place on their territory and to take that message to federal and provincial politicians. Thirdly for those who are able to come to join the land defenders on the Yintah if the drilling goes ahead and evictions start. In inviting people to come to the Yintah, Chief Namoks stressed that all the actions on the Yintah by the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters are peaceful actions of resistance, that the only violence on the land is that of the state. Sleydo’ reiterated that all participants have to follow the leadership of the hereditary chiefs in their actions on the land and adhere to Wet’suwet’en law.
Organizers have prepared a Kill the Drill toolkit which provides the contact information for the contractors, investors and politicians as well as background information on the resistance and appeals to the Canadian government to cease construction and police violence on the territory from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. To access the information, click here
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on everyone to go all out to stand with the courageous Wet’suwet’en land defenders and take the actions called for in this fight.
TML Daily, posted May 29, 2022.