No. 55October 29, 2021
On October 27, Chief Dsta’hyl of the Likht’samisyu clan, one of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en nation, was arrested by RCMP while decommissioning Coastal Gaslink (CGL) construction equipment on their sovereign territory. CGL was issued an eviction notice in January, and since then Chief Dsta’hyl has repeatedly warned CGL to remove its equipment from the territory and called on the company to meet with the Likht’samisyu and Wet’suwet’en to discuss CGL’s withdrawal from the sovereign Indigenous territories.
After being stopped by CGL from entering their own territory on Sunday, October 24, the Likhts’amisyu Chiefs and their supporters established a camp on the road where they were stopped. This camp is one of several being set up by land defenders and their supporters at various locations where CGL is carrying out its pipeline project without consent from the Wet’suwet’en.
In an emergency call for support, Gidimt’en spokesperson Sleydo’ said, “We have every right to be on our territories. Under the UNDRIP [United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples], under the United Nations, under Wet’suwet’en law, no one has the authority to come and remove our chiefs from the yintah. They cannot remove them from their territory, they can’t block us access to our territories. We have every right to be here and we need to stop criminalizing our Indigenous people from defending our territories.”
Previously, on October 17, as CGL workers continued to trespass on Likht’samisyu and Wet’suwet’en territory, Lihkt’samisyu chiefs Dsta’hyl and Tse’besa instructed CGL to remove all equipment from Lihkts’amisyu territory immediately, or it would be decommissioned and seized by the Likht’samisyu clan in accordance with Indigenous laws.
A statement from the Gidimt’en Checkpoint on October 18 read, “Coastal Gaslink has been damaging wetlands that flow to Parrot Lake, where we have reclaimed a traditional village site and established a community. We will not stand by while our territories are destroyed.
“Wet’suwet’en laws protect our lands and our people, to the benefit of all. Our clan, and our government, is the highest authority on our sovereign lands.”
Stand with the Wet’suwet’en and all nations fighting to affirm their sovereignty. They are the stewards of the land. In this case they are defending the Wedzin Kwa River and its headwaters which are critical as a spawning ground for salmon and a critical source of pristine drinking water throughout the Yintah. They are exercising their hereditary rights on their own territories. Canada has no right to interfere.
For Canada to go to the UN Conference on Climate change while overseeing the state criminalization of the chiefs and people who are the stewards of the land is beyond shameful and shows how hypocritical Canada’s stands are and the need to denounce this hyprocrisy which cannot be defended. The government must stop using its police agencies to attack land defenders and defend narrow private interests. It is duty-bound to uphold hereditary and treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples and uphold the principle of nation-to-nation relations.
People from coast-to-coast-to-coast oppose this coastal gaslink project as harmful to the sovereign rights of the Wet’suwet’en clans and the environment.
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