FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 7, 2020
Solidarity Action Calls on Andy Filmore to Uphold Indigenous Rights & Respect Indigenous Sovereignty : Remove Coastal Gaslink from Wet’suwet’en Lands’ Andy Filmore’s Office (Rm 808) – 1888 Brunswick St. [Alt: Outside office, or outside RCMP station]
K’jipuktuk (Halifax, NS): On Friday, February 7th, at 9:00am 23 Indigenous youth and supporters began a sit-in action in solidarity with land and water defenders in Wet’suwe’ten territory. This action is one of many taking place across Turtle Island on Feb 6th and 7th to demonstrate support for the Nation as they defend their land against the ongoing attempts at developing the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) pipeline and the RCMP raid which began Thursday, February 6th.
“As a Nehithaw (Cree) person, it is my responsibility to protect the land and water,” says Naomi Bird, one of the action organizers. “My heart aches for those in Wet’suwet’en territory being arrested for following Indigenous law and upholding Indigenous sovereignty. The RCMP are enacting state-sanctioned colonial violence, and have no jurisdiction in Wet’suwet’en territory.”
Participants are calling on MP Andy Fillmore to help peacefully resolve the situation on Wet’suwet’en territory.
Bird states: “This sit-in is responding to calls for action from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, and is a message to the settler state: uphold Indigenous rights and sovereignty as outlined in the ‘Canadian’ Constitution, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law). End this illegal invasion. I will not willingly leave Andy Fillmore’s office until the RCMPa and Coastal Gas Link have left Wet’suwet’en territory. The Wet’suwet’en people are defending the land itself, and we are standing with them. ”
Last year in January, tactical enforcement units of the RCMP stormed Gidimt’en barricades to enforce an injunction order on behalf of Coastal Link. Coastal Gaslink/TC Energy are attempting to push a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en land, on which the 1997 Delgamuukw ruling established Wet’suwet’en Nation’s full jurisdiction over 58,000km2.
The BC Supreme Court, in December of 2019, granted Coastal Gaslink an interlocutory injunction order, and a 7-day discussion period was held during which no action was taken to enforce the order. (5) Following the conclusion of this period, with no resulting agreement reached, the RCMP announced they would be enforcing the injunction as of February 6, 2020. (5)
On January 4th, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs issued an eviction notice to Coastal Gaslink employees for operating on unceded territory without consent, in violation of provincial permits and negotiations. (2) In response, an access control checkpoint was created on January 13, 2020 to monitor entrance into the area. This control checkpoint has now been officially established as a “full exclusion zone” – meaning no access will be given to anyone besides the RCMP enforcement team and Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Elected Council only through arrangement with the RCMP Senior Commander.
This past week, the RCMP again began a violent raid on Wet’suwet’en land defender camps – using tactical officers, dog teams, and drones to enforce the B.C. Supreme Court injunction order. (1) Defenders had 10 minutes to gather their belongings and leave before being apprehended and arrested, as the RCMP attempted to prevent journalists from documenting the scene. (1) The RCMP made their first arrest at 39km, a support camp at which no one was in violation of the injunction but were present to witness and share what was anticipated to occur that day. (4)
The Wet’suwet’en 2020 Supporter Toolkit provides more information regarding the context of this, and ways to show support and solidarity in the face of colonial and corporate violence. http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit2020/