On Feb. 21, Leap4wards organized a rally in Saint John in support of the Wet’suwet’en, Indigenous rights and UNDRIP (the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and action on climate change. Many participants wore red to draw attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The rally was outside the office of MP Wayne Long. Leap4wards sent the MP the following statement by the Wolastoq Grand Council, published here with permission.
Wolastoq Grand Council stand in unison with Wet’suwet’en
As Traditional Wolastoq Grand Chief, I affirm that we the Wolastoq Grand Council stand in unison with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Clanmothers. The violent force on Wet’suwet’en Land Protectors sanctioned by the BC government was uncalled for and inhuman.
Months prior to the injunction by Coastal Gaslink Ltd., Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs submitted several alternate routes for the gas company to re-route the pipeline around Wet’suwet’en Traditional Homeland. All submissions were ignored by both Coastal Gaslink and the BC Government.
The BC Government and Coastal Gaslink only conferred with the Indian Act elected Chief and Council during the consultation process.
May I remind you, Wet’suwet’en hereditary governance system precedes the colonial Indian Act Chiefs and Councils structure.
Hereditary Chiefs are responsible under Wet’suwet’en law and governance for making decisions relating to their ancestral lands. It is these lands that the Hereditary Chiefs are seeking to protect from the impacts of the pipeline project, not Indian Act reserve lands.
Indigenous peoples hold rights to lands in Canada which extend far beyond the boundaries of Indian Act reserves, including Aboriginal title and rights to the lands they used and occupied prior to the arrival of Europeans and the assertion of Crown sovereignty. Aboriginal title and rights are protected under the Constitution Act, 1982 – the highest law in Canada’s legal system.
The ones responsible for breaking Canadian law are the BC Government, federal government, the RCMP and Coastal Gaslink Ltd.
Canadian citizens should be outraged by this injustice, for this could easily happen to any town, village or city that refuses to collapse to the demand from industry for the sake of personal profit.
These are only a few of the many reasons why Canadians should stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and Clanmothers.
Wolastoq Grand Chief Ron Tremblay