I have just begun to learn about the Wet’suwet’en people. A friend of mine from the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March traveled to the Unist’ot’en camp about 4 years ago, and found it to be a life-changing experience. I also asked other friends I made during the March about this, and they indicated support for these people. Any mistakes in what I write are, of course, my own.
You may wonder why I am trying to learn and write about the Wet’suwet’en people now. The literal answer is I saw this article recently: Hereditary First Nation chiefs issue eviction notice to Coastal GasLink contractors. TC Energy says it signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along pipeline’s path. Joel Dryden · CBC News · Posted: Jan 05, 2020. Any efforts to stop pipelines catch my interest.
But the deeper reason is that I usually don’t know what I’ll be led to write about when I sit before my laptop first thing in the morning. I say usually, because I am likely to have an idea if I’m writing about something that needs to be broken into a series of posts. Such as today, which builds on previous posts about the Wet’suwet’en people.
I’m interested in learning more about indigenous views and actions to protect Mother Earth. The results of the White dominant culture of profligate consumption of fossil fuels are seen in increasingly frequent and severe incidents of environmental devastation. I ‘m trying to find what we should do now, and hoping indigenous peoples’ practices can help us.
(Yinka Dini – People of this Earth) Unis’tot’en – People of the Headwatershttp://unistoten.camp/
The Unis’tot’en (C’ihlts’ehkhyu / Big Frog Clan) are the original Wet’suwet’en Yintah Wewat Zenli distinct to the lands of the Wet’suwet’en. Over time in Wet’suwet’en History, the other clans developed and were included throughout Wet’suwet’en Territories. The Unis’tot’en are known as the toughest of the Wet’suwet’en as their territories were not only abundant, but the terrain was known to be very treacherous. The Unis’tot’en recent history includes taking action to protect their lands from Lions Gate Metals at their Tacetsohlhen Bin Yintah, and building a cabin and resistance camp at Talbits Kwah at Gosnell Creek and Wedzin Kwah (Morice River which is a tributary to the Skeena and Bulkley River) from seven proposed pipelines from Tar Sands Gigaproject and LNG from the Horn River Basin Fracturing Projects in the Peace River Region
The Unist’ot’en homestead is not a protest or demonstration. Our clan is occupying and using our traditional territory as it has for centuries. Our free prior and informed consent protocol is in place at the entrance of or territory as an expression of our jurisdiction and our inherent right to both give and refuse consent. Our homestead is a peaceful expression of our connection to our territory. It is also an example of the continuous use and occupation of our territory of our territory by our clan. Our traditional structures of governance continue to dictate the proper use of and access to our lands and water.
Today all of our Wet’suwet’en territory, including Unist’ot’en territory, is unceded Aboriginal territory. Our traditional indigenous legal systems remain intact and continue to govern our people and our lands. We recognize the authority of these systems.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have maintained their use and occupancy of their lands and hereditary governance system. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are the Title Holders and maintain the authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on unceded lands. The 22,000 square km of Wet’suwet’en Territory is divided into 5 clans and 13 house groups. Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their territory.