Indigenous Youth Continue to Lead

Unist’ot’en Camp Today at 6:10 PM · Indigenous Youth Voices: Violence Won’t Break Us. Indigenous youth who have stood on the Wet’suwet’en front lines offer this message of solidarity for the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, and for people standing up across Turtle Island. The threat of violence will not stop us from defending the sacred for our future generations.
#ShutdownCanada #WetsuwetenStrong

In Canada, police arrested 12 indigenous youth activists early Wednesday morning, ending their day-long sit-in occupation of the offices of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in British Columbia. Their protest was the latest among dozens of solidarity actions taken in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, which is resisting the $6.6 billion Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline. Earlier this month, Wet’suwet’en leaders evicted construction workers from the territory and set up a road blockade that cut off access to a Coastal GasLink worksite. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have since set up a checkpoint nearby, raising fears of a raid. This is First Nations activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney, one of the 12 arrested on Wednesday.

Ta’Kaiya Blaney: “Because what indigenous people remember and Canada has forgot is that we have a sacred obligation to this land. As human beings, we all have a responsibility to that which gives us life. And as indigenous peoples who have safeguarded and stewarded these territories since time immemorial, it is crucial that our sovereignty be respected for our collective climate future.”

12 Anti-Pipeline Activists Arrested in Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Protest, Democracy Now, January 29, 2020

Our culture and our tradition is the land. We are directly connected to the land. It’s our spirituality. We cannot be forced to be away from our land.
Nine days since we took the land back.
It feels like something you don’t normally do. (laughter) Its revolutionary, right?
I don’t think anyone’s ever really evicted like a 6 billion dollar pipeline before.
People get confused about what we want as Native people. Like “what do you want?”
Just like, “land back!”. Don’t need any reconciliation, don’t want money, like I don’t want programs or funding or whatever.
(whispers “land back”)
Funny though, when I said that to my Dad, Wet’suwet’en people, if you tell them about LANDBACK, they’re like “we never lost the land, anyway.” Which is true.
Wet’suwet’en have never given up title to their 22,000 square kilometer territory.

[ WARNING: This video contains graphic images of an armed threat on the lives of land defenders Denzel Sutherland-Wilson (Gitxsan) and Anne Spice (Tlingit). It may be traumatic for many to see. But we feel strongly that it should be available to witness. Denzel, Anne, and all the land defenders are now safe. These events took place during the RCMP raid on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory on February 7, 2020. The video was filmed by Gitxsan land defender Denzel Sutherland-Wilson from atop this tower. ]

When Canada is ready to kill us, reconciliation is dead. They deployed over 50 police officers, tactical teams, automatic weapons, dogs, snowmobiles, helicopters, and snipers to remove four unarmed Indigenous land defenders from unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Canada has us in its sights. They bring lethal force because they are afraid of our power. We have the land, and all the ancestors, and dozens of indigenous nations standing behind us. Our land defenders were arrested, but they are free and safe. The land is still under siege. Rise up.

The following are excerpts from: Why Kolin Sutherland-Wilson can’t stay quiet. UVic student’s week-long protest draws attention to movement against pipeline project in northwestern B.C. by Josh Kozelj, Martlet, Jan 22, 2020

It was not until 1997, following failed negotiations with the province, that the Supreme Court of Canada found B.C. had no right to extinguish the rights of Indigenous peoples to their traditional territory. It was made clear that it was the hereditary chiefs who have the authority and title over this land.

Kolin was four years old.

It’s now 2020, and as a natural introvert, Kolin would prefer to avoid the spotlight.

He describes himself as a “hermit,” and typically enjoys quiet time at home with his wife and cat. However, when he woke up last December and learned that the B.C. Supreme Court granted an injunction to stop Wet’suwet’en peoples and anti-pipeline protesters from blocking roads to a pipeline project on their traditional territory, he knew something had to be done.

After the hereditary chiefs called for a week of solidarity, Sutherland-Wilson decided to stage a solo week-long strike of his own outside the B.C. Legislature in support of the Wet’suwet’en peoples against the pipeline. He walked out during the first week of classes on Jan. 6 and was there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of that week.

Sitting in the NSU’s office in the basement of the Student Union Building, on an abnormally cold and snowy day in Victoria, Sutherland-Wilson gently clasps his hands together and stares straight ahead. The words “All Eyes on Wet’suwet’en” are written in big block letters on the whiteboard just over his right shoulder. He closes his chestnut-brown eyes for a few seconds, opening them to reveal weary tinges of red.

“Sitting on the steps was the least I could do, just to be a constant presence down there at the Legislature, just to be a constant reminder that what is happening is unacceptable and that B.C. has a duty to approach this nation-to-nation relationship in good faith and to not rely once again on the force of the RCMP like they did last year,” he says.

On Jan. 6, the first day of his week-long protest, Sutherland-Wilson published a video, “Colonialism in Canada: What is happening at Unist’ot’en?” to YouTube explaining the history of the Wet’suwet’en nation and why they continue to fight for their land.

This is the video Kolin published:

Video of Panel with David Suzuki and Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en Leaders Ta-kaiya Blaney, and Kolin Sutherland-Wilson.

Teen climate strikers with Our Earth Our Future chose not to speak from the stage at the BC Legislature today, and instead handed the mic to the Indigenous youth sitting in to support of the Wet’suwet’en people. The RCMP were attacking #Wetsuweten land defenders during that day’s #ClimateStrike, in an attempt to get a fracked gas pipeline built. #WetsuwetenStrong #FridaysForFuture

Indigenous people in Canada are giving the world a demonstration of the power of nonviolent action. The justness of their cause — defending the land from those who would destroy it for short term profit and the elimination of a habitable climate on earth — combined with their courage and the absence on their part of cruelty or hatred, has the potential to create a much larger movement, which is of course the key to success.

This entry was posted in civil disobedience, Indigenous, Uncategorized, Unist'ot'en, Wet’suwet’en. Bookmark the permalink.

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