Toward the end of last year, I told you about Gidimt’en Checkpoint — which has rapidly become something akin to a Canadian Standing Rock. Right now, the Wet’suwet’en People are standing strong to protect their yintah, or homelands, and the planet we all share from the Coastal GasLink pipeline. But, just as happened with our own movement against the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016-’17, the fossil fuel industry — backed by big banks, the colonial government, and militarized law enforcement — is ignoring their sovereign rights and violently attempting to stamp out Indigenous-led resistance.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical that we do all we can to support the Wet’suwet’en People right now, before this pipeline can further desecrate their yintah. Please email the United Nations: tell them to end human rights abuses on Wet’suwet’en land, and demand that First Nations’ hereditary right to that land be respected. Let the UN know the world is watching.
After setting up their Gidimt’en Checkpoint blockade, the Wet’suwet’en People have been subject to violent raids by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including the use of sniper rifles and police dogs. 30 people have been arrested, including two elders. In one incident, a chainsaw and axes were used to break into homes and arrest movement leaders, journalists, and legal observers. One CBC TV journalist was jailed for three days, and the home he was removed from was subsequently burned to the ground.
I’ve also authored a blog detailing some of the history of the Wet’suwet’en struggle for justice. Notably, this pipeline crosses unceded lands under the care of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs for time immemorial. Their free and prior and informed consent should be the first requirement before any project threatening their sacred headwaters, Wedzin Kwa, can move forward. Their consent has not been given, and their title to the land has been upheld by Canada’s Supreme Court.
The violence against Wet’suwet’en land protectors must end and their yintah protected. It’s long past time to stop treating Indigenous People protecting their homelands and Unci Maka — our Grandmother Earth — like terrorists and start listening to our calls for environmental justice.
Wopila tanka — thank you for standing strong with the Wet’suwet’en!
Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director and Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project