Denver, CO – A coalition of environmental and Indigenous rights groups crowd the sidewalk outside the downtown Denver Energy Center where on the 26th floor, resides the Consulate General of Canada. As part of a solidarity call-to-action, activists hope to bring awareness to the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s ongoing fights against the oil and gas industry, as well as, the continued over-stepping by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian government.
Unicorn Riot will be covering the solidarity action:
The most recent fight has been over the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project by TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corp). With help from the RCMP, CGL pipeline project workers and equipment have been able to access Wet’suwet’en territory, which is unceded, on-and-off since about 2015.
Another reason why CGL has no legal right on the land is because they have not received all of their permits. CGL’s Certificate E14-03 Condition 1 Report #2 in respect of the Morice River Technical Boundary Area has not been decided on by the Environmental Assessment Office.
On March 1, 2020, discussions between Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, ended temporarily after a draft arrangement was created concerning Wet’suwet’en rights and title. Wet’suwet’en clan members will now have the ability to review the draft.
In a joint-statement (PDF) by the parties involved in the discussions, they mention what this drafted arrangement could mean:
“This arrangement for the Wet’suwet’en will breathe life into the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision so that future generations do not have to face conflicts like the one they face today. As the late chief Wah tah Kwets (Pat Namox) said in the Delgamuukw case, ‘It is up to us to create a new memory in the minds of our children.’” – Joint-statement (PDF)
The Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision was made by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997 and was the first official Canadian recognition, in detail, of Aboriginal title. The court case was initiated on October 24, 1984, when 35 Gitxsan and 13 Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs filed their statement of claim with the British Columbia Supreme Court.
“When you ask for the rule of law, then you have to follow it yourself. Canada has committed a crime against humanity in Wet’suwet’en territory. It has broken its own laws as well as Wet’suwet’en laws and international laws. You cannot remove people from their own lands at the end of a gun. A crime has been committed and the RCMP are the criminals.” – Kanenhariyo Seth LaFort