The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR) stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation and the inherent right of the Unist’ot’ten to defend their unceded homelands, and their people, from threats posed by the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project.
IREHR condemns the arrest and removal from their lands of members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, including Unist’ot’en matriarchs, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Scenes of Indigenous peoples being arrested and forcibly removed from their lands are all too familiar to those of us in the United States. As settler colonial societies, the governments and citizens of Canada and the United States must take it upon ourselves to walk lightly and forever acknowledge that we live in the homelands of nations with an inherent right to jurisdiction over their lands and resources.
We must listen to those who traditionally exercise authority in those communities; we must act with reverence and respect; and we must not seize on differences between governing bodies in Indigenous societies to justify projects that would have us claim jurisdiction over their lands and resources for our own ends.
If we do these things, genuine reconciliation is possible.
When the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en, and the RCMP proceeded to invade Wet’suwet’en territory, the Canadian government failed these responsibilities in abject terms and took steps down a well-worn, and unjust, path of settler colonialism. We are not unfamiliar with such behavior here in the United States.
The actions of the Canadian government drive home once again that the struggle for Indigenous self-determination is international in scope. This struggle is inextricably bound to the stand against the rising tide of racism in our current times and for multiracial democracy. The creation of respectful government-to-government relations between our respective countries and the Indigenous Nations in whose homelands we live is part and parcel of the international struggle for economic and environmental justice.
We urge all of those who value human rights, and genuine reconciliation between communities tragically driven apart by brutal histories of racism and colonialism, to read the Wet’suwet’en SUPPORTER TOOLKIT and join the struggle for human rights and dignity.
Wet’suwet’en SUPPORTER TOOLKIT: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit2020/