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Sierra Club Canada Foundation Statement of Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en

Canadian PoliticsIndigenous Politics

Hundreds gather in Ottawa to protest the violent raid of the Wet’suwet’en Unist’ot’en camp in northwestern British Columbia, January 8, 2019. Photo from Flickr.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation stands in solidarity with peaceful actions taken to support of the legal jurisdiction that the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs’ hold in their traditional and unceded territories, where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is slated for construction without free, prior and informed consent on their lands.

Our sister organization, Sierra Club British Columbia, has been acting in solidarity with the peaceful movement to respect Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs’ legal jurisdiction. Please see their statement and explainer, which gives excellent context for the moment we are in.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation calls on our members to take part in lawful demonstrations and rallies in support of recognizing the Anuk‘nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law), which pre-dates Canadian law, but is recognized by existing Canadian law under s.35 of The Canadian Constitution. We also echo Sierra Club BC’s call for supporters to help in reducing the risk of violence and inappropriate actions by engaging in dialogue with your friends and family to acknowledge the systemic and overt hatred and violence directed toward Indigenous peoples, particularly against women, girls, and Two-Spirited people.

The continued push to build the Coastal GasLInk through Wet’suwet’en traditional territory is in contravention of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), to which Canada is a signatory. Article 10 of UNDRIP states: “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous peoples .…” British Columbia’s provincial government recently committed, through the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, Bill-41, to support self-determination and Indigenous governance, including Indigenous title-holders.

The Coastal GasLink is being built to transport fracked gas, in the midst of the global climate emergency. The Hereditary Chiefs of Wet’suwet’en have launched legal actions to argue that the project contravenes the federal government’s responsibility to tackle this crisis, including the constitutional duty to protect citizens from catastrophic climate impacts, and breaching the right to equal protection of the law guaranteed by The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Please go here to support their case: raventrust.com/wetsuweten.

“We stand in solidarity with those fighting for respect of the laws of this land, “states Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs Director of Sierra Club Canada Foundation. “We also call on our elected leaders to take the time and to gain the knowledge needed to resolve this conflict peacefully and justly. I hope that through peaceful dialogue we will come to a new understanding of our shared relationships and responsibilities, move toward true reconciliation, and find new paths to tackle the climate emergency together.”

Contact:

Gretchen Fitzgerald
National Programs Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
cell: 902.444.7096
email: gretchenf@sierraclub.ca

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