Canadian musicians share statement of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders

Canadian musicians share statement of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders
Posted on January 23, 2019 | | Written on January 23, 2019
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Letter type:
Open
To Unist’ot’en Camp,
Land defenders in Wet’suwet’en territory,
 
On January 7th, 2019 we watched, infuriated as a militarized RCMP forced the removal of 14 land protectors from Wet’suwet’en territory at gunpoint. The continued invasion of unceded Wet’suwet’en land by Coastal GasLink pipeline workers without your consent violates Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en Law). We have heard your hereditary chiefs say “No” to the Coastal Gaslink development and we intend to amplify it. 
 
We call the Canadian government to account.  As musicians, we know a PR campaign when we see one: since 2015 Justin Trudeau has promoted a message of Truth and Reconciliation and professed the goal of building meaningful nation-to-nation relationships, but his government’s actions don’t align.  Meaningful nation-to-nation relationships are not made at gunpoint.  In response to questions regarding the violence in Wet’suwet’en last week, Trudeau said that it wasn’t “ideal” but that Canada is "a country of rule of law" inferring that his hands were tied. In fact, he was sidestepping the inconvenient truth that the Supreme Court of Canada found in the 1997 Delgamuukw decision that Indigenous land rights and title were not extinguished at the time of colonization.  As such, the Canadian rule of law states that Wet’suwet’en nation’s hereditary leaders have decision making power on their unceded territory.
 
Many of us grew up in Canada as uninvited guests, misinformed about Canadian history and the settler-colonial project of expansion. It’s 2019, and we refuse a willful ignorance, and take seriously the responsibility dealt to all Canadians by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to learn about Canada’s legacy of colonial violence. We recognize the pattern of the RCMP’s role in expanding Canadian influence over Indigenous peoples’ lands for the purpose of resource extraction. We are horrified by the violence of last week and the RCMP’s continued harassment of your people, and troubled by the exclusion zones erected to keep the press from reporting and Wet’suwet’en citizens from returning to their homes. 
 
This statement is being written 3 months after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned us that there are only 12 years left for us to take decisive action in order to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. This will require the halt of fossil fuel development and a quick transition to clean energy. Those in power who care for the future of life on this planet have no business building more pipelines. We realize that by protecting your yintah, by living on your land, you are not only fulfilling your inherent rights and sacred duties, but you are protecting the plants, animals, and the watershed for all of us. Your hereditary government is showing more leadership in climate action than Canadian elected officials. For that strength and commitment we are grateful.
 

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