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Archive for February 2020

In Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en… reconciliation and climate justice?

The following is a Newsletter I just received from the Be The Change Earth Alliance. Comments, pingbacks and trackbacks have been disabled for this post. If you want to do any of those things please use the links below. I regret that the way WordPress now handles a simple cut and paste command wrecks the HTML of the original. Despite the cranky formatting that results I trust this is still readable.

SPECIAL EDITION NEWSLETTER: Our newsletter this month is dedicated to supporting Wet’suwet’en land defenders and protesters, in solidarity with Indigenous rights, title and climate justice. Climate justice is at the heart of our work at Be the Change.

The concept of climate justice highlights how environmental and social justices issues intersect and are often inextricably linked. One such intersection, deeply rooted in the essence of Canada’s Nationhood, relates to reconciliation and the long history of colonial institutions promoting, protecting and expanding large scale resource extraction projects on traditional Indigenous territory. It’s important to recognize that these land intensive projects are consistently upheld by violence toward Indigenous peoples and direct ignorance of Indigenous rights and title to unceded, unsurrendered land sought out by our government and fossil fuel giants for profit.

 Climate justice and reconciliation go hand in hand.

Recently, our Provincial and Federal governments and RCMP forces have been criticized for a string of injunctions and invasions of Wet’suwet’en people and protesters, which are alleged to have broken Wet’suwet’en, Canadian and International Law. Indigenous protesters have been blocking Coastal Gaslink from accessing their territory to construct the single largest private investment in Canadian history- a 6.6 billion dollar fracked gas pipeline that would extend 670-kilometers from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s processing plant would be located. 

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Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under their law to control access to their territory. 

Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en 

have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink/ TransCanada to do work on Wet’suwet’en lands.” (Unist’ot’en

Coastal Gaslink has also yet to receive approval from the province’s Environmental Assessment Office they require to begin work. Outside Wet’suwet’en law, the hereditary chiefs’ land claim is backed by a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision.

Free, prior and informed consent is a human rights requirement under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which ironically, BC recently became the first province to have enshrined it into law. 

Local RCMP have been condemned for a number of actions at the blockade sites.

 Over the last month and a half following an injunction to remove Wet’suwet’en people from their own unceded territory, Police forces have been documented arresting Indigenous Matriarchs in ceremony, dismantling healing structures, including a ceremony for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, sawing through a sign reading “Reconciliation” and were exposed to have been prepared to use lethal force on Indigenous protesters and violating freedom of the press.

Dozens of peaceful land defenders have been arrested locally.The violence in Unist’ot’en sparked National protest, with railway and shipping roadways being blocked in Vancouver, Delta, Hazelton (BC) Toronto, Belleville (Ont), Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, which have shut down rail transport across the country. There have also been a number of rallies and occupations of government offices in BC and other provinces– all in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en.

If you are a teacher, you may see that BCTF has also released a letter of support. Protest seems to be working, as the RCMP have begun to leave the area, as Canadian officials feel the economic pressure of halted railway networks and seek talks with hereditary chiefs. The Canadian government has also postponed bringing an UNDRIP motion to the table in response to the crisis.Source: https://www.ubyssey.ca/news/Indigenous-student-groups-to-fundraise-for-legal-fund/

Reconciliation is not a destination, it is a road that we walk.

It means listening openly, learning and owning the responsibility we have to mend the past and build Nation-to-Nation relationships moving forward- even when it feels inconvenient. It means showing up with resources to offer and acting in solidarity against injustices toward indigenous peoples. Wet’suwet’en also offers us the opportunity to see and feel climate injustice, as we watch another indigenous community fight for their inherent rights and title, while fighting to protect land and climate for all of us, as our Canadian governments attempt to push through another fossil fuel megaproject. Climate justice means changing this story.

We invite you to use this as a learning moment on a continued legacy of violent oppression of Indigenous Peoples and on the importance of respecting the varying perspectives and beliefs of First Nations who refuse to align with Canada’s colonial interests not true to their people. Let’s also remember the reason Indigenous rights are being violated- to protect and uphold the production of fossil fuels at a time when we have only 10 years to rapidly cut our global emissions in half.

Indigenous Peoples are leading the environmental movement. Together, we can collectively step into this space and hold it, own it, and change it.   What can you do?There are a number of resources you may use to teach others or take action, including this toolkit produced by the Unist’ot’en resistance (visit for more info and actions). Some actions requested by Unist’ot’en resistance are:DONATE/FUNDRAISE Donate to Gidimt’en Access PointDonate to Unist’ot’en Legal FundHold a fundraiser to help the Unist’ot’en with the prohibitive legal costs designed to be in favour of industry.  Follow the Solidarity Fundraiser Protocols. EDUCATEHost a film screening of the new documentary, Invasion. Create a lesson on reconciliation and its connection to climate justice for students. (BCTF and the BC Curriculum now have resources for teaching Indigneous education)Sign up for the Unist’ot’en Camp Newsletter.Share posts on social media, talk to your community, keep eyes on the Unist’ot’en and Wet’suwet’en!BUILD SOLIDARITYAnswer the Callout for Solidarity Actions in your region!Sign the Pledge to support the Unist’ot’en.Source: https://raventrust.com/2020/01/07/act-now-in-solidarity-with-wetsuweten-tell-coastal-gaslink-to-uphold-indigenous-rights/
Be The Change Earth Alliance
http://www.bethechangeearthalliance.org/Be The Change Earth Alliance · 949 W 49th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Z2T1, Canada

Written by Stephen Rees

February 28, 2020 at 9:36 am

Posted in pipelines, politics

Canadians sign petition to Trudeau in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation

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Almost 30,000 Canadians across the country have united by signing an online petition – Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation 2020 – started by Indigenous Solidarity Ottawa.  Canadians signed in support of members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation who have been “stewarding and protecting their traditional territories from the destruction of multiple pipelines”, including Coastal GasLink’s (CGL) liquified natural gas (LNG) pipeline.

 The petition addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, John Horgan, Premiere of B.C., and Mike Farnworth, B.C. Public Safety Minister asks that the following demands are met:

  • Stop colonial violence: stop using the RCMP or any other force to harass and criminalize Indigenous peoples from protecting their land, water, air and cultures, as well as dispossess Indigenous peoples of their traditional unceded territories;
  • Immediately remove the RCMP from the Wet’suwet’en territory;
  • Respect the sovereignty as well as the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples as stated in the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples – which Canada has signed and BC has put into provincial law – which includes respecting the refusal of pipelines and other resource-extracting projects that are damaging to the environment and for which the Wet’suwet’en nation have not given free, prior and informed consent to;
  • Stop violently supporting those members of the 1% who are stealing resources and condemning our children to a world rendered uninhabitable by climate change.

The concerns for safety addressed in this petition are widespread. Video footage of an RCMP officer pointing his firearm at Indigenous land defenders was posted to the social media account of the Gidimt’en clan (one of five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation whose hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline). It shows police moving into the clan’s camp on the Morice West Forest Service Road near Houston, B.C. on February 7. The RCMP defended the actions of their officers.

RCMP also arrested 28 land defenders and matriarchs during the enforcement of the interlocatory injunction approved by Justice Church. One person remains in custody. Charges are pending as CGL has requested Crown intervention. The rest of the land defenders are to appear before the Supreme Court in Prince George in late April 2020.

In his address to Parliament on Tuesday, Trudeau described the situation as “a critical moment for our country and for our future.” Trudeau says his government remains open to discussions.  He has said that he will not forcibly remove the blockades, but economic pressure builds.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, who joined other First Nations leaders in Ottawa on Tuesday, said “Our people are taking action because they want to see action. When they see positive action by the key players, when they see a commitment to real dialogue to address this difficult situation, people will respond in a positive way.”

 The below quotes are from petition signers across the country:

“RCMP invasion of Indigenous territory is wrong on every level, not to mention embarrassing. The RCMP is helping a foreign fossil fuel consortium build a pipeline to transport the very fuel whose extraction is ruining northern ecology and ultimately, our water supplies. The RCMP is protecting one of the most damaging industries on the planet.” – Carole Tootil, Nanaimo, BC

“Time to abide by the law and find another route, even if it costs more money. A mistake was made by not honouring the original land rights and only going to band councils. Time to fix it and not continue the mistakes of the past.” – Raisa Jari, Toronto, ON

“I am Wet’suwet’en and after 150 years enough is enough! My child and my family use this land for cultural activities and everyone made this decision except us. We can’t even return there anymore. By the time they have left their construction zone in their wake my boy will be a young teen. The rest of his childhood will be displaced from our favourite and most loved places. Not to mention the issues of climate change.” – Carla Lewis, Burns Lake, BC

“I’m in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and other land protectors. Stop extracting and fracking, stop building pipelines and invest in alternative energy projects, and involve First Nations in that pursuit.” – Dr. Thilo Joerger, Sackville, NB

“I feel the Wet’suwet’en people are protecting land that is rightfully theirs.” – Doreen Mason, Windermere, ON

“There is so much injustice in the provincial government and Coastal gas not considering the Wet’suwet’en proposal for an alternate route and sending in the RCMP to unlawfully occupy their land. They should have the right of all nations to have consent to use their territory as they wish and not suffer violence and externally imposed laws forced upon them.” – Fiona Lee, Vancouver, BC

“Canadians are standing up for what they want. This is not going away. Canada, let all voices be heard.” – Jane Rathbun, Waverley, NS

For more information please see: https://www.change.org/wet-suwet-en

Written by Stephen Rees

February 20, 2020 at 10:43 am

Posted in pipelines, politics

Change of address

with 4 comments

I was informed by WordPress this morning that my renewal of this site had not gone through.

It seems to me that there is very little value for me in continuing to keep this blog ad free and using its current address. I think what will happen is that it will revert to stephenrees.wordpress.com (in due course) and continue to exist but with ads (from now on). I have replied to WordPress and they have confirmed that.

I would like to thank the very small number of people who continue to read and “like” every post – your loyalty is greatly appreciated.

I continue to be active on Facebook and Twitter, and I have managed to hang on to my gmail address despite the activities of people who have the same – or very similar – name as I do. I suppose one of them may eventually take over the stephenrees.blog domain. If so, I wish them Good Luck with it.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 20, 2020 at 10:11 am

Posted in Transportation