This first video is an update about what is happening now on the Wet’suwet’en territories.
The video at the end, INVASION, was released in November, 2019, and gives an excellent overview of the struggles of the Wet’suwet’en peoples to protect their land and water. The story is well told, but what really affected me were all the beautiful shots of that pristine land.
We’re occupying this space. People are going to be living here and it’ll be occupied from now on. This project is not a done deal. It’s only one third complete and most of that work is happening in other territories. The Wetsuweten have been resisting this project since day one and will continue to resist this project until it fails.
It’s time to end this once and for all because there’s no way that Wetsuweten are ever going to stand down. There’s no way that we’re ever going to move off of our territories and not be here and occupying them and not be utilizing our Wedzin Kwa, utilizing our territories the way that we’re supposed to be in the way that we have every right to.
So now is the time to let the investors know, let the people who are putting millions and billions of dollars into this project know that it’s going to fail. And let’s put it to rest once and for all because we’re not going anywhere. We’re digging in, the snow’s coming. We anticipated. You know that it’s going to get cold, things are going to get harder but we’re digging in. And this is our territory. This is Wedzin Kwa, the lifeline of our whole territory for all for us and all of our neighbors. And this is the stand that we’re taking, and the position that we’re taking, and we don’t give up.
Molly Wickham, Sleydo’
Indigenous Environmental Network
On the morning of September 25, 2021, the access road to Coastal GasLink’s (CGL’s) drill site at the Wedzin Kwa river was destroyed. Blockades have been set up and sites have been occupied, to stop the drilling under the sacred headwaters that nourish the Wet’suwet’en Yintah and all those within its catchment area. Cas Yikh and supporters have gained control of the area and refuse to allow this destruction to continue.
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs were denied access to their own lands, and there has been one arrest confirmed. The Hereditary Chiefs were read the injunction and threatened with arrest, but they held their ground. Despite heavy machinery and heavy Royal Canadian Mounted Police presence, our relatives and supporters are standing strong holding the line, and so far no more arrests have been confirmed. As of Sunday, September 26, the individual arrested has been released and the chiefs and supporters continue to hold the line and successfully hold off any work by Coastal GasLink.
Days ago, Coastal GasLink destroyed our ancient village site, Ts’elkay Kwe. When Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ attempted to monitor the Coastal GasLink archaeological team and contest the destruction of Wet’suwet’en cultural heritage, she was aggressively intimidated by Coastal GasLink security guards. Tensions have continued to rise on the Yintah as Coastal GasLink pushes a reckless and destructive construction schedule with the support of private security and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Now, Coastal GasLink is ready to begin drilling beneath our sacred headwaters, Wedzin Kwa. We know that this would be disastrous, not only for Wet’suwet’en people, but for all living beings supported by the Wedzin Kwa, and for the communities living downstream. Wedzin Kwa is a spawning ground for salmon and a critical source of pristine drinking water.
States Sleydo’, Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson:
“Our way of life is at risk. […] Wedzin Kwa [is the] the river that feeds all of Wet’suwet’en territory and gives life to our nation.”
Coastal Gaslink has been evicted from our territories by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who have full jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en lands. Coastal GasLink is pushing through a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline, but 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 to do work on Wet’suwet’en lands.
As Coastal GasLink continues to trespass, we will do everything in our power to protect our waters and to uphold our laws. Gidimt’en Checkpoint has issued a call for support, asking people to travel to Cas Yikh territory to stand with them.
Wet’suwet’en blockades erected to stop Coastal Gaslink drilling under sacred headwaters. Drilling would be disastrous for all living beings supported by the Wedzin Kwa. SEP 27, 2021
In this era of “reconciliation”, Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is a new film about the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people.
The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a beacon of resistance for nearly 10 years. It is a healing space for Indigenous people and settlers alike, and an active example of decolonization. The violence, environmental destruction, and disregard for human rights following TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) / Coastal GasLink’s interim injunction has been devastating to bear, but this fight is far from over.
Following are suggested questions for discussion after seeing the film. The questions can, of course, be used for that lands you live on.
- What is the colonial history of this region? Who occupied these lands before the establishment of the current borders & national government?
- What does anti-colonial struggle look like in this area? Are there any active anti-colonial struggles going on?
- What projects are people in this room currently engaged with that could benefit from applying more of an anti-colonial lens? What would this actually look like in practice… aside from just token acknowledgement?
- What are some of the practical things that non-Indigenous activists should know about when working with Indigenous groups, or in Indigenous-led campaigns?
- What financial institutions, politicians, or corporations based in your community are supporting the destruction of Wet’suwet’en lands?
- What are some ways of demonstrating material support for the Unis’tot’en and Wet’suwet’en? How can you support Wet’suwet’en sovereignty from your stand?
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples delineates and defines the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples, including their ownership rights to cultural and ceremonial expression, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues. It “emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions, and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations”. It “prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples”, and it “promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development”.
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 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 concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
UNDRIP Article 10: No Forced Removal
The LANDBACK Case Study, Wet’suwet’en and Quakers pictured below can be found here: https://designrr.s3.amazonaws.com/jakislin_at_outlook.com_52440/n-a_615326c8.pdf