Heiltsuk Nation Stands in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en; Calls on Premier Horgan and BC NDP Government to Intervene
Heiltsuk leadership continues to call on the BC government to honour its commitment to UNDRIP by intervening in the ongoing incursion and illegal occupation of Wet’suwet’en territory by Coastal Gaslink work crews and RCMP enforcers.
BELLA BELLA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – (Nov. 22, 2021) – The joint leadership of the Heiltsuk Nation – Hereditary Chiefs and elected Tribal Council – issued the following statement today in response to recent military-style raids by the RCMP on Wet’suwet’en matriarchs, land defenders and journalists camped in Gidimt’en territory to oppose drilling for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline near the Wedzin Kwa (Morice) river:
“We are disgusted and disheartened by recent reports of militarized RCMP units facing off against peaceful matriarchs, land defenders and journalists in Gidimt’en territory.
“At a time when our province is reeling from the impacts of flooding and catastrophic climate change, the RCMP should be helping with the recovery effort. Instead, they are using dogs, snipers, axes and chainsaws to violently enter Wet’suwet’en territory and buildings, and to force construction of a gas pipeline that will worsen climate change for us all and does not have Indigenous consent.
“Instead of working with the Wet’suwet’en to advance reconciliation, Premier Horgan and the BC NDP continue making top-down, colonial decisions that perpetuate systemic racism and erode reconciliation. It is unthinkable that the military tactics repeatedly employed against Indigenous land defenders would be used against non-Indigenous urbanites.
“We are unwavering in our support of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their fight for their lands, title and self-determination, and we call on Premier Horgan and the BC NDP government again to disarm this conflict and uphold Wet’suwet’en rights and title.
“Premier Horgan and the BC NDP government remain responsible for whatever happens on the ground. The government has a duty under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) to make BC laws consistent with UNDRIP. They have committed to reconciliation. They have committed to fight climate change. Yet they allow the RCMP to violently remove Indigenous people from their lands for the sake of a pipeline.
“By allowing this police violence, the government ignores its promises to Indigenous peoples and its legal obligations under DRIPA. By allowing the RCMP to arrest journalists, the government flagrantly disregards the warnings of the BC Supreme Court on the Fairy Creek protests, trampling freedom of the press, and undermining the rule of law. These actions must stop.
“We all have a role to play in supporting a peaceful and just outcome.”