UNBC Faculty and Staff Deeply Saddened by the Government’s Actions towards the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs

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UNBC Faculty and Staff Deeply Saddened by the Government’s Actions towards the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs

by ahnationtalk on November 26, 2021190 Views

We, the following faculty and staff at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), are extremely disheartened that the Government of British Columbia has once again chosen to trample on Indigenous Rights in support of the interests of a private corporation. The Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada have wasted decades to address the legitimate concerns and rights of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. The Chiefs have now chosen to evict Coastal Gas Link and their employees from their territories in order to protect the lands they are responsible for. Rather than negotiate in good faith, the government used public resources to bring in RCMP tactical units to arrest and physically remove Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their supporters.

The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have never ceded their jurisdiction to the lands they have governed for thousands of years. The Supreme Court of Canada, in Delgamuukw & Gisday wa (1997), upheld the fact that Aboriginal Rights to traditionally occupied, unceded lands in British Columbia have not been extinguished and that provincial laws cannot extinguish Aboriginal Rights.

Our university has a long history of recognizing and honoring Indigenous leaders who have fought for the land rights of their people. The late Dr. Alfred Joseph held the name Gisday wa and spent a great deal of his life fighting for the land rights of the Wet’suwet’en people. Dr. Roger William led the Tsilhqot’in land title case that was decided in the Tsilhqot’in’s favour by a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court of Canada. Our former Chancellor, the late Dr. Joseph Gosnell was a key figure in the Nisga’a fight for self-government of their lands.

By expressing our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, we by no means wish to disrespect the members of Band Councils, or others who support this project. We realize this is a complex issue that has created division within the Wet’suwet’en Nation as a whole. We believe the source of these tensions stem from the fact, that in the case of the Wet’suwet’en, the provincial and federal governments, along with Coastal Gas Link, consciously chose to ignore the rights and responsibilities of the Hereditary Chiefs.

Our provincial and federal governments talk about reconciliation and both have passed bills saying they recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Their actions, to date, clearly reveal that they continue to support corporate interests over the rights of Indigenous Peoples. We ask our elected leaders to truthfully support honorable and respectful negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs in regards to their rights and title to the lands they have been responsible for since time immemorial.

We are speaking as individual faculty and staff and not for the university as a whole.

1. Dr. Ross Hoffman First Nations Studies
2. Dr. Paul Bowles Economics and Global Studies
3. Dr. Zoe Meletis Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
4. Lauren Phillips Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
5. Dr. Dana Wessell Lightfoot Department of History
6. Dr. Diana Kutzner Health Sciences
7. Dr. Erin Baerwald Ecosystem Science and Management
8. Dr. Gretchen Vogelsang School of Education
9. Lindsay Dainie Hastey Communications and Marketing
10. Sheila Iwanciwski School of Education
11. Beth Beeson Network & Telecom
12. Kevin Hutchings Department of English
13. Dr. Julia Wimmers-Klick Northern Medical Program
14. Teal Randle Faculty of the Environment
15. Dr. Catherine Nolin Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
16. Susie Wilson Data Services Librarian
17. Erica Hernández-Read Northern BC Archives
18. Dr. Henry Harder Vice-Provost of Indigenous Initiatives
19. Dr. Susan Burke School of Social Work
20. Dr. Steve Helle School of Engineering
21. Jenni Bomford English Department
22. Dr. Carla Glen English Department
23. Dr. Guido Wimmers School of Engineering
24. Dr. Kristen Guest Department of English
25. Angela Kehler Student Recruitment
26. Katie Cornish Health Research Institute
27. Alex Lane Health Research Institute
28. Dr. Jacqueline Holler Department of English
29. Prof. Dawn Hemingway School of Social Work
30. Caroline Sewell Client Services Analyst
31. Dr. Paul Sanborn Ecosystem Science and Management
32. Dr. Marieka Sax Department of Anthropology
33. Dr. Daniel Sims First Nations Studies
34. Dr. Robert Budde Department of English
35. Dale Laluk Audio Visual Technologist
36. Dr. Sinead Earley Environmental & Sustainability Studies
37. Dr. Heather Peters School of Social Work
38. Dr. Sean Maurice Northern Medical Program
39. Amy Beyer Graduate Enrolment & Scholarships Advisor
40. Dr. Troy Bordun Department of English
41. Dr. Tara L. Joly Anthropology Department
42. Cher Mazo First Nations Centre
43. Dr. Jennifer Wigglesworth Ecosystem Science and Management
44. Dr. Roger Wheate Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
45. Kimberly Darcy Anne Taylor Office of the Registrar
46. Shannon MacKay Student Advisor
47. Dr. Si Transken School of Social Work
48. Dr. Annie Booth Environmental & Sustainability Studies
49. Dr. Paul D. Siakaluk Department of Psychology
50. Dr. Joseph Shea Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
51. Amy Klepetar, RN School of Nursing
52. Karen Dedosenco Maintenance Assistant
53. Dr. Alexander Lautensach School of Education
54. Grahame Russell Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
55. Dr. Pamela Wright Ecosystem Science and Management
56. Dr. Arthur L. Fredeen Ecosystem Science and Management
57. Dr. Stephen Rader Department of Biochemistry
58. Dr. Karima Fredj Department of Economics
59. Deidre Suhr (Rawlings)
60. Dr. Angele Smith Department of Anthropology
61. Dr. Scott Green Ecosystem Science and Management
62. Dr. Hugues B. Massicotte Ecosystem Science and Management
63. Dr. Lela Zimmer School of Nursing
64. Dr. Lisa Dickson Department of English
65. Dr. Damanpreet K. Kandola School of Nursing
66. Dr. Carla Burton Ecosystem Science and Management
67. Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband School of Education
68. Mandi Schwarz Library
69. Makayla Skrlac ECHO Network
70. Dr. Nathan Andrews Global and International Studies
71. Dr. Liam Kelly Department of Economics
72. Dr. Fiona MacPhail Department of Economics
73. Katriona S. Auerbach Health Arts Research Centre
74. The Collective for Anti-Racism UNBC
75. Lisa Striegler Health Arts Research Centre
76. Dr. Loraine Lavallee Department of Psychology
77. Laura Pyke Student & Guest Services
Nov. 25
78. Dr. Margot Parkes School of Health Sciences
79. Dr. Sarah de Leeuw Northern Medical Program
80. Brian Schaan Dept. of Mathematics and Statistics
81. Dr. Heather Bryan Ecosystem Science and Management
82. Dr. Hart Banack School of Education
83. Dr. Gail Fondahl Geography & Environmental Sciences

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