Hundreds of academics call for RCMP ‘immediate withdrawal’ from Wet’suwet’en territory
Hundreds of academics signed an open letter calling for government intervention following RCMP enforcement of an injunction granted to Coastal GasLink to build a pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory .
The letter says that historically Canada has allowed its laws to be “used as a weapon against Indigenous jurisdiction and seen as a tool of Indigenous genocide.” The letter condemns the “aggression” of the police force and “the total disregard for indigenous sovereignty and the protection of the environment it reveals”.
The letter was signed by eminent academics such as Naomi Klein, professor of climate justice at the University of British Columbia; Red Skin author White Masks Glen Coulthard, who also teaches at UBC; and co-founder and former research director of the Yellowhead Institute Shiri Pasternak.
“Unless an immediate withdrawal from the RCMP is implemented and the injunction order is lifted, the tacit approval of these acts by the federal government will constitute evidence not only of the superficial nature of the action. declared commitment of the federal and provincial levels of government to Indigenous rights and reconciliation. , but also the vacuity of Prime Minister Trudeau’s declaration at the recent COP26 in Glasgow that Canada will take a “leadership role in the fight against climate change,” the letter said.
The letter presents specific calls to action for governments. Calls on the federal government to study the use of injunctions against First Nations in the context of charter rights and a commitment to decarbonize without using natural gas, and urges British Columbia to cancel permits issued to Coastal GasLink.
“The provincial government’s authorization to build Coastal GasLink stems from a racist anthropology of discovery and claims underlying title to land that has never been granted by the province,” it read. in the letter.
“The injunction against the protesters was granted to Coastal GasLink on the basis of these false assumptions, creating a legal house of cards.”
Other calls to action include a ban on the expansion of fossil fuels given the current climate crisis, a call for Coastal GasLink to drop charges against the 29 people who were arrested last month and an appeal to the RCMP to abandon their use of exclusion zones to enforce the injunction.
The open letter comes days after a separate letter was written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concern over megaprojects like Coastal GasLink, the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the Site C hydroelectric dam that continue to be built even after the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) called on Canada to end all three over human rights concerns.
The letter to Trudeau was signed by indigenous rights groups, climate organizations and a group of academics just days after an official submission to the UN CERD to take stock of the progress of the Canada, or their absence.
This communication indicates that the RCMP, with the assistance of the provincial government, committed “human rights violations during the forced eviction of the Wet’suwet’en land defenders at the Gidimt’en checkpoint and at the camp. of Coyote ”.
A spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada Minister Marc Miller recently told Canada’s National Observer that while Coastal GasLink and RCMP enforcement are under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government has come under provincial jurisdiction. committed to negotiating with the nation.
“Hereditary Chiefs, Government of British Columbia and Government of Canada discuss how to implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title, as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed on May 14, 2020 Said spokesperson Jordan Ames-Sinclair. .
“As negotiations continue on the affirmation and implementation of Wet’suwet’en rights and title, the Wet’suwet’en collective – hereditary chiefs, elected officials and community members – will need to work to develop its own governance, with the support of Canada and British Columbia.