Protesters block B.C. government building entrance to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

More than 20 Indigenous youth blocked the entrance to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in Victoria to deliver a message to the Minister Michelle Mungall and Premier John Horgan.

Protesters have been on site since around noon and according to Nigel Robinson, they’re planning on occupying the building until “all [their] demands are met.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the protesters delivered a letter to Mungall that stated Indigenous youth were not only inheriting a climate crisis “driven by fossil fuel projects like [Coastal GasLink] CGL, but Canada’s legacy of colonization, genocide and gendered violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.” In other words, they are supporting Wet’suwet’en sovereignty and opposing RCMP actions.

“Canada’s siege and invasion of those territories that have not given consent for Coastal GasLinks operation. It’s unconstitutional, it is illegal, it is immoral and it is shameful. Canada can not continue to uphold the status quo of indigenous genocide when moving forward with natural resource projects that impact Indigenous youth first and foremost,” said Ta’Kiya Blaney, while seated in the middle of the group.

Ta’Kiya Blaney was one of the protesters at the demonstration on Tuesday, she wants to see the demands of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs upheld, observed and respected. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast. The company has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along its path, but the hereditary clan chiefs who are leaders under the traditional form of governance say the project has no authority without their consent.

Last year, the conflict inspired rallies across the country when RCMP enforced an injunction and arrested 14 supporters of the hereditary chiefs who blocked access to a logging road leading to the work site on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

The B.C. Supreme Court expanded the injunction Dec. 31 and the hereditary clan chiefs responded with an eviction notice to Coastal GasLink, leading to a new standoff.

A group of about 20 protesters blocked the entrance to the Minsitry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources building in Victoria on Tuesday in a show of solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

“The RCMP and CGL] are violating Wet’suwet’en law, they’re not speaking … with the hereditary chiefs, when that is the conversation that needed to happen years ago,” said Kolin Sutherland-Wilson. “And yet, they think they can bulldoze through the territory, through the rights of the Wet’suwet’en people in order to enforce a project that they do not consent to.”

RELATED: UPDATED: One-sailing wait from Swartz Bay ferry terminal after morning protest

The letter includes two demands made by protesters. The first is that the demands of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation be upheld, observed and respected by the federal and provincial governments. Secondly, they ask an appointment be made by Premier Horgan to meet with the hereditary chiefs.

“B.C. conducted extensive consultations with Indigenous Nations and has also signed agreements with the vast majority of Indigenous communities along the route,” reads a statement provided by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

In addition, the statement highlights the fact that Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, will be traveling to Smithers on Wednesday to meet with the Hereditary Chiefs, as proposed by the Premier.

“Separately, the government has been engaged in the current discussions with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs on reconciliation since early 2019. It’s important to note that these talks are not related to any specific project but are focused on building our relationship and meaningfully advancing reconciliation,” the statement continues.

RELATED: B.C. hereditary chiefs ban Coastal GasLink from Wet’suwet’en lands

Just over 20 days into the new year and more than 45 international actions have taken place in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. On Monday protesters blocked the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in a show of solidarity, with a small portion of them in attendance at Tuesday’s demonstration.

According to Blaney, the demonstrations are independent with no direct or indirect contact with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

“This is solidarity, we act as our own people,” she said.

With files from The Canadian Press



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

protest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson sings a traditional Wet’suwet’en song at the protest on Tuesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A video of the protest was live-streamed to the Indigenous Climate Action facebook page. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Just Posted

Grant applications approved for Crofton to Maple Bay Trail and Fuller Lake Arena roof replacement

North Cowichan also planning to look into illegal secondary suites

North Cowichan launches survey on the future of community engagement

Clarifying how community input can influence the municipal decision-making process one of the goals

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Lairds mark landmark 65th anniversary this summer

Love story endures the test of time and not defeated by COVID pandemic

Many reasons motorists need to slow down

Construction, back to school, people walking dogs, riding bikes all factors

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read