Media Release: February 12, 2020
The National Farmers Union (NFU) stands in solidarity with Indigenous land protectors. We support initiatives by Indigenous People including the Unist’ot’en and Wet’suwe’ten to resist resource extraction and energy projects that disrupt their Indigenous food and governance systems and interfere with the health of their lands, territories, and communities.
The NFU supports the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and urges the Canadian government to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
Coastal GasLink is attempting to force construction of a Liquid Natural Gas pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. On February 6, 2020 the RCMP entered the territory and began arresting members of the Wet’suwe’ten, forcibly removing land defenders, dismantling the barricades set up to protect their territory, and denying journalists access to witness and record the RCMP’s activities.
These actions, carried out with support of the BC and federal governments, are clearly in violation of Canada’s commitments to reconciliation, against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which Canada formally adopted in 2016, and in contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision recognizing that the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to their 22,000km2 territory. We agree with and support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ governance systems and their their inherent right to govern their territory through the Unist’ot’en camp and the Gidimt’en checkpoint.
Disturbed by the “forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation” and “escalating threat of violence” against Indigenous peoples who oppose the pipeline, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in January, 2020 called for the immediate suspension of work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from Indigenous peoples.
The Wet’suwe’ten have not given free, prior and informed consent to the construction of a pipeline through their lands.
The decisions directing the RCMP to enter Wet’suwe’ten territory and remove its defenders using force, and denying journalists access to witness their actions are condemned by Canadians from coast to coast to coast. In accordance with UNDRIP and our ongoing commitment to act in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, we must inform ourselves and deepen our understanding of Indigenous sovereignty. We therefore denounce the repression of peaceful protesters, including Indigenous land protectors, and express our support for the rights of people to engage in acts of civil disobedienc e in defence of the preservation of water, air, land and wildlife for future generations.
We urge the governments of Canada and BC to uphold our commitment to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and respect Wet’suwet’en Law by withdrawing the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en Nation and cancelling Coastal GasLink’s permits.
For more information:
Jessie MacInnis, NFU Youth Vice-President – (902) 292-1040
Ayla Fenton, NFU Board Member – (613) 539-3341
ACTION: With the help of the Unist’ot’en Supporter ToolKit we encourage people to take at least one action as indicated on the document, such as donating, emailing politicians, signing a pledge, and educating yourself and others.