A protest was held today in Whitehorse in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples of northwestern Central Interior British Columbia near Smithers.
Despite the frigid temperatures around 20 protesters met today at the Healing Totem Pole, downtown Whitehorse, to protest the injuction against the Wet’suwet’en people. The protestors began with a prayer, and then marched up main street to the RCMP building chanting and brandishing signs braving today’s frigid temperatures.
On December 31st a BC Supreme Court Justice granted an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en nation who have been protesting the development of pipelines on their traditional territories. All five hereditary chiefs of the clans have rejected the Justice’s decision which effectively criminalizes Wet’suwet’en law.
In response the hereditary chiefs have issued an eviction notice to Coastal GasLink indicating that they are the title holders of the land. The chiefs are also demanding the RCMP leave the territory – last January the RCMP arrested 14 people at a fortified checkpoint. The event mde headlines once again when a Guardian article revealed that RCMP had been prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of the natural gas pipeline.
Julie Laliberte and Meriya Gmeiner-McPherson were the two organizers of the event. Gmeiner-McPherson says it is important to show that injustices like this, even in remote locations, will be highlighted by communities throughout Canada. She says there are at least 40 protests taking place across North America today, and that both Indigenous and non-indigenous allies are important parts of these rallies. She says that events like this help to hold governments accountable, and she recommends that those who want to support the Wet’suwet’en should contact people in positions of power, especially MP’s and RCMP. The company has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations along the pipeline’s path, however the Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs say the project has no authority without their consent.
Despite the cold weather the protesters were in high spirits. Coffee and cookies were purchased by Julie Laliberte and Jesse Weyman.