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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

On February 21, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs met with the Mohawk People of Tyendinaga at the Council House in Tyendinaga to discuss the path forward for the Wet’suwet’en people to be able to end the illegal occupation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Coastal GasLink on their lands.

Contrary to the announcement by the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police on February 20, 2020 that they are withdrawing from Wet’suwet’en territory, the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Community Industry Response Group have in fact increased harassment, made illegal arrests, increased surveillance, and monitoring of Wet’suwet’en people and their invited guests. This is completely unacceptable and far from a show of good faith. 

We remain deeply concerned by the myriad of laws that Canada has broken including Wet’suwet’en law, the Canadian Constitution, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Geneva Convention on Genocide. 

In order that nation-to-nation discussions with Canada and British Columbia may occur freely, and without duress, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs require the following conditions be met prior to any discussions: 

  • “We demand that the remote detachment (Community Industry Safety Office) established by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Wet’suwet’en territory without our consent be immediately removed and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are completely removed from our territory and cease patrols from our lands. Out means out.
  • We demand that all Coastal GasLink activities cease within Wet’suwet’en territory while nation-to-nation talks are ongoing as pursuant to the eviction notice that was delivered to them on January 4, 2020.
  • We commit to entering into nation to nation discussions with Canada and British Columbia once the above two demands are met and we insist when these discussions occur, that they will be held on Wet’suwet’en territory to ensure exclusivity for our nation’s Dini ze’ and Tsakiy ze’ (Hereditary Chiefs), and the members we are accountable to, in accordance with our law.”

The Mohawk people of Tyendinaga are standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people until their demands are met. Since the beginning the Mohawk people of Tyendinaga have stated their willingness to allow the trains to pass through their territory and remain committed to do so once it is verified by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their appointed legal observers that the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police are indeed out of territory. Upon confirmation, the Mohawks have agreed to negotiate the peaceful exit plan as agreed upon between the Mohawks and the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, Marc Miller.

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We remain deeply concerned at the ongoing violation of human rights on Wet’suwet’en territory and remind Canada that Wet’suwet’en land was never ceded or surrendered and as such Canada’s actions amount to an illegal occupation in Wet’suwet’en territory. (United Nations, international law) 

The meeting came on the heels of a nine hour meeting between the Mohawk People of Tyendinaga and Minister of Indigenous Services, Mark Miller on February 15, 2020. They are keeping the discussions open and remain hopeful. 

The Wet’suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs also reiterated their demands to Minsters Carolyn Bennett and Marc Miller and remain willing to enter into Nation to Nation talks when their demands are met. 

Kanenhariyo Seth LaFort stated, “When you ask for the rule of law, then you have to follow it yourself. Canada has committed a crime against humanity in Wet’suwet’en territory. It has broken its own laws as well as Wet’suwet’en laws and international laws. You cannot remove people from their own lands at the end of a gun. A crime has been committed and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the criminals.” 

We encourage Justin Trudeau to continue to work towards a peaceful resolution. 

For further information please go to:

Media Backgrounder - Wet’suwet’en 101:

Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

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