Unis Resist Border Controls stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation, who are fighting to protect their and from destruction through Coastal GasLink’s 400 mile pipeline. As a group opposed to all borders, we recognise that so-called Canada is a colonial project built upon Indigenous genocide, which is an ongoing structure perpetuated, amongst other means, by oil and gas extraction on Indigenous land. We call for the Canadian government, and BC premier John Hogan to condemn and stop the ongoing attacks by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and to respect ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The land under attack has never been ceded to Canada, and the 1997 Delgamuukw v British Columbia Supreme Court ruling recognized the Wet’suwet’en’s right to their territory. The Unis’tot’en, a clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation, established a camp at the planned beginning of the pipeline in so-called Northern British Columbia in 2009, which has since served as a space of healing and resistance against colonial occupation, thus far preventing the largest fracking project in Canadian history from going forward. The Wet’suwet’en have stood strong in the face of violent paramilitary attacks by the RCMP, following an injunction letter by the colonial courts which has given CoastalGasLink the power to invade the territory. On February 6th 2020, the RCMP attacked yet again, this time brutally arresting twenty-eight people, including three Wet’suwet’en matriarchs. Resistance continues, led by Indigenous nations across Turtle Island and supported by their allies across the globe.
The Canadian government presents itself as committed to Truth and Reconciliation, and BC law has recently aligned with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), article 10 of which states that ‘Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories’. But its actions blatantly reveal the settler colonial foundation of its liberal democracy. While Trudeau poses at climate marches, his government provides tax breaks to oil and gas extraction projects that destroy Indigenous land and life, and bring us all closer to climate apocalypse.
As students and workers in English universities, we are deeply implicated in the settler colonial project, and hold responsibility for standing with Indigenous peoples in their struggles towards decolonisation. England is the heart of Empire; the development of early universities in the ‘New World’ displaced Indigenous peoples while settler elites were trained on the continent. Ever since, exploitation of knowledge and resources have been a central element of upholding the global hegemony of English universities. Further, our institutions directly fund research extraction projects such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline: Despite ongoing student-led protests, more than half of UK universities still invest in fossil fuel.
We call on all to join us in standing with the Wet’suwet’en. Make a donation to the Unist’ot’en legal fund here: https://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/. E-mail BC premier John Hogan to tell Canada and British Columbia to uphold Indigenous rights, and e-mail your MP to demand they pressure John Hogan. Other ways to support, and more information can be found here: http://unistoten.camp/supportertoolkit/