To the Unis’tot’en, Gidimt’en, Wet’suwet’en people and allies:
As professional nurses concerned about the ecosystem and environmental health, the purpose of our letter is to affirm our solidarity with your cause and share our concern about your struggle to keeps your lands healthy and at risk from environmental degradation posed by the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project. We are in awe of your strength and steadfastness in fostering cultural resurgence, healing, and connection to the land against the pressure and violence of industrial development and colonial laws.
We represent the voice of nurses from across Canada who have come together to support and engage our fellow colleagues in the promotion of ecosystem health, which is deeply entrenched in issues of social and ecological justice. Though our mandate is not explicitly one of indigenous rights, our concern for social justice extends to the ongoing effects of colonization and ecological disparities that exist for indigenous communities.
We are dismayed by the ongoing attempts of Coastal GasLink Pipeline to push for development when the hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwe’ten have clearly voiced their opposition. We denounce the use of force by this company, the justice system, and any entity to pass over the line set by Gidimt’en and Unis’tot’en to block the entry into your traditional territories. We recognize that the Delgamuukw Supreme Court of Canada ruling confirmed your sovereignty on your hereditary lands, and in light of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP) and ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law), we see such action as wrongful, and a violation of your rights. We are concerned about any action that would result in disregarding the decisions of your hereditary leaders and we support you and oppose any action that does not respect the decisions of your hereditary leaders.
We are thankful to those who have actively supported this cause, as this has resulted in dialogue throughout our Canadian Society, and internationally, and has encouraged us to become informed and involved. Moreover, we thank those individuals and groups from across our nation who have signed a statement of solidarity and who have inspired us to show our concern and support.
The Executive Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Nurses and the Environment