In solidarity with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Amnesty International, and many other Indigenous and Canadian organizations and institutions, the Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment (CANE) calls for the immediate recognition and implementation of the Wet’suwet’en people’s Indigenous Title and Rights within unceded Wet’suwet’en territory per the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
CANE members are deeply concerned for the physical and mental health and wellness of Wet’suwet’en & Gitxsan peoples and allies who have taken a stand to assert their rights in the face of an aggressive RCMP presence. We are concerned that the RCMP has been impeding the transport of essential supplies (food, medicines) within both an exclusion zone created in Wet’suwet’en territory and of the violent RCMP response to a blockade on Gitxsan territory.
As stated by UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Philip:
“We are absolutely outraged that the Province of BC authorized a military-style raid on peaceful land defenders in order to allow Coastal GasLink (CGL) to build their Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) pipeline, while much of the Province is suffering from life-threatening, catastrophic flooding related events. The Province of BC continues to pretend that LNG can be clean energy and is a so-called ‘transition fuel’ when we know that LNG production carries critical environmental and health risks and is a non-renewable source of energy that requires incredibly large amounts of our precious water. Prioritizing fossil fuel expansion while British Columbians grapple with a climate emergency is an alarming, criminal and incredibly poor decision by Premier Horgan and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. We are calling on BC and Canada to recognize and uphold Indigenous Title and Rights, including the right to self-determination, and institute a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion in the wake of clear and present climate catastrophe” (UBCIC, 2021).
CANE supports the call for a stop to BC government-sanctioned violence against Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan land and water defenders and their allies, an end to restricting access of Wet’suwet’en people to their territory, and support for the peaceful evacuation of Coastal GasLink from unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Given the intensifying impacts of climate change on people and places in British Columbia, phasing out oil and gas production is a critical challenge to be enacted now.
Union of BC Indian Chiefs. (2021). BC Pours Resources into RCMP Raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory during Provincial Climate Emergency – UBCIC.
Artwork by Christi Belcourt