On Feb. 6, 2020, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) invaded Wet’suwet’en land, armed with snipers, and forcibly removed land defenders while they were mid-ceremony, in order to allow the Coastal GasLink pipeline to be built through the land. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have unanimously rejected the pipeline, yet the Canadian government has refused to acknowledge this.
In response to this, support for Wet’suwet’en has sprung up all across so-called Canada. Train rail blockades and port blockades have been the most powerful, causing a mass disruption of the Canadian economy, domestically and internationally, with massive popular pressure for state actors to change their engagement with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
The Wet’suwet’en territory is unceded and thus not covered by any treaty with Canada. This means that Wet’suwet’en laws are the laws of the land and any efforts to undermine them, as Canada and the RCMP are doing, are indisputably a violation of sovereignty and a continuation of Canada’s long legacy of colonial violence. As Palestinians living in the diaspora in so-called Canada, we recognize the complete sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en people and their right to self-governance and self-determination.
Furthermore, the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia reaffirmed that the Wet’suwet’en are the rightful owners of their land and thus have jurisdiction over it. The RCMP, and therefore, Canada, have violated not only Wet’suwet’en law, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the human rights charter of the Canadian Constitution, but have also gone against their own Supreme Court ruling. It is clear from these examples that the settler-colonial state of Canada only respects “law and order” insofar as it provides a steady instrument for colonial dispossession.
All around the world, colonial governments and their armed forces are joining forces to intensify extractive industries and bolster global trade of such resources, in direct contradiction to the liberation movements of Indigenous and Third World peoples, and in opposition to any model of sustainable and non exploitive relationships to land.
We, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), stand in firm and unrelenting solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation in their struggle to defend their land, water, autonomy and sovereignty from the colonial Canadian state and the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The Toronto Chapter of the PYM is participating in solidarity rallies and direct action in support of Wet’suwet’en and will continue to do so until their demands are met.
In light of the current claim by the RCMP that they are removing themselves from Wet’suwet’en land, we look to reports from the Hereditary Chiefs. We encourage all those engaging with Wet’suwet’en actions to do the same, as we are aware that the Canadian media outlets are actively trying to sway public opinion towards anti-Indigenous racism in order to foment the public sentiment necessary to justify the use of greater force against Indigenous land protectors and their allies.
As Palestinians, we are all too familiar with colonial violence, dispossession and exploitation. The “Deal of the Century” is an extension of the ongoing displacement, the barring of self-determination by the Israeli state and its allies, in efforts to undermine us as a people and destroy our culture and livelihood. As we continue our struggle against settler-colonialism, we extend our full and unequivocal support to our Wet’suwet’en relatives on Turtle Island in the spirit of Joint Struggle.
The PYM amplifies the calls from our Wet’suwet’en relatives for the removal of the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en land, for the Canadian government to respect their commitment to UNDRIP, and for Canada to respect the sovereignty of Wet’suwet’en. We call on our supporters and followers, Palestinians and Arabs in the homeland and diaspora, to join solidarity actions with Wet’suwet’en wherever they are and to organize these actions in accordance with the calls from the Hereditary Chiefs.
It is clear that not only do our struggles parallel each other but our fates as peoples struggling against colonialism and oppression are indelibly tied together. Liberation will be achieved through a united front and together we are powerful enough to win.
The law is not on Canada’s side and, even more significantly, the people are not on Canada’s side. We stand with Wet’suwet’en!
Until Return and Liberation,
Palestinian Youth Movement