Saskatoon, SK — The National Farmers Union (NFU) and Union Paysanne (UP) stand in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en camp against recent actions by Coastal GasLink Pipeline company that threatens Indigenous rights and sovereignty. The Unist’ot’en camp is a permanent, non-violent Indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land which has been a means for members of the Wet’suwet’en nation to practice their ways of life, heal from the violence of colonialism and resist the unauthorized encroachment of pipeline companies according to Wet’suwet’en laws on their unceded territory.
On November 27, 2018, the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, a subsidiary of Calgary-based energy company, TransCanada, served notice for a civil lawsuit claiming that the company is owed financial damages from Unist’ot’en for “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to the Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. Coastal GasLink also filed an injunction to forcibly remove members of the Unist’ot’en camp from their unceded land.
In a December 5 press release, Unist’ot’en spokesperson Freda Huson explains why they are against the pipeline. “All Wet’suwet’en Clans have rejected the pipeline because our medicines, our food, and our water are all here and not replaceable. These legal challenges ignore the injunction and authority of hereditary chiefs and our feast system of governance, which was recognized in the 1997 Deglamuukw-Gisday’wa Supreme Court Case.”
If built, the 670-km pipeline will carry fracked gas produced by LNG Canada near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to a processing facility in Kitimat where the gas will be liquefied and shipped to Asian markets, mostly to China. The pipeline, processing facility and associated infrastructure is said to be worth a combined $40 billion, making this project the largest private sector investment in Canadian history.
“The NFU has a mandate from its membership of family farmers across Canada to support initiatives by Indigenous peoples to resist resource extraction and energy projects which disrupt Indigenous food and governance systems and interfere with the health of their lands, territories, and communities,” explained NFU national board member Ayla Fenton. “We stand with the Unist’ot’en camp in their efforts to protect their unceded territory and the health of the land, water and climate on which we all depend.”
“The Union Paysanne offers its greatest solidarity to the Unist’ot’en camp and recalls that real food sovereignty cannot be achieved without the sovereignty of the Indigenous peoples on their unceded ancestral territory,” explained Pierre-Olivier Brassard, member of the coordinating committee of the Union Paysanne.
The NFU and Union Paysanne join Unist’ot’en in their call for all levels of government, police and industry to take action consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Wet’suwet’en laws (Anuk Nu’at’en) and collective title.
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For more information:
Terran Giacomini, NFU Associate Member and co-chair, Indigenous Solidarity Working Group: 905-505-0171
Ayla Fenton, NFU Board member and co-chair, Indigenous Solidarity Working Group: 613-539-3341
Pierre-Olivier Brassard, Union Paysanne Co-ordination Council: 418-590-1151
How to support the Unist’ot’en camp, visit their website