The persistence of Wet’suwet’en Water Protectors

Land defenders and water protectors faithfully uphold their responsibilities to future generations while the government criminalizes them and favours the pipeline company.
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A school bus covered in snow at a blockade in Wet'suwet'en

Pray for strength for Wet’suwet’en water protectors as they persist in upholding their responsibilities to their territory and future generations. Pray for wisdom as they discern strategy and the next steps of their resistance.  Creator, we ask for an end to the criminalization of land defenders and water protectors. Turn the hearts of Coastal GasLink, the RCMP, and the provincial and federal governments towards your reconciling love.

In early January, water protectors in unceded Gidimt’en territory executed a strategic retreat in the face of yet another large scale mobilization by police.  For the fourth time in four years, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) deployed dozens of officers in preparation to raid Wet’suwet’en land.  “We cannot allow this kind of violence to happen to our people,” stated Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), wing chief of the Cas Yikh people. “Every time that the RCMP, the C-IRG [Community-Industry Response Group], has come in to enforce CGL’s [Coastal GasLink’s] injunction, they have done violence against our women.  They have imprisoned our Indigenous women and our warriors.”  

The BC Supreme Court granted the Coastal GasLink pipeline company a permanent injunction against Wet’suwet’en water protectors in December 2019. This injunction is in complete violation of Anuc nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law) as well as the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in 1997 that Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs hold rights and title over their ancestral lands.  Nevertheless, the RCMP have been relentless in supporting Coastal GasLink’s pipeline project.  This past November, 100 RCMP officers raided Gidimt’en territory with assault weapons, sniper rifles, and attack dogs and violently arrested over 30 water protectors.  The RCMP proceeded to accompany Coastal GasLink workers as they burned down the camp where Wet’suwet’en water protectors had blocked drilling beneath their sacred headwaters.  

Within a month, water protectors retook the drilling site and re-issued an eviction notice to Coastal GasLink.  The Wet’suwet’en continue to occupy their territory and have blocked drilling for nearly 100 days.

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