Hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation in northern B.C. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)
The BC Teachers’ Federation reaffirms our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation. As a union committed to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we call on the governments of BC and Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Coastal GasLink Pipeline to respect the position taken by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. They are insisting upon respect for Indigenous sovereignty as they have never ceded their jurisdiction to the lands they have governed and have been stewards of for millennia. All five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals. Forcibly removing peaceful land defenders from their traditional unceded lands is in violation of the UN Declaration.
Our provincial government recently passed a bill that states they will honor the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Actions speaks louder than empty promises that First Peoples have faced for decades. If the leaders of our province and country are truly committed to reconciliation and honouring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, then immediate action is required. Elected leaders must act now by negotiating with the respected leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation who hold the inherent right to self-determination including the right to defend their lands.
The 45,000 members of the BC Teachers’ Federation stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples and demand that the government of BC and Canada uphold their responsibilities laid out in the Supreme Court Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision of 1997. We stand as witnesses at this historic moment when our governments must make a choice to uphold this court decision or continue the ongoing legacy of colonization.
BC Teachers’ Federation