March 29, 2023
UBCIC Stands with Wet’suwet’en as Gidimt’en Checkpoint Defending the Land from Fracking is Raided by RCMP
(xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil Waututh)/Vancouver, B.C. – March 29, 2023) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is outraged to learn of another RCMP raid on Gidimt’en Checkpoint and the arrest of five people by the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), under the guise of a search warrant for theft under $5000. It is currently unclear what relation there is, if any, between the Gidimt’en checkpoint and the search warrant issued by the C-IRG before the arrests. These arrests continue the troubling pattern of police intimidation of Indigenous people asserting their rights to access their own territories and rejecting fossil fuel extraction. UBCIC unequivocally stands with those standing up for the title and rights of the hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC President, stated “The Gidimt’en checkpoint is a strategically located camp at 44.5 km on the Morice River FSR. Under the governance of their hereditary chiefs, the Wet’suwet’en are standing in the way of the largest fracking project in Canadian history- today’s raid constitutes a federal response to Indigenous defense of their land against this fracking project. The Coastal Gas Link pipeline (CGL), owned by TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) aims to connect the fracking operations of Northeastern B.C. with a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility in the coastal town of Kitimat. The rights of Indigenous peoples to live free of violence and intimidation in their own homelands must never be subjugated to the interests of fossil fuel companies. The videos shared online show more than a dozen armed C-IRG officers lining up to go in for the raid- why on earth would that much force be necessary?”
“C-IRG is notorious for making violent arrests of Indigenous people from their territories, and this appears to be yet another example. Ironically, we are currently awaiting the results of a systemic review into C-IRG activities that was initiated by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP earlier this month. We call for C-IRG to be suspended indefinitely and certainly for the duration of this review” said Chief Don Tom, UBCIC Vice-President.
“José Francisco Calí Tzay, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, visited Canada just last month and met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs” said K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett, UBCIC Secretary-Treasurer. “His preliminary report after the visit raised the exact concerns that we have raised again and again – that the criminalization of Indigenous human rights defenders is rampant and must be stopped. Today’s raid is in contravention of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which both Canada and BC have passed legislation to implement, and is a gross display of the ongoing supremacy of the colonial military industrial complex.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, 250-490-5314
Chief Don Tom, Vice-President, 604-290-6083
K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett, Secretary-Treasurer, 250-957-7721
UBCIC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.