#AllOutForWedzinKwa

Letter Writing and Phone Zap

OPIRG Peterborough October 2021


Introduction: 

The Wet’suwet’en nation is an Indigenous nation located in so-called British Columbia. Since 2019, the Wet’suwet’en people have been protecting their land and water from the Coastal Gaslink pipeline development. This pipeline was approved without proper prior consent from the nation, which completely ignores the Hereditary Chiefs and clan systems that govern the Wet’suwet’en nation.

The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs represent a governance system that predates colonization and the Indian Act which was created in an attempt to outlaw Indigenous peoples from their lands.

The Wet’suwet’en have continued to exercise their unbroken, unextinguished, and unceded right to govern and occupy their lands by continuing and empowering the clan-based governance system to this day.  Under Wet’suwet’en law, clans have a responsibility and right to control access to their territories. 

The validity of the Wet’suwet’en house and clan system was verified in the Delgamuukw and Red Top Decisions that uphold the authority of the hereditary system on Wet’suwet’en traditional territories.

 

What is the Gidimt’en Checkpoint?

Gidimt’en is one of five clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The creation of the Gitimd’en Camp was announced in the Wet’suwet’en feast hall, with the support of all chiefs present.

The Gidimt’en Checkpoint is controlling access to Cas Yikh House territory within the larger Gidimt’en clan territory at 44.5 km on the Morice River FSR. The collective House Chiefs made the decision to support Gidimt’en Checkpoint December 14th, 2018.  The five clans ratified the decision in a bahlats (feast) in Witset on December 16th, 2018.

On Friday, December 21st, a judge granted Coastal Gas Link (CGL) an extension to their injunction against individuals at the Unist’ot’en Camp, applying it to all resistance camps South of Houston.

In response to CGL’s injunction, the Gidimt’en Checkpoint was established on the road leading to the Unist’ot’en Camp. CGL’s lawyers have been arguing that the Unist’ot’en are essentially a rogue group without a rightful claim to aboriginal title. The Gidimt’en intervention shows that the Unist’ot’en are not alone, and that the hereditary chiefs are prepared to uphold Wet’suwet’en law by refusing to grant CGL consent to access the Yintah.

 

What is happening at Gidimt’en Checkpoint?

Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all Hereditary Chiefs of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink to drill on Wet’suwet’en lands.

Over the past week, as Wet’suwet’en members of Cas Yikh and their supporters maintain control of a Coastal GasLink drill site that threatens their unceded territories, the RCMP has utilized excessive use of force and torturous pain compliance on land defenders. Gidimt’en chiefs and supporters have been defending a number of culturally significant archeological sites and the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa from destruction on unceded Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) territory belonging to the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en people.

All of the information above has been provided by:

https://www.yintahaccess.com/

These recent events have enforced the idea that reconciliation is dead as even on the first National day for Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous peoples were under attack and their lives and sovereignty were being severely threatened.

It is up to us to take a stand and support the Wet’suwet’en nation.

The #AllOutforWedzinKwa campaign calls for action from October 9th- October 15th. The campaign is calling for international solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en nation and the protection of their traditional land, territory and sovereignty. 

The Wet’suwet’en people are asking that you do the following:

  • Find or host a solidarity rally near you
  • Pressure the government (the letter/email/phone call templates are a few ways of doing so)

We also encourage you to become familiar with Indigenous activists and activism Instagram pages:

@Yintah_Access

@Wetsuweten_Checkpoint

@IndigenousRising

@HonorTheEarth

@DecolonizeMyself

@IndiOrange.Community

@IndigenousClimateAction

@SeedingSovereignty

 

Though the #AllOutforWedzinKwa campaign calls for action from October 9th- October 15th, our support must be ongoing. Your support must go beyond this week. 

There are numerous ways you can do your part in supporting Indigenous peoples’ rights and sovereignty. This letter and call script can be used as a stepping stone for your support and/or allyship. We invite you to continue learning and to continue fighting for change.


Instructions:

  • Download or make a copy of the sample templates.
  • Input your name, riding, and city (if relevant). Change/add any information and feel free to add specific grievances with the situation. 
  • If mailing a physical copy, print off the letter once completed, add your signature, and send with the appropriate address.
    NOTE: Postage is free if sent to the House of Commons
  • Once mail is sent, call the representative(s) to further express your concerns that were stated in the email/letter.
  • Encourage your friends and family to reach out to government officials and industry representatives as well!

SAMPLE EMAIL

Paul Jeakins,  

Commissioner and Chief Executive Office, BC Oil and Gas Commission

 

Katrine Conry,  

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development 

 

Meaghan Hoyle,  

Environment Assessment Office, Project Lead 

 

Fern Stockman,  

Environment Assessment Office, Executive Project Director 

 

Compliance & Enforcement Lead,  

 

 

Dear [name] ,

I am contacting you today as a concerned Canadian citizen. I demand direct and immediate action to shut down the Coastal GasLink Pipeline that is set to run through Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. 

It is clear that the Wet’suwet’en community and people have been opposed to pipelines and harmful developments in their territory. The Wet’suwet’en nation has been fighting to protect their land and water for years. Nonetheless, the federal government continues to allow the RCMP and Coastal GasLink to enact violence on the Wet’suwet’en peoples and completely disregard their title and rights to the land, water, and territory. 

This pipeline threatens more than just the culture and traditional ways of the Wet’suwet’en, though that in itself should be enough to shut down the pipeline project. The Coastal GasLink pipeline also threatens the Wedzin Kwa, the sacred water for the Wet’suwet’en nation. The pipeline threatens numerous culturally significant archeological sites, endangered critical species, food sources for the Wet’suwet’en nation, and the land and water that it passes through. Above all, the Coastal Gaslink pipeline threatens the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.  

Allowing the development of this pipeline to occur has created numerous counts of violence towards Wet’suwet’en peoples and all other land defenders. Land defenders have been attacked, abused, and arrested for merely protecting the earth and their inherent rights. Sleydo’, spokesperson for Gidimt’en Checkpoint states; “On the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, reconciliation is dead. The government, industry, and police are still invading our yintah. The authority of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary house and clan system was verified in the historic Delgamuukw and Red Top court decisions, but our hereditary system continues to be disrespected by BC and Canada.”

I demand that the Coastal GasLink pipeline be shut down immediately and that the authority of the Hereditary Chiefs is honoured and held as highly as western authorities moving forward. I demand that proper prior and informed consent is gained with any actions taken on Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. The land protectors and hereditary chiefs must be heard and their voices should be amplified. I demand that the RCMP, police officers, and Coastal GasLink employees that have invoked harm and violence towards land protectors be held accountable.

I expect to hear back from you regarding your plans and the immediate actions you will take to shut down the Coastal GasLink pipelines and their harm towards the Wet’suwet’en nation and Wedzin Kwa. #AllOutForWedzinKwa.

Sincerely,

[your name]


SAMPLE LETTER

The Honorable Michelle Ferreri MP

Member of Parliament for the Peterborough-Kawartha Constituency

417 Bethune Street Suite 4

Peterborough, Ontario

K9H 3Z1

Dear [Justin Trudeau/ Carolyn Bennett/ Michelle Ferreri…] ,

I am contacting you today as your constituent in the [Your Riding] in [City]. I demand direct and immediate action to shut down the Coastal GasLink Pipeline that is set to run through Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. 

It is clear that the Wet’suwet’en community and people have been opposed to pipelines and harmful developments in their territory. The Wet’suwet’en nation has been fighting to protect their land and water for years. Nonetheless, the federal government continues to allow the RCMP and Coastal GasLink to enact violence on the Wet’suwet’en peoples and completely disregard their title and rights to the land, water, and territory. 

This pipeline threatens more than just the culture and traditional ways of the Wet’suwet’en, though that in itself should be enough to shut down the pipeline project. The Coastal GasLink pipeline also threatens the Wedzin Kwa, which is the river that is sacred water for the Wet’suwet’en nation. The pipeline threatens numerous culturally significant archeological sites, endangered critical species, food sources for the Wet’suwet’en nation, and the land and water that it passes through. Above all, the Coastal Gaslink pipeline threatens the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.  

Allowing the development of this pipeline to occur has created numerous counts of violence towards Wet’suwet’en peoples and all other land defenders. Land defenders have been attacked, abused, and arrested for merely protecting the earth and their inherent rights. 

The government has failed to uphold their responsibilities to Indigenous peoples once again. There has been a failure to ensure proper prior and informed consent and consultation for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Sleydo’, spokesperson for Gidimt’en Checkpoint states; “On the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, reconciliation is dead. The government, industry, and police are still invading our yintah. The authority of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary house and clan system was verified in the historic Delgamuukw and Red Top court decisions, but our hereditary system continues to be disrespected by BC and Canada.”

As a government official, you must step up and do better. Indigenous peoples are continually being ignored and abused. Stand up for the Wet’suwet’en nation. Now is the time to use your platform to prove that you support Indigenous peoples and are committed to respecting and honouring them as people, instead of ignoring them. Your lack of intervention and support for Indigenous peoples in honouring the Wet’suwet’en peoples is disturbing.

I ask that you demand that the Coastal GasLink pipeline be shut down immediately and that the authority of the Hereditary Chiefs is honoured and held as highly as western authorities moving forward. I demand that proper prior and informed consent is gained with any actions taken on Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. The land protectors and hereditary chiefs must be heard and their voices should be amplified. 

I demand that the RCMP, police officers, and Coastal GasLink employees that have invoked harm and violence towards land protectors be held accountable. There is no reason for these abusers to get off scot-free for attacking Indigenous peoples. 

It is time that the government of Canada puts Indigenous sovereignty above economic development. I implore you to use your position to support Indigenous peoples, communities, and nations and take action to support the Wet’suwet’en nation. This is more than just the prevention of further progress of a pipeline, this is a matter of honouring the knowledge, needs, rights, and the land of Indigenous peoples.

I expect to hear back from you regarding your plans and the immediate actions you will take to shut down the Coastal GasLink pipelines and their harm towards the Wet’suwet’en nation and Wedzin Kwa. #AllOutForWedzinKwa.

Sincerely,

[your signature]

[your name]


PHONE SCRIPT 

Paul Jeakins, 250-419-4411

Commissioner and Chief Executive Office, BC Oil and Gas Commission

 

Katrine Conry, 250-381-6240

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development 

 

Meaghan Hoyle, 778-698-9313

Environment Assessment Office, Project Lead 

 

Fern Stockman, 250-387-0131 

Environment Assessment Office, Executive Project Director 

 

Compliance & Enforcement Lead, 250-387-0131



“Hello, I am [your name], and as a concerned citizen I am calling on you to immediately halt operations of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline as it represents trespassing on unceded Wet’suwet’en unceded territory.

The government has failed to uphold their responsibilities to Indigenous peoples once again. The fact that the Coastal GasLink pipeline development continues highlights the failure to obtain proper prior and informed consent and consultation, to respect traditional systems of authority regarding Hereditary Chiefs and clan systems, to acknowledge the rights and title to the land and water that the Wet’suwet’en peoples hold, and to listen to voices of Indigenous peoples regarding environmental issues.

I demand that the Coastal GasLink pipeline gets shut down immediately and that the authority of the Hereditary Chiefs is honoured and held as highly as western authorities moving forward. I demand that proper prior and informed consent is gained with any actions taken on Wet’suwet’en unceded territory. The land protectors and hereditary chiefs must be heard and their voices should be amplified. 

I look forward to hearing from you about this issue. You can reach me at [Your Phone Number]. Thank you.”


Contacts

Mailing Address 
Phone Number 
Paul Jeakins

Commissioner and Chief Executive Office, BC Oil and Gas Commission

PO Box 9331 Stn Prov Gov’t

Victoria BC

V8W 9N3

250-419-4411
Katrine Conry

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development 

Room 248 Parliament Buildings

Victoria BC  

V8V 1X4

250-381-6240
Meaghan Hoyle

Environment Assessment Office, Project Lead 

PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Gov’t

Victoria BC

V8W 9V1

778-698-9313
Fern Stockman

Environment Assessment Office, Executive Project Director 

PO BOX 9426 Stn Prov Gov’t

Victoria BC

V8W 9V1

250-387-0131
Compliance & Enforcement Lead
250-387-0131

House of Commons Address (Can be used for each of the government officials listed below) Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

K1A 0A6

Government Official
Address (Constituency Office)
Phone Number (Constituency Office)
Phone Number (House of Commons)
Justin Trudeau
1100 Crémazie East 

Suite 220

Montréal, Quebec

H2P 2X2

514-277-6020
613-992-4211
Marc Miller
3175 Saint-Jacques Street

Montréal, Quebec

H4C 1G7

514-496-4885
613-995-6403
Carolyn Bennett
40 Holly Street

Suite 103

Toronto, Ontario

M4S 3C3

416-952-3990
613-995-9666
Michelle Ferreri
417 Bethune Street Suite 4

Peterborough, Ontario

K9H 3Z

705-745-2108
613-995-6411

 

OPIRG Peterborough