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Feb 2, 20

Hamilton, ON: Rail and Road Blockade in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

Report from blockade in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en struggle in Hamilton, Ontario.

“If we are serious about Indigenous rights and reconciliation, then we find ourselves in a time where we must position ourselves against the government to resist the state’s ongoing colonial practises. Unfortunately the state is corrupt and only understands money. Since we don’t have any, we must aim to cost them some.”

Those were the words of Trish Mills before approximately 100 people began blocking a key road and rail artery on Victoria Ave. N. this morning.

The group of more than a hundred Wet’suwet’en supporters began the day at JC Beemer Park before taking to the streets.

The Wet’suwet’en are at the centre of a dispute with industry as well as the provincial and federal government over the development of their lands. The Wet’suwet’en have never ceded nor surrendered their land, and point to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling (Delgamuukw v British Columbia, [1997]) that recognizes the sole discretion of territorial development belongs to the traditional Hereditary Chief and clan system – not band councils.

CGL has only obtained consent from band councils which were established by Canada under the Indian Act, often under duress.

On December 31, 2019 Justice Marguerite Church granted an interlocutory injunction, effectively criminalizing any individual trying to prevent industry from accessing or developing the territory. The RCMP has since set up an exclusion zone, controlling who can enter the area – including an attempt at restricting air space.

“Injunction and provincial permits aside, Canada has no jurisdiction or authority on unceded lands. Their interference with the Wet’suwet’en Nation on behalf of industry is appalling,” said Natali Montilla, one of the media spokespeople for the event. “We support the Chief’s demands: the Coastal GasLink project needs to be permanently stopped, and the RCMP must leave the territory immediately.“

As group members began settling in, sound equipment and food tables were set up as organizers promised hot food and drinks, live music, and public discussions and teach-ins for the afternoon.

Makwa, a media liaison for the event who is Nahua and Anishinaabe (Bear Clan), pushes for an even broader understanding: “Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island have been subjected to the same abuses, violence, and corruption that the Wet’suwet’en are facing now, so we’re also here to push for reparations for every single Indigenous Nation who has been subjected to colonial interference and violence.”

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