Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en, who have been occupying the stone steps of the B.C. legislature since Monday, held a press conference this morning to proclaim their solidarity with five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and present a list of demands to the government and RCMP.
Spokeswoman Ta’kaiya Blaney said B.C. must revoke all permits granted to Coastal Gas Link for a pipeline that crosses Wet’suwet’en traditional territory in northern B.C. The province must also cease its “criminalization” of Indigenous leaders and governments, she said.
“The inflammatory rhetoric of the B.C. premier only serves to incite hate and violence against Indigenous peoples, standing up for our inherent rights and livelihoods.”
The federal government must also cease the “criminalization” of peaceful Indigenous solidarity actions and blockades because of its failure to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Blaney said.
“It is unacceptable for Canada to continue to deny Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership the dignity of having a good-faith discussion and instead trying to push the Coastal GasLink through at gunpoint.”
Indigenous young people all over the country are taking their power back, said Blaney.
“And you see that with every single person who stands here. And all of their ancestors that stand with them and all of the Indigenous people who are mobilizing across Turtle Island. Reconciliation is dead, but our resilience, our land, our waters, our people and our resolve to protect them is very much alive,” she said to whoops and applause.
“We are here to tell our stories and to tell our truths and to remind you of your humanity. Canada, as a colonial project, has been built on our extermination. And many Canadians have not been taught that the land that they walk upon is Indigenous and it is sacred and it is life-giving.”
Indigenous children are protecting the land for future generations, said Blaney.
The group of Indigenous young people and their supporters have occupied the steps at the legislature since Monday afternoon under the watchful eye of Victoria police officers.