Opinion

Mid Year Resolution:

Support the Unist’ot’en Village, the Protectors of the Inlet and other Indigenous Led Resistance to Drowning the Planet in Bitumen

 By Tom Sandborn

New years resolutions are a bit like Liberal campaign promises- made to be broken. We may vow to hit the gym more often and the fast food drive through less often, but those good intentions have a way of melting away a lot faster than our extra poundage does. Many of us, in fact, have recognized this discouraging reality by swearing off resolutions altogether.

Since New Year commitments to better behaviour seldom last out the first weeks of January, the Columbia Journal is suggesting that a new tradition- one big Mid Year resolution- might be a useful innovation. 

P4 imageSetting aside the matters of self improvement and moral uplift, we could use this new tradition to assess what more we can do as decent planetary citizens to protect the endangered rights of indigenous people and to support their efforts to prevent ecological disaster. With that in mind, here is a vitally important pair of related resolutions I urge all Columbia Journal readers to make and observe this year.

Support the Unist’ot’en Village where since 2010 the members of this Wet’suet’en clan have been creating a vibrant community of anti-pipeline resistance and cultural renewal on the traditional lands of their people Joined by other Wet’suwet’en houses and clans, other First Nations activists and settler ancestry allies, the Unist’ot’en have created a group of buildings that lie directly in the path of at least three proposed fossil fuel pipelines that big Petro means to build from Alberta to the Pacific. The traditional lands of the Wet’suwet’en are threatened by these pipelines, as is the climate stability of the planet. We cannot afford to keep on our current suicidal path of resource extraction and CO2 emissions; even if we could, any moves by government and its fossil fuel masters to ram pipelines through unceded indigenous territory would be an obscene violation of aboriginal title. The Unist’ot’en Village is protecting the rights of indigenous peoples across what we call Canada and thwarting government and industry’s obvious intention to squeeze out and burn every last gram of fossil fuel on the planet, fouling the air and de-stabilizing the climate. We cannot allow this to happen and we are much in debt to the Unist’ot’en for their leadership.

As Toghestiy, a hereditary chief of the Likhts'amisyu clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and a supporter of the camp from the beginning told Yes Magazine:

“These lands belong to us, They’ve never been ceded or surrendered to anybody. This place is not Canada. It’s not B.C. It in particular is Unist’ot’en territory, and it is occupied and protected.”  

Please go to the website at https://unistoten.camp/and learn more about this history-making resistance project. These brave defenders need money and volunteers to support their work. Do what you can, as the human future depends on projects like this.  

Another indigenous-led resistance campaign we should all support is Protect the Inlet, at https://protecttheinlet.ca/ and the related Mountain Protectors, who sustain the Watch House project (https://www.facebook.com/mountainprotectors/)

These are the folks who successfully led last year’s campaign of civil disobedience to help block the doubling of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and who continue to stand their ground in the face of the federal government’s astounding purchase of the poison pipeline and expressed intention to expand it to fill a tanker a day with bitumen and ship it out through Vancouver Harbour. (Full disclosure. I was one of the several hundred folks who  were arrested after we defied the court’s injunction to block the Kinder Morgan gates last year. ) But if you didn’t get an opportunity to join this important fight last year, stay tuned. More work of various kinds will doubtless be necessary before this irrational and violent home invasion of the territories of the first nations who surround what we call Vancouver Harbour has been permanently stopped. You, too, could have bragging rights as one of the folks who stood with the defenders of the inlet.

On May 7, over four hundred people gathered at Vancouver’s St. James Community Square to support indigenous-led pipeline opposition groups. At this Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/events/saint-james-community-square-3214-w-10th-ave-vancouver-bc-v6k-2l2/come-join-the-circle/576085062890890/) you can view eloquent statements from Wet’suwet’en leader and healer Karla Tait, Tsleil Waututh leader Ruben George and world famous environmental expert David Suzuki, all speaking to support pipeline opposition.

Tom Sandborn lives and writes on unceded indigenous territory in Vancouver. He welcomes feedback and story tips at tos65@telus.net






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