Indigenous youth will not leave the B.C. parliament in Victoria until the government ends the RCMP raids against Wet’suwet’en Nation.
Ta’kaiya Blaney, 19, is from Tla’amin Nation and one of dozens more Indigenous youth from Wet’suwet’en, Sto:lo, Secwepemcúĺecw, and more, who mobilized outside the B.C. parliament in Victoria on Thursday at noon and stayed overnight.
Blaney said the group will remain on site to support Wet’suwet’en until federal and provincial governments honour Indigenous laws.
“We will be here until demands are met. This is an unconditional occupation,” Blaney said.
Land defenders have been working together to protect unceded Wet’suwet’en territory from pipeline construction by occupying proposed development sites. But on Wednesday, the RCMP confirmed it would be enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court order, allowing officers to forcibly remove land defenders and make way for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Dozens of RCMP officers stormed into Wet’suwet’en land defender camps at 5 a.m. on Thursday morning with tactical officers, dog teams, and drones equipped with infrared sensors. At least six people were arrested and one woman was reportedly dragged out of a car window, naked. Officers were initially detaining reporters, including a VICE journalist, but have since said they will not remove embedded journalists. RCMP raids are ongoing.
Across Canada, Indigenous youth are staging sit-ins at government buildings and rallying in support of Wet’suwet’en.
Blaney said the ongoing rallies are about more than the pipeline—they’re about Indigenous sovereignty and survival.
“It’s up to us to keep ourselves safe and to support our loved ones on the Wet’suwet’en front lines,” Blaney said.
In a letter to their local MP and MLA, Victoria-based Indigenous youth highlighted the “irreparable violence” committed by Coastal GasLink and RCMP on Wet’suwet’en territories, citing the destruction of archeological sites, hunting areas, traplines, and use of brutal force against land defenders.
“The Canadian government’s narratives of reconciliation and climate leadership become moot while simultaneously using lethal force to push a pipeline through Indigenous lands against the collective will of the hereditary leadership,” the letter says. “As Indigenous youth, we urge you to uphold Indigenous rights and Wet’suwet’en law by advocating for the removal of CGL and RCMP from Wet’suwet’en territories.”
Indigenous youth in Winnipeg have been occupying the office of Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal since Tuesday.
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