The Unist'ot'en are facing mounting legal fees in order to protect their unceded territory. To date, more than $400K has been spent on the injunction proceedings and a related Judicial Review. Funds are needed for upcoming legal costs to see the Judicial Review to completion and advance other legal challenges.
Last year we raised an incredible $385K - we have come so far, we can’t stop now! This is a crucial time and we are counting on our supporters to dig deep.
Unist’ot’en Camp, located on Dark House territory of the Gilsehyu Clan, has been a beacon of resistance for over 10 years. It is a space of Indigenous sovereignty dedicated to healing, and an active example of decolonization.
In January 2019, TC Energy/Coastal GasLink accessed the territory at gunpoint, following a court injunction, using militarized RCMP forces. The world witnessed the violence on unarmed citizens (in the presence of elders) despite the RCMP’s attempts to create an “exclusion zone” and shut out all media from the events.
The Unist’ot’en remain steadfast in their refusal to let fossil fuel infrastructure be built across the land. TC Energy continues to violate environmental regulations and destroy archaeological sites that are sacred to the Wet’suwet’en. Coastal Gaslink has no consent from the Hereditary Chiefs whose territories would be permanently desecrated by the project.
Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en House spokesperson:
“We honored the terms of the injunction...we honored all the terms of the agreements we’ve made...We are witnessing police break all of the agreements they have made with our chiefs, watching them actively protecting CGL and its contractors as they violate the Wildlife Act and the conditions of their permits, and watching the agencies responsible for enforcing these conditions do nothing...Coastal Gaslink is breaking all their own Canadian laws while we are upholding Wet’suwet’en laws and responsibilities to the land.”
Trapping is one of many cultural practices vital to the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre’s program for community members recovering from the detrimental effects of colonization. RCMP and CGL have not only physically invaded, bulldozed, and destroyed traplines and wildlife habitat; they have continued harassing and threatening violence and arrest on the Unist’ot’en, supporters, and clients. Considerable efforts by the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre staff are routinely needed to mitigate the resulting unsafe environment for occupants of the Healing Center who wish to benefit from connection with the yintah.
Over the past ten years, it has become common practice for the colonial Canadian Judicial System to impose injunctions on Indigenous peoples protecting their territories. This process forces Indigenous leadership to conduct business within the constraints of the Canadian legal system, as opposed to the traditional governance system of the feast hall. Poverty-stricken communities are required to produce impossibly large amounts of money to engage in a legal process which ultimately favours multi-billion dollar industries.
76% of injunctions filed against First Nations by corporations are granted, while 81% of injunctions filed against corporations by First Nations are denied [source].
However, not responding to injunctions also hurts ensuing legal actions by First Nations, placing them in a bind to respond and expend limited resources toward injunctions.
These statistics are bleak. However, due to precedent-setting legal cases (Supreme Court case of Delgamuukw-Gisda’way 1997), the Unist’ot’en are in a unique position to fight the injunctions, and pursue offensive legal strategies that maintain sovereignty over their unceded ancestral lands.
Oil and gas corporations use legal pressure, intimidation, wealth, and resources to do their dirty work. We must come together and let it be known that those defending the land will be supported.
This fight is far from over. If you have witnessed the power of the land, if you have been inspired from afar, if you care about the future of this planet, Indigenous sovereignty, and human rights, please donate to this legal fund.
For support: email@example.com
For more information: Unistoten.camp
Buy merch with 100% proceeds going to Unist’ot’en: https://www.solidarityartspace.com