March for solidarity with Wet'suwet'en comes to Kingston

·2 min read

A crowd of roughly sixty gathered yesterday to join the Call for a Week of Action to show solidarity and support for the fight of the Wet'suwet'en people.

The demonstration and march came together rather quickly, with only a couple days notice.

Three speakers spoke on the subjects of reconciliation and environmental justice, while the crowd brandished signs in support of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Natasha Stirrett, an assistant professor at Carleton and one of yesterday's speakers, spoke about the importance of the Wet'suwet'en people's fight for the land.

Stirrett says as important as the fight for sovereign Indigenous land is, the fight for the preservation of natural resources should be a common sense concern for everyone.

"It is also everyone's future here, we need water as human beings to survive," Stirrett said.

"We need to continue to make a statement that the value of water is more than the value of the extraction of oil and gas."

Stirrett added that the boil water advisories we see present in so many Indigenous communities could eventually become a concern for everybody.

Following Stirrett, Jeremy Milloy of 350 Kingston, and a third speaker reading an Indigenous written zine, the crowd marched from Skeleton Park to Springer Market Square to demonstrate support for the Wet'suwet'en fight.

The call to action has been requested by land defenders to show solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people's fight to defend their land against oil and gas pipeline expansion, a fight that has been met with escalated violence by RCMP officers.

Communities around Canada have in the past made great displays of solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people, including blockades of rail lines in 2019.

However, in the wake of the pandemic the fight has in many ways fallen out of the spotlight.

The Gidimt'en Clan has requested a moratorium with the oil and gas commission, but in recent weeks Coastal GasLink has appeared to be readying a ramped up effort to force out the Indigenous land defenders through the efforts of the RCMP.

Over the past several days, RCMP officers have been captured on video violently interacting with unarmed protestors, emptying drinking water basins at Wet'suwet'en camps, and joking about the idea that their actions are working towards genocide.

In response, there have been calls for this week of action resulting in demonstrations of solidarity in many cities throughout Canada.

The continued conflict is being documented by the Gidimt'en Clan with the hashtag #AllOutForWedzinKwa

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News

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