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Unist’ot’en rally and set up camp to stop Enbridge and KSL pipelines


DATE: July 16, 2010

Unist’ot’en organize a large demonstration rally to notify governments and industry about their existing regulatory regime and of their responsibility to protect and restore their devastated environments

Smithers, BC: The ‘Unist’ot’en of the Wet’suwet’en Nation alongside their grassroots allies and supporters assembled in Smithers to organize a rally designed to assert their title and rights on their ancient lands. The rally was organized and led by the ‘Unist’ot’en leadership and had the demonstrators primarily target the Ministry of Forests offices and the Ministry of Environment office. The following is the list of demands that were delivered to the Ministry offices who issue permits and licences for industry and private interests.

1. The Unist’ot’en are a legitimate governing body who have never ceded our surrendered our ancient lands to any party. A regulatory regime will be resurrected to ensure that all interests on ‘Unist’ot’en lands are solely and primarily directed to the rightful owners;

2. The ‘Unist’ot’en law (‘Inuk nu’ot’en) for any outside parties who want to do business on ‘Unist’ot’en Yintah (traditional territories) requires meaningful “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent” with legitimate Clan/House Group membership prior to any development on unceded traditional territories. This is a measure that will be enforced to prevent the infringement of their section 35(1) rights and title and infringement on ‘Unist’ot’en ‘Inik nu’ot’en;

“Our ‘Unist’ot’en members will not sway under the threats and actions of industry and government. My grandmother Christine Holland gave us specific directions to protect our lands – that is exactly what we intend to do,” says hereditary chief Knedebeas - Warner William.

The resurrected regulatory regime will give power to the ‘Unist’ot’en people to manage their lands unimpeded by institutions or agencies who have previously assumed
jurisdiction or authority over their traditional lands.

“It is time for the Governments of Canada and B.C. to start honoring our traditional governance system of the ‘Unist’ot’en Chiefs. We have never ceded or surrendered our territory. Distruction of forest, waters, and wildlife will no longer be tolerated. True meaningful consultation must start taking place regarding all our territory,” says spokes person Freda Huson.

The rally also provided the ‘Unist’ot’en with an opportunity to offer support to the allies who have come in to support this action. The Tsilhqot’in Nation members from Tl’etinqox (Anaham) and Tl’esqox are asserting their rights to stop a proposed plans for Prosperity Mine to develop a copper and gold body that will destroy and drain a sacred lake called Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in their traditional territories. The Lubicon Cree of central Alberta are working at having their rights and title asserted on unceded lands. The Athabasca Dene and Mikisew Cree of Northeastern Alberta are fighting for their very lives with the ongoing Tar Sands contamination of their aquifers and ecosystems which are creating a deadly epidemic of rare cancers among their population.

With the help of some reputable Non-Governmental Organizations and Indigenous Peoples organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network, the Council of Canadians, Oil Sands Truth, and No One is Illegal, as well as many helpful and generous volunteers, the ‘Unis’to’t’en have erected a permenant camp on the Morice River to cease plans with all Oil and Gas Pipelines, including the KSL and Enbridge Gateway Projects, from traversing their lands and waterways. These proposed projects threaten the livelihood of the ‘Unist’ot’en people and the delicate ecosystems which they depend on and will be stopped by any means necessary.

For more information contact:

Freda Huson, spokesperson for the ‘Unist’ot’en people in the C’ilhts’ekhyu Clan. Any communication regarding ‘Unist’ot’en business will be brought to the attention of the new ‘Unist’ot’en company called Tse Wedi ‘Elh at: (778) 210-1100 or tsewedielh@explorenet.com

Knedebeas (Warner William), Hereditary Chief of the ‘Unist’ot’en.

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 Capitalism has a way of extracting resources at the expense of human suffering... My heart goes out to all who continually fight for the recognition of their humanity...

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