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Statement by Laura Holland, Wet'suwet'en Nation at the Vancouver Rally in Support of the Unist'ot'en

Over 100 people rally outside Apache offices in Vancouver in support of Unist'ot'en.
Over 100 people rally outside Apache offices in Vancouver in support of Unist'ot'en.

Also posted by harjap:

My traditional name is Alunaye. My mother is Laksilyu, her mother is Laksilyu and her mother is Laksilyu and all our mothers before are Laksilyu women. I stand here before you today as a concerned mother and grandmother of my Nation and a member who has accepted responsibility to speak out for our collective good and for our future generations.

As many of you have heard, on November 20, Hereditary Chief Toghestiy intercepted and issued an eagle feather to trespassing surveyors working for Apache’s proposed shale gas Pacific Trails Pipeline. In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather is used as a first and only notice of trespass. The surveyors were ordered to leave the territory and the road entering into the territory has been closed to all industry activities.

On Sunday, PTP surveyors of CAN-AM Geomatics were discovered on Gidimt'en Lands, they were asked by the Gidimt'en spokesperson Molly Whickham if they knew who the Gidimt'en Hereditary Chief was and they asnwered "no", so she said, "then you likely didn't ask permission to come into his territory - you have to leave and not come back. You were told to leave Wet'suwet'en territory before and you don'tseem to want to listen!!".

On behalf of the Grassroots Wetsuweten Movement and the Unistoten of the Wetsuweten Nation, this morning we went as a delegation to the offices of/hired by Apache Oil and Enbridge to deliver eviction notices. Apache Oil and Enbridge are not permitted onto unceded lands of the Wetsuweten. They are not permitted to place their greed ahead of Indigenous, Wetsuweten self-determination, Apache Oil and Enbridge are not permitted to destroy and exploit the lands. Apache Oil and Enbridge are not permitted to disregard the safety and health of communities. Apache Oil and Enbridge are not permitted to disregard Wetsuweten Law!

No Apache Oil!  No Enbridge! No Pipleines!

Many of us whose ancestral lands are the Wetsuweten Territories grew up with traditional parents and grandparents who taught us the ways of the feast hall, natural law and the ways of the lands. Some of our people have lost language and traditional ways over the years, but what we have not lost is loyalty to our ancestors and commitment to protect our sacred lands and waters.

In our upbringing we were taught our history and land`s history with songs and legends and stories of transformation that have been with our people since time immemorial. In our education as little children we learned the names of the rivers, the mountains, the cliffs, and trees and boulders - all of which have their own stories and history and teach us who we are, they are respected entities just as you are and I am. What many may know as environment, we grew up knowing as community. Our connection to our homelands runs deep, our connection to our homelands is our connection to community. This is not just some noble notion or romantic fantasy! It is a reality: you and I will not survive without the land and the land will not survive without our fight to save it from corporate greed, and there has never been a more
critical time to act than NOW! When we see the lands' destruction, we see the loss of community. Environment IS community - destruction of environment IS destruction of community and no loss of community is ever acceptable.

And we have suffered many losses for generations.

In my lived experience, as a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother and front-line worker, I have witnessed the violence in connection to the theft of resources and rapes of Wetsuweten Land, Wetsuweten women and Wetsuweten children. My dear friends, family members and clan members who remain at home are missing their beloved little sisters, cousins, daughters and friends who were the collateral damage in this not-so-unintended war on our lands and our people.

We grew up witnessing the violence escalate during the Gitksan - Wetsuweten Land Claims. Our aunties, mothers & grandmothers whispered stories of the assaults they witnessed and the assaults they survived.

We KNOW that violence committed against native women is connected to land-left. In fact, land-theft cannot happen without the burden being placed on the bodies of women and children. Murder is an (un)natural consequence of land-theft and the rape of our mother. Our sisters who are struggling to end the devastation of the tar sands have told the same stories of violence and survival. THEY ARE NOT LIARS. They are telling us, All, the truth about the destruction of lands and lives by big oil corporations - and we do not intend, in any way as Wetsuweten People to support that destruction by having gas or violence pipelined into their homelands from our homelands.

I'm asking you to stand with us - take a stand against violence against OUR MOTHER and ALL MOTHERS!

 

* Laura began her speech by reading the invitation from

First I would like to read you the invitation from the Toghestiy

Dini Ze', Tsakiy Ze', Skiy Ze'!!
Hadi' Silh te tsen gla silh tsenl!! Si sozi' Toghestiy Likhts'amisyu tsitni.

I am writing to all of you to ask you for your support in our struggle to keep pipeline companies from coming into our territories. It would be my sincere honor to have you and many of your elders, respected hereditary chiefs, and traditional community members support us in our struggle to not only keep industry out of our lands but also to force them to finally start invoking the proper protocol on our our unceded lands. We all share a common struggle because for many decades our families and communities have endured horrible and terrifying and brutal acts genocide against our people and territories by invading government and industry forces. It would mean a lot to me if I were to witness my fellow Indigneous Leaders embrace their responsibilities and roles as true stewards of these beautiful and sacred lands. As many of you already know, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the welfare of our unborn generations are taken care of. The short sighted ambitions of the corporatations and their blind slaves threaten the existance of all of us. Our traditional community will always stand alongside you in your struggles as you will always stand alongside me and my people. We have shared the same air and waters since time immemorial and I look forward to the strength we will derive from those forces as we venture into a future that is guided by the spirits of our ancient warriors.

Sne Kal Yah! (I am indebted for your assistance in my critical time of need)

- Toghestiy, at the Wet'uwet'en stronghold

     

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