NORTH VANCOUVER — The Capilano Students’ Union, representing the students at Capilano University through their elected board of directors, stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, land defenders, and water protectors at the Unist’ot’en and Gidimt’en camps, and fully supports Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction and governance.
The organization’s solidarity with Wet’suwet’en is demonstrated with the personal involvement of Capilano Students’ Union board members and staff in solidarity actions across Metro Vancouver, including blockading access to ports, trains, and roads; this has resulted in the arrest of at least one student leader for defending Wet’suwet’en jurisdiction, and they have since been released.
We do not support the continued colonial violence against the sovereign Wet’suwet’en people by the RCMP, and supported by the federal and BC governments and Coastal GasLink. We believe that these actions are contrary to these governments’ commitments to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). These actions demonstrate that the principle of free, prior, and informed consent, a protocol written into UNDRIP, has not been honoured.
The Wet’suwet’en people have never ceded the rights to their traditional territory and their title has never been extinguished. The Unist’ot’en house group of the Wet’suwet’en has been reoccupying their traditional territory for the last decade, building infrastructure and rebuilding traditional systems of governance as a way to heal their people and the land. The enforcement by the RCMP of this injunction threatens the well-being of the Wet’suwet’en people and their ability to heal and peacefully occupy their territory, infringing on their human and Aboriginal rights.
We also support the demands of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs including:
- that free, prior and informed consent must be obtained before any industry may pass through their territory;
- that the RCMP remove themselves from Wet’suwet’en territory and cease restricting the ability of the Wet’suwet’en people to access their own land, territory and the resources they need for survival, infringing upon their human and Aboriginal rights;
- that nation-to-nation talks be held between provincial and federal leaders to address the infringements on Wet’suwet’en rights and title; and
- that the RCMP stop enforcing the injunction and in turn threatening the safety of the Wet’suwet’en people as well as their right to occupy their own territory, right to use their own traditional ways of knowing, and right to heal their land and their people.
We urge the RCMP to stand down, release the land and water defenders, and encourage the Government of British Columbia to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in good faith, honouring their commitments to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls-to-action, and the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision.
Emily Bridge, president
Capilano Students’ Union
About Capilano Students’ Union
The Capilano Students’ Union advocates for the interests and needs of its membership of more than 7,000 students by lobbying Capilano University and all levels of government. The CSU delivers student services, provides resources to clubs and organisations on campus, and hosts a variety of events each year to promote the social, political, recreational, and academic wellbeing of its membership.