Several weeks have passed since heavily armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers (RCMP) entered Wet’suwet’en territory in Northwest British Columbia to enforce an injunction obtained by Coastal Gaslink. Video footage, often graphic, shows the violent arrests of various people between late September and the end of November, including two journalists, elders, and hereditary Chiefs.
The use of K9 units, heavily armed police, and helicopters against peaceful land defenders for the third time in as many years shocked people both within and outside Canada. Immediately after the arrests, solidarity actions with Wet’suwet’en land defenders sprang up around the globe. The use of armed police to end peaceful resistance efforts puts into question Canada’s sincerity regarding reconciliation and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as its commitment to addressing climate change.
On February 14, the BC Supreme Court will determine when they will have to appear in court to face the charges against them.
Show you care by writing a Valentine for a land and water defender! For the next four weeks, Amnesty will collect Solidarity Valentines and deliver them to the defenders who are facing charges. This action is open from January 13 to February 10th.
- Buy or download a Valentine card or get creative by drawing your own
- Write a heart-felt message. Here are some ideas:
- You are not alone! Thank you for your courage <3
- Sending you solidarity and deepest thanks for defending the land and water!
- Land defenders like you make the world a better place for everyone – thank you!
Take a photo of your Valentine and upload it to this Google folder: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18PrCfMtT0fL_pdqKd0EFaqQ7ZtO3XgA4?usp=sharing
You can also simply send a photo of your Valentine to firstname.lastname@example.org and she will upload it to the drive.
Share this action with your family, friends, professional associations, community groups and colleagues and ask them to join you in showing solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders.
We will print your messages and deliver them to courageous Wet’suwet’en Land and Water Defenders. We’ll share photos of the delivery of your messages on our social media accounts and in this space.
After February 14: We will continue to gather Love Letters for Land Defenders throughout 2022. The work of land defenders might be highly visible and or personal and invisible: we want to celebrate all the actions taken by land defenders. Our aim is to gather thousands of messages of solidarity with land defenders across Turtle Island, over the Medicine Line, and throughout the Americas. We will be calling on creative people, quilters, knitters, weavers, painters and poets to turn these messages into beautiful works of art which we will share with community partners from Canada to Colombia in the second half of 2022. Please check this blog space after February 14 for more information.
Another way for people living in BC’s Lower Mainland to show their solidarity with all women is to take part in the 31st annual Women’s Memorial March on Monday, February 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia. For 31 years, the Valentines Day march has been a way to show compassion and caring for all women, including Indigenous women and girls, two spirit and trans people, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The annual march is a powerful, beautiful, and meaningful event led by women from the Downtown Eastside. If you cannot attend in person, follow the link to find out about other ways you can support and for important information related to participating in the march.
Ways to take further action today:
- Donate: We encourage Amnesty groups and members that are in a position to do so, to send a donation for food and supplies as requested by Gidimt’en Yintah Access. We will purchase supplies locally and deliver them in February. If you are able to contribute to this initiative, please email Don Wright: email@example.com Donations will be accepted until February 12.
- Webinar Injunctions: The imbalances, Indigenous injustices, and insights into reform: On Thursday, February 10 at 10:30 am Pacific, join this introductory webinar to injunctions and how they are used by companies to proceed with projects that are opposed by Indigenous peoples. Researchers and Land Defenders will discuss the abuse of injunctions, power imbalance, common law, and potential pathways forward out of the legal status quo. The Webinar is hosted by our partners at SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and Northern Confluence. For this free webinar, register here –https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_NMDbv3dFTGSGuZ17sBiQ5g
- Write a letter: Write to the Premier of British Columbia and the Federal Minister of Public Safety and ask them to respect the UN CERD’s recommendations by withdrawing RCMP officers, suspending CGL’s permits until consent is reached, and sitting down in good faith with Hereditary Chiefs.
- Join a local divestment campaign: All 5 top Canadian banks are heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry and land defenders across Canada are calling on them to stop funding fossil fuel projects like pipelines. If you are a client at one of these banks, joining a divestment action in your community will send a powerful message about how your wish your money to be used. If you aren’t already connected to a divestment group in your community, here are some resources:
- Divest Canada: https://www.divestcanada.ca/
- Oil Sands Divestment: https://oilsandsdivest.com/
- Banking On a Better Future: https://bankingonabetterfuture.org/
If you would like to learn more about joining a divestment campaign in your community, please send an email to Corporate Accountability & Climate Justice Campaigner, Tara Scurr: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learn more: Read our blog and read some of the excellent and current analysis and articles available on-line such as:
- Briarpatch: The C-IRG: the resource extraction industry’s best ally by Molly Murphy
- Narwhal: Photo essay of the arrests of media, Indigenous land defenders by Amber Bracken
Thank you for your solidarity with Land Defenders and for showing that you care!