Statement of Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people

We, the undersigned UBC English graduate students, write this to express our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people and their ongoing protection of their unceded sovereignty. We support and stand with the hereditary chiefs and land and water defenders, acknowledging that their struggle for the full recognition of Wet’suwet’en sovereignty is part of the ongoing and continual work of Indigenous resistance to colonial structures and violence.

We are disappointed with BC premier John Horgan’s refusal to stand with the Wet’suwet’en people so shortly after the province implemented the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s failure to work towards reconciliation despite publicly stating that the Canadian government was “committed to walking a path of partnership and friendship with Indigenous peoples,” a meaningless statement in the presence of ongoing colonial violence; and with the refusal of both the BC and federal government to withdraw or take accountability for the violence and armed presence of the RCMP in unceded sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory.

We stand with the Wet’suwet’en people and recognize that what is happening to their land, their relations, and their resistance constitutes another chapter in the long history of violence against indigenous peoples and lifeworlds in what is currently called Canada (or, increasingly, kkkanada). We stand with the matriarchs who are leading this resistance against the presence of bitumen and the man camps that accompany the building of pipelines in their lands and contribute to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA people, as Canada’s own national inquiry has found.

We also stand with those who, through social media, have filmed and reported on the healing, violence, and ongoing resistance in Wet’suwet’en territory and for the Wet’suwet’en people. We recognize the importance of, among others, @gidimten_checkpoint and @voicesfrontline for bringing people together for acts of resistance and for reporting on issues that larger media companies either refuse to report on or are prevented from reporting on due to exclusion zones and other RCMP tactics.

The struggle for recognition of Indigenous sovereignty did not start, nor will it end, with Wet’suwet’en, as is evident from the growth of solidarity movements across the country and throughout the world. As graduate students from diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise, occupying platforms of influence in the classroom, at conferences, and in publications, we acknowledge the ongoing importance of working and speaking against colonial systems. We ask that others, particularly those in offices of political power, follow through on their promises and agreements and respect Wet’suwet’en sovereignty. 

#AllEyesonWet’suwet’en

#StandUpFightBack


Signed by:

Karlene Harvey (Tsilhqot’in & Syilx nations), student, MA in English Literature 

Emilie Jones, MA student in English Literature

Anne Tastad, MA student in English Literature

Sylvanna Baugh, MA student in English Literature

Sijia Cheng, MA student in English Literatures

Shalini Nanayakkara, MA student in English Literature

Anna MacDonald, PhD Candidate in English Literature

Alexa capqʷícyaʔ Manuel (Syilx and St’at’imc nations), PhD Candidate in English Literature

Torin McLachlan, PhD Candidate in English Literature

Astrid C. Johansen, MA student in English Literature

Fiana Kawane, PhD student in English Literatures

Ya’el Z. Frankel, MA student in English Literatures

Sarah-Nelle Jackson, PhD Candidate in English Literatures

Dylan Bateman, PhD Candidate in English Literature

Reed Clements, PhD Student in English Literature

Robyn Peers, PhD Student in English Language

Rusaba Alam, PhD student in English Literature

Joey Takeda, MA student in English Literature

Ed Smith, MA student in English Literature

Nevena Kuzmanovic, MA student in English Literature

Zhishu Wang, MA student in English Literature

Alyssa Sy de Jesus, MA student in English Literature

Andrew French, MA student in English Literature

Heidi Rennert, PhD student in English Literature

Sydney Lines, PhD student in English Literature

Gage Karahkwí:io Diabo (Mohawk Nation), PhD student in English Literature