Wet’suwet’en and residential schools

I’ve been following and writing about the Wet’suwet’en peoples in British Columbia as they struggle to prevent a natural gas pipeline (Costal GasLink) from being built through their pristine lands and waters for years. Because of almost no mainstream media coverage of what has been happening there, they asked us to share their stories and struggles on our social media. (see links to many stories at the end).

This video shows the continued harassment of the Wet’suwet’en by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. 5/15/2022. It is especially disturbing because it shows trauma carried from one generation to the next. Especially disturbing because it makes the connection to the Indian residential schools’ atrocities.

Cody and Winih Confront RCMP
Gidimt’en Access Point

For over 2 months the RCMP CIRG unit has carried out a daily harassment & intimidation campaign on Gidimt’en territory. On Sunday, May 15 as we started the build of a new balhats (feast hall) at our Tsel Kiy Kwa village site with elders and children, over a dozen officers were dispatched to surveil & criminalize us.

This day should have been a celebration. A representation of our governance system on the yintah despite being outlawed and all the government’s attempts to disrupt the transmission of culture and our laws to our children.

When confronted with the RCMP’s history of stealing Indigenous children to send them to residential schools & questioned about why none of their deaths are being investigated, despite excessive policing of our territory, officers fell silent.


May 15, 2022
Tsel Kiy Kwa Village Site

“10,000 kids murdered at residential schools. They’re here to harass you. You as a Wet’suwet’en. As a future leader of these lands. They still rip kids away from their parents every day, one at a time. So, you look at them, you remember their faces, because they decided that you’re not allowed to live here. Every time you see Every Child Matters, we’re talking to you guys, because you guys are the ones not looking into their deaths. 10,000 ** kids. That’s a lot of kids that went to school and died. Not one of you guys are doing anything about it.”

RCMP have patrolled Gidimt’en home sites more than 200 times since March 2022.

Following is a letter my Quaker Meeting sent to British Columbia Premier, John Horgan in 2020.

January 26, 2020

Bear Creek Friends (Quaker) meetinghouse is in the Iowa countryside. Many members have been involved in agriculture and care about protecting Mother Earth. A number of Friends have various relationships with Indigenous peoples. Some Friends have worked to protect water and to stop the construction of fossil fuel pipelines in the United States, such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

We are concerned about the tensions involving the Wet’suwet’en Peoples, who are working to protect their water and lands in British Columbia. Most recently they are working to prevent the construction of several pipelines through their territory. Such construction would do severe damage to the land, water, and living beings.

Bear Creek Friends Meeting, of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) approved sending the following letter to British Columbia Premier, John Horgan.

John Horgan.
Email premier@gov.bc.ca

John Horgan,

We’re concerned that you are not honoring the tribal rights and unceded Wet’suwet’en territories and are threatening a raid instead.

We ask you to de-escalate the militarized police presence, meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and hear their demands:

That the province cease construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project and suspend permits.

That the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and tribal rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.

That the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimiation’s (CERD) request.

That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by Coastal GasLink (CGL) respect Wet’suwet’en laws and governance system, and refrain from using any force to access tribal lands or remove people.

Bear Creek Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
19186 Bear Creek Road, Earlham, Iowa, 50072

Several of us gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, for a vigil in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples, February 7, 2020.

Wet’suwet’en Updates 2.7.2020 Evening

Our most recent action was a vigil held at a Chase bank in Des Moines, December, 2021. Chase funds fossil fuel projects. You can see the solidarity, including Des Moines Black Lives Matter. https://landbackfriends.com/2021/12/23/iowa-solidarity-with-wetsuweten/

Writings about the Wet’suwet’en from my blog posts:

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