Violence against the land begets violence against women.
“Oil and gas extraction, coal mining, and hydroelectric development help fuel the provincial economy and create high paying jobs that attract workers from across the country. In actively promoting intensive development in the northeast, federal and provincial officials have emphasized these benefits, while largely ignoring serious—and sometimes deadly—unintended consequences for wellness and safety that disproportionately impact the lives of the Indigenous peoples who live there, particularly Indigenous women and girls.
Government statistics show that Indigenous women and girls across Canada face much higher rates of violence than all other women and girls. Accounts from women and frontline service providers in northeast BC suggest that, if anything, the threats to the safety of Indigenous women and girls are even more acute in this region. For many Indigenous women and girls in the northeast, domestic violence, violence in the workplace, and violence at the hands of social acquaintances and strangers, is so pervasive it has become normalized. Amnesty International believes that failure to adequately address the unintended social impacts of resource development contributes to the risks faced by Indigenous women and girls.”
The Wet’suwet’en recently launched a legal challenge, supported by all the Hereditary Chiefs acting in unity, which seeks a Judicial Review of a project extension for Coastal Gas Link’s pipeline, granted by the BC Environmental Assessment Office in October 2019 for another 5 years. The action argues that the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office had a duty to assess new evidence of the project’s harms, which in this case means the recent findings of the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which found direct links between extractive industries, “man camps” and increased violence against Indigenous women. The BCEAO was also required to take into account Coastal Gas Link’s record of non-compliance (over 50 instances!).