VIDEO: Hereditary chiefs, matriarchs and legal counsel for Wet’suwet’en speak

Last night over 700 people registered for a webinar to hear hereditary chiefs, elders, legal counsel and RAVEN for a webinar to unpack the court challenges underway NOW in B.C. Supreme Court. Watch the video of the online rally:

Ana Simeon of RAVEN outlined the purpose of the call, explaining the basis of the legal challenges now before B.C. Supreme Court and thanking the RAVEN community for overwhelming support in the form of donations, online fundraising and event organizing. She urged people to sign up to organize events: visit the Action Centre for a toolkit on how you can get involved! Chief Na’Moks, hereditary chief of the Tsayu Clan of Wet’suwet’en Nation, shared his perspective from travelling and speaking across the country and around the world to promote the interests of land defenders and fulfil his duties to uphold Wet’suwet’en law on his territory.

Kalaset, a Wet’suwet’en Elder and Clan member of Likhsilyu Clan, shared her stories of working to support the Unist’ot’en and Gidimt’en as they fight to keep their Yintah  from becoming a fossil fuel corridor – what she called “the Black Snake”. Her life’s passion has been her involvement in  Revitalizing The Wet’suwet’en language and culture, and she shared in Wit’suwit’en language to preface and conclude her remarks.

DJ Larkin, an associate at Woodward and Company, gave insight into the arguments and evidence presented to the BC Supreme Court during hearings October 2 and 3. She drew attention to the failure to implement recommendations of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report, and to repeated permit violations by Coastal GasLink. Larkin was on-hand to answer questions related to UNDRIP, and took pains to outline not only the legitimacy of hereditary leadership in terms of consultation requirements, but the distinction between the notions of ‘consent’ and ‘veto’. Following the landmark Delgamuukw case, many uncertainties remain with relation to Wet’suwet’en title to their territories and how that affects or should affect their sovereignty and authority over that land: this case in BC Supreme Court leans on precedents set with participation by the parents and grandparents of Wet’suwet’en speakers on this webinar.

The next speaker, Chief Madeek – hereditary chief of Gitdumden- Anskasi – brought the ‘issue’ of MMIWG home, with stories of how losses have impacted his family and community. Charlotte Euverman is a climate activist and elder who was unable to join us. However she did share powerful words of wisdom in a poster, below.

Finally, we delivered the 4000+ signatures from folks who sent messages of support and gratitude to hereditary chiefs and matriarchs. See a sampler of messages on the webinar video and, if you haven’t already done so, please donate: https://raventrust.com/wetsuweten

With gratitude and determination, we carry on.

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