200 Canadian musicians and industry members release statement supporting Wet'suwet'en land defenders

"Meaningful nation-to-nation relationships are not made at gunpoint," the statement reads.
200 Canadian musicians and industry members signed a statement in support of Wet'suwet'em land defenders. (CBC Music)

In response to the arrests of 14 people earlier this month in B.C.'s Wet'suwet'en territory, 200 members of the Canadian music industry — including musicians, record companies and media members — have signed and released a statement demanding government accountability.

On Jan. 7, the RCMP forcefully removed 14 people defending the Wet'suwet'en land due to a December court injunction that was approved for Coastal GasLink to enter into the territory and create a pipeline route that will connect fracking projects throughout the province to a $40 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Kitimat, B.C.

The letter published today, titled "Solidarity With Unis'ot'en," was signed by Tanya Tagaq, U.S. Girls, July Talk, Pup, Owen Pallett, Peaches, nêhiyawak, Lido Pimienta, Joel Plaskett, Hannah Georgas, Daniel Romano, Royal Mountain Records, Pleasence Records and more. It's addressed to the land defenders and the Unist'ot'en Camp, which is one of the checkpoints into the territory.

"We have heard your hereditary chiefs say 'No' to the Coastal GasLink development and we intend to amplify it," the letter reads. "As musicians, we know a PR campaign when we see one: since 2015 Justin Trudeau has promoted a message of Truth and Reconciliation and professed the goal of building meaningful nation-to-nation relationships but his government's actions don't align. Meaningful nation-to-nation relationships are not made at gunpoint."

Hereditary Chief Ronnie West, centre, from the Lake Babine First Nation, sings and beats a drum during a solidarity march after Indigenous nations and supporters gathered for a meeting to show support for the Wet'suwet'en Nation, in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 16, 2019. More than 200 Canadian musicians and industry players are standing in solidarity with people from a northern B.C. First Nation as they protest the construction of a natural gas pipeline on traditional territories. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The letter goes on to call out Trudeau's response and lack of accountability, noting that the entire incident "violates Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and 'Anuc niwh'it'en (Wet'suwet'en Law)."

"It's 2019, and we refuse a willful ignorance, and take seriously the responsibility dealt to all Canadians by the Truth and Reconciliation Commision to learn about Canada's legacy of colonial violence," it continues. "We are horrified by the violence of last week and the RCMP's continued harassment of your people."

The letter concludes by stating not only the harm this pipeline causes Indigenous people and their land, but also its effects on global warming and how fossil fuel development can further put everyone, and the Earth, in danger.

The full statement can be read here. The site also includes a link where you can donate money to the Unist'ot'en legal fund.


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