BRANTFORD — Land protectors, supporters and allies congregated at the Brantford Civic Centre on Sunday, February 23, to host a march in solidarity with Wet’suwe’ten. Throughout the afternoon, the marchers peacefully delayed and stopped traffic en route from the Civic Centre to Victoria Park, briefly locking down four intersections in the process.
“You, the people, are keeping this fight going by shutting down Canada, and that’s how we’re going to keep on fighting,” said Eve Saint to the congregation through a megaphone.
Saints father is a hereditary Wet’suwe’ten chief.
“Now it’s even bigger because now, we’re fighting for indigenous rights, indigenous sovereignty. We will not lay down — no more.”
The hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs set three conditions last week for meeting with federal leaders but a spokesman for the chiefs said Monday that they still haven’t been met.
The chiefs have called for the removal of an RCMP mobile unit, the end of foot patrols and the removal of Coastal GasLink workers from their traditional territory as conditions for meeting with the federal government. The solidarity demonstrations support the calls made by the chiefs.
The march finalized at the base of the Brant monument in Victoria Park, where Saint took the megaphone along with Janet Rogers and a Lakota/Mohawk demonstrator.
“I came here today to support Wet’suwe’ten because I went to Standing Rock in 2016 and the Coast Salish came to our camp. They set up camp and supported us. So I’m not able to be out there in British Columbia to support, but I’m able to go into our communities to raise awareness and take up space for our indigenous brothers and sisters,” said land defender and clean water advocate Cody LookingHorse after a speech about his experiences.
“It’s really great to see all ages here that are standing up for one thing, one peace and one prayer through togetherness. ‘Cause we’ve always had togetherness as Onkwehon:we people, so it’s great to see that people are utilizing that unity today,” he said.
Many, like Char Hemlock, one of the drum keepers and singers, attended to support as they recognize the power of the people, which is a part of one of the doctrines of The Great Law followed by the Haudenosauee.
“I think that we have strength in unity and our people need to come together — that’s the biggest thing that I’ve been thinking about is unity within our own confederacy and with all Onkwehon:we. We’re stronger with each other and thats the biggest reason I wanted to come out.”
“Also for my kids right. I’m a mom, everything that I do I think about them, what I need to do for them to ensure that they have a future. Not even just clean drinking water or land, but that they have a future that they can thrive in.”
The Wet’suwet’en house chiefs set three conditions last week for meeting with federal leaders but a spokesman for the chiefs said Monday they haven’t been met.
The chiefs have called for the removal of an RCMP mobile unit, the end of foot patrols and the removal of Coastal GasLink workers from their traditional territory as conditions for meeting with the federal government.
Support has come from nearly all Haudenosaunee reserves that include Mohawk Nation members including; Six Nations, Tyendinaga, Kanehsatake, Kahnawa:ke, and Akwesasne.
Solidarity demonstrations are believed to be set to continue and grow.