Source: Roar Magazine
The Wet’suwet’en struggle in British Columbia is the latest Indigenous resistance that builds on hundreds of years of organizing against colonial Canada.
Colonialism in Canada is alive and present. It wields enormous ongoing violence against us Indigenous people through disappearing and murdering our women, two-spirit, and trans people; through lack of clean drinking water; dire housing conditions and shortages; and the highest rates of poverty, and incarceration, of any group of people within Canada. The underlying motivation that propels all of this violence is the state’s age-old war for Indigenous land.
UNIST’OT’EN: REOCCUPYING INDIGENOUS LAND
Wet’suwet’en is an Indigenous nation in northern British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada. Like the majority of Indigenous nations in BC, Wet’suwet’en never signed a treaty with the government. Their land is unceded. In fact, aside from the 14 Douglas Treaties on Vancouver Island, a small portion of land in northeastern BC caught within Treaty 8, and a few “modern” treaties, all of the land in BC is unceded. This is the case because of a fairly complicated history of the province “going rogue” and defying the terms of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
Yet, throughout Canada, even nations with treaties tell stories and histories of being manipulated through treaty negotiations; every treaty was negotiated under duress, with coercion rather than consent as the rule. The spirit of the treaties as they were understood by Indigenous nations has never been followed by the Canadian state. All land in Canada is not unceded, but all land is certainly contested.