The Vancouver Unitarians condemn the violent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, including the arrest of over 30 unarmed land defenders and two journalists. The RCMP action is a direct violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which states that “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories” (Article 10). In allowing this action, the BC and Canadian governments are abrogating their commitments to implement UNDRIP. The RCMP raid is also a violation of Canadian Supreme Court decisions, specifically Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, which affirms the Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership’s jurisdiction over traditional territory.
We stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and land defenders. We call on the government to drop all charges against the arrestees and respect Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ jurisdiction over their territories.
This statement aligns with UCV’s vision and our UU Principles:
Our Unitarian Principles and UCV’s vision call us to take action when we see injustice.
Issuance of a statement in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs aligns with four of the Unitarian principles. Specifically:
- Principle 2: “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations”
- The militarized RCMP response against unarmed people is inhumane and unjustified.
- Principle 6: “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”
- The government of British Columbia has approved legislation to implement The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). UNDRIP is a critical document that ensures Indigenous Peoples’ rights are respected including the right to live without persecution on their land. The RCMP raid, including arrests and burning of cabins, violates this commitment.
- Principle 7: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”
- The actions taken by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters were to protect the land from devastation caused by the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline. Specifically, they are trying to preserve the water quality of the Wedzin Kwa which provides their drinking water and is their essential salmon habitat, and as such, is clearly connected to our interdependent web of existence.
- Principle 8: “Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and systemic barriers to full inclusion in ourselves and our institutions”
- Indigenous People routinely face disproportionate police violence and violations of their basic human rights. As a congregation that has committed to dismantling racism and systemic barriers, we must stand in solidarity with those who are currently being oppressed.
Statement of UCV Vision: “Because we envision a more compassionate world, we seek to deepen our spiritual and religious lives, grow and enrich our congregation, and advocate for love and justice”.