Open letter urges governments to uphold principles of UNDRIP, TRC and 2014 Delgamuukw court decision, as publicly committed
VANCOUVER — Today, the David Suzuki Foundation released an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan, urging both governments to reconsider their approaches to Indigenous consultation regarding major development projects where questions of Indigenous rights, title and leadership remain.
“The issue of who appropriately represents the territorial title and rights of the Wet’suwet’en remains unresolved. To obtain consent of titleholders as set out in the Tsilhqot’in decision and UNDRIP means true consultation must take place. For that to occur, the Crown must ensure that such consent is obtained from the appropriate titleholders and truly represents the will of the people. This requires a better understanding of each individual nation’s governance and leadership roles. This process has not been completed with the Wet’suwet’en,” the letter reads.
The letter comes a week after Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs requested a public investigation into the way RCMP have been controlling access to a checkpoint near the proposed pipeline route.
“Both your governments should jointly work to resolve issues around Indigenous rights and title and respect for Indigenous law. The place to start is to put on hold all major resource development projects where questions remain about Indigenous rights and title and leadership, and to begin a meaningful, respectful and non-aggressive dialogue and process to move forward on a path of true reconciliation,” the letter continues.
In recent news reports, Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership have predicted that forcible removable of the Wet’suwet’en camp at the checkpoint is “inevitable.” A similar situation brought international media attention to the dispute in January 2019, when the RCMP arrested 14 Wet’suwet’en land defenders.
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For more information, please contact:
Brendan Glauser, David Suzuki Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org, 604-356-8829