“We’re not standing down, and we’re not asking anybody else to stand down either.”
Molly Wickham, spokesperson for the Gidimt’en camp in northwestern B.C., says the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s struggle for sovereignty is not over, following the tentative agreement between the Wet’suwet’en and the B.C. and Canadian governments.
Ricochet reported yesterday that although the tentative agreement concerns Wet’suwet’en rights and title, it does not resolve the ongoing dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline. None of the parties involved have changed their position on the controversial project, and Chief Woos of the Gidimt’en clan, one of five that make up the Wet’suwet’en Nation, said at a press conference that the hereditary chiefs remain “opposed to any pipeline going through our territory.”
The tentative agreement, the contents of which have not yet been made public, will now go to the Wet’suwet’en people for ratification.
Speaking in video footage released today, Wickham, who holds the traditional name Tsake'za Sleydo’, reinforced the message that the underlying issues are far from resolved and urged the solidarity movement to keep pushing.
What follows are Wickham’s remarks.
‘Now is the time’
The governments are being forced to acknowledge and forced to move on our inherent rights and title and responsibilities to our land.
We’re not resting. We’re not giving up. We’re not standing down. We’re not asking other people to stand down.
Even though they’re willing to talk about title on our territory, they’re willing to do that for future reference so this never happens again. But they don’t understand that this is not over.
We’re still in the middle of a crisis and that’s not going to go away. And it’s not going to go away because they’re talking about recognizing our title.
We have always maintained our jurisdiction over our territory through our houses and through our names, our hereditary names, and our feast system.
And they have no claim to that. They have no deed to the land. They have no treaty with us.
And even for people that do have treaties, that’s not to give up your territory or to give up your rights. That’s to have an agreement about how you’re going to live together on those territories.
We don’t need the province, we don’t need the federal government to know that we have full jurisdiction over our territories. We don’t need them to acknowledge us.
But the fact of the matter is they have RCMP pointing guns at our people and removing our people and our guests from our territories and arresting our chiefs.
And we need that to stop. And so that’s where they come in.
We know that this is a long fight. We know that this is an intergenerational struggle.
This is a revolution. This isn’t a three-day “now they’ve met the demands and let’s all go home.”
We know we’ve been fighting this since contact, since colonization.
And we’re going to continue to keep fighting this. We need to keep focused. We need to keep the pressure on.
This is the time. This is the opportunity. This is the time that we have seen thousands and thousands and thousands of us rise up and that we have solidarity and support even from non-Indigenous people and allies all over the world.
And so this is not the time to take a break. This is not the time to sit back and hope that it all works out. This is the time to keep pushing because now is the time to see and actualize and realize our hopes and dreams of liberation.
And so I encourage our supporters to keep on going. Keep pushing. We’re not standing down, and we’re not asking anybody else to stand down either.
You can watch the videos shared on Twitter here:
Dini'ze Woos: The Hereditary Chiefs are opposed to any pipeline going through their territory (1/3)#WetsuwetenStrong pic.twitter.com/tRm6mAa6Y5— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) March 2, 2020
Tsake'za Sleydo': We're not resting, we're not giving up, we're not standing down, we're not asking other people to stand down. (2/3) #WetsuwetenStrong pic.twitter.com/7wNFksZwob— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) March 2, 2020
Tsake'za Sleydo': I encourage our supporters to keep on going, keep pushing#WetsuwetenStrong pic.twitter.com/IRjzFqP4VQ— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) March 2, 2020
This article initially identified Wickham as a spokesperson for the Gidimt’en clan. It has been updated to specify that Wickham has been designated as a spokesperson for the Gidimt’en camp.