NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Ontario’s Official Opposition critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, released the following statement on behalf of the Ontario NDP:
“The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as the rightful holders of title to their unceded territories and recognized that their nation’s Aboriginal title has not been extinguished.
The hereditary chiefs have asked for face to face meetings at the highest levels of the Canadian and British Columbia government. Those discussions should happen immediately and the RCMP needs to stand down and stop the arrests.
Issues and conflicts that arise from not respecting title, land claims and Indigenous sovereignty cannot be resolved by force and police enforcement. The land defenders at Wet'suwet'en are not criminals and should not be treated as such. Their forceful detention must be denounced for what it is. It is time for respect, dialogue and a peaceful resolution in the homelands of the Wet'suwet’en peoples.
While there are differing views on the blockades and pipeline construction in affected Indigenous communities and among different Indigenous governing bodies, these divisions should not be exploited by governments, industry or third parties. These are differences that should be resolved by the Indigenous leadership and community members within their nation and their ultimate wishes respected.
The provincial and federal governments must give Wet’suwet’en the time, space and resources they need to accomplish this.
What’s happening in Wet’suwet’en disregards the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Using force and violence to protect industry and profits above human rights is colonialism at its worst and must end now.”