Victoria-based demonstrator Abby Maxwell paints the words ‘Respect Wet’suwet’en Law’ on a banner destined for the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction signpost. Local First Nations and supporters occupied the Junction on March 8 for 24-hours. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Victoria-based demonstrator Abby Maxwell paints the words ‘Respect Wet’suwet’en Law’ on a banner destined for the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction signpost. Local First Nations and supporters occupied the Junction on March 8 for 24-hours. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Members of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nations host Wet’suwet’en solidarity rally at Tofino-Ucluelet Junction

“This is a wake up call for Canada.”

Ten red dresses stood like crosses along the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction on International Women’s Day, March 8.

The dresses, set-up as part of a Wet’suwet’en solidarity gathering organized by Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation member Savannah Rose, commemorate Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

At a talking circle in Hitacu on March 6, Indigenous scholar Dr. Sandrina de Finney from the University of Victoria called the disappearance of thousands of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) over the last three decades a “Canadian genocide”.

For Rose, whose Nuu-chah-nulth name is Wh?aala, meaning graceful dancer, talking about the passing of Indigenous women is a highly emotional topic. She lost a sister to drug addiction.

“That to me is missing and murdered. She lost herself in the concept of needing drugs, and that’s not okay,” Rose said.

“Alcohol and drugs was not a part of our lifestyle. We did not live off of that. It wasn’t even a part of who we were. It was not present. Then there is trauma from residential school, the ripple effect from the trauma,” she continued.

PIPELINE POLITICS


Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation Savannah Rose talks with Ha’wiih Tutube of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ at the March 8 Junction campout in support of hereditary Indigenous laws and rights. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Demonstrators propped a piece of cardboard reading ‘Shut down Canada’ below the ‘Welcome to Ucluelet’ sign.

“I feel like it is important for people to realize that ‘Shutting down Canada’ is the only way we have been able to get our message across to people,” Rose tells the Westerly News during Sunday’s solidarity rally.

“I know people here are really upset thinking we are blockading the road, but I don’t even know where they got those words from. People are changing the narrative without even talking to us,” she said.

Vehicles were able to travel by the peaceful demonstration without inconvenience. There was no road barricade.

One demonstrator explains the sign ‘Shut down Canada’ signifies to shut down ports and railways until respect for Wet’suwet’en hereditary law is achieved.

Rose was compelled to organize a local demonstration after her Tyee Ha’wiih (hereditary chief) Wilson Jack said he was proud of her for supporting the Wet’suwet’en during a recent six-day Indigenous youth-led occupation of B.C. parliament in Victoria.

“There are LNG negotiations happening for Barkley Sound in Sarita Bay and this could be us some day. It’s really important for us to make sure Wet’suwet’en knew that we stand with them and we are going to protect the land with them,” Rose said.

“You think about the land that you live on, you wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the land. You wouldn’t be here without the water or the trees that provide the air. We are part of the land. It’s really important for people to understand that message,” she said.

Rose believes the province is choosing profit over what’s right.

“The government doesn’t understand what no consent means. They don’t like that we are using our voices now with our territories. They don’t like that we are saying no and they are not accepting it and they are still forcefully oppressing our people and taking them off their territory. And that’s not okay,” said Rose, an environmental technician at Central Westcoast Forest Society.

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation member Sheldon Touchie, 28, joined the rally to support his hereditary chief. Like most of the demonstrators present at Sunday’s 24-hour Junction campout, he wants the Canadian government to listen and to acknowledge Indigenous Rights.

“This is a coming of the times for aboriginal people and acknowledgment of traditional aboriginal titles. This is a wake up call for Canada,” said Touchie.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: It’s up to all Wet’suwet’en people to work through agreement: Bellegarde

READ: New First Nations justice strategy being created in B.C.

First NationspipelinesTofino,ucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Anvy Technologies CEO Victor Nicolov displays his company’s innovative garbage disposal device, the Sepura. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Times Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

Merchants along Fort Street are hosting the Winter Wander holiday shopping event Dec. 5. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Wander along Fort Street for a total holiday shopping experience

Merchants featuring discounts, special offerings; community event set for Dec. 5

Sweetpal Chauhan, operator of several Shell Gas stations in Greater Victoria, donated 100 jackets and 100 sleeping bags to Our Place on Friday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria businessman donates 100 jackets, 100 sleeping bags to Our Place

Warm jackets, sleeping bags can mean the ‘difference between life and death’

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read