VIDEO: ‘Reconciliation is dead,’ say Wet’suwet’en supporters from steps of legislature

Hundreds of people attended the Indigenous youth’s press conference on Wednesday at the B.C. Legislature, which they’ve been occupying since Monday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Hundreds of people attended the Indigenous youth’s press conference on Wednesday at the B.C. Legislature, which they’ve been occupying since Monday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Indigenous youth are occupying the legislature for a second time in just a few weeks in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Indigenous youth are occupying the legislature for a second time in just a few weeks in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Hundreds of people attended the Indigenous youth’s press conference on Wednesday at the B.C. Legislature, which they’ve been occupying since Monday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Hundreds of people attended the Indigenous youth’s press conference on Wednesday at the B.C. Legislature, which they’ve been occupying since Monday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
A man in the crowd holds a sign in support of Indigneous rights. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)A man in the crowd holds a sign in support of Indigneous rights. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Seen on the back of a supporters coat. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Seen on the back of a supporters coat. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saul Brown tells the crowd he’s received death threats and felt he should take a step back for Wednesday event. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Saul Brown tells the crowd he’s received death threats and felt he should take a step back for Wednesday event. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Arms raised in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Arms raised in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Supporters gather by a fire in front of the Indigenous youth holding a press conference. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Supporters gather by a fire in front of the Indigenous youth holding a press conference. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Dozens of young Indigenous peoples lined the stairs of the legislature Wednesday morning ahead of a press conference — just steps from where they slept the previous three days.

For them, being there — standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs — is not an option.

Citing 150 years of oppression through the Indian Act and residential schools, the Indigenous youth aim to put a stop to the Coastal GasLink pipeline and say that oppression continues. Saul Brown, one of the front-men of the Victoria movement, told the crowd of hundreds gathered at the base of the steps, that he felt he needed to take a step back for Wednesday’s press conference after getting death threats.

RELATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

“When the media paints us as criminals, it puts us in danger. It incites hatred. It gives excuses to bigots to hate and we know there are people out there who do not wish us well as Indigenous peoples,” he said.

The press conference comes after 14 people were arrested, including three Gitxsan hereditary chiefs, as police enforced injunctions across the province late Monday and Tuesday.

“This isn’t just about a pipeline, this is about our survival and what has been said before is that what we’re fighting for here is so the next generation doesn’t have to be sitting here on cement steps night after night to get these politicians to listen to us,” said Gina Mowat.

Nationwide blockades and demonstrations have been popping up for weeks across the country and the group Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en has declared reconciliation dead.

“We’re starting to realize that reconciliation may not have existed in the first place, that reconciliation was merely empty rhetoric in order to justify the ongoing colonization of our territories,” said Kolin Wilson-Sutherland. “Reconciliation never had anything to do with Indigenous peoples, we were simply an inconvenience to the ongoing exploitation of our territories.”

Ta’Kaiya Blaney addresses the crowd in front of the B.C. Legislature. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Ta’Kaiya Blaney said they will continue to occupy ministry offices, rail lines and legislative and parliamentary precincts to hold all levels of government responsible for the “perpetuation of Canada’s genocidal legacy.”

RELATED: Demonstrators plan to shut down Pat Bay Highway Wednesday afternoon

The current occupation was organized jointly by groups including Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en, Climate Justice Victoria, Divest UVic, Rise and Resist, the University of Victoria Sustainability Project and the Balmoral Tiny House Warriors Build.

Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en has been the driving force behind a number of solidarity movements, including an 18-hour sit-in at the at the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the first occupation of the legislature building’s front steps earlier this month.

With files from Nina Grossman and Shalu Mehta



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLink

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

Just Posted

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Sidney staff have cleaned up unknown number of screws dumped along Resthaven Drive. (Black Press Media File)
Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read