The Presbyterian Church in Canada is deeply concerned with events and news surrounding pipeline construction on Wet’suwet’en territory. Rising tensions and militarization of the situation, including concerns that use of force might be employed or those supporting Wet’suwet’en law arrested again, has led us to issue this statement calling for peace, respect and dialogue. Additionally, we are very concerned that the RCMP has set up an exclusion zone and is keeping food, supplies and the media from entering the area.
Such actions contradict the rights to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In November 2019, the province of British Columba passed legislation to harmonize its laws with UNDRIP. The Government of Canada has indicated it intends to introduce legislation aimed at doing the same.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada has also affirmed its support of UNDRIP, and has recently, in response to Call to Action # 46, repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery. In line with that repudiation and with our support of UNDRIP, we call on all involved to respect Wet’suwet’en law. We also call on both the provincial and federal government to meet with the hereditary chiefs to resolve this issue in a peaceful manner, through dialogue.
Violence must not be an option in any response to these tensions. The environmental concerns the Wet’suwet’en defenders are raising would affect everyone in the area and must be resolved through good faith dialogue. We pray for the safety and wellbeing of all people in Wet’suwet’en territory, and for a peaceful solution to the situation.
—The Rev. Amanda Currie
Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly