Solidarity Statement: From Wet’suwet’en to Tkaronto We Demand an End to the Criminalization of Indigenous Land Defenders
Indigenous Land Defender, Vanessa Gray, was targeted at her home by Toronto Police Services who charged her in connection to a solidarity action in Toronto attended by hundreds of people on November 21st in response to a violent raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory. Vanessa has been released with conditions, but her targeted arrest must be condemned.
On November 18th and 19th the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) carried out a militarized raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory. Using axes, chainsaws, assault rifles, and attack dogs, the RCMP arrested over 30 people including legal observers, journalists, Indigenous elders, and matriarchs who were defending their territory from the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline – a pipeline threatening the sacred waters of the Wedzin Kwa that is being shoved through at gunpoint without the consent of the Hereditary Chiefs.
The RCMP raid has resulted in waves of protests and railway blockades across the country, as people from coast to coast unite to support the right of Indigenous self-determination. Charges have been laid against a number of people in other cities.
Vanessa Gray is a respected Anishinaabe Land Defender known for her environmental justice work concerning pollution in Ontario’s Chemical Valley, which is on the territory of her community of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. She has fearlessly committed herself to the liberation of her people.
The targeting of Gray is part of a larger pattern of colonial violence in which the Canadian state collaborates with corporations to criminalize Indigenous Land Defenders for the sake of industry interests.
We, the undersigned organizations, demand that all charges against Gray be dropped immediately. We condemn the Toronto Police for harassing Gray by showing up at her home. Across Turtle Island Indigenous Women have faced violence and been made vulnerable by the Canadian government. We demand an end to this targeted harassment. We condemn all attempts to criminalize and silence Indigenous Land Defenders and all attempts to violently displace Indigenous peoples for industry and capital profits. We support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as they protect their lands and waters.
In solidarity with Indigenous Land Defenders from Tkaronto to Wet’suwet’en,