The protesters in northern British Columbia had camped out for days amid bitter cold and deep snow, manning a checkpoint to prevent construction vehicles from entering the territory of the Wet'suwet'en nation. […]
But the dramatic scenes highlighted a broader issue for Canada in 2019: swaths of territory – never signed away by treaty or seized in war – still belong to indigenous nations who are fighting back against resource projects they say they never consented to.
Unlike the rest of the country – where relationships between indigenous groups and the state are governed by treaties – few indigenous nations in British Columbia ever signed deals with colonial authorities, meaning the federal government still operates in a vacuum of authority on their lands, said Gordon Christie, a scholar of indigenous law at the University of British Columbia.“What I see is a long history of the Canadian government doing its best to avoid acknowledging the existence of other systems of government,” he said. […]
In recent months, tensions with indigenous peoples have flared across Canada as energy companies seek to construct projects on and through indigenous lands. Both TransCanada, which is attempting to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline and Kinder Morgan, which was pushing the TransMountain pipeline, have faced fierce opposition from indigenous groups.
“Pipeline battle puts focus on Canada's disputed right to use
indigenous land”, The Guardian, 2019.
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Suzanne Stewart, director of the Institute for Indigenous Health, declared in the TV show The Agenda: “It's in the interest of Canada to oppress and colonize Indigenous people in order to continue to access the resources that are on traditional lands.” React!
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