Updated: Feb 1
The United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO) is unwavering in our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation. We are outraged at the colonial violence Wet’suwet’en people continue to face as they protect their lands, which are on the front line of egregious petroleum expansionism. We join the We’suwet’en nation and countless other organizations and individuals calling for an end to repression and violence against land defenders. We call for a peaceful withdrawal of CGL workers from Wet’suwet’en territory.
It’s time that federal and provincial governments recognize that the Wet’suwet’en are a sovereign nation with a long-standing democratic governance system who hold jurisdiction over their land, which has never been ceded to any level of Canadian government.
We note the targeting of women leaders, including CGL’s tactic of challenging Sleydo and Jocelyn Alec’s status as Wet’suwet’en women in court. To use the Indian Act to dismiss these women’s identity is a cynical weaponization of Canada’s decades-long-failure to negotiate in good faith with First Nations to replace this colonial law with relationships that embody the inherent rights of Indigenous nations. These are genocidal tactics, used by colonial, capitalist powers to get what they want in spite of the opposition of the peoples who have cared for our shared homelands for millennia. Shame on CGL and shame on the court system for condoning this centuries-old tactic to strip female leaders of their identities and thus of their power to defend their lands and their communities’ futures.
The United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO) is a non-partisan, independent, secular, cultural and educational organization, founded a century ago by Jewish people who fled persecution and genocide in Europe. While no two genocides are the same, and each experience is specific to its context, we feel resonance as we witness this state violence. Domestic, Indigenous and international human rights commentators note that the escalation of police tactics to isolate a targeted group and to exclude and arrest press and observers is a familiar and brutal pattern that can only lead to greater violations and the loss of all of our rights.
As we pay taxes to this government and live on Indigenous territory, we seek to transform these systems of which we are a part. We call on the RCMP to stop their brutal selective enforcement of Canadian laws. We call on the government of Canada to honour the 1997 Delgamuukw decision, and back off of Wet’suwet’en territory. We take heart seeing all of the solidarity statements coming out in support of the Wet’suwet’en. Doctors speak out about the health risks; international peace coalitions speak out about human rights violations; cultural groups like us speak out as settlers who hold deep gratitude for how the Wet’suwet’en nation protect the land. This is a powerful message, and it’s past time that our governments heed it.
As Jews we are taught to work towards tikkun olam, repairing the world. We also practice shomrei adamah, the concept that we are responsible for caring and keeping the earth. The pipeline that is being drilled under Wedzin Kwa is not in the spirit of tikkun olam. Its aggressive implementation wounds the land, waters and people who are the living legacy for present and future children. The CGL pipeline facilitates petroleum expansion at a time when use of petroleum must be reduced and phased out.
While Canada talks of reconciliation, we ask: Why does the harm of ongoing colonization continue when it can be prevented? As the rabbinic sage Hillel said: If not now, when?
United Jewish People’s Order-Canada 9 December 2021
Image credits: Stop RCMP Invasion on Indigenous Lands — Photo: Jason Hargrove We Stand with the Wet’suwet’en: www.culturalsurvival.org