Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 30, 2018

Free Suntree – Secwepemc Land Defender

Free Suntree – Secwepemc Land Defender

Contact: Kanahus Manuel
Burnaby, BC, March 29th, 2018

On Thursday March 29th at 3pm Secwepemc land defender Suntree Johnson Larue was ambushed by undercover cops while he walked up to Camp Cloud near the gates of the Kinder Morgan tank farm in Burnaby BC. The RCMP targeted Suntree with a co-ordinated and forceful attack, in stark contrast to the way RCMP handled the public arrests of settlers last week.

Suntree is one of hundreds of Indigenous people across Turtle Island who have been criminalized for standing up for the land, for sovereign rights, and against the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

“This province is in a very unique situation because Indigenous people here have never surrendered our lands,” said Kanahus Manuel, a member of the Secwepemc Nation and a leader of the Tiny House Warriors movement. “When we stand up for our laws and our basic rights, rights that are protected even within the constitution, we are still criminalized. We’re arrested for defending our basic need like water and our way of life.”

The RCMP continue to remove Indigenous peoples from their land in service of corporations and in the name of the national interest, and Kinder Morgan has used the colonial courts to enforce an injunction that infringes on the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous peoples. All along the Kinder Morgan pipeline route Indigenous nations do not consent to this pipeline.

Their right to free prior and informed consent, affirmed in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has been blatantly disregarded. Despite this prime minister’s promise to uphold UNDRIP, destructive projects are being pushed through in this era of so called truth and reconciliation.

“Over half the length of the Trans Mountain pipeline crosses Secwepemc territory, and Suntree has travelled to stand with the Coast Salish people to defend their collective rights,” Manuel said. “We demand Suntree’s release, so he can be with his family and his home on the land. He does not belong locked up in a Canadian jail cell.”

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