Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 8, 2022

Gidimt’en Checkpoint: Response to New Criminal Charges for Land Defenders

Gidimt’en Checkpoint response to NDP Attorney General issuing criminal charges to four additional land defenders

By Gidimt'en Checkpoint
July 7, 2022

Unceded Wet’suwet’en Yintah (Smithers - BC) – Today, under the leadership of NDP Attorney General David Eby, the crown prosecutor criminally charged four land defenders, including Gidimt'en spokesperson Sleydo' Molly Wickham, for breach of an injunction granted to Coastal Gas Link (CGL). The injunction restrains land defenders from accessing their unceded territory. 

The Crown declined to charge six others with criminal counts. In court, the Crown acknowledged the RCMP had not properly read the injunction to those present on site, but claimed leaders of the land defence “should have” been sufficiently aware of the injunction to charge those four. CGL has until July 28, 2022 to announce if they will proceed with their civil claim. The count is now 19 people facing criminal contempt including Wet’suwet’en members and hereditary chiefs. 

Sleydo’, Molly Wickham Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson issued the following statement on social media platforms this afternoon:

“State and industry are using these courts and colonial laws as tools of genocide to diminish our rights. Canada has a long dark history of targeting Indigenous land defenders through the courts and for a provincial government that claims to support reconciliation, today’s decision smacks of hypocrisy.” 

“This won’t deter us from doing what is right, upholding our own laws that have been in place for thousands of years, protecting our land and standing up for future generations.”

The Coastal GasLink project violates Wet’suwet’en rights and title, and lacks consent of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs, who have been resisting the project for a decade. 

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