Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief violently prevented from entering the Royal Bank of Canada annual general meeting
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By Brenda Norrell
April 5, 2023
SASKATOON -- Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief Na'moks was violently prevented from entering the Royal Bank of Canada annual general meeting today. "Such a racist act, they've actually laid hands on me, a Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief on my regalia just now," Chief Na'Moks told the RBC, as snipers were stationed on the buildings where traditional elders gathered in an Indigenous delegation.
Chief Na'moks, prevented from entering the meeting, and isolated in a separate room, delivered his address to RBC. Na'moks pointed out the violence against him as he attempted to enter and said that Coastal GasLink, financed by RBC, is using divide and conquer and does not have free, prior, informed consent.
"How dare you dismiss this! Dismiss me as a Chief of the Wet'suwet'en Nation."
Stressing that the Wet'suwet'sen are caretakers of the land, Na'moks said the Coastal GasLink pipeline is going through his backyard, damaging the land and water.
"We are the Title Holders."
|RBC as a global leader in banking that UNDRIP is not an option- it’s the law," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillips.|
|Outside the RBC shareholders meeting|
Stand Earth said in a statement:
RBC’s attempt to divide and threaten with arrest and physical violence the Indigenous delegation – who all have received necessary proxies – and shut out Wet’suwet’en Hereditary leadership is further confirmation of the bank’s commitment to corporate colonialism. RBC is the primary financier of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which lacks consent from Hereditary Chiefs, the rightful titleholders of the land.
RBC has opted to apply a reserve system to its AGM, forcing Indigenous delegates into a second classroom, with a colour-coded pass.
Attempts by shareholders to hold RBC accountable and to seek change has resulted in the bank recommending the rejection of shareholder proposals around climate targets and Indigenous sovereignty as outlined below:
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, with the B.C. General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) brought forward a shareholder resolution to push RBC to operationalize free, prior and informed consent into its corporate policies and activities. While BMO and TD have expressed meaningful willingness to improve their policies, RBC has flat-out opted to recommend the rejection of the proposal.
Stand.earth filed a resolution for RBC to end financing for fossil fuel expansion.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and three of the New York City Retirement Systems (the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, and Board of Education Retirement System) have brought forward a shareholder resolution asking RBC to set absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets. To date, the bank has only set targets for reducing the amount of greenhouse gases per dollar invested, which allows the growth of its financed emissions.
This irresponsible and disrespectful move by RBC comes days after traditional owners of the Tiwi Islands in so-called Australia lodged human rights complaints against 12 banks – including RBC – for involvement in a $4.7 billion gas project. Last week, a large force of RCMP C-IRG raided a Gidimt’en village site, and arrested five land and water defenders, mostly Indigenous women on behalf of the RBC-financed CGL pipeline.
All of this highlights that RBC has no interest in reconciliation or the rights of Indigenous peoples. They are more focused on their bottom line at the expense of human rights.
RBC is currently under investigation by the Competition Bureau of Canada for allegedly misleading consumers with climate-related advertising while continuing to increase financing for coal, oil, and gas.