More than 20 Yellowknifers gathered in frigid minus 27 degree temperatures Tuesday to support a B.C. First Nation whose members were arrested Monday.
The protesters stood outside NWT MP Michael McLeod’s office with feathers and signs they waved at passing cars. Some drivers honked in support. The action was in support of the Gitdumt’en and Unist’ot’en houses of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, 14 of whom were arrested by RCMP after barring pipeline company Coastal GasLink from accessing roads and a bridge in northern B.C. near Houston.
Organizer of the protest Kiera Dawn Kolson argues what is happening is illegal and the local gathering is meant to show the Wet’suwet’en Nation that it is not alone.
“The fact that they would utilize taxpayer dollars to hire RCMP to use armed force on traditional caregivers, stewards of the land, hereditary chiefs who have every right to be there, and there are still people barricaded there, it’s not fair.”
The gathering was part of an international day of action, which saw solidarity protests in other places like Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montreal.
Rena Squirrel came to the gathering with her 2-year-old son Nateyaa Dosedel. She says she wants to to show solidarity from Denendeh to B.C.
“I think it’s important that he sees his auntie and his mom out here supporting other First Nations who just need the attention and the support right now.”
With more protests scheduled for other cities across Canada, tensions remain high at a second Gitdumt’en clan checkpoint set up after an injunction was granted to clear the Unist’ot’en camp.