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Voices / Letters from readers

First Nation ancestral land under attack in British Columbia

As I write this letter, the Wet’suwet’en First Nation peoples, on their unceded, ancestral land in British Columbia, are under armed attack by the Canadian government. It is an old story, one as old as the “discovery” of the Americas and as recent as Standing Rock a couple of years ago.

Their Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, built in the path of the gas pipeline that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to force through their territory, was surrounded by militarized Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Feb. 8. Many have been arrested, but they are unbowed in their resistance.

I bring this situation to your attention as it concerns us all: all who dream of a better way of living in relationships of reciprocity with one another and with the Earth, with the human and the other-than-human.

We all have an obligation to support traditional Indigenous ways of being, from British Columbia to Vermont. And for that, the land is central. Yes: here, too, we should remind ourselves that we live on stolen land. How can justice be served?

The Wet’suwet’en have received much support throughout Canada, and in the U.S.: The Port of Vancouver was shut down for over five days and counting, various rail blockades in the East by Six Nations, occupations of British Columbia and other governments by Indigenous youth and allies, and so on. This is big — and not in our news, is it?

One thing we can do locally will be to come to a film and fundraiser about the Wet’suwet’en struggle at the Brattleboro Food Co-op Community Room, 6 p.m. on Monday, March 2. All contributions will go to the Wet’suwet’en Legal Defense.

Funds are urgently needed, as the Wet’suwet’en have vowed to remain and fight. They have put out a call for land defenders. Let’s do our little part here.

For more on this struggle and continuous updates, and to contribute, visit

Bert Picard

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Originally published in The Commons issue #548 (Wednesday, February 12, 2020). This story appeared on page C3.

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