I stood in a circle of people blocking the busiest intersection in Hazelton, with my baby on my back and tears in my eyes. I knew I was right where I needed to be, and she was too. Taking a stand for her future.
We were there to stand with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, and their Gitxsan neighbors whose territory we live on in the so-called country of Canada. Unceded territory, both. As the Wet’suwet’en face an invasion on their territory – militarized RCMP clearing the way for Coastal GasLink to put in a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en land, despite Hereditary Chiefs saying NO to the pipeline on their territory – there is a wave of solidarity rising up around the country, and even the world, including here in Hazelton.
We woke up this morning (Thursday, February 6th) to the news that RCMP had raided the first camp at 39km on the Morice West Forest Service Road very early this morning and were headed in, with a convoy of CGL machinery and RCMP in tactical gear, toward the next checkpoints en route to the healing center at Unist’ot’en (the territory of one of five Wet’suwet’en clans). The police came in the dark, with night vision glasses and automatic weapons, to take down a peaceful camp of people taking a stand for their rights and responsibility to this territory. They proceeded to arrest people, break into cars to stop communication, take down tents not even in the area covered by the injunction they claimed to be enforcing, and continue on to force themselves into the next camp.
Hearing the news, many felt called to ACTION, and there was a local rally to gather in solidarity here in Hazelton, as well as many other towns and cities across so-called Canada. We gathered at the New Hazelton Visitor Info Center, and the gathering soon moved into the intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 62, blocking traffic from all directions as we spread into a circle. There were drums and singing. Signs declaring things like “RCMP OFF Wet’suwet’en Territory”, “Heal the land, heal the people”, and “Fracked Gas is not Natural”. Traffic stopped and started to back up, especially on Highway 16, the highway-artery between these northern communities. A few pulled over to the side of the road and came to join us in the circle.
As I looked around this circle, my heart swelled and the tears flowed, to see all of these beautiful people here, standing up for what they know in their hearts is right. It felt good to be there, to be taking a visible stand for what I know in my heart is right.
It is NOT right how the Wet’suwet’en are being treated, and I cannot just sit by and twiddle my thumbs hoping it will go away and everything will continue on. Maybe it won’t be so bad even if the Wet’suwet’en do lose. Who am I to stand up to the Canadian government and the huge corporations that seem to rule it? I won’t listen to the doubts anymore, it’s time to take a stand and DO whatever I can do, even if it feels like a teeny tiny speck in the bigger scene.
I’m still not sure exactly what I can do to make a difference, but I know that what I’m seeing isn’t right and if I ignore it, if I just sit by hoping someone else does what needs to be done to stop it, I WILL regret it when that pipeline rolls through and the beautiful land I call home becomes more and more industrialized and destroyed, leaving a dreary future, if any, for my daughter, my nieces, my nephews, my grand children and great grandchildren, the generations coming long after my physical body is dead and gone…
I don’t want to leave a world that destroys the Earth for profit, and runs rough trod over anyone in their path who tries to stop the destruction, especially those with a deep relationship and history with the land. I don’t want to have to explain why I didn’t do something to stop it.
And ultimately, I know this is why I chose to come here, to this planet, at this time. And Little Miss chose to come here, now, too. To be a part of the transformation that is at hand, to stand up for what I know is right, stand up for the future I want here on planet Earth. It is my mission to help create that future, and participating in the solidarity with Wet’suwet’en rally today felt like an important step, and having my infant daughter there along with me felt so right. It is her future, after all. I’ll be around to see some of it, but she will likely be here longer than I.
I want my daughter to know that she is part of a greater community, and to seek to live together in harmony with all beings around her. I want her to know that she has a responsibility to the land, to the Earth, to care for it and love it, and to stand up when she sees life being abused and destroyed. Whether it’s land, or people, or animals, or any other form of LIFE.
I want her to remember that she is of the Earth, and to nurture and honor her connection to the Earth. I want her to remember that she is sovereign, and let her heart lead the way. I want her to remember that ALL beings are equal, and worthy, and deserving of love and care.
I want her to know that it’s not okay to force anything on anyone, or to kill and destroy people and the land they live on for your own profit, and to not be afraid to STAND UP for what she knows is right, even when it feels like she’s standing against a giant.
So we stood in that circle, in the middle of Highway 16, with our brothers and sisters, our community, in solidarity, to say “This isn’t right, and we’re not going to just stand by and let it happen.”
It may not be much, but it is something I can do rather than just sitting by wondering and hoping. And I will keep on doing whatever I can, and bringing my daughter along for the adventure as we move forward into a NEW future, co-creating it together with life itself.
Today was an empowering experience for me as a mother. To go and participate in a cause that feels so important to my heart, and to bring my 4-month old daughter along with me, confident that we would be comfortable and cared for, for whatever time we needed to be there.
I learned some things for next time – another warm layer for each of us, layers that make breastfeeding in the cold easy, and having water easily reachable, to name a few – and feel even more confident in my ability to bring her along on adventures even in winter.
And there will be a next time. This is only the beginning.
Two days later, we were on the CN Rail tracks, stopping trains in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, on behalf of life itself. That story is coming soon…