The blockade of the Canadian Pacific Railway line through Kahnawake has ended, but the solidarity actions with the Wet’suwet’en continue. After a series of community meetings this week it was decided that the best course of action for the Kahnawake solidarity actions was for the Sacred Fire, which has been burning since February 8, to be moved to the green space along Route 132 near G.D.’s Garage.
Kahnawake Land Protectors began dismantling the camp at Adirondack Junction on Thursday morning. By 1 p.m., the fire was transferred into a metal barrel and a procession of Kahnawa’kehró:non began the slow process of moving the fire.
Once the procession, followed by a throng of reporters, made it to the Route 132 intersection traffic was stopped by Kahnawa’kehró:non and the Peacekeepers and a short press conference was held.
“We, the people at the fire in Kahnawake, will continue to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Wet’suwet’en territory,” Roxann Whitebean said in a statement on behalf of the Kahnawake Land Defenders. “We also support the actions taken by our sister communities and all our allies across Turtle Island that continue to show support and resist the illegal actions and colonialism of the Canadian Government and the RCMP. We demand the government of Canada to restore its relationship with the First Peoples of this country and uphold Indigenous rights. We expect the government of Canada and the Premier of British Columbia to continue its respectful negotiations with the Wet’suwet’en Heriditary Chiefs and remove RCMP from Indigenous territories.”
The decision came after several community meetings on the matter over the past two weeks. The Land Protectors said that they have listened to the voice of the people of Kahnawake about the best course of action to support the Wet’suwet’en while at the same time ensuring the safety of Kahnawa’kehró:non.
“Our decision is to relocate our fire to the green space in Kahnawake away from the railway tracks,” Whitebean continued on behalf of the group. “We want the fire to be visible for every community that crosses the Mercier Bridge to show that we are here to stay for as long as the Wet’suwet’en need us to. We want to allow the Wet’suwet’en to take the necessary time within their own community to make decisions.”
Last weekend, the Wet’suwet’en, the federal government and the B.C. government reached a tentative agreement, which is being brought to the Wet’suwet’en people through their traditional governance process. The Kahnawake Land Defenders decided to move the barricade and fire as a show of good faith.
“Let this be a strong message and demonstration of good fair to all of Canada,” Whitebean continued. “We prefer a peaceful resolution and demand that Indigenous Peoples rights be respected. We will be closely monitoring the situation in Wet’suwet’en as well as other Indigenous communities. Depending on how Canada moves forward, we area ready to react and will ensure that our rights and lands will no longer be violated. We will not back down until these standards are met.”
The Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake supported the move of the fire.
“The relocation is a gesture of good faith as the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are now taking the time to deliberate on the proposed agreement that recognizes their legal title and authority over their ancestral lands,” Joe Deom said on behalf of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake. “The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation at Kahnawake would like to share its gratitude and praise for the Kahnawake Land Defenders, these women, who have endured the element to stand their ground for 27 days in support and solidarity with the people of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.”Federal Minister of Indigenous Services said there is still much work to be done.
“While there remains much work to be done in addressing the underlying issues that led to this action, I am glad that as peoples we can demonstrate that peaceful resolution is achievable,” Miller told Iorì:wase. “However, this can only be done through continued and open dialogue that should characterize our relationship particularly in difficult times and in the face of adversity. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the leadership in Kahnawake for keeping the lines of communication open at all times with the Government of Canada.”
Courtesy of Iorì:wase