Arcade Fire, Tanya Tagaq and more than 200 Canadian musicians and industry professionals have signed an open letter supporting the Indigenous people of northern British Columbia’s fight against the construction of a natural gas pipeline.
Arcade Fire, Destroyer, Stars, Peaches, Tokyo Police Club, Tanya Tagaq, Owen Pallett, U.S. Girls, Fucked Up and Arkells are among those who’ve signed the open letter to the Unist’ot’en camp and the Wet’suwet’en Nation saying they watched “infuriated” as Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) forcibly removed 14 protestors at gunpoint earlier this month.
Coastal GasLink Pipeline Limited is proposing to build an approximately 670-kilometre pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to the west coast of British Columbia, which would include 22,000 square kilometers of Wet’suwet’en land.
The issue arose after Coastal GasLink claimed it had signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations bands along the pipeline route, however, five hereditary clan chiefs within the Wet’suwet’en said the project also requires their consent. As a result, a temporary injunction was issued by the B.C. Supreme Court preventing anyone from impeding Coastal GasLink’s work until parties in question had filed a response.
The open-letter also addressed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent comments surrounding the RCMP’s handling of the situation, particularly after his government pledged its commitment to Indigenous rights and the righting of past wrongs.
“As musicians, we know a PR campaign when we see one: since 2015 Justin Trudeau has promoted a message of Truth and Reconciliation and professed the goal of building meaningful nation-to-nation relationships, but his government’s actions don’t align.”
The statement continues, “Meaningful nation-to-nation relationships are not made at gunpoint.
The project, which is said to cost an estimated 40 billion dollars Canadian, is a joint venture between Shell, Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Mitsubishi Corp., PetroChina Co. and Korea Gas Corp.
Read the full statement here.
photo of Tanya Tagaq by Yannick Anton