Planners Network Statement in Support of Wet’suwet’en Jurisdiction and Governance
Planners Network – an international association of progressive planning that advocates for racial, social and economic justice – strongly condemns the use of force by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and by extension the governments of British Columbia and Canada, against the Wet’suwet’en who seek to protect their unceded lands and defend their rights to stay on their lands. We stand in solidarity with their anti-colonial resistance to the Coastal GasLink pipeline and with the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s right to exercise fully self-determined governance and jurisdiction over their lands.
Planning has played a critical role in colonial dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the entrenchment of a system of institutionalized racism, land expropriation and resource extraction. Such planning-related interventions include the Indian Act, which, among other things, was key in implementing the reserve system and residential schools and established the band council as a governing authority – a council that serves as an appendage to the colonial state and contravenes traditional systems of governance. The proposed construction of the oil and gas pipeline without the free and prior consent of the traditional authorities – who are recognized in the 1997 Delgamuukwa decision of the Supreme Court of Canada as the proper title and rights holders – is just the latest manifestation of this colonial form of planning.
As planners who seek to promote social justice, we say ‘not in our name’. We condemn these forms of colonial planning and we give our full support to the traditional decision-making bodies and their ongoing struggles to preserve the sanctity of their land, livelihoods and (all of our) environment.