All Eyes on Wet'sewet'en: Standing in Solidarity

Photo: Evan Lindsay

About 250 people Gathered in Solidarity and support of the Wet’suwet’en peoples of British Columbia on Concordia’s downtown campus on Wednesday.

The gathering was in response to the development of a pipeline on the west coast in unceded First Nations lands. The Students stood out in the fridged air listening intently to different speakers who spoke in support of the Wet’suwet’en. 

The normally busy square outside of the GM building was stopped in silence. The crowd was primarily students, but professors and other passers-by joined and listened to the different speakers.

The large crowd blocked the primary entrance to the GM building forcing many people to stop and pay attention to the event if just for a moment. At the end of each speaker’s piece, the crowd would erupt in supportive chanting and cheering.

The Concordia Student Union handed out coffee and snacks to event participants and Volunteers also walked around asking participants to sign anti-pipeline petitions. Many of those standing in solidarity wore traditional River Skirts - colourful skirts believed by Indigenous people to connect them with the land.

The crowd was decorated with homemade signs in support of the Wet’suwet’en people with statements like “Love Water Not Oil”, while other signs criticized Canada and its government with signs like “Not proud to be KKKanadian” and “Trudeau doesn’t give an *expletive* about Indigenous rights.”

The speakers conducted a small traditional burning ceremony in a cast iron pan. The burning filled the area with the smell of smoke and burning herbs. These traditional practices complimented the community atmosphere and made the event feel intimate and personal. Despite the fact, it was held in the middle of downtown Montreal an area that typically feels busy and impersonal.