United Against TC Energy: Hundreds in Toronto Stand With Wet’suwet’en, Nahua, Otomi and Mixtec Land Defenders Resisting Colonial Violence

By World BEYOND War, October 15, 2023
Over the past week, Wet’suwet’en leaders and Mixtec, Otomi & Nahua land defenders came together to resist TC Energy’s pipelines on their territories. Travelling 4000 kilometers east from Wet’suwet’en territory and north from Puebla, Hidalgo, and Veracruz, Mexico, these land defenders converged in Toronto to build their shared resistance to Canadian company TC Energy’s colonial pipeline projects.
On October 13, 2023, we were honoured to join Rising Tide Toronto, Indigenous Climate Action, the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, and EUC York in hosting a panel and film screening at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto featuring: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’Moks, Wet’suwet’en land defenders Molly Wickham (Sleydo’) and Eve Saint, Otomi land defender Salvador Aparicio Olvera, and Mixtec land defender Ortencia Reyes Valdivia. With special guest renowned Nigerian environmental justice activist Nnimmo Bassey.

Watch the recording of the panel:

The films that were screened during this event were:

The following day, we took to the streets to join their rallying call: NO to pipelines, colonization, militarized violence, and corporate greed stealing their land, poisoning the water, and burning the planet!

“When you look at the extent of violence that they’ve pulled on us, the Wet’suwet’en, to me it proves that they’ve already lost. When you’ve waded into the muck of violence you’ve lost your heart, your soul. Where’s the future of that?” said Chief Na’moks, hereditary chief of the Tsayu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

“One of the things I was taught when growing up is that the true essence of a warrior carries a heavy burden, and that burden is peace. That burden of peace must be what we use. They come at us with violence but we will not stoop to their level.”

Chief Na'Moks, hereditary chief of the Tsayu Clan, or Beaver Clan, of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Photo by Joshua Best.

“They came at us with semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles”, shared Sleydo’, the spokesperson for the Gidimt’en check-point on Wet’suwet’en territory. “They pointed guns at our elders, our youth as we defended our territory. Every single time they did that, they put us in jail. And what did we do? We came right back. How many times have we had to stand up in the face of state repression?”

Sleydo', photo by Joshua Best
Sleydo' drumming in front of TC Energy's office, photo by Joshua Best

“We have thus far been able to stop the Tuxpan Tula pipeline by TC Energy,” said Salvador Aparicio Olvera, a campesino, social activist and land defender from the Otomi community, Chila de Juárez, in Puebla, Mexico. “But we know that this fight is not over, there are more threats every day. They see our resources as only a commodity but we are here to defend our forests.”

Salvador Aparicio Olvera from the Otomi community of Chila de Juárez addresses the crowd

“As we gather here to stand with land defenders resisting colonial and often militarized violence across Turtle Island, we must also stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine,” said Rachel Small, Canada organizer with World BEYOND War addressing the crowd outside Global Affairs Canada. 

World BEYOND War Canada staff member Rachel Small addressing the crowd outside Global Affairs Canada

“I am sick with horror and sadness and rage and ask you to join me today in committing to do everything in our power to stop the genocidal violence being carried out by Israel in Gaza right before our eyes, right now. This is happening with lots of help from Canada, including via millions in arms sales to the Israeli Defense Forces. Global Affairs Canada, in this building right behind me, is deeply complicit and must be held accountable.”

Photo by Joshua Best

“Seeing all of you here today is inspirational to me,” Sleydo’ shared with the hundreds rallying outside TC Energy’s office on Saturday. “It helps us keep going, even in the face of the kind of repression that we are experiencing in our own territories, in our own homes, in our own ancient village sites. We have to stand with our relatives across Turtle Island and around the world. An attack on one is an attack on all.”


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