The energy was palpable as hundreds of people gathered at Cornwallis Park in Halifax on Sunday to listen to community leaders speak about the importance of Indigenous sovereignty and voice their support for the Wet’suwet'en nation.
Wet’suwet'en hereditary chiefs have been opposing a pipeline project that would cut through their traditional territory in British Columbia.
In early February, RCMP moved in to enforce a court order against opponents blocking the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
In response, solidarity actions sprung up across the country, including several railway blockades, demonstrations, and this gathering in Halifax, several thousands of kilometres from the centre of the conflict.
“There is only one path out of this struggle and that is stopping CGL pipeline, and removing the RCMP from the Wet’suwet’en territory,” said event emcee Darius Mirshahi as the crowd erupted in cheers.
"It is beautiful to see people rising up across Turtle Island right now in defence of the Wet'suwet'en nation, in defence of the Unist'ot'en hereditary chiefs that have been saying no for the last decade,” he said.
Speaker Sakura Saunders highlighted that Mi’kma’ki and Wet’suwet'en have something important in common: both territories are unceded and unconquered.
"We know that the future is Indigenous sovereignty, is environmental justice," she said, "We need to disrupt business as usual. We need to disrupt the way things are operating because it is putting us on a crash course to climate catastrophe.”
The crowd chanted “Consent means the right to say no,” and “We support the Wet’suwet’en Nation, this is not reconciliation,” as they marched down Barrington Street and up Spring Garden Road.
At the intersection of Spring Garden and South Park, the group concluded the day with a large round dance to the rhythm of drums while onlookers watched from the sidelines.