Hundreds of people clog downtown Saskatoon to support Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Traffic came to a halt during rush hour Thursday at Saskatoon’s busiest intersection as hundreds of people stood out in the cold to support We’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Just as rush hour was starting, the crowd took to the intersection and stopped traffic.

Amber Belenger says this was a community effort to organize the peaceful blockade and it wasn’t posted on social media.

“The community organized it and came together it wasn’t one individual person everyone is here to stand in solidarity and just kind of let Saskatoon Saskatchewan and all of Canada know we are standing together to protest what’s going on in BC in the unceded territories.” said Belanger.

In B.C., five hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are fighting against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline that will carry fracked natural gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. in the east, 670 km to Kitimat on the coast.

Participants in the blockade like Maya Branyik-Thornton heard about the blockade through word of mouth.

“I am here because I care about the water I care about the earth industry over the people and the ground of this land inaccessible and I will not stand for it,” she said.

Ronalda Vandale travelled from 157 kms from the Muskoday First Nation to Saskatoon to take part in the protest.

“I just think it’s important that we all stand with them (hereditary chiefs) because they are not doing it in malice it’s to protect the waters and the environment for everybody for generations to come,” said Vandale.

Branyik-Thornton said as a non-Indigenous person she has a message for her fellow Canadians.

“To my people, people of European descent people whom come to Canada it is our jobs to look back at where we came from and fix and heal our own roots so we can heal the colonialist in the colonizers,” she said.

“I call out to you to support the people of this land.”

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.