Department Statement Regarding Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders

The UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory condemns the invasion of the Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en checkpoint and forcible removal of citizens and land and water protectors from the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Concerned members of the department have written the following statement to President Santa Ono urging action.

Dear President Santa Ono,

The undersigned faculty, staff and students of The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory are writing to register our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in the face of assaults by armed RCMP officers on the Unist’ot’en Camp, and urge you to make a public statement opposing these tactics and supporting the rights of the people of the Wet’suwet’en nation.

As we are sure you know, heavily-armed RCMP officers, in some cases wearing tactical camouflage fatigues, raided the peaceful, non-violent Gidimt’en checkpoint on January 7 and arrested 14 members of the Gidimt’en clan.

The Wet’suwet’en have called on all people of conscience to act in solidarity. We believe that the University of British Columbia’s commitment to the truth and reconciliation process commits it further to speaking out against such dangerous violations of the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en nation and their rights to safeguard their land and culture.

Our department like many others in the University, has Indigenous faculty, staff and students who along with many of their colleagues, are deeply distressed about such repressive measures undertaken by the Canadian state. This is in violation both of its stated position on reconciliation and its commitments under international law, namely the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, of which it is a signatory.

The University of British Columbia has a moral obligation to take a stand in support of the rights and sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en nation. We call on you to speak out and send a strong signal that these sovereign rights are recognized and supported by the University.

The undersigned

Yeganeh Abed
Ignacio Adriasola
Laura Aguilera
Alison Ariss
Matilda Aslizadeh
Krista Bailie
Matthew Ballantyne
Alejandro A. Barbosa
Heida Bjork Arnadottir
Geoffrey Carr
Heather Caverhill
Tracy Chiu
Dana Claxton
Ian Craig
Christine D’Onofrio
Gregory Elgstrand
Greg Gibson
Angela Glanzmann
Serge Guilbaut
Frances Hart D’Emilio
Gareth James
Jeremy Jaud
Megan Jenkins
Ateya Khorakiwala
Sam Kinsley
Lucas Kling
Carol Knicely
Scy Krogh
Jessica Law
Trey Le
Nicholas Loewen
Jaleh Mansoor
Mandana Mansouri
Michael Mao
Savannah Marlatt
Phillip McCrum
Michelle McGeough
Tatiana Mellema
Joseph Monteyne
Jeff O’Brien
Julia Orell
Jay Pahre
Vanessa Parent
Daniela Perez Montelongo
Manuel Piña
Nuno Porto
Marina Roy
Maureen Ryan
Saygin Salgirli
Anthony Shelton
Sameena Siddiqui
Erin Silver
T’ai Smith
Nick Smolinski
Catherine Soussloff
Weronika Stepien
Carolyn Stockbridge
Damla Tamer
Althea Thauberger
Andrea Tuele
Catherine Volmensky
Ivana Vranic
Alice Ruo Ran Wang
Scott Watson
Jacqueline Witkowski
Gu Xiong
Jane Young
Barbara Zeigler