In ancient times and even today in canoe journeys, and community resistance building gatherings, there exists Protocols where visiting peoples have shown who they are in relation to asking permission to enter the Traditional Lands from the Traditional Chiefs and Matriarchs of the hosting lands. Free Prior and Informed Consent is written into today’s United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Many sovereigntists take issue with the so called ‘rights’ as they are created by man and not by the Creator.
Mel Bazil says about the problems faced by sovereigntists in terms of upholding rights. “Rights are man made, particularly by Papal Bulls, written from the 1300’s to 1493. These so called rights are taking traditional societies further from their traditional Responsibilities given to them by the Creator. These traditional responsibilities connected the people to the Natural Laws that exist long before human beings. Natural Laws are connected to the people through their Indigenous Laws or Responsibilities. We must not get further disenfranchised from our Laws and Responsibilities to ourselves, our families, and the lands and waters we have relationships with.” Having said that, there must also be understanding that communities who are seeking basic rights as they are denied these, it is also paramount for communities to transcend ‘rights’ and return to knowledge bases that brings them closer to their laws and responsibilities.
The 3rd Annual Unis’tot’en Camp will witness allies and potential allies from many corners and they all will conduct themselves according to Wet’suwet’en Laws. To outline this upon everyone’s arrival (Prior), they will be participants in a Free Prior and Informed Consent Protocol where they will introduce themselves fully (Informed) to the Unis’tot’en, and ask permission (Consent) to enter their lands to discuss their part in resistance building as well as offer skills or committments to the camp and beyond. This will be conducted on the Unis’tot’en boundary of their territory and will not seek to diminish the responsibilities the Unis’tot’en have toward their future generations (Free) and will also cost them nothing.
This is a living breathing assertion of the Traditional Laws of the Wet’suwet’en. This is not new. Traditional Laws were asserted via protocols like this on the lands for thousands of years. The Wet’suwet’en also had to present themselves as such when travelling to neighbouring peoples’ lands to conduct trade, protocols, build and maintain peace, assist with allies battles, and attain resources or trade work. The People can get denied regardless how much energy or resources people used to get to the lands of thier neighbours. Other things to watch for in the ancient knowledges were the rigorousness of the questions. Some visiting nations would be required to dance their stories while waiting on the canoes to show to the host nations that they truly are who they say they are. This was also emphasised through tattoo art on the chest of the men chiefs who most likely sat at the bow of the canoe. At times a few planks were brought out to the canoes and laid across a couple canoes to provide a dance surface so this can be conducted and the crests of the chief who is proving he is who he says he are shown and the host nations then recognize who they are through the dance provided ( as the dance would have been seen through historical trade relations).
Free Prior and Informed Consent is not gone, lost or eroded. It has been asleep. The knowledge of conducting them is still active. It must be asserted by the Indigenous Peoples’ of these lands. It is not a mere document at the UN office awaiting to be implemented by statism. It is living breathing protocols that must be asserted by peoples who live off the land, connecting to the spirit of the ancestors and upholding Natural Laws.
So called ‘Aboriginal Organizations’ must get a sense of Grassroots Assertion from Indigenous Peoples. Industry and Government must also have this sense of who Indigenous Peoples really are. They are not sitting at a board room table with colonial mechanisms at their helm. They are not collaborator chiefs from band offices, tribal councils, and treaty organizations who do not consult with the Grassroots Indigenous people who are active on the land. Indigenous peoples must be uncompromising and be thoughtful of how their knowledge can teach the rest of the world to degrow as a society. Civilization has become a big gluttonous pig in terms of land grabs, human rights violations, violence whether exported or made culpable in the urban and rural areas of the state, and the genocidal consensus on the homelands of the Indigenous Peoples who are the most likely to suffer the consequences of the destruction of lands and waters.
Free Prior and Informed Consent must not be taken by strangle hold by the Corporations, NGO’s, Governments and other Colonial Bodies creating Construct Laws to continue the genocide, ecocide, aquacide on the global family including all humans, LGBTT, Migrant, Refugee, Straight, Rich, and Poor; and including all of biodiversity, which humans are a part of, not apart from.
FPIC has a great opportunity to teach all humans who need food, shelter, clothing, housing, clean water for all generations including the future generations; to attain these needs while upholding the laws of the land. The Laws of the Land are Natural Laws and Indigenous Laws. These laws can be self regulated by all, not only the Indigenous Peoples. There can still be an abundance enjoyed, but no longer at the expense of peoples whom we don’t see across the world.
Sne Kal Yegh… See you at the Wedzin Kwah Bridge… Morice River West 66kilometer!! in Wet’suwet’en Territory, the boundary between Gitimt’en and Unis’tot’en clans.