As people from different parts of the world continue to take on measures to protect groups vulnerable from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Feminists Deliver would like to highlight the unresolved and continued flexing of the colonial muscle in Wet’suwet’en lands, which goes unnoticed as the public’s attention has shifted to the virus. While COVID-19’s effects do not discriminate, the effects of colonial violence perpetuated through the continued work that the RCMP and Coastal GasLink are within control of the provincial and federal governments. All five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals, yet, the RCMP continues to escort a 48-foot pipeline through unceded territories.
The vulnerability of Indigenous communities is emphasized during global crises, including that of COVID-19. Due to the colonial efforts and expansion of Canada, many Indigenous communities have restricted access to resources, including health care, water, and food supplies, making it extremely difficult for families to protect themselves in the same manner that other families across BC have been able to. As we speak, 14 drinking water advisories are issued for Indigenous communities in the “BC province” alone.
Inevitably, in many cases, women are tasked with upholding communities and display resilience despite emotional labour; pay inequities; unpaid housework and caring for children, sick folks, disabled folks, and the elderly. Like the front-line service providers in women and women’s serving organizations, women are paid less than other sectors and the women who access our services are more likely to work in the gig economies or part-time employment or other similar job precariousness. Members of Feminists Deliver communities have increased vulnerabilities to work interruptions and stoppages due to COVID-19.
As a grassroots coalition of organizations serving Two-Spirit people, self-identified women, girls, trans women, and non-binary people, Feminists Delivers and our supporters continue to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, and land defenders, on behalf of people who are: displaced by colonialism, imperialism, capitalism (including those who experience the heavy hands of climate change); disproportionately advantaged by the systemic barriers as reflected in unaffordable housing, lack of daycare options, low-waged jobs; experience gender-based violence including sexual exploitation, harassment and rape; exploited by a misogynistic society that undervalues the lives of Two-Spirit people, self-identified women, girls, trans women, and non-binary folks as reflected in the justice system; and many other ways that systems fail to honour equity and justice.
Many Indigenous people as well as other folks are asked to socially distance themselves to prevent the spread of this pandemic. However, social distancing and isolation is not possible for many of our community members including those who do not have homes; do not have safe homes; are working on the front lines including those who are sick because of COVID19, and those serving people society continues to marginalize; are experiencing poverty; are incarcerated; are reliant on the help of others; are providing care and assistance to others; are away from their loved ones. The organizations that comprise Feminists Deliver will continue to step up and serve Two-Spirit people, self-identified women, girls, trans women, and non-binary people who live in BC.
We ask the Prime Minister and the Premier to pull out the RCMP and Coastal GasLink as necessary permits have not been approved, and work cannot continue as eyes have turned away from the continued theft and forceful entries on Wet’suwet’en Lands. We ask the public to continue to listen and provide support to the Wet’suwet’en by staying in touch via their newsletter, and visiting their Supporter Tool Kit.
No matter what issues we face, we cannot let women down. Feminists Deliver organizations have committed to serve members of our communities and will continue to do so.