Open Letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry
December 9, 2020
Organizations and concerned individuals stand with Wet’suwet’en women in urging you to shut down industrial camps amid COVID-19 outbreaks
Reposted via Sierra Club BC.
Dr. Bonnie Henry
Provincial Health Officer
PO Box 9648 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC V8W 9P4
CC: Adrian Dix (Minister of Health), Dr. Jong Kim (Interim Chief MHO NHA), Dr. Raina Fumerton (NW MHO and Acting NE MHO)
Re: Organizations and concerned individuals stand with Wet’suwet’en women in urging you to shut down industrial camps amid COVID-19 outbreaks
We are writing you to echo the concerns put forth by Wet’suwet’en Ts’ako ze’ and Skiy ze’ who are urging British Columbia to shut down LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink work camps amid COVID-19 ouWe tbreaks.
The cases reported in the work camps in the communities of Burns Lake (C’ilhts’ëkhyu Clan territory), Huckleberry Camp near Houston (on Gidimt’en Clan territory) and camp 9A (on Unist’ot’en territory) pose considerable risks to the health and culture of these communities.
As stated in the letter Wet’suwet’en women sent to you on November 30, these work camps do not have the capacity to isolate all COVID-19 positive workers and often send them home to cohabitate with elders and other community members. As the result of ongoing colonialism and racism in the health care system, Indigenous peoples are at increased risk with COVID-19 due to underlying health concerns. The loss of elders and knowledge-keepers poses enormous intergenerational cultural impacts for these communities.
Bringing transient workers to these remote communities during a pandemic only perpetuates the harm of colonization and puts economic gain ahead of their health and cultural wellbeing. To not heed these women’s concerns is to put corporate profit ahead of Indigenous lives, which is not only morally wrong it is also incompatible with the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
Please find the original letter from Wet’suwet’en women here.
Respectfully, we request that you prioritize the health of Wet’suwet’en peoples and respect their ask to shut down work camps due to increasing COVID-19 concerns.
Hannah Askew, Sierra Club BC executive director, on behalf of the following list of organizations and individuals:
Sierra Club BC
Dr. Tim K. Takaro, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Charlene Aleck, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative
Christy Ferguson, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
Council of Canadians
My Sea to SkyWilderness Committee
Watershed Sentinel Educational Society
PIPE UP Network
Center for Sustainable Economy
Gulf Islands Front Lines
Our Time Vancouver