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Sophia Sidarous METEPENAGIAG FIRST NATION

Members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation were arrested for protesting the construction of a natural gas pipeline on their ancestral land in northern British Columbia, Canada.

"Water and land protectors are putting their lives on the line because that’s their territory. Their ancestors are buried there,” said Sophia Sidarous, a second-year conflict studies and human rights student at the University of Ottawa.

Sophia is a 17 years old Mi’kmaq from the Metepenagiag First Nation, and a strong advocate for indigenous rights and human rights.

Hundreds of people rallied and marched through the streets of downtown Ottawa to show solidarity for indigenous peoples on February 2020. Sophia helped organize Ottawa’s rally with several other groups, such as Climate Justice Ottawa, and several other solidarity demonstrations.

With Members of Parliament (MP) meeting all day for a sitting of the House of Commons, the aim of the demonstration was to pressure MPs to meet with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and to push them to remove the RCMP and the Coastal GasLink (CGL) off Wet’suwet’en territory.
In addition to handing out flyers that explained the situation, t-shirts that were made by local Indigenous youth and allies were also being sold at the information session, with all proceeds going toward land defenders in Wet’suwet’en.
“It’s destroying what we hold sacred, and we’re not going to take it anymore. We’re going to say ‘no’ this time,” said Sophia Sidarous.

Sophia organized an informative session at her university. “I think just the lack of information … is really turning this narrative into something as Indigenous peoples … inconveniencing Canadians,” said Sidarous. “I think it’s really important for non-Indigenous peoples to take action on these issues that are happening in their own country, that this is something that affects us all.”

Sophia Sidarous is the Director of the Earth Guardians Crew for Ottawa/Gatineau.

"What is happening is happening in Wet’suwet’en territories and the human rights violations happening on their territories is a domestic and provincial issue and the federal government can not get involved,” said Mi’kmaw land defender Sophia Sidarous.

For meaningful reconciliation to happen, Indigenous legal traditions must be recognized in their own right, and applied alongside western legal tradition.
For meaningful reconciliation to happen, Indigenous legal traditions must be recognized in their own right, and applied alongside western legal tradition.

Credits:

1. Province of British Columbia; National Indigenous Peoples Day; June 21, 2019; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 2. Billy Wilson; Fall Colours, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada; October 2, 2020; (CC BY-NC 2.0). 3. Fibonacci Blue; Protest against the proposed KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline; September 26, 2011; (CC BY 2.0). 4. Fibonacci Blue; March against the proposed KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline; September 26, 2011; (CC BY 2.0). 5. United Nations Photo; International Year of the World´s Indigenous People, 1993; June 27, 1993; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 6. Scott Stewart-Jhonson; First Nation Totems; August 1, 2016; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 7. Jason Hargrove; protester's sign saying "we support you land protectors" - Wet'suwet'en Solidarity Event - Toronto Train Stopped at Dufferin Street and Bartlett Avenue in Toronto - Saturday, February 8, 2020; February 9, 2020; ; (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).