CORNWALL, Ontario – Students at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS) held a second protest in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.
The Wet’suwet’en, located in BC, are protesting the planned construction of the Coastal Link Gas Pipeline through their territory. The protest has lead to demonstrations of sympathy and support across Canada.
The protest organized during lunch hour at CCVS on Thursday, March 12 was organized and led by indigenous students from Akwesasne. There are roughly 200 indigenous students at CCVS, making up nearly a quarter of the school’s total population.
“I would like the RCMP to realize that you can’t drink oil and you can’t eat money,” said Tanice Jock, Grade 12 student at CCVS and one of the protest organizers. “What they are doing is selfish to the land.”
The school staff were notified of the protest, and endorsed the students right to self-expression.
“This gives the students a voice and a way to get involved,” said CCVS Vice Principal Marty Dettman.
The protest organizers said they planned the event to take place during their lunch break because they wanted to show that it was not about missing class.
“It is what we want to stand up for. We are not out there for publicity. We are out there for a right reason,” said Janie Johnson, another Grade 12 CCVS student. “We are standing up for our people and our land.”
One of the other protest organizers, Angelina Roundpoint explained that this protest was open to everyone who wanted to stand with Wet’suwet’en.
“You don’t have to be indigenous to care about the environment,” she said.
In February, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne released a statement of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en protests.
In early February, Akwesasne residents briefly stopped traffic on the Seaway International Bridge as a protest over the treatment of the Wet’suwet’en people.