Protesters at Exit 117 on Highway 19. (Vista stock photo)
Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo is apologizing for misrepresenting the K’òmoks First Nation.
The group helped facilitate the Feb. 10 blockade of the inland Island Highway at Exit 117, to show solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in Northern B.C.
Late last week, K’òmoks Chief Nicole Rempel said the protest was not their event.
Chief Rempel says they were never contacted about or advised of the blockades and they are disappointed the K’òmoks name was used unbeknownst to them.
READ MORE: K’omoks First Nation not connected to Monday’s highway blockades
In a Facebook post, Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo said the blockade occurred on K’òmoks First Nations territory and as such, “felt it necessary to acknowledge the K’òmoks First Nations territory in (a) media release.”
“Although there were K’òmoks First Nation individuals present, we did not have the permission of their elected Chief and council for the action,” the group added.
“We do not represent this group. Our intention was not to insinuate that the elected Chief and counsel supported us. Rather, we were trying to find an adequate description of the various members comprising our group and wanted to acknowledge that part of this group was comprised of K’òmoks First Nation members.”
It went on to say, “due to several constraints we were under, we, unfortunately, did not make this very clear in our initial press release, and as such we feel it is necessary to offer a public apology for unintentionally misrepresenting the K’omoks First Nation. We will do whatever is necessary to make amends for this mistake, and we remain in a deep state of regret for any possible harm to the K’òmoks First Nation.”
Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo said the blockade “was organized by two individuals from the Gitxsan and Carrier First Nations. They have family within Wet’suwet’en and these family members specifically asked them to organize this highway blockade.”
“This entire action was done at the specific request of Wet’suwet’en people by Gitxsan and Carrier people,” Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo said.
“This action was taken to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation. As well, it was to bring attention to the prevalence of colonialism and corporate resource extraction putting all peoples at risk. Furthermore, it was to force the government to respect the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands.
“Unfortunately, details of the event have been taken out of context and are being used to delegitimize our efforts. We would like to urge citizens to be aware of their biases and look deeper at the implications of sharing misinformation,” they added.