Aamjiwnaang land defender Vanessa Gray criminalized for her solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en in court on February 9

Published by Brent Patterson on

The National Observer reports: “Young land defender Vanessa Gray made a virtual appearance in an Ontario court on Wednesday [January 26].”

“Gray, from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, was detained soon after a solidarity action in Toronto on Nov. 21 — the only one charged in relation to the blocking of a freight railway line in support of the Wet’suwet’en, whose hereditary chiefs oppose the construction of a pipeline in their unceded territory in northern B.C.”

The article adds: “Members of the group and others tried to attend the virtual hearing using the name ‘Drop the Charges’ but were quickly told that to join the video conference they would have to turn on their cameras to confirm their identities to the judge.”

Donations to support Vanessa are being accepted at Legal Support for Anishinaabe Kwe Land Defender.

That page notes: “In addition to experiencing surveillance and harassment, Vanessa has been wrongfully charged with three counts of mischief, interference with property, causing disturbance, loitering, unlawful assembly, trespassing, and failure to give way. The charges have been issued by the Canadian Pacific Police Service, a company that has directly benefited from dispossessing Indigenous peoples from millions of acres of land through the Dominion Lands Act of 1872.”

This solidarity statement initiated by the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network and signed by 285 organizations also highlights: “The targeting of Gray is part of a larger pattern of colonial violence in which the Canadian state collaborates with corporations to criminalize Indigenous Land Defenders for the sake of industry interests.”

While this first hearing was about the conditions placed on Vanessa, the first court date to hear the case will be held on February 9.

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