LETTER FROM THE EDITOR | Re: Government and law enforcement, please do your jobs

Opinions

Recently, we published an article by one of our writers on the rail blockades in opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline taking place in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people. This article was published in the interest of allowing a platform for varied and diverse voices, however due to our mission statement to be an agent of constructive social change and thanks to the independence we are privileged with as student journalists, we recognize we have a duty to fight against oppression and mainstream voices. The Martlet would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to our community for our failure to support our mission statement. We acknowledge that this article’s perspective contributes and perpetuates a narrative that is inherently racist and privileged, and enables a system that has contributed to hundreds of years of genocide against Indigenous peoples in Canada. For the role we have played in perpetuating these systems, the Martlet is sincerely sorry. After much consideration, we have decided to remove the article from our website. Our team must be held accountable for our actions and we will not attempt to hide from our choices. The opinions conveyed by this writer do not reflect the beliefs and actions of our staff as a whole, and the racist views within the article are not supported by the Martlet.

In publishing this opinion piece, we veered from the Martlet’s mission statement to act as an agent of constructive social change and work to eliminate forms of oppression. The arguments and the premise of this article were rooted in antiquated, racist principles surrounding land ownership, and did not acknowledge the role of the RCMP and police in colonialist Canadian legal authority. The country of Canada and these systems, after all, only exist because of colonialism. We appreciate those that have reached out to us and offered their thoughts on the piece. This has given us a lot to think about, and we commit to a more critical approach to our choices in the future.

I would like to make it clear that the views and narratives expressed in this opinion article are not indicative of the beliefs and principles held by myself and the Martlet as a collective. As a team, we’ve spoken out against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline under construction without Indigenous consent and the hundreds of years of colonial violence that has led to the current Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement. Individually, our staff has written op-eds about the RCMP as a force for colonial bigotry and why disruptive demonstrations are the most effective. We’ve been covering the frontlines of the Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement in Victoria since the start — the blockade of the BC Ferries terminal, the arrests of Indigenous youth at the Ministry of Energy, both occupations of the B.C. Legislature, the recent arrests of Indigenous youth at the legislature, and looked deep into the Wet’suwet’en Matriarchal Coalition and benefit agreements with Coastal GasLink and the province. For over a year, we have featured a column authored by the Native Students Union called News Unsettled, which has been incredibly impactful in shaping conversations on campus, in the community, and in our newsroom. Through publishing this column, we hope to assist in minimizing the effects of colonialism on campus.

As a publication, we will do better. Trust has been broken, and we will work hard to earn it back. This effort begins now. We want to continue to be a force for positive social and cultural change and for critical journalism, particularly on issues impacting Indigenous peoples in our community. We hope you will continue to trust us to do that.