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Demonstrators apologize for ‘misinformation’ about K’ómoks First Nation

Wet’suwet’en supporters block Highway 19 near Courtenay on Feb. 10, 2020.

Some demonstrators from the Highway 19 blockade are apologizing, after they say there was misinformation about the K’ómoks First Nation’s involvement. Members from Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo were supporting the event and providing media outreach, and say because the blockade on Monday near Courtenay and Comox was on K’ómoks First Nations territory they felt it was necessary to acknowledge them in their outreach. READ MORE: Pickup truck breaks through Highway 19 blockade near Courtenay They say some K’ómoks first nation individuals were present, but the demonstration did not have the permission of their elected Chief and council for the action. “Due to several constraints we were under, we unfortunately did not make this very clear in our initial press release. We feel it is necessary to offer a public apology for unintentionally misrepresenting the K’ómoks First Nation,” said Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo in a statement. “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’omoks First Nation members.”
The K’ómoks First Nation released a statement earlier in the week in response to the blockade and some backlash following the action. “[It] was not a K’ómoks First Nation event. K’ómoks First Nation was never contacted or advised of this event, and we are disappointed that our name was unknowingly used,” they said. “This event was organized by non-Indigenous Comox Valley residents who aren’t connected to our territory in the same way as K’omoks, and in no way represent K’omoks or our values. It is saddening to see the racist comments in social media aimed at our community when K’omoks was not involved.” Extinction Rebellion says they did not fund or organize this event. they say their members were present and assisted with facilitation, safety and media communication. They added in their statement that no official group facilitated this action and that their group is “merely one of the channels through which we did and are communicating to the larger public.” On Friday following the blockade civic leaders denounced racism that had emerged following the action. READ MORE: Comox Valley civic leaders denounce racism following Highway 19 blockade