Daryn Forsyth resigned from the Canadian Armed Forces shortly after the Jan. 7, 2019 temporary injunction enforcement on Wet’suwet’en territory at Gidimt’en checkpoint. On Feb. 6, 2020 after RCMP enforcement of a subsequent interlocutory injunction, he decided to make his initial resignation letter public in a show of solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en. (Contributed photo)

Man posts 2019 letter resigning from military after latest RCMP enforcement of pipeline order

Daryn Forsyth said he could no longer serve a Crown whose actions he disagreed with

Daryn Forsyth spent a third of his life working in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a marine engineer but when he saw RCMP enforcement of a temporary injunction on Wet’suwet’en territory on Jan. 7, 2019 he knew he could no longer continue.

On Jan. 19 Forsyth, who is himself part Gitxsan and lives in Hazelton, handed in his resignation letter (which is posted in full at the bottom of this article).

“I wasn’t going to, on Canada’s behalf, commit violence onto anybody,” he said, adding that while he was just a smaller part of a larger system he couldn’t in any good conscience continue working for the army.

Forsyth first got involved with the army after taking an Indigenous recruitment program in 2005. In 2009, after completing his studies, he signed on full-time.

READ MORE: RCMP finishes operations in support of injunction on forest service road

He said the decision to leave a job that has been such a major part of his life was not one he made lightly, but that he couldn’t continue to stand by while the Wet’suwet’en continued to have their territorial rights and title denied to them.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “Seeing the violence that was brought on them [and how] the same Crown I was serving, you know, the same country that I had pledged allegiance to can’t properly take care of their own aboriginal people or even support them.”

Forsyth said his first request for discharge, initially handed in the morning of Jan. 7, 2019, was denied.

“It was initially rejected on the grounds of conscientious objection until i clarified … that, no, I’m unwilling to use a weapon and commit violent acts for Canada.”

After making the decision to leave Forsyth said he subsequently decided to make his letter of resignation public on social media after RCMP action on Feb. 6, 2020 and the days following when they enforced the interlocutory injunction relating to the matter.

He said he felt it was ridiculous to see armed RCMP officers heading into unceded Wet’suwet’en territory once again and that seeing the events of Jan. 7, 2019 essentially repeat themselves a year later was tough to bare.

“It was just a stream of emotions,” he said. “A lot of shame, but that was luckily offset by the pride that I felt seeing these proud warriors standing up and defending their actual land and their way of life.”

Forsyth said the decision to leave the CAF was important to him not just to respect his own Indigenous heritage, but also because members of his extended family are Wet’suwet’en and he stands with the nation as a whole.

He adds he wants them to grow up in a world where the Crown respects their right to defend their unceded homelands.

“Their future really is at risk,” he said of a number of his nieces and nephews who are Wet’suwet’en. “It’s not just this passive risk, it’s actively being destroyed.”

Forsyth added it’s important for him that his son and younger members of his extended family are able to look at him in the future and know that he followed his conscience.

“He needs to know that … choices can be made and even if they’re scary they do need to be made.”

He said his message to members of the armed forces or RCMP who might have their own internal conflicts about how the situation has played out is simple: talk to your superiors.

“Speak to your chain of command,” he said. “Tell them that this is a major concern for you that aboriginal people are being forcibly removed from their lands and that essentially this is the start of another Oka.”

Oka refers to the Oka Crisis of 1990 when a police officer was killed in a standoff between police and the Mohawk people, the latter of who were involved in a land dispute with the town of Oka, Quebec.

While CAF are currently not involved in the dispute between hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and Coastal GasLink, Forsyth said when he asked about whether that was a possibility in the future he didn’t get a direct response.

“That was one thing I asked my chain of command when I was leaving, was is there going to be any sort of directive put out saying the military won’t take an active role?” he said.

“I was flat out told no.”

He said his message to RCMP officers is simple: you’re in the wrong.

“It’s the fact that they were created to stop [Indigenous] rebellions and then here we are in 2020 and they’re essentially doing the same thing,” he said.

“They haven’t changed, in fact, I hold each and every RCMP member accountable for their own actions and that also includes being on Gitxsan territory, being on Wet’suwet’en territory, and furthering this colonization and this violence.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coastal GasLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Part 1/2 of Forsyth’s resignation letter, which he publicly posted on Facebook Feb. 6 following RCMP enforcement of an interlocutory injunction granted on Dec. 31, 2019. (Facebook photo)

Part 2/2 of Forsyth’s resignation letter, which he publicly posted on Facebook Feb. 6 following RCMP enforcement of an interlocutory injunction granted on Dec. 31, 2019. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

Anti-gang cops probe Kelowna’s street-level drug trade over B.C. Day long weekend

CFSEU’s Gang Enforcement Team was deployed to Kelowna last weekend

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Property tax late fees to kick in soon: City of Kelowna

Nearly 84 per cent of property owners paid their taxes by July 31

Man allegedly wielding knife at Kelowna Superstore arrested

The 29-year-old Kelowna man has been released on strict conditions for a future court date

YMCA reopening Kelowna pools

Kelowna Family Y and H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre reopening Monday, August 10

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read