Tuesday's rally by more than 50 Sudburians is about igniting change, said one of the organizers.
The group gathered at the intersection of Elm and Lorne streets, and they blocked traffic for an hour. Greater Sudbury Police Service was on hand to control traffic, but that didn't stop some passersby from venting frustrations over not being able cross the intersection.
“It's silly that people get angry with us, because we're here for them, too,” said Kahteraks Goodleaf, co-organizer. “We're standing up for them and their children. We're standing in the middle of the road holding up signs because we want everyone to have clean water. We're here taking a stand for all of humanity, because if we don't stop, our future doesn't look very good.”
The group was rallying in solidarity with members of the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in B.C. They set up a blockade to a forest service road in northern British Columbia to prevent access to a pipeline project owned by Coastal GasLink. Similar demonstrations are occurring or have occurred across the country.
The RCMP arrested 14 members at the B.C. blockade on Monday, citing alleged violations of an injunction order against the blockade.
Goodleaf said people need to wake up and take a stand if they expect change to happen.
“If we're going to be sustainable as human beings, we need these positive changes to take place,” she said.
Like her peers who were protesting on Tuesday, Goodleaf said she didn't want to put herself at risk standing in the middle of the road to bring attention to the situation in BC.
“It's overwhelming to take a stand like this, to block traffic at a busy intersection to draw attention,” she said. “You have to be very brave and courageous to come and stand in the middle of the road like this. We just want to bring awareness, because there are so many misconceptions and stereotypes about what's going on right now.”
Those First Nations just want to ensure they have access to clean water and food, and to protect their land, she said.
And it's not just about First Nation, either, she said.
"This is about everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin,” she said. “Making these positive changes is a worldwide movement.”