On January 7, 2019, at approximately 2:51pm, RCMP and military forcefully breached a peaceful checkpoint on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Indigenous people were ripped from their homes by militarized police. There were at least 12 confirmed arrests, including an elder, and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were blocked from their own territories. Gidumt’en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham was arrested on her land. She, along with other arrestees, will not be released. They are being brought to Prince George to stand before a Justice of the Peace. ***Arrest count according to eye witness accounts… exact numbers of arrests are still being confirmed***
Cover photo by Micheal Toledano
The creation of the Gidumt’en Checkpoint was announced in the Wet’suwet’en feast hall, with the support of all chiefs present. Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals.
For those who feel the title of this post might be a bit strong – unceded Wet’suwet’en territory is sovereign Wet’suwet’en Country by all accounts.
Article 10 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clearly states “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their land or territories.” Any removal of Wet’suwet’en peoples by the RCMP, or any other authoritarian forces, has directly violated UNDRIP and the Trudeau government’s promise to implement UNDRIP.
The RCMP have now installed a roadblock on the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) Road, through Gidumt’en territory and the only access road to Unist’ot’en Camp, effectively cutting off communications, media, and supplies to those living there, including clients of the Healing Center.
Unist’ot’en Dark House member, Freda Huson said, “I am here in my home, on my land. I am not a criminal for protecting my most critical infrastructure which is my berries, my medicine, my water, my right to teach future Unist’ot’en generations how to live in right relationship with the land. Without water, no human will survive and these projects like TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink threatens the water. We are the land, the land is us.”
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have by absolutely no means agreed to let the Coastal GasLink pipeline tear through our traditional territories.
While the chiefs have a responsibility to protect the land, they also have a duty to protect our land defenders. Our people faced an incredible risk of injury or death and that is not a risk we are willing to take for an interim injunction. The agreement we made allows Coastal GasLink to temporarily work behind the Unist’ot’en gate. This will continue to be a waste of their time and resources as they will not be building a pipeline in our traditional territory.
This injunction was against Warner Naziel, Freda Huson, and Jane and John Doe as individuals. Their efforts over the past month made the RCMP, Coastal GasLink, and the colonial governments recognize that this is not an issue of individual “protestors” but rather an issue of our house chiefs’ jurisdiction to make decisions on our own lands. We have fought for many years to make this point by politely telling it like it is. Now, with the world watching, with our voices reverberating around the globe, we have turned the tables.
There can be no question now that this is an issue of Wet’suwet’en Rights and Title. They have demonstrated that this fight is about more than a pipeline; it is about the right of Indigenous peoples around the world to exercise Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. They have the power to tell the governments of the world that enough is enough, rather than being plowed down by force today or tomorrow.
The Cascadia Department of Bioregion, in cooperation with the Cascadia Underground, is excited to help support Cascadia Magazine, and Cascadia Daily in soon launching a fundraiser to help get more indigenous reporters on the ground, and continue to raise awareness of these efforts to resist unlawful incursions, assert their sovereignty on their traditional homeland, and unceded lands.
WAYS TO SUPPORT:
From the Unistoten Website:
We are are humbled by the outpouring of solidarity and support for our Wet’suwet’en people. We expect RCMP aggression at any time. We are still fundraising for our legal battle in the colonial courts. Please donate.
DONATE to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund
DONATE to Gidimt’en Access Point
COME TO CAMP: Supporters in the local area wanting to do something should head to KM 27 now. Meet at the junction of Morice River Road and Morice West where people are gathering to plan additional responses to this incursion.
HOST A SOLIDARITY EVENT: See the International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en event page. We are conducting peaceful actions as sovereign peoples on our territories, and ask that all actions taken in solidarity are conducted peacefully and according to the traditional laws of other Indigenous Nations. Forcible trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands must be stopped. Provincial and federal governments must be confronted.
CONTACT REPRESENTATIVES: This page has been set up so you can send an email directly to relevant Federal cabinet ministers and BC Provincial cabinet ministers calling on the RCMP and Coastal Gas Link to respect Unist’ot’en/Giltseyu-Dark House on their unceded lands.
Background of the Unistoten Camp, and Proposed Pipelines:
“Our people’s belief is that we are part of the land. The land is not separate from us. The land sustains us. And if we don’t take care of her, she won’t be able to sustain us, and we as a generation of people will die.” – Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en Hereditary Spokesperson
A constantly expanding number of companies have proposed Tar Sands and Fracking Gas pipelines through Unist’ot’en territory.
Three particular companies, Chevron, TransCanada, and Enbridge, are still working without consent from Unist’ot’en.
COASTAL GASLINK – TRANSCANADA
670-kilometer Hydrofracturing (Fracking) gas pipeline
Would run through rugged mountains from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, B.C.
PACIFIC TRAILS PIPELINE – CHEVRON
480-kilometer Hydrofracturing (Fracking) gas pipeline
Would run from Summit Lake to Kitimat, B.C., to export gas to Asian markets.
Chevron, notorious for human rights and environmental violations, purchased shares of the project after other companies backed out.
NORTHERN GATEWAY PIPELINE – ENBRIDGE
1,177-kilometer twin pipelines from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C.
One pipe would carry Tar Sands Oil
The other pipe would carry condensate, a form of gas used to dilute the molasses-like bitumen to allow it to flow through pipelines.
Enbridge owns 50% of the project. The other half is owned by private investors. Four of those investors remain confidential. National Energy Board documents reveal the other six are: French oil company Total; Suncor (TSX:SU); MEG Energy; Cenovus (TSX:CVE); Nexen (TSX:NXY), the Calgary company taken over last year by Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co.; and Sinopec, China’s largest oil company.