Canada – Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel has tweeted: “I need some media to report on my trial begins Mon Nov 23 in Clearwater so-called bc.”
On October 19, 2019, Manuel and Tiny House Warrior land defender Isha Jules were charged by the RCMP with mischief when they told construction workers that they did not have consent from the Secwepemc peoples to flag on Highway 5 near Moonbeam Creek, about 60 kilometres north of Blue River, British Columbia.
Manuel’s wrist was fractured during the arrest.
The Tiny House Warriors have set up camps around Blue River (about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops) and Valemount (about 90 kilometres north of Blue River). Moonbeam is situated in between these two communities on Highway 5.
Both Tiny House Warrior camps are on the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The pipeline project, now owned by the Canadian government, would cross 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory and move 890,000 barrels per day of bitumen oil from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast for export on super tankers. It is being built without the free, prior and informed consent of the Secwepemc peoples, a right recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Trans Mountain intends to build a camp in Blue River for 500 construction workers who would be working to build the pipeline.
The final report by National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (June 2019) quoted James Anaya, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on the issue of these work camps.
Anaya said: “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects [have] led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.”
The Inquiry found that “work camps, or man camps, associated with the resource extraction industry are implicated in higher rates of violence against Indigenous women at the camps and in the neighbouring communities.”
In December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada to stop construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline until it had the free, prior and informed consent of the Secwepemc peoples.
That resolution also urged Canada to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc peoples and to withdraw the RCMP from their traditional lands.
The RCMP has remained on the unceded territories of the Secwepemc peoples and has stated that “all aspects of the arrests [of Manuel and Jules] were captured on video by police and will be included in the materials provided to the courts.”
The trial for Manuel and Jules is scheduled to take place November 23-24 at the Provincial Courthouse in Clearwater.