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Coastal GasLink Pipeline

Wet’suwet’en Land Defender: ‘It’s Time To Protect What Is Left’

On October 19, Wet’suwet’en land defender Molly Wickham (Sleydo’) along with Hereditary Chiefs Woos and Na’moks spoke at a Decolonial Solidarity online organizing call attended by more than 300 people. Wickham told those assembled: “[The drilling at the site of our sacred headwaters] is happening now. The salmon are spawning in the river and you can actually hear the drilling happening from kilometres away. You can feel it in the ground, in the earth, from kilometres away. …The salmon are spawning and you can feel the vibration of the drilling happening.” She highlighted: “We are calling on you, our allies, other Indigenous nations, labour unions, anarchist groups, environmentalists, students, climate activists. The threat to our survival and our freedom is our collective responsibility. Enough is enough. It’s time to plan, prepare and protect what is left.”

Wet’suwet’en Protesters Face Surveillance And Harassment

As the Indigenous anti-pipeline resistance against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) continues in the Wet’suwet’en lands in Canada, the police have been intimidating the protesters and residents of the land and conducting surveillance. On Monday, April 18, the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP) arrested and later released a supporter of the Wet’suwet’en cause over mistaken identification. According to the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, a group of Gidimt’en clan members of the Wet’suwet’en organizing the resistance, the arrest is an outcome of more than a month of intimidation and harassment by the police. “This tax-payer funded harassment and intimidation is an explicit attempt to make Wet’suwet’en people unsafe on our own lands,” the group said in a statement.

Coastal GasLink Seeks Criminal Charges Against Water Protectors

“On April 13, 2022 twenty seven land defenders arrested in the fall and into winter of 2021 on Wet’suwet’en territory appeared virtually before Justice Church. Coastal Gaslink’s lawyer, Kevin O’Callaghan, recommended that the charges be criminal contempt, and not civil contempt. …this would mean that the land defenders arrested during the Coyote Camp occupation at the drill pad site and the Likhts’amisyu Chief arrested on his own territory would face criminal charges. We need to make [British Columbia’s Attorney General] David Eby aware that CGL [Coastal GasLink], the CIRG [the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group], and RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police]… …are abusing the intent of the court injunction to violently and illegally criminalize sovereign Wet’suwet’en people in an attempt to push through an industrial project that does not have the consent of the true title holders to the land.

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs Demand Royal Bank Stop Financing Pipeline

“Today, we told RBC leadership directly that the bank’s financing of the Coastal GasLink pipeline threatens our medicine, our water, our ancestral lands, our culture and our homes. Our sacred headwaters, the Wedzin Kwa river, is the lifeline for our people, and it’s profoundly at risk. Financing Coastal GasLink is the exact opposite of reconciliation. The fracked gas pipeline violates our hereditary title, and has led to years of RCMP violence and harassment of peaceful Indigenous land defenders and the forced removal of Wet’suwet’en peoples from their territory.” “The bank’s leadership seemed open to hearing our experiences and to the opportunity we’re giving them to do the right thing. We’ve been crystal clear: RBC must divest from this toxic project, which threatens Wet’suwet’en land, air and water, and steamrolls Indigenous rights.

Wet’suwet’en Approach UN Over Militarization And Rights Violations

As the movement against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline project in Canada continues, indigenous Wet’suwet’en activists have approached the United Nations to raise their concerns about indigenous rights violations. In a submission filed to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, February 7, activists of the Gidimt’en clan of Wet’suwet’en raised the issues of forced industrialization, police militarization and violation of the rights of indigenous peoples. The eight-page document points out that Canada has overlooked its international obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It stated that Canada has violated several rights of the community, including the right to conserve and protect traditional lands, and has forcibly removed clan members from their territories.

Summit Strengthens Alliances Against Coastal Gaslink Pipeline

The conflict over the Coastal GasLink project is about more than the fate of a single pipeline or the territory of one Indigenous nation. The precedent set here will have far-reaching consequences, and Indigenous nations and leaders from across Turtle Island are paying close attention. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation hosted a Peace and Unity Summit in the town of Smithers on Jan. 15. Wet’suwet’en leaders and representatives of other Indigenous nations gathered to offer solidarity and support in the fight against the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The Wet’suwet’en argue that their Indigenous and human rights, and rights to their territories, are threatened by the multibillion-dollar project, which is backed by the provincial and federal governments.

CN Rail Wins Right To Privately Prosecute Rail Blockade Participants

CN Rail has won the right to privately pursue criminal charges against three people who participated in a 2020 rail blockade in northern B.C., despite the fact that provincial prosecutors declined to get involved. The ruling cements the B.C. Supreme Court’s ability to enforce court injunctions, with or without the participation of Crown prosecutors, who unsuccessfully fought the decision. A group of people, including three Gitxsan hereditary chiefs, were arrested at a blockade on a CN Rail line in New Hazelton, B.C. on Feb. 24, 2020. An injunction against the blockade had been issued two weeks prior amid nationwide protests in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs fighting against the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline.

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs Evict Government Liaison Nathan Cullen

The Gitxsan have posted on Instagram: “Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs evict MLA Nathan Cullen from Gitxsan Lax’yip [territory].” Their post continues: “The NDP has failed to uphold good relations with our peoples, and due to the violence inflicted on Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Wilp [house group] members, the NDP is no longer welcome on our territories.” “Someone needs to be accountable for the violent actions inflicted upon our peoples and territories by the RCMP and Coastal GasLink.” It concludes: “We do not believe these are simply renegade police actions following the rulings of a mere Provincial Court. We know that the feds and the province are guilty of trying to exterminate our way of life.” Cullen was a federal NDP Member of Parliament from June 2004 to October 2019.

Violence Against Wet’suwet’en And Apparent Police, Industry Collusion

By January 24, 2014, the RCMP’s Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Team (CIIT) had produced an intelligence assessment on Criminal Threats to the Canadian Petroleum Industry that notes “violent aboriginal extremists” and includes in Appendix E an article from the Georgia Straight that briefly mentions the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation. A further document dated April 1, 2015, from the Government Operations Centre (GOC), which compiles information from the RCMP and other agencies, describes an unnamed Unist’ot’en leader as an “aboriginal extremist.” Within five years of that second report, the RCMP had launched two militarized raids against the Wet’suwet’en.

Slew Of Journalists And Land Defenders Released From Custody

Ten people remain in custody in Prince George after a bail hearing for those arrested on Wet’suwet’en territory last week went overtime Monday. Most of those released agreed to a condition that they not return to the Morice West Forest Service Road, the area where Coastal GasLink’s 670-kilometre gas pipeline is under construction from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.Photojournalist Amber Bracken and filmmaker Michael Toledano’s conditions allow them to return to the territory, where they have been covering the ongoing dispute over the pipeline since the first police action occurred on the Morice forestry road in January 2019.

Police Launch Third Militarized Raid Against Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders

The RCMP arrested 15 people on Thursday November 18 as the land defence struggle against the construction of the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia continues. Gidimt’en land defender Sleydo’ says: “[The RCMP] came with intent and the ability to kill people and seriously harm people.” Those arrested included two Elders, a journalist and three legal observers.

Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Say Inaction Prompted Enforcement Of Coastal GasLink Eviction

Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters say inaction from B.C. and Canada left them no choice but to enforce an eviction order against Coastal GasLink workers and deactivate road access to the project, a pair of measures that have prompted the provincial and federal governments to call for a peaceful resolution to the blockades. “We were sending a clear message to the province, to Canada, and they weren’t acting on it — they weren’t hearing what we were saying — so we had to get a little bit louder,” Gidimt’en camp spokesperson Sleydo’ Molly Wickham told The Narwhal in an interview. “They’re destroying absolutely everything that is important to us in our territory. And they have been continuing to do work, despite the eviction order last year.”

Gidimt’en Land Defenders Mobilize To Protect Archeological Site

Gidimt’en land defenders are presently mobilizing on their unceded territory within the province of British Columbia in Canada to protect an archaeological site from the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline. Earlier this month, The Tyee reported that the area at risk is a ridge near Lamprey Creek. Downstream the creek flows into the Morice River (Wedzin Kwa to the Wet’suwet’en) at a traditional village site called Ts’elkay Kwe Ceek. And upstream are sites at McBride and Collins lakes that contain house pits, also evidence of past occupation. The article highlights: “To the Wet’suwet’en, this site holds clues, pieces of their history on the landscape that dates back millennia. To the B.C. government’s archaeology branch, it is known simply as GbSs-8.” Past excavations by archaeologists have revealed evidence of use that pre-dates the arrival of Europeans, including lithics, materials related to stone tools.

Wet’suwet’en Women Occupy Pipeline Drillsite To Protect Their Sacred Headwaters

Coastal GasLink has called in the RCMP to try and remove Wet’suwet’en community members and Indigenous youth as they hold a ceremony at a proposed drill site for Coastal Gaslink’s pipeline. Coastal Gaslink has been evicted from our territories by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs – who have full jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en lands. As CGL continues to trespass, we will do everything in our power to protect our waters and to uphold our laws. We will not let CGL break our Wet’suwet’en laws and drill under the headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa river, which nourishes all of Wet’suwet’en territory.
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