In December 2019, the British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction allowing construction of a 669-kilometer-long Coastal GasLink pipeline that will cut through 22,000 square kilometers of unceded Wet´suwet´en land. The injunction gave the Coastal GasLink pipeline unlimited access to the ancestral lands of the Wet´suwet´en, and was firmly rejected by the Wet´suwet´en people. On January 7, 2020, the Wet´suwet´en Hereditary Chiefs served Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, effective immediately. Despite the Hereditary Chiefs’ opposition to the pipeline, the Wet´suwet´en elected band council—a form of Indigenous governance established by the Canadian government...
New details have emerged about the militarized campaign of state and corporate persecution targeting land defenders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in so-called Canada. The third annual Peace and Unity Summit was held August 15-16 in Gidimt’en Clan territory, home of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. Wet’suwet’en leaders detailed how private security operatives and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have attacked and terrorized Indigenous activists using tactics taken directly from a U.S. counterinsurgency “playbook” written by David Petraeus, retired U.S. Army general and an architect of U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Not long past the break of dawn, along a remote road deep in the unceded, forested mountains of southern Vancouver Island, the steady blaring of a conch shell sends a warning through the trees. A raid is coming. In the Savage Patch camp, a new front in a years-long struggle over the fate of some of the country’s oldest trees, a small group of forest defenders scurry to pack sleeping bags and douse the fire that kept them warm through the night. Uncle Rico, a Cree land defender, streaks her face with red warpaint. A young, broad-shouldered settler land defender, known as Sandstorm, beats a drum gifted to him by a Native ally.
Two weeks after Wet’suwet’en water protectors evicted Coastal GasLink workers and occupied a key pipeline drill site, water protectors executed a strategic retreat to avoid arrest and violence at the hands of dozens of militarized RCMP. Before a large scale mobilization by police, water protectors vanished into the woods, evading police violence and criminalization. We expect an imminent assault on our people at the direction of Coastal GasLink as we continue to occupy and utilize our yintah.
On February 7, militarized RCMP arrested and removed Wet’suwet’en land defenders from their unceded territories, triggering demonstrations and blockades across the country. With large parts of the country’s rail traffic at a standstill, and shipping vessels unable to move goods, people are seeing that peaceful civil disobedience can #ShutDownCanada.