Escalating tensions between Wet’suwet’en and RCMP

I’ve been writing about the #Wet’suwet’en peoples and their efforts to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project. Tensions between the Wet’suwet’en peoples and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are escalating. There is fear the RCMP will raid the camps as they did last year. Then they were armed with assault rifles and there are reports they had discussed using lethal force. This is a microcosm of the struggle of Indigenous rights and protection of Mother Earth versus corporations and profits.

A set of headlights came peering out of the darkness, accompanied by a rattling diesel engine.

Rising from beside a warming fire at a watch camp inside an RCMP roadblock, Sabina Dennis rushed to the road.

“Cops!” she shouted as the first RCMP officer’s boot hit the snowy ground. “Someone get a camera.” More people scrambled from the fire to join Dennis as a second officer got out of the truck. Someone started filming the interaction with a cellphone. Now that a standoff between RCMP and Wet’suwet’en First Nation land defenders who oppose a pipeline has entered a fourth week, the mood behind police lines is understandably tense.

During last year’s raid, police deployed tactical officers armed with assault and sniper rifles, at one point brandishing a chainsaw. The officers forced their way over barbed wire and a reinforced gate, amid the screams of land defenders, some of whom had chained themselves to the gate itself.

The lines of this conflict are hardening, with no word yet on when—or how—it will end.

Inside the Wet’suwet’en Anti-Pipeline Camp That Police Are Blockading. Indigenous land defenders are keeping a close eye on cops as the standoff enters its fourth week.By Jesse Winter,, Jan 28 2020

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Day 24 of freedom for our yintah! We will stand strong for all those yet to come. We have the ancestors on our side, our allies and neighbours behind us and the world watching!
We will never surrender.
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Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory

Wes Regan took this photo of protesters walking along West Broadway toward Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman's constituency office.
Wes Regan took this photo of protesters walking along West Broadway toward Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman’s constituency office.

The federal and provincial governments, LNG Canada, and Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. all thought that a $40-billion fossil-fuel project would proceed in B.C. after proponents signed deals with 20 elected First Nations chiefs and councils.

But they may have underestimated the degree of public goodwill for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who are resisting a natural-gas pipeline that will provide fuel for the LNG plant near Kitimat.

Today, more than 600 Metro Vancouver secondary and university students walked out of classes to register their opposition to the pipeline.

The protesters also want the province to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ call for “free, prior and informed consent” to projects affecting Indigenous peoples or their territories.

The protest comes two days after Indigenous youth occupied a B.C. government Energy and Mines Ministry office that ended when Victoria police arrested 13 people. Four of those arrested spoke during the protest on Friday.

Ta’Kaiya Blaney, 18, said she was arrested by police at the ministry protest but has yet to be charged. She said Indigenous youth back the hereditary chiefs who are protecting lands that will ensure the survival of their people.

“When you attack one, you attack us all,” she told the crowd. “We, as Indigenous youth, know that what Canada is willing to do to Wet’suwet’en people is a demonstration of the measures they are willing to go to bulldoze and destroy Indigenous lands in the name of profit and industry.”

RCMP arrested 14 people at a Wet’suwet’en protest camp in northwest B.C. last January and police are now back patrolling the same area.

Hundreds of students walk out of classes in Metro Vancouver in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. by Charlie Smith,, January 27, 2020

Fond du Lac, MN. –– A group of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Water Protectors, blockaded an access road to a TC Energy work site where the Canadian company—formerly known as TransCanada—is performing work on natural gas lines on the Fond du Lac reservation. Today’s action is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s fight to protect their traditional territories from fossil fuel expansion. The hereditary chiefs representing the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en are currently blocking construction on a section of TC Energy’s C$6.6-billion Coastal Gaslink pipeline, which would run through their ancestral lands in northern B.C.

“We will stand for no colonial resource extraction on Indigenous lands any longer, in solidarity with our Wet’suwet’en brothers and sisters in so-called Canada who are fighting the Coastal Gaslink pipeline,” said an Indigenous Water Protector. “We are a new generation of warriors and we have awoken with the call in our hearts to protect the sacred. It is no longer a rallying cry, it is something that we mean to live by.”

Local resistance to pipelines has been mounting in recent years in opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 tar sands pipeline which would violate Anishinaabe treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather in their treaty territories. Line 3 and TC Energy’s gas pipelines threaten Indigenous sovereignty and full access to their lands.

“This is a call to arms from Indigenous elders who believe that showing solidarity with other struggles is very needed and very necessary in the fight moving forward,” said another Indigenous Water Protector.

MN: Water Protectors Stage Direct Action in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Fight Against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Rising Tide North America, January 28, 2020

Si‘Äôam Hamilton (center low) speaks to the crowd as Indigenous youth living in Lekwungen Territories stand in solidarity with the Wet‘Äôsuwet‘Äôen on the front steps of the BC Legislature in response to the arrests of 11 Indigenous youth and an Elder.Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

VICTORIA — Indigenous youth who rallied at the British Columbia legislature say their arrests earlier this week are minor when compared to the sacrifices of hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs who oppose a liquefied natural gas pipeline running through their traditional territories.

About 100 people attended a protest Friday at the B.C. legislature to urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan to respect Wet’suwet’en laws.

Indigenous youth chant ‘stand up, fight back’ at anti-pipeline protest in Victoria. Dirk Meissner / The Canadian Press, JANUARY 24, 2020
This entry was posted in decolonize, Indigenous, Native Americans, Uncategorized, Wet’suwet’en. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Escalating tensions between Wet’suwet’en and RCMP

  1. museum42 says:

    We are Watershed, Springs, Creeks, and Rivers, Channels of Life. Conduits of Correlational Mutual Veins of Living Waters.

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