TheNarwhal: In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction

Police made arrests Monday on the Morice River bridge, the sole entrance point to the Unist’ot’en land-based healing centre

Amber Bracken Feb 10, 2020

Freda Huson, Unist’ot’en spokesperson and founder of the Unist’ot’en healing centre, sings in ceremony as RCMP approach to arrest her during their enforcement of a Coastal GasLink court-ordered injunction against those blocking work on a gas pipeline on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photo: Amber Bracken / The Narwhal

Members of the RCMP arrested seven individuals outside the Unist’ot’en healing centre Monday during the fifth day of enforcing a court-ordered injunction against members of the Wet’suwe’ten and their supporters blocking access to work sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The arrests were made at the 66-kilometre mark of the Morice River Forest Service Road at a bridge crossing a river along the 670-kilometre pipeline’s route.

Around 80 individuals have been arrested at Wet’suwet’en camps along the road and at solidarity actions taking place across the country.

Coastal GasLink was granted an injunction originally in December 2018 and the court order was renewed December 2019. Although the pipeline received approval from elected band members, hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nation, representing five clans, have rejected the pipeline and asserted sovereignty over the nation’s traditional territory.

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Also check out more of Amber Bracken’s beautiful pictures at her website…

Macleans: Opinion: The Wet’suwet’en are more united than pipeline backers want you to think

Amber Bracken: The difference between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected chiefs is rooted in Aboriginal title, an issue that the Government of Canada continues to leave unresolved

by Amber Bracken Feb 14, 2020

This is, left to right: Dinï ze’ Knedebeas, Warner William, Dinï ze’ Hagwilnegh, Ron Mitchell, Dinï ze’ Woos, Frank Alec, Dinï ze’ Madeek, Jeff Brown, Dinï ze’ Gisday’wa, Fred Tom. In back is Dinï ze’ Ste ohn tsiy, Rob Alfred. Wet’suwet’en territory near Houston, B.C. on Jan. 4, 2020. (Amber Bracken)

Amber Bracken is an award-winning photojournalist based in Edmonton. Much of her reporting focuses on issues affecting Indigenous people. She’s spent months, over multiple trips, covering the interpretation of Aboriginal title rights inside Wet’suwet’en territory.

Ahead of the impending RCMP enforcement of Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline’s temporary injunction in late 2018, the Wet’suwet’en held an important feast, to decide what to do next.  

The bahlat, or potlatch in English, is the seat of their ancient government. That it exists today is a credit to the Wet’suwet’en resisters who were jailed for protecting it during the potlatch ban that lasted from 1884 to 1951, even as their regalia was burned in front of them. 

Bahlats are open to everyone from the nation. The proceedings that day took hours of protocol and discussion before the hereditary chiefs announced the decision, on behalf of the five clans—they would not leave quietly, they said. They would block pipeline workers.  

Decisions made like this have underpinned the Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs decade-long stand against all pipelines—in their remaining culturally viable land. It’s only a portion of their total unceded territory equalling roughly the size of New Jersey. 

Conversely, of the five Wet’suwet’en elected band chiefs, only the Hagwilget Village Council declined to sign benefits agreements with the LNG pipeline, citing that it was not their place to make decisions about the territory

The opposing positions of the two sets of chiefs has been represented by B.C. Premier John Horgan and in the media, as a fight within the nation between the equal actors of hereditary chiefs, who defend the land, and the band chiefs, who seek escape from poverty. Premier Horgan told the CBC he doesn’t think “a handful of people can stop progress and success for people who have been waiting for a break like this for many, many years.”

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Global: Wet’suwet’en solidarity demonstrators block Yonge and Dundas during evening commute

By Ryan Rocca Global News – Posted February 14, 2020 6:35 pm – Updated February 14, 2020 10:52 pm

Protesters are seen blocking off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto Friday evening.
Protesters are seen blocking off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto Friday evening. Global News

A group of demonstrators blocked off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto during the evening commute on Friday.

The demonstration was held in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, many of whose members oppose the building of the Coastal GasLink liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline in northern British Columbia, which would pass through the nation’s unceded territory.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en solidarity protests: How Canadian law protects demonstrators

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., Toronto police tweeted the protesters had blocked off the intersection and road closures were subsequently put in place.

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CTVNews: Wet’suwet’en: What’s the difference between the elected band council and hereditary chiefs?

Ben Cousins Writer @cousins_ben Contact Published Thursday, February 13, 2020 9:06PM EST

TORONTO — Protests across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have prompted questions surrounding the difference between these chiefs and elected band councils — and the answer is complicated.

Essentially, the hereditary chiefs oversee the management of traditional lands and their authority predates the imposed colonial law, which formed the elected band council.

While the band council is in support of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the hereditary chiefs are not.

“(The band council has) done their due diligence and they want to be part of this economic initiative, create jobs for their people, be part of the economy, and they balanced the environment and the economy,” National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations told CTV’s Power Play earlier this week.

“In the ancestral territory lands of the Wet’suwet’en peoples, it’s the hereditary chiefs and their clans and their big houses that have the jurisdiction,” Bellegarde added. “That’s the piece that’s missing, so when Coastal GasLink and governments come in, they didn’t bring the Wet’suwet’en nation and the proper people in place to deal with their ancestral lands.”

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CityNews: Federal Indigenous services minister meets First Nation at rail blockade

by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 15, 2020 11:41 am EST

TYENDINAGA, Ont. — The federal Indigenous services minister arrived for a meeting today with representatives of the Mohawk Nation to discuss a rail blockade that has shut down rail services across Eastern Canada.

Marc Miller says the situation is “very tense, very volatile” and it is time to talk as members of the Mohawk Nation block the line in support of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en in their opposition to a natural gas pipeline across their traditional territory in northern B.C.

The blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory near Belleville, Ont., is in its 10th day. 

Miller requested the meeting to “polish the silver covenant chain,” which the Mohawks say refers to one of the original agreements between the First Nation and the Crown.

Similar blockades across the country have cut both passenger and freight rail services, with pressure mounting on the federal government to end them.

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See related story and video of Marc Miller at …

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CityNews: A timeline on rail disruptions by anti-pipeline protesters across Canada

by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 14, 2020 5:00 pm EST

A land protector walk on the closed train tracks on the ninth day of the blockade in Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ont., on Friday Feb. 14, 2020, as they protest in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

RCMP began enforcing an injunction last week that prevents interference with construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.

Here is a timeline of the dispute, along with rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink project:

Dec. 31, 2019 — The B.C. Supreme Court grants Coastal GasLink an injunction calling for the removal of any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.

Jan. 1, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en First Nation serves Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, telling the company workers are “currently trespassing” on their unceded territory.

Jan. 27 — The British Columbia government appoints former New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen as a provincial liaison with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in the LNG pipeline dispute.

Jan. 30 — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en agree to seven days of meetings with the province.

Read more at CityNews …

CBC: Video captures Wet’suwe’ten supporter pleading with RCMP in tense enforcement scene

WARNING: Video contains images that may be disturbing to some viewers

Chantelle Bellrichard · CBC News · Posted: Feb 14, 2020 3:40 PM ET | Last Updated: February 14

A screenshot from a video filmed by Denzel Sutherland-Wilson showing a member of the RCMP emergency response team providing what RCMP call ‘over watch’ during enforcement actions at a Wet’suwet’en checkpoint on Feb. 7, 2020. (Denzel Sutherland-Wilson)

A video showing some tense moments of the RCMP injunction enforcement at a Wet’suwet’en checkpoint last Friday is circulating online. 

The RCMP have been tasked with enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to ensure people are not blocking or interfering with construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Wet’suwet’en nation’s traditional territory. 

Denzel Sutherland-Wilson, a 23-year-old Gitxsan man who recorded most of the footage, said the scene captured in the video took place hours after police first arrived to enforce the injunction against him and a handful of friends, including Eve Saint, daughter of the hereditary chief of that territory, Chief Woos.

The video was taken on Feb. 7, the day of the second wave of enforcement from the RCMP which resulted in four arrests, including Sutherland-Wilson at the Gidimt’en checkpoint at the 44-kilometre mark on the Morice West Forest Service Road. 

The Gidimt’en checkpoint was one of several sites where the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters have been living and asserting that nobody could pass the checkpoint without the consent of the hereditary chiefs. 

It was posted on the Gidimt’en checkpoint Facebook page on Wednesday. 

Much of the video was shot while Sutherland-Wilson stood perched on top of a wooden tower that was constructed on top of a yellow school bus, surrounded by RCMP — including a canine unit and tactical police carrying semi-automatic guns. 

Read more and see the video at …