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.
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
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
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
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.
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.”
By Ryan Rocca Global News – Posted February 14, 2020 6:35 pm – Updated February 14, 2020 10:52 pm
A group of demonstrators blocked off the intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto during the evening commute on Friday.
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.
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.”
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
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.
by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 14, 2020 5:00 pm EST
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.
video showing some tense moments of the RCMP injunction enforcement at a
Wet’suwet’en checkpoint last Friday is circulating online.
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
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.
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.