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Oct 28, 21

Chief Dtsa’hyl Arrested Following Growing Blockades; Machinery Shut Down on Wet’suwet’en Territory

photo: Michael Toledano

In a video statement posted late Wednesday, Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’ reported that Chief Dtsa’Hyl of the Likhts’amisyu and Kolin Sutherland-Wilson of the Gitxsan fireweed clan were arrested by RCMP forces, following growing tensions at the presence of so-called Canadian authorities on Wet’suwet’en territory. Over the last few days, blockades against RCMP and Coastal Gaslink (CGL) personal have been erected and machinery has been “decommissioned” and shut down.

Sleydo’ also stated that more law enforcement were on their way to make potentially further arrests, and support was drastically needed. “We need everybody to get your boots on the ground. Please come to camp. We need support for Likhts’amisyu. Support the Wet’suwet’en in the struggle that we’ve been on for ten years now. We need everybody to just shut shit down. Wherever you are, whatever you can do. If you can’t get here, you need to start making noise, start making a fuss. Get things going wherever you are.”

Journalist Michael Toledano, who was been reporting on the ongoing struggle against the RCMP invasion and CGL resource extraction, reported earlier in the day:

After Coastal Gaslink pipeline workers used heavy machines to block Wet’suwet’en chiefs from their own land,Likhtsamisyuchief Dsta’hyl disabled the equipment – turning CGL’s blockade against them. The Likht’samisyu have now decommissioned 10 pieces of heavy equipment

We’re more than a month into the 3rd wave of blockades against the Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Gidimten has blocked the site where CGL plans to drill beneath Wet’suwet’en headwaters since late September. Likhtsamisyu has used heavy equipment to control access to a man camp.

The Likhts’amisyu clan then posted:

This is #LandBack. There’s no framing this in any Western #colonial lens because colonialism has no idea as to how LandBack can be implemented. They only know that if they relabel it within their own framework it might mean something else. We won’t let you do that.

Yesterday, Toledano reported that indigenous blockades had even shut down access to a “man-camp,” or encampment containing a high concentration of pipeline workers:

After pushing through a Coastal Gaslink barricade of heavy machinery, Likhtsamisyu chiefs and supporters have occupied the far reaches of Wet’suwet’en territory. They are controlling vehicle traffic into a man camp. CGL equipment is blocking Wet’suwet’en from pushing further.

This blockade was put in place after Likhts’amisyu Chiefs and supporters were stopped from entering their own territory on Sunday, Oct 24th, 2021, and worked quickly to establish a camp on the road where they were stopped.

From a post on Instagram:

This weekend I got to witness Wet’suwet’en law in action. New life breathed into the ancient alliance between Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en neighbours. And a total culture clash with police and pipeline contractors who choose not to understand or respect very simple concepts. Here’s what I saw: Coastal Gaslink pipeline crews are trespassing. They never got permission to access land belonging to the Wet’suwet’en clans. Worse, they’re doing irreversible damage – punching through forests, rivers and mountains that never even had a road before this year.

These are serious crimes. In the old days they’d be dealt with very harshly. But as Likhts’amisyu (Fireweed clan) enforcement officer Dtsa’hyl (Adam Gagnon) explained, the Wet’suwet’en are willing to accommodate the ignorance of their colonizers. So for now they’re simply collecting evidence of the destruction, and recording serial numbers on equipment. If CGL doesn’t remove its machines after repeat warnings, they are subject to seizure by the clans. In our legal system we might call it asset forfeiture. Like if someone parks their car on your lawn – you get them towed. If CGL wants the equipment back, they can file for an appeal. All of this was explained very patiently to CGL personnel.

In response, CGL crews took it upon themselves to block the road with a rock truck, preventing Tse’besa (Lillian Wilson) from accessing her own territory at Loox Kwa (Clore River). She couldn’t even bear witness to the destruction of her own land, let alone enjoy it with her family. This is totally illegal under Wet’suwet’en law, and a grave human rights violation in Western law too.

This blockade follows Dinï ze’ Woos officially opening a cabin at the Coyote Camp:

[O]n the drillpad site and invites the ancestors to come and stand with us. Before contact, hundreds of thousands of us were here. We coexisted with the animals and protected the Wedzin Kwa since time immemorial. We will always defend Wedzin Kwa River. Dinï ze’ Woos delivers a resolute message to CGL investors, “[CGL] said they were going to drill under this river…And that won’t happen. We’re not going to let that happen.”

Two weeks ago, scenes of Native land defenders pushing RCMP officers out of the territory to cries of, “You are on the land of Chief Woos!,” went viral, as mass wooden blockades were defended from ongoing police harassment and entrance into the territory.

For future updates, follow @Likhtsamisyu, @Gidimten, @M_Tol, and Yintah Access

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