Filed under: Action, British Columbia, Featured, Indigenous, Repression
A day before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to give the opening remarks at the “Modern Treaty and Self-Governing First Nations Forum,” heavily armed “RCMP and camouflage-wearing Emergency Response Team tactical unit officers” broke through the Gidumt’en Clan barricade in We’suwet’en territory that was blockading access to the main entrance of the wider territory, which since 2010 has been blockaded by the Unisto’ot’en Camp, along the Morice River. In recent months, courts have ruled that the Unisto’to’en Camp blockade must come down, in order to allow fracked gas companies access to the territory to begin construction of a massive pipeline which they hope to start working on in 2019.
The blockades were in set place in place on unceded indigenous territory that the State of Canada has no legal claim to, and became a rallying point for workshops and indigenous people coming together. As the Unisto’ot’en Camp wrote:
Since it was established, the Gidimt’en Access Point has hosted gatherings, workshops, and traditional activities for Wet’suwet’en, and provided an essential space for Wet’suwet’en to reconnect with their traditional territories.
The military raid, which flies in the face of Canada’s recent cosmetic attempts at “reconciliation” with indigenous nations, is also illegal under UN law. It is clear to millions who watched the news unfold, that RCMP troops were clearly acting in the interests of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the natural gas company that for over a decade, has pushed to build a pipeline through We’suwet’en territory. Such actions reveal the true nature of the State itself; one that seeks to protect at all costs the interests of its own infrastructure and power, even in the face of world wide planetary destruction and the trampling of Native peoples.
We've just heard that RCMP is establishing an exclusion zone and blocking out the public and media. Anyway, this is happening. #wetsuwetenstrong pic.twitter.com/Xs6ZCpma71
— Michael Toledano (@M_Tol) January 7, 2019
The raid began early Monday, as the Star Vancouver wrote:
A checkpoint camp was abandoned behind a massive fallen tree and a barrier of flame on Monday afternoon as dozens of RCMP officers finally pushed past the barricade set up to bar entry to the traditional territories of the Wet’suwet’en people.
After a lengthy, increasingly heated back-and-forth between the demonstrators and police, officers began cutting the barbed wire and started up a chainsaw. Camp members began to scream in protest; two young men had chained themselves to the fence below the view of the officers, encasing their arms in a kind of pipe that meant opening the gate risked breaking both of their arms.
#ShutDownCanada #Unistoten #Gidumten #TheTimeIsNow #WetsuwetenStrong pic.twitter.com/kLRYr9pld7
— submedia (@submedia) January 8, 2019
According to video reports from both We’suwet’en people on the ground as well as the anarchist media collective subMedia, the RCMP began gathering its forces in several nearby towns over the weekend, before coming upon the Gidumt’en hard blockade, and then proceeding to storm it. At around 3pm, subMedia reports that the RCMP cut communications out of the area and local media reports being denied access by the authorities. According to APTN National News:
“During the police enforcement operation, temporary exclusion zones and road closures will be established for police and public safety reasons,” said the news release sent out Monday morning that confirmed the RCMP will enforce a court order requested by a pipeline company trying to build a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory.
“Those areas will be clearly marked and media/public are welcome to stand at the perimeter, but no one will be allowed to enter the exclusion zones. These zones will only be maintained as long as necessary.”
It’s not clear how many RCMP officers are involved in the raids but some reports on social media claim 30 police vehicles are involved.
The Gidmit’en Clan, whose members are at the second check point, have called any RCMP raid an “act of war.”
These women stood like statues to greet the RCMP. #wetsuwetenstrong pic.twitter.com/lN5w6jk74i
— Michael Toledano (@M_Tol) January 7, 2019
During the storming of the Gidumt’en blockade, police made several arrests, and as of this writing, subMedia has “confirmed, 13 people remain detained from today’s raid on the Gidumt’en checkpoint, and are being held overnight in Prince George.” Among those arrested was Molly Wickham, spokesperson of Gitdumden Clan, who spoke to It’s Going Down on This Is America only several days ago.
BREAKING: Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief Namoks speaks about #RCMP attack on #Unistoten .#WetsuwetenStrong #ShutDowncanada pic.twitter.com/iU3nZ442Bk
— submedia (@submedia) January 8, 2019
“We’ve had enough of being bulldozed over,” stated Unist’ot’en Camp spokesperson, Freda Huson in a video statement. In a written statement after the raid the Unisto’ot’en Camp wrote:
We are now preparing for a protracted struggle. The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and the land defenders holding the front lines have no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.
In plain language, the threat made by RCMP to invade Wet’suwet’en territories is a violation of human rights, a siege, and an extension of the genocide that Wet’suwet’en have survived since contact.
Canada knows that its own actions are illegal. The Wet’suwet’en fought for many years in the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa court case to have their sovereignty recognized and affirmed by Canadian law.
In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to 22,000 square kilometres of Northern British Columbia.
Knowing that further litigation would be prohibitively expensive to Indigenous plaintiffs (and that pipeline construction could be completed before any significant legal issues could be further resolved) TransCanada and the provincial and federal governments are openly violating this landmark ruling.
Part 2 – BREAKING: Unist'ot'en spokesperson speaks from #UnistotenCamp as #RCMP presses illegal attack. #WaterIsLife #TheTimeIsNow #WetsuwetenStrong #Unistoten #ShutDowncanada pic.twitter.com/YPO8uNQRWf
— submedia (@submedia) January 8, 2019
The creation of the Gidimt’en Checkpoint was announced in the Wet’suwet’en feast hall, with the support of all chiefs present. Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals.
TransCanada lawyers have argued that the Unist’ot’en are essentially a rogue group without a rightful claim to Aboriginal title. The Gidimt’en intervention shows that the Unist’ot’en are not alone, and that the hereditary chiefs of all clans are prepared to uphold Wet’suwet’en law in refusing CGL access.
The Wet’suwet’en have laid out a path toward the implementation of UNDRIP, and the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent requirement of international law. Canada has chosen to ignore this path toward reconciliation.
We call on all people of conscience to act in solidarity through an international day of action on Tuesday, January 8th, 2019.
In their latest update on the Unisto’ot’en Camp website, the group stated that:
The RCMP have now installed a roadblock on the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) Road, through Gidumt’en territory and the only access road to Unist’ot’en Camp, effectively cutting off communications, media, and supplies to those living there, including clients of the Healing Center.
At the time of this publication, the Unist’ot’en Camp is on high alert for a similar violent invasion of their checkpoint. The world is watching.
There are now 50+ Actions across the world in Solidarity with Wet'suwet'en.
The list is updated as of 8:45 pm PST here: https://t.co/d2TYR13XKq
#wetsuwetenstrong #notrespass #thetimeisnow
You can't kill the spirit of righteous resistance
— Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) January 8, 2019
According to support organizers, there are now over 50 actions in solidarity with the Unisto’ot’en Camp across the world that are scheduled to take place on January 8th.
Atlanta, Georgia on Jan 8 at 5:30 pm freedom park bridge – [email protected] for more information
Bellingham on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/380099859232529/
Calgary Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/2236341339957310/
Campbell River on Jan 8 noon to 1 pm outside the NDP office on the Island Highway.
Chilliwack on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/1033615793497598/
Cortes Island, T’oq qaymexʷ territory: Fundraiser film night. details coming
Courtenay on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/284241109117135/
Duncan on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/508440033010488/
Edmonton, Amiskwaciwâskahikan on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/1309365485870035/
Flagstaff, Arizona on Jan 8th: https://www.facebook.com/events/220270942192535/
Galiano Island on Jan 8 at the Library from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Guelph on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/2054492911298902/
Halifax, Kjipuktuk on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/2157132667669407/
Hamilton on Jan 8 (1 of 2): at 2 pm https://www.facebook.com/events/1326417820833124/
Hamilton on Jan 8 (2 of 2): MAIN event at 4 pm https://www.facebook.com/events/305028770128691/
Hazelton on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/1006665829516679/
Kitchener Waterloo on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/359103131548421/
London, ON on Jan 9: https://www.facebook.com/events/2235190110137784/
Mayne Island 2pm Jan 7 at old dogwood, coast Salish territories
Mi’kma’ki on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/295207471138198/
Minnesota, MN on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/241626363423465/
Montreal/Tio’tia:ke on Jan 8 (1 of 2) at 10:30 am https://www.facebook.com/events/526787321064482/
Montreal on Jan 8 (2 of 2) at 6 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/526787321064482/
Nanaimo on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/2127205687300402/
Nelson, Sinixt Tum Xulaw7x on Jan 8: Noon at Michelle Mungal’s office (433 Josephine)
New York City on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/287637422111603/
North Bay on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/278786932805388/
North Okanagan at Splatsin Community Centre, Enderby, 7 pm.
Old Massett Haida Gwaii on Jan 8 at 6 PM, RCMP detachment.
O’Odham Territory on Jan 8 https://www.facebook.com/events/560845527721875/
Ottawa on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/324002048453236/
Peterborough on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/763066340721657/
Powell River on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/2222031144706419/
Prince George/Lheidli on Jan 8:
Regina on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/597084120719850/
Rexton, Sikniktuk Mi’kma’ki on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/309027419596067/
San Francisco, California on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/279989672642100/
Saskatoon on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/385035715601304/
Seattle, Washington on Jan 8 (1 of 2): https://www.facebook.com/events/2489982587683263/
Seattle, Washington on Jan 11 (2 of 2): https://www.facebook.com/events/313078249328737/
Sechelt: Jan 8 at 12:00 at Wheatberries Bakery
Sherbrooke on Jan 8 at 2 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/1854810457964184/
Six Nations: Jan 8 at Veterans Park at 9 am
Smithers- Gidimt’en Territory (1 of 2) Jan 8 at noon at Bovill Square
Smithers on Gidimt’en Territory (2 of 2) at 4:30 at the Park between SUBWAY & HWY 16
Splatsin Nation on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/390695858346958/
St’át’imc on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/323354351605356/
Sudbury on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/739514683078027/
Terrace on Jan 8 at 12 noon in front of the Terrace RCMP office.
Thunder Bay on Jan 8 at 12:30 pm at MP Patty Hajdu Constituency Office (705 Red River Rd. UNIT 3)
Toronto on Jan 8: MAIN EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/549865792181571/ and also see this link with similar details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2319491004999067/
Vancouver on Jan 8 (1 of 2) MAIN event at 11:30: https://www.facebook.com/events/310461009676375/?ti=cl
Vancouver on Jan 8 (2 of 2) Lunchtime picket at 12:30: https://www.facebook.com/events/279182032951137/
Victoria on Jan 8:
Winnipeg on Jan 7: Beginning at noon, a 24 hour sacred fire East side of the Legislative Building. https://www.facebook.com/events/1985087018279007/
Whitehorse on Jan 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/330513034459104/
Yellowknife on Jan 8: Liberal MP office of Michael McLeod 114-5109 48 St across from Boston pizza from 12 – 12:30