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Jan 22, 20

Whatcom County, WA: Rail Shut Down in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Fight Against Colonial Invasion

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The following communique was sent to It’s Going Down anonymously, which we reprint below.

The Wet’suwet’en people have stewarded and defended their traditional territories since time immemorial. In stark contrast to false promises for “truth and reconciliation,” the Canadian state is working with Fossil Fuel MegaCorp TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) in an attempt to build the 6.2 billion dollar Coastal GasLink LNG pipeline through  unceeded Wet’suwet’en territory, despite clear refusal from the hereditary chiefs of all five Wet’suwet’en clans.

A year ago, we watched as the RCMP invaded sovereign Git’umt’en territory with militarized police prepared to use lethal force against unarmed land protectors. We witnessed the Unist’ot’en matriarchs stand up to Coastal GasLink, defending their healing center and the future of their Yintah. Now, a recently granted injunction is criminalizing Wet’suwet’en people and their guests on their own territories. As the RCMP have set up a road block on the logging road leading up to the Git’umt’en and Unist’ot’en camps, the risk of imminent violence against Wet’suwet’en people and their supporters intensifies.

The Wet’suwet’en are taking a critical stand, and have called for the support of Indigenous and settler communities to stand with them:

 “We watched communities across Canada and worldwide rise up with us in January 2019 when the RCMP violently raided our territories and criminalized us for upholding our responsibilities towards our land. Our strength to act today comes from the knowledge that our allies across Canada and around the world will again rise up with us, as they did for Oka, Gustafsen Lake, and Elsipogtog, shutting down rail lines, ports, and industrial infrastructure and pressuring elected government officials to abide by UNDRIP. The state needs to stop violently supporting those members of the 1% who are stealing our resources and condemning our children to a world rendered uninhabitable by climate change.” 

The United States is complicit in these crimes, and responsible for the global network of resource extraction that threatens the health of the planet and criminalizes resistance efforts. As settlers on the stolen and occupied territories of Turtle Island, we acknowledge that this legacy of colonialism lives in our bodies and homes. We know that the health of the land depends on the wisdom of Indigenous people, who must be the decision makers on their territories. We will not stand by while the RCMP occupies and polices sacred unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. We will support one another, meet our own needs, and demand respect and sovereignty for all Indigenous peoples.

WHY HERE?

The BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) is the largest freight railroad network in North America. The railway operates in both the United States and Canada, including an approximate 30 mile (48 kilometer) section that runs from the U.S. – Canada border to Vancouver, British Columbia.

BNSF directly owns and operates over 24,000 miles (38,624 kilometers) of track. With second, third and fourth main-line trackage, yard trackage, and siding trackage,the total length of track which the railway directly controls rises to more than 50,000 miles (80,467 kilometers). The BNSF railway is among the top transporters of intermodal freight in North America. It also hauls bulk cargo, including enough coal to generate around ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States. This, combined with the fact that both of the rail lines leading from the U.S. to Canada through so-called British Columbia are owned and operated by BNSF makes this industrial giant a primo target for blockages and slow downs in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. These two railways represent a clear and accessible bottleneck of supplies from the U.S. to Canada.

Inspired by other solidarity actions and our commitment to upholding Indigenous sovereignty and acting where we stand, we disrupted the high volume railway that moves resources from the active ports of Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, and further south to the Blaine border crossing into Canada. We were able to interrupt the track circuit used to detect the presence or absence of a train on the tracks. With high resolution maps, Google Street view, good scouting, and a little flexibility, this tactic is fast and discreet. On a single rail track with a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) system, this simple action can generate enough confusion in the system to cause big slow downs and bureaucratic delays. 

YOU SHOULD DO THIS TOO

Other rail disrupters have called for solidarity actions(1) in response to the intensity of the current situation up North. Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership has taken a strong stand to prevent further destruction of the land, water, and people. We stand with the matriarchs, two-spirit people, and all Indigenous land defenders who show us that when we rise up together, another world is possible. Our hearts tell us that solidarity in times of crisis is the minimum action we can take. Our actions were methodical, well researched, supported by our trusted friends, and simple to actualize with some careful planning and excellent security practices.

The stability of the Canadian state depends on the cooperation of its U.S. supply chain. We must act where we can, and know that our impacts are felt across colonial borders. We echo the solidarity statements from Hamilton(2), Montreal(3), and Olympia(4), and add our own message. If the RCMP raids Wet’suwet’en territory, we will shut down the supply lines where we stand. We will halt the rails, we will block the ports. We will never give up this fight. We stand with you and we have your back.

To our comrades across the border and to all rising up against the colonial state and industry, we say: No trade with Canada without Indigenous sovereignty! No genocide against Indigenous peoples! End the RCMP occupation of the Wet’suwet’en Yintah!

#LANDBACK

1:https://north-shore.info/2020/01/05/to-settlers-by-settlers-a-callout-for-rail-disruptions-in-solidarity-with-the-wetsuweten/

2:https://itsgoingdown.org/hamilton-on-takes-to-the-streets-to-stand-with-the-wetsuweten/

3:https://itsgoingdown.org/disruption-of-port-of-montreal-during-rush-hour-in-solidarity-with-the-wetsuweten-fighting-coastal-gaslink/

4:https://itsgoingdown.org/olympia-wa-all-eyes-on-the-wetsuweten/

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Anonymous Contributor

This submission came to It's Going Down anonymously through itsgoingdown.org/contribute. IGD is not the author nor are we responsible for the post content.

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