On November 18, wielding assault rifles, helicopters and canine units, the RCMP raided the Gidimt’en Checkpoint and arrested unarmed Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters in an effort to break up the blockade of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The occupation started in September and halted the efforts to build a key portion of the over 400-mile pipeline within Wet’suwet’en lands that violates both Wet’suwet’en and settler laws.
The Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project is an encroachment on Wet’suwet’en lands and lacks the consent of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, putting it in violation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
In December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) called on Canada to “immediately halt the construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en People” and “guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en Peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP] and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.” The Canadian government failed to meet the November 2021 deadline for response to the UN CERD.
The RCMP played the soundtrack to Freddy the horror film over the radio as they approached, and then used axes and chainsaws to break into a cabin without a warrant. They pointed assault rifles at land defenders as they removed them from their land. After the raid, RCMP burned the cabins at Coyote Camp to the ground mirroring a long standing tactic colonial forces have used to violently remove indigenous people from their land on Wet’suwet’en territories and beyond. All in the name of a pipeline that will jeopardize their sacred headwaters, essential for the forest and its wildlife, and that has never had the free, prior, informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en people.
The colonial violence perpetrated by the RCMP flies in the face of Canada’s commitments to reconciliation, the UNDRIP and also climate action. One should not forget that British Columbia is suffering from extreme weather calamities linked to climate change, fueled by the burning of fossil fuels like those this pipeline would transport.
The RCMP must withdraw at once from all unceded Wet’suwet’en lands and land defenders and supporters must be cleared of all charges. Here in Hamilton, Six Nations community members have occupied Highway 6 bypass in a solidarity action, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help with the camp-out and in providing supplies. To find more information on how you can do your part to stand with the Wet’suwet’en people, visit https://www.yintahaccess.com/take-action-1 . An academic letter of support has been published here too and you are invited to add your name.
Click here to read our Local’s previous statement in support of Wet’suwet’en land defenders.