The Unist'ot'en Camp and Gidimt'en Access Point are two small Indigenous settlements located in relatively remote areas of British Columbia. Their distances from large urban areas might keep them out of sight and out of mind for most B.C. residents. But tomorrow (January 8), supporters in as faraway cities as Toronto and San Francisco plan to amplify the voices of the Wet’suwet’en people stationed there.
“This is a historic moment when the federal and provincial governments can choose to follow their stated principles of reconciliation, or respond by perpetuating colonial theft and violence in Canada,” reads a Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) media release.
There are some 30 demonstrations planned for cities across Canada plus several in the United States, according to the release.
"We are now preparing for a protracted struggle,” reads a Facebook page with links to details about the various protests. “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.”
The demonstrations were scheduled after a heightened police presence was observed around the Unist'ot'en Camp and Gidimt'en Access Point and after Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Ltd. obtained an interim injunction that forbids "obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access" to Coastal Gaslink Pipeline employees and contractors.
At issue is TransCanada Pipelines’ 670-kilometre Coastal Gaslink pipeline, which is planned to transport liquefied natural gas from Dawson Creek to an LNG Canada facility under construction just outside Kitimat.
Standing in the pipeline’s way are the Unist'ot'en Camp and Gidimt'en Access Point.
According to the Unist'ot'en Camp’s website, on Saturday (January 5), members of the RCMP's Aboriginal police liaison warned Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs that demonstrators at those locations and related checkpoints could soon be removed with force.
As previously reported by the Straight, dozens of RCMP officers have since been observed swelling the force’s ranks in the nearby northwestern B.C. communities of Houston and Smithers.
Cities holding rallies in support of the Unist'ot'en Camp and Gidimt'en Access Point include Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, among others.More