As RCMP arrest Gitxsan people on CN Rail track, police monitor actions at legislature and in East Vancouver

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      A group calling itself the Unistot'en Solidarity Brigade says that RCMP are arresting Gitxsan chiefs, elders, and matriarchs on railroad tracks in northwestern B.C.

      Gitxsan hereditary chiefs joined Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs as appellants in the Delgamuukw case, which went to the Supreme Court of Canada more than 20 years ago.

      They claimed title to 58,000 square kilometres of land in northwestern B.C.

      In a unanimous ruling, the country's highest court ruled in 1997 that Aboriginal title was not extinguished when B.C. joined Confederation.

      Today's rail blockade by traditional allies of the Wet'suwet'en people came after Ontario Provincial Police took down a Tyendinaga Mohawks' camp beside CN Rail's main line near Belleville, Ontario. Ten people were arrested.

      The RCMP's arrival at the CN Rail blockade was broadcast live on Cody Wedlidi Merriman's Facebook account.

      As the arrests in northwestern B.C. were occurring this evening, a sacred fire was set on the railroad tracks at Neskonlith.

      This carries special significance because the Neskonlith reserve in the B.C. Interior is where four-time chief Arthur Manuel grew up.

      Manuel was an international leader in pursuing Indigenous rights and his books, including Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manuel for Decolonization, inspired some of the activists creating blockades this year.

      Mohawk intellectual Russ Diabo, a friend of Manuel's, tweeted that author, educator, artist, and activist Jeannette Armstrong is at the fire in Neskonlith.

      Raised on the Penticton reserve, she's a Canada Research Chair scholar in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy. She's also author of Slash, which many feel is the first novel written by an Indigenous woman in Canada.

      Another blockade has been set up this evening on the CN Rail line in the Fraser Valley.

      According to the Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism Twitter feed, about two dozen land defenders are on the scene.

      Meanwhile, a Victoria police van is in the driveway of the legislature along with a large contingent of officers.

      This came after Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' allies, including many Indigenous youths, converged outside the B.C. legislature.

      The youths say they won't leave the legislature, where Speaker Darryl Plecas has obtained a court injunction, until the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' demands are met.

      Earlier this evening, Victoria police tweeted that one of its vans was in the legislature driveway to keep its officers warm.

      "This is NOT a precursor to arrests," the VPD claimed.

      In Vancouver, police continue monitoring the intersection at Clark Drive and East Hastings Street, where activists decided to block traffic despite an injunction obtained earlier this month by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. This solidarity action is blocking trucks from going in and out of the main entrance to the Port of Vancouver.

      There have also been actions today in Hamilton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Sault Ste. Marie, and Maple Ridge.

      The latter blockade has since been taken down, but it caused TransLink to cancel the West Coast Express commuter rail service that takes passengers to Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Port Haney, and Mission.