Wet’suwet’en Enforce Mandatory Evacuation

You never know what might happen when you join a struggle for justice. One day in January 2020, I saw this video, “Coastal Gaslink Evicted from Unist’ot’en Territory”. I was amazed! I had been working for years on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline resistance. But had not known about the Wet’suwet’en peoples in British Columbia and their efforts to protect the water and their beautiful lands from construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

I was especially interested because of the issues of Indigenous rights and began to closely follow these stories. https://landbackfriends.com/?s=wetsuweten

Not surprisingly there was little written about this in the mainstream media. Then, as now, the Wet’suwet’en asked supporters to share their stories on social media, which I did. My Quaker meeting wrote a statement about this and sent a letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, January 26, 2020. (below)

On February 7, 2020, several of us held a vigil in Des Moines, Iowa, to support the Wet’suwet’en. This vigil was life changing for me because that is where I met Ronnie James, an Indigenous organizer with many years of experience. I first learned of the concepts of Mutual Aid from Ronnie and to this day we work on Des Moines Mutual Aid projects. Mutual Aid and LANDBACK have become the focus of my study and writing. https://landbackfriends.com/

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago when some of our Mutual Aid friends offered their support for the Wet’suwet’en. You probably notice using the same signs we used in 2020.

The reason for all this backstory is because Sunday the Wet’suwet’en enforced the eviction notice that was first given to Coastal Gaslink in the video above, in January, 2020. Following are stories of what has happened since. You can find updates on twitter at https://twitter.com/Gidimten

The Gidimt’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation has told Coastal GasLink it will enforce the eviction of pipeline workers from its territories in central B.C.

The enforcement notice, issued at 5 a.m. PT Sunday, provided an eight-hour window for CGL workers to move out of the territory before the access road was blocked.  

Jennifer Wickham, media co-ordinator for the Gidimt’en checkpoint, which monitors access to part of the territory, says the Morice River Forest Service Road is now impassible for all vehicles, including supply trucks. She says only a handful of CGL workers were seen leaving the area before the blockades went up along the access road Sunday afternoon.

On Sept. 25, members of the Gidimt’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en and supporters established a camp on a CGL work site south of Houston, halting plans to drill under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River). Wickham called the river “the major concern” right now. She says the enforcement notice is “the next step” in the actions taken to protect the Wet’suwet’en sacred headwaters, salmon spawning river, and source of clean drinking water. 

Wet’suwet’en clan members say they are enforcing eviction of Coastal GasLink from territories. The enforcement notice, issued early Sunday, provided 8 hours for workers to leave before roads blocked By Kate Partridge, CBC News, Nov 15, 2021

This morning, we upheld our laws and issued a mandatory evacuation order for all pipeline workers trespassing on our territory. We are enforcing the eviction order from January 2020, where Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs representing all clans of our nation stood together and removed Coastal GasLink from our lands. We will never abandon our children to live in a world with no clean water. We uphold our ancestral responsibilities. We continue to protect our yintah and invite all of our supporters to join us on the ground or to take action where you stand.There will be no pipelines on Wet’suwet’en territory.

For more info www.yintahaccess.com#AllOutForWedzinKwa#ResponsibiliyNotRights#WetsuwetenStrong

“This morning Cas Yikh enforced the eviction to Coastal GasLink. CGL was given 8 hours to evacuate the yintah.

CGL has been trespassing and violating our laws for too long. We will continue to uphold our laws! Join us.”

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Bear Creek Friends (Quaker) meetinghouse is in the Iowa countryside. Many members have been involved in agriculture and care about protecting Mother Earth. A number of Friends have various relationships with Indigenous peoples. Some Friends have worked to protect water and to stop the construction of fossil fuel pipelines in the United States, such as the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

We are concerned about the tensions involving the Wet’suwet’en Peoples, who are working to protect their water and lands in British Columbia. Most recently they are working to prevent the construction of several pipelines through their territory. Such construction would do severe damage to the land, water, and living beings.

Bear Creek Friends (Quaker) Meeting, Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) January 26, 2020

John Horgan.
Email premier@gov.bc.ca

John Horgan,

We’re concerned that you are not honoring the tribal rights and unceded Wet’suwet’en territories and are threatening a raid instead.

We ask you to de-escalate the militarized police presence, meet with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and hear their demands:

That the province cease construction of the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project and suspend permits.

That the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and tribal rights to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) are respected by the state and RCMP.

That the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and associated security and policing services be withdrawn from Wet’suwet’en lands, in agreement with the most recent letter provided by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s (CERD) request.

That the provincial and federal government, RCMP and private industry employed by Coastal GasLink (CGL) respect Wet’suwet’en laws and governance system, and refrain from using any force to access tribal lands or remove people.

Bear Creek Monthly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
19186 Bear Creek Road, Earlham, Iowa, 50072


4 thoughts on “Wet’suwet’en Enforce Mandatory Evacuation

  1. I have been massively disappointed in the lack of MSM coverage of the First Nations side of this, The RCMP are enforcing an illagal operation even under Canadian Law, specifically Aboriginal Title (which is enshrined in British Law as well as ratified by BC under UN rules. See Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (Declaration Act) pass into law in November 2019.,

    Who has right to negotiate on traditional land (unceded)? Answer, the chiefs of the bands. The Indian Act reserves and their councils only have legal authority over the reservation and those living on them (about 200 recognised by the colonial Indian Act, designed to reduce official First Nations based on restrictive rules) while the First Nation itself comprises about 5,000 who hold the land under ‘Aboriginal Title’ confimed by the Supreme Court of Canada (https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/1569/index.do). The Coastal Gaslink originally started negotiations with the Tribe but backed out to use ‘gaslighting’ agreements with the reserve councils who had nothing to lose and were easy to bribe.

    The Tradional Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’an (under First Nation Law) have the right to rule on native laws make agreements on land use.And their is nothing illegitimate about the chiefs. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-wetsuweten-hereditary-system-coastal-gaslink-pipeline-protests-bc/ shows how native law works to select leaders.

    ■ Aboriginal title is a communal
    right. An individual cannot hold
    aboriginal title. This means that
    decisions about land must be made
    by the community as a whole

    They cannot stop the pipeline itself under this law as https://www.bctreaty.ca/sites/default/files/delgamuukw.pdf simplifies the rulings to point out

    ■ Permitted uses of aboriginal lands
    are no longer limited to traditional
    practices. For example, mining could
    be a permitted use, even if mining
    was never a part of the First Nation’s
    traditional culture.

    The sticking point is that the Coastal Gaslink is threatening salmon spawning beds by cheaping out on the river crossing (trenching to bury the pipeline which will stir up massive amounts of silt), This violates the Aboriginal Title rights under

    ■ Because aboriginal title is based
    on a First Nation’s relationship with
    the land, these lands cannot be used
    for a purpose inconsistent with that
    continuing relationship. For example,
    if the people’s culture was based on
    hunting, their aboriginal title lands
    could not be paved over or
    strip-mined if that would destroy
    their cultural relationship to the land.

    Damage to tradional food sources cannot be allowed even with First Nations permission. CANNOT BE USED for purposes inconsistent with the relationship to the land, including tradiitonal food resources.

    By enforicing an illegal injunction against Aboriginal Title the RCMP is itself breaking the law. But this is all about colonialism and power, not the law.


  2. Update. I had understood that the river crossing was by trenching. Recent conversations have alerted me to the fact that the crossing will be by “micro tunnel’ which does not disturb the river bed and therefore is not a threat to salmon spawning beds. That eliminates the only legal defense here.

    The issue of the reserve (Indian Act) having to power to make agreements and the borders of the ‘traditional territory’ are the only legal issues left. And protests will not work for that. Legal action is needed, land claims and perhaps invalidating the Indian Act as colonial oppression with no legal justification.


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