October 6, 2021
From It's Going Down
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Call for a week of action in solidarity with the ongoing Wet’suwet’en struggle for sovereignty and against resource extraction.

Cas Yikh of the Gidimt’en Clan are counting on supporters to go ALL OUT in a mobilization for the biggest battle yet to protect our sacred headwaters, Wedzin Kwa. We have remained steadfast in our fight for self-determination, and we are still unceded, undefeated, sovereign and victorious.

In January 2019, when Gidimt’en Checkpoint was raided by the RCMP, enforcing an injunction for Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, your communities rose up in solidarity!

You organized rallies and marches. You published Solidarity Statements. You wrote your representatives. You put on fundraisers and donated to the Legal Fund. You pledged to stand by the Wet’suwet’en. The pressure worked to keep Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters safe as they navigated the colonial court system. All charges were dropped.

In January 2020, you answered the call to #SHUTDOWNCANADA! The world watched as the RCMP violently confronted unarmed Wet’suwet’en land defenders, on behalf of CGL, in an intense 6-day struggle for control over the territory, following industry’s eviction by Hereditary Chiefs.

This invasion ignited a storm of solidarity! The Wet’suwet’en were embraced in beautiful and powerful actions coast to coast and overseas. During February and March, thousands of people rose up in hundreds of demonstrations in solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty and environmental protection against the fracked gas industry.

During a wave of international uprisings, Canada came under fire for its refusal to engage in meaningful Free, Prior and Informed Consent with Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island. Canada’s denial of responsibility and failure to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples resulted in the fight for #LANDBACK.

We are humbled by the power of our allies, friends and supporters. We have love, respect, and gratitude for those that stood their ground beside us on the yintah to defend Wedzin Kwa. We vow to reciprocate the solidarity from everyone that followed, all our allies/relatives and supporters that put their feet in the street defending Indigenous sovereignty.

Now, we need you to rise up again.

Wet’suwet’en Resistance to CGL Pipeline Occupation 2021: What Is Happening at Gidimt’en Checkpoint? A Recap of Events from Wet’suwet’en Territory This Week

Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all Hereditary Chiefs of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink to drill on Wet’suwet’en lands.

Over the past week, as Wet’suwet’en members of Cas Yikh and their supporters maintain control of a Coastal GasLink drill site that threatens their unceded territories, the RCMP has utilized excessive use of force and torturous pain compliance on land defenders.

Gidimt’en chiefs and supporters have been defending a number of culturally significant archeological sites and the sacred headwaters of the Wedzin Kwa from destruction on unceded Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) territory belonging to the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en people.

What is happening at the archaeology site?

The Coastal GasLink pipeline company obtained a Site Alteration Permit (SAP) for Ts’elkay Kwe from the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) through a flawed and ineffective consultation process and without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

The Wet’suwet’en have argued for years that the pipeline route endangers critical species, cultural use and heritage sites, and is not supported by Wet’suwet’en land use plans, particularly around the development of climate change policies. This archaeological site in particular is significant to the Wet’suwet’en in the protection of our cultural heritage for future generations and for protecting our oral histories and heritage values for ongoing rights and title negotiations. The creek is the home of the endangered Lamprey eel, and runs directly into Wedzin Kwa through an ancient and documented village site.

The company continues to violate their own regulations and conditions set forward by governing bodies such as the OGC and their own Environmental Assessment Certificates. Neither CGL nor the BCOGC undertook consultation with Cas Yikh or the Office of the Wet’suwet’en for the permit. The consultation process and the permitting system is deeply flawed and acts merely as a rubber stamp process to allow industry to continue. Files sent to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en were encrypted and password protected. They were unable to be opened during the time frame for appeal, despite efforts to access them by Wet’suwet’en leadership. Silence does not equal consent and to push forward with destroying a culturally significant heritage site is deeply disturbing.

An archeologist working with Cas Yikh recently stated:

A site alteration permit was granted for the purpose of clearing GbSs-8 to make way for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, but no information on the proposed work/clearing activities has been shared with OW, Wo’os, Cas Yikh, or this report’s author. What is known about the archaeology of Ts’elkay Kwe (Creek) is dismal. This is especially concerning given the sheer intensity with which the landscape was inhabited and used (according to oral and written testimonies) and the concentration of habitation and use sites (lithics, trails, and cultural depressions). As a result, any destruction to archaeological heritage in Ts’elkay Kwe (Creek) should be seen as a gross miscalculation on behalf of the proponent and their archaeologists. Indeed, given that no consultation or consent was granted for the site alteration permit, the course of site destruction is highly irregular and likely illegal.

Many measures were taken to prevent the destruction of this site, including a Cease and Desist letter sent to all parties, including provincial ministers in charge of lands and forests,  in which hereditary chief Dini ze’ Woos stated:

“To be clear, we do not authorize or consent to the removal of, or any “alteration” or impacts to, our archaeological heritage. According to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — a declaration implemented by the BC Government under Bill C418*.

The work that is continuing just hundreds of meters from Gidimt’en Checkpoint, a reoccupation site belonging to Cas Yikh, is in violation of the provincially legislated DRIPA. When Gidimt’en spokesperson Sleydo’ attempted to access the site, she was aggressively intimidated by CGL security. This destruction is happening without the consent or monitoring by Cas Yikh and therefore we demand that the permit be revoked and a proper consultation process begin.

What is happening at Wedzin Kwa?

Coastal Gaslink is preparing to drill under the Wedzin Kwa to construct their 670km fracked gas pipeline. We know this would be disastrous, not only for Wet’suwet’en people, but for all living beings supported by the Wedzin Kwa, and for the communities living downstream. Wedzin Kwa is a spawning ground for salmon and a critical source of pristine drinking water on the territory.

Wet’suwet’en members, including Freda Huson of Unist’ot’en, have been tirelessly working to maintain their access and jurisdiction to their territories for the last decade. The fight to save this river has been long and nuanced, with many wins and losses over the years. Many pipeline companies have sought to drill under these waters, and have used many colonial tactics of intimidation and violence against Wet’suwet’en people and supporters to wear us down. Yet the river still runs clean, and Wet’suwet’en still remain strong. This fight is far from over.

On the morning of September 25th, 2021, the access road to CGL’s drill site was destroyed. Blockades were set up and the site has been occupied to stop the drilling of these sacred headwaters that nourish the Yintah and all those within its catchment areas. Cas Yikh and supporters have taken control of the area and refuse to allow this destruction to continue.

Recap of Events From the Past Week

September 21 

Coastal GasLink (CGL) contractors came in escorted by RCMP and cleared trees and brush at an ancient sacred site along Ts’elkay Kwe.

There was no archaeologist on site. CGL also refused to show any permits, but continued to clear brush and fall trees in the valley as a Gidimt’en matriarch requested a pause to consult with Cas Yikh’s chiefs, wing chiefs, matriarchs and members.

September 22 

After days of conflict between Gidimt’en/Cas Yikh Chiefs and members, Coastal GasLink and the RCMP, contractors cleared an archaeological site which has been destroyed with heavy machinery for the construction of a methane gas pipeline.

September 23

Coastal Gaslink continued to clear the archeology site despite ongoing urges from Cas Yikh Chiefs and matriarchs to cease work. It is discovered that the drill site at Wedzin Kwa has been cleared and grated, indicating that drilling is imminent.

September 24

Fires are lit and Cas Yikh members and supporters gather the strength and resources needed to engage Coastal GasLink and RCMP at the drill site. It is our responsibility to uphold ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law), under which all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals.

September 25 

DRILL SITE OCCUPIED.

On the morning of September 25th, the access road to CGL’s drill site at Wedzin Kwa was destroyed. Blockades have been set up and site was occupied to stop the drilling under the sacred headwaters that nourish the Wet’suwet’en Yintah. Cas Yikh and supporters have gained control of the area and refuse to allow the destruction to continue.

During the occupation, one supporter was tasered and arrested on the road to the drill pad site. Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs were denied access to their territory, read the injunction, and threatened with arrest. The Hereditary Chiefs stood their ground and were not arrested.

September 26 

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs continue to support the occupation, and are successful along with their supporters to continue to hold the line. CGL is unable to access the site or perform any work.

September 27 

The RCMP, trespassing on the Yintah on behalf of Coastal GasLink, made another arrest at the drill site. Their gruesome use of pain compliance on the supporter was unsuccessful in extracting the person, so they sent in CGL contractors with tools instead of a trained extraction team. After release the person was sent to get medical attention in an ambulance.

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Source: Itsgoingdown.org