photo: Fairy Creek Blockade
It has been a busy week, as Indigenous led resistance to Trans Mountain Expansion, logging in Fairy Creek, and the Coastal GasLink pipeline all heated up. Meanwhile, the urgency of the climate crisis has become even more visible as major flooding and mudslides occur across BC.
THREAD: @Gidimten people of the Wet’suwet’en nation once again control their land.
Early today, on the same bridge where militarized Canadian police first deployed onto Wet’suwet’en territory, land defenders used Coastal Gaslink’s own heavy equipment to create a new blockade. pic.twitter.com/gERflK1hw2
— Michael Toledano (@M_Tol) November 16, 2021
In Wet’suwet’en territory, just over the past 24 hours, the situation has shifted drastically. Gidimt’en Clan members and supporters enforced an immediate evacuation order for CGL, and after not all workers left the territory, they made good on their promise to shut down the only road in or out. Calls to action from Gidimt’en and their supporters have been made, and already a rail blockade has started in Gitxsan territory in response. RCMP have not yet responded to this significant loss of control.
Yesterday, we took our land back.
With our Haudenosaunee allies, we enforced our ancient trespass laws and have permanently closed access to our territory. The Morice Forest Service Road has been destroyed and access to Coastal Gaslink is no longer possible. pic.twitter.com/TcM0pOi4j6
— Gidimt’en Checkpoint (@Gidimten) November 16, 2021
Solidarity actions continue to take place and more are planned in Toronto and Montreal. This week we also cover a great action carried out by the Hamilton Encampment Support Network, and a moratorium on logging declared by Atikamekw chiefs in so-called Quebec.
Read on for all of this week’s news!
HESN Uses a New Tactic in Encampment Defense
After the Supreme Court of Ontario overturned an injunction stopping the City of Hamilton from clearing park encampments last week (for more details see last week’s column), the City wasted no time in evicting homeless residents from public spaces across the city.
This week I’ve seen displaced encampment residents who have:
-been forced to return to abusive homes for shelter
-lost essential medications during tear downs
-been victims of assault after moving to less safe locations#HamOnt city council, Hamilton police…this is on you.
— Tim O’Shea (@timosh99) November 11, 2021
On Friday, allies of those experiencing homelessness in Hamilton brought the fight against evictions to the City’s doorstep. From early in the morning until the afternoon, community members blocked all entries and exits to the yard where City vehicles used in encampment evictions are kept. The action effectively blocked the City from carrying out the evictions scheduled to take place that day.
WE WON! Thanks to everyone that joined us for our first labour stoppage picket, we shut down City facilities today responsible for carrying out encampment evictions for the day. Thank you to everyone today – we will continue to show up in numbers and keep up the fight.#HamOnt pic.twitter.com/8sJ8GK3Ifm
— Hamilton Encampment Support Network (@HamOntESN) November 12, 2021
Organizers from the Hamilton Encampment Support Network also emphasized that they were calling on City staff to recognize their collective power as workers, and to refuse to do the dirty work of the City in evicting their neighbours. Once it was confirmed that City workers had been sent home, the crowd that had gathered celebrated their success in helping keep their community safe, and vowed to continue to show up and keep up the fight.
Fairy Creek/Ada’itsx Updates, Cops Thwarted en Route to Enforce Injunction
A march in solidarity with the Fairy Creek/Ada’itsx blockades visited the offices of Steven Guilbeault, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Montreal on November 12th.
The Fairy Creek blockades are ongoing. Following the non-renewal of the original Teal Cedar injunction on September 28th, a brief period of reprieve was felt by blockaders, which allowed them to expand their presence while cops were more absent. Following the decision to not renew the initial injunction, United Steel Workers Local 1-1937 which represents over 6200 workers in BC, over 75% of which work in the forestry industry, condemned the lack of renewal. They called on their members to report protesters to police.
Demonstration in support of the #FairyCreek Ada’itsx blockade, located on unceded territories of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht Nations on Vancouver Island. BC court of appeal injunction gave the RCMP right to remove protesters blocking Teal Jones logging operations. pic.twitter.com/8udA59HE2h
— Paola Chapdelaine (@PaoChap) November 12, 2021
Since, some supporters of Fairy Creek have pointed out the irony of this stance. “Favourable referencing and encouragement of police enforcement of injunctions, in order to ensure work continues in spite of disruptions, is pure scab talk. This is the exact logic used by industry and corporations when they are herding scabs through picket lines. Seriously, on which side of the picket line does 1-1937 leadership stand?”
The brief pause in enforcement was ended by the addition of a new temporary injunction by a different judge just days later, which has remained in effect since. This has meant that the blockades have continued, but so have the arrests. On November 15th, an appeal of the injunction decision will be heard.
— Skyler Williams (@landbackskyler) November 9, 2021
In other news, on November 9th, three RCMP officers were prevented from reaching Fairy Creek to assist with injunction enforcement when their vehicles collided with a logging truck, causing the logs to roll off and damage both vehicles. All three cops were taken to hospital with minor injuries following this beautifully ironic incident.
Logging Moratorium Declared by Atikamekw Chiefs
Manawan, an Atikamekw community located in southern Quebec, has declared a moratorium on logging on their territory. The moratorium has been pushed for by community members for some time. It was initiated by the 32 territorial chiefs from the community who are responsible for the protection of the land, and is also supported by the band council.
Nitaskinan (Atikamekw territory) stretches 82 000 km2 and includes but is not limited to the three Atikamekw reserves within it. In 2014, the Atikamekw officially declared their sovereignty in Nitaskinan. Despite histories of defending their land and sovereignty through, among other means, rail and highway blockades, Nitaskinan continues to suffer incursions by logging and other industries. Though the Quebec government and the logging companies pretend to offer compensation to the affected communities in the form of measly financial compensation, job offers, and lumber, representatives are clear that these tradeoffs are nothing compared to the loss of land and culture caused by industry.
Since the declaration of the moratorium, chiefs from Wemotaci and Opitciwan, the two other Atikamekw communities in Nitaskinan, have signalled their intention to follow suit.
In an article by Radio Canada, César Weizineau, territorial chief of Opitciwan, says that when looking at how much his territory has been changed by logging, he sometimes wants to “go and kick them in the ass. Get them out of here, because they don’t want to hear us”.
While it is as yet unclear how the moratorium will be enforced, its announcement follows a trend set by the successful blockade-enforced Anishinaabe moose moratorium from the past hunting season in La Vérendrye Park in Quebec. It also follows the declaration of the moratorium on development in the Haldimand Tract issued by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council at Six Nations of the Grand River.
However they choose to enforce the moratorium, we hope people will keep an eye out for ways to support!
Opposition to the Trans Mountain Expansion
Resistance to the Trans Mountain Expansion project took multiple forms over the past week. On November 12, people gathered in downtown Vancouver for a rally and march to demand the cancellation of the TMX project and action on climate change. The rally took place outside the federal government’s Environment and Climate Change office.
— Lauren Strumos (@LStrumos) November 13, 2021
During the rally, three youth covered the front of the building with red handprints and were arrested by Vancouver police. The rally re-routed and headed to the police station to demand their release. They were released later in the evening with a promise to appear in court.
BREAKING: Unceeded Kwantlen, Katzie, Coast Salish territory (Fraser Heights, Surrey). Hummingbird Land Defenders use their bodies to block tree cutting for Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline. The women wish to protect mature forest & 7 grand cedars, in the North Slope Buffer Park.
— PPSTMX (@PPSTMX1) November 8, 2021
Earlier in the week, community members in Surrey jumped into action when they received news that trees were being cleared to make way for pipeline construction, in a greenspace near the banks of the Fraser River. Land defenders held the space for hours, blocking further tree cutting from taking place. The outcome beyond that day is unconfirmed, but at the end of that day, the trees were left standing.
This logger was clearing large trees in Surrey for #TransMountain
He wasn’t expecting to be confronted by a Hummingbird Land Defender. Can you guess who left the area first? (Hint- it wasn’t the Land Defender) #stopTMX @PPSTMX1 https://t.co/gdZvxkyNnG #UNDRIP @XRVancouverBC pic.twitter.com/60tprNJSyK
— Honu139 (@honu139) November 9, 2021
Follow Canadian Tire Fire on Twitter here.