Action report from so-called Montreal in solidarity with ongoing struggle on Wet’suwet’en territory. Originally posted to Montreal Counter-Info.
Early this morning during rush hour, a group of settlers blocked the westbound lanes of Notre-Dame Street with flaming piles of tires and picnic tables, in solidarity with the Gidimt’en and Likhts’amisyu Clans of the Wet’suwet’en people. Notre-Dame is easily choked with rush hour traffic on mornings like this, and even temporary blockades here can cause backups to traffic heading downtown, as well as slow down trucks entering and exiting the adjacent Port of Montreal.
The Wet’suwet’en have been fighting the incursion of pipelines on their Yintah (territory) for over a decade, and have been resisting settler colonialism and the Canadian state for much longer. Currently, a battle is raging against the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline, which, if completed, would bring natural gas to an LNG facility in Kitimat, BC, cutting through Wet’suwet’en territory. In 2020, following a militarized raid on Wet’suwet’en land defenders, a massive wave of solidarity actions known as #ShutDownCanada swept the country, paralyzing railway traffic for weeks and disrupting ports and highways.
On September 25th 2021, Gidimt’en Clan members and supporters occupied the site of a drill pad which would have been used to drill a path for the pipeline underneath the Wedzin Kwa, with devastating effects on all the life that relies on this river. This action established Coyote Camp, which has remained in place blocking access to the drill pad ever since. Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), a supporting chief of Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) of the Gidimt’en Clan and spokesperson for Coyote Camp, has been calling for solidarity actions across the country consistently since then.
In late October 2021, Chief Dst’hyl of the Likhts’amisyu Clan removed batteries from CGL machines on his clan’s territory, asserting that there would be no further work done on his land. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested, along with a Gitxsan supporter. In response, a highway blockade was held for 5 days by members of Six Nations in so-called southern Ontario.
On November 14th, Gidimt’en Clan members and supporters enforced an eviction notice that was initially delivered to CGL in 2020 by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. CGL workers were given 8 hours to evacuate Cas Yikh territory before Morice River Forest Service Road, the logging road providing the only access to the territory, was shut down permanently. When only a small number of workers left, CGL was given a 2 hour extension to leave. When this deadline passed, the road was disabled, effectively preventing all work from taking place on Cas Yikh territory. A solidarity rail blockade was carried out in nearby Gitxsan territory shortly thereafter.
The events of the past few days represent a major regaining of territory for Gidimt’en and their supporters, and the potential for another wave of solidarity shut downs across so-called Canada. While it remains to be seen how the RCMP will respond, we want to make clear that we are watching from afar, and we will continue to act in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders however we can to “shut shit down.” We unconditionally support their fight for sovereignty, self-determination, and for the lands and waters on which they depend. We encourage others to respond to the calls to action by disrupting colonial infrastructure wherever they are.