PBI-Canada expresses concern about two attacks on Indigenous land defence camps
Peace Brigades International-Canada is deeply concerned by two recent attacks against Indigenous land defence camps opposed to megaprojects.
Spirit of the Buffalo Camp on Treaty 1 territory (Manitoba)
On April 27, CBC reported, “A torched traditional house and belongings at an anti-pipeline camp located near farmers fields in southern Manitoba is being investigated as arson, according to RCMP. Some camp supporters and observers on social media are calling on police to investigate it as a hate crime.”
That article adds, “Some workers and farmers in the area have attempted to intimidate demonstrators at the site, according to [the leader of the prayer and action camp Geraldine] McManus, who says the site is not a place of protest.”
The camp is opposed to the construction of a new Line 3 oil pipeline that would move 700,000 barrels of crude oil per day from northern Alberta to the United States.
Briarpatch magazine has explained, “On July 11, 2018, the Spirit of the Buffalo Camp was erected on traditional Dakota land in Treaty 1 territory. The camp is right on the U.S.–Canada divide near Gretna, Manitoba, where Line 3 crosses the border more easily than many Dakota people can. A sacred fire has burned there ever since.”
Tiny House Warriors on Secwepemc territory (British Columbia)
And on April 22, CBC also reported, “RCMP in Clearwater, B.C., are investigating an incident that took place at the Tiny House Warriors village in Blue River over the weekend.”
“Kanahus Manuel, a high-profile Secwepemc land defender and spokesperson for the village, said she feared for her life when four strangers showed up unexpectedly on Sunday night. She said they came into the encampment area driving off-road vehicles, smashing through barriers at the entrance and knocking down signs. At one point, she said one of the men stole her truck and rammed it into the tiny house she’d taken refuge inside.”
Kanahus is opposed to the construction of the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. The pipeline would cross 518 kilometres of unceded Secwepemc territory in British Columbia without that nation’s free, prior and informed consent.
The Tiny House Warriors website explains their strategy to stop the pipeline: “In defence, we have built the Tiny House Warrior camp: six small homes to stop the construction of this pipeline and the workforce sent to build it.”
Kanahus adds, “[They’re] on wheels so we can be mobile to block and stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and man camps!”
Peace Brigades International
Peace Brigades International accompanies Indigenous land defenders in Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.
We have noted, “Defenders of land rights, culture and natural resources can find themselves facing powerful interests and brutal opposition. Some have approached PBI for protection after they have been attacked or their colleagues assassinated. Many others have been subjected to criminal prosecutions based on spurious charges.”
PBI-Canada expresses serious concern about these two recent instances of attacks on Indigenous land defence camps in this country.