Repeated security incidents threaten Tiny House Warrior land defenders protecting unceded Secwepemc territory from pipeline
The Tiny House Warriors are Indigenous Secwepemc land defenders protecting their unceded territory in British Columbia, Canada against the construction of the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline megaproject that would cross 518 kilometres of their land without their free, prior and informed consent.
They have posted: “[We] have been the target of hate attacks by white Canadian civilians, as well as weekly hate rallies at our back entrance to our homes, as well as constant daily RCMP police interference, surveillance and harassment.”
Just four of the recent incidents they have noted include:
August 15: “[The driver of a truck with concealed licence plates] stopped and got out [then] reached for inside the cab as to intimidate like he was grabbing a weapon but he just drove off when other warriors arrived. The second time this guy was confronted for creeping, the driver said: ‘You All deserve to be beat up’ and sped off.”
August 8: “Skinhead CARRYING AN AXE walked up to tiny house bedroom door violating our Secwepemc safe zone at 2 am. When the women told him to leave, he argued until men voiced up then skinhead softened up saying he was there for our dogs.”
July 20: “Four white men that came to Tiny House Warriors unwanted and flying surveillance drone over our homes without our consent! We are fighting man camps because they bring violence to indigenous women and girls and these white men perpetuate this violence by coming unwanted to indigenous homes of mostly women!”
April 19: “Three white men and one white woman violently attacked the Tiny House Warriors Blue River camp. The men destroyed the memorial of red dresses for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, stole the truck of Kanahus Manuel and rammed it into a Tiny House. The drunk men verbally abused her and threatened her safety.”
Following the attack noted above, this joint statement signed by Russ Diabo, Christi Belcourt, Pamela Palmater, Harsha Walia, Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, Irina Ceric, Anne Spice and numerous others affirmed: “Our eyes and ears will protect you.”
The Defending Tomorrow report documents the murder of 212 land and environmental defenders around the world in 2019. The report notes: “Countless more were silenced by violent attacks, arrests, death threats, sexual violence or lawsuits. Women who act and speak out may also face gender-specific threats, including sexual violence.”
That report further notes: “Indigenous peoples are at a disproportionate risk of reprisals. Last year, 40% of murdered defenders belonged to indigenous communities. Between 2015 and 2019 over a third of all fatal attacks have targeted indigenous people – even though indigenous communities make up only 5% of the world’s population.”
Peace Brigades International-Canada affirms that land defenders around the world and in this country need the collective protection of our eyes and ears.