Secwepemc Hereditary Chief Segwses and four land defenders arrested in opposition to Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline
Photo from the We, the Secwepemc: Virtual Unity Camp to stop Transmountain Pipeline.
On October 15, five Secwepemc land defenders were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline construction site on unceded Secwepemc territory in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The TMX pipeline project, now owned by the Canadian government, would cross 518 kilometres of Secwepemc territory and move 890,000 barrels per day of bitumen oil from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast for export on super tankers.
A statement from the Secwepemc Unity Camp says: “Those arrested include our Secwepemc Hereditary Chief and Elder, his daughter, a former TMX pipeline engineer and two other Secwepemc women.”
Their statement adds: “All those present today at our sacred fire and at the TMX Pipeline drill site were present in ceremony under the jurisdiction of Secwepemc Law and under the authority of Secwepemc Hereditary leadership, Elders Councils, Sacred Woman’s Fire Council, and the Secwepemc.”
On December 13, 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination passed a resolution expressing its concern about “the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension project without free, prior and informed consent by all the indigenous peoples affected.”
The UN Committee also said it was “alarmed by escalating threat of violence against indigenous peoples” including the violent arrest of Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel on October 19, 2019.
It then called upon the State party (Canada) “to immediately cease construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project and cancel all permits, until free, prior and informed consent is obtained from all the Secwepemc people, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to consult.”