Secwepemc land defenders denounce invasion as Trans Mountain fences area near Tiny House Warriors at Blue River
On July 23, Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel posted: “Happening Now. Trans Mountain pipeline workers & security invade Secwepemc Safe Zone at Tiny House Warriors village in Blue River in so-called BC.”
Blue River is located about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops and about 600 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
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.
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.”
Some of the Tiny Houses are situated where “a 1000-worker Blue River Campsite is plotted to be built on 16 hectares of our lands for the construction of this pipeline.”
Today, about 50 Trans Mountain workers fenced off an area across the road from the Tiny Houses presumably to begin the construction of this man camp.
A Secwepemc Women’s Declaration states: “Wherever man camps are set up, we face exponential increases in sexual violence.”
James Anaya, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has noted: “Indigenous women have reported that the influx of workers into indigenous communities as a result of extractive projects also led to increased incidents of sexual harassment and violence, including rape and assault.”
In December 2019, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on 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.”
The Committee raised the issue again in November 2020 and noted at that time that Canada’s periodic report on its compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is due on November 15, 2021.