Gidimt’en land defenders occupy drill site, bulldoze road to protect Wedzin Kwah river from construction of fracked gas pipeline

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Still from video posted by Smogelgem.

On Saturday September 25, Smogelgem, the Hereditary Chief of the Fireweed Clan of the Wet’suwet’en People, tweeted:

“The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs walked on to an occupied proposed drill site for CGL [Coastal GasLink]. The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] & CGL attempted to enforce a provincial court order against plaintiffs from a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada case. One violent arrest happened. More violent arrests were thwarted.”

That same day at 1:08 pm, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “Early this morning Cas Yikh [Grizzly Bear House] and supporters gained control of access to the site where they plan to drill underneath Wedzin Kwah [river]!”

The video with that tweet features Dini’ze Woos, Chief of Cas Yikh, Gidimt’en Clan, Wet’suwet’en Nation, who says: “They’re going to dig under the Wedzin Kwah. …It’s going to be bad. They won’t listen to us.”

Then at 1:18 pm, Smogelgem  tweeted: “Strategy suggested that we just exercise our SCC [Supreme Court of Canada] Delgamuukw Decision. And, we did that!” The TikTok video with that tweet states: “CGL pipeline workers were not allowing access for the Wetsuweten Hereditary Chiefs to go through to check on the safety of our people.”

At 5:47 pm, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “RCMP on site. One confirmed arrest and blocking out chiefs from accessing the site!”

Then at 6:53 pm, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “Since this video footage [of a bulldozer severing a road] was taken this morning Wet’suwet’en chiefs were denied access, one arrest confirmed, heavy machinery and heavy RCMP presence. Our relatives are standing strong and so far no more arrests have been confirmed and they are holding the line.”

The text in the video says: “Early this morning the access road to Costal GasLink’s drill site at the Wedzin Kwa river was destroyed.”

It adds: “A series of blockades was put in place and the site was occupied.” The video suggests that includes a school bus parked across the access road.

At 6:54 pm, following that tweet, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “We need boots on the ground! Come to the yintah [land] even if just for the day locally. Snecalyegh [you have honoured us greatly] to all those sacrificing for Wedzin Kwa and our future generations.”

Then at 7:14 pm, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “They are currently reading the injunction to the Hereditary Chiefs!”

This 4-minute video featuring Gidimt’en Checkpoint Spokesperson Sleydo also provides the context of the situation and makes a call for people to come to the land in solidarity with this struggle against the pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory.

In the video, Sleydo says: “The genocide will no longer happen on Indigenous lands.”

For updates, please see Gidimt’en Checkpoint on Twitter, the Gidimt’en Checkpoint Facebook page, the Gidimt’en Yintah Access website, and yintah_access on Instagram.

The Wet’suwet’en peoples have already been subjected to the state violence of two militarized raids by the RCMP – on January 7, 2019, and February 6-10, 2020 – that resulted in the arrests of 36 land defenders.

On December 13, 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on the State party (Canada) to “immediately halt the construction and suspend all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the Wet’suwet’en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed consent.” 

Still from video of bulldozer disabling access road to Coastal GasLink drill site.

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