Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel: Airport charge dropped, but faces December 13-14 trial

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: These two police officers arrested Kanahus Manuel at the Toronto airport in August 2021. That charge has now been withdrawn.

On August 27 at around 9 pm, Secwepemc land defender Kanahus Manuel tweeted: “Protesting at the deputy prime minister @cafreeland office and then a couple hours later I am in handcuffed and sitting in jail at Toronto International Airport. I was targeted for being #secwepemc fighting the #transmountain.”

Due to this targeting by the police, Kanahus and the two people travelling with her missed their flight back home.

This week, Kanahus tweeted: “UPDATE:  the Toronto International Airport charge & arrest against me in August 2021 has been withdrawn. Charge dropped.”

Kanahus opposes the Government of Canada-owned Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion project being built on Secwepemc territory in British Columbia without free, prior and informed consent.

Her opposition to the pipeline is supported by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which has called for construction on the project to be halted until consent is given.

After Kanahus was released from the Peel Regional police station airport division, she commented: “I just believe that it is a targeted attack against us as land defenders. We are clearly Indigenous people travelling as a group and they targeted me and pulled me out singly. This is all happening while Trans Mountain is invading our home.”

Along with the criminalization Kanahus experienced at the Toronto airport, she is also experiencing judicialization and violence.

She recently tweeted: “Got court Dec 13 & 14 for bogus mischief charge when RCMP broke my wrist during the violent arrest in a dead zone MOONBEAM CAMP.”

On October 19, 2019, Kanahus and Isha Jules were arrested for “bugging” road workers on Highway 5 north of Blue River. They had stopped to tell construction workers they did not have Secwepemc consent to flag in preparation for roadwork.

Kanahus has previously commented: “Forced to colonial court to defend myself against charge of ‘bugging’ some construction workers / actual charge is mischief / reminder this is the same arrest that left me injured with broken wrist by the arresting rcmp cpl bowden / who I currently have a lawsuit against.”

The Yellowhead Institute has noted: “RCMP slammed Kanahus to the ground & her arm was seriously injured – she was not taken to hospital for 10 hrs.”

And Kanahus has highlighted: “This Lawsuit is very important to make the RCMP accountable to their violence they inflict on Indigenous female land defenders.”

She has also previously posted: “We are facing political and cultural persecution and facing fabricated, bogus politically motivated criminal charges at the hands of Canada, the crown and Trans Mountain TMX pipelines (which is crown-owned).”

We will be watching what happens in court on December 13-14 and encourage you to follow as well via Kanahus on Twitter.

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