“Territories of water” report connects Indigenous land defence struggles against TC Energy pipelines in Mexico and Canada

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Earlier this month, Itzam Pineda from the Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM) presented the report to members of the Regional Council of Indigenous Peoples in Defense of the Territories of Puebla-Hidalgo.

Calgary-based TC Energy has been implicated in the violation of Indigenous rights in Canada (notably with its Coastal GasLink gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia) and in Mexico (with its Tula pipeline project that crosses Indigenous territories in the states of Veracruz, Puebla and Hidalgo).

Some of this ongoing situation is covered in the new 216-page report (in Spanish) titled: Territories of water: defense of community areas and the shared history of their peoples (before the Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline).

The report was produced by researchers from the Workshop for the Defence of Territories (Taller por la Defensa de los Territorios), the Autonomous University of Mexico City (UACM), the Center for Studies for Change in the Mexican Countryside (Ceccam) and GRAIN in collaboration with communities impacted by the pipeline.

Des Informemonos summarizes: “The intention of this document is to return its findings to the communities from which these interwoven voices emerged, so that they serve as a tool for transformation.”

The report links TC Energy and “a series of irregularities in Mexico against Otomi, Nahua and Totonac communities and in Canada against Wet’suwet’en communities.”

In short, the Tula Pipeline Project is a 287-kilometre gas pipeline from Tuxpan, Veracruz through the states of Puebla and Hidalgo.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline is a 670-kilometre gas pipeline that begins in northeastern British Columbia and crosses Wet’suwet’en territory in that province on its way to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Kitimat on the Pacific Ocean coast.

Both TC Energy gas pipelines are still under construction and both are being resisted by Indigenous peoples.

Earlier this month, the research team that prepared the report presented it to the Otomi, Nahua and Tepehua communities grouped together as the Regional Council of Indigenous Peoples in Defense of the Territory of Puebla and Hidalgo.

The Des Informemonos article concludes: “The handover took place in Chila, a community in the mountains that has sworn to resist the gas pipeline.”

“The people of the Regional Council accepted and celebrated the document, and pledged to continue their fight, and eventually to establish links with the Wet’suwet’en communities that resist TC-Energy in Canada.”

It then highlights: “This is not the end it is a beginning.”

PBI-Canada visited Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territories at the time of a third heavily-armed RCMP raid against land defenders in November 2021 and seeks to help connect Indigenous land defenders in common struggle.

After the second RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory, the PBI-Mexico accompanied Educa Oaxaca made the link with the Tula pipeline and noted: “It should be remembered that TransCanada was the first private company to build and operate gas pipelines in Mexico, where it currently has more than 1,618 kilometers of gas pipelines.”

The PDF of the report Territories of water: defense of community areas and the shared history of their peoples (before the Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline), that for now is only available in Spanish, can be downloaded here.

Also on Spotify in Spanish: “For the group of academic co-authors of the book, ‘Territories of water’, the Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline does not seek a benefit for the communities through which it passes, on the contrary, it harms them and impacts their territory, affecting bodies of water, forests and alter their culture.”


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