RCMP, Canadian government officials discussed Mohawk land defenders travelling to Wet’suwet’en territory
Heavily armed RCMP officers arresting land defenders on Wet’suwet’en territory on November 18, 2021. Photo by Dan Loan.
On April 21, the Canadian Press reported that an access-to-information request has revealed that Canadian officials were aware that Mohawk land defenders had travelled from Ontario to Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia to support them in their struggle against the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.
The Canadian Press notes:
“Details of the rising tensions around construction of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline are contained in briefing notes prepared for federal officials ahead of a meeting with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.
They outline how Lucki requested the Oct. 19 meeting with department heads of Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations to discuss the ‘recent escalation’ of protests to the natural gas pipeline under construction in Wet’suwet’en territory.
The briefing notes show federal officials were watching the situation carefully last October after they noted activity was once again picking up.
Last October, a document titled ‘Royal Canadian Mounted Police Situation Report’ provided ahead of the meeting with Lucki identified the presence of someone associated with the Tyendinaga blockade travelling to northern B.C., along with four others from Ontario and some U.S. citizens.
‘One was involved in the Six Nations protest in Ontario known as 1492 Landback Lane,’ the report read. There were also ‘references to ‘war’ against police.’”
The situation now, legal observers needed
Gidimt’en Checkpoint has tweeted: “Since March , RCMP have sent 6-8 officers into our village site, between 4-8 times each day, in order to harass & intimidate our elders, relatives & supporters.”
Gidimt’en land defender Sleydo’ says: “Their main goal is to try to remove us from the territory, to make it so uninhabitable and unbearable that we won’t be on the territory anymore. And that’s just not something that’s going to happen.”
She adds: “There are helicopters flying over, there are tactical teams, there are canine units — like, it is war. And the way that colonization has happened in our territories … and the use of the RCMP by the government has been war.”
Given this, Gidimt’en Checkpoint has highlighted: “We require a rotating team of upwards of a dozen legal observers. Your time and ethical commitment are the most useful assets; necessary supplies and training will be provided by experienced movement members & legal support organizers.”
The application form is here.
Drilling to start soon
Earlier this year, a Coastal GasLink spokesperson stated: “We expect that the micro-drilling [under Wedzin Kwa] will take place starting this spring.”
The Terrace Standard also noted: “[The] company is getting ready to install a starting shaft which is a deep circulation excavation acting as an entry point on the east side of the [river]. The active tunneling work is expected to take two and half to three months.”
Next court date, June 1
On April 17, Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “Coastal Gaslink’s lawyer, Kevin O’Callaghan, recommended that the charges [against the 27 land defenders arrested on November 18-19, 2021] be criminal contempt, and not civil contempt.”
In response, Gidimt’en Checkpoint is asking that supporters send this letter to British Columbia’s Attorney General David Eby rejecting the criminalization of land defenders.
We continue to closely follow this situation.