Hidden amongst the trees, off the side of the highway near Kamloops, activist Kanahus Manuel is putting the final touches on a tiny house that has a big purpose – to block the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in Secwepemc territory.
“This is how important this is to us, that we want to leave a legacy that says that we did stand up to protect our land from massive encroachment and development from a dirty oil pipeline,” said Manuel.
The Secwepemc Nation is made up of 17 bands.
Manuel said only three of those bands signed agreements with Kinder Morgan.
“We have said no to the KM Pipeline, we can’t consent, we can never consent to the rape of our mother earth,” she said.
With the help of other activists, Manuel’s project, Tiny House Warriors, will build a total of 10 tiny houses.
Manuel hopes the houses will not only peacefully block construction – but also help Secwepemc families who need a place to live.
“It’s bringing in all these issues that we’re battling with right now in our communities, about our housing crisis, being able to be a climate solution and that’s downsizing, living in homes close to the land, protecting the land, upholding all of our obligations to protect our water and our land,” she said.
The total cost of the tiny homes is about $10,000.
About half of the money goes to the trailers the houses sit on.
“We have these tiny houses built on trailers to be mobile within our territory,” she said. “518 km of this Trans Mountain pipeline is proposing to cut through the heart of Secwepemc territory crossing thousands of creeks and waterways, this is a big threat!
“We have to be able to be mobile in these areas that are under attack and being threatened by this pipeline construction.”
Manuel said she first saw tiny houses used in resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline when she was in Standing Rock.
She fears a protest against Kinder Morgan in B.C. could be the next Standing Rock.
“We don’t want to see the same thing that happened at Standing Rock with the excessive police force and mass arrests on our people, we never want to see that,” she said. “We want to see them deal with this land issue in an honorable way, a respectful way.
Construction on the second tiny house is currently underway – then the plan is to build four at a time.
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