‘An act of war’: Gidimt’en clan prepares for police raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘An act of war’: Gidimt’en clan prepares for police raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory

Gidimt’en checkpoint 20 km down the road from the Unist’ot’en Camp. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN

Kathleen Martens
The RCMP is planning ‘an act of war’ to remove Indigenous protesters from blocking construction of a natural gas pipeline in northwestern B.C., says one of the clans involved.

The clan that has been maintaining a checkpoint keeping Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., off traditional Wet’suwet’en Nation territory south of Houston, B.C. posted a message on Facebook Saturday that police are planning to ‘forcibly remove’ them.

“(They) indicated that specially trained tactical forces will be deployed to forcibly remove Wet’suwet’en people from sovereign Wet’suwet’en territory,” said a post on the Gidimt’en clan Facebook page.

“Police refused to provide any details of their operation… including the number of officers moving in, the method of forcible removal, or the timing of deployment.”

The Gidimt’en post said they met Friday with members of the RCMP Aboriginal Police Liaison unit and learned action to enforce a court injunction is imminent.

But no further details were given, the Gidimt’en said.

“By rejecting the requests for information… the RCMP indicated that they intend to surprise and overwhelm the Wet’suwet’en people who are protecting their territories on the ground,” the post added.

“The RCMP’s ultimatum, to allow TransCanada access to unceded Wet’suwet’en territory or face police invasion, is an act of war.”

The checkpoint is 20 kilometres from the Unist’ot’en Camp. It was established 10 years ago along the route of three proposed pipelines, including the one Coastal Gaslink is building, in an effort to stop them.

It has since become a land-based wellness centre on the shores of the Morice River, close to the pipeline route.

The pipeline will carry fractured natural gas from Dawson Creek 647 kilometres to coastal Kitimat where it will be processed and shipped.

Camp members have the support of five hereditary chiefs in rejecting fossil fuel development and that’s why they have refused to allow Coastal GasLink employees to cross the Morice River bridge.

The company turned to the courts and won an interim injunction on Dec. 14 giving it access to the bridge across the Morice River and one kilometre down the road from the camp where the pipeline will run.

The injunction gives the RCMP the power to back up the court order.

The company has said in previous correspondence with APTN News that it only wants access to its construction camp and is not asking for the camp to be cleared.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church agreed work should not be delayed further on the $40 billion construction project.

Both sides are due back in court in late January.

But the Gidimt’en believe the RCMP will move in before then.

“In these injunction decisions, the court gives the order, and then the police determine how to implement the court’s direction within a reasonable time,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said in an email to APTN.

“The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction.”

Saunderson added the RCMP hope “there will not be violence or disorder as we enforce the court order.”

A spokesperson for Coastal GasLink did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The elected chiefs and councils of the five Wet’suwet’en bands have approved the pipeline.



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35 Responses to “‘An act of war’: Gidimt’en clan prepares for police raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory”

  1. theheckle123@gmail.com'
    adam January 11, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

    I stand with the Natives that want to protect their land and heritage. We need them sticking to their traditions before they are all lost.. Or is that what they want? The Natives removed so the land has no one to protect it?

  2. 22mt54@awink.com'
    mark meiers January 8, 2019 at 12:11 am #

    as a founding father of the rocky mtn fort stand off on the peace river against the site c dam-bc hydro and the crooked corrupt liberal govt at that time i find every case presented to a court in bc has the same crooked corrupt out come-a crooked corrupt injunction was thrown against us at the rocky mtn fort and we were forced to leave and let bc hydro keep on destroying the peace river valley all for crooked corrupt corporate and political gain-as you people can see not one case ever presented to a bc court has been succesfull to the downtrodden-all for the big money people corporation and politicians-so much for beautifull bc-our country in the north peace is just a place to rape and pilliage-when are people going to wake up and really realize what is happening–mark meiers-charlie lake bc

  3. jgsman@hotmail.com'
    John Gilberts January 7, 2019 at 10:23 pm #

    When Ovide Mercredi went to Gustafsen Lake, Secewepemc elder Wolverine told him: ‘If you were any kind of an Indian you’d get your ass over to our side of this wire.’ Where is Canada’s current Grand Chief?

  4. Zozimus@live.com'
    Josh Pattison January 7, 2019 at 12:57 am #

    The injunction *IS* violence and disorder.

    • mcritchb@mcritchie.ca'
      Bruce McRitchie January 7, 2019 at 11:06 pm #

      And the blockade is fairy dust?

  5. sacca9nuts@hotmail.com'
    Karlin January 7, 2019 at 12:16 am #

    $40 Billion spent on fossil fuel infrastructure at this time is insane. In the not-so-distant future we will be saying “if only we had invested in clean renewable energy”.

    The Province argues that natural gas will replace the dirtier coal burners in China… So? Renewable energy for China would be better.

    Leave the fossil fuels in the ground.

    I am just a white guy but for what is it worth I support the blockade and the land protectors – and our courageous Native population.

    • aklevert@gmail.com'
      agergwe January 7, 2019 at 10:56 pm #


  6. tlingitlaw@gmail.com'
    George January 6, 2019 at 11:13 pm #

    This invasion of rcmp on unceded territory is in violation of every law created.
    Also in complete contradiction of justin trudeau and judy wilson rayboulds words spoken at the UN.
    Oh oh canada is committing modern day democide on the indigenous people of canada.
    Jan 6 2019.

  7. lonewolfottawa@gmail.com'
    wolfe January 6, 2019 at 8:54 pm #

    all 5 chiefs have REFUSED the pipeline.

  8. nativerayne@hotmail.com'
    Lavita trimble January 6, 2019 at 8:28 pm #

    Our home and native lands has been living in a controlled system since day of contact. This is disgusting that we still have to fight to protect our way of living! The jobs of the hereditary chiefs and matriarchs were taken away. Now replaced with an elected system. They’ve forgotten traditional law and matriarchs. Thanks for the reminder our Canadian government was formed to controlled and destroy what has been provided for us. Traditional law says we are to take what we need and nothing more! When will our country remember that???

    • mrshinds@hotmail.com'
      Sharlene Harrison-Hinds January 7, 2019 at 11:57 pm #

      Since when does the Colonialism mindset respect –truly respect Indigenous rjghts to their traditions and culture????? How about N E V E R! Travesty.

  9. randyn.seibold@gmail.com'
    Randolph January 6, 2019 at 5:44 pm #

    Hi, do you mean $40 MILLION dollar construction project? This number is referring only to the 647km line itself right?

  10. Gregnall@telus.net'
    Greg January 6, 2019 at 5:39 pm #

    The way this article is written is irresponsible and only throws wood onto a fire when it should be throwing water

  11. wartmanpaul@gmail.com'
    Paul Wartman January 6, 2019 at 4:56 pm #

    “Camp members have the support of five hereditary chiefs in rejecting fossil fuel development and that’s why they have refused to allow Coastal GasLink employees to cross the Morice River bridge.”

    “The elected chiefs and councils of the five Wet’suwet’en bands have approved the pipeline.”

    The two above statements seem contradictory? Any clarification would be great. Thanks for covering!

    • Joeblow@hotmail.com'
      Joe January 8, 2019 at 2:58 am #

      From what I understand, the cheif and council are elected under the western collonial system imposed by the Canadian government and have approved of the pipeline. However, the Wet’suwet’en are one of the few first national in Canada that still maintain their traditional matriarchal government of elders that operates parallel to the council, and who have not approved of any pipelines. Hence the chaos

      • Ryxias@hotmail.com'
        Wen January 9, 2019 at 8:18 am #

        From what I understand of this, the Band Council that rules over all the clans in the area agreed to the signing, but the hereditary chiefs claim that the Band has no jurisdiction across the entire land which is around 22 000 square kilometers, because some of the land belongs to the clans, as it is unceded. The leader of the Band is elected, I believe, and it was the leader (also has the title “chief) and the Council who agreed to the pipeline. These guys are different from the hereditary chiefs who are claiming that the Band’s chief only controls the reserves and all other territories is controlled by the hereditary chiefs, meaning the Council just signed a treaty they had no right in signing.

  12. pamelaleilarai@gmail.com'
    Pamela Rai January 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm #

    Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and you say otherwise!

  13. andrew@yardrescue.ca'
    Andrew January 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm #

    Please understand the subtlety of my comment: it is the police’s job to do the planning to which they admit, otherwise you get aberrations like Ipperwash. While some collaborations with protesters – even on their own land – may be helpful in some circumstances, the police have no obligation to share their plans.

    • SHnungosuk@gmail.com'
      Susan Hare January 7, 2019 at 7:24 pm #

      The police do have an obligation to share their plans with Indigenous peoples. The situation with Indigenous peoples is different and policing history must comply to Indigenous requests otherwise there will be another Ipperwash.

  14. Rathla@aol.com'
    Randolph Lawrence January 6, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

    This is not a no-win situation happening to the good guys from the north. This is a matter of whether indigenous rights exist here, and rule as promised, or whether the will of amoral capitalism once again triumphs over the humanity in its way. Do we care? Can we really afford to not care?

  15. Bullitt_66@hotmail.com'
    David Anderson January 6, 2019 at 8:00 am #

    You need to stop going to court for injunctions. You jeopardize your rights. RCMP can go to their own courts against who. That’s an act of war. Follow up with a call to the Army or U. N. Peacekeepers. Let’s see if Canada will protect its citizens. If they refuse. Then go into court and show what status natives have in this country. Do it now! Send this up to them!!

  16. donlea.mc@gmail.com'
    Donlea McCombs January 6, 2019 at 7:48 am #

    Thank you for reporting this.

  17. aswerdlyk@tbaytel.net'
    Anita Swerdlyk January 6, 2019 at 6:47 am #

    Canada should be a leader. We have failed!

  18. rivergirl55@hotmail.com'
    Debbie Migalicz January 6, 2019 at 5:48 am #

    As a Canadian I am embarrassed and angry that the RCMP are being used as corporate goons to protect oil interests over Indigenous peoples’ sovereign rights. #notinmynationalinterest

    • Risingeagleman@gmail.com'
      Ian Maclean January 8, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

      Took the words right out of my mouth!

  19. sevenc63@hotmail.com'
    Kevin cardinal January 6, 2019 at 5:12 am #

    When the government uses their yes men to negotiate, of course their going to get the outcome they desire. Indigenous rights and laws are being overlooked in favor of colonial laws alien to the people. The colonial government have used this same tactic over and over again. What has happened to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and why has n’t Justin Trudeau commented on this issue. Is this P.M. Trudeau’s idea on his reconciliation promises. Seems to me that this is a huge conflict of interest, see how the federal government has bought the pipeline for over four billion dollars, and they to are ruling on the judgement involving the injunction. These are simply the tactics of a fascist regime.

  20. Eldeanyo_1@hotmail.com'
    Dean January 6, 2019 at 4:30 am #

    Let’s get one thing clear here. If you go to this so called Wet’suwet’en camp, you will see that there’s more non-natives than natives in this camp. I am a Wet’suwet’en and I’m agreeing with the pipeline. I would understand if the pipeline was transferring oil but natural gas is light in weight and dissipates quickly. Where oil doesn’t. The jobs will be plenty Getting back to the protesters, they come from other organizations that just want to cause trouble because they have nothing better to do. I hope no one gets hurt on bringing the injunction against the protesters but it must be enforced.

  21. joestirling@gmail.com'
    Joe Stirling January 6, 2019 at 2:40 am #

    Kathleen Martens, if you don’t point out that the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the Wet’suwet’en people have never ceded their land and that it is not in fact owned by the Crown and that the only authority over the territory are the hereditary chiefs, then you are grossly misleading the readers. This is especially the case when you allow this RCMP manipulation to stand uncontested:

    “The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction.”

    BC’s Supreme Court is really just a superior court, with jurisdiction only over provincial matters. This is not a provincial matter but a Federal one. That’s the reason that this RCMP invasion is being led by the Federal division of the RCMP and not the provincial one. This PR cop can claim to be working under the authority of the Supreme Court, but that lower superior court has no valid jurisdiction (hence not using BC RCMP) and the one with jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Canada has unequivocally admitted that this territory is NOT owned by the Crown.

    The government is trying to pull a fast one here and I wish you could see that and report on it.

  22. cashcardinal@hotmail.com'
    Cash Cardinal January 6, 2019 at 2:12 am #

    So it was, that on the ____ of ____ 2019, we a sovereign People, who have stepped aside for a New and “promising” world to be sewn and shod. Given promises by the Queen herself as her people to be protected and answered upon by our request. Given a ration of seeds and an ox and or mules to plow and dig the land once our staples were harvested for the skins for you to don, disease and Alcohol brought to us not by request but in trade for our lively hoods and your greed. Now, as you once did in your foreign lands you feel the need to turn a blind eye towards the ever changing waves and rolls of Mother Earth. Have you not seen the destruction of the Forests, the waters contaminated, saw the giant tankers roll and the beaches and shorelines filled with death. Seen the horrid effects on families and children from the lurking contaminates, these still here for years to come. Now as we stand as Keeper’s and Voices for Mother Earth we only do this for you and your generations to come. We do this for us but in our hearts we know the truth for we have lived it. Your world will go on, as will the destruction and desecration you see fit to poison our Beloved Earth with. The warnings ever present and significantly changing in these days by might be ignored for now but our voices and presence is our promises we keep to Mother Earth and the Creator remember these are not promises signed in ink but flows within our blood.

  23. sharonpn@telus.net'
    Sharon Priest-Nagata January 6, 2019 at 1:39 am #

    if RCMP were so concerned about safety and peace they could simply stand down until after the court date

  24. Trevorroberts@shaw.ca'
    Trevor Roberts January 6, 2019 at 12:38 am #

    To bad the Band doesn’t recognize the Indian act and some of us living living off the Rez because we aren’t
    Part of the Hereditary Chief line. Because maybe we’d be willing to help.

  25. mervritchir@gmail.com'
    Merv Ritchie January 5, 2019 at 11:48 pm #

    The “elected Chief and Council of the Wet’suwet’en” you say? No, there is a band council of Broman Lake who changed their 700 member band name to “the Wet’suwet’en first Nation”, but no, the Wet’suwet’en Nation of 22,000 sq km is United together with all clans and their hereditary leadership fully opposed to any and all pipelines.

    Be truthful when reporting. It is easy.

  26. lindsaysmyth.esq@gmail.com'
    Lindsay Smyth January 5, 2019 at 11:38 pm #

    Time to call for an international boycott of Shell and possibly the inception of a South African apartheid style boycott of all Canadian goods and services?

  27. a_dziadek@yahoo.ca'
    A. January 5, 2019 at 10:56 pm #

    Shame on Canada. Just shame. This is horrifying. Respect to everyone fighting to live peacefully and those protecting Mother Earth. There is something so deeply wrong about the way money and a pipeline CAN BE A REASON to retraumatize Canada’s Indigenous population. Absolutely sickening. Why can’t we be better than this. This is colonialism. It is still happening. I hope to see the day that this ends! We need Justin Trudeau to wake up and stop this. Stop living these lies that you respect the indigenous people’s of this land or have learned anything about their story with your “visits”. Respect treaty land. You are in charge. Do better!

  28. mycwfamily@hotmail.com'
    Cynthia Wunderlich January 5, 2019 at 9:44 pm #

    Gidimt’en Wet’suwet’en need all our help! UNITE!

    I hope Grand Chief Stewart Phillip calls in all of his allies to come and stand united with the Wet’suwet’en!

    Indigenous all across the northwest support them, we just don’t have the big fossil fuel monies to create news releases like the “House of LNG!”