Battle continues over Coastal GasLink project as both sides speak out

John Crawford
02/11/2020

Supporters of both sides in the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs' fight against the Coastal GasLink project continue to make their feelings known.
 
The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs issued a statement yesterday, saying they stand with the Wet'suwet'en against what they call the armed invasion of their territories by the RCMP.
 
Late last week, members of Gitanyow and Gitwangak blocked trucks on Highway 37, just north of Kitwanga junction, for 24 hours.
 
The Council of the Haida Nation also issued a statement in support of the Hereditary Chiefs.

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Wet'suwet'en spokesperson Jen Wickham says the growing protests are an indication of growing awareness of Indigenous rights across Canada.
 
"We can see it all across Canada and the US right now; all across Turtle Island, people are realizing this and they're angry, they're upset and they're taking to the streets and they're occupying offices and they're stopping traffic and they're stopping trains and they're saying loud and clear this is not okay," she said.

CN Rail says nearly 200 trains have been affected by protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, both at New Hazelton and In Bellville, Ontario..

The New Hazelton blockade, which began Saturday, is affecting traffic in and out of the Ports of Prince Rupert and Kitimat.

CN says it's working with local police to enforce the orders issued from the courts.
 
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada says the blockade could do irreparable harm to the industry.

Spokesperson Gordon Murray has written to several government ministers, saying pellet plants have very little onsite storage, so a rail stoppage will cause them to close down within a day or two, putting hundreds of people out of work.
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However, at least one Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief says the Coastal GasLink project also has a lot of support among her people.
 
Helen Michelle of the Skin Tyee Nation says First Nation councils worked hard to make sure the project would be developed responsibly..
 
"We walked in that area on foot through a consultation with L-N-G and there was no buildings there, there was nothing; after the approval of LNG, they started building facilities there and it's only one big family that use that, and a lot of the protesters are not even Wet'suwet'en people; they are not Wet'suwet'en people; you see the young man falling trees, he's not Wet'suwet'en people.. I'm Wet'suwet'en!" she said.

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[PHOTO:   Helen Michelle, Skin Tyee Nation]
 
All 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route support the project.
 
Late yesterday, the RCMP said they are wrapping up their "major operations'' in support of a court injunction against those blocking Coastal GasLink workers from accessing a site south of Houston.
 
Police say an additional seven people were arrested when officers reached the final encampment along the Morice West Forest Service Road yesterday morning.
 
Members of the Unist'ot'en clan say a convoy of armed police tactical units had been forcibly removing matriarchs and land defenders from their traditional territories. 
 
Among those arrested, according to the Unist'ot'en, are Freda Huson and Brenda Michell, who at the time were holding a ceremony to honour missing and murdered indigenous women and girls -- they were later released.

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[FACEBOOK PHOTO:  Freda Huson, Brenda Michell, Victoria Redsun, after release from arrest Feb 10, 2020]

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