In the News
RCMP Raid Gidimt’en Checkpoint
on Wet’suwet’en Territory
The Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade reports that on November 18, “RCMP carried out a heavily militarized raid on the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, arresting 15 people including legal observers, a credited journalist, Haudensaunee allies.”
Most land defenders remained in jail overnight with hearings scheduled for the following day. Among those arrested is Wet’suwet’en Elder Janet Williams. “RCMP prevented supporters from getting her medication when they set up an illegal exclusion zone in the lead up to the raid that stopped elders, chiefs, and children from accessing their territory,” the Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade reports, with an update that she was taken to the hospital from jail due to chest pains. She is home now recovering.
According to the November 19 Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade report, the Coyote Camp – established to prevent CGL drilling under the Wedzin Kwa (river) – had not yet been raided, but reports were reaching the Camp of a “massive RCMP convoy heading that way and jamming radio communication.”
A Gidimt’en Checkpoint press release issued November 18 explains, “On November 14, members of the Gidimt’en Clan issued a Mandatory Evacuation Order to workers of Coastal GasLink (CGL), upholding ancient Wet’suwet’en trespass laws and an eviction notice that was first served to CGL in January 2020 by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.
“Employees were granted eight hours to peacefully evacuate the area before the main road into the Lhudis Bin territory of the Gidimt’en clan was closed. A two-hour extension was granted by Cas Yikh Chief Woos, after a discussion with RCMP commander Eric Stubbs. Reports have now emerged that TC Energy/Coastal GasLink did not inform their workers of the evacuation window and give workers the opportunity to evacuate.
“The 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa court case affirmed that Aboriginal title – the right to exclusively use and occupy land – has never been extinguished across 55,000 square kilometres of Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territories.”
“If TC Energy thinks that raiding Wet’suwet’en territory will stop the resistance against this project, they’re dead wrong,” said Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’.
“The Provincial Government has prioritized the criminalization of Wet’suwet’en water protectors over the needs of people throughout the province, as two charter planes of RCMP have been deployed on Wet’suwet’en land amidst historic, climate driven floods. Hundreds of police who could assist with floods, mudslides, highway closures, and evacuations are instead deployed to remove Wet’suwet’en people from unsurrendered Wet’suwet’en land,” the press release points out.
The report continues: “Many groups including the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and Dogwood have come out condemning the RCMP for deploying massive resources that could be used to help people in crisis to instead repress Indigenous land defenders and defend a pipeline during a climate emergency.
“Amnesty International has written an open letter urging BC and Federal Government to respect rights of Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders.
“Solidarity actions began across Canada in response to the militarized RCMP Raid with long-time allies in the Gitxsan nations shutting down the rail lines last night, and Haudensaunee supporters stopping the Hwy 6 bypass in their territory.”
A call out for continued and increased solidarity has been issued for actions across the country.