Winter is bearing down on Unis'tot'en Camp, and the hosts are scrambling to prepare for the coming storms. The camp was on high alert in November after two incidents of attempted arson on bridges near the camp at the end of October.
People all over Turtle Island are responding to the call for support and funds for security equipment. The camp is also calling for strong-hearted volunteers to watch over the camp and patrol the area this winter.
- be willing to to travel to the camp and stay for two weeks or more
- have experience and gear for winter hiking
- be able to chop wood, carry water, and watch for intruders
Four years ago, grassroots members of the Wet'suwet'en people of northern BC (western Canada) found out about oil and gas pipeline projects that are planned to cross their territory without permission.
The land defenders set up a "soft blockade" to keep out the corporations, and started building a camp and permanent homes in the pipeline route. A large log cabin now houses the defenders and volunteers, while several pithouses are still under construction. The oil and gas representatives and police have made several forays into the territory, but so far they have avoided starting a confrontation.
Donations will supply the camp with security cameras, motion sensors, night-vision equipment, and an all-terrain snowmobile to patrol the territory and watch for invaders.
The success of the camp jeopardizes oil and gas deals supposedly worth billions of dollars (plus the untold costs of spills and leaks, poisoned water, lost habitat, and human suffering). We know there is a risk of dirty tricks and intimidation tactics to try and scare the campers away. The more support we have, the less likely those tactics will work.
The camp is 1000 km north of Vancouver, BC. Volunteers and donations are needed now. Stand up for the ones who are defending the land, water, and wildlife.
Please contribute to stop the pipelines
Why a blockade?
There are only a few routes the oil and gas companies can take though the mountains, and the whole route has to be set before the pipeline can proceed. Even if they secure 90% of the route, they still don't have a pipeline. Certainty for 100% of the route is key.
Why would an investor gamble millions on a roll of the dice? Pipelines can cost a billion dollars, and investors will lose it all if the pipeline is stopped in court or a competitor beats them to market. So the actions of the grassroots Wet'suwe'ten are reverberating around the world.
Forest Action Network is organizing winter camp teams. We're arranging transportation and supplies, and making sure volunteers have all the information they need.. The camp has hosted visitors from all over the world. Hundreds of people have pitched in to help, each in their own way. This support is crucial.
The land defenders are turning away pipeline workers and surveyors trying to start work on the pipelines. They are protecting their territory, their water, and their hunting and fishing grounds. The intruders have been warned about trespassing on unceded land. The Unis'tot'en people are supported by their neighbours in the Likhts’amisyu Clan, the Gidem'ten Clan and other indigenous and non-indigenous allies.
To volunteer for the camp, please fill out the form below. To join one of the teams in Victoria or Vancouver, send us a message.
Thank you for your support!
Can't see the form? Sign up here.
Unis'tot'en defenders order pipeline surveyors off their territory
On the evening of November 20 2012, a Wet’suwet’en chief near Houston BC intercepted a pipeline surveying crew and presented them with a notice of trespass and a verbal warning. The surveyors said they were with the Can-Am Geomatics company, working to prepare the way for Apache’s proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP). Chief Toghestiy handed the crew leader an eagle feather, which is the first and only notice of trespass in Wet’suwet’en law. The defenders ordered the surveyors (and all other people associated with PTP) to leave the territory and not return to Unis’tot’en land.
As a result of the unsanctioned PTP work in the Unist’ot’en yintah (territory), the road leading into the territory has been closed to all industry activities until further notice. Morice River West Forest Service Road is closed at the bridge over Wedzin Kwah (Morice River) 66 km south of Houston.
Toghestiy states: “I have invoked the Wet’suwet’en Inuk nu’ot’en (Law) called Bi Kyi Wa’at’en (Responsibility of a husband to respectfully use and protect his wife’s territory) to issue a trespass notice to Pipeline workers on her sovereign territory. My Clan’s territory called Lho Kwa (Clore River) is located behind the Unist’ot’en territory adjacent to the Coastal town of Kitimat and it is our responsibility to protect our territory as well. We will be stopping all proposed pipelines.”
After the surveyors were turned back, a crew from Unist’ot’en camp snowmobiled out to Crystal Road, 20 kms from camp, to retrieve materials the crew left behind by the work crew. The materials were brought back to camp where they are being held until Apache and PTP agree to open up appropriate lines of communication with the Unist’ot’en and grassroots Wet’suwet’en, according to the Free, Prior and Informed Consent Protocol and laws of their sovereign unceded territories
The Wet’suwet’en are made up of five Clans, with territories that they are expected to manage for their future generations. The Unis’tot’en clan has been dead-set against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, which include PTP, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, and many others. The Unis’tot’en have established a permanent community along the Widzin Kwa (Morice River) directly in the path of the proposed energy corridor and made their opposition extremely clear.
Freda Huson, spokeswoman for the Unis’tot’en Clan, states: “PTP does not have permission to be on our territory. It’s unceded land. We said 'NO!' in their meetings. We’ve written them letters; I’ve sent them emails, saying “absolutely NO!” to their projects. Consider it trespass when you enter our territory without permission. You’ve received your warning. Don’t come back!”
This marks the second time that eagle feathers have been issued to pipeline workers. On August 23rd, 2010, Toghestiy and Hagwilakw of the Likhts’amisyu clan gave Enbridge representatives trespass warnings during a Smithers Town Council meeting where Enbridge attended to attempt to smooth over their recent oil spill on the Kalamazoo River.
More info: Watch subMedia's short video about the Unis'tot'en community. Visit the community’s website.
Please note that the Unis’tot’en People and other Grassroots Wet’suwet’en are not associated with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.
Call to action
Indigenous people are calling for solidarity to stop the bulldozing of the pipeline route across Northern BC to Kitimat this fall. Pacific Trail Pipeline company has provincial approval to clear hundreds of kilometers of forests, streams, and wetlands for their gas pipeline and the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Clans in the Wet'suwet'en First Nation say NO. They are calling for support for the Unis'tot'en Camp in the path of the pipelines.
CHEERS TO THE DEFENDERS!
Clockwise from top left: Blocking the bridge, the No Pipelines banner, first cabin built in the pipeline right-of-way, a standoff at the bridge, Andrea in Prince George, the decolonization workshop, Zoe, Kevin and Darius with the Caravan schoolbus.