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The Unis’tot’en Clan is re-occupying their land near Smithers in northern BC, Canada. The camp's log cabin, traditional pit house, bunkhouse and forest permaculture garden stand squarely in the middle of the pipeline route to the port of Kitimat. The campers are blocking the way for two proposed gas pipelines and the Enbridge Northern Gateway tarsands pipeline.
Volunteers are needed now & year-round
Current conditions: The camp road is clear and graded.
Strong-hearted volunteers are needed to bring supplies and their labour to the camp. We're organizing rides for April.
Can't stop the solidarity
Four years ago, grassroots members of the Wet'suwet'en people of northern BC (western Canada) learned about the oil and gas pipelines planned for their territory without permission.They set up a "soft blockade" to keep out the corporations and started building a camp and permanent homes in the pipeline route.
The camp is 1000 km north of Vancouver, BC. The defenders and volunteers stay in a large log cabin and a new bunkhouse. More homes are 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.
* be able to to travel to the camp and stay for one to three weeks
* have an understanding of indigenous rights and responsibilities on their land
* be prepared to help with the day-to-day work of the camp
* be ready to support the blockade if needed
* respect that this movement is led by grassroots indigenous people
In the past year, the land defenders have evicted three pipeline surveying crews from their territory. Most recently, they intercepted a helicopter crew from TransCanada and Coastal Gaslink and warned them not to return.
Please tell us about yourself and your plans
Fill in your details on the web form below, even if you're not sure when you'd like to visit. We'll follow up with more about the camp and answer your questions. You can also send a note or phone Zoe at 250-813-3569.
(Can't see the form below? Sign up here.)
For more information, please visit the Unis'tot'en Camp homepage and join the Caravan to Unis'tot'en page on Facebook. Call Zoe at 250-813-3569. (If you don't get through, please leave a message or try back.) Thank you!
Become a sponsor! Help supply the camp volunteers with tools, building materials, food, and camping gear. All donations go directly to the camp and the caravan.
Why an action camp?
There are only a few routes the oil and gas companies can take though the mountains. Expensive projects like these require piles of investment cash, and there's no guarantee of dividends. Even if the company has 90% of the route secured, that doesn't mean they'll have a pipeline. Investors, beware!
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.
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. 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.