Thank you for offering to contribute your time and energy to Unis'tot'en Camp. We're non-native allies on Vancouver Island helping to set up rideshares and making sure that people have the info they need.
There are a couple of rides leaving from Vancouver area in the coming week. Would you like to get in on one of those rides? Most folks stay for one or two weeks. After that ask the camp hosts if you can stay longer.
It sounds you are planning to drive. Do you have room for riders?
The info below is for the summer camp. I'll put you on the visitor list if you can please send a reply to confirm your plans.
Thank you - I'm looking forward to hearing back from you.
Zoe Blunt - 250-813-3569
Coming to Unis'tot'en Camp
The camp is located on a forest road near Houston, BC, 1000 km (650 miles) north of Vancouver. The Greyhound bus depot and Via Rail station are in Houston, and the nearest airport is in Smithers.
Maps, directions, and road conditions are here: http://wildcoast.ca/camp.
The road is open and free of obstacles for visitors. The latest report says there are no police on the road. The situation may change and travellers may encounter an RCMP checkpoint near the turnoff to Morice River West Rd. Make sure your license and vehicle papers are up to date and your car is street-legal with lights, brakes, etc.
Temperatures in summer range from 10 to 40 C (50 to 110 F). Please be prepared for drought conditions and fire danger. No fires! We also expect rain, storms, and lots of flying biting insects. Make sure you have waterproof boots, bug repellent, raincoat and waterproof pants. Bring a tent with a good rain fly, a warm sleeping bag, and a ground pad.
At the entrance to the camp, at the bridge over Wedzin Kwah (Morice River), the hosts greet visitors with the Free, Prior, Informed Consent protocol. Each person entering Unis'tot'en territory is asked where you are from, what you can offer to help the people defending their land, whether you have worked for resource extraction companies, and other questions.
Most volunteers camp out in tents on the land. Those with special needs can stay in the bunkhouse above the river. Volunteers take turns cooking group meals. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. The camp and the cabin have electricity from solar panels and generators, and they also have a satellite communication system for emergencies. But there is no indoor plumbing, wifi, or cellphone access.
This is an action camp. The Unis'tot'en people and their allies have set up a "soft blockade," closing the road to pipeline crews and those who don't respect the protocol. The camp is not breaking any laws at the moment, but there have been threats of retaliation by the authorities. Please be aware that the situation may change. Be prepared to support the blockade.
Volunteers will be expanding the permaculture garden and building a community Healing Centre, plus helping to look after the animals, haul water, and tend the smokehouse.
The hosts make all the decisions on their land. It is not the place of visitors to argue or refuse to abide by their decisions. Visitors who can't get along at Unis'tot'en camp or who do not respect the camp hosts, the rules, the land, or the property of the camp qualify for a free ride to the bus depot in Houston BC.
What to bring:
Waterproof boots, a tent, rain parka, a flashlight, a sleeping bag, sunblock, bug repellent, and the basic necessities for comfort on the land. Bring food to share. The camp also welcomes donations of cash, home preserves, tobacco, and other useful items.
Please help find supplies the camp needs. Suggestions:
- Two-way radios, walkie-talkies, VHFs
- a 50-horsepower outboard motor and a boat
- Chainsaws, portable generators, large marine batteries
- Large tents and mosquito nets
- Home-canned food and wild game
- Fresh produce
Please don't come to the camp if you're sick or have parasites. Don't bring drugs (except prescription medicine), alcohol, or weapons. Dogs are not allowed to visit the camp. Public nudity is not permitted.
Don't leave clothes and other non-essentials behind unless the camp hosts ask you to. Take everything with you when you leave, and don't take anything that's not yours.
We are alert for hassles from authorities. They haven't tried to interfere with the camp or its visitors. But if they do, please don't talk to them either at the camp or elsewhere. Keep my number with you and call me if the police want to talk to you, or to let me know of any problems: 250-813-3569.
Forest Action Network maintains a legal fund for anyone who gets in trouble for land defense. We have lawyers on retainer to defend the defenders. More info: http://wildcoast.ca/legal.
People of all races, religions, nationalities, classes, genders and beliefs are welcome to support the grassroots Wet'suwet'en people in defending their land. Radical feminists and trans people are working together in solidarity with Unis'tot'en Camp. We call on volunteers to respect diverse views and seek common ground rather than conflict, as instructed by our hosts.
"This is unceded land"
No treaties have been made to surrender or "cede" Wet'suwet'en territory to Canada. The indigenous people here have occupied their land continuously since time immemorial. They were never defeated in war or driven from their land, and they did not sell the land or give it away. The Supreme Court has ruled that indigenous people retain title to their land.
Only a few indigenous nations in BC have settled their land claims by treaty with the government. The rest never signed treaties, and they were not defeated in war or driven from their territories. The land is still (and always) indigenous land.
The Wet'suwet'en First Nation spent 14 years in the BC Treaty Process trying to negotiate with the federal and provincial government. They left the process in 2010, citing the government's position that they would have to give up 95% of their land and abandon all future claims.
The people in charge of Unis'tot'en Camp are the clan mothers. The Unis'to'ten Clan is matrilineal.
Freda Huson, spokesperson and leader of the camp
The mothers, grandmothers, aunties, chiefs and elders of the Unis'tot'en (C'ihlts'ehkhyu - Big Frog) Clan.
Lhe Lin Liyin - the Guardians
Wedzin Kwah - Morice River, the eastern boundary of Unis'tot'en territory
Talbits Kwah - Gosnell Creek (flows into Morice River)
Tse Wedi Elh - Rocks Flowing, the place where the camp is located
Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP) is a gas project that is first in a series of pipelines planned to cross the Wedzin Kwah. It would bring gas from fracking fields in northeastern BC to Kitimat on the coast, along the same route Enbridge and several other tarsands and gas pipelines plan to use. If they are built, the pipelines right-of-way would be three kilometer wide through hundreds of kilometers of wetlands, streams, and forests.
Band council vs. the people
The Wet'suwet'en First Nation, as defined by the Indian Act, groups several clans under one elected chief and council. Elections are every two years and the council is paid by Canada's Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Anyone can be elected chief, even non-native people.
The Wet'suwet'en chief and council, representing a small fraction of the membership, have given permission for the PTP in exchange for a promise of millions of dollars in dividends. At the same time, the band council is part of a coalition called the Yinka Dine Alliance, which opposes the Enbridge pipeline that would run alongside PTP.
Our clan hosts say the band did not consult them on PTP, and the hereditary chiefs of all the clans are united against the pipelines. They have pledged to defend their homes as they've done since time immemorial.
The camp volunteers are a mix of settlers and indigenous people. The info below is intended to tune in non-native visitors about working in solidarity with indigenous leaders.
ALLYSHIP and SOLIDARITY
From Unsettling America:
We share these points of unity to guide our allyship and activism:
All people not indigenous to North America who are living on this continent are settlers on stolen land. We acknowledge that Canada, the United States of America, Mexico, and Central & South America were founded through genocide and colonization of indigenous peoples-which continues today and from which settlers directly benefit.
All settlers do not benefit equally from the settler-colonial state, nor did all settlers emigrate here of their own free will. Specifically, we see slavery, hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, market imperialism, and capitalist class structures as among the primary tools of colonization. These tools divide communities and determine peoples' relative access to power. Therefore, anti-oppression solidarity between settler communities is necessary for decolonization. We work to build anti-colonial movements that actively combat all forms of oppression.
We acknowledge that settlers are not entitled to live on this land. We accept that decolonization means the revitalization of indigenous sovereignty, and an end to settler domination of life, lands, and peoples in all territories of the so-called "Americas." All decisions regarding human interaction with this land base, including who lives on it, are rightfully those of the indigenous nations.
As settlers and non-native people (by which we mean non-indigenous to this hemisphere) acting in solidarity, it is our responsibility to proactively challenge and dismantle colonialist thought and behavior in the communities we identify ourselves to be part of. As people within communities that maintain and benefit from colonization, we are intimately positioned to do this work.
We understand that allies cannot be self-defined; they must be claimed by the people they seek to ally with. We organize our solidarity efforts around direct communication, responsiveness, and accountability to indigenous people fighting for decolonization and liberation.
We are committed to dismantling all systems of oppression, whether they are found in institutional power structures, interpersonal relationships, or within ourselves. Individually and as a collective, we work compassionately to support each other through these processes. Participation in struggle requires each of us to engage in both solidarity and our own liberation: to be accountable for all privileges carried, while also struggling for liberation from internalized and experienced oppression. We seek to build a healthy culture of resistance, accountability, and sustenance.
Indigenous Solidarity Guidelines
It's important that members of settler culture ally themselves with indigenous communities fighting for their rights and survival, but there are right and wrong ways to express solidarity.
The following guidelines have been put together by Deep Green Resistance members with the help of indigenous activists. They aren't a complete how-to guide - every community and every situation is different - but they can hopefully point you in a good direction for acting effectively and with respect.
1. First and foremost we must recognize that non-indigenous people are occupying stolen land in an ongoing genocide that has lasted for centuries. We must affirm our responsibility to stand with indigenous communities who want support, and give what we can to protect their land and culture from further devastation. They have been on the frontlines of biocide and genocide for centuries, and as allies, we need to step up and join them.
2. You are doing Indigenous solidarity work not out of guilt, but out of a fierce desire to confront oppressive colonial systems of power.
3. You are not helping Indigenous people, you are there to join with, struggle with, and fight alongside indigenous peoples against these systems of power. You must be willing to put yourself on the line.
4. Recognize your privilege as a member of settler culture.
5. You are not here to engage in any type of cultural, spiritual or religious needs you think you might have, you are here to engage in political action. Also, remember your political message is secondary to the cause at hand.
6. Never use drugs or alcohol when engaging in Indigenous solidarity work. Never.
7. Do more listening than talking, you will be surprised what you can learn.
8. Recognize that there will be Indigenous people that will not want you to participate in ceremonies. Humbly refrain from participating in ceremonies.
9. Recognize that you and your Indigenous allies may be in the minority on a cause that is worth fighting for.
10. Work with integrity and respect, be trustworthy and do what you say you are going to do.
More info: unistotencamp.com