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E1. Indigenous

Missionary investigated over 'entering land of uncontacted tribe'

Survival International - 11 hours 11 min ago

Uncontacted Indians in Brazil show they dont want contact with outsiders. Photo taken in 2008.© G. Miranda/FUNAI/Survival, 2008

An American missionary is being questioned by Brazilian authorities after he allegedly entered the territory of an uncontacted tribe.

Steve Campbell, a missionary with the Greene Baptist Church in Maine, was reportedly questioned by officials from FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indigenous Affairs Department, amid reports that he could be tried for genocide.

Mr Campbell is reported in the Brazilian press to have entered the territory of the Hi-Merima tribe, using a local guide who had participated in a recent FUNAI expedition.

He reportedly visited tribal camps that FUNAI had located as part of their work to monitor the uncontacted tribe’s territory.

The news comes just two months after another missionary, John Allen Chau, was killed by members of the uncontacted Sentinelese tribe after landing on their Indian Ocean island to convert them to Christianity.

When John Allen Chau decided to visit North Sentinel Island, he put its people in serious danger.© Indian Coastguard/Survival

Mr Campbell has allegedly defended his actions by maintaining that he was teaching members of a neighboring tribe, the Jamamadi, how to use GPS, and that entering the territory of the Hi-Merima Indians was the only way to reach his destination.

President Bolsonaro’s appointment of an evangelical preacher, Damares Alves, as the new minister in charge of indigenous affairs is likely to encourage other missionaries to attempt to contact uncontacted tribes. 

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance. 

Stephen Corry, Survival International Director, said today: “Fundamentalist Christian American missionaries must be stopped from this primitive urge to contact previously uncontacted tribes. It may lead to the martyrdom they seek, but it always ends up killing tribespeople.”

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Port authority imposes ban on development around Lelu Island

Warrior Publications - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 19:52

The site of the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG plant, Lelu Island, near Port Edward, BC Photograph by: , Vancouver Sun

Following Pacific Northwest LNG, there will be no future projects proposed near Flora Bank

by Shannon Lough, Northern View, Jan. 17, 2019

There will be no industrial development in the marine area next to Lelu Island.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, the Prince Rupert Port Authority announced it’s placing a developmental moratorium on Flora, Agnew and Horsey Banks to ensure the protection of marine habitat.

Lelu Island and Flora Bank were the controversial locations of the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which was cancelled in July 2017. Many Indigenous people, environmentalists, and the local politicians opposed development on this site, which was near juvenile salmon habitat.

Although, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s assessment found the liquefied natural gas project could have been built without ‘significant adverse environmental affects’, leading the federal government to approve the project in September 2016.

In the port’s press release it states that the project was complex, involving a 3 km suspension bridge to avoid the environmentally sensitive areas. Three months after the project was cancelled, more than 100 people travelled to Lelu Island to witness a totem pole being raised. Members of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe claimed the territory as their own, and intended to protect the site from future development.

Since then, the port has recognized that development in this area will be a challenge, stating that “there are lingering concerns and uncertainty” with regards to how an industrial project would risk the health to the Skeena River estuary and salmon populations.

“We recognize the importance that a healthy salmon population has to our communities, in particular First Nations, and we share this value,” said Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, in the press release. “We know that this site has both challenges and concerns with development and there are superior development sites available for future projects at the Port of Prince Rupert that are broadly supported by our stakeholders.”

Totem pole erected on Lelu Island, October 2017. Photo: The Northern View

Hereditary and elected leaders from Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams were involved in the discussions to impose the developmental moratorium.

“The hereditary leaders of the Gitwilgyoots tribe of Lax Kw’alaams welcome the moratorium on industrial development on Flora, Horsey and Agnew Banks,” said Wii Smooygit Lyoon’anns (Carl Sampson Sr.). “The decision signifies a recognition of the concerns raised in regard to potential environmental impacts that port development could have in the area.”

Harold Leighton, chief councillor for the Metlakatla First Nation, said “This moratorium is a positive step toward ensuring the sustainability of this vital resource.”

The port authority said the moratorium will be formalized in its Land Use Management Plan in 2019, which will include public consultation.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Indigenous ownership won’t solve problems with Trans Mountain pipeline, says Squamish Nation councillor

Warrior Publications - Thu, 01/17/2019 - 13:37

Proposal to buy pipeline being discussed by Indigenous leaders

CBC Radio, Jan 17, 2019

More than 100 First Nations are considering a plan to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, but not all Indigenous leaders affected by the expansion are convinced.

“For us, it doesn’t change anything, who owns it,” said Khelsilem, a Squamish Nation councillor.

“Whether it be a Texas-based oil company, whether it be the federal government or whether it be the Indian Resource Council, the issues on the ground remain,” he told The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti.

The federal government announced it would buy the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion in May, in an effort to quell uncertainty around the expansion project. However, in August, the Federal Court of Appeal halted construction when it nullified licensing for the $7.4-billion project, citing inadequate consultations with Indigenous peoples.

The planned expansion would allow bitumen to be transported from Alberta to the B.C. coast, where it can be shipped to international markets, but the project has been the subject of environmental and safety concerns.

Khelsilem said the jurisdiction of the Squamish Nation was not respected throughout the process.

“Any project that’s coming through our territory, depending on the scale and scope, needs to be fully assessed by our own nation,” he said.

Ownership could provide revenue, says leader

The proposal to buy the pipeline is being discussed in Calgary, at a conference organized by the Indian Resource Council of Canada. It represents more than 130 First Nations with oil and natural gas resources on their land.

Stephen Buffalo, president and CEO of the organization, said that ownership would provide revenue for those First Nations, but also address environmental concerns.

“If we have First Nation ownership, it’s our people who are going to be doing the monitoring,” he told Tremonti.

“The pipeline regulations in Canada are already world class — it’s our job to continue to build that capacity.”

To hear the full interview, go the CBC link:


Categories: E1. Indigenous

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 21:58

Unist’ot’en camp founder and spokesperson Freda Huson at a gathering of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supportive chiefs from around B.C. outside of the Coastal GasLink pipeline route. Over 200 were in the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Smithers to hear speeches ahead of a march. (Chris Gareau photo)

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

by Chris Gareau, Interior News, Jan. 16, 2019

Chiefs from the B.C. coast, Interior and Northwest converged in Smithers to show support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

Support included, among others, Gitxsan and members of the Lax Kw’alaams who occupied Lelu Island off the coast by Prince Rupert in opposition to the now-cancelled Pacific Northwest LNG terminal there.

The Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project would have been the pipeline that ran through Gitxsan territory to supply it. A Gitxsan camp similar to the Unist’ot’en was set up called Madii Lii to block that natural gas pipeline. It is still set up near Hazelton.

“Wet’suwet’en solidarity Action in Langford, BC. Supporters blocked Highway 14, the Westshore RCMP office and John Horgan’s constituency office.  Photo: Facebook

Over 200 packed the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre in Smithers to hear from the chiefs, and Unist’ot’en camp and Gitdumden checkpoint members.

Then supporters hit the streets to march from Coast Mountain College on Queen Street to Highway 16, to Main Street and finishing up at Bovill Square for more speeches and drumming.

As part of her time at the microphone in the Friendship Centre, Gitdumden checkpoint spokesperson described her arrest and explained the importance of a burnt flag found after the RCMP clearing of a blockade set up at the checkpoint. Fires had been set by members of the blockade.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Protesters block Nova Scotia’s Hwy 102 in support of B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:35

By Rebecca Lau, Global News, Jan 15, 2019

Supporters in Nova Scotia blocked a portion of Highway 102 on Tuesday morning to demonstrate solidarity with anti-pipeline protests in British Columbia.

Protesters say they were holding a peaceful protest, which took place near Exit 10 at Shubenacadie, N.S.

Similar protests and rallies have been taking place across the country in opposition to the construction of a natural gas pipeline over Indigenous lands.

Tensions have been on the rise between law enforcement and Indigenous people blockading pipeline sites over the past week.

Last weekend, RCMP arrested members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who were cutting off access to the TransCanada Coastal GasLink work site.

An injunction had been issued barring protesters from cutting off access for construction workers, but the blockades remained up anyway.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers office occupied in Ottawa in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:24

Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement, Jan 15, 2019

Activists occupied the 9th floor hallway and office of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) at 275 Slater Street in Ottawa and effectively shut them down for the afternoon!

Those gathered made calls to CAPP’s head office in Calgary and to Seamus O’Regan, the new federal Minister of Indigenous Services. CAPP is the lobby group that represents Big Oil and Gas in this country. CAPP backs the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline that would violate Wet’suwet’en territory.

On January 9, two days after the RCMP raid on the Gidumt’en checkpoint, CAPP posted, “Expressions of support for the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline have rolled in.”

Photo by Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement Ottawa – IPSMO Twitter video available at @temurdur #WetsuwetenStrong

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Thunder Bay police board apologizes for systemic racism

Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/16/2019 - 10:52

by Willow Fiddler, APTN National News, Jan 14, 2019

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board apologized to Indigenous people in the northern Ontario city over the systemic racism in its municipal police force.

It’s the first step in a process to reform how the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) regards, interacts with and treats the city’s large Indigenous population and those from northern communities who attend school or seek medical care in the city.

“As hard as it is to say, we have to acknowledge that there is systemic racism in the board and in the police service,” Tom Lockwood, the board’s administrator, said Sunday.

“Having said that, I wish to apologize to each and every member of the Indigenous community of Thunder Bay for the existence of systemic racism. This community has suffered a lot over the years because of racism and for that, I apologize.”

Lockwood was appointed as the sole administrator of the board following two reports released last month by independent police watchdogs in Ontario.

The second, led by Senator Murray Sinclair for the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, recommended that the board be dissolved and taken over by a single administrator while a board members receive training before taking over civilian duties for the police force again.

Both police watchdogs found systemic racism in the force.

Celina Reitberger, who was appointed the first Indigenous chair of the board days before Sinclair’s report was released, Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro, and city councillor Kristen Oliver are the three remaining board members. Two seats will have to be filled by the city and province.

Mauro did not attend Sunday’s apology. Neither did Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

Reitberger, who was appointed to the board over a year ago, offered a personal apology to the hundreds of community members in attendance.

“I don’t think I can apologize for an organization so I want to apologize for my failing,” she said. “I’ve been on the police service board for a year and after being so very involved in helping people who had issues with the police service, I begin to feel like wow, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do here.”

Reitberger said Sinclair’s recommendations offer a path forward for the Thunder Bay police.

Board members will be required to complete Indigenous cultural awareness training and governance training if they want their voting powers returned.

That training is scheduled for February and March.

Lockwood said he’s “hoping that everybody will take the training, and I’m confident they will.”

Following the apology community members joined in a sharing circle, which was closed to the media.

But the messages from community members were generally positive.

Ardelle Sagutcheway of Thunder Bay said the police watchdog reports’ findings gave her hope.

“It’s very validating for me in [proving] we’re not crazy,” she said. “We’re not making this stuff up.”

Molly Boyce, who says she was a victim of police brutality during the years she lived on the city’s streets, said the apology was a long time coming.

“I felt like they were apologizing to me because I was in the brunt of their brutality and their aggressiveness and their attitude and the way they spoke to me, just by the tone of their voice,” she said.

The city is expected to appoint a new member to the board this month.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Pipeline Investment ‘Goes Palliative’ in Wake of Unist’ot’en Blockade

Warrior Publications - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 14:44

Tripod erected at entrance to Unist’ot’en camp, January 2019. Photo: Facebook

The Energy Mix, Jan 14, 2019

Two separate news outlets are declaring the end of pipeline investment in Canada, while several focus in on the differences in jurisdiction between elected and hereditary First Nations chiefs, in the wake of last week’s RCMP raid and subsequent “peaceful resolution” of the Unist’ot’en blockade along TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline in British Columbia.

“This was the week international investment in Canadian energy transportation went palliative following multiple bouts of protracted suffering,” writes CTV Power Play Host Don Martin. “The industry obit will detail how a few chiefs, bestowed with the ceremonial title by their ancestors, finally proved there’s no way to move oil, bitumen, or natural gas from the ground to the ocean.”

Martin recounts the 20 elected First Nations bands along the route that approved the project, the C$1 billion in economic benefits the communities were to receive, the court injunction intended to allow construction to proceed, and the “giddy support” the project had received from B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “When plans were announced last October to build a $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia, Justin Trudeau couldn’t contain his glee,” adds veteran columnist Thomas Walkom in the Hamilton Spectator.

“It is a vote of confidence in a country that recognizes the need to develop our energy in a way that takes the environment into account and that works in a meaningful partnership with Indigenous communities,” Trudeau said. “This is a spectacular day for British Columbia,” Horgan agreed. “I can’t stop smiling.”

But as Dogwood Initiative Communications Director Kai Nagata pointed out last week, that massive project depends on the four-foot (122-centimetre)diameter pipeline that must pass through Wet’suwet’en ancestral lands.

“After years of stalemate over pipelines, it seemed that Canada had finally managed to come up with an energy project that could proceed,” Walkom writes. “But as this week’s events have demonstrated, in the world of Canadian pipeline politics nothing is ever really settled,” and “the fundamental questions raised by [the blockade] remain unresolved. Who speaks for Indigenous communities? What happens when, as in the case of the Wet’suwet’en, elected representatives and hereditary leaders disagree?”

Walkom’s is one of several reports in the last week that have begun delving into the parallel political structures in many First Nations communities—chiefs and band councils elected under the Indian Act, and a traditional clan system led by hereditary chiefs. “In this case, the hereditary chiefs argue they have jurisdiction over all unceded Wet’suwet’en land outside the reserve’s settlement proper,” he writes. “The elected council clearly disagrees.”

On CBC, artist and master carver Hayalthkin’geme (Carey Newman) describes the hereditary system as “a governance model that varies from one nation to the next, where chieftainships, titles, and responsibilities are passed down through generations. It is not beyond reproach, and in some cases it may need to be adjusted to reflect the capitalist world of today. But it is our traditional way, it has sophisticated checks and balances, and it has been in use since before Canada claimed sovereignty.”

The Indian Act chiefs and councils operate on authority delegated by the federal government, and “the division between elected and hereditary leaders is no accident,” Hayalthkin’geme explains. “It was engineered by Canadian colonial policies that have disrupted traditional ways, and is now strategically exploited to enable access to valuable resources.”

For Indian Act councils, “the reliance on federal funding to maintain services makes it incredibly difficult for elected band officials to stand on principle,” he writes. “I don’t mean to detract from their efforts or the sincerity of their leadership, but they are elected to keep services flowing, and the reality is that for them to resist too strongly risks getting nothing at all.” Hereditary leaders, for their part, “are not beholden to the same obligations and are much freer to demand that their inherent rights and title are recognized.”

Another point of confusion is the difference between the reserves over which Indian Act councils have jurisdiction and the “traditional territories” that remain the purview of the hereditary chiefs. “Traditional territories are larger and much more difficult to define,” but “title is not owned by the Crown,” Hayalthkin’geme stresses. “At the very least it is shared with—if not exclusively held by—the Wet’suwet’en Nation under the leadership of the hereditary chiefs. Without their approval, the fact that elected band members had approved construction was essentially irrelevant.”

On CTV, on-air host Martin says the story of the blockade shows that what he calls “consultation perfection” still wasn’t good enough. “Every clan inside every First Nation must now consent to a pipeline, railway, or road or else the backers will face widespread condemnation,” he writes. But “there no muddling the harsh Canadian reality for the small pool of deep-pocket pipeline investors. They’ll study the casualty list from the last few years—the passing of the Northern Gateway megaproject; the abandonment of the Energy East pipeline extension; the forced government takeover of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion—and conclude the obvious about Canada: Anywhere Else is a better investment.”

But Hayalthkin’geme says there’s a deeper issue at play.

“The general confusion between elected and hereditary leadership, and reserves and traditional territories, has been used to make it appear as though government and industry have Indigenous consent, while casting land protectors as ‘protesters’ who represent a fringe element. Instead of divide and conquer, it is a tactic of divide and deceive,” he writes.

“Until this country is willing to listen to their own Supreme Court and recognize hereditary rights and title, these unresolved issues will continue to end in confrontation. The only way forward is for government and industry to follow the principles of UNDRIP [the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] and to work with both hereditary and elected leadership. But as long as they are willing to resort to force instead of diplomacy, we haven’t even begun to engage in meaningful reconciliation.”

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Campbell River protesters call for solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to pipeline

Warrior Publications - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 14:39

Laich-Kwil-Tach Nation hereditary chief George Quocksister Jr. (left) spoke in Campbell River’s Spirit Square on Sunday in support of hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink Pipeline in northern B.C. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Demonstration in Spirit Square follows opening of roadblock by Unist’ot’en camp

by David Gordon Koch, Campbell River Mirror, Jan. 14, 2019

Several dozen protesters were in Spirit Square on Sunday afternoon to show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose Coastal GasLink’s planned natural gas pipeline across northern B.C.

The demonstration came just days after leaders of the Unist’ot’en camp – a longstanding centre of resistance to pipelines in the region – agreed to comply with a court injunction by removing their blockade south of Houston, B.C.

This followed the arrest of 14 people at the Gidimt’en checkpoint, another road blockade south of Houston, on Jan. 7. They have reportedly been released.

George Quocksister Jr., a hereditary chief of the Laich-Kwil-Tach Nation, challenged the legitimacy of elected band councils that signed deals with Coastal GasLink to allow for the pipeline.

He said the Canadian government imposed band councils on First Nations to undermine hereditary forms of governance.

“The elected chief and council never existed,” he said. “The Indian Act created that to divide the people, that’s the bottom line.”

He said the jurisdiction of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs across a wide stretch of land has been recognized by the Supreme Court.

Other speakers included Sonny Assu (Ǧʷaʔǧʷadəx̌ə) of Wei Wai Kai Nation, who said the hereditary chiefs removed the Unist’ot’en blockade against their will following the arrests.

“I believe the Wet’suwet’en chiefs did this in order to protect their people from further harm,” Assu said, adding that Indigenous people in the Campbell River area who oppose fish farms may face similar police actions.

Speakers at the demonstration also included George Hunt Jr. (Nagedzi-Yathlawalth), who pledged solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs leading the movement against the natural gas pipeline.

“We stand with our brothers in the Interior,” Hunt said. “If there’s only one hereditary chief in that territory that wants to hold on to his traditional rights, that’s all it takes.”

Darren Blaney, the elected chief of Homalco First Nation, said that Indigenous traditions are under threat as man-made climate change affects areas including northern B.C., which witnessed devastating forest fires in 2018. Those wildfires are impacting the fisheries, he said.

“Those people are not going to be able to fish where they fished for thousands of years,” he said. “The environment and our culture are hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other.”

He said the need for police actions proved that Indigenous people don’t consent to the pipeline, putting the project at odds with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“When you have to go in and bulldoze the people from Wet’suwet’en, that means there’s no respect or consultation,” he said. “With the UNDRIP, where you have free, prior and informed consent, you’ve lost that if you’re gonna bulldoze ‘em.”

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Dzawada’enuxw First Nation files lawsuit to evict fish farms from territorial waters

Warrior Publications - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 14:35

Chief Willie Moon, the elected and hereditary leader of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, speaks at a Jan. 10 press conference in Vancouver. (CTV News)

CTVNews, January 12, 2019

In B.C.’s remote Kingcome Inlet, the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation is fighting to remove all fish farms from their traditional territory — farms that they say they never approved.

To evict the 10 area fish farms, the Dzawada’enuxw have launched a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that Ottawa failed to consult with them when allowing fish farming in the region.

“Our membership said zero tolerance,” Chief Willie Moon, the elected and hereditary leader of the Dzawada’enuxw, said at a Jan. 10 press conference in Vancouver. “Get those fish farms out of the water!”

The Dzawada’enuxw believe that the farms threaten wild salmon by exposing them to parasites and potentially deadly viruses.

Jack Woodward is the lawyer representing the Dzawada’enuxw in the lawsuit. He previously represented B.C.’s Tsilhqot’in Nation in the first ever successful claim of Aboriginal title in 2014.

“The federal government knew when it authorized these licenses, it knew about the Aboriginal rights of the First Nations,” he said at the Vancouver press conference. “And yet they went ahead and issued them.”

Federal officials have said that they are aware of the Dzawada’enuxw’s concerns but cannot directly comment on the lawsuit. A federal court, meanwhile, has decided to fast-track the legal challenge.

The Dzawada’enuxw’s legal action comes as tensions are rising between First Nations groups and the federal government.

At a town hall meeting in Kamloops, B.C. earlier this week, Indigenous leaders took aim at Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, demanding answers about reconciliation and the rights of First Nations. And after 14 people were arrested at an anti-pipeline blockade in the Wet’suwet’en First Nationin B.C.’s central interior, demonstrations were held in more than 30 cities across Canada — protests that continued Saturday in downtown Vancouver.



Categories: E1. Indigenous

Lawsuit over Fort McMurray First Nation finances fuels protest outside band office

Warrior Publications - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 14:28

Band councillor who launched suit now suspended, faces disciplinary hearing

David Thurton, CBC News,  Jan 12, 2019

An ongoing controversy over more than $1 million in payments made to band officials has disrupted a northern Alberta First Nation community, prompting a lawsuit and a blockade of band offices.

Last week, members of the Fort McMurray No. 468 First Nation blocked access to the band’s offices with a pickup truck and signs.

When CBC News visited Wednesday morning, the third day of the protest, an outfitter tent had been set up and about 20 people gathered around a fire pit with placards.

The First Nation includes four reserves in the Gregoire Lake area southeast of Fort McMurray.

“Each of our members have complained to me … complained among themselves about what’s happening with our leadership, with our finances, with our future,” said Velma Whittington, one of the protest organizers.

On Wednesday evening, the band obtained an emergency court injunction against the protesters. The injunction allows protesters to demonstrate but prevents them from blocking access to the offices.

The protesters told CBC they’re vowing to challenge their leadership in the wake of a lawsuit over expenses and bonuses paid to Chief Ron Kreutzer, CEO Brad Callihoo, a corporation controlled by Callihoo, councillor Ronald Kreutzer and former councillor Byron Bates.

Band councillor Samantha Whalen initiated the lawsuit. She has since been suspended from her duties and faces an internal disciplinary hearing at an unspecified future date.

All the defendants deny the allegations, none of which have been proven in court.

Misappropriation of funds alleged

In an amended statement of claim filed in December, Whalen alleges misappropriation of the band’s funds. She alleges that $600,000 from a $34.8-million settlement with the federal government was diverted to Callihoo in November 2017.

It is alleged the money was transferred to Calihoo’s company without following the band’s governance procedures.

Fort McMurray No. 468 councillor Samantha Whalen sits down with CBC for an interview on Jan. 10, 2018. (David Thurton/ CBC)

Whalen also claims the band covered about $500,000 of charges on Callihoo’s personal credit card in 2017. The charges “included personal expenses,” Whalen says in her statement of claim.

“It just didn’t pass the sniff test,” she told CBC in an interview.

Whalen also alleges that in 2018, Christmas bonuses were paid out to Callihoo, the chief, two band councillors and Bates, now CEO of Christina River Enterprises, the band’s business arm.

Altogether, the lawsuit alleges $270,000 in bonuses was paid out December 2018.

Whalen, one of the band councillors, said she didn’t cash the cheques she received.

“I was enraged. I was completely enraged,” Whalen said. “I don’t deserve $65,000.

“It’s my opinion that the nation is not doing well enough to deserve that.”

Whalen said the reserve is dealing with a number of pressing issues, including the lack of proper housing.

CBC visited the home of a 74-year-old elder who said his trailer was infested with black mould and the rotting exterior no longer kept out the cold. You can watch the video below.

False allegations, chief says

The chief, the band’s CEO and the other defendants named in the lawsuit declined CBC’s request for an interview. But in a news release Thursday, the defendants denied all the allegations in the lawsuit.

“Each and every allegation by Ms. Whalen is false and her claims will be defended in court,” the statement said. “[Our nation has] seen remarkable progress in recent years through strong and effective governance, increased accountability and transparency.”

In a joint statement of defence filed in November, the defendants say the $600,000 paid to Callihoo was a performance bonus for an underpaid band CEO who worked for “less-than-market rates.”

The payment was approved in writing by the chief and two councillors, recorded in the band’s financial statements, and not hidden from view of band members, the statement of defence says.

As for the CEO’s personal credit card paid for by the band, the statement of defence says Callihoo was being reimbursed for work expenses, all of which were “fully documented and verified prior to reimbursement.”

The statement of defence does not respond to Whalen’s allegations about Christmas bonuses. It was filed Nov. 26, 22 days before Whalen amended her statement of claim with allegations about the bonuses.

The news release said Whalen was suspended as band councillor with pay for various reasons, including “breaching her oath of confidentiality.”

“This is an extraordinary step, it is a necessary step,” Chief Ron Kreutzer said in the release.

Whalen will face a disciplinary hearing at a date to be determined.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp; RCMP to maintain presence

Warrior Publications - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:26

RCMP take down “tripod” blocking access past Unist’ot’en camp Jan. 11. (Twitter photo)

by Chris Gareau, Interior News, Jan 11, 2019

Police checkpoints stayed up Friday as a structure blocked RCMP and Coastal GasLink workers’ past the Morice River bridge.

Described by police as a “tripod,” social media rumours that it held cultural significance were quashed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and Unist’ot’en spokesperson Freda Huson, and they confirmed they wished it be removed according to RCMP.

This means media and others should now be able to access the camp and police “exclusion zones” should be removed per an agreement between RCMP and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs Thursday.

The points of the agreements as listed by the RCMP are as follows:

–From this point forward, the camp set up by the Unist’ot’en across the Morice River Bridge will be officially referred to as the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre;

–The temporary exclusion zone set up by the RCMP will be removed in the morning of January 11, 2019 once access to the Morice River Bridge is established;

–There will be continued police presence conducting roving patrols of the Morice West Forest Service Road to ensure the safety of the individuals at the Healing Centre and of CGL employees;

–In our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all individuals involved, a Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) will be placed in the Morice West Forest Service Road corridor as a temporary RCMP detachment. It will remain in place as long as deemed necessary;

–Police officers working out of the C-ISO will be General Duty police officers and will undergo cultural awareness training on the Wet’suwet’en traditions and will have enhanced training in conflict resolution.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Update from Unist’ot’en Camp

Warrior Publications - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:48

Bus parked on bridge at Unist’ot’en checkpoint, Jan 11, 2019. Photo: Unistoten Camp Facebook page

Unist’ot’en Camp

Breaking: 11AM January 11th:

Police, Coastal Gas Link employees, and a heavy duty tow truck has arrived at the Unist’ot’en bridge and are starting to dismantle the blockade. This is a strategic move that the Hereditary Chiefs have decided. The battle is not lost. Due to the recent deaths of family members, it would have been disrespectful to continue with this action as people need time to grieve their losses. According to Wet’suwet’en culture a bad omen comes to your family if you continue to proceed with normal affairs after a loss. So we grieve our losses. We allow a survey crew in to waste their time surveying for a project that will never happen.


Categories: E1. Indigenous

Indigenous convoys slow Ontario highway traffic in solidarity with B.C. pipeline protest

Warrior Publications - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:42

An Indigenous protest convoy drives westbound on Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont. (The Canadian Press)

‘We’re standing strong with our brothers and sisters out west,’ said 1 participant

CBC News, Jan 11, 2019

Two convoys of vehicles slowed traffic on stretches of Canada’s busiest highway Friday morning in Ontario in a show of solidarity with an anti-pipeline protest in British Columbia.

One rolled westbound from the eastern part of the province, while the other began in southwestern Ontario and headed east. Both left before dawn and disrupted traffic during the morning rush hour.

One fleet left from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, about 86 kilometres southeast of Ottawa, and travelled about 50 km/h as it moved toward Belleville, Ont. People from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, just south of Montreal, joined those from Akwesasne.

Provincial police cruisers formed a buffer around the eight trucks and SUVs and surrounding traffic.

Brandon Bigtree, who was driving one of the vehicles, said the demonstration was to show support for protesters at the Unist’ot’en camp — the site of a fortified checkpoint preventing people set to work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project from accessing the Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Wet’suwet’en and police have agreed to allow the company access to do pre-construction work as specified in an interim injunction order for the time being, following arrests on Monday.

“We’re standing strong with our brothers and sisters out west. What’s going on out there isn’t right,” Bigtree said.

He said Indigenous communities across Canada feel the federal government and provinces are failing them.

“We just need to let [the federal government] know that we’re all united.”

Those in the convoy from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne are also trying to raise awareness about local governance issues. Some in the community are frustrated with how the elected band council has handled negotiations over a 130-year-old land grievance along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. They are advocating for the nation’s hereditary leadership to play a larger role in the process.

The convoy hopes to make it to ​the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory today.

Meanwhile, the second convoy left the London, Ont., area before dawn to slow Highway 401 traffic in the southwestern region of Ontario.

People from the Oneida Nation of the Thames and Chippewa of the Thames First Nation were riding in the dozen vehicles that made up the motorcade. The action caused considerable slowdown for commuters.

“We’re doing this rolling blockade as a peaceful reminder to Canadians that First Nation people have rights to the land,” said Brandon Doxtator, who was in one of the vehicles.

The convoy from Oneida was heading to the territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River, south of Brantford, Ont., where a rally was planned for later Friday.


Categories: E1. Indigenous

Elected vs. hereditary chiefs: What’s the difference in Indigenous communities?

Warrior Publications - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 22:55

Front of the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, BC, based on a traditional house front from the late 1800s.

by Nick Wells, CTV News, Jan 9, 2019

In the aftermath of arrests and protests over a planned pipeline in northern B.C., the roles of elected and hereditary chiefs in the province’s Indigenous communities is being scrutinized.

The elected chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation had agreed a deal with TransCanada, now known as TC Energy, that would allow the Coastal GasLink project to run through their territory in 2014. The 670-kilometre, $6.2 billion pipeline by Coastal GasLink would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek and connect it to LNG Canada’s natural gas operation in Kitimat.

But the deal has faced opposition from some hereditary chiefs – also known as house chiefs in the territory as they represent different houses that make up the First Nation as a whole – and some members of the nation, leading to the creation of a protest camp that blocked access to CGL’s intended worksite near Houston, B.C.

“The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have never consented to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project and been actively opposed to it since its inception. The project will threaten Wet’suwet’en territories, society, culture, governance system, and the stewardship responsibilities of the Chiefs,” the band wrote in a December press release.

But do both the elected chiefs and the hereditary chiefs speak for the group as a whole? Or does one take precedence?

Elected chiefs

Elected chiefs were created out of the Indian Act of 1876 by colonialists who came to North America, seized Indigenous Land and attempted to put their own system into place.

The act created the elected chief and council system. These representatives are subject to elections held every two years.

“It’s incredibly simple,” says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs when asked about the differences. “Band councils have authorities, powers and jurisdiction on the reserve land base itself. And where the border of the reserve ends, so ends their power and jurisdiction.”

Professor Sheryl Lightfoot, the Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, echoed Phillip’s comments, saying the confusion between the two often comes from a lack of knowledge.

“People don’t know much about the Indian Act, that’s the core problem,” she says, adding the Act isn’t well taught in the Canadian education system.

Hereditary chiefs

Hereditary chiefs are a title passed down through families. They hold a position of influence in a community where the title has been handed down between generations.

Who it’s passed down to can vary between nations, depending on their history. Some follow a patriarchal system while others follow a matriarchal one.

Adding a layer to that, some hereditary leaders run for an elected office meaning they represent both sides.

The hereditary role is seen as focusing on protecting the territory, and doesn’t just include economic factors.

“Hereditary leaders have responsibilities. When we talk about traditional leadership, it’s much heavier on responsibilities than it is on authority,” says Lightfoot. “Hereditary leadership goes back to time immemorial, and it is intrinsically tied to a territory and the land.”

Lightfoot says there’s a tendency to view hereditary leadership roles through asking what powers they have. Instead, she says their role should be viewed through a more holistic lens.

Roles can lead to differences

Not every Indigenous community has a hereditary chief or chiefs, but those that do can see divisions of opinion between the two forms of leadership.

“They can get along really well, or they can fight like the Hatfields and McCoys,” says Bob Joseph, a hereditary chief of the Kwakwaka’wakw group of nations.

Joseph says he views his role as largely a spiritual one, but with a focus on helping those in the community.

“My dad is a hereditary chief and our responsibility is to the people. Everything we have to do is for the people,” he said.

The issue of hereditary rights versus elected band councils is particularly contentious when it comes to the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

The group was part of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, which is seen as a ground-breaking case in Canadian law and Indigenous rights that upholds Indigenous peoples’ claims to lands that weren’t ceded by treaty. Much of B.C. is unceded territory, with a slate of unresolved land claims and debates.

What comes next is anyone’s guess, but in a perfect world, experts say the two sides work as a unified force in Indigenous communities.

“In an ideal world, the elected council would consult with the hereditary council before making any decisions as part of their own community consultations. That’s the best case scenario,” says Lightfoot.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

Beyond Standing Rock: WPLC Adopts New Vision and Mission Statements

Water Protector Legal Collective - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 17:47
WPLC board president Daniel T’seleie attending the two-day retreat from Radili Ko (also known as Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories) via video conference. Our retreat was facilitated by Jordan Marie Daniel of Wopila Consulting.   WPLC’s Board of Directors gathered with staff in Bismarck, ND for a two-day facilitated retreat at United Tribes College on December Read More


Categories: E1. Indigenous

Deal reached in northern British Columbia pipeline impasse

Warrior Publications - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 17:26

Solidarity rally in Ottawa on Jan 8, 2019. Photo: Facebook

by Amy Smart, The Canadian Press, January 10, 2019

SMITHERS, B.C. — Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have reached a deal with the RCMP to allow a natural gas company access across a bridge that had been blocked in their territory.

Following several hours of meetings, Chief Na’Moks told reporters Thursday that the agreement is between the chiefs and the RCMP to ensure the safety of the First Nation’s members after 14 arrests were made on Monday when a court injunction was enforced by police.

He said representatives from Coastal GasLink were invited to the meeting to ensure they are on the same page, but emphasized it is not a deal with the company and the hereditary chiefs are opposed to a pipeline project planned on their territory by the company.

“One of the barriers will be taken down, but that does not mean we support this project,” he said.

“It must be reiterated, we are adamantly opposed to this proposed project and that will never change, but we are here to ensure the safety of our people.”

Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman said the company can do its work as a result of the meeting.

“I can say that our discussions were extremely respectful and extremely productive. As a result of these discussions we have worked out many of the details that are required for us to have free access across the bridge and beyond,” Gateman told reporters.

“We look forward to future dialogue and continuing this relationship.”

According to the agreement, Na’Moks says company workers will be allowed across a bridge and the RCMP will also remove a roadblock that was preventing some members of the nation from accessing a Unist’ot’en healing camp near the bridge.

He says members of the First Nation will not face arrest and the Unist’ot’en camp will remain intact.

The agreement applies to an interim court injunction, which is meant to prevent anyone from impeding the company’s work until the defendants, which include members of the Unist’ot’en camp, file a response.

The agreement was reached Thursday at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, a day after the chiefs announced a tentative deal would see members of the First Nation observe the injunction by allowing Coastal GasLink workers and contractors access to a work site where the natural gas pipeline is planned.

On Wednesday, residents of the healing camp said they were “reeling” from the situation and had asked that a gate that they see as vital to their safety remain intact.

Na’Moks said a metal gate will remain, but a wooden gate will be removed. It is too wide for the bridge and constitutes an obstruction, he added.

When the RCMP enforced the injunction they also dismantled a nearby checkpoint erected by members of the Wet’suwet’en, who say the company does not have authority to work on their territory without consent from the nation’s hereditary clan chiefs.

TransCanada Corp. says it has signed benefit sharing agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the pipeline route. Its Coastal GasLink pipeline would run though the Wet’suwet’en territory to LNG Canada’s $40 billion export terminal in Kitimat, B.C.

In Kamloops on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the events of this week when the injunction was enforced show the need to build a different relationship with First Nations.

Trudeau said he was pleased tensions had eased between police and the First Nations over the pipeline on Wednesday night, and the time will come to answer questions about what was done and how it could have been handled differently.

“The way we are doing resource development, construction, exporting of our resources is changing in this country,” he said.

“We know we cannot do it without creating partnerships and engaging with Indigenous Peoples who are the traditional custodians of these lands, without thinking deeply about the environmental consequences and the long-term impacts of the choices we’re making.”

With files from Laura Kane in Kamloops, B.C.

Categories: E1. Indigenous

PM Trudeau’s PR disaster in Kamloops

Warrior Publications - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 14:21

Dueling rallies earlier in the day on Jan 9, 2019 outside Thompson River University in Kamloops, BC, as PM Trudeau arrived to address a group of Indigenous band councils and business.

Prime Minister Trudeau’s “town hall” meeting in Kamloops on January 9, 2019, saw him face tough questions about his government’s relations with Indigenous peoples, pipelines, and the recent RCMP assault on the Unist’ot’en camp.

Protesters on both sides of pipeline debate direct ire at Trudeau in B.C.

CTV News, January 9, 2019

Divided by a snowy city street and conflicting views, protesters on both sides of the pipeline debate in B.C. directed their ire at a shared target on Wednesday: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As Trudeau arrived in Kamloops, B.C., for a campaign-style visit and town hall, some protesters donned yellow vests and carried signs that read “Carbon Tax Cash Grab” and “Trudeau for Treason,” expressing concern that a failure to follow through with planned pipeline projects would cost Canadians their jobs.

Audience members react as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a town hall Q&A at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C. on Jan. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kim Anderson

Others worried that Trudeau was shirking his promises to protect the environment and reconcile with Indigenous groups.

“We are here to support our land, our resources, our water,” Edna Terbasket, an anti-pipeline protester and member of the Syilx/Okanagan First Nation, told CTV News. “We can’t drink the oil.”

In a speech to supporters, Trudeau lauded the pipeline project that has been at the heart of escalating standoffs and blockades in the province: the Coastal GasLink pipeline that will transport natural gas across B.C.’s north to a $40-billion coastal terminal in Kitimat operated by LNG Canada.

Later, at a town hall event in Kamloops, Trudeau was faced with mostly positive questions from the crowd. But a few people expressed their outrage.

When responding to a question about the environment, Trudeau was interrupted by William George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. George has long been an advocate for the environment and Indigenous rights.

Earlier this week, the RCMP enforced a court-ordered injunction on a group of protesters from the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who tried to stop pipeline workers from accessing a forest service road near Houston, B.C.

The pipeline company says it has signed agreements with elected First Nations leaders across the pipeline’s route, but some of the hereditary and non-elected leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation say that those contracts are invalid because they have not given their consent.

The RCMP arrested 14 people on Monday, sparking solidarity protests across Canada.

Another woman at the meeting demanded that Trudeau apologize for the recent treatment of the Indigenous communities in northern B.C.

Trudeau said he “understands their anger and frustration” and acknowledged that the relationship with Indigenous people has been broken but he also said there has been real progress recently.

Molly Wickham, who was arrested earlier this week, described the experience as “traumatic.”

“They didn’t care what happened,” she said. “They didn’t care who it was.”

Despite the support from protesters, the hereditary chiefs announced Wednesday that they will comply with the injunction to avoid further violence.

Trudeau confirmed at the town hall that the blockade had been removed Wednesday afternoon.

Trudeau’s visit to Kamloops marks the start of an outreach tour that will expand across the country ahead of the federal election.

With files from The Canadian Press

‘You’re a liar’: Indigenous people voice anger at Trudeau town hall in B.C.

by Laura Kane, The Canadian Press, Jan. 10, 2019

Indigenous people voiced their anger and frustration with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday at a chaotic town hall in Kamloops, B.C., loudly interrupting him to condemn the arrests of protesters at a pipeline blockade.

While Trudeau was answering a question on accountability for the oil and gas industry, a man who identified himself as Will George stood up and began to yell that the prime minister had lied about wanting reconciliation with First Nations.

“You’re getting people arrested,” George said. “You’re a liar and a weak leader. What do you tell your children?”

Trudeau calmly asked George, several times, to sit down and allow him to finish answering the question. After several minutes, the man apologized and sat down, to applause from the crowd.

RCMP arrested 14 people Monday at a pipeline blockade in northwestern B.C., sparking protests across the country. Demonstrators on both sides of the pipeline debate appeared at Trudeau’s events in Kamloops on Wednesday.

Trudeau fielded a variety of questions at the town hall, but his fiery exchanges with Indigenous people dominated the event. When he called on a First Nations woman in the crowd, she asked him what he would do to stop oppressing her people.

“When are you going to give us our rights back?” she asked, to cheers and applause.

The prime minister replied that Canada has a “long and terrible history” with regards to First Nations, but his government is working toward reconciliation and met with Indigenous leaders to discuss self-governance on Tuesday.

“It will take time to improve (the relationship), but we are making significant progress,” he said.

“You are afraid to lose everything you benefit from our oppression and our suffering. You are afraid to lose your comfort,” the woman yelled.

“No, I’m not,” Trudeau replied. “I am ready to walk in partnership with you and building the future and that is what we’ve been doing … I understand the anger and the passion that you have about protecting your land.”

After a lengthy exchange in which the woman continued to press him on how he allowed the arrests to happen, Trudeau said it was possible the woman was “not listening” to him and he tried to move on. Members of the crowd continued to occasionally yell, with one crying out, “Shame on you!”

Later, a man who identified himself as Arnie Jack from the Shuswap Nation said Canada does not have a deed to its territory and has no right to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through its lands.

Jack described the arrests in northern B.C. as a “national disgrace.”

“Do you have a deed to Shuswap territory? Have you brought one here tonight to impose your jurisdiction on us?” Jack asked.

“No, I did not,” Trudeau said, adding that having a “deed” is an old way of doing things and instead he wants to move forward in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

Several audience members raised concerns about climate change, including a 65-year-old woman concerned about her grandson’s future. She said she had spoken with environmentalist David Suzuki, who was critical of the Liberal government’s handling of the climate.

“There is no question we’re in a time of difficult change,” Trudeau replied, but he added that his government is moving forward with a price on carbon and there are tremendous causes for optimism, and that’s where he disagrees with Suzuki.

“I’m just a little more optimistic than he is,” Trudeau said.

Speaking to supporters at an earlier Kamloops event, Trudeau touted the benefits of the $40-billion liquefied natural gas project at the centre of the impasse with First Nations.

In a campaign-style speech at the Liberal fundraiser, Trudeau did not address Monday’s arrests at a protest against construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink, which is a key part of the LNG Canada project. He instead heralded the massive project as one of his government’s top achievements.

“We moved forward on the LNG Canada project, which is the largest private sector investment in Canada’s history, $40 billion, which is going to produce Canadian LNG that will supplant coal in Asia as a power source and do much for the environment,” he said.

The RCMP enforced a B.C. Supreme Court injunction on Monday that ordered the removal of any obstructions to the pipeline project in and around the Morice River Bridge on a remote forest service road southwest of Houston.

The pipeline company says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route but demonstrators say Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given their consent.

Trudeau also told Radio NL that “we’re going to have to do a better job” of dealing with First Nations rights and title.

“There’s still work to be done right across the country in terms of having the opportunity for Indigenous communities to strengthen their governance models,” he said.

Dozens of protesters on both sides of the debate gathered outside the hotel where the fundraiser was held.

Demonstrators wearing yellow vests carried signs that read “Carbon Tax Cash Grab” and “Trudeau for Treason” while taking part in a chant opposing a United Nations pact on migration signed by Canada. Conservative critics argue it threatens Canada’s sovereignty.

Keith LaRiviere, who is Cree and participated in the yellow-vest protest, said he knows some of the people involved in the pipeline blockade.

He said he supports their right to protest but he believes those building the pipeline also have the right to do their work.

“I go to sweat lodges with some of those people so I really know them intimately, and I do support their cause. I do support their right to their land. I don’t support the aggressive way they were forced out of their position,” said LaRiviere.

On the other side of the hotel parking lot, a group of Indigenous protesters opposed to the pipeline sang, drummed and held a banner reading “PM Trudeau: Canada needs climate action now.”

‘Be a man!’: Indigenous protesters assail Justin Trudeau at B.C. town hall

By Jesse Ferreras, Global News, Jan 10, 2019

“I don’t want to see your crocodile tears!”

That was one of a number of comments with which Indigenous protesters confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a town hall at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, B.C. on Tuesday night.

The town hall came in the same week that 14 people were arrested in the province’s northwest as they protested the construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink that’s a key piece of infrastructure for the LNG Canada project.

The arrests came Monday, on the same day that Mounties enforced a B.C. Supreme Court injunction requiring that any obstructions to the project be removed near a bridge on a forest service road that runs south of Houston.

Further developments came Wednesday, as hereditary chiefs with the Wet’suwet’en people said they would open a checkpoint gate they had erected at what’s known as the Unist’ot’en Camp, a longstanding structure aimed at preventing the pipeline’s construction.

Trudeau largely seemed to address a friendly audience — questions included, “What’s your favourite part of your day?” — before frustrations over pipelines, and the federal government’s approach to climate change and First Nations, started to boil over.

First to assail Trudeau was Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

“You lied about being a climate leader. You don’t build pipelines by being a climate leader,” George said.

“You want truth and reconciliation with First Nations and you get our people arrested.”

Trudeau, who was answering a question about oil and gas emissions, asked George to “please respect” an audience member’s ability to ask a question. But George continued.

“You’re a liar and a weak leader. What do you tell your children? Pipelines do not make climate leaders,” he said.

“I apologize to you, I’m not going to listen to your lies anymore, you’re a weak leader and a liar and you’re not welcome here.”

Trudeau later faced a question from a woman named Tilly, who identified herself as a member of the Stl’atl’imx Nation.

“What are you going to do to stop oppressing and holding our people under your colonization,” she asked.

Trudeau responded that Canada has a “long and failed history in regards to Indigenous people,” saying it has “consistently failed as a country to live up to the spirit and intent of the treaties.”

“We have not treated Indigenous peoples as partners and stewards of this land.”

Trudeau said the federal government is focusing mainly on two areas when it comes to Indigenous peoples: services and relationships.

He started talking about how “too many Indigenous communities are existing under boil water advisories” when Tilly interjected.

“You are afraid to lose your comfort,” she said.

“No I’m not, Tilly,” Trudeau responded.

“I am ready to work in partnership with you and that is what we have been doing with you over the last three years.”

The pair continued to exchange words, with Tilly saying, “I don’t want to see your crocodile tears, I don’t want to see you apologize.”

She said she wanted “amends,” that she demanded it “on behalf of my people.”

Another protester yelled out, “be a man! Be a man!”

He went on to say that no one checked with Indigenous people when Canada’s railroads were laid down.

“Nobody checked with the people who had lived here for millennia, whether or not we could throw a railroad down in a given place,” Trudeau said.

“That is not how we will continue to do things.”

Categories: E1. Indigenous


Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 21:56

Art by Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw

Statement from Unist’ot’en Camp, Jan. 9, 2019

The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have by absolutely no means agreed to let the Coastal GasLink pipeline tear through our traditional territories.

On January 7th at the Gidumt’en access point, the RCMP used excessive and brutal force. We expected a large response, we did not expect a military level invasion where our unarmed women and elders were faced with automatic weapons and bulldozers.

While the chiefs have a responsibility to protect the land, they also have a duty to protect our land defenders. Our people faced an incredible risk of injury or death and that is not a risk we are willing to take for an interim injunction.  The agreement we made allows Coastal GasLink to temporarily work behind the Unist’ot’en gate. This will continue to be a waste of their time and resources as they will not be building a pipeline in our traditional territory.

This injunction was against Warner Naziel, Freda Huson, and Jane and John Doe as individuals.  Our efforts over the past month made the RCMP, Coastal GasLink, and the colonial governments recognize that this is not an issue of individual “protestors” but rather an issue of our house chiefs’ jurisdiction to make decisions on our own lands.  We have fought for many years to make this point by politely telling it like it is. Now, with the world watching, with our voices reverberating around the globe, we have turned the tables.

There can be no question now that this is an issue of Wet’suwet’en Rights and Title. We have demonstrated that this fight is about more than a pipeline; it is about the right of Indigenous peoples around the world to exercise Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

We have the power to tell the governments of the world that enough is enough, rather than being plowed down by force today or tomorrow. We will use our voice to continue this battle by asserting our Rights and Title.

This week, the Canadian state laid siege to our land behind the smokescreen of “reconciliation.” We see through their attempts to further colonial violence and remove us from our territories. We remain undeterred, unafraid, and unceded.

This fight is far from over.

We paved the way with the Delgamuuk’w court case and the time has come for Delgamuuk’w II.  We have never had the financial resources to challenge the colonial court system, due to the enormous price tag of an Aboriginal title case.

Who will stand with us to make sure this pipeline does not go through?

Who will support our work to reclaim our territories and assert our right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent?

Who will insist that Indigenous peoples have the right to say NO to projects that inflict violence on our people and territories?


We are are humbled by the outpouring of solidarity and support for our Wet’suwet’en people. We expect RCMP aggression at any time. We are still fundraising for our legal battle in the colonial courts. Please donate.

 DONATE to Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund

 DONATE to Gidimt’en Access Point

 COME TO CAMP: Supporters in the local area wanting to do something should head to KM 27 now. Meet at the junction of Morice River Road and Morice West where people are gathering to plan additional responses to this incursion.

 HOST A SOLIDARITY EVENT: See the International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en event page. For guiding principals on how to support, and a fact sheet on the Gidimt’en Access Point, visit this link . We are conducting peaceful actions as sovereign peoples on our territories, and ask that all actions taken in solidarity are conducted peacefully and according to the traditional laws of other Indigenous Nations. Forcible trespass onto Wet’suwet’en territories and the removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands must be stopped. Provincial and federal governments must be confronted.

 SIGN THE PLEDGE: Join thousands of organizations and individuals in signing the pledge in support of Unist’ot’en

 CONTACT REPRESENTATIVES: This page has been set up so you can send an email directly to relevant Federal cabinet ministers and BC Provincial cabinet ministers calling on  the RCMP and Coastal Gas Link to respect Unist’ot’en/Giltseyu-Dark House on their unceded lands.

#unistoten #wetsuwetenstrong #thetimeisnow #wetsuweten #nopipelines #notrespass #unistotencamp

Categories: E1. Indigenous

RCMP, Wet’suwet’en reach tentative deal to let gas company workers through

Warrior Publications - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 19:36

Agreement would give pipeline workers access to area by Thursday afternoon

by Chantelle Bellrichard, CBC News,  Jan 9, 2019

A tentative agreement has been reached to allow workers for a natural gas pipeline company to access to an area in northern B..C. that had been the focal point of a First Nation protest.

The hereditary leadership of the Wet’suwet’en Nation spelled out some of the details of the tentative deal in a Facebook livestream on Wednesday from the healing centre of the Unist’ot’en camp.

The camp is the site of the remaining blockade preventing Coastal GasLink workers from accessing to the Wet’suwet’en territory, which sits about 300 kilometres west of Prince George, B.C.

Under the deal, the RCMP would agree not to enter the healing centre without permission and the Wet’suwet’en would allow workers to access the territory by Thursday 2 p.m. PT.

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have a meeting planned Thursday morning with the RCMP and Coastal GasLink to iron out the final details.

The Mounties have been enforcing a court injunction granting workers with the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project access to a road and bridge from which they had been blocked by opponents of the project. On Monday the RCMP entered the first of two blockades and arrested 14 people.

The pipeline project is run by TransCanada Corp., now officially known as TC Energy, and is meant to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the coast, where a liquefied natural gas project is scheduled for construction.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation established the camps with fortified checkpoints, saying Coastal GasLink workers can only pass if they have consent from hereditary leaders.

Chiefs in discussions

The hereditary chiefs spent several hours on Tuesday meeting with the RCMP and among themselves to talk about next steps.

In an open letter posted on the company’s website, Coastal GasLink ​president Rick Gateman wrote it was “unfortunate the RCMP were forced to take this action.”

“We took legal action as a last resort and only after six years of unsuccessful efforts to find a mutual solution,” the letter reads in part.

“We respect the rights of individuals to peacefully express their point of view, as long as their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors, and even themselves.”


Categories: E1. Indigenous