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Council of Canadians supports Unis’tot’en Action Camp

Photo: Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal and Harsha Walia at the 4th Annual Unis'tot'en Action Camp, July 2013. Photo by Aaron Lakoff/ Media Coop.
Photo: Council of Canadians organizer Harjap Grewal and Harsha Walia at the 4th Annual Unis’tot’en Action Camp, July 2013. Photo by Aaron Lakoff/ Media Coop.

The Unis’tot’en (People of the Headwaters) Action Camp was established in 2010 on the path of the proposed 463-kilometre Pacific Trail fracked gas pipeline that would run between Summit Lake and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to be built in Kitimat by Chevron and Apache Canada Ltd.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Dini Ze Toghestiy, Freda Huson and others live at the camp and have vowed to stop the pipeline from being built.

The Council of Canadians supports the Unis’tot’en Action Camp and has participated in the large annual gatherings there since 2010. We oppose fracking and LNG terminals for numerous reasons including because they contribute to climate change, consume massive amounts of water, cause ecosystem destruction and disrupt communities, often violate the rights of Indigenous peoples, and mean a high number of LNG tanker ships impacting marine safety, fishing areas and local wildlife.

Pacific organizer Leila Darwish was at a recent training in Vancouver and notes, “The ‘No Pipelines Action Training for Climate Justice’ organized by Rising Tide (and sponsored by Council of Canadians) was a success!  With packed workshops on pipelines, stopping megaloads, allyship, knowing your rights, direct action, blockades and more, it was an inspiring gathering for folks interested in learning more about how to skill up and step up support to communities and Indigenous land defenders on the frontlines of extreme energy projects!”

The Globe and Mail reports, “In Vancouver over the weekend to attend ‘training workshops’ for anti-pipeline protesters, Ms. Huson said she suspects an injunction may soon be brought against the camp, which is located about 60 kilometres south of Houston. ‘We don’t give a care about their injunction … the blockade is already in place … nobody has a right to remove me’, said Ms. Huson, who belongs to the Unis’tot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en. …’One of the big messages we’re trying to get out … we’re not criminals, we’re not looking for violence. We’re out there to try to protect the water and our land and our food so future generations can enjoy it’, said Mr. Toghestiy…”

The article notes, “Since the protest camp was established, it has grown from a few tents, to include a cabin and a traditional pit house. A bunk house and more pit houses are planned.”

Council of Canadians chapter activist Bob Ages has been helping to raise funds for the action camp. He writes, “More bunk space is urgently needed for supporters to maintain year round stewardship of the territory. Help us build a heated and insulated bunkhouse this spring so it is ready for next winter. …We need $20,000 to get the floor, walls and roof framed, insulated, sheathed and shingled. Additional funds will be needed for the wood stove, bunk beds, shelving as well as renewable electric and water systems – so every contribution, whatever the amount, will be put to good use.”

At the training, Queen Sacheen from Ancestral Pride said, “We need active support to ensure those on the front lines are cared for and respected. I am of the land, i have no choice. For others, struggle is a choice and that’s a luxury and a privilege. We will all die, the earth will live on. And you know who will die first? The indigenous. Don’t leave us to stand up here alone.”

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The Kitimat LNG could begin construction later this year with commercial operations beginning in late-2017. But there is reason to be hopeful that the Kitimat LNG will not proceed. Gillian Robinson-Riddell, a spokesperson for Chevron, says, “We’re working toward a final investment decision but there are a few factors [that have to be confirmed] yet. …Of course, we’re looking for further certainty around cost and design of the project … and we are looking for further First Nation support.”

The Unist’ot’en will be hosting another spring work camp this year from May 12-30, for more information on that please click here.

Further reading
Unis’tot’en Action Camp Shows Clear Opposition to Pacific Trails Pipeline
Council of Canadians backs Unist’ot’en clan opposition to pipelines
The West Coast LNG terminals expected to proceed
Toghestiy and Freda Huson speak at Land Defense: A Feast for the Frontlines