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'This is our land': Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, pipeline opponents rally in Vancouver


Opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline currently under construction in Northern B.C took to the streets of Vancouver Monday, briefly blocking north-bound traffic on the Cambie Street Bridge.

The rally and march began at 10:00 a.m. at Vancouver City Hall where Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’moks addressed the crowd about his opposition to the CGL pipeline through unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.

“That is our land, that is our air and humanity should stand together to protect that for everybody,” he said.

He then led several dozen people on a march into downtown that included a 15 to 20 minute stop on the roadway at the halfway point on the Cambie Street Bridge.

Chief Na’moks is currently on a cross-country tour of cities and Indigenous communities so he can raise awareness about the issue and the way militarized RCMP have been conducting raids on sovereign Wet’suwet’en land.

Dozens of land defenders have been arrested over the last three years by RCMP enforcing a 2019 BC Supreme Court order issuing a temporary injunction which prevents anybody from interfering with access to a road leading to a CGL work site.

“They come through our doors with axes and power saws, with snipers standing there, with attack dogs, and the very least we could do is try to hold them accountable,” Chief Na’moks said as he detailed a civil suit community members have filed against the RCMP.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are in Vancouver at the invitation of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust, which is opposed to the TransMountain Pipeline expansion crossing through unceded Tsleil-Waututh territory.

"What they're doing is within their law to protect what they love,” said Rueben George, a spokesperson for Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust. “It’s not just for Wet'suwet'en. They're doing it for everybody."

The Indigenous leaders were also joined by climate activists from the group Stop Fracking Around, which wants to see an end to all fracking in Canada.

“Any fossil fuel extraction is just exacerbating the problem that we’re already seeing with melting glaciers and drinking water security,” said Christine Thuring, one of the organizers of that group.

CGL says the project is already 70 percent complete and work continues to finish the pipeline.

Chief Na’moks says his people, and their supporters will continue to fight against it and the court injunction.

“That is our territory. We are non-treaty unceded. We have 22,000 square kilometres,” said Chief Na’moks. “That is the territory of the Wet’suwet’en people and we will continue to access that.” 

The Coastal GasLink project involves the construction of a 670-kilometre pipeline that will carry natural gas across northern B.C. to the LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat. Once at the terminal, the gas will be liquefied and shipped to international customers. Top Stories

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