Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 20, 2021

Heavily-Armed Canadian Cops Arrest Wet'suwet'en Defending Land and Water from TC Energy GasLink

Heavily-Armed Canadian Cops Arrest Wet'suwet'en Defending Land and Water from TC Energy GasLink

RCMP arrests Wet'suwet'en elders, legal observers and journalists

Nov. 20, 2021 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today expressed grave concern about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s arrest and detention yesterday of two journalists covering land rights protests in northern British Columbia.
Photojournalist Amber Bracken, who was on assignment for the environmental news outlet the Narwhal, and independent documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano were covering ongoing demonstrations against the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through Indigenous Wet’suwet’en territory at the time of their arrests, according to the Canadian Association of Journalists. The CAJ says both journalists are still in custody.

By Gidimt'en Checkpoint
NOVEMBER 18, 2021

WET’SUWET’EN TERRITORY, SMITHERS, BC: Dozens of heavily armed RCMP breached the Gidimt'en Checkpoint this morning. There are 15 confirmed arrests, including two Wet'suwet'en elders, 3 Haudenosaunee members, 3 Legal Observers, and one journalist. Police were deployed in military garb, armed with assault weapons and dog teams.

The Coyote Camp, established on Coastal GasLink’s proposed drill pad site September 25 remains in place with Wet’suwet’en and supporters continuing to occupy the site.

“If TC Energy thinks that raiding Wet’suwet’en territory will stop the resistance against this project, they’re dead wrong,” said Sleydo’, a Cas Yikh supporting chief who remains on site.
The Provincial Government has prioritized the criminalization of Wet’suwet’en water protectors over the needs of people throughout the province, as two charter planes of RCMP have been deployed on Wet’suwet’en land amidst historic, climate driven floods. Hundreds of police who could assist with floods, mudslides, highway closures, and evacuations are instead deployed to remove Wet’suwet’en people from unsurrendered Wet’suwet’en land.

A Cas Yikh matriarch elder was placed under arrest and brought to the hospital by ambulance with chest pains, after being denied access to prescription medication by this Exclusion Zone the day before. She has since been released and is recovering.

On November 14, members of the Gidimt’en Clan issued a Mandatory Evacuation Order to workers of Coastal GasLink, upholding ancient Wet’suwet’en trespass laws and an eviction notice that was first served to CGL in 2020 by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

Employees were granted 8 hours to peacefully evacuate the area before the main road into the Lhudis Bin territory of the Gidimt’en clan was closed. A 2-hour extension was granted by Cas Yikh Chief Woos, after a discussion with RCMP commander Eric Stubbs.

Reports have now emerged that TC Energy/Coastal GasLink did not inform their workers of the evacuation window and give workers the opportunity to evacuate.

The 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa court case affirmed that Aboriginal title - the right to exclusively use and occupy land - has never been extinguished across 55,000km2 of Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territories.

For more information and developing story, please visit

Democracy Now!

Canadian Police Raid Wet’suwet’en Pipeline Blockade, Arrest 15 Land Defenders

Wielding assault rifles, helicopters, and canine units, Canadian police raided Wet’suwet’en territory this week and arrested 14 people in effort to break up the Indigenous-led blockade of the multibillion dollar Coastal GasLink pipeline being constructed by TC Energy. The occupation started in September and halted the company’s efforts to build a key portion of the over 400-mile pipeline within Wet’suwet’en lands that violates both Wet’suwet’en and Canadian laws. We speak with land defender and matriarch of the Gidimt’en Clan of Wet’suwet’en Nation Molly Wickham, one of the witnesses to the police raid. “This project does not have free, prior, informed consent of the Wet’suwet’en people,” says Wickham. “It’s as if we don’t exist as Indigenous people, and that we don’t have our own governance and that we don’t have our own system of law.”

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