On Friday, December 21, 2018, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church will rule on an amendment to a recent injunction against Unist’ot’en. The Unist’ot’en Camp is a permanent Indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land in Northern British Columbia, Canada. The Camp has existed for eight years and includes a homestead and healing center, bunkhouse, pit house, permaculture garden, and network of trails on the proposed route of Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.
On December 14, 2018, Justice Church issued an interim injunction for Coastal GasLink/TransCanada to proceed with development for a LNG pipeline on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. Through an accompanying enforcement order, the RCMP is authorized to forcibly remove the permanent Indigenous re-occupation of unceded territory including the Unist'ot'en Healing Center. This injunction violates the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and will further criminalize Indigenous sovereignty.
On Tuesday, December 18th, the Gitdumden Clan set up a second checkpoint outside the injunction zone that is being enforced by all five Wet’suwet’en clans. This morning’s ruling is an attempted amendment by Coastal GasLink to include Gitdumden territories within the initial injunction, and circumvent Wet’suwet’en right to steward and protect their unceded lands based on their traditional governance as upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw.
According to the Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gitdumt'en Territory, “Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not made any agreement with the Canadian or British Columbian governments to surrender or permit access to Wet’suwet’en lands for any pipeline construction activities.”
Coastal GasLink/TransCanada’s LNG pipeline is itself a violation of UNDRIP. In 2016, the government of Canada officially removed its objector status to UNDRIP and in May 2018, the House of Commons passed legislation to enact the guidelines set forth by UNDRIP at the federal level. Bill C-262, legislation introduced by NDP MLA Romeo Saganash and currently under review in the Senate, explicitly commits Canada to “take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” and requires the government to “develop and implement a national action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP.”
In Canada and the United States, rallies and actions in support of the Unist’ot’en Camp have taken place in Vancouver, Prince George, Montreal, New York, Toronto, Seattle, Galiano Island, Victoria, and Ottawa.