Author Naomi Klein and hundreds of others support Indigenous leaders protecting Indigenous title and rights from the Texas-based energy giant.
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Burnaby, BC) — Today Ta’ah Amy George, (Tsleil-Waututh Nation elder), Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which represents more than half of Nations in B.C.), Chief Judy Wilson (Neskonlith First Nation in Secwepemc territory), and Chief Bob Chamberlin (Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation) were joined by hundreds of others in a full-day blockade at Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby construction site.
The action represents the latest escalation in a growing, decades-long fight by Indigenous Peoples to gain recognition for Indigenous title and rights. Nearly 200 people have been arrested peacefully resisting the pipeline in solidarity with impacted Indigenous communities since actions began last month.
The Kinder Morgan pipeline — and the tar sands expansion it would enable — are incompatible with the federal government’s commitments under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and threaten to worsen the national crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Penticton Indian Band, Syilx, President UBCIC
“Clearly they are intimidated and fearful of a strong, unified front between Indigenous leaders and our allies. Kinder Morgan was forced not to issue a prerequisite complaint to the RCMP to enable arrests. Without question, Kinder Morgan backed down today. We were here and we will be back. There is absolutely no way that we are letting Kinder Morgan expand its archaic and dangerous fossil fuel extraction. Today we proudly stood with land defenders to send a strong message to Kinder Morgan, its investors, and Trudeau — we will not stand down and we will remain united in our opposition.”
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, Kwakwaka’wakw, Vice-President UBCIC
“I am proud to stand today and protect the land and the water and the life that they give. It is my duty to future generations. Tripling the size of Kinder Morgan’s export pipeline for export by tankers to heavy refineries in United States and China is a direct threat to the fish and animals in its path and downstream. The Prime Minister needs to understand that this project does not have the consent of the Indigenous peoples whose territory will be impacted – and you can’t achieve reconciliation without recognizing that you need our consent.”
Chief Judy Wilson, Neskonlith, Secwepemc, Secretary-Treasurer UBCIC
“Justin Trudeau is saying he is doing this for the jobs and the economy. He is confused and he is blind and he has to understand. This destruction cannot continue. Our Mother Earth needs us more than ever. The salmon, the orcas, need us. They need all of us, because we cannot survive without water and we need to ensure there is water for the future.”
This latest wave of action comes on the heels of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tour of Suncor’s tar sands operations yesterday. Trudeau approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline in 2016, despite his government’s failure to obtain consent from Indigenous peoples along the pipeline and tanker route.
Indigenous leaders and people across Canada and the U.S. have promised escalating action to stop this pipeline from moving forward. International opposition to the tar sands project is on the rise, and opponents have promised to make sure Alberta Premier Rachel Notley hears that opposition when she promotes Kinder Morgan’s pipeline in New York and Toronto next week.
Also risking arrest, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in BC Seth Klein, Canadian author and journalist Andrew Nikiforuk.
Supporters included author and activist Naomi Klein and bestselling author of The Golden Spruce John Vaillant.
Author and activist Naomi Klein:
“The Indigenous chiefs who risked arrest today are some of the most visionary and principled leaders in the world. They are willing to put their bodies on the line to protect the land and water that are inextricable from their human rights as Indigenous peoples and from the habitability of our shared planet.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs – 250-490-5314
Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs – 250-974-8282
media [at] protecttheinlet [dot] ca
Tegan Hansen – 250-354-3302
Jesse Firempong – 778-996-6549
See all media releases at: www.protecttheinlet.ca/
Following the estimated 10,000 person-strong march and rally against Kinder Morgan on Saturday March 10th, hundreds of people have now been arrested taking action against Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline and tanker expansion project that terminates in Burnaby, BC.
On March 19, a 70-year-old grandfather scaled a tree and set up camp directly in the path of Kinder Morgan’s clear-cutting activity.
A former Trans Mountain pipeline employee was arrested Tuesday March 20. While she was being arrested Romilly Cavanaugh told supporters, “We lived and worked in fear when I worked for Trans Mountain, because the reality is that no amount of equipment or people is going to change the fact that in the event of a spill, they will be able to recover very little.”
On Friday March 23, federal Members of Parliament Kennedy Stewart and Green Party leader Elizabeth May were also arrested while protesting the project. Another 58 people were arrested on Saturday March 24 before Indigenous leaders called for a week-long break for ceremony.
Solidarity actions have spread south of the border; on Sunday, March 18, kayaktivists took to the water to block access to Kinder Morgan’s oil terminal in Seattle, with more planned this summer.
Current opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project includes the Province of British Columbia, the state of Washington, the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria and 19 other BC municipalities as well as 250,000 petition signers and more than 23,000 who have pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop Kinder Morgan’s risky and destructive pipeline and tanker project.