February 9, 2019
ATTN: Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Project Employees, Contractors, and RCMP
The Unist’ot’en reject CGL and RCMP’s arbitrary and unreasonable interpretation of the interim injunction order affecting our territories, which is being used to justify the unlawful destruction of Healing Centre infrastructure.
On Thursday, February 7, our Unist’ot’en Healing Centre volunteers were already in position at our guardhouse (security outbuilding adjacent to the gate at our territory boundary) when CGL and its contractors attempted to establish an exclusion zone encompassing it. CGL workers began reading out their injunction order and flagging a boundary around the area, intending to remove the structure. CGL workers stated that by operating the guardhouse from our long-established position beside the Morice River West Forest Service Road, our Unist’ot’en volunteers and guardhouse were impeding their work. The RCMP supported this position.
We are familiar with the conditions of the injunction order, and under threat of police violence we have thus far complied with the order, which does not constitute consent for the CGL pipeline. We acknowledge the possibility that the current position of the guardhouse could impede the safe passage of CGL equipment along the Morice River West Forest Service Road. In order to determine whether it is in fact impeding safe access, it is incumbent upon Coastal Gaslink to provide the RCMP and the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre with clearance dimensions (a measurement from the center of the road which would provide safe clearance for CGL equipment). Once this measurement is provided, the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre can determine an appropriate course of action to modify its security infrastructure and protocols.
The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre is prepared to modify infrastructure and procedures to ensure that we are not violating the terms of the injunction order, but require the necessary information to act accordingly. We refuse to allow CGL and the RCMP to unilaterally, arbitrarily, or punitively decide which parts of the Healing Centre constitute an impediment to Coastal Gaslink’s work. The structures that support our territory management, and the work we carry out at our Unist’oten Healing Centre, are upheld and sanctioned under Wet’suwet’en law and by our Hereditary Chief Knedebeas. These structures and operations are a part of our critical infrastructure. When they are within reasonable observance of the injunction conditions, our structures and work must be afforded, at minimum, the same protections as CGL project infrastructure, if not greater protections as these are property and operations of the rightful holders of these unceded territories.
CGL contractors have already destroyed an electrical box with one of their vehicles, disabling our security camera and compromising the safety of our residents. CGL now appears insistent on removing all of our safety and security infrastructure, compromising the wellbeing of our Unist’ot’en members and the safe operation of our Healing Centre. As previously expressed to RCMP via multiple complaint reports, these measures were enacted in response to violence, harassment, and vandalism our members and residents experienced previously from industry workers and other trespassers, complaints that
received inadequate response from RCMP.
We have also witnessed Coastal GasLink’s destruction of Gidimt’en private property on their unceded territory with no proof of permit, observed and condoned by the RCMP-DLT. We witnessed RCMP DLT falsely promise Gidimt’en spokesperson, Molly Wickham, that a copy of CGL’s land-use permit would be made available for her at the Houston detachment. No permit has been produced at the Houston detachment to date.
We are not required, by the terms of the injunction order, to remove Healing Centre buildings at the whim of CGL or the RCMP. The RCMP were not able to provide information on Thursday to confirm that our guardhouse is in fact impeding the safe passage of CGL’s equipment. If the RCMP do not have this information, they cannot possibly make a determination that we are in fact impeding CGL’s work, and therefore violating the injunction.
If CGL or the RCMP can verifiably demonstrate (with clearance dimensions) that the guardhouse constitutes an impediment to the equipment that CGL wishes to move across the bridge, we will take steps to remedy the situation.
Unist’ot’en (Dark House)
Tse we di elh (Rocks Flowing)
620 CN Station Road
Smithers, B.C. V0J 2NZ