Hunger strike ends but opposition to Trans Mountain pipeline remains intact

The first meal Adrienne Rain Flinn-Neeposh had after a four day hunger strike to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was a cup of milk and a strawberry.

“The first day is always the easiest but there’s lotss of smiles,” she said. “As it moves onto the second day you feel the cold. A thunder storm rolled over and we had periods of intense rain, cold and just the dampness.

“It gets harder moving into the third day, that hunger sorta turns into a tiredness.”

Flinn-Neeposh went without food or water.

(Flinn-Neeposh after ending her hunger strike at the Watchtower. Photo: Tina House/APTN)

She called it the Stop TMX (Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension) hunger strike and vision quest.

The action started late last week and took place at the watch house near Kinder Morgan’s tank farm on Burnaby mountain.

For four days she sat on a patch of grass under a cedar tree, prayed, worked on beading and talked with locals in the area.

She said what is happening is now is what her ancestors experienced and doing the hunger strike and vision quest is her way of taking a stand against Trans Mountain project.

“We have people among us who have been political prisoners for a very non – crime a very peaceful,  a very ceremonial crime that I feel harkens back to the potlatch ban,” said Flinn-Neeposh.

“If you watch the videos of the people being arrested they were singing drumming in prayer not threatening not rioting and they were put on stretchers and dragged away.”

One of those arrested and imprisoned was Rita Wong.

She was one of the ones put onto a stretcher, dragged away and arrested by RCMP in Aug. 2018.

Wong was sentenced to 28 days in jail and was just released.

She came to the Watchhouse, a building established by members of the Tlseil Wau- tuth Nation to monitor the work at the Kinder Morgan tank farm, to lend her support to Flinn-Neeposh and recalled her experience in jail.

“I was treated very kindly by the other inmates in the prison who understood that I was there because I was there for a larger purpose,” she said.

(The Watchtower on Burnaby mountain. Photo: Tina House/APTN)

Wong is a university professor at Emily Carr and teaches environmental ethics, humanities and creative writing.

She said the support she has received has been overwhelming.

“I’ve had many people offer to teach my classes I’ve had students break into applause when they found why I was going to be late for class because I was going to be in court,” she said.

“I feel grateful our community understands why we are here and why we must protect the land and water from the expansion that none of us can afford.”

Work still continues in preparation of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.