Two members of a group fighting the Trans Mountain Pipeline in northern B.C. are guilty of theft and intimidation after a confrontation in 2019, a B.C. provincial court judge decided this week.
Kanahus and Mayuk Manuel, founding members of the Tiny House Warriors, are to be sentenced at a later date.
The twin sisters described the conviction as “another colonial attempt to criminalize Indigenous Land Defenders” on Twitter.
“But know that we are not guilty we are Freedom Fighters!” their tweet added.
In provincial court in Kamloops, a judge found Kanahus guilty of theft under $5,000 after a security padlock went missing and convicted Mayuk of intimidation using violence or threats for what was uttered to contract security employees.
The pair recorded the Sept. 30, 2019 interaction with security personnel outside a Trans Mountain pumping station near Blue River and posted part of it online.
Blue River is a small community about halfway between Kamloops, B.C., and Jasper, Alta.
Tiny House Warriors is a First Nations-led group fighting expansion of the TMX pipeline on unceded Secwepemc territory.
It has built tiny houses in the new pipeline’s path to bring attention to spills and other dangers associated with construction in traditional Indigenous territory.
About three weeks later on Oct. 19, 2019, Kanahus and her brother-in-law Isha Jules were arrested after a confrontation with road workers on Highway 5 north of Blue River.
The two are charged with mischief and have pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled for June 16.
The existing oil pipeline runs 1,150 kms between Strathcona County near Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C.