Tensions building on Wet’suwet’en territory as pipeline conflict in northern B.C. continues  


Members of the Wet’suwet’en nation say the RCMP is blocking food and supplies while Coastal GasLink says 500 workers remain trapped behind blockades.

Gidimt’en Clan issued an evacuation order to Coastal Gaslink (CGL) to leave their territory on Nov. 14 and then put up blockades on the Morice Forestry road near Houston, B.C.

On Monday,  a video taken by Gidimt’en Access Point and posted on social media video showed heavy equipment digging up the road and moving a car onto the forestry road.

In an interview with APTN News, Jennifer Wickham, Gidimt’en Access Point Media Coordinator, says it was clear the company was not going to leave the area.

“From all accounts, they had no intention of leaving, so at that point, Morice River FSR and Morice West FSR were deactivated. So they are now impassable,” she said.

In the video, Coastal GasLink (CGL) employees could also be seen delivering a B.C. Supreme Court injunction order which prohibits blockades in the area.

On Nov. 17, CGL issued a statement that they are worried about 500 workers stuck behind the blockades.

“Coastal GasLink remains very concerned for the safety of our over 500 workers who are currently stranded at our two lodges in the area as illegal blockades on the Morice River public forest service road continue to block all exits and access, “ the company’s statement said.

CGL added that they are worried about the damage done to a bridge along the forestry road.

“In the last 24 hours, opponents have significantly damaged the forest service road at the Lamprey Creek Bridge,” the statement read.

The company also released aerial photos of the blockades and stated the RCMP had been notified.

Yesterday, Gidimt’en Access point sent a Tweet that said RCMP has set up an injunction zone and is not allowing their members and supplies past.

“RCMP Are Blocking Food And Medical Supplies From Wet’suwet’en Homes The RCMP are openly violating the human rights of the Wet’suwet’en people again,” the post read.

They said the driver of the vehicle was threatened with arrests and they have homes along the forestry road.

“There are multiple Wet’suwet’en home sites beyond the police roadblock and many permanent full-time Wet’suwet’en residents on the territory, including elders, children, and chiefs.”

A Gidimt’en spokesperson confirmed the post and said they will attempt to get medical supplies for elders in the camps.

Gidimt’en Access Point has a land occupation site at 44 km up the forestry road. Gidimt’en is one of the five Wet’suwet’en clans.

Further up the road at 66 km is the Unist’ot’en Camp, which has a healing village and cabins associated with Dark House, one of thirteen house groups.

APTN contacted the RCMP for a statement on the RCMP roadblock.

In an email, Corp. Madonna Saunderson wouldn’t confirm the injunction was being enforced in the area.

“At this time, the RCMP continues to have a police presence in the area and are conducting roving patrols. We continue to monitor and assess the situation,” the statement read.

Coastal Gaslink is calling on the government for urgent action to solve the situation.

Wet’wuet’en say they will attempt to get supplies to members up the forestry service road.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.