Unistoten Action Camp
by Noah Ross
Media Coop, August 8, 2012
Beginning on August 5th, the Unistoten, a clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, have established a checkpoint located on the bridge over the Morice River.
The checkpoint is in the path of the proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline south of Smithers in Northern British Columbia. It is being implemented in conjunction with the 3rd annual Unistoten Action Camp, which has attracted over 150 participants and is intended to build support for resistance to the Pacific Trails Pipeline.
The Unistoten clan and the Likhts'amisyu clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation have vowed to resist the Pacific Trails Pipeline which intends to transport gas extracted through the controversial process of fracking from the areas around Fort Nelson and Fort St. John to Asia via the Port of Kitimat.
Toghestiy, Hereditary Chief of the Likhts'amisyu clan says, “The Pacific Trails Pipeline is a danger to Wet'suwet'en territory and it is our responsibility to protect these territories and our responsibility as indigenous people to help other indigenous peoples who are being hurt by industrial development where the natural gas that would be transported in this pipeline originates.”
Resistance to the PTP pipeline began on Nov 7th, 2011 when three members of the Wet'suwet'en confronted contractors beginning directional drilling on Morice River that was intended to support the PTP pipeline and told them to leave. The contractors stopped work and returned days later to remove their equipment and have not returned.
The latest phase of construction was slated to begin on August 1st, including clearing a right of way, directional drilling under water crossings, trenching and laying pipe and creating service roads. Contractors engaging these processes will not be granted consent to access Unistoten lands via the road over Morice River.
Toghestiy says, “We are expecting to encounter employees working on the PTP pipeline during the Action Camp and if they do not come now we will wait to see if they make any attempt to enter our unceeded territories.”
The Action Camp runs from August 5th-10th and is raising awareness about the Unistoten clan's plans to block the passage of the PTP pipeline while educating camp participants in direct action training, security culture and the range of pipelines currently proposed to travel Wetsuw'eten territory.
This years' camp has participants representing First Nations from across BC and numerous grassroots organizations. The Vancouver Island Forest Action Network is providing fundraising, transportation and facilitation assistance.