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How A Major Tar Sands Pipeline Project Threatens Indigenous Land Rights

Type Investigations
the North Thompson River
the Tiny House Warriors village
Keystone XL
First Nations
Tsleil-Waututh Nation
the Secwepemc Nation
the Yellowhead Institute
Ryerson University
Secwepemc assembly
National Inquiry
Murdered Indigenous Women
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
the Community-Industry Response Group
the Independent Investigations Office
Trans Mountain
The Tiny House Warriors
Coldwater First Nations
Natural Resources Canada
Simpcw Resources Group
the Simpcw First Nation
ATCO Structures
the Simpcw Resources Group
Simpcw Chief
The Yellowhead Institute’s
the Supreme Court
Coastal GasLink’s
the Insurance Bureau of Canada
Wilderness Committee
the Department of Finance
Liberty Mutual

Flora Sampson
Kanahus Manuel
Kinder Morgan
Stephen Harper
Justin Trudeau
Pam Palmater
Kanahus Manuel’s
Mayuk Manuel
Kinder Morgan’s
Miriam Galipeau
Nicole Plato
Shelly Loring
Tk’emlúps te
Rosanne Casimir
Shiri Pasternak
Molly Wickham
Peter McCartney


Trans Mountain Pipeline
Energy East
The Northern Gateway
Trans Mountain’s
Mother Earth
the Blue River
Fraser River
the Pacific Ocean
North America

the Tiny House Warriors
Northern Gateway
Enbridge Line

British Columbia
Unceded Secwepemc Territory
the United States
British Columbia’s

Tiny House Warriors

Positivity     37.00%   
   Negativity   63.00%
The New York Times
Write a review: The Huffington Post

By establishing a small village in the project’s path, the Tiny House Warriors have staked claim to land they argue belongs to their people.In recent years, the Canadian government has been working to acknowledge its legacy of colonialism and heal its relationship with Indigenous people. “Federal and provincial governments and even corporations use the justice system, they weaponize it against First Nations, land defenders, Indigenous people in a multitude of ways.”The Tiny House Warriors village was first established in 2017, after a traditional Secwepemc assembly declared its opposition to the Trans Mountain expansion, arguing that the project posed a threat to the local ecology and their land. In 2017, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the country’s federal law enforcement agency, formed a special unit called the Community-Industry Response Group to address issues of crime, national security, and public disorder surrounding energy projects in British Columbia — including protests in opposition to Trans Mountain and the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is being built in a separate part of the province and is being blockaded by the Wet’suwet’en people and their supporters. But Trudeau swept in to buy the project for $3.5 billion ($4.5 billion Canadian) in an effort to keep it alive.Miriam Galipeau, a spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada, said the Canadian government considered the environmental, social, and economic impacts the Trans Mountain expansion project would have, including the impact to Indigenous rights and interests, and ultimately determined the project was in the public interest. “We recognize that some Indigenous peoples are in support of this project, while others are opposed.”The Trans Mountain spokesperson said the pipeline expansion project has involved “unprecedented levels of involvement, and shared decision making, with Indigenous peoples and communities,” which have led to route changes, new construction techniques, and economic opportunities for local communities. Simpcw Resources Group, a construction company owned by a Secwepemc band, the Simpcw First Nation, for instance, partnered with construction firm ATCO Structures to operate three pipeline worker camps in interior British Columbia — including the camp that has been contested by the Tiny House Warriors.Nicole Plato, a spokesperson for the Simpcw Resources Group, shared a 2020 joint statement from Simpcw Chief Shelly Loring and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir in which they expressed their support for the Trans Mountain expansion project and called on the Tiny House Warriors to end their protest. The Yellowhead Institute’s research shows that corporations are filing injunctions with increasing frequency.“When considering the injunctions brought before them by resource companies, courts tend not to pay any heed to constitutionally-protected Indigenous land claims,” said Shiri Pasternak, an assistant professor of criminology at Ryerson University and one of the report’s co-authors.These injunctions can often include orders to authorize police enforcement of their terms, leading law enforcement officials to arrest pipeline protesters who violate the court orders. “Enforcing these injunctions are not optional for the RCMP, nor can we delay them indefinitely.” In deciding to grant Coastal GasLink’s requests for injunctions against the Wet’suwet’en people, the judge found that because stopping the pipeline would result in a “loss of employment opportunities” and a loss of tax revenue and economic growth, it passed the balance of convenience test.Molly Wickham (Sleydo’), a Wet’suwet’en opponent of the Coastal GasLink project, said injunctions have become a cudgel that police, energy companies, and Canadian officials have been able to use to force Indigenous people off their rightful land. Farther downstream from the Tiny House Warriors encampment, where the Fraser River meets the Pacific Ocean and where the Trans Mountain pipeline sends oil out for export, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and other Indigenous peoples and environmental groups have also been rallying in opposition to the project and pressuring the insurance companies underwriting it — including Liberty Mutual and AIG — to cut ties. By standing in the way of the Trans Mountain project, the Tiny House Warriors and other Indigenous groups are following in the footsteps of similar pipeline protest movements across North America.

As said here by Will Parrish