On January 1, Likhts’amisyu (Fireweed) Clan tweeted:
Please offer prayers and support for all of our friends on our People’s Yintah today. There are updates coming in from the @UBCIC [Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs] that @rcmpgrcpolice CIRG [Royal Canadian Mounted Police Community-Industry Response Group] Units started amassing in Houston and Smithers hotels again.
This comes a couple days after the Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted a short video of land defenders reoccupying the Coastal GasLink pipeline drill pad site on Wet’suwet’en territory, which is situated about 63 kilometres up a forest road from Houston.
That video marked the twelfth day of the reoccupation of the site following a heavily-armed RCMP raid on the territory on November 18-19, 2021.
Also on January 1, Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit Media tweeted: “Amidst talk of #rcmp C-IRG amassing to raid the retaken Coyote Camp on unceded #wetsuweten Yintah, new out of town #ThinBlueLine officers are not identifying themselves while harassing Gitxsan peoples. These are the poster children of the #bcndp and its stance on reconciliation.”
The Gitxsan have blocked the railway track in New Hazelton in November 2021 and February 2020 during previous RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory.
The video also posted by Kris Statnyk on social media suggests that an RCMP officer from the Burns Lake detachment is present in New Hazelton (a distance of about 210 kilometres). Statnyk notes: RCMP have once again redeployed more out of town officers to occupy and surveil the Gitxsan lax yip.”
Fireweed Clan Hereditary Chief Smogelgem has tweeted in response: “This correlates with what UBCIC has told us. The RCMP are about to do another raid and they need to ‘manage’ the Gitxsan response.”
The Git’luuhl’um’hetxwit tweet also notes that the officer is wearing a Canadian flag patch with a thin blue line through it. An RCMP directive from October 2020 says: “it is not an approved symbol and is not to be worn on our uniform.”
We recall that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged Canada “to guarantee that no force will be used against Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.”
That resolution was issued in December 2019.
RCMP raids in January 2019, February 2020 and November 2021 have resulted in the arrests of about 68 people peacefully defending Wet’suwet’en territory from the CGL fracked gas pipeline being built without free, prior and informed consent.
Brent Patterson is the executive director of Peace Brigades International Canada.