RCMP officers conducted a recent patrol and check of a smokehouse located on a gas pipeline’s right of way on Wet’suwet’en territory. (Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory Facebook photo)

RCMP patrol of smokehouse sparks concerns by Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader

Hereditary Chief Woos says he is feeling uneasy after RCMP attended the smokehouse with rifles

A shed located on Wet’suwet’en territory to cure food by smoking it has caught the attention of RCMP.

On Monday, June 29, members of the Facebook group, Wet’suwet’en Access Point Gidimt’en Territory, posted images of police armed with rifles conducting foot patrols near a smokehouse located at the headwaters of the Wedzin Kwah (Morice River) on June 10 and June 18.

Chief Woos, also known as Frank Alec, said he was disappointed and uneasy with the weapons police carried.

North District RCMP media relations Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said police are aware that their actions are being monitored and captured on camera.

Read More: Wet’suwet’en and Coastal GasLink full statements on eviction from Houston work site

“The photos being circulated online relate to recent patrols and the check of a newly constructed building which is on the pipeline’s right of way, and is therefore in breach of the B.C .Supreme Court injunction order,” she told Black Press Media on Monday (June 29) in an email.

“We understand that Coastal GasLink has posted a notice on the building advising of this breach.”

Woos said the Gidimt’en camp, located at kilometre 44, is no longer a called a camp but a revitalization of their occupancy showcasing their cultural and traditional ways for their youth, as well as Wet’suwet’en and non-Wet’suwet’en people.

“I don’t know what kind of tactics they are up to but we’re carrying out our traditions. Our traditional stronghold out there is basically what we’re doing.”

Saunderson said officers in the photos are members of the Quick Response Team (QRT), which is a group of RCMP officers from throughout the province, who receive training in both cultural awareness and injunction law, and may be deployed anywhere in B.C. to support operational needs.

Read More: A first look at the land title memorandum between Wet’suwet’en, B.C. and Canada

“While the Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) remains closed at the Morice West Forest Service Road, the officers who are assigned there (QRT) are now working from the Houston Detachment and continue to conduct regular patrols along the forestry road and daily checks of the C-ISO facility,” Saunderson said.

Gidimt’en Camp media coordinator, Jennifer Wickham, confirmed a letter posted outside of the smokehouse on June 18 by Coastal GasLink workers suggested the smokehouse be removed, which they will not be doing.

Construction on the structure commenced last year, and Woos said they hope to have it completed by mid-August, before fish come up the river.

He said the smokehouse is located in a spot used by their ancestors, and where other nations and clans would gather to trade and exchange their harvest.

“Right now I’m at the age where I’m just going to start teaching the youngsters on what they need to do and what they need to be aware of.”

Despite project support from Wet’suwet’en elected chiefs and multiple First Nations along the 670-kilometre pipeline route, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs remain opposed to the project.

Read More: Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

Saunderson emphasized that the Morice West Forest Service Road remains open to all motorists.

“We continue to check in with the local Indigenous leaders on a weekly basis to discuss any issues or concerns.”

Coastal GasLink communications team lead Suzanne Wilton said authorized and permitted activities across the route are ongoing, including pre-construction survey work south of Houston.

“We cannot speak to the action of the RCMP, who carry out their activities independently of Coastal GasLink,” she stated.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Police search for Good Samaritans who intervened an assault

Fort St. James RCMP said the incident occured on June 14.

Fire burns down outbuildings and vehicle in Nak’azdli

No injuries were sustained by occupants or firefighters.

Emergency Operations Centre discontinued in Fort St. James

The District of Fort St. James has discontinued its Emergency Operations Centre… Continue reading

Drugs seized in Fort St. James after police receive tip from the public

A 36-year-old male was arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs, after which he was released.

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Most Read