Trees fell on the Gidimt’en checkpoint access roadblock near Houston, British Columbia
RCMP say they are negotiating with protesters who have taken control of a Coastal GasLink construction site in northern British Columbia as tensions over the natural gas project rise again.
Protests against the pipeline in Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory last year triggered rail blockades across the country and protesters in the latest dispute issued a press release accusing police of using excessive force during arrests.
RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said two people were arrested last week at the site near Houston, B.C., and Coastal GasLink personnel had not been able to work there since the 20th. September.
An open letter from more than two dozen archaeologists to the BC Archeology Branch criticized the work of Coastal GasLink, saying the company and the BC government had not properly consulted with the Wet’suwet’en and could result in the destruction of Indigenous artifacts.
TC Energy, owner of the project, disputed the charges in a statement, saying it had engaged with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and had unearthed and saved artifacts under the supervision of a trained archaeologist.
Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin said the pipeline project has been approved by elected Indigenous leaders and the provincial government is working with hereditary chiefs to reach an agreement on rights and title.
The 670-kilometer Coastal GasLink pipeline has been approved by the province and the 20 elected First Nations councils along its route to transport natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to a processing and export facility on the coast at Kitimat.
However, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claimed that the project had no authority without the consent of their traditional system of governance, urging supporters across the country to act in solidarity.
Open letter signed by 25 archeology professionals and academics from Canada and the United States says work and alleged damage at the Lamprey Creek site could have a significant effect on future studies and consultations with groups natives would have shown it.
“You would have realized that the destruction of archaeological resources – non-renewable resources -… will result in the erasure of much of the context associated with the Ts’elkay Kwe Ceek cultural landscape,” the letter says of the territory’s traditional name. where the work is carried out.
TC Energy’s statement says it has worked with communities and Indigenous representatives to ensure the work can be done safely.
“Coastal GasLink has engaged with Indigenous communities to ensure open and constructive dialogue to protect Indigenous values and cultural heritage,” the company said.
He said 21 artifacts were discovered at the site from 2015 to 2020.