What you need to know about the Unist'ot'en-pipeline standoff

There's nothing simple about this story. 

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“I researched these bands who signed these deals and they actually have maps that show our territory on their maps," she told Vancouver Observer. "We’ve actually sent them letters and said we wanted to sit down with them because we want them to prove through their history how they own these territories, because we have history here." 

Government chiefs from the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn, and Skin Tyee Nation for example, have all consented to one or more pipelines that would run through their territory if constructed as planned. 

Huson said the hereditary chiefs have as much right to protect their territory as the government chiefs, and the Unist'ot'en, under leadership from Chief Knedebeas, will continue to keep theirs safe from pipelines. 

"We have all the historical stories, we know where everything was here because my ancestors were the ones who were here," she said. "This is my home. We have a right to decide."

The pipelines

Although the Unist'ot'en Camp lists 11 pipeline proposals as running through their territory, it's an open question how any will materialize as serious submissions. The B.C. Government is considering at at least six of them however, including the Pacific Trail Pipeline, Enbridge Northern Gateway, Coastal GasLink, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, the Kitsault Energy Project, and the Pacific Northern Gas Looping Project. 

B.C. LNG, LNG pipelines, B.C. First Nations, Enbridge, Unist'ot'tenA handful of pipeline proposals that would cross through Unist'ot'en territory. Graphic by Vancouver Observer. 

Peaceful resistance

The Unist'ot'en Camp has publicized its resistance to pipelines through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, garnering thousands of supporters all over the world. More than 400 leaders and organizations have now signed an online declaration of solidarity with the camp, discouraging the RCMP from crossing its boundaries to make arrests. 

Huson said she is thrilled with public support so far, but not necessarily surprised by it. 

“It’s because it impacts everybody," she explained. "It impacts these people who have the same concerns we do. All our waters are connected, the globe is round, and the streams flow into the rivers, the rivers flow into the ocean."

Members of the Unist'ot'en Camp remain on high alert after receiving a tip that local RCMP may enter their lands to execute a "mass arrest operation" sometime soon. 

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