The permits for Coastal GasLink’s LNG pipeline were approved by the BC government under the Liberals. More recently, the permits were enforced by the BC government under the New Democrat Party (NDP), Canada’s party of labor which, like New Labour in the UK, has adopted “third way” neoliberal policies and has led multiple attacks on Indigenous sovereignty and land defense movements when it has been in power in BC.
Whether at the hands of the Liberals or the NDP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the paramilitary police force that has attacked Indigenous nations since the time of Canadian Confederation. The RCMP was initially founded in order to wage war against Métis, Cree, and allied non-Natives during the anti-colonial and anti-capitalist Red River Resistances in the 1870s and 80s. The RCMP was born through Indian Wars, and it continues to thrive on them.
In the context of unceded land, colonial resource extraction and transportation, and a paramilitary police force founded through Indian Wars, the Wet’suwet’en struggle is a key political and symbolic battleground for a militant Indigenous movement. Wet’suwet’en is not negotiating a treaty with BC; they are actively reoccupying traditional territories without colonial “permission.”
This is a profound act of Indigenous sovereignty, and it is fitting that it would be occurring in BC. Although Canada itself has never fully solved its “Indian problem,” BC’s lack of treaties is a glaring admission of violent colonial occupation.
Timeline of the Wet’suwet’en Struggle
In November 2018, Coastal GasLink named Freda Huson, spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en clan, and Dini ze Smogelgem (Warner Naziel), hereditary chief of the Laksamshu clan, in a civil suit and applied for an injunction to gain access to Unist’ot’en territory and proceed with construction. This…