Unistoten Camp v. the PTP pipeline, BC, Canada

Blockadia action against the oil pipeline meant to bring tar sand to the Pacific coast. Indigenous communities advocate a system of natural Laws that are based on their Indigenous Laws or Responsibilities

On the Beautiful Widzin Kwa (Morice River): The Grassroots Wet'suwet'en people are fighting to stop the onslaught of 7 multi-billion dollar proposed pipeline projects from entering their unceded and occupied lands. These proposed pipelines are part of an 'energy corridor' aiming to connect Tar Sands and shale gas extraction projects with ports and LNG processing terminals in Kitimat and Prince Rupert on BC's west coast. Three companies: Kinder Morgan, Pembina Pipelines, and Endbridge Inc., each propose dual pipelines to transport not only dirty bitumen, but also condensate as a diluent, along with a cocktail of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and poisons from the extraction and slurry process. Several shale gas pipelines are also proposed to run from Summit Lake and the Horn River Basin, fracking fields in northeastern BC's Montney Shale Formation. The first and most immediate threat to Wet'suwet'en territory is the Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP), part of the Kitimat LNG project , which intends to transport shale gas through a 42' diameter bidirectional pipeline. Chevron and Woodside hold 50% each of the Kitimat LNG project. PTP is the intended trailblazer of the prospective 'energy corridor,' and plans dual pipelines to stretch 463km from BC's fracking fields, all the way to the Douglas Channel on the west coast. It would initially carry 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Coastal GasLink is another prospective shale gas pipeline LNG terminal project proposal. The project is owned by a consortium of Companies called LNG Canada led by Shell Canada Limited, including Mitsubishi Corporation, KoreaGas (KOGAS), and Petrochina.  TransCanada corporation, the same company trying to force through the notorious Keystone XL Pipeline, is contracted by LNG Canada to build Coastal GasLink. Early January 2016, the consortium got its permit to build a liquefied natural gas export facility in Kitimat together with a 40-years export licence. To stop the PNP, the first pipeline slated to be built, in its path, a log cabin, which was started in 2010, was finally completed in July of 2012, directly on the GPS centerline of the proposed pipeline corridors, at Talbits Kwah at Gosnell Creek and Wedzin Kwah (Morice River which is a tributary to the Skeena and Bulkley River).  The cabin is now a full time home and a resistance community where a grassroots Wet'suwet'en family lives sustainably off their ancestral lands while honouring their responsibility to protect the earth. In Dec. 2012, the clan evicted surveyors working on the Apache Canada's Pacific Trails Pipeline from their territory, declaring that they were trespassing, they also seized equipment and set up a roadblock against all pipeline activity. The clan is also building a traditional pit-house along the pipeline route and they hold annual action camps to train activists in direct action. As a result of the unsanctioned PTP work on Unist'ot'en yintah, an active blockade of the territory was set up. All visitors upon arrival wishing to enter the territory, must introduce themselves and answer questions before being granted permission to enter. This is part of a Free Prior and Informed Consent Protocol, a re-actualization of natural law and the implementation of a new emancipatory standard of autonomy within first nations territories. In BC, First Nations have never signed any treaties and thus defend their right to exercise sovereignty over their lands. The Unis'tot'en (C'ihlts'ehkhyu / Big Frog Clan) are the original Wet'suwet'en distinct to the lands of the Wet'suwet'en. The Unis'tot'en recent history includes taking action to protect their lands from Lions Gate Metals. They have also defended the land against clear cutting by the logging company Canfor, who built the world's largest sawmill at the forest service road entrance that leads into Wet'suwet'en territory. Impressed by the promise of job opportunities, 16 Native Nations whose territory is situated along the proposed PTP signed the First Nations Limited Partnership Agreement (FNLP) with Chevron. One of the outcomes of such treaty is the creation in 2010 of the PTP ASEP Training Society, responsible for the employment of Native communities’ members in the oil and gas mega-infrastructures. Such developments bring to light the current divide among Native American communities from British Columbia State regarding the fossil fuels industries. The divide has actually spread nation-wide. 
Basic Data
NameUnistoten Camp v. the PTP pipeline, BC, Canada
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Shale gas fracking
Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
The $1-billion Pacific Trails Pipeline would deliver natural gas from northern B.C. and Alberta to the LNG terminal for shipment overseas. Kitimat, the future home of an Apache Canada liquefied natural gas plant and the tanker port for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. pipeline which would transport fracked gas from northeastern BC to the Pacific Coast.
See more...
Project Area (in hectares)463 km long pipeline
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesApache Corp.
EnCana Corp from Canada
EOG Resources
Chevron Corporation from United States of America
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) from Netherlands
Shell Canada Limited from Canada
Mitsubishi Corp. from Japan
Korean Gas Corporation from Republic of Korea
LNG Canada consortium from Canada
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAlgonquins of Barriere Lake, Anishinabek Oshkimaadiziig Unity Camp, Anti-Colonial Solidarity Collective-Montreal, Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) Land Defenders, Boreal Forest Network, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group, Climate Justice Research/Action (Science for Peace), Council of Canadians, Deep Green Resistance, Independent Jewish Voices-Toronto, Indigenous Action Movement, Indigenous Defenders of the Land Network, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement-Ottawa, Indigenous People’s Solidarity Movement-Winnipeg, Indigenous Reoccupation of Ancestral Lands- Ancestral Pride Ahousaht Sovereign Territory, Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity Network-Toronto, International League of People’s Struggles-Canada, Leadnow, Média Recherche Action, Mining Justice Alliance, Mother Earth Justice Advocates, Native Youth Movement, No One Is Illegal-Toronto, No One Is Illegal-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories, Rising Tide-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories, Rising Tide-Toronto, ShitHarperDid, Sierra Club-Prairie Chapter, Stop the Pave, Streams of Justice, Submedia.tv, Tadamon, Toronto Bolivia Solidarity, Truth Fool, Turning the Tide Bookstore, Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Re-occupation of their territory, building a traditional pithouse and longhouse on the pipeline route. Action camps to train activists.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Fostering a culture of peace
The pipeline route has has been redirected
Development of AlternativesThe Unistoten work in solidarity with neighbouring communities who want to stop all pipelines, reverse climate change, shut down tar sands and hydrofracturing for shale gas, and also communities who see through the false solutions to climate change via Carbon Marketing, Carbon, Boreal and Biological Offsets and REDDs in 3rd World Countries.

They advocate a system of natural Laws that are based on their Indigenous Laws or Responsibilities, including Responsibilities to ourselves, our families, and the lands and waters we have relationships with. The project also includes a permaculture garden and attempts to use sustainable energy generation methods using junk technology and water and wind powered energy.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The pipeline has been diverted once, four action camps have been held successfully with hundreds of participants. The camp is a powerful symbol for a movement that is not based on Not in My Backyard concerns nor is simply resistance to a pipeline and the defense of a territory, but based on the building and rebuilding of a radical alternative and traditional living. The philosophy espoused by the clan goes beyond a rights-based discourse to one of responsibility that has the potential to be truly transcendent.
Sources and Materials

Delgamuukw Decision on Native land entitlements, based on a court case brought by the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations in 1984.


A lay Persons Guide to Delgamuukw
[click to view]

Developing Oil and Gas Resources On or Near Indigenous Lands in Canada: An Overview of Laws, Treaties, Regulations and Agreements, Laura Wright, Jerry P. White, August 2012
[click to view]

Chevron Canada Fact Sheet
[click to view]

First Nations (PTP) Group Limited Partnership (FNLP), Chevron and Woodside Petroleum initiative, May 2015
[click to view]


Unistoten pages
[click to view]

Earth First
[click to view]

Unist'ot'en Camp facebook page
[click to view]

B.C. first nation members evict pipeline surveyors, set up road block, The Globe and Mail, 22/11/2012
[click to view]

Pacific Trail Pipeline, Chevron official web page
[click to view]

The PTP Aboriginal Skills to Employment Partnership (PTP ASEP), outcome from Chrevon’s First Nations Limited Partnership Agreement
[click to view]

Indigenous Canadians take leading role in battle against tar sands pipeline, J. Stonington, The Guardian, 18/10/2015
[click to view]

Native leaders divided on oil-sands pipelines, The Globe and mail, 30/09/2015
[click to view]

LNG Canada gets permit for export facility in Kitimat, B.C., The Globe and Mail, 05/01/2016
[click to view]

LNG Canada Project overview Official webpage
[click to view]

Major Projects, KITIMAT
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[click to view]

Media Links

UnistotenCamp You Tube channel
[click to view]

The Action Camp, Stop the flows, August 2012
[click to view]

Imagen del plan preliminario de la pipeline (chevron website)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Unist’ot’en Camp human chain The Unist’ot’en Camp, in the path of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, Chevron’s Pacific Trail Pipeline and Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline
Feunte: leveller.ca
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLeah Temper
Last update09/05/2016