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.