Last update:
2019-04-10

Unistoten Camp, BC, Canada

"Heal the People, Heal the Land". Unist'ot'en camp actively resists oil and gas pipelines for 10 years by building a bunk house, healing center, gardens and community based on Indigenous Laws and Responsibilities.


Description:

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.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Unistoten Camp, BC, Canada
Country:Canada
State or province:British Columbia
Location of conflict:Houston
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP):

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Project area:463 km long pipeline
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Apache Corp.
EnCana Corp from Canada
EOG Resources
from United States of America
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Shell Canada Limited from Canada
Mitsubishi Corp. from Japan
Korean Gas Corporation from Republic of Korea
LNG Canada consortium from Canada
Coastal Gas Link from Canada - Hold the contract to build the CGL pipeline
TransCanada from Canada - Proponents of Coastal Gas Link
Relevant government actors:BC Provincial Government
BC Courts
Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs
RCMP
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Algonquins 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.
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Re-occupation of their territory, building a traditional pithouse and Healing Lodge on the pipeline route. Action camps to train activists.
Impacts of the project
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 ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other environmental related diseases, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Other Health impactsMan camp will be built on territory, raising risks of sexual assault.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Fostering a culture of peace
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
The PTP pipeline route had been redirected. The Northern gateway pipelines project was cancelled in 2016.
However, as of February 2019, workers for the Coastal Gas Link pipeline are on Unsit'ot'en territory clearing land for the construction of the pipeline.
Development of alternatives:The 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.
They have built a large Healing Lodge. Espousing their message "Heal the People, Heal the Land", the Healing Lodge offers experience of healing to their community members "to live on the land and have a connection with the natural world and our teachings... It is a chance to return to some of our traditional teachings and land-based wellness practices of our ancestors".
The leadership at Unist'ot'en helped forge the Sacred Fire Network to coordinate and share information and resources between many Indigenous front lines in BC.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Several proposed pipeline projects has been diverted or cancelled, many action camps have been held successfully with throusands 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.
This has fully been a win for environmental justice for the last decade. However in January 2019, CGL filed for an injunction to enter Unist'ot'en territory. The injunction was granted, and after fierce resistance of incursion by the RCMP by Wet'suwewt'en land defenders and supporters, CGL workers are now beginning construction work in the territory. This struggle has inspired support from around the world
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

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

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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]

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
[click to view]

OFFICE OF THE WET’SUWET’EN POSITION ON PACIFIC TRAILS PIPELINE
[click to view]

[1] (Ducklow, 2019) Nine Things You Need to Know about the Unist’ot’en Blockade. The Tyee.
[click to view]

[2] Heal the People, Heal the Land. Unist'ot'en Zine.
[click to view]

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

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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]

Healing Lodge at Unist'ot'en Camp (Photo Credit: Warner Naziel)

Sourced from (https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/12/15/unistoten-camp-faces-temporary-injunction-over-pipeline-protest.html_
[click to view]

No Access without Consent Print by Annie Banks. Sourced from (http://unistoten.camp/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/UZINE_View.pdf)
[click to view]

Heavily armed RCMP officers arrive to shut down Indigenous checkpoints blocking CGL natural gas pipeline. Photo by Michael Toledano. Sourced from (https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/01/08/LNG-Pipeline-Unistoten-Blockade/)
[click to view]

Unist'ot'en Camp Residents and supporters of the Unist'ot'en Camp have sent a loud and clear message to pipeline developers. Photo courtesy of Unist'ot'en Camp.

Sourced from: https://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/what-you-need-know-about-unistoten-pipeline-standoff
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Leah Temper & Jen Gobby
Last update10/04/2019
Comments
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