Indigenous pipeline blockades spark Canada-wide protests


Mounting protests over a Canadian natural gas pipeline have led to dozens of arrests, buildings occupied and more than 150 train cancellations. The Coastal GasLink pipeline project would make it easier to export natural gas in British Columbia. But its route cuts through indigenous Canadian land. Several indigenous camps have been set up to block access to construction sites, sparking solidarity protests that have swept across the country.

Coastal GasLink says it has reached deals with 20 elected indigenous councils along the route to move ahead with construction, including Wet’suwet’en band councils, coming to agreements on training, employment, and community investment. Former Wet’suwet’en elected Chief Ray Morris of the Nee Tahi Buhn band told the Canadian Press last January that his elected council signed the agreement to get funds for things like education and elder care.

“We’re no different than any other human, we have the same needs as you do,” he said. (BBBut Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose it and say they, not the community’s elected officials, hold authority over traditional lands, warning the project will cause pollution and endanger wildlife.(BBC)…[+]