A surge of indigenous and allied resistance is challenging pipelines, logging, mining, and development in BC and across western Canada. This list is compiled to keep track of current, recent, and pop-up or flying blockades.
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Current, recent, and ongoing actions in Canada
- Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Nation near Kingcome Inlet, Central Coast, BC: Indigenous leaders have teamed up with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and coastal wild salmon warriors to evict Norwegian-owned fish farm pens from their territory. The aim is to protect wild salmon from farm-grown disease and parasites. Marine Harvest is suing campaigner Alexandra Morton and others not named for allegedly "trespassing." More info here.
- Imperial Metals Mt. Polley mine disaster, near Likely, BC: Blockade down, popup actions continue as Secwepemc Nations demand justice and closure of the mine, which is still operating after BC's worst mine failure dumped billions of litres of hazardous waste into salmon-bearing rivers. Info here.
- Mt. Elphinstone, Sunshine Coast, BC: Protectors, including Sechelt First Nations elders, have set up blockades and peace camps to block BC Timber Sales-approved logging of old-growth forests near Roberts Creek. An injunction is in place and nine people were arrested in September 2016. Part of a long-running campaign to preserve drinking water quality and wildlife habitat. Info at Elphinstone Logging Focus.
- Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island, BC: On-and-off blockades of an unpermitted contaminated waste dump from 2015 on. Community residents, including indigenous people, are blocking dump trucks from entering the site. The Supreme Court ruled the dump is not an acceptable use of the South Island Aggregates property, where heavy rains have caused storage pits to overflow. Meanwhile, the company has obtained an injunction to shut down the protestors. About a dozen arrests so far. Forest Action Network is providing legal support. Facebook page here.
- Blockade down: Walbran Valley, Vancouver Island, BC: No new cutblocks have been approved and several that were set for logging remain untouched. In 2015, South Islanders set up a checkpoint to turn away logging crews. Logging company Teal Jones obtained an injunction, which expired in spring 2016. Protectors moved to a witness camp nearby to protest the clearcutting of ancient cathedral forests next to Carmanah Park. The camp is supported by members of the Pacheedaht First Nation. The Walbran was the site of massive protests, civil disobedience, and sabotage for over twenty years. Forest Action Network is providing gear and campaign support.
- Blockade down, Site C Dam, Peace River, BC: Indigenous opponents to the Site C hydroelectric dam exercised treaty rights by occupying a historic fort site on the Peace River. Three were arrested after the camp was handed an eviction notice by the hydro company January 1 2015. After a 20-year fight, this massive dam was approved to power fracked gas (LNG) liquefaction plants, and construction has begun.
- Ongoing: Coastal First Nations vs. Grizzly hunters, Central Coast, BC: For two years, the Coastal Guardians have been patrolling the central coast and "educating" grizzly hunters and guides about the ban on hunting on their territory. The province continues to issue trophy hunting permits and now the Guardians say they are escalating their enforcement of the ban.
- Victory: Members of the Ahousaht First Nation near Tofino, BC occupied a floating platform and part of a bay to stop a new salmon farm in their territorial waters. News reports here.
- Ongoing: Gitdumden Clan near Smithers, BC: This traditional camp on Wet'suwet'en land (neighbours to Unist'ot'en) is occupying their territory to block pipelines, logging, and mining.
- Ongoing: Lax Kw'alaams First Nation vs. LNG pipeline terminal, near Prince Rupert BC. Petronas corporation is approved to start construction on Lelu Island in crucial salmon habitat for the Skeena River. The community is occupying the island and blocking work on the water. The Philippines-based company has not yet made a financial commitment to the project despite incentives given by the BC government. Info here and Facebook page here.
- Nicola Valley Chiefs near Merritt, BC have blocked a biosolids dump and prevented sewage sludge from being trucked into their community. The action began in 2015 and the project is undergoing a government-ordered review. A moratorium is in place until the chiefs and the community consent, Fundraising link here.
- Ongoing: Voices of the Voiceless camp near Lillooet, BC: Indigenous re-occupation at Junction Creek, St'at'imc Nation, about 250 km north of Vancouver. This camp was set up March 2015 under the direction of Xwisten elders to stop logging. The site is near a heritage site and the Junction Creek summer village, a traditional meeting place where people hunt, gather and process food. Info here.
- Victory: The Heiltsuk First Nation near Bella Bella, BC is fighting for the recovery of herring stocks on the Central Coast. After the feds opened their territory to commercial fishing in March 2015, they occupied offices and set off solidarity rallies. UPDATE: Their blockade is now over and the government has caved in and closed the fishery.
- The Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba is protecting sacred sites by blockading workers cutting trees for a hydroelectric transmission line.
- Burnaby/Burrard Inlet, pop-up actions against Kinder Morgan pipeline: In 2014, 120 locals and allies were arrested in two weeks at a tarsands pipeline test drill site near Vancouver. In 2016, drillers have moved to the middle of Burrard Inlet and other locations. People report their activities, confront them and prevent them from working. The Kwantlen First Nation is leading the charge for the next round of resistance, which shows signs of escalating further.
- Victory: The Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, Vancouver Island, BC, have closed the 2014 spring herring fishery in the strait off the west coast of the island.
- Blockade down: The Northern Trappers Alliance, a traditional Dene group, was blocking forest roads near Ducharme, Saskatchewan to push back against the loss of wildlife and land to drilling, pipelines, and gates. The protest camp and picket line were moved to the side of the road after an injunction was issued and RCMP seized a trailer. In the summer of 2015, authorities chose a "let it burn" strategy and allowed wildfires to consume the camp and much of the surrounding forest.
- Klabona Keepers, Talhtan Nation, near Iskut BC: A Wildlife Management Checkpoint to limit entry into traditional territory is the latest in a series of actions. In 2015 a blockade was taken down after the court issued an injunction against occupiers. They were blocking Imperial Metals mine in Sacred Headwaters and other projects in various locations. They are seeking volunteers, rideshares, donations, and legal help.
- Victory: Penelakut (Grace Islet) near Salt Spring Island, BC: Vacation home development on a traditional indigenous burial ground on a small island. The province intervened and purchased the development site.
- Ongoing: Unis'tot'en Camp near Smithers, BC: The Unist'ot'en Clan of the Wet'suwet'en have set up a large, permanent, year-round camp blocking pipeline workers and others who don't have permission to use their land.
- Ongoing: Madii Lii Camp (Gitxsan) near Hazelton, BC: New permanent camp set up to block tarsands and gas pipelines and other unauthorized uses of the land.
- Ongoing: Sutikalh, near Lillooet, BC: Permanent camp on St'at'imc territory, blocking resort development for over ten years.
- Ongoing: Grassy Narrows vs clearcut logging . Asubpeeschoseewagong land defenders established the blockade to stop clearcut logging in 2002. Trappers have filed a lawsuit against the Government of Ontario to regain control over their territory, the largest issue being logging. Updates here.
- Blockade down and victory: Elsipogtog First Nation near Rexton, NB: Mi'kmaq and other residents forced SWN resources to pull out of New Brunswick, and the province banned fracking permanently after massive protests erupted in 2013. Military-style raids on the peaceful blockade camp culminated in many arrests and members of the community burning six RCMP vehicles and driving the police out of the area. Updates here.