Over the last several months, an encampment has been growing in Coast Salish Territory, also known as so-called British Columbia against a massive Kinder Morgan project, the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
In response, the project has faced mass opposition; in March, upwards of ten thousand marched against it. But while NGOs are concentrating on organizing large spectacles and symbolically blocking roads, a direct action encampment known as Camp Cloud and comprised of largely indigenous people has set up in the path of the pipeline. To learn more about this ongoing battle, we talked with Tia Chicome about how people are fighting back on the ground.
Chicome has recently been targeted for repression. As their fundraising page states:
In the early hours of March 21, indigenous land defender Tia Chicome heroically intervened to protect land defenders being charged by a truck in front of the KM Tank Farm.
Land defenders put up their hands and yelled for the truck to stop. It did not stop and kept forcing the demonstrators backwards, pushing into their bodies with the grill of the truck. It was a very dangerous situation, and land defenders rallied to protect themselves.
Originally her charges consisted of assault and mischief, however she has now been handed over to Canadian Border Services Agency as an immigration issue. A lawyer has been arranged to represent Chicome on both the criminal and immigration charges, and her daughter is being safely cared for. We have had contact with Chicome this morning and her fighting spirit remains strong.
The arrest and detention of Chicome is just another example of the way state violence is unequally wielded. When the RCMP arrived on the scene they claimed they would open investigations into the truck driver’s actions. The driver who left the scene, essentially creating a hit and run scenario, is still walking free. Yet the police decided upon reviewing video of the incident to arrest and detain Chicome. And furthermore to do it in a sudden and violent manner while she was standing barefoot getting some things out of her car.
What we need to do now is raise legal funds to help Chicome navigate through these trumped up and clearly politically motivated charges. Please contribute if you can and help signal boost!
In our interview, we discuss the difference in tactics as well as degrees of repression issued from the State between the large NGOs and Camp Cloud, as well as the history of the encampment, and the need for people to come out and support the struggle.
With struggles for the land happening from La ZAD to Bayou Bridge, we must keep the struggle in Coast Salish Territory in our thoughts and aid it in its victory.