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Tiny House Warriors in Blue River on front line of fight against Trans Mountain pipeline

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Screenshot from Facebook video

The front line of the fight against the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline at this moment is at Blue River, situated within the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia, about 590 kilometres north-east of Vancouver.

More than 500 kilometres of the 1,150-kilometre pipeline route from Edmonton to Burnaby would run through unceded Secwepemc territory.

In an interview published on August 24 in the National Observer, land and water defender Kanahus Manuel stated, "I’m sitting right now at the Tiny House Warriors village here to stop construction of the Blue River man camp, which is at the top of the list for construction."

The Secwepemcu’ecw Assembly explains, "Man camps are temporary housing facilities constructed for predominantly male workers on resource development projects in the oil, pipeline, mining, hydroelectric, and forestry industries. Reports show a direct correlation between these encampments and violence against women."

In November 2017, the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society and Tiny House Warriors issued a declaration -- now signed by 3,358 individuals and organizations -- that states, "We, as Secwepemc women, declare that we do no consent! We do not consent to the desecration of our sacred land; we do not consent to the transgressions on our sacred bodies!"

The Trans Mountain man camp to be constructed off of Highway 5 at Blue River would house 1,000 workers on about 14 acres of land.

In terms of an overall resistance strategy, the Tiny House Warriors website notes, "Ten tiny houses will be built and placed strategically along the 518 km Trans Mountain pipeline route to assert Secwepemc Law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline."

Trans Mountain says work on "Spread 3" (120 kilometres of pipeline between Mt. Robson Provincial Park and Blue River) will begin September and that work on "Spread 4" (155 kilometres of pipeline from Blue River to Kamloops) will begin in November.

While that work will include surveying, staking and flagging, cutting down trees and clearing vegetation, the company says, "Work is underway along the entire pipeline route to develop temporary infrastructure sites such as stockpile sites, construction yards and camps."

In a Facebook video released yesterday, Manuel says, "To everybody out there that wants to see this Trans Mountain pipeline stopped, it’s going to be stopped in the Interior. If this pipeline gets built to the coast it will go through, if this pipeline gets built to Kamloops it will go through."

She emphasizes, "To all those wanting to fund this pipeline fight, the fight is here in the Interior as it enters into our territory. This is where the fight is at."

And in another Facebook video today, Manuel couldn’t be clearer: "We vow to stop it by any means, but we need all the people of Canada that stand with Indigenous sovereignty and tribal law to stand with us as we shut this pipeline down."

Readers interested in supporting the Secwepemc Nation Youth Network can find more information here

Image: Flickr/markklotz

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