July 21, 2018, Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Burnaby, BC):
Statement from the Watch House – Kwekwecnewtxw Protect the Inlet Project:
“Everyone has a right to express themselves and we intend to continue to express ourselves in a peaceful and respectful manner and work in solidarity with all like minded allies who want to bring an end to this destructive pipeline,” said Squamish Elder Robert Nahanee. “We love the support we are getting and are honoured to work with all who share our common goal to stop Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project.
“Now that the government has chosen to purchase the pipeline this is a very critical moment. Essentially Canadians are the new owners of this dirty pipeline,” said Watch House Guardian Will George. “There may be one camp coming down, however this movement will continue to grow. The Tiny House Warriors just launched three camps along the pipeline route. I encourage you as stakeholders to come show your support and offer your skill set to this movement. Bring your cousins.”
The Watch House camp is guided by Coast Salish elder leadership.
We have key principles given by the local Coast Salish elders on how to conduct ourselves:
- This project is taking place on unceded Coast Salish territory and must be treated as such. The Watch House and related activity operate under Coast Salish jurisdiction.
- The Watch House is first and foremost a place of Indigenous spirituality and jurisdiction.
- The Watch House is a place of sacred ceremony and must be treated as such.
- The Watch House project operates under the Coast Salish law of Nawt’samat – One Heart, One Mind, One Soul – we are all related.
- The land and waters where the Watch House takes place must be absolutely respected
- We encourage the help and participation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to gather with us in a peaceful way.
- This is a peaceful project. No weapons of any kind, or any actions of violence, will be tolerated.
- Alcohol and drugs are strictly prohibited from entering the area of the Watch House, adjacent areas and related activities.
- We must leave the area as we found it, produce as little waste as possible, and not disrupt the ecosystem with any littering.
- Those who visit the Watch House are expected to practice reciprocity by contributing whatever skills they can offer to the Watch House project.
- Participants that fail to abide by the protocol, or disrespect elders and members of the Coast Salish community, may be asked to leave the Watch House and surrounding areas.
Indigenous Coast Salish members, spiritual leaders and youth built Kwekwecnewtxw – a traditional “Watch House” – in March 2018 as part of ongoing resistance to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project.
A Watch House, (“Kwekwecnewtxw” or “a place to watch from” in the henqeminem language, used by members of the Coast Salish Peoples) is grounded in the culture and spirituality of the Coast Salish Peoples. Kwekwecnewtxw is a traditional structure used since time immemorial to watch for enemies on their territories and protect their communities from danger.
Indigenous leaders have pledged to continue to take action in the coming weeks until the tar sands project is permanently cancelled. Around 240 people have been arrested since March for opposing the pipeline, and more than 24,000 have pledged to do “whatever it takes” to stop Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project.
Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project includes the Province of British Columbia, the state of Washington, the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, and Victoria and 19 other BC municipalities as well as 350,000 petition signers.
More than 800 British Columbian business owners have signed a letter opposing a buyout and supporting BC Premier John Horgan’s opposition to the project. 230 civil society groups in 44 countries published a plea in May to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop making new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and stop supporting Kinder Morgan. An investigative report by The Discourse, APTN and HuffPost Canada revealed that the NEB identified 130 Indigenous groups in BC and Alberta that needed to be consulted with before the pipeline was approved by Cabinet. Currently, 85 Indigenous groups do not supported the diluted bitumen pipeline and tanker project; and 133 Nations from across the country are signatories to the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion declaration opposing the project.
The Watch House is located at Burnaby 200 Soccer Field. Map link:https://goo.gl/maps/BZy62HhPos92