On March 10th, Indigenous Coast Salish members, spiritual leaders and youth erected a traditional “Watch House” as part of their ongoing resistance to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.
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. It is a traditional structure they have used for tens of thousands of years to watch for enemies on their territories and protect their communities from danger.
Today, this danger is Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline from the Alberta tar sands, which seeks to cross Indigenous and Coast Salish traditional territories despite the fact that more than half of Indigenous communities along the pipeline’s route have refused consent for the project. It would also mean a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Salish Sea, bringing hundreds of tankers through the Burrard Inlet each year.
The Watch House will be occupied by Coast Salish members, including members of the Tsleil-Waututh and allied communities, and used for ceremony and Indigenous gatherings.
No. This project is led by members of the Tsleil Waututh communities but not Tsleil Waututh Nation government or band council. It is supported by allied groups.
Why is the Watch House significant?
It has been a long time since Coast Salish communities have been able to build a Watch House, which makes this project historically significant. The Watch House will continue to be an important place for prayer and ceremony. The Watch House will be a base for ongoing opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which seeks to cross Indigenous land and waters without consent.
No. The Watch House is a space for Coast Salish spiritual leaders and members and their guests.
“Kwekwecnewtxw” translates to “a place to watch from.” A Watch House is a traditional structure of the Coast Salish people that’s been used for tens of thousands of years to watch for enemies on their territories. The Watch House will be occupied by Coast Salish members, and used for ceremony and Indigenous gathering.
Kwekwecnewtxw is pronounced Kwu-kwe-ow-tukh.
The Watch House is located at Burnaby 200 Soccer Field. Here’s a map.