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On the evening of November 20th, 2012, Wet’suwet’en Chief Toghestiy intercepted and issued an eagle feather to surveyors from the Can-Am Geomatics company who were working for Apache’s proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline (PTP). In Wet’suwet’en law, an eagle feather is used as a first and only notice of trespass. The surveyors and all other people associated with PTP were ordered to leave the territory and told that they are not ever allowed to return to Unis’tot’en land. As a result of the unsanctioned PTP work in the Unist’ot’en yintah, the road leading into the territory has been closed to all industry activities until further notice.
Toghestiy stated, “I have invoked the Wet’suwet’en Inuk nu’ot’en (Law) called Bi Kyi Wa’at’en (Responsibility of a husband to respectfully use and protect his wife’s territory) to issue a trespass notice to Pipeline workers on her sovereign territory. My Clan’s territory called Lho Kwa (Clore River) is located behind the Unist’ot’en territory adjacent to the Coastal town of Kitimat and it is our responsibility to protect our territory as well. We will be stopping all proposed pipelines.”
The Wet’suwet’en are made up of five Clans, with territories that they are expected to manage for their future generations. The Unis’tot’en clan has been dead-set against all pipelines slated to cross through their territories, which include PTP, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, and many others. The Unis’tot’en have established a permanent community along the Widzin Kwa (Morice River) directly in the path of the proposed energy corridor and made their opposition extremely clear.
Freda Huson, spokeswoman for the Unis’tot’en Clan, states: “PTP does not have permission to be on our territory. It’s unceded land. We said “NO!” in their meetings. We’ve written them letters; I’ve sent them emails, saying “absolutely NO!” to their projects. Consider it trespass when you enter our territory without permission. You’ve received your warning. Don’t come back!”
This marks the second time that eagle feathers have been issued to pipeline workers. On August 23rd, 2010, Toghestiy and Hagwilakw of the Likhts’amisyu clan gave Enbridge representatives trespass warnings during a Smithers Town Council meeting where Enbridge attended to attempt to smooth over their recent oil spill on the Kalamazoo River.
For more information:
Freda Huson, Spokesperson for the Unis’tot’en by email at email@example.com or by cell phone at 778-210-1100.
Toghestiy, Hereditary Wing Chief of the Likhts’amisyu at firstname.lastname@example.org , interview requests can be made by sending an email along with your contact information to the aforementioned email.
A 9-minute video explaining the community can be found at http://stoptheflows.tumblr.com/ The Unist’ot’en community’s website is http://unistotencamp.wordpress.com/decolonizing-the-carbon-corridor/
Please note that neither the Unis’tot’en People or the other Grassroots Wet’suwet’en are associated with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en.
Watch video of Unis’tot’en members turning away surveyors, Nov 20, 2012: