On Wednesday, 29 March, the Canadian federal police’s “Community-Industry Response Group” (C-IRG), a unit established to police resistance to resource extraction projects, raided Gidimt’en Checkpoint land defence camp and arrested five people, mostly Indigenous women, including Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Woos’ daughter. The land defenders were staying at the growing village site and engaging in cultural activities such as building traplines. These arrests continue years of surveillance, harassment and violence aimed at suppressing organized resistance to the construction of the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline on unceded Wet’suwet’en land.
This raid occurred weeks after the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP launched an investigation into C-IRG’s operations and activities. Among the questions posed by the investigation is whether C-IRG’s policies, procedures, guidelines and training are consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A dozen land defenders and supporters recently petitioned for charges of criminal contempt of court to be dropped due to C-IRG’s violations of Charter rights, including excessive use of force, during C-IRG’s militarized raids of land defence camps in November 2021.
Pray with us for healing for land defenders and supporters who have suffered trauma due to police harassment and violence. Pray for the healing of the land as CGL continues pipeline construction across pristine Wet’suwet’en territory. Pray for the strengthening of grassroots movements pressuring CGL funders to withdraw from the project. Pray for Canadians’ hearts to be moved by land defenders’ courageous witness to a future of Indigenous sovereignty and care for the land.