Banners in support of British Columbia’s Wet’suwet’en protesters appeared in a variety of Yellowknife locations in the early hours of Thursday morning.
At the NWT’s legislature, messages sprayed into the snow declared: “Wet’suwet’en strong” and “end police violence.” RCMP have clashed with protesters at Wet’suwet’en camps, making a number of arrests, as officers enforce a court order against those blocking construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
The $6.6-billion, 670-km pipeline would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to a plant near Kitimat.
While the project is supported by many band councils along the route, including the elected Wet’suwet’en band council, it is opposed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, a number of other Indigenous nations, and environmental activists.
Banners at the legislature read “no consent, no pipeline,” while others elsewhere in the city read “reconciliation is dead” and “land back.”
“Reconciliation is dead,” reads a banner hung in Yellowknife on February 13, 2020.
Banks in Yellowknife were also targeted with banners overnight.
One protester, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Cabin Radio banks had been chosen as “significant financers of the pipeline.”
Two daytime rallies have been held in Yellowknife in the past week.
NWT residents have also joined protests at the BC legislature in Victoria, where hundreds of demonstrators stood in the way of arriving politicians.
Shaznay Waugh, a 17-year-old from Fort Simpson now studying in BC, said she joined the protests “because I’ve lived the repercussions of things like this, this systemic colonialism.”
“I think the genocide of Indigenous people is still being pursued by the Canadian government,” said Waugh by phone. “I think this is another act that proves that, and proves Canada’s idea of reconciliation is incredibly flawed.
“There needs to be change, because this sounds like things that have happened in the past.”