On Friday, August 14th, the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS) held a rally and picket to support the Unist’ot’en Camp. The camp, located on unceded Wet’suwet’en Territory, has been under increasing pressure this summer with repeated attempts to survey traditional lands for the TransCanada pipeline.
Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents and VANDU members joined the rally under the banner, “No pipelines on stolen native land” and “People before profit.” The march arrived at the Chevron gas station via the Hastings Corridor. The corridor is latest site of Indigenous mass-displacement in Vancouver where property values in the historically low-income neighbourhood have gone up by over 300% since 2001. Rents are expected to rise further with the construction of several high-end condo towers, including a mega development at 955 E Hastings just a few blocks away from the Chevron station.
The rally and picket drew attention to the intimate links between resource extraction and real estate displacement in British Columbia. As Seb Bonet writes in the Downtown East: “To many people who are Indigenous or living with low incomes, pipelines and cranes represent the latest in a long series of displacements.” Below is a speech by Tracey Morrison, making the living connection between Indigenous resistance in rural and urban British Columbia. Tracey is the president of WAHRS and is a long-time activist in the DTES community.
Speech by Tracey Morrison, president of WAHRS
Welcome Friends, Allies and members,
We acknowledge that this event, and all our work, is taking place on unceded Coast Salish territory.
Thank you for joining WAHRS today as we march in Solidarity with the Unist’ot’en Camp who are fighting against the pipelines. Their struggle is to defend their territory from destructive pipelines developments.
Our way to support is to March and bring awareness of the violations of Native land just to build pipelines which are destructive to Mother Earth who we are here to protect. We need to do more. We say no more.
No more to Pacific Trail, Enbridge Pipeline, Kinder Morgan, Coastal GasLink, and so many other companies who are making money from stolen Native Land.
Thank you for your support and let’s unite and help the Unist’ot’en Camp.
Photo credit: Nicole Markwick
Stories and Songs of Resistance:
A Night in Honour of Freda Huson and the Unist’ot’en Camp
Saturday, August 22nd at 7pm
Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, 1803 East 1st Avenue
More info here
Frontlines Beat Pipelines II:
Fundraiser for the Unist’ot’en Camp Healing Center
Thursday, September 10 at 7:00pm – 11:00pm
Wise Hall, 1882 Adanac Street
More info here