Secwepemc protesters arrive at the Mission Flats camp on Oct. 3, where they vow to remain during their bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Facebook photo via Kamloops This Week)

Secwepemc protesters arrive at the Mission Flats camp on Oct. 3, where they vow to remain during their bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. (Facebook photo via Kamloops This Week)

Permanent protest camp established near Trans Mountain work site in Kamloops

The sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project, organizers say

  • Oct. 5, 2020 4:00 p.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

Secwépemc protesters have settled in for the long haul in a bid to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project from being completed in Kamloops.

On Saturday (Oct. 3), a group of about 20 people set up what they call a permanent camp along the shores of the Thompson River, off Mission Flats Road and near a pipeline worksite.

The encampment is located in the same area where a Secwépemc man held a vision quest and fast in protest of the pipeline at the end of August.

Miranda Dick, a spokesperson for the camp, told KTW the sole goal of the encampment is to stop the pipeline twinning project.

Asked what protesters are prepared to do to achieve that, Dick replied: “Everything.”

Dick was also involved in the vision quest protest and was present when another Secwépemc woman chained herself to a fence near a Trans Mountain worksite at Kamloops Airport in September. That woman was arrested, charged and released.

Some of the protesters gathered at the permanent camp plan to remain there around the clock, while others have morning or night shifts, Dick said, noting Secwépemc elders, youth and a couple of teachers are among the group.

There were three vehicles and a motorcycle parked off Mission Flats Road west of Domtar on Monday morning, near where the encampment has been set up. KTW observed three people moving firewood from the end of the road back to camp, which this newspaper was not permitted to visit.

Photos of the encampment online show a couple of tents along the shores of the river.

The encampment is blocking the pipeline route, but so far no one from Trans Mountain or the RCMP has made contact with the protesters, Dick told KTW.

Trans Mountain has a B.C. Supreme Court injunction prohibiting the obstruction of access to the company’s worksites.

Dick said the protesters are not violating that court order as it only applies to impeding work. Asked if protesters are currently impeding the work, Dick replied: “Not right now.” Asked if they plan to do so, Dick said she did not know.

“I can’t incriminate myself,” she said.

Dick said the question that should be asked is what action is Trans Mountain willing to take toward the people?

“What means and necessity would they need to be putting this pipeline through our territory? There’s no consultation and no consent,” she said.

Work at the Trans Mountain site on Mission Flats Road, which is about 500 metres from the protesters, appeared to be ongoing without disruption on Monday morning.

KTW is awaiting a response from Trans Mountain regarding the protest.

During the vision quest protest, the company said it was not taking any action as construction activity was not being obstructed. Trans Mountain noted it respects the right to peaceful, lawful expressions of opinions.

The encampment is located near where a portion of the new pipeline will be pulled underneath the river using a drilling process.

Dick said the protesters speak for all Secwépemc people, arguing their lands cannot be surrendered or ceded by anyone.

Asked how they can speak for all Secwépemc people when there are those among the Secwépemc in favour of the pipeline twinning project — including individuals and elected band councils — Dick said there are those who have been “bought and paid for through Indian Affairs” who must support the project as some bands have signed benefit agreements with Trans Mountain.

One of those bands includes Tk’emlups te Secwépemc, which has a $3-million deal with the company.

Online, the protesters invited all supporters to join them at the camp to help stop the project.

“We love our land our water our wild salmon our People, ourselves and we defend what sustains us and what will sustain our future generations,” states the Facebook page We the Secwépemc: Virtual Unity Camp to stop Trans Mountain Pipeline.

The post states the RCMP, province and “any other agents of the state or court” have no jurisdiction on unceded Secwépemc territory and no injunction has been issued that applies to the ceremonial occupation site on the river.

“No one can own the river, the water way and we move ahead with the full force of our ancestors and with love for the land,” the post states.

Dick said the group is not affiliated with the Tiny House Warriors — a number of Secwépemc members opposed to the pipeline expansion project. They are now based near Blue River, where they are building tiny houses they plan to place in the path of the pipeline expansion route.

Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Tran Mountain Pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An electronic sign at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction notifies travellers heading towards Sutton Pass that closure windows are in effect Thursday morning. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Survey swirls up confusion around Tofino-Ucluelet highway closures

“The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Project closure times remain the same for now,” ministry says

Nuu-chah-nulth language champion Tim Masso holds his Rainy Coast Arts Award. (Jessie Masso photo)
Masso and Wenstob receive 2020 Rainy Coast Arts Award

Tla-o-qui-aht brothers share Pacific Rim Arts Society honour

Pamela Evans gazes lovingly at her four-year-old French bulldog Jack on Thursday, Nov. 5. The energetic young pup has regained his usual rambunctiousness after recently recovering from a significant illness brought on by consuming discarded cannabis new Brown’s Beach in Ucluelet. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Discarded cannabis a “frequent” threat to pets in Tofino-Ucluelet

“I couldn’t grab him fast enough to get it out of his mouth before he swallowed it.”

The School District 70 administration office in Port Alberni. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO
Four Alberni schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

Exposures occurred between Nov. 19 and Nov. 25 depending on the school

A lightning strike destroyed a radio repeater on Porter Mountain, shutting down the Ministry of Transportation and infrastructure’s highway cam at Sutton Pass. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure photo)
Lightning strike shuts down camera on Tofino-Ucluelet highway

“One of our radio repeater sites was recently struck by lightning.”

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Jon Lefebure went back to construction after losing the 2018 mayor’s post in North Cowichan to work on the Cottages On Willow. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Former Island mayor retools priorities with construction project

Fresh air a benefit and satisfaction results from building eight-unit housing complex in Chemainus

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

Most Read