Another structure built by those opposed to Coastal GasLink (CGL) development on Wet’suwet’en territory has popped up on the Morice West Forest Service Road.
The new lodge was assembled by members of the Wet’suwet’en and supporters just before the 27 kilometre point of Morice West Forest Service Road starting in the third week of January.
Hereditary Chief Dtsa’hyl (Adam Gagnon) said the construction came at the request of all hereditary chiefs.
“[They] wanted a lodge built out here so they could have their meetings out here as well as having a place for non-Indigenous supporters to come and just show their support,” he said.
The structure is located less then a kilometre before an RCMP police roadblock which was set up during the afternoon of Jan. 13.
It’s not immediately clear whether the structure was built in response to the RCMP checkpoint, which the hereditary chiefs have repeatedly characterized as an exclusion zone and which they say is in violation of both Wet’suwet’en law and the constitutionally-protected rights of Indigenous people.
“The RCMP has been blocking us up about a half a kilometre from here and not allowing any of the non-Indigenous supporters to come and show their support so we just wanted to remedy that problem,” said Gagnon.
In a video posted to their social media Gagnon and Gidimt’en spokesperson Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) encouraged supporters, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to come out to the territory and show their support.
“We want a space where people can come and show their support and their solidarity and where the RCMP aren’t going to be excluding people from being on the territory,” said Wickham.
“It’s really important that … we have a place where people can come and especially for the chiefs to come and meet where the action is happening.”
The Interior News has reached out to the RCMP for comment on whether it has plans to respond to the development or move its access control checkpoint ahead of the new building.
Wickham, however remained steadfast in her message.
“I encourage our own people, you know, come out here and don’t be afraid,” she said. “The RCMP don’t have the jurisdiction to stop us from moving through the territory and this is a space where everyone is welcome to be.”