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

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

Several local schools took part in Student Vote for the B.C. election. Black Press file photo
Students in Student Vote support NDP in Comox-Courtenay

Unlike actual vote, students in Mid Island-Pacific Rim back Greens

Father Charles has devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats and has inspired generations of volunteers to work together to protect and preserve forests and rivers. Photo submitted
Valley environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Carolyn and Steve Touhey came across a pod of humpback whales while on their boat Sunday, Oct. 25. Photo supplied
VIDEO: Boaters encounter pod of humpbacks near Comox

A Comox Valley family had a meeting with some humpback whales recently,… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

From left: Rick Weaver, Anita Eldershaw-Pitman and Area A director Daniel Arbour at the Friendly Port Child Care Centre. Photo supplied
District funds enable expansion at Union Bay child care facility

A grant from the Comox Valley Regional District will help create eight… Continue reading

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read