Coastal GasLink is a project of TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada Pipelines, an institution leading multiple extractive energy projects on Indigenous land. Coastal GasLink is a pipeline intended to go across the unceded territory of the Wet’suwet’en Nation in so-called Canada. For years, the Wet’suwet’en Nation and supporters have voiced and enacted their opposition to this project, an opposition which has been unrecognized by TC Energy, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the extended Canadian government.
In early January 2020, all five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs evicted Coastal GasLink and their employees from their territory. After weeks of successfully keeping Coastal GasLink from their territory, the RCMP violently invaded their unceded land, out of the “legal” Canadian jurisdiction, and arrested multiple Indigenous people who were existing on their land as they have since time immemorial.
Responding to the visceral assault on Indigenous rights, Indigenous land protectors across all of so-called Canada took action. They began blockading railways for weeks, occupying offices of those complicit, and shutting down Canada altogether. For us, supporting and participating in their work below the medicine line was and continues to be an urgent necessity.
In solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, and in solidarity with all Indigenous people holding Canada accountable for the Indigenous genocide that is its foundation, we organized a public solidarity action here in the so-called Bay Area, on occupied Ohlone territories, on Wednesday February 19.
We held our action outside of the Chase corporate office because of their funding of TC Energy and Coastal GasLink. As the primary financers of the project, Chase is actively involved and benefits from the violence currently experienced by Wet’suwet’en people and Indigenous supporters throughout so-called Canada. Our intention was and continues to be to pressure Chase to withdraw all financial support and to comply with and support the demands listed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, and to denounce that anything less is actively anti-Indigenous and violent.
We as an Indigenous-led group held a rally outside of the JPMorgan Chase corporate office in so-called downtown San Francisco at 1pm. Our public rally was attended by dozens of supporters, holding banners that read “Reconciliation is Dead”, and others implicating JPMorgan Chase directly.
After sharing prayers and words about the Wet’suwet’en struggle, we took the street, holding traffic up and demanding visibility for the ongoing colonial violence happening in the north. At around 2pm, after being threatened with mass arrest by police, a group of four Indigenous young people locked down in front of the main door, in lockboxes that read “No Consent, No Access, No Pipeline.”
We stayed all of Wednesday, holding space with over a dozen other supporters, the majority of who were also Indigenous. Through the night, we shared music, had an art making station, educated people who walked by, and shared community meals with one another. Police maintained a nearby presence the entire time.
In the morning of Thursday February 20 at 9am, those of us who locked down decided it was time to leave as we wanted to end on our own terms and not as a result of police violence.
We consider our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, and our resistance to all institutions related to Coastal GasLink, to be a responsibility inherited from our ancestors. We hope this action sparked interest across the Bay, emboldened spirits, and inspires similar actions across the so-called United States. As Indigenous Peoples, each of our communities have similar and related struggles, tied to colonial nations such as the United States and Canada, and institutions such as Chase. It is when we come together as a movement, and fight for each other’s struggles with fervor, that we spark the fire of resistance in one another and succeed.
We hope our action inspires others to do the same in their areas, and consider this to be just the beginning of our work here. Until all demands stated by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have been met, we want actions like ours continue across all of Turtle Island.
Let’s kill the pipeline and save the land.